Let’s be grateful

Lately, with The Poetry Bar and all, I’ve been all about communicating more with you, being more interactive so I came up with another little project for us.

2018 is coming to an end in just a few days. For me it has been a very long year filled with all types of excitement and change, but it was also filled with defeats and pain. I’ve learned a lot this year, met some great people, made some steps forward and I believe that I became stronger when it comes to chasing my own happiness.

What I want you to do now is to reflect on your experiences this year and write in the comments what events, feeling, people etc. are you grateful for this year. Write from 1 to 5 things. Even more if you want! All of your lovely comments will be published in a little gratitude post on my blog and make sure to place links to your blogs in the comments as well.

I believe that gratitude is a feeling we should all nourish because it helps us see the world through different eyes and to progress in life. Gratitude makes us aware of all the gifts we have and makes us feel more present in the world. I think this post will be very beneficial for everyone who writes and reads it.

I can’t wait to read all of your comments. Also, The Poetry Bar is still very much active so make sure to keep sending in your works there. All of the necessary info you can get by clicking here.

Love you all so much!

P.S. All of you are on my list of gratefulness.

Dealing with trauma flashbacks

Certain smells, spaces, situations or people tend to bring up bad feelings we thought we had forgotten about. Most people who went through abuse deal with this problem on the regular basis especially if they just left the toxic relationship or moved away from the abusive parent who left them with a serious trauma.

These bad feelings and flashback can manifest in different ways. Some of the ones I experienced myself are running out of air, losing my touch with reality, feeling like I can’t move, paralyzing shivers up and down my spine, excessive sweating, stuttering etc. One of the worse things I still deal with are my nightmares that happen on a regular basis. The problem with these flashbacks isn’t only that they make you live through your pain again but they can put you in serious danger. If you are in a situation where you could get hurt but your mind has a flashback and paralyzes your body you are in an even bigger danger because you can’t defend yourself.

In my 22 years of life I have been abused physically for roughly eleven years but the psychological abuse continued despite my father not being around because my mind was still trapped and going over everything I experienced as a child. I learned to control it a little bit but there are still certain triggers that give me flashbacks. Some of them are being in the presence of a man who reeks of alcohol, someone putting their hands near my throat…

With time I started to use my breathing to cope with these flashbacks and to calm myself when I wake up from a nightmare. Whenever we get agitated our breathing changes, so in order to ease your mind you need to get back to your normal breathing pattern. Try to even out your inhales and your exhales. Breathe in for 3 second and breathe out for three seconds. It’s that simple and it helps you center your mind. You just need to focus on your breath, on the sensation of air entering and exiting your body. As soon as you get your inhales and exhales evened out you will notice a slight release in your body. Your muscles will get relaxed, your mind will get clear and that pressure on your chest will slowly fade away.

This isn’t something you can accomplish perfectly in one take. It took me years of even reminding myself to breathe when I start having flashbacks and panicking. The other thing that helps a lot is meditation. I think it isn’t even necessary to state all the positive sides of mediation because you already know most of them.

When you get flashback and feel paralyzed, you have the feeling like the abuser is still controlling you. He or she is not doing it, you mind is! You need to become aware of the power your mind has over you and you need to develop techniques to calm it down and to rise above what your mind tells your body to feel.

Remember: Transform pain into strength and you will be invincible.

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Starve that bastard

Every single person in this world has an ego. It’s a part of all of us. I perceive it as an animal. When you have a small ego it means you have a small animal which doesn’t have to be fed a lot. In this state you have a lot of space inside your life to do what you love, have understanding and respect for other people and you are capable of being happy for other people. This is a beautiful state to be in. Having this small animal to feed isn’t time consuming and exhausting. It’s like a small puppy.

When your ego is big it means you have a big animal and that is a problem. People who find themselves in this state have a very large animal they have to feed. Their life revolves around keeping their animal fed and giving it even more food so that it would be satisfied. This state is time consuming and exhausting, even though people who find themselves living this life constantly lie they are okay and that their life is just perfect. People like this do not respect anyone, including themselves and the person they hate most is themselves. I know that everyone says that people with a big ego love themselves more than anything but when you look at it better that’s not true. A person that loves himself doesn’t allow his ego to grow into a wild beast that manipulates their life.

These types of people can’t feel true happiness for their friends, loved ones or other people because being happy for other people would mean that other people have something good in their lives which would consequently make the people with the wild beast ego feel unhappy because potentially they don’t have that something good or that something good will make what they have look small and insignificant. Often these people go to great lengths to humiliate other people, put them down, criticize everyone just to feed their own ego and hide their own insecurities and let me tell you something – this is no way to live. I know it because I used to have a big ego.

I’ve heard the term “Burst that bubble and put your feet on the ground”. First of all, a big ego is not a bubble. It’s a high security prison guarded by that wild beast we need to feed so that it wouldn’t harm us. If it were a bubble then all you would need to burst it would be a needle. In reality, you need a whip to control the animal, you need to starve that bastard and you need a hammer to break down the wall and escape. It’s so hard but the end goal is so beautiful. The end goal is that small puppy you don’t need to feed a lot and who doesn’t like puppies?

There is so much bliss in making your ego small, in learning how to love yourself for who you are and gaining respect for other people. Putting others down won’t make you fly higher but recognizing that we are all equals will make your wings wide enough to hug the whole world.

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Should I forgive my abuser?

Today I decided to do one of my longer posts in which I share my opinions on the subject of abuse, especially domestic abuse. I’ve written about it in some of my posts and I shared pieces of my domestic abuse story on this blog. One of my goals in life is actually to find a way to help abused women and children and to also open people’s eyes about what is abuse and how to fight it properly.

It’s always hard for me to write about this subject because I’m still on my journey of dealing with my past and my experience with domestic abuse so I don’t post that often about it. For those of you who are new to this blog or maybe haven’t read my posts about it, just to sum up – I was abused by my father. He got mentally ill during the war, got PTSD, became an alcoholic and suffered from an identity disorder. The abuse went on for roughly eleven years and he ended up in jail and is currently in a facility where he is being taken care of.

Now that you all are up to speed, let’s get on with today’s subject – Should you forgive your abuser? The answer to this is yes. You should forgive everyone who has done you harm but this situation is particularly difficult because abuse leaves a lot of scars on our soul and our body. I, myself, suffer from nightmares related to the years of abuse despite being already 22 years old and despite not seeing my father for years. An experience such as this one just has a tendency to stick with us forever and, even though you might not see it, this is not a bad thing.

The reason why it’s hard to forgive our abusers is because they rarely say they are sorry. Most of them are oblivious of their actions and consequences of their actions and believe they haven’t done anything wrong so it’s hard to think about forgiveness when you haven’t even heard the word “Sorry” coming out of their mouths. The reason why you need to forgive them is your inner peace. That’s the goal of coping with abuse. You need to find the strength to forgive someone who might not even be sorry just for the sake of preserving and healing your soul and mind.

I will write on my own example. To this day I still have many bad feelings relating to my father but I found a way to be already halfway done with forgiving him for everything he has done. I used to say to myself that he is ill and that deep down he does feel sorry about his actions, but it was hard for me to believe it when I would get flashbacks of him beating up my mother or me escaping through the window of my house because he threatened to kill me. As time passed by I realized that I have to be the bigger person or I will never be able to escape my past. Every now and then I pray for him. That’s right, I pray for the man, for my own father who abused me just because I have grown enough to realize that he doesn’t perceive reality in a way that I do. I also realized that he probably denies everything he has done because it’s a defense mechanism. On some level his mind is blocking the horrible acts he has committed to protect him from facing himself. I began to forgive him so that I could find peace and put my past to rest. On some strange level I found some positive sides to what he has put me through. I don’t want you to think I’m weird for doing it, I promise I will explain everything in a different post.

By wishing the best for him, hoping that the universe will give him the strength to face himself one day and see all of the things he has done wrong I began to discover serenity. You need to rise above the situation in order to move on and you can’t do that without forgiving the person that abused you. If you forgive them, you will first benefit yourself and after the hell you’ve been through you deserve it.

Holding on to abuse and hating the person that did it to you can only lead to further problems in your life. You could develop serious trust issues or become unable to establish a healthy love relationship with someone (I know I have my troubles with this). Step back, take your time and discover within you what it is that you need to do in order to forgive your abuser. Don’t think about him or her, don’t think about anyone else except yourself. This is actually where one of my favorite quotes applies: First, put your own oxygen mask. This sentence just resonates on so many different levels, despite it being a warning on a safety video on planes. Give yourself air, fix yourself, heal yourself and without noticing it you will forgive the person that did you wrong and it will be the most liberating experience of your life.

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Believe yourself

One of the motivational quotes all of us have heard is “Believe in yourself”. I completely believe in that concept and I think everyone should believe in themselves and have faith that they can do whatever they want and believe they are enough.

Today, less and less people believe in themselves and have low self-esteem. There are many factors to blame for this, for example maybe someone has insulted you or bullied you or you went through a traumatic experience. Also, there is our perspective of ourselves. We often compare our life, success and looks to other’s and this makes us believe we are not good enough or that we lack something which consequently leads us to stop believing in ourselves.

There is also one more thing about which I want to write about today that stops us from believing in ourselves. We don’t believe ourselves. I know its similar and I know some of you are like “what is she talking about” but let me break it down for you with examples. All of us have at least 4 times in our lives committed to exercising and being fit and the majority of us gave up on that idea every time. Another example for my students out there – every year you promise yourself you will catch up with work on time and won’t leave your studying and essays for the last minute and you do it anyways.

These are not just words. These are promises we keep on breaking. We do not stick to the word we give ourselves and this is building a negative mindset. If you don’t believe what you promise to yourself, how on earth are you supposed to believe in yourself? This is a question most of us overlook and it leads us to run in circles of getting an idea, trying, giving up, feeling like a failure and then again getting an idea… You get the point. The only way to break this is to keep the promises we make to ourselves.

When you constantly give up and break your word, it actually gets easier for you to make a new promise. You say to yourself that you will get up in the morning, have a healthy breakfast and go for a quick run and you actually do it. You feel great but what’s the problem? With time your comfort zone starts to manipulate your brain because you’ve allowed it to do so on so many different occasions. Your brain did not perceive that promise as something solid because you’ve broken it on so many occasions. In the end you find yourself right back with your old habits which make you comfortable but do not fulfill you. You have made your word insignificant and meaningless to your brain. It’s time to change that. You need to be able to believe what you say to yourself every single day!

I have a few steps which could help you stay committed to your goal and to keep your promise to yourself. So firstly, you will write your promise down on a piece of paper and keep it in a place where you can always reach it whether it’s your wallet, phone case or something else. Read the promise loud to yourself a few times.

After completing the first step, it’s time for the second. Make a plan that you will be able to stick to. And I put the emphasize on the last part. Don’t put too much on your shoulders because the weight will drive you to the ground and you will give up again. For example, if you have a busy schedule and want to work out don’t tell yourself you’ll do it every day. Do it every other day, or promise yourself that you won’t let more than two days pass between workouts. You will stick to your plan and it will bring up all of these positive emotions and you will feel accomplished. With time you will expand your plan, make more time to fulfill your promise because it will make you feel great.

The third step is to withdraw yourself for situations which will make you break your promise. Let’s say you have committed to eating less junk food and sugar. Acknowledge the situations in which you feel like eating junk food, for example while you’re watching movies, going out with friends or feeling sad. Just stop watching movies for a while, until you develop your healthy habit. Don’t stop going out with your friends, but when you do opt for better food, one that you know does not contain a lot of sugar and unhealthy fats. Just make sure you set an environment in which you will keep up with your promise. When your will becomes stronger you will spontaneously start doing things you did before without even thinking about bringing back your bad habit.

The fourth step is to write down your progress and all the benefits you have had because of it in order to be grateful for it. Gratefulness is such a beautiful thing which inspires a lot of positive emotions in us and it makes us send out a positive vibe to the universe.

When you keep up your word you will start believing yourself and you will start believing in yourself. These two processes are a dichotomy and they can’t exist one without the other. The promises you give yourself are every bit as important as the promises you give to others. The most important meeting you will ever have is a meeting with yourself and the most important relationship you will ever have is the one you have with yourself. Make sure it’s a healthy one! Keep up with your promises, keep up the good work and be grateful – it will lead to positive change and a happy life.

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Fear of death

In some of my previous posts such as The story behind the name Luna and You are a survivor I shared a little piece of my domestic abuse story. Long, very long, story short – my father was an alcoholic with a mental disorder and he abused my mother, me and my sister. The abuse lasted for about 11 years in my case. I was a little baby when his condition got really bad and I just started growing up and coming to terms with the situation I was living in but I was never settled with it.

Lately I have been having some sort of writer’s block and I have also a lot of doubts about my life and career choices. I just have a feeling that enrolling to this university was a mistake, I started to have the feeling I wasted three years of my life doing something that will get me nowhere, I failed my final exam… It has just been an emotional and mental roller coaster for me lately and it got me to thinking about the person I was and the person I’ve become.

The 7 years old, abused Ana (my real name is Ana not Luna) would power through a situation like this. The seven years old me would find a way out and do whatever it takes to make herself happy. The 22 years old Ana is depressed and eating her feelings after which she pours some red wine on them. This has been going on for some time and I think I finally found the reason why I used to be more determined and why I used to find my way out of any situation while today I just get desperate.

I was so scared of death – that was the thing that pushed me further. My father would make death threats all the time, hell he even tried to kill all three of us on multiple occasions. I was afraid for my life and it made me do incredible things which I am not capable of doing now. Ever since my father exited my life, that fear has become very small and the engine that powered me through my whole life just shut down. That fear is not constantly present but it should be because despite not being abused by my father I could still die any day.

I know this all sounds a bit morbid and I’m not trying to freak you out. I am trying to tell you that you need to get in touch with your mortality in order to live your life to the fullest, to reach your potential and get rid of any other fear you have. I will give a really dumb example now. As a little girl I always wanted to play the guitar and sing. I didn’t do those things because my family was so poor we couldn’t afford to put me through music school. I still decided I would like to try and sing. I entered some choirs and I was constantly told that I can’t sing high notes and that I am really not a good singer. That didn’t stop me from entering a small singing contest. I still have the diploma from that contest and I’m proud of it because I didn’t care about what people said, I gave it a shot and to be honest I had so much fun and it’s such a great memory for me. In those times my fear of death was very present because my father was still a part of my life. If that story was going on today, while that fear is gone, I would have never entered the contest and I would probably leave the choir where they told me I don’t know how to sing. I wouldn’t even give it a shot because I am so worried about what people say about me that I don’t let myself be happy. If I die today do you know how many people will care for the fact that I entered a singing contest despite my lousy singing skills? The answer is zero. But it made me happy at the time and it still makes me happy that I had the courage to do it.

This is why I believe everyone should get in touch with their mortality because it will force you to do amazing things. It will stop you from wasting your life away, not fulfilling your dreams and stressing about other people’s opinions. Just give it a shot. Write out on a piece of paper the things you always wanted to do, but never did and do them now that you are aware of the fact that you could be dead tomorrow. The fear of death can make you live your life to the fullest and it can also force you to save your own life and protect it if you are going through abuse as I did.

If you are currently being abused that fear will get you out of it. That fear is your escape from the miserable life you must lead stuck in the hell of domestic abuse. I know it did wonders for my mum. She fought like crazy to keep herself and me and my sister alive and she fought a though legal battle to make sure our father won’t be able to harm us. I know how hard it is to fear for your life, thinking that you have no way out and it is even harder for mothers with children but you have to do it. You have the responsibility to protect your own life and your children’s life. It’s very hard for me to actually tell you to pack your bags and leave because I know it’s not that simple. Most abused women rarely have a place to go to and they are also under the threat that they will be killed if they try to escape or speak up. This is why you need to use your fear, your situation and find a way out. If all the doors are closed, break them down. Find out if there are shelters that take in abused women. Try to seek help from your family. Girl, use the power of the almighty internet to do research on the laws protecting abused women in your country. Also, I can’t stress this out enough, have solid proof of the abuse. Put your phone somewhere and tape everything that’s going on, make sure you have a witness, just have a solid ground to stand on if you will be fighting your abuser in court or if the police gets involved. This is overwhelming to even think about and I know you will maybe just pass through this article without giving it a second thought but I just want to let you know that all of this is coming from someone who, due to domestic abuse, survived an attempt on her life before she was 12 years old, jumped through a window to save her life, saw her mother in bruises all the time and with the help of her sister stopped her own father from killing their mother. I know what I’m talking about. All of this could happen to you or to your child. Save yourself, do something while you still have a heartbeat.

I know it sounds scary but do you know what’s even more scary? Losing your life due to someone thinking they have the right to beat it out of you.

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Scratch under the surface

We live in a world of a commercialized life. We sell it on social networks and in the eyes of other people. We have created a superficial picture of what our lives look like and for some deranged reason we are trying to convince ourselves and everyone around us that surface is all there is. Expensive clothes, a rich social life, throwing around cash, making new trends… But where are we under all of that pile of shit?

This trend is specially developed on Instagram. It became the runway for our #ootd and the main weapon we use to show people how good we are having it, how happy we are, the new things we bought, how much fun we are having and I am not using this article to point a finger at anybody. If I wanted to point fingers I would first point it at myself because I do this just like everyone else but what I can’t understand is why is this trend becoming our only reality. We started to forget how to talk to people about our real problems because you can’t have problems when your life has to be picture-perfect with the right caption. Scratching under the surface became an unknown term for us.

That glass surface has to be broken and we have to stop selling ourselves and our worth. Instead of blindly following trends and desperately trying to fit in we should stand out, celebrate our individuality and accept people for who they truly are. All of that polished surface will not buy us a good personality, happiness, love for ourselves and 200 likes on an outfit post or a selfie will never make you feel good about yourself in the long run.

All of us enjoy that little stimulus social networks give us, but we have to draw a line between what is real and what we want to present as real. Reprogram your brain in a way it thinks in the same amount about your actions and attitude as your appearance and the social aspects of your life. Stop hiding yourself in order to fit in. Do you really believe that years of evolution should result in all of us acting, thinking, believing and saying the same thing? We are not born to be robots.

Enjoy a bit in listening to other people, discovering facts about them instead of only looking at their pictures and reading their captions. Scratch under the surface. Learn how to enjoy small, sweet moments of your life instead of looking for Insta-perfect moments to share with the world. When you wake up in the morning don’t immediately turn on your phone to catch up on what’s been going on while you were sleeping. Take a few minutes for yourself to wake up, eat something, arrange your thoughts, think about your plans and to build a positive look on the day ahead of you. Use all of your senses to be completely alive and present. Just, scratch under the surface.

 

Link to the article  BAD FEMALE, GO TO YOUR ROOM (and escape through the damn window): https://www.ebay.com/itm/352457536757

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