Just stay single.

When someone exits a relationship that was hard to end, there are certain fears when it comes to meeting someone new, putting yourself out there and I get it. We all get it. What actually angers me is people treating other people as if they were experiments. Let me break this down.

If you are not sure whether or not you are ready to meet someone, get into a relationship with time or just get close to someone then don’t try. Don’t give someone the impression you are interested in them, don’t treat them like you like them, don’t give them false hope, don’t lead someone on just to cut them off. It’s not okay. It’s playing games with people’s emotions 101. You can’t treat someone as if they were your boyfriend/girlfriend, expect the benefits that come with relationships, call that person a friend, make them believe that you’re heading towards a relationship and then end everything by using lines such as “I am not ready for a relationship yet”, “I am scared to get close to you”, “This is all going too fast for me”. Just don’t toy with people.

If you are not sure about getting out there, getting close to someone and if you’re still freaked out when you catch some emotions for a person then don’t go too close to them because it means you are not ready. Just stay fucking single. Fear is not an indicator that you should try something – at least not in this situation because there is a possibility that the person involved will catch feelings for you, get comfortable enough to trust you and get extremely hurt in the end. Then, not only do you have a bad perception about relationships but you’ve also damaged someone else’s perception as well. There’s a chance that the person that got hurt will be reluctant to believe someone new, get to know someone, or let them close. You are just creating more damage and honey, karma is a bitch. Just sayin’.

My point here is not that you shouldn’t go out there but you should listen to yourself. If there’s fear, doubt, anxiety – it means you need more time to heal. You need to find the source of the problem and deal with it. Ask a friend for help or someone who’s close to you but just don’t use people to see if you are ready to date or not. Focus on self-care, heal and things will fall into place.

Put your own oxygen mask

In the past few months my life went from comfortable to everything I thought it will never be. In just a few short months I got my Bachelor’s, got into grad school, dropped out, came home after three years of living alone and became a waitress collecting her tuition fee for a private university. That’s a lot to happen in a few months.

Since the day I started to realize I was unhappy about my life, while I was still at my university, I encountered a big problem I used to struggle with as a kid while my abusive father was living with us. My panic attacks were back. It was overwhelming. It was scary. It was also a big, fucking neon sign that said “GET OUT!”.

In these few months I realized the importance of one very simple sentence everyone heard if they were ever on a plane (I was actually never on a plane). The sentence goes: First put your own oxygen mask.

There is so much meaning in this sentence and I guess I, myself, had to go through a bunch of problems, get my panic attacks again to realize I have chosen to take that oxygen mask off and deprive myself of air for so long. I was completely neglecting myself just to make everyone else happy and maintain a certain image about myself because I thought and was taught all my life that I had to do everything to come off as a well put-together person. I was also taught that a university degree is the only road to success, that other peoples’ opinions matter the most etc. I was force fed a lot of bullshit through my life and I am here to tell you to slap that damn oxygen mask on your face.

Stop suffocating yourself and stop making yourself small in order to fit in with some worthless standards our societies and upbringing have made us follow. If you are not happy with yourself, not only are you hurting yourself but you are hurting the people who care about you. When you are in a bad place in your life for a longer period of time you can’t be the person, child, mother, sister, worker, friend, girlfriend, boyfriend that you actually want to be. If you don’t take care of yourself first, you won’t be able to take care of anyone else or make anyone else happy.

Also, if you sacrifice your happiness and wellbeing to make others happy and satisfied with time you will start to resent them and blame them for your own unhappiness. Let me just get this clear. It’s not their damn fault, it’s yours and you need to own up to your mistakes. It was your choice to sacrifice your mental health to make someone else happy. Don’t drown yourself in sorrow now – TAKE ACTION!

Get yourself out of that dark place, find your oxygen mask and put it on. It’s not selfish, it’s necessary. Make yourself the person you want to be so that you could be the person people you care about need. Put yourself first and, I can’t stress this out enough, that is not selfish. Your happiness and mental health are just as important as everyone else’s and it depends on you.

To repeat again (I feel like a parrot): First, put your own oxygen mask!

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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