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Drinking tea is a profound ritual that will improve your life

Drinking tea is a profound ritual that will improve your life

The simple act of drinking tea is one many of us take for granted. We do it on the run, sometimes letting it go cold or not even finishing it. We don’t sit down and stop to actually enjoy it. Drinking tea has a long history. It is something people have been doing for centuries all around the world and these days we can harness all that knowledge to make it a ritual that will enhance our lives; forcing us to slow down and embrace the many benefits of tea on a physical, mental and emotional level.

Tea has a long and complex history. It is likely to have originated in Yunnan Province in China as far back as 3 AD. Specifically, the plant itself originated near the lands of northeast India, north Burma, southwest China and Tibet. It was consumed as a medicinal drink, then later for pleasure. The Chinese used it not only as an antidote to poison, but also as a restorative drink. The Chinese introduced tea to the Portuguese during the 16th century and the British began tea production and consumption in India during the 17th century to compete with the Chinese market.

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It isn’t difficult to understand how people then spread this comforting and therapeutic custom across the globe. Drinking tea soon became a tradition for many different cultures and tea is enjoyed in different ways around the world.

The most well known tea ceremony in the world is the Japanese Matcha tea ceremony. The Japanese were introduced to drinking tea by the Chinese in around the 8th century and the green powdered Matcha tea came to Japan in around the 12th century.

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“Preparing tea in this ceremony means pouring all one’s attention into the predefined movements. The whole process is not about drinking tea, but is about aesthetics, preparing a bowl of tea from one’s heart. The host of the ceremony always considers the guests with every movement and gesture.” – The Japanese Tea Ceremony

We can apply the principles of the Japanese Matcha tea ceremony to our own tea drinking rituals to some extent. The first step is to just slow down and make time to enjoy the process of making a cup of tea and drinking it quietly. Acquiring utensils that are delicate and beautiful, meaningful and sentimental can also enhance our experience. Perhaps an ornate tea pot, tea cup and saucer; or a mug with our favorite sporting team or quote on it. Tea drinking souvenirs that we bought on a special holiday or from a place dear to our heart can be used to boost our nostalgia. Drinking tea at home or at work at a certain time of the day, every day can become a daily ritual to center us, make us more mindful and bring us back to the present moment.

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Choosing the tea we drink is important too. Black tea is the most common and accessible of teas and can be consumed in a variety of ways. You can drink it with or without milk and sugar, honey or lemon. These days there are also a variety of green teas, fruit teas and herbal infusions that are available in both loose leaf or packaged in tea bags. We are spoiled for choice and each infusion has its own unique flavour and health properties.

Drinking tea has been scientifically proven to have a number of health benefits due to the antioxidants it contains. It certainly aids hydration and is an excellent replacement for those wanting to cut down on their consumption of coffee and increase their consumption of water. Tea can be consumed as a comforting warm drink or a refreshing chilled beverage. Its versatility and simplicity is underrated.

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Visualize this scenario. You’ve had a long day at work and have a million things running through your mind. You come home and turn off your phone and find a place of solitude and silence. You take your favourite cup and place a tea bag inside; you boil some water. You pour the boiling water in your cup and let the tea bag steep. Imagine how you like to drink your tea. Will you add some honey or milk? Perhaps some lemon? You take your cup to a comfortable place where you will sit and contemplate. You close your eyes and take a deep breath; the aroma of the tea filling your nostrils, the warmth of the cup or mug in your hands fills your body.

You wait. In silence. Just breathing. Until the liquid is cool enough to drink but still very warm and slowly you take a sip. The warmth of the liquid touches your lips and tongue and fills your mouth, gently flowing down your throat and into your stomach. Your whole body becomes warm. You breathe. Close your eyes and just be. Drinking tea. Still and calm. Making time stop. At peace.

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Diane Koopman

Writer, Author, Novelist, Self-Publisher

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Published on April 7, 2021

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

Some of the most manipulative people are so good at what they do that their words and actions can convince you into thinking they truly care about what’s best for you when in reality, it’s quite the opposite. The most common signs of a controlling person are rarely obvious to outside observers. And for someone enmeshed in a controlling relationship or friendship, it can be incredibly challenging to stay away from this toxic person, even if you’re aware of their emotionally abusive tendencies.

While it’s ultimately up to you to decide whether to preserve or leave a lopsided, unfulfilling relationship, it’s nevertheless critical to understand the following six signs of controlling people so you can better advocate for yourself and mitigate the influence of their manipulative tendencies in your own life.

1. They Push Their Own Personal Agenda

Do you know someone who always tries to micromanage the words, behaviors, and attitudes of people around them? Does this person act like they have the right to know anything they want about you, including your location, what you’re doing in a given moment, who you’re talking to online, or any other private information about you? And when planning events and special occasions, does this person dominate conversations, steer plans in their own preferred directions, disparage others’ suggestions, and refuse to collaborate with anyone who might disagree with them?

If you answered “yes” to some of the above questions, then those are clear signs of a controlling person whom you absolutely need to be cautious around. Controlling people are reluctant to even consider alternative ideas, let alone enthusiastically work with people who have differing views. They prefer to be the captain of every ship—regardless of how much or how little an issue personally impacts them—and they have an arsenal of manipulative tactics to deploy if someone stands in the way of them achieving their own personal agendas.

In long-term relationships with controlling people, you may feel constantly pressured to meet their demands, follow their schedule, and focus on whatever they feel is most important. It’s not an exaggeration to say that these people act like the universe revolves around them, which can be exhausting to deal with for their family members, friends, and colleagues.

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2. They Make Everything Transactional

Controlling people aren’t always self-centered, but they’re not too empathetic either. Empathy for them tends to appear in the form of strategic concessions they use as a means to get what they want. They typically view interpersonal relationships as transactional opportunities to extract more value from people surrounding them, which can have a draining effect on those they interact with.

For example, one sign of a controlling person may be their insistence on “keeping score.” This can involve doing nice things for you with the ulterior motive of demanding something from you at a later date in exchange for what you thought was just an act of kindness or a friendly support.

Perhaps they shower you in praise (also known as “love-bombing”) or gifts then blow up at you if you don’t intuitively know they’re expecting something back from you. None of us are mind-readers, but controlling people behave as though everyone else should think and act like they want others to and those who fall out of line are punished for failing to meet their impossible expectations.

A controlling person may also threaten to withhold support if you don’t adhere to their demands, but they do so in such subtle ways that the guilt they impose blinds you from the unreasonable nature of their behaviors.

Some statements to be wary of include:

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  • “I did ___________ for you. What do you mean you can’t do ___________ for me?”
  • “Remember how I helped you with ___________? That took a lot of time and energy from me, but I guess you didn’t appreciate my help.”
  • “I always give you ___________. Don’t you care about my needs too?”
  • “You’re so selfish!” or “You don’t care about me at all!” (gaslighting if you respond with hesitation or politely decline their request for help for perfectly valid reasons, such as not having enough time or resources to assist them)

3. They Criticize Everything

One of the most common telltale signs of a controlling person is their capacity to criticize anything and everything, even small things that seemingly don’t matter. As with many toxic traits in relationships, these problems typically start out so small that you may not even notice. At first, you may even agree with their criticism or at least be able to understand their perspective when they bring up an issue.

However, the criticism tends to get more intense, more constant, and more perplexing for people who maintain relationships with controlling people. You’ll likely notice how they rarely seem to criticize something they do. It’s almost always other-oriented and these types of people are so manipulative that any rationale they offer can seem plausibly legitimate.

Some warning signs of a controlling person who’s overly critical to the point of abusiveness include:

  • Criticizing things about you that you have little to no control over (e.g., appearance, disability, family)
  • Criticizing your personal choices and interests, such as educational pursuits, career, clothing, favorite music, time spent on your hobbies, etc.
  • Punishing you for expressing vulnerability by invalidating thoughts and feelings you share with them
  • Attacking you whenever you express an opinion counter to theirs

4. They Balk When Someone Criticizes Them

We all know the adage, “what goes around, comes around.” But this statement doesn’t apply as much to toxic, controlling people. They’d much prefer to dish out criticism without ever having to take it in return.

For instance, if your friend constantly talks about your appearance with little regard for your emotions but flips out if you make just a single comment about their appearance, there’s a possibility that they could have some hidden controlling tendencies left unchecked. Remember, these people aren’t just controlling in their behaviors towards others. They’re also actively trying to stay in complete control over every aspect of their lives, which includes how others view them.

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This seemingly insatiable desire for control can prompt them to lash out against even the smallest bits of criticism, leaving people around them too weary or scared to speak up again in the future. While it’s possible they may suffer from something called rejection sensitivity dysphoria, this does not excuse them from the consequences of their words and actions. They should seek professional help to better manage their reactions to criticism.

5. They Socially Isolate You

Not all controlling people do this, but for manipulative narcissists, socially isolating victims is a go-to strategy for maintaining control because it’s effective at preventing people from truly understanding how toxic their partner, family member, or friend is treating them. Think of it this way—if you don’t talk to many other people in your life, there’s less of a risk that you’ll damage their reputation by revealing their abusive tendencies.

Socially isolating others also gives the person more control over you and your life as it becomes more difficult to break away from them if you don’t have other healthier channels of communication and interpersonal support to turn to.

This process doesn’t happen overnight, nor is it something you can readily recognize as abusive. At first, it may seem reasonable, such as asking you to stop engaging so often with family members with whom both of you disagree on major social or political issues. As the social isolation progresses, they may suggest cutting people out of your life—especially if they don’t like that person, regardless of how you personally feel—or even conjure up high-stakes problems like “it’s me or them” under the guise of saving you from people in your life whom they don’t like for whatever reason.

In a controlling person’s life narrative, they’re always the protagonist who’s incapable of any wrongdoing. The blame is always redirected at someone else, whether that’s you or other people in your life. The more they isolate you from other supportive people in your life, the more susceptible you’ll be to falsely believing that they’re right and you “don’t need” your other friends and family when you have someone as perfect as this person.

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6. They’re Emotionally Abusive

It’s hard enough to be in control of your own emotions but when someone else is constantly belittling you and your interests or leveraging guilt and shame to manipulate you into saying or doing what they want, this can make it even more challenging to stay in control of your own life and emotional well-being.

Emotional abuse is another sign of a controlling person that is often overlooked in relationships. After all, human personalities vary widely in terms of passivity, and it’s not uncommon for one person in a relationship to be significantly more passive than the other. This becomes an issue when the controlling partner or friend exudes signs of emotional abuse, which can start subtly and become much more pronounced over time.

Concerning signs of emotionally abusive language or behavior to watch out for include:

  • Dismissing your needs and/or belittling your interests in counterproductive ways
  • Privately or publicly shaming or humiliating you
  • Making you feel as though you can never live up to their expectations or do anything right (according to their own vague, subjective standards)
  • Gaslighting you into thinking they said or did something that never actually happened (making you question your own reality)

Final Thoughts

It’s sometimes hard to see the negative things about someone with whom we have a relationship. We may sometimes unconsciously overlook the signs of a controlling person, especially if that person is someone we have known for a long time or are close to us. However, cutting them off your life is the best thing you can do for yourself. Just watch out for these six signs of a controlling person and take immediate action when you spot them.

More Tips on How To Deal With a Controlling Person

Featured photo credit: Külli Kittus via unsplash.com

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