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Life Is Cruel To Us Sometimes, But We Can Choose Not To Be Knocked Down

Life Is Cruel To Us Sometimes, But We Can Choose Not To Be Knocked Down

Life has a habit of throwing us in the rubbish dump sometimes. It can be hard to find our way out and days can feel like a struggle to feel normal again. Feeling knocked down can lead to feelings of apathy, of giving up because you feel beaten down.

But as hard as it feels sometimes, receiving a cruel blow by fate can present us with unique opportunities — opportunities to rebuild our lives and use it as fuel to create a second chance of living life in a new and positive way.

The actor Keanu Reeves has never shied away from his traumatic past. Having gone through dark times in his life, he has openly talked about how the struggles have affected him, how he chose to use these tragic experiences to mold a positive outlook and how it shaped his life. He is a true inspiration for using each setback as a reason to push forward and become a better person.

Prove Yourself Despite Personal Struggles

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    As a young boy, Keanu Reeves grew up without the influence of his father after he left his mother when Keanu was just three years old. Moving from city to city meant Reeves attended several different schools, making it difficult to make friends, all while he struggled hugely with dyslexia.

    While this isn’t an uncommon life situation for many, Reeves has spoken of the challenges he faced leaving school without gaining a diploma. But through determination, he overcame his difficulty of reading and is now an avid reader.

    Struggles from such an early age can influence us to a much greater extent, but we do have the ability to change how we feel and our thoughts and beliefs about ourselves — beliefs that have often been ingrained in us from our early years. We can choose to use them as excuses to struggle our way through life or use them as a torch to guide us onto a better path.

    Recognize the Construction That Comes From Destruction

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      The most tragic part of his life was to start at the age of 23 when his closest friend River Phoenix died of a drug overdose. He spoke of his grief at the loss of such a young, talented person in his life.

      “He was a remarkable human, person, and actor. We got along very well, and I miss him. I think of him often.”

      But it wasn’t long afterward that he met and fell in love with Jennifer Syme  — a whirlwind romance that resulted in Jennifer becoming pregnant shortly after. But with a month of the pregnancy to go, their baby daughter was stillborn, which was something that both found hard to come to terms with. The relationship eventually broke down, and it was a year later that Jennifer was tragically killed in a car accident.

      While we all experience grief at some point in our lives, to have such loss at such a young age would make even the strongest person feel lost and bereaved. But Keanu used his dark experiences to perceive loss as gain, to reconstruct his life and adopt a positive mindset and attitude towards life.

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      Use the Hard Times to Flourish

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        While it’s easy to run and hide when tragedy enters our lives, the key to continuing on your path is to use your experiences — both good and bad — to create a better version of yourself.

        Keanu’s ability to push on led him to become a successful actor starring in huge blockbuster movies. He strived to do what he loved and has shown that adversity doesn’t have to break you — you can come out on the other side.

        Despite becoming a wealthy man, Keanu says his experiences of loss have made him look differently toward money. He is a big giver to charities and often gave away his earnings to the set staff, even when it meant taking cuts to make sure movie budgets were adhered to. His generosity is down to a different way of looking at life with a more humble foresight and sense of gratitude towards the world around him.

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        Going through experiences such as loss, pain, suffering, loneliness, and devastation has a way of showing us the need to appreciate what we have. We have within us the potential to bounce back stronger and more resilient than before. We can learn to be at peace with the beauty that life offers. It’s an opportunity to see that life is short and should be lived to its optimum, an opportunity to becoming our true self and how we can come out a better person on the other side.

        Featured photo credit: wallpapersdsc.net via wallpapersdsc.net

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        Jenny Marchal

        A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

        Success In Reaching Goals Is Determined By Mindset How To Celebrate Small Wins To Achieve Big Goals How To Overcome Self Imposed Limitations For Goal Setting To Reach Your Goals, Start With Planning For The Worst Why Setting Intrinsic Goals Can Make You Happier

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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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