To ghost or not to ghost, that is the question.
On the one hand, ghosting somebody (especially if they are being annoying or disrespectful) is an easy way to shut them out of your life. After all, it requires almost no effort on your part, avoids confrontation, and is mentally and emotionally soothing.
But on the other hand, ghosting somebody (even if they are being annoying or disrespectful) can stunt your personal growth and negatively impact your communication with others in the long run. But why? Because if you ghost somebody once (for a major or minor offense) it makes it easier to ghost somebody else and then somebody else and then somebody else. In other words, ghosting one person can create a pattern where you easily give up on communicating with multiple other people even if those other people haven’t done harmful things to you (ie, you end up ghosting these others just because you don’t “feel” like talking to them not because they have wronged you).
We see this phenomenon often in (online) dating. For example, two people can be talking and then out of the blue one person stops talking and never gives a reason why (leaving the other person scratching their head).
But this phenomenon of ghosting is also going beyond dating and is increasingly being transferred to friendships, certain types of work relationships, and all types of online communication. And it’s happening because people simply don’t feel like talking.
Yes, removing yourself from toxic people (or toxic communications) is something you should do. And yes, making sure people understand and respect your communication boundaries is important. But for many of the people who are ghosting others today, they are ghosting them without ever having a meaningful conversation with them about how to possibly improve the communication that they believe is worthy of ghosting. And as a consequence, all sorts of confusion, resentment, and misunderstandings are happening simply because many people who ghost others have not yet developed the maturity, respect or empathy for others, or communication skills they need to truly engage with others on an adult level.
So if you are considering ghosting somebody please think long and hard about whether you are considering it because they are being toxic to you or because you simply don’t feel like talking to them. If it is for the latter reason, I’d highly encourage you to keep the communication open with them for their sake (and your own).
Dear Dr. Rob: How Do I Heal From My Trauma?
First off, I’m so sorry that you’ve had to experience trauma. As a trauma survivor myself, I know recovery can be difficult and painful. I understand that not only did you have to experience the original traumatic incident (or incidents), but that you have been left with the memory of that trauma which creates a whole different set of issues.
Nevertheless, please know that it is possible to overcome the trauma of your past as millions of people have and so can you. Here are a few helpful ways to begin your healing process:
- Acknowledge that you have trauma and that it can be overcome. The simple act of not only admitting you have pain but acknowledging that it can be overcome is cathartic. By giving yourself “permission” to overcome your pain (by believing you can), for example, you will get a needed mental and emotional boost as you work through the things weighing down your soul. By maximizing your hopefulness you can speed up your recovery as strange as that sounds.
- Forgive the person/people who caused or contributed to your trauma. Although forgiveness can be incredibly difficult, it is an essential part of your healing. Even if the person/people who hurt you in the past never apologize, forgive them in your heart so you can move on emotionally. This might require you doing this more than once, however, so keep forgiving and forgiving until you feel “free” of unforgiveness, resentment, or grudges. Not only will this make you feel better, but it will also release healing chemicals into your body so that you do not let the people who hurt you in the past continue to hurt you.
- Listen to stories of successful overcomers. The simple act of hearing from people who not only went through what you went through, but who have successfully healed from it will give you hope that you can heal too. But be careful when doing this as it could further trigger your own trauma so you will want to do this when you’re feeling in the right frame of mind and, if possible, around supportive people who can help be there for you if you do get triggered. But listening to successful overcomers will give you the sense of, “hey, I can overcome too.”
- Practice “releasing techniques.” For example, you can “release” your trauma through journaling your feelings or even writing an objective letter to yourself for how to overcome what you’ve been through. You can even release your trauma by saying “trauma get out of my soul” similar to how athletes like Muhammad Ali would say “I am the greatest.” In other words, the more you release trauma from your mind and emotions through simple techniques the less power it will have over you.
Of course, these are only a few techniques you can use to overcome trauma. They were ones that have worked for me and ones that I’ve seen work for countless people around the world. Just know, though, that your trauma can be overcome and that you are not alone in this process.
Dear Dr. Rob: Do Celebrities Deserve To Be Bullied?
Dear Dr. Rob: Do Celebrities Deserve To Be Bullied?
As I’ve written about before, fame is a double edged sword. On the one hand, it provides some benefits like better service at restaurants and various other social and financial perks. On the other hand, it can cause many who get it to become depressed and act out in other self-harming ways because of the unimaginable pressures.
But the question is, given all of their influence and money to afford therapy and other protections the everyday public is not privy to, should celebrities be immune from being bullied? After all, they signed up for it so don’t they deserve to be human punching bags if we say so?
Although the modern celebrity often becomes a soulless object for society’s wish fulfillment and sometimes twisted protections, they don’t deserve to be bullied (as almost every celebrity will tell you they are – and often bullied by millions of people (have you ever heard of mean tweets?)). Nor do they deserve to be stalked, harassed, or turned into commodities from which to make money because they are people who deserve to be treated with dignity and respect just like everybody else.
That said, that doesn’t mean celebrities should be above being criticized – or above being held accountable – but it does mean that we need to dramatically redesign our relationship with celebrities as a culture so that it is not as toxic and superficial. It means we should stop hiding behind our anonymous screens sending them malicious and vile messages; it means that we should stop playing voyeuristic games with their love and personal lives; and it means that we should stop exalting them to the status of gods so that we can then crucify them if they do not live up to the perfect images we have built of them in our ever-changing artificial social hierarchies.
In a nutshell, being a celebrity doesn’t make one immune from the right to privacy or immune from feeling the mental and emotional effects of millions of people who, at any given time, could be bullying them. As a society, we no longer need to view our celebrities as if they are in a Roman Gladiator-like coliseum waiting to conquer or be conquered; we should instead view them as regular people who happen to have a little more name recognition than others. If we do this- instead of treating them like objects- we will not only help them live a healthier existence, we will help ourselves (and our culture) live healthier existence too.
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