How not to have your spine shrivel up on you?

It's New Year's day. Billions of people give and get strokes... 1 happy new year! Thank you, happy new year to you!

You have to answer, reciprocate, or you create a negative balance with the people you didn't answer to... Weird but is so. Violate this at your own demise...

Humans need "strokes", an acknowledgment (validation?) of their existence, to stay alive. The expression Eric Berne uses is, that their spine doesn't shrivel up.

Any strokes will do...

   Animal experiments show, that this is not a human need: this is a life-need.

Rats thrive, whether they are caressed or given electric shocks... both prevent their spines from shriveling up...

That "strokes" are a need is new to me...

Not "it's new to me" and therefore it's wrong... Instead: "OMG, I have never thought about that. It explains a lot!" And I wish I had caught that 30 years ago when I read the book Games People Play... and other books on Transactional Analysis. But, of course, you can't see, can't hear what you are not ready for.

My mother gave me strokes when I grew up. While other children got hugs and conversations, and whatever, my mother beat me regularly.

I wasn't neglected. My spine didn't shrivel up.

I think I still earn some strokes by misbehaving. Not from my mother, she died 22 years ago, but from others. At my webinars, in the community van, at my exercise class...

Some of the deadness I experience from some people is probably due to not being stroked. And then again, some people get stroked like I do: by attacks, slights, etc.

This is a whole new way to look at transactions.

Life, seemingly doesn't care if the transaction is "positive" or if it is "negative"... it cares that there is an exchange.

I think what makes caregiving nearly unbearable is that there is no stroke exchange...

the sick person doesn't reciprocate. Maybe they are too sick. Maybe they are just too stingy.

I used to be too stingy...

When you feel entitled for whatever reason, you often respond with stinginess which is simply holding back the strokes you "owe" other people.

My entitlement was two-fold: I was a victim (haha) and I was smarter (haha). They owed me.

I gave strokes my way: I shared my brilliance (haha). But that doesn't land as stroke... It stroked me.

Only after I was able to see that there is no such thing as a victim, and I was no smarter than anyone. And no one cares about my brilliance, they care about the strokes I give them.

This is still hard for me. But now that I am learning this whole "what shrivels up your spine" idea, I aim to get more generous, and more "Life-giving" consciously.

One favorite way of some humans is to deny the reciprocal stroke. To be ungrateful, to withhold it. Certain soul corrections are "famous" for that, like Silent Partner.

What they don't know is this: you cannot cause damage to another without causing damage to yourself. And by the same token: you cannot derive a benefit without cause benefit for another.

Hm... energy economy, I think.

Some stuff I have noticed over the years that violate the energy economy are these:

1. Gossiping.

Gossip, according to Kabbalah, is a cardinal sin: shedding blood. It is up there with shaming.

In gossiping you talk about a third party in a way that sheds their blood... kills them in a way.

What happens is this: your gossip partner will now think of the third party as trash, etc. while you go home to them and make love to them, etc.

Or if it is your teacher you trash... you'll continue learning with them.

But your environment now discourages you from doing so: because why would you want to study with a trash?

You meant to let off some steam, some frustration, but you weren't conscious of the fact that words create worlds.

I can tell if and when a student has gossiped about me: they have now an inauthenticity. They built themselves up at my expense. And they cannot learn. They cannot surrender.

What happens if they come clean? I have never seen that happen. Trust broken is broken.

Now, is it possible to talk about another in a way that it is not blood shedding?

I have been working on this for years.

One of the problems is the listener. If the listener hears gossip, judgment, put-down about the person you speak about: no.

And most people wait with baited breath to put down someone. Why? Because their precious oversized delusional "I" thrives on comparison.

If someone does well, their precious "I" feels devalued. Not because there is any connection... but because they are not intelligent enough to be able to tell.

I remember when I was like that. If an ex classmate of mine did well (and most of my classmates did exceptionally well!) I felt crushed. I felt like they ate up all the success pie, and I am a failure.

And when now, at old age some of them are sick and feeble... conversely I feel that I am better, because I am still relatively well...

So I am still not 100% intelligent, emotionally. I still have a precious "I"... although the distance between my real self and my made up self is smaller. 10, the way I measure in the Starting Point Measurements.

Most people have a huge gap... and therefore a lot of experience of devaluation/overvaluation.

2. Arguments, justifications, blaming, explaining

All are a sign that you are only concerned about your own self-interest, and nothing else. This responds to "to what degree you are about yourself... aka humility".

All other things you do are a pretense...

3. Meekness, obedience...

Whether this is true or not, my hunch is that going limp is a game. To avoid what you must avoid at all cost, so no one finds out that you are not as smart as you fancy yourself to be, that you don't really want what you say you want.

That you are about survival at all cost.

But you are hiding a biting aspect of your personality, like caged lions. Remember the white lion that mauled his trainer in Las Vegas?

There is a saying about the barking dog... That Barking dogs seldom bite, They let steam off by barking. Same with "barking" people...

I am one of those "barking" people... I never do wrong to anyone... but I bark a lot. Maybe even threaten.

But the silent ones, the meek ones... beware.

4. Stroke economy... energy economy

The unwritten contract between humans is to be in balance. I scratch your back, you scratch mine.

The stingy ones don't thrive. But the willfully giving ones don't thrive either.

I used to be one, as I have said. I was too giving, both stuff and love. Clueless as far as social contracts go. It was very disappointing, and more lonely than not having anyone to exchange strokes with. I often felt my spine shrivel up...

The willfully giving doesn't give strokes. Their "giving" benefits them only, their precious "I". Look how good I am. How forgiving, generous, rich, magnanimous... etc.

No stroke is landing, actually their gift is self-congratulatory... and takes energy from the other.

If you catch me being like this: please warn me. Thank you.


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Life becomes, or can become more satisfying... and between you and me, life satisfaction is the most important thing you can have. It is the foundation for health, wealth, for healthy relationships, and fulfillment.

But given the narrow cone of vision you look at life through, life satisfaction doesn't seem to be in your hand.

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  1. A stroke (in Transactional Analysis) is a unit of social transaction. A hug. A nod. A smile. A hello, a thank you, a "how are you?", or an f... you.... these are all social transactions. The more you get the less your spine shrivels up on you...

    Experiments show that babies stop thriving if they have insufficient social transactions... Other experiments how that rats are the same way. But the most surprising thing is: for a rat (and I guess for a human) an electric shock, a slap on the face, and insult also count as a stroke... preventing their spine from shriveling up.

    My personal interpretation is: as long as life tells you you exist, you want to continue existing. Solitary confinement tells you: life doesn't care about you existing or not.

Author: Sophie Benshitta Maven

True empath, award winning architect, magazine publisher, transformational and spiritual coach and teacher, self declared Avatar

3 thoughts on “How not to have your spine shrivel up on you?”

  1. I have gotten and given a bunch of strokes yesterday and today.

    My brother… it’s an art! A client… And today I ordered grocery delivery. When the delivery girl called, I said… I’ll meet you down there. Then I quickly showeled the walkway… opening up to a 20 stroke exchange… including a hug she asked for. And now I know why my spine is not shriveling up.

    It is no effort to give strokes, and by “law” they are reciprocated.

    Hey, no wonder I had energy to climb all the way up to download today’s Days of Power energy. All those strokes… lol.

  2. I had this same revelation just today. Someone lied to me and used me to get to the truth that someone else wasn’t providing them. When I found out that I was lied to and used, I got so upset and starting bad mouthing him. Then I went to take a shower. Running water will clear my head and offer me new perspectives. In the shower, it dawned on me that it wasn’t even about the person who lied to me. It was about me and my own judgments. I was using this person to boost my own ego. It was causing separation. Then I realized that everyone is on their path and every part of the journey has value and my judgments, attachments, trying to control people, things, outcomes, are only causing separation and suffering. In an instant I was able to come off my high horse. No longer am I harboring any ill feelings. I feel grateful for the revelation and I feel at peace.

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