01 October 2021

Trading JSE CFDs in Turbulent Times

Chart Image Credit: PPC Cement Daily Chart View by TradingView (Standard Online IRESS ViewPoint Software)
“Trading doesn't just reveal your character, it also builds it if you stay in the game long enough.” ― Yvan Byeajee

I've been a stock market investor and share trader on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) for the past 30 years. I became interested in share trading as a junior lecturer in Economics and Business Economics during the early 1990's. The first JSE listed company I invested in was Rainbow Chicken.

This was just before electronic share trading became available to individual investors / traders and for a while I still had to phone through my orders and drive to the broker with a cheque to settle my share transactions. 

When online trading became mainstream I could access, purchase and sell shares directly via the Standard Bank Online Share Trading website. I increased the frequency of buying and selling of shares and steadily developed my JSE share portfolio (and my knowledge). My trading objectives at that stage was not long-term investment and / or a growth portfolio, but rather the buying and selling of shares for cash flow and for learning stock market fundamentals, applications and associated risks.

Through the Standard Bank trading platform I quickly became aware of a range of financial derivates offered to their online share trading clients. For a few years I mainly traded a selection of shares from the JSE-listed Top 40 Companies and financial instruments such as Single Stock Futures (SSFs) and Contract For Difference (CFDs) derivatives. Over the last five years I've only traded CFDs due to my trading / cash flow objectives, associated leverage and a more in-depth understanding of CFD trading risks.

JSE Shares / Derivatives  (SFFs and CFDs) / ETFs Traded up to 2019
Absa / Advtech / Afrox / Anglo American / Aspen / BHP Billiton / Capitec / City Lodge Hotels / Clicks / Dis-Chem / Distillers / Gold Fields / Harmony Gold / MTN Group / MR Price / Merafe / MultiChoice Group / Naspers / Old Mutual / PPC Cement / Pick & Pay / Purple Group / Rainbow Chicken / Remgro / Richemont / Sasol / SA Breweries / Sappi / Sanlam / Spar / Sun International / Sygnia / Standard Bank / Spur Holdings / Vodacom / Woolworths / Currency Futures / Satrix ETFs (various) / Standard Bank Copper ETF / Standard Bank Platinum ETF / Sygnia ETFs (various)

Off and Back on the JSE
In late 2019 I took a break from my Standard Bank Online Share Trading due to other business and personal commitments. This was a time with no daily trading stress and it provided an opportunity for reflecting on my share trading system, trading strategies and for possible re-entering the stock market at a later stage.

When COVID-19 arrived in South Africa (April / May 2020) and we were forced into Lockdown 5 I suddenly found myself without any income. My photography training and my accommodation renting business dried up immediately and I had to make a sustainable plan for generating income and cash flow for these uncertain times. I immediately turned my attention (and time) to the JSE and started my market and company research for purchasing CFDs.

With the sudden drop in global commodity and oil prices Sasol's (JSE Code: SOL) share price was hard hit and dropped significantly in a very short period it definitely peaked my interest. I started buying SOL CFDs at +- R30 per share (currently trading at +- R250 per share - Sept 2021) and very quickly with the upward bounce started buying additional SOL CFDs and slowly but surely developed a CFD portfolio as I gained more market knowledge of the COVID pandemic impact (as a possible Black Swan event) on the local and global financial markets. 

Vernon Chalmers 2020 / 2021 CFD Portfolio : Acquisition Date May 2020
Over the next few months I generated substantial income and cash flow from the SOL CFDs and added many other JSE CFDs to my portfolio (with local and global market exposure). Through meticulous Fundamental and Technical Analysis during 2020 / 2021 I developed a diversified CFD portfolio from 16 JSE Sectors with at least one company in each Sector (with JSE Share Code):  
  • Apparel Retailers: Mr Price (MRP)
  • Asset Managers and Custodians: Zeder (ZED)
  • Banks: Capitec (CPI) / FirstRand (FSR)
  • Cement: PPC (PPC)
  • Chemicals Diversified: Sasol (SOL)
  • Consumer Digital Services: Naspers (NPN) / Prosus (PRX)
  • Diversified Financial Services: Remgro (REM)
  • Drug Retailers: Dis-Chem (DCP)
  • Food Retailers and Wholesalers: Spar (SPP)
  • General Mining: Anglo American (AGL)
  • Hotels and Motels: City Lodge (CLH)
  • Luxury Items: Richemont (CFR)
  • Pharmaceuticals: Aspen (APN)
  • Real Estate Holding and Development: Rand Merchant Holdings (RMH)
  • Telecommunications Services: MTN Holdings (MTN) / Vodacom (VOD)
  • Transportation Services: Grindrod (GND)

13 of the above CFDs (the listed companies) are constituents of the SATRIX TOP 40 ETF (which tracks the performance of the FTSE/JSE Top 40 Index).

Please Note: The listing of above Companies / CFDs are not recommendations to purchase and / or to hold in any CFD or Share Trading portfolio. This selection is based on my own research (fundamental and technical analysis) for my own (current) individual purpose and may change on short notice. See below section on CFD Trading Risk.


That first share... Rainbow Chicken
I still hold Rainbow Chicken indirectly in my portfolio. Today they are incorporated into JSE-listed RCL Foods. Although I don't own shares in RCL Foods, I trade and own CFDs in Remgro. As one of South Africa's top Diversified Financial Services companies, Remgro owns 77% of RCL Foods.

CFD Trading Risk
Contract For Difference (CFD) trading is a high risk derivative trading decision and / or strategy. CFDs are geared financial instruments that could have a significant profit and / or loss impact on a daily basis. Anyone trading CFDs (or any shares / derivatives) should have substantial stock market / stock trading knowledge and experience with preferably an in-depth understanding of the impact of daily price fluctuations and any volatility affecting the share / sector / economy / global markets. It is extremely high risk trading and it not uncommon for an entire CFD portfolio to be wiped out within a couple of days. 

Developing an Investment / Trading System
As long as I have been investing and trading I've been developing and fine-tuning a system in which I am comfortable with the individual shares, derivatives, leverage, margins and risks. I've learned not just to look at the overall portfolio, but also to each and every share / derivative in my portfolio. Proper analysis, research and decision-making is time-consuming, but its important to assess various criteria via both fundamental and technical analysis. Having an in-depth understanding of the trading / investment platform (in my case - Standard Bank Online Share Trading) is paramount for a successful strategy, operational efficiency and risk management practices.
 
Although I have a much larger portfolio currently, I'm trading more risk-averse than 30 years ago - mainly due to more trading experience, improved risk management skills, patience, availability of more real-time data and an overall better understanding / interpretation of specific market and economic conditions. Over the years I also traded towards a larger JSE-sector diversification (with global exposure) and selecting companies with relatively large market capitalisations that should provide improved balance, leverage and return on trading capital to my CFD portfolio(s).

JSE CFD Trading Disclaimer
I only manage my own JSE CFD / Global Share / Unit Trust Portfolios and under no circumstances make recommendations on the Purchase / Selling of any JSE / Global Shares / CFDs / Other Derivatives to anyone.

Chart Image Credit: PPC Cement Daily Chart View by TradingView (Standard Online IRESS ViewPoint Software)
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01 September 2021

Vernon Chalmers Photography

Reflections of My Life Vernon Chalmers Photography Copyright Vernon Chalmers
"Understanding and chasing the light is worth more than any camera in hand" — Vernon Chalmers

Photography Training Philosophy and Mission


As a professional photographer, educator and skills development facilitator my main priority is to provide a quality learning experience to the new and developing photographer in his or her photographic journey across the different genres I facilitate. 

The same professional standards apply for providing information and learning about Canon EOS bodies, compatible lenses, Speedlite flash and other camera accessories.

Over the past ten years I've had the privilege of assisting and training hundreds of local, national and international photographers, either via group workshops, during private one-on-one training lessons and / or online support on my website or via my Facebook Pages.

Moving from Left Brain to Right Brain Education and Training

It is my mission to assist the new and / or more experienced enthusiast and professional photographer with technical information and associated photographic techniques. It is essential for me that the student (over time) develop a true understanding of the journey mastering the art and science of creative image making (irrespective of Canon camera / lens).

Reflections of My Life Vernon Chalmers Photography Copyright Vernon Chalmers Southern Double-Collared Sunbird Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden
My inherent training philosophy is that a major component of any level of learning is the provision of relevant information, answering learner questions and to facilitate (and demonstrate) photography learning outcomes until the photographer is comfortable in applying new information, knowledge and skills in the field.

No previous delegate or client should hesitate to contact me for any information or advice they may require in terms of current or future camera requirements and exposure / focus settings et al.

The majority of this information sharing sessions are via private email requests and / or Facebook private group postings and private messages.

Through the dedicated Vernon Chalmers Photography WhatsApp Business App I offer support and knowledge-based information on a private and one-on-one client basis.

Any new Canon photographer is welcome to browse my Vernon Chalmers Photography website and / or Contact Me via the website or my Vernon Chalmers Photography Facebook Page for more information about training with me at Milnerton / Woodbridge Island, Cape Town.

Image 1: Cape Teal Ducks in flight at Woodbridge Island, Milnerton Cape Town

Image 2: Southern Double-Collared Sunbird Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, Cape Town

Vernon Chalmers Photography Private Training
  • Introduction to Photography / Canon Cameras
  • Bird / Flower Photography Kirstenbosch
  • Canon EOS Autofocus / AI Servo Settings
  • Birds in Flight Photography
  • Canon Speedlite Flash Photography
  • Macro / Close-Up Photography
  • Landscape / Long Exposure Photography
  • Digital Workflow / Lightroom Post-Processing

More Training Information
: Vernon Chalmers Photography Training

25 August 2021

A Year After Leaving an Abusive | Toxic Relationship

Wild Flowers Kirstenbosch - One Year After Leaving An Abusive Relationship Copyright Vernon Chalmers Photography
"Remove yourself from people who treat you like your time doesn’t matter, like your feelings are worthless, or like your soul is replaceable" — s.mcnutt

25 August 2021 marked my one year anniversary after leaving an abusive and overall toxic relationship. It was an emotionally charged and challenging year, especially the first couple of months. I had to come to terms with getting out of the FOG (Fear | Obligation | Guilt) for letting go and walking away from someone that I thought (at the time) I have fallen in love with.
 
I have written extensively here on Reflections of My Life about some of my ex girlfriend's unacceptable behaviour that I have experienced during the relationship. I will therefore not repeat the well-documented encounters of her Abusive Behaviour towards me, her chronic Lack of Gratitude, my paradoxical Cognitive Dissonance and / or my interpretation of Love vs Fear.

25 August was my late mother's birthday. Celebrating this special day with her was one of the highlights of every year while she was alive. It is ironic that 25 August is now also associated with reminiscing the most challenging relationship of my life. It was not in any way scripted like this, but rather the unfortunate unfolding of events after some unjustified abusive behaviour towards me. I don't mind sharing this day between one of the best and the most disappointing relationships of my life - it places my mother's sincere character and sense of gratitude into such a healthy perspective (and reminder) in my own interactions with others.

A year ago I reluctantly, but sensibly removed myself from a toxic relationship with an attractive, intelligent and charming woman (although quite abrasive, egoistic and the phenotypical queen of grandiosity at times). After a few months of various unprovoked physical and verbal attacks I faced the daunting realisation of being close to the edge of clinical exhaustion as a result of a perpetual trauma bond with an emotionally unstable partner.

I isolated myself for a few weeks in going No Contact for essentially reflecting on her poor time management, limited empathy, abusive behaviour and lack of remorse that unfortunatly created an overwhelmingly toxic relationship environment. After a rather dramatic breakup I was consumed with disappointment and grief.  I spent the next six months in not only researching the psychological 'cause and effect' of abusive relationship behaviour and associated psychopathy, but also assessing (and understanding) my own codependent behaviour shortcomings for staying in an abusive relationship. 

🎓 What I have Learned from an Abusive / Toxic Relationship
  • I cannot take responsibility for someone else's (unacceptable) behaviour, I did not cause the inherent propensity towards aggressive tendencies and I do not have to be in the 'firing line' of any abusive and pathological behaviour towards me. I can only control my own behaviour towards other people and that I should be more mindful in terms of my own judgement, decision-making and social behaviour towards the actions and reactions of other people (in an intimate relationship and / or otherwise).
  • That I should be more vigilant towards pathological behaviour patterns and covert 'red flags' during any stage of an intimate relationship. I've read, researched and listened to an extensive range of world-class intimate relationship abuse recovery and psychology resources. Not only for the identification / understanding of psychopathy and related (spectrum) personality disorder traits, but also for assisting me with reference to responsible (re)actions towards any antisocial behaviour.
  • That there are indeed people who cannot say 'thank you' - with a preconditioned disregard for not expressing any gratitude whatsoever. It was the first time in my life that I have experienced such a profound sense of self entitlement (for any received goodwill) and / or deliberate rejection of thankfulness. It took me a while to understand and except that I should not just assume someone will say 'thank you'.
  • To address and improve my own relationship codependency behaviour in terms of setting healthy boundaries by not accepting any destructive behaviour tendencies towards me, not trying to please other people and not to feel / be responsible as a 'caregiver' when a more mature relationship disposition is required.
  • That processing, letting go and healing from an abusive / toxic relationship is an emotionally challenging detachment, especially without (proper) closure. It required a conscientious effort of personal introspection, own behaviour modification, resilience, forgiveness and acceptance to move beyond the realms of just accepting someone else's (false) sense of entitlement, lack of respect and incessant aggressive behaviour tendencies. 
  • Recovery and healing time from an abusive relationship is a different journey for anyone going through the challenge(s) of detaching from an unfortunate trauma bond. Its easy (in hindsight) to say it took me a year. A year ago I had no idea how long it would take - some days It felt it would never happen. 

🎓 What I have Achieved from an Abusive / Toxic Relationship
  • Apart from gaining an extensive body of additional psychological reference knowledge I have had many opportunities for discussing the abusive relationship with family members, friends and professional contacts. I did not (at any stage) consider professional counseling, but rather through no further contact, self-determination, honest reflection and informal psychodynamic talk therapy (with my professional contacts) pursued improved control over my own cognitive dissonance, emotional conditioning and relevant behaviour modification.
  • During the relationship I lost some of my creativity, sense of self and my own photography was severely compromised for focusing almost exclusively on someone else's omnipresent needs and wants. It took me a few months for regaining my normal confident self, my interest in my own photography, photography training and the daily management of my CFD trading portfolios.
  • Spending less time reading and researching about the 'cause and effect' of pathological behaviour / personality disorders. I spend more time lately with my own photography and the daily reading / researching about trading and investment opportunities / threats.
  • The ability to once again engage with a variety of people with trust, effective communication and the setting of assertive personal boundaries (when and where required). It has happened a few times recently where I had to set and enforce personal boundaries for protecting my privacy and personal space. 
  • I have always considered empathy and gratitude as important personal / relationship qualities - its only now that I truly understand the impact and consequences when these emotional values are completely absent from someone's Emotional Intelligence 'toolbox'. The words 'thank you' became the most important words in my vocabulary over the last year. 
  • Spending relatively long periods in solitude without anxiety (and worrying) about someone else's feelings, actions and reactions. Many hours were consumed with soul searching / self analysis to eventually emerge with a renewed sense of self, self enrichment and an ever increasing emotional intelligence.

Throughout the last year I have had invaluable conversations with many people about the toxic dynamics of this abusive relationship and the eroding effect on my emotional well being. I was brutally honest in describing the essence of every (physical) attack towards me, my integrity and the grandiose disdain for everything that I tirelessly offered during the relationship.

Letting Go of this transactional and toxic relationship was not an achievement as such, but rather the acceptance of ending a dramatic trauma bond with severe (and possibly long-term) negative consequences. I was unfortunatly enmeshed in an unhealthy relationship with someone that was emotionally stunted in the ability to trust, love and / or respect others as part of the reciprocal values required for an emotionally stable relationship.

 
Powerful Words of 'Letting Go'


01 July 2021

The Challenge of Cognitive Dissonance

Reflections of my Life The Challenge of Cognitive Dissonance: Reflections of My Life Vernon Chalmers Photography
"One of the hardest things to do in life, is letting go of what you thought was real." — me.me

I have referred to Cognitive Dissonance in several of my articles and Facebook comments over the last year. 

Now, in the final stretch and conclusion of my own ‘healing journey’, herewith an explanation, own interpretation and personal experience on how Cognitive Dissonance can sometimes cause incessant confusion, uncertainty and disparity in our minds.

Many of us may suffer from a degree of Cognitive Dissonance at some time in our lives - meaning we are challenged by a mental discomfort and / or mental conflict when dealing with toxic people (or habits) in our minds, but struggle to let them go.

Powerful 'positive' thoughts of what 'could be' overwhelms the mind as we are challenged by the paradoxical thinking of them being, perhaps, just misunderstood or needing more time rather to accept them as abusive and toxic (towards us). For many of us this is difficult to comprehend - that someone in our lives that was once so charming and nice can become so abusive and evil. 

We know they are not good for us, they function different from our own beliefs, personal values and / or expectations, but we still maintain contact with them - or worse-case scenario, stay committed in an abusive relationship. We don't really want to let them go, but at the same time live in fear of their dysfunctional behaviour. Even while experiencing continuous abuse we try and hang on to the mirage at any (emotional / physical) cost - in the hope that their toxic behaviour towards us will change. The sad reality is that abusive behaviour without any significant psychiatric and / or psychoanalytical intervention won't change, can't change.

The continuous cognitive disparity between the positive belief in someone and the conflicting negative thoughts / disappointment with regard to their antisocial behaviour can have a significant impact on our own mental health.

I have experienced Cognitive Dissonance during a (perceived) intimate relationship - although subjected to perpetual emotional, physical and verbal abuse I still believed in the relationship and wanted it to succeed.


Alcohol Overconsumption (warning to self and others)

Alcohol Overconsumption  : Reflections of My Life - Vernon Chalmers Photography
“If you take control of your behavior, your emotions will fall into place.” ― John C Maxwell

How the loss of two significant people in my life had an adverse effect on my alcohol consumption and sense of self

I have always considered myself nothing more than a casual wine and occasional whisky drinker. Like so many of my generation I was introduced to alcohol soon after leaving school, during my military service and have enjoyed social drinking throughout my student / adult life. 

As a post-graduate student I attended an Alcohol Addiction and Recovery 12-Step Programme at an Alcohol Addiction & Rehabilitation Centre in Cape Town. This was part of an Industrial Psychology module for identifying (and remedial management of) alcohol abuse in the workplace. Throughout this very informative week I was made well aware of the risks associated with alcohol overconsumption and / or abuse.

When my mother passed away in 2017 it was a huge shock to my emotional self, but thinking back to that sad period which lasted on / off for about 18 months, I consumed less alcohol in what I would normally do. A considerable part of this period was introspection in which I consumed no alcohol for weeks at a time. Alcohol consumption was probably limited to one bottle of wine per week (if that) - and the occasional whiskey with friends after work - probably once or twice a month.

My social drinking behaviour changed in 2019 after I met the woman I would have a ten month emotionally taxing relationship with. During this period we consumed substantial quantities of the best estate wines available on the local market. This was the first time in my life in which I would consume alcohol almost on a daily basis. We would cook together and go away weekends - always with a few bottles of red and white wine as part of the social routine. During the Covid lockdown Levels Five and Four we went through extraordinary efforts to source anything from wine, whiskey and / or gin. Throughout the relationship the alcohol consumption would average at two to three bottles of wine per night - not every night, but most nights.  

Relationship Abuse and Withdrawal
After about three to four months into this relationship I was unfortunatly subjected to physical, psychological and verbal abuse. This was not due to the effect of alcohol, but rather the antisocial result(s) of a destructive range of underlying grandiose and pathological behaviour traits. After about nine months I decided to physically withdraw from the relationship and ended up living in my studio apartment on my own. This became the most excruciating and saddest time of my life and I went into a stress / anxiety state I have never experienced before. I was sad and I was hurting - today I know I endured a variety of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms during this isolation period.  I suffered severe anxiety, quilt, insomnia and constant flashbacks and I would withdrew myself further and further emotionally from the relationship and everybody else around me. 

To cope with the incessant emotional darkness and PTSD symptoms I started drinking gin & tonic on most afternoons to somewhat numb this severe emptiness - and to help me fall asleep. I would wake up every morning at about 03:00 and start reading and by 09:00 would do whatever I needed to do with my stock market trading and the daily updating of my photography websites. I repeated this routine from August to December 2020. During January and February 2021 I stopped and would not drink for weeks at a time - quite aware of the potential problems that alcohol could cause. 

I was still struggling with the breakdown of the relationship and the darkness inside and around me continued to consume my thoughts, my energy - basically everything in / around me was focused around the relationship - the loss of the most significant person in my life (at the time). 

During April 2021 I was getting a handle on dealing with the relationship breakup. I started to accept the reality that the loss of the love of my life was permanent. My intense anxiety and stress subsided somewhat, although the cognitive dissonance, flashbacks and insomnia continued. 

The Loss of my Friend, Joseph Inns
My emotional state took a turn for the worse when one of my best friends, Joseph Inns, passed away on 19 April 2021 after suffering metastatic cancer for the last year and six months. I was aware of his illness all the time, but as the end became inevitably closer it made me just more emotional. After his passing and before / after his memorial service I started drinking even more alcohol for numbing my pain - for him and my failed relationship with my girlfriend.

It was not until late April 2021 that I woke up one morning and realised that I'm going to far with my drinking. I realised that the alcohol is making my anxiety worse and the worse it got the more I wanted to numb my double-pain with alcohol. I phoned my sister and gave her a brutally honest account of my emotional state and current drinking habits. 

I quit drinking on that Tuesday and went through a period of about two weeks of mild to severe withdrawal symptoms. I never thought about the prolonged physical impact that the sudden alcohol abstinence would have on me. Nevertheless, I endured the withdrawal symptoms, did not feel like drinking and bought a pair of running shoes. Not for running, but to get in a healthier lifestyle of no alcohol and walking a few kilometers every day. 

Learning Through Relationships
During this difficult period in my life I learned to separate my two major 2020 / 2021 losses. I walked away from an abusive relationship and had to manage the void, disappointment and cognitive dissonance the loss of the relationship created in my mind. I now mourn the loss of my good friend, Joseph, the same way I mourned the loss of my mother. He was a good man with good values and with the acceptance of his loss I now have finally engaged, as with my mother, in a substantially healthier grieving process.

Since September 2020 I have received tremendous support from quite a diverse group of people in Cape Town and abroad. Many of them have been in my life for years, but a few others came from almost nowhere with insight and wisdom. I respected and learned from everybody's advice and recommendations. I owe all of them mountains of gratitude. Thank you!

I am currently doing a lot of research, soul searching, writing and walking to help me understand (abusive) relationship loss, trauma and substance abuse - and the impact that these two significant personal losses had on my life. I realized that alcohol overconsumption is never the answer for overcoming the emotional darkness of the soul. 

Overcoming Abuse and Trauma
For assistance with a deeper understanding on overcoming these psychological obstacles I've researched the consequences of alcohol abuse and the impact of trauma after an abusive relationship. I have found the 'Compassionate Inquiry' work of Dr. Gabor Maté - renown international addiction and trauma expert - for his psychotherapeutic approach towards the understanding of trauma and addiction, extremely helpful. Dr. Maté's  books and YouTube videos have had a tremendous positive impact on my current situation, my alcohol consumption scare and dealing with the loss of two significant people in my life.

Small lifestyle changes of regular exercise, a healthier diet and a reduced alcohol consumption are having a beneficial impact on my mental and physical health. I have established new daily routines with set priorities towards my business, photography, mental health and fitness goals.

Some of my latest photography at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden: View herehere and here.

Psychology and Relationship Resources

01 June 2021

Lack of Gratitude

Lack of Gratitude: Reflections of My Live Vernon Chalmers Photography Copyright
"Of all the crimes that human creatures are capable of committing, the most horrid and unnatural is ingratitude"  — Hume

Lack of gratitude in my most important personal relationship...

While growing up I was taught from a young age to say 'Thank You' when receiving something from someone, be grateful for good intentions and appreciate goodwill towards me. 

In school, during my military service and while attending university I did not give thank you, being grateful or showing gratitude any special thought - it was part of my daily interaction with people and reciprocated by most people in every community I was a member of. I never questioned it. It was never an issue. Not in my academic, business, social or personal life - it was a way of (appreciating) life - or so I thought.

Fast forward 2019: during November 2019 I met an attractive, intelligent and charming (albeit dramatic) woman and very quickly we became inseparable. We spent a lot of time together, visited many different places and really enjoyed each other's company. I fell in love and by April 2020 we decided that I will spend the South Africa COVID-19 Lockdown Level 5 at her place in Cape Town. 

My income was severely compromised during the COVID Lockdown rules and I realised I had to make a serious plan for not just my own survival, but to also contribute to the household. My girlfriend, being an entrepreneur herself, also had no fix income (due to COVID restrictions) and I needed to pull a rabbit out of a hat as fast as possible.

Fortunately, throughout the years, I have been a Contract for Difference (CFD) trader on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) and when the oil price slumped in April 2020 I made a high risk decision to purchase Sasol (energy and chemical company listed on the JSE) CFD's through my online trading account. As the oil price and Sasol share price recovered I purchased more and more Sasol (and other) CFD's and very quickly reached high liquidity positions to withdraw cash and contribute handsomely to the household.

Experiencing ingratitude
We used to go shopping every couple of days in which I would purchase all the food and basically everything and anything we needed. This was now about four to five months into our relationship and I noticed, for the first time, something strange - she would never thank me for anything I do or purchase. It starting to worry me in a big way. The words 'thank you' did not exist in her vocabulary...

During the infatuation stage of the relationship it never occurred to me that she never thanked me for anything. It was only while living with her full time (in a routine environment) that this behaviour of ingratitude was now overtly manifesting itself. Over the short term this behaviour from her was repeated ever so often and I felt the need to address this delicate issue.

I confronted her with the fact that she never says thank you for anything... her only response was that the mere fact that she was eating the food that I purchased with me was her thank you to me. Almost a statement of self-entitlement and disdain from her. I was quite baffled with her response and discussed it with one of my close friends a few days later.

I find myself for the first time in my life questioning somebody's repeated lack of appreciation and ingratitude. Something wasn't quite right or perhaps I was expecting too much. My friend assured me that there was nothing wrong with my expectation of gratitude from her - and it's is quite normal to say thank you, even for the smallest token of appreciation. 

This was a profound shift in the relationship. I started thinking back to all the occasions where I felt she acted a bit strange after giving her a gift or bring flowers and / or other gestures of goodwill. I realised on top of that I did not once received a thank you - I lived off the crumbs of expectation only to receive no gratitude for anything I would do for her.

This ingratitude would repeat itself over the next few months. In May 2020 I overindulge on her birthday with gifts and goodwill - I thought (although not very optimistic at the time) that I would at least get some sort of acknowledgement... I received nothing!

After the strict lockdown rules were lifted we went away for a few weekends of which I paid for everything - I did not mind paying, as my CFDs on the JSE were thriving - and I really wanted to share my JSE trading gains. I received no thank you, no gratitude for anything during and after these weekends. On one occasion she told me of the very nice thank you note she sent the manager of a guest farm we stayed. Go figure...

Moving on
On the return of an extended weekend we spent down the Cape West Coast she told me that I should thank her for the nice weekend we had. This was the moment I realised that her self-centeredness is not going to change and together with all the other red flags in her behaviour its best that I move on. I withdrew from the relationship by spending a few weeks in my studio apartment to try and come to terms with her behaviour.

During August 2020 I started to pull away completely from the relationship. It brought an immense sense of sadness over me. I grappled for the next couple of weeks with her lack of gratitude, sense of self-entitlement and her physical and on-going verbal abuse against me. The verbal abuse was getting worse - she also verbally attacked my sister (over the phone) and I knew I had to disengage permanently from her.  During September 2020 I collected the last of my stuff from her (said a couple of nasty things to her - of which I'm not proud of). Apart from a few text messages after this I have not engaged in any further contact with her. 

My learning and acceptance
I've read and research a wide range of phycology and dysfunctional relationship resources to come to terms with the past year of my life... in many ways I was still very much in love with her when I walked away, but knew that I could not carry on living like this... for my own safety and sanity. My dreams with her were shattered and it's taking me a long time to pick up the pieces in rebuilding my life without her.

I had to come to terms with my own relationship co-dependencies and I'm learning that I will have to be more patient and vigilant in future relationships. I also need to set healthy relationship boundaries in terms of expected behaviours and emotions from (significant) others.

I have learned to accept that I cannot change somebody else's behaviour. I have to accept that some individuals are incapable of showing appreciation and gratitude. I'm mindful of showing gratitude in each and every opportunity I get to appreciate the goodwill and good intentions of others towards me.

Coming to terms with the fact that she showed no appreciation and gratitude towards me is something I have to accept, understand how it affected me and what I have learned from this unfortunate behaviour. 

Why is gratitude so difficult for narcissists? Video

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I hate ingratitude more in a man

than lying, vainness, babbling, drunkenness,

Or any taint of vice whose strong corruption

Inhabits our frail blood.

— Shakespeare

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"In many ways, the ideal model of a giver is God (or Nature), who bestows his many gifts upon mankind
with no thought of any return. Because God needs nothing, when he bestows a benefit he is only concerned with the advantage of the recipient. A benefit, in this respect, is good in and of itself. Gratitude also makes one a better person, a more virtuous person. It builds bonds of harmony and community in the world. Ingratitude, on the other hand, is a vice to be avoided, one that destroys the individual and society by disrupting." 
— Seneca 

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"Ingratitude leads inevitably to a confining, restricting, and "shrinking" sense of self. Emotions such as anger, resentment, envy, and bitterness tend to undermine happy social relations. But the virtue of gratitude is not only a firewall of protection against such corruption of relationships; it also contributes positively to friendship and civility, because it is both benevolent (wishing the benefactor well) and just (giving the benefactor his due). In gratitude, we show our respect for others by recognizing their good intentions in helping us." 
— Robert Emmons

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Hume in-text quote from the book THANKS! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier
Robert A. Emmons, PH.D.

Shakespeare and Seneca quotes from the book The Psychology of Gratitude
Edited by Robert A. Emmons, PH.D. and Michael E. McCullough PH.D.

Robert Emmons quote from the book THANKS! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier
Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D.


01 May 2021

Moving from Left Brain to Right Brain Education...

When I was a young student I made a promise, if ever given the opportunity, I will educate / train others for the rest of my life.” ― Vernon Chalmers

Vernon Chalmers Labour Relations Training SAS Simonsberg Simon's Town Photo Credit: SA Navy
Labour Relations Training SAS Simonsberg Simon's Town, Cape Town Photo Credit: SA Navy

Image 1: South African Navy
 Students and me (I’m back row on the left) from my first ever self-designed training course (on Labour Relations) - as a young training officer / labour relations consultant (responsible for Military Leadership / Military Management / Labour Relations Strategy and Consulting) for the SA Navy at the Military Training School, SAS Simonsberg, Simon’s Town and the SA Naval Staff College (for Naval Officer Training) in Muizenberg during the early 1990’s.

Moving from left brain to right brain education / training…
In-between Image 1 and Image 2 was quite a journey. During these years I had the privilege of lecturing (and designing many training courses) at various business schools, universities and private training institutions in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban in subjects such as Strategic Management, Financial Management, Human Resource Management, Training Management, Marketing Management, Industrial Psychology, Corporate Communications, Economics, Accountancy, Project Management, Information Systems Integration, E-Commerce Strategy, Internet Marketing and Social Media Strategy & Marketing.

I never had a favourite or preferred subject. The privilege to contribute to so many careers and lives came with an enormous sense of responsibility and motivation during the entire left brain lecturing / facilitation period. I have very fond memories of lecturing at the SA Navy's Military Training School / Naval Staff College. I enjoyed the discipline, military organisational structure and the close-knit social environment. One thing I did not really enjoy after leaving the SA Navy was the endless driving between university campuses during the week and many Saturday mornings, but always with the same objectives of being prepared and never to be a minute late (albeit with the same privilege and motivation).

Since 2010 I started with a complete paradigm shift, transitioning from the above to photography. I transformed my photography hobby into an educational, training and support system by first educating myself with a thorough academic understanding of the art and science of photography, followed by application through the research, design, development and facilitation of various Canon EOS Camera & Photography Workshops and currently, one-on-one Training Programmes (Birds in Flight / Landscape / Macro / Speedlite Flash / Lightroom Post-Processing) at my training studio apartment (opposite Woodbridge Island).

My friend and former business partner, Joseph Inns, played an extraordinary role in assisting me with my transition into photography. He's knowledge, experience and personal qualities guided me in more ways he would ever know. Joseph unfortunately passed away in 2021. I dearly miss my friend, but will never forget the impact he has made on my career and life. Grieving the loss of my friend, Joseph Inns

Delegates during a Vernon Chalmers Landscape Practical Session on Milnerton Beach
Delegates during a Landscape Practical Session Milnerton Beach, Cape Town : Photo Credit: Steve Williams

Image 2: Vernon Chalmers Photography Students during a recent Landscape / Seascape Photography Workshop at Milnerton Beach. Theory (settings / composition) was presented at Intaka Island and practical sessions for Canon and Nikon photographers were facilitated around Woodbridge Island and Milnerton Beach.  About everything during the years stayed the same (although I have completely changed subjects). I have the same intensity and interest in the development and training of people. 

Photography is probably more creative than any of the left brain subjects I facilitated, but the personal responsibility, research, preparation, support and ultimately the privilege is the same (for me).

Hybrid Mode: CFD Trading on the JSE
What I did retain form my more analytical 'left brain days' is my Contract for Difference (CFD) trading on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE). This is an effective way of keeping my mind sharp and it provides for my only 'set' daily schedule - the JSE is open Monday to Friday between 09:00 - 17:00. I live every week day with these 'office hours' in the back of my mind. Even if I don't trade and walk around Woodbridge Island or Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden doing my photography, I'm always aware of the JSE trading schedule. I trade only for myself therefore the research, decision-making and management of my own portfolio is a challenging 'strategy, application and risk management exercise' for stimulating the left brain. 



From Darkness into Light... My thoughts on Loss: Love vs Fear

Hout Bay Harbour African Art & Textiles - for Joseph Inns

Reflections of My Life Hou Bay Harbour Art & Crafts For Joseph Inns Copyright Vernon Chalmers
“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched — they must be felt with the heart.” — Helen Keller

On Wednesday morning (28 April 2021) Karen Donaldson and I – both friends of the late Joseph Inns, went to Hout Bay Harbour, Cape Town, to reminisce and grieve our relationship with our very special friend.

I’ve captured many images of Hout Bay Harbour before, with its 'picture-perfect' fishing boats, fresh fish for sale, impressive flotilla of yachts and glorious surrounding mountains. But for Joseph, I wanted something different.

For this post I selected four vibrant colour images for my friend that will best represent his love for Africa, Art, Colour and Simplicity. That they were all captured from the exquisite craftmanship from African artists and crafters next to the blue waters of the Cape Peninsula coast made it that more special for me.

Joseph taught me to see the light, he taught me composition, but above all, he taught me patience… with respect and sincere gratitude. 

Although he was a more experienced photographer (as lecturer and professional) he never wilfully tried to teach me anything specific about photography and / or composition. He respected my technical camera / exposure knowledge, but always patiently listened to my many, many questions and answered each with confidence, insight, experience and example - with the wisdom of a true master and teacher.

All four Hout Bay Harbour, Cape Town Artist and Crafter images are dedicated to our very special friend, Joseph Inns.

Photographed and published with permission from the Hout Bay Harbour, Cape Town Artists and Crafters.

Hout Bay Harbour Cape Town African Art & Textiles : Images © Vernon Chalmers

Table Mountain & Township - Hout Bay Harbour African Art & Textiles - For Joseph Inns Image Copyright Vernon Chalmers
Table Mountain & Township - Hout Bay Harbour African Art & Textiles, Cape Town - For Joseph Inns

Vibrant Colours - Hout Bay Harbour African Art & Textiles - For Joseph Inns Image Copyright Vernon Chalmers
Vibrant Colours - Hout Bay Harbour African Art & Textiles, Cape Town - For Joseph Inns

Vibrant Colours - Hout Bay Harbour African Art & Textiles - For Joseph Inns Image Copyright Vernon Chalmers
Vibrant Colours - Hout Bay Harbour African Art & Textiles, Cape Town - For Joseph Inns

Soul of Africa - Hout Bay Harbour African Art & Textiles - For Joseph Inns Image Copyright Vernon Chalmers
Soul of Africa - Hout Bay Harbour African Art & Textiles, Cape Town - For Joseph Inns



African Art & Craft Market - Boulders Beach, Simon's Town, Cape Town

20 April 2021

Grieving the loss of my friend, Joseph Inns

Reflections of My Life: Grieving the loss of my friend, Joseph Inns
"You meet people who forget you. You forget people you meet. But sometimes you meet those people you can't forget. Those are your friends."
– Mark Twain

Yesterday, Monday, 19 April 2021 at 00.06, one of my best friends, Joseph Inns, passed away after suffering metastatic cancer for more than the last year and six months.

He phoned me on Valentine’s Day 2020 in Cape Town to convey the tragic news. I cried, I’m still crying after the loss of this giant of a man. He was the most peaceful person in my life and I believe, in many people’s lives.

I’ve known him for 28 years – as lecturers – as business partners – as photographers – as friends – together we dreamed of conquering our world(s) – and we did.

In many ways he was my inspiration into photography. I believed in his passion, his image making and above all, his endless patience.
 
Today I’m sad, very sad, but it’s a 'positive' sadness. He is / was a very good man with exemplary values of kindness and gratitude.

He left a legacy to many - he left me a better person than ever before. Like many; his family, all the photographers in his life and I (and so many others) will mourn his loss – and I will build a big statute for the big man here right inside of me.

Reflections of My Life: Grieving the loss of my friend, Joseph Inns
The Life of Joseph Inns : Image Credit: Joseph Inns family
As for me – Joseph will never be gone – he will keep living in a very special place throughout my existence
as a person.

We will never forget you, Joseph.
 
Rest in Peace, Big Fellow.

As I recently replied to his wife, Janice Inns, on the Joseph Inns Memorial invitation "I just cannot believe it when I look at the memorial invitation - its unreal. I am so sad, its the same sadness as when my mom died.

I miss Joseph - just the emotional connectness we had. And can just about imagine how you and the family must feel. Mike also messaged me on Monday. But, be proud, he was the best of the best. I learned a lot from him.He calmed me down in ways nobody else could."

The Life of Joseph Inns - Memorial Service 26 April 2021 10:00.
I wrote this to my friend in France on 26 April 2021 - after the memorial Service. (she's been going through the motions with me for months of Joseph's illness) "I listened carefully to every word spoken about my friend at his service and the words that came out from all the speakers were Compassion / Care / Non-Judgmental / Artist / Creative / Love / Peace - all values words. He was all of this - and more. He did not try and be this, he was this - every time I saw him - for 28 years in our friendship."

I forwarded above message to Joseph's wife - Janice, as well.

It was a beautiful tribute for Joseph at the Bloemhof Restaurant in Bo Oakdale, Cape Town and many people presented their love, feelings and celebrations for the Life of Joseph Inns.  I re-connected with my of my old time friends during this informal service. Due to COVID there were not many people there, but of those there, Joseph touched us all in a very special way. 

Attached Butterfly Image: From the Joseph Inns Collection. Photographer: Joseph Inns (with one of his beloved Nikon cameras).

The Joseph Inns Story By His Wife Janice Inns Dignity SA


01 April 2021

Abusive Behaviour Towards Me

Vernon Chalmers Reflections of My Life Pincushion Protea Kirstenbosch Copyright Vernon Chalmers Photography
“It is not the the bruises on the body that hurt. It is the wounds of the heart and the scars on the mind.” ― Aisha Mirza

When the first physical threat occurred about four months into the relationship I was overwhelmed with my girlfriend's threatening and aggressive behaviour towards me.

I had no inclination that she was capable of this (although at this stage I was aware of her callous and self-centered nature). I was therefor quite shocked and visibly shaken when threatened with a knife one evening (with the words to literally kill me).
  
Checkmate... be careful what you wish for
All of this happened because I won her in a couple of chess games one evening. It was the first time we played chess together. She was nagging me for weeks to play, but I was reluctant because I haven't played for the last 30 years (and according to her she claimed to be a very good chess player). Nevertheless, we played one evening and lo and behold I won the first two games, she won the third game and I won another one or two games. Immediately after this she became angry at me and when trying to calm her down (and touched her on the sides of her arms ) all hell broke loose - she started shouting and that's when she threatened me with her chef's knife. Followed by a barrage of verbal abuse of utter disrespectful name calling, but I did not retaliate and waited for her to calm down.

I was in an absolute daze. It took me a few days to process her aggressive action. I knew I was treading in potentially dangerous pathological behaviour territory as far as her explosive rage was concerned, but decided to stay. I did not receive an apology and when I tried to discuss this unfortunate incident with her there was absolutely no conversation, just a blank stare and an agony of silence. I parked her unacceptable behaviour in the 'back of my head' for the time being and we carried on with our lives.

Physical attack
Late one evening, a few weeks later, I was physically attacked by her. I was punched, my clothes ripped off my body and I was screamed and shouted at. I went into a state of shock, did not retaliate and told her that it would be best for me to leave. She said nothing, just grabbed all her house keys (there was no way for me to get out) and locked herself inside the bedroom. Again, I did not retaliate, I calmed myself down and planned an exit strategy. A couple of minutes later she returned from the bedroom and I said to her that it would be best for me to go home. I had a few things in her bedroom that I wanted to collect and as I was picking up my camera bag, I was hit over the head, from behind, with quite a large chocolate Easter bunny. It scattered in hundreds of little bits all over the floor - I was dumbstruck and confused. I realised then there is no way that I will be able to leave and waited for her to calm down - which she eventually did.

All of this happened because I switched the television of while she was apparently watching. Well, she wasn't watching, she came out of the shower and I was also ready to go to bed. As I was switching the television off she entered the living room and then it was when all hell broke lose again. I knew she was edgy during the evening, but had no idea what was about to happen later.

Ongoing verbal abuse
In trying to discuss this the next day, or any day thereafter, I received no discussion or apology from her - just the blank stare again. I knew that the relationship was in a danger zone (at least from my perspective), but still decided to stay. I stayed another three months. During this time we had some good times, but this was also the time that the verbal abuse (mainly over the telephone) would escalate to a weekly episode - generally on a Thursday or a Friday.

The physical and continued verbal abuse combined with her ever increasing Lack of Gratitude, and low levels of empathy / remorse made me not to return to her, but stay in my own apartment for a couple of weeks. This is where I struggled the most with understanding my situation - I was in love with an intelligent and smart woman, but she would frequently engage in uncontrolled anger episodes towards me which can only be described as an uncontrollable narcissistic rage when her needs and / or unrealistic expectations were not met / or when she experienced setbacks and disappointments.

Being on my own I tried to come to terms with her behaviour, my responsibility in potentially triggering this pathological behaviour and the future of this relationship. As I started researching and identifying many of her inappropriate behaviours toward me I realised that this is common behaviour with many people associated with and / or diagnosed with a Cluster B personality disorder i.e. Borderline personality disorder, Narcissistic personality disorder, Histrionic personality disorder, Antisocial personality disorder and possibly comorbid with Bipolar I / II disorders. I could tick many traits across the Cluster B personality / mood disorder spectrum.

I also realised that although I love this woman there is no way I could continue a relationship with her. I started examining my sense of sadness and confronting the darkness of my mild Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms manifesting through continuous anxiety, fear, hypervigilance, insomnia and guilt.

My family and friends also requested me to stay away from her. I went completely No Contact in September 2020 and still maintain this today. I'm slowly coming to terms with all of this. The FOG (Fear, Obligation and Guilt) is lifting, my Cognitive Dissonance is slowly dissipating and the majority of my PTSD symptoms are making way for a healthier lifestyle through increased motivation, creative activities and physical fitness.

About and Disclaimer

One Year After Leaving An Abusive / Toxic Relationship

From Darkness into Light...

From Darkness to Light : Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden Vernon Chalmers Photography Copyright
“I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness because it shows me the stars.” – Og Mandino

At Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, Cape Town (to turn sadness in happy moments - for being in the moment)

It was with eager anticipation that I prepared my camera bag an early morning photography session at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden. I have not been there in more than a year - and at the time was left with sad memories of the most special person / and keen photographer I have ever known (my biggest love) - which I have 'emotionally lost' soon after our last visit to Kirstenbosch. 

She (the most beautiful person ever in my life - at the time) is gone, the cognitive dissonance is dissipating, but the good / bad memories kept on lingering. I knew I had to go back to Kirstenbosch with real friends (with gratitude) to let the biggest Love in my live go - and I did so on Friday.

Update: Grieving the Loss of my Friend, Joseph Inns (is not the person described here)

In "Conversations with God", Neale Walsch writes something to this effect, what God said "When you meet your biggest Love, you will meet your biggest Fear". I grappled with this for the past 12 months. I became Fear.... and this was so profoundly true - in every breath I took. It took me months and months of working through personal conditioning efforts of (my own) neuroplasticity regimes to 're-wire' my brain for overcoming this particular Fear.

On this glorious and fresh sunny Friday morning I went back to Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden with one of my photography club friends, Karen Donaldson, (a dear friend of mine for many years and also a friend of my best friend, Joseph Inns, who is now very ill - I've never been to Kirstenbosch with either of them).

I had one of the very best mornings ever at Kirstenbosch, free to roam the gardens and to think about love, life and to share the crispness of the beautiful morning with a real friend.

Blessed with God's Gifts of nature and real, true and good people in my life.

I've had the greatest support over the last 6 - 8 months to get my mojo as photographer and person back. It will be unfair to identify any individual in my healing, but you know who you are. Some of of you I unfriended from Facebook, because any reminders of her which was hurting me to the core, was just to challenging at times. I will never forget you, your words, your wisdom, to carry me back into the true light of life and photography.

An for a very special lady: you gave me 'the little gold nuggets' to rebuild my life. You've listened to me for hour after hour here in my Blu-C studio. I'm forever grateful for your professionalism, wisdom, patience, love and care.

Update: 25 August 2021
Its been a year since I walked away and removed myself from this toxic relationship. I have certainly gained a fair amount of behavioural knowledge and understanding during this soul-searching journey. It will still require some processing to finally let this relationship slide completely into the past. The flashbacks and feeling of disappointment still lingers, but I have to steer the course towards a life without reminding myself of the constant misery and sadness that consumed my being.

I have been back to Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden quite a few times for small bird and flower since writing this post earlier in 2021. It is definably becoming easier to go back. I have had some wonderful photography mornings there - images can be viewed here, here and here.

Kirstenbosch is now also included as one of my Vernon Chalmers Photography Bird and Flower Training venues.


Hout Bay Harbour African Art & Textiles - For Joseph Inns

Thoughts on Loss: Love vs Fear

01 March 2021

My thoughts on Loss: Love vs Fear

Reflections of My Life My Thoughts on Loss: Love vs Fear Copyright Vernon Chalmers Photography
"Life is the first gift, love is the second, and understanding the third" — Marge Piercy

When we lose good people that were close to us the loss / pain is almost incomprehensible to self and in explanation to others.

I lost my mother in March 2017 and it took me quite some time to process and properly grieve this loss.

Today I cherish her life and am thankful for the legacy she left with her good values, gratitude and unconditional love.

The same can be said of my friend, Joseph Inns, who passed away in April 2021. A true giant among men...

Grieving The Loss of Joseph Inns

When you lose somebody (death or otherwise) that were severely compromised in the application of basic values, healthy emotions and expectations the 'wound' can take a long time to heal. If you lose somebody in Love the mourning and healing is a sad, but healthy grieving process vis-a-vis losing somebody in Fear (due to abuse and emotional disconnect), the mourning and healing is a long drawn out process (and reality check) that runs toxic and wild in the mind.

There is no legacy, there is no 'statue' in the mind for emotional perpetrators. I had to learn new ways to deal with my thoughts and today am grateful for letting someone go that I thought I would never forgive for the verbal, physical and psychological abuse incurred. 

The essence of self-preservation were the months that I had to go into the darkness of my soul with no torch / no light to face myself, to learn more about the rawness of the dejected self - in honesty and fairness of who I was, want to be, will be, can / could be... without judgement, prejudice and / or fear.

From Fearful Loss to Acceptance 
After completing my One Year After Leaving an Abusive / Toxic Relationship article I felt a great sense of closure and relief. The core of my true self, through time, introspection and learning, was being restored by facing up to the acceptance of a failed relationship that once consumed not only my mind, but every fibre of my rational and emotional being.

Acceptance is an essential realisation of being at peace with the true self - the same self that was once immersed in the Cognitive Dissonance of loving (and the fear of leaving) someone that neither respected nor trusted my integrity, goodwill and / or values. 

The authentic self should always emerge, if allowed... not in relation to others first, but to the self first. This does not mean I diminish the roles others play in my life, their roles are meaningful - when they are 'healthy' individuals."

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"Let go of people who aren't ready to love you yet! This is the hardest thing you'll have to do in your life and it will also be the most important thing: stop giving your love to those who aren't ready to love you yet. Stop hard conversations with people who don't want to change. Stop showing up for people who are indifferent to your presence. Stop loving people who aren't ready to love you."  Powerful Words of 'Letting Go'

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Marge Piercy quote from the book THANKS! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier
Robert A. Emmons, PH.D.


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