Better Things Up Ahead

Image

cslewis

 

All our experiences up to this point have created and molded us into who we are. I am a true believer that whatever we endure –we are meant to learn from and in return we become stronger and more resilient for what has yet to come.
Yesterday I came into contact with people from my past and disappointingly they were involved in one of the most awful experiences I’ve had. Even though I quickly fell to pieces the moment I saw them, the one fragment I can take away from this is the comparison of my growth between that distressing involvement and my present.
We can never change the past and I honestly do not believe in regrets –there is only the act of acquiring wisdom from our mistakes. I’m thankful for all that has been –no matter how intense; I’m thankful for all that I have –because without my past, I would have nothing; and I’m thankful for all that has yet to be –because everything thus far has led me to this point now.
Never be remorseful for your past because your present would look very very different without it. <3

The Key

key

 

And being excited is an understatement. However, don’t be so focused on the hours and days or weeks ahead and forget to live in this moment too. Be present. I’m grateful for all that I have, all that I will receive and and everything that is to come.

Moving Past the Haze

            You meet someone and you’re instantly attracted. Your physical and emotional magnetism is electrifying. Your lips touch and you begin to feel that lovey-dovey haze trickle down, obscuring your vision. Your hands embrace each other and you feel that rush from your inner hormone cocktail mixed with: dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin, and oxytocin; which stimulate your crazy, love-induced behavior.[1] The mixture of emotions effervesce when you hear their voice. Temporary insanity arises when you await their call or text.

            We’ve all experienced the beginning of love when it takes over our being. Our judgment and decision-making is skewed and all we contemplate or desire is to be with this other person. Yet every so often, this screen that is formed becomes so rigid and firm that this lovely cloudiness does not fade away easily. This may not happen to everyone but when emotions run high, situations can become more complicated than they should be. This hazy vision begins to confuse your judgment of this person and you look past their undesirable traits and behavior. It’s as if this passion has high-jacked your brain and you’re only able to notice their enjoyable and pleasing characteristics. After becoming sexually involved with your love interest, it only goes downhill from there –the hormones that are stirred up after sex only increase your love and attachment ten-fold. These fuzzy feelings are fantastic –at first; but they can cause you to only see minor parts of a person. So how do you clean off this filmy condensation of love and see this person for who they really are?

            I’ve been in unhealthy relationships that have lasted way past their expiration date. Yet even in retrospect I am unsure of the reason that I stuck around. Last year I was in a relationship that was detrimental to my wellbeing. It was an incredibly, emotionally abusive involvement and I became numb and oblivious. I felt like my head was in a cloud and that I could not see the relationship or him objectively. I did not feel like myself and I continually felt off. I was determined to clear my mind so I began to reflect on myself and the relationship in its entirety. Personally, I look at the potential of a person –the good in them regardless of their bad choices and actions. I realized that his over-protective and manipulative behavior was coming from a very insecure place within himself –this had nothing to do with me. I looked past what I loved about him and the good times that we had shared and saw the situation for what it truly was –unhealthy. Training yourself to have a fluid perspective is a beneficial way to see past your emotions. Emotions are meant to aid you in your decision process yet sometimes it’s hard to look past these intense feelings.

            This type of overwhelming passion is represented in various media varieties. For example, the Bachelor television show airs a competition of twenty-five women contesting to win the heart and a marriage proposal of the main love interest. In my opinion, this show is degrading and belittling towards both sexes. The program nationally broadcasts open ‘relationships;’ aggressive hostility and competition for the attention and love of a man that is fawned over mainly for his physical appearance and sexual potential.

            Due to the excessive media exposure of this past Bachelor season with Juan Pablo, I decided to catch a few episodes –mainly for the strong and independent women that confronted the sexist and disrespectful Bachelor. It was interesting to see how this superficial love affected a lot of the women on the show; and what was more fascinating was seeing them snap out of it when they realized who he truly was.

            Juan Pablo is nothing more than a handsome face that turned out to be extremely rude while utilizing the excuse of being honest. He slut-shamed his pursuers, only spoke of himself, and for the sake of being ‘truthful,’ was not genuine with his feelings towards any of the contestants; especially the last remaining women. Nonetheless, it was apparent how strongly, Nikki, the woman that he chose, was under the spell of this love haze. She stayed with him regardless of being disgraced after he stated on the last episode, “I’m not 100% sure I want to marry you, but I’m 100% sure I do not want to lose you.” You could see the disappointment in her eyes and how much she was holding back her hurt feelings whenever he spoke to her. But why did she continue to stay considering her unrequited love? Whether this performance is staged or not, this represents what so many people experience in dating and relationships –inability to separate strong emotion from our perspective.

            Emotion is defined as: “a subjective, conscious experience characterized primarily by psychophysiological expressions, biological reactions, and mental states; it is often associated and considered reciprocally influential with mood, temperament, personality, disposition, and motivation.”[2] Emotions are evolutionarily meant to aid you in decision making to keep you alive and carry on the species.[3] However, I feel that over the centuries, our culture has embraced our emotions more tightly than to our basic gut instincts.

            Learning to consider your emotions and feelings with a grain of salt is difficult but not impossible. In some cases, you may feel overwhelmed by your feelings about certain people or situations –this makes it difficult to assess and make wise, healthy decisions. In order to attempt to move past the hormone-stimulated, “honeymoon” feelings, contemplate on the following ideas:

Self-Reflection: Take a step back from the situation. Choose a few days to be on your own. Reflect within how you feel about yourself and your circumstances. Regaining your perspective is key in seeing something or someone objectively. Also, being solely by yourself helps reclaim your own personal perspective –when we are with others, we tend to veer our perception to match those around us.

Self-Awareness: Consider all of your feelings, not just the ones that make you feel good. Have you been ignoring some of your thoughts? Did your love interest say something that made you cringe? How often does this happen? Assess how you feel in every situation. Are you more comfortable by yourselves than with your friends or in public? Is there a reason for this? Do they ever make you feel bad? Are you feeling manipulated? Contemplate your initial responses. Trust your gut instinct!

Objectivity: Be aware of yourself in every situation. Do you notice your emotions overriding your decision process? Do you put this person ahead of yourself? Increasing your self-awareness aids you in becoming objective about the situation and people. You have allowed yourself to step back; you are not as emotionally attached to the situation so you are neutral and less biased. Now look at the person and the circumstance without all of the intricate emotions laced into it. You’re able to see things more clearly and your awareness and instincts will guide you. (Wake up your inner wolf! Haha..)

Communication: It is always best to communicate your feelings. However, use your best judgment in expressing yourself. Specifically word your conversation as to not put the other person on the defensive. Try: “I FEEL like this WHEN YOU…” Focus on how they react and handle your interaction. Do they openly listen and respect you? Do they become defensive? Can these issues be resolved? Will change occur? Keep in mind that people do not change entirely, so if there is a trait that bothers you about this person, really stop and think if you can get past it.

            These steps help guide you to utilize your emotions in your decision making and to increase objectivity within your perspective. Emotions are there to help, not to overwhelm you. No matter how intensely wonderful you feel, your emotions can overshadow your true insight. Regain control over your brain! Just because you feel a certain way, does not make it true. Become aware of yourself and those around you and listen to what your heart tells you. Regardless of how your situations work out, you will always gain an experience, a lesson, and a story to share. Absorb as much as you can from the world around you and be mindful of your instincts. Wake up the inner YOU!

[1]http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/hottopics/love/

[2] “Theories of Emotion”. Psychology.about.com. 2013-09-13. Retrieved 2013-11-11.

[3] Monique’s well educated brain. :)

 

Image( http://www.mymodernmet.com/photo/2100445:Photo:410229 )

 

Spring Ahead and Grow!

Image

Spring Ahead and Grow!

How Your Outlook on Life Helps You Realize Who You Are

There is a saying from Stoic ancient philosophy, “There is no good or bad, there is only perception. ” I feel that this statement can be accurate when describing different outlooks. Life happens all around us and despite our convictions, it does not stop or slow down. So how do we preserve our character? –we change our perspective. It is our choice whether to look at life positively or negatively and once we choose, that is what we seek.

In high school, I was a predictable moody teenager; yet depression and anxiety became an ever-growing setback. Unfortunately, depression runs in my family so that gloominess stuck around me for quite a few years. It was hard to shake off but there was a succession of days and weeks where my outlook slowly started to transform. I began to reflect being negative and despondent was absolutely exhausting and pointless. Picking out the bad only brought upon more negative because I was searching for it –I was familiar with it. Our minds are endlessly fluctuating by means of our environment, the people around us, and most of all, our attitude. Human beings are an amazing species because we alone can change our viewpoint on the world. We can choose whether to be ignorant, informed, optimistic, or pessimistic. We can decide to look at things in a certain hue –once this occurs, we start to seek out this color in everything we experience.

Being positive definitely does not mean that you are happy and carefree one-hundred percent of the time. Having a positive outlook means that you are able to look for the good in everything that you see and experience –it means that you perceive things differently. In every day that passes, you prefer to explore the good even when depraved things occur. Like attracts like. Those that inflict pain and hurt in others are only breaking themselves apart. You cannot expect good things to come into your life if you do not first create good and positive feelings in yourself and in those around you.

Being positive leaves you with more of an open mind and you tend to make clearer choices. You are able to let go of the strong emotions that are connected to certain situations and can view it objectively. You see a path cut out for you and can perceive your future fearlessly. Your anxieties and nagging fears stray away because you know that everything has a purpose. Your self-esteem and confidence are ignited. You feel as if you can do anything -you are limitless. You find that there is no point to regret or be depressed about what has already been. Being anxious about the future is useless. When you are living in the moment, you are truly at peace. Of course you can have bad moods and feel melancholy at times, but the difference is that you know that this passes.

Do you continually have problems with that unpleasant voice in your head? –stop and tell yourself something positive. For every negative thought passing through:

“You’re fat,” “Why would you do that!?” “You’re not good enough”;

tell yourself something positive that you love:

“Being fit doesn’t happen overnight -I’m working on it,” “I can’t change what already happened so I’m moving on and I can only go up from here,” “I will always be great and enough! I am ME and there is no one in the world exactly like me”

This is a lifestyle change and an improvement that I myself strive to work on daily. You have to make an effort to retain positivity. Instead of saying “I have to,” to something that’s not favorable (I.e. chores, homework, work, etc.), start saying to yourself “I get to,” and it will slowly change the way you think about it. Remember, not everyone has the life that you do so be grateful for yourself.

Being positive shouldn’t be looked at as a chore –it’s a standard of living and it gets easier to acclimate yourself so that it comes as second nature. It becomes simpler to let go of things that do not better you. This makes you realize your goals and how to pursue them and gives you the ability to let go of your fears regarding them. You become more accepting of criticism because you know that you can always do better.

Some people have approached me telling me that because of my bubbly and optimistic outlook on life, I am therefore naïve and have “obviously not had hardship in my life.” Quite ignorantly said and furthest from the truth. Every one of us goes through our own journey –we should never compare ourselves in regards to our path in life –there is NO COMPARISON. It is absolutely silly to assess because we are all so different and we are meant to learn various lessons. The reason that I am this way is because I’ve embraced who I truly am. I look for the good in life because I believe that that is what I am meant to search for. When you are going through hardship, it is easier to accept when you look at all of the beauty around you. Sometimes not everyone can see or be aware of it so they need someone to point it out to them. And, yes, of course there is death and suffering in the world, but as with everything, there is balance. Once you get through the tough times, you become so much more grateful for the good in your life.

DSCN1616

In the Present

Image

In the Present