Better Things Up Ahead

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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. :)

 

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Spring Ahead and Grow!

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Spring Ahead and Grow!