Monday, December 31, 2012

Not Everyone Is Beautiful: How to Accept Ugly

The meaning of beauty and the usage of beauty has been muddled with other desirable character traits.
Often, people are so used to calling each other "beautiful" that we feel entitled to being seen as beautiful, and that we are being treated wrongly or perceived wrongly when other can not see our own brand of personal beauty.

In writing this article, I would like to help you free yourself from the constraints of beauty and the prevalence it has taken over our modern culture. Freeing yourself from the illusory entitlement to beauty is a vital step.

Not Everyone Is Beautiful
Physical beauty can be measured. The ancient Greeks found phi, the golden ratio to beauty (which I highly recommend you read We have the BMI, the waist to hip ratio, the lines of symmetry, the angles of one's facial features, the condition of one's skin.

These features all provide us with information- from a biological standpoint, beauty is a highly coveted trait which means that the genes which cause it can be spread through proliferation. Those who possess beauty are given more chances to breed and spread their genetic material. This does not only happen in the human species, but in all living organisms. Beauty signals fertility, a more desirable gene pool, an opportunity to give predecessors the benefit of attracting many partners.

Beauty is also pleasing. Not all appearances are equally aesthetic. Some people have faces which you find actual pleasure from staring at, whereas others possess faces which you might describe as "nondescript" and unremarkable. Others have a face which you become fascinated with because their features are so different, so out of the norm, so odd looking. Depending on your geographic location, certain faces are exotic.

Yet, regardless of being appearing foreign or not, some people just have very unappealing faces. Some people just possess features which are not pleasant to look at- albeit being very interesting. In simple terms, some people are just ugly.

The point is that not everyone is beautiful, not everyone is remarkably attractive, and not everyone is a sight for sore eyes.

Empower Yourself: Embrace the Diversity
Beauty truly increases one's quality of life- but you do not need to wear beauty in order to benefit from beauty. You can surround yourself in a beautiful environment, and you will greatly benefit from it regardless of how much physical attractiveness you have to offer.

Beauty is also in the eye of the beholder- your face will never appeal equally to everybody. This is actually advantageous- from a biological standpoint, if everyone only found one "look" beautiful, then the genetic variation needed to increase survival would plummet. People are wired to be attracted to certain appearances- some of it has to do with their DNA and some of it has to do with their culture.

Embrace the diversity.

Don't Rate People, Including Yourself, for Emotional Boosts

People subconsciously rate others on many levels- it is a way of processing information about the environment and the people we will interact with. Again, we have genes that give us these instincts, and these instincts allowed our species to survive and evolve so far- to discount them would be to stop being human.

The danger of rating people's appearances lies in the conscious practice. People pick apart other people's appearances in hopes of raising their self esteem. This really has no benefit- nothing good or productive or educational comes from comparing the measurable physical attractiveness between different people.

People just look the way that they are- because of their genes and because of their lifestyle. You may find it useful to gain information about others based on deduction, but to constantly derive self worth from this process is destructive.

We all have days where we feel we look extra incredible, but that usually comes from a better self care regime and embracing that which enhances our appearance. These extra steps are choices, which others can pick up on and gain insight from, but ultimately, our looks don't change from day to day.

Our bone structure remains the same-we will always look like the same person, except we age. Unless we undergo cosmetic surgery or master the art of makeup, we can not change how we look. Your face is the only face you will get- and if you want to change it with surgery or makeup, that is your rightful decision- but before you decide to do so, know that there is nothing WRONG with not being gorgeous.

And if others hold your lack of beauty against you, know that you can not control how others behave, and that beauty is not the only quality which others can judge you by. Ignore them and do not let yourself be so affected.

Beautiful Is Not the Best Thing You Can Be
When has beauty, solely beauty, ever accomplished anything?
Although beauty definitely possesses its nurturing and pleasing qualities, beauty is not the best quality the possess and it certainly isn't the trait that leads to the most success.

Can you think of another trait which seems so tragic standing solely on its own?
The person blessed with intelligence, or determination, or compassion can offer the world more service and value than the person who only possesses beauty.

The Point
Beauty has and always will be a highly coveted trait. When one does not accept their level of beauty and is greedy for more, when one is too attached to their beauty- we call this an excess of vanity. Vanity can be extremely destructive. You have better things to do with your time and resources than invest them all in looking beautiful.

Accept the level of beauty you have- and take pride in the fact that your behaviors and your willingness to work on your other traits and to maintain a healthy regime of self care can surpass the initial level of physical attractiveness your genes endowed upon you. You can offer the world more and make yourself more desirable by accepting what you have and nurturing yourself and truly understanding your strengths and weakness and the value you are most equipped to offer the world.

Friday, December 28, 2012

How to Gain Self Respect: Personal Boundaries

Self respect is essential to true self love. In order to fully love and care for yourself, you must become aware of your boundaries and values and you must commit to them and thus commit to yourself. Self respect is about preserving your values and acting in a way that promotes self growth whilst fulfilling certain standards regarding how you want to be treated.

What are your values?
In order to define your personal boundaries, you must look within and gain insight through introspecting and honesty.
How do you think you deserve to be treated? How do you think you should treat yourself?
Do you let people walk all over you, or do you walk all over other people?
Do you not trust other people, do you act in an untrustworthy manner?
In order to understand how you would truly like to be treated, you must also consider how you treat others. There is no separation between the two when true self respect and self love is reached.

What you value, you must exercise. If you do not exercise your values, then you will be lowering your standards for yourself and for others. If you value patience, you must be patient with yourself and others. If you value understanding, you must practice empathy and good listening in order to allow more understanding to fill your life.

Avoid Hypocrisy
Hypocrisy is natural to human beings. We all practice hypocrisy- but we can also practice acting in ways that minimize any traces of it. 

Think about the behaviors and characteristics of others that really bothers you. Then, be really honest with yourself and recall any instances in which you behaved in similar manners. Consider the possibility that you also possess those  traits which you find very bothersome in other people.

Be very honest with yourself, and take the time to fully process these opinions and memories. You owe yourself the care and effort to gain a better, clearer understanding of your reactions.

As you practice awareness, let go of those grudges you hold- against others for behaving in such ways, and against yourself for realizing you also act in such a way. From now on, before you act in a way that in reminiscent of hypocrisy, think through the situation and stop yourself before you let yourself react in an instinctual, thoughtless manner.

Ask yourself, is this the best way to handle my experiences? Or is there a way that I can handle this situatin in a way that helps me exercise my values?

Practice is needed in order to cultivate this mindfulness, but the more you practice, the more you will be able to be mindful with ease and effortlessness. Mindfulness will gradually become second nature to you, and you will automatically ask yourself why you are doing what you are doing.

When you think through your responses instead of allowing yourself to react in a knee-jerk fashion, you take back control over the quality of your interactions and thus, the quality of your life, and thus, your self esteem.

The more mindful you are, the better you can fulfill actions and interactions that support your self esteem and the quality of your relationships and life experiences.

Setting Personal Boundaries
Hypocrisy can also be practiced in a way that allows others to disrespect your boundaries.
If you hold yourself to a certain standard when interacting with others, but allow others to cross your personal boundaries, you are also practicing hypocrisy.

You must allow yourself to defend your personal boundaries. You must allow yourself to only tolerate civil interactions. You must NOT tolerate others' behaviors that hurt you. You must also not allow yourself to practice self neglect.

To cultivate this strength, you must look within and try to understand why you allow others to treat you badly.
Did something in your childhood occur that caused you to believe you were unworthy of loving, caring interactions?
Were you taught by experience that you didn't deserve to be treated with respect?
Do you believe you are inferior, worthless, and undeserving?

In order to heal from self hatred, you must understand why you initially cultivated such beliefs, and how your behavior and others' behaviors have affirmed and reaffirmed those beliefs.

As long as you hold those beliefs, the world will only show you proof that it is true.
You must change your beliefs and truly know that you are worthy of love, care, and respect. 

In order to let go of these beliefs, you must see the good in yourself and practice patience and understanding. Hobbies are great for this- when you work on something and see your skills developing, you gain self esteem and confidence. Also try working on others skills-like social skills. Learning about rapport and good conversation will also boost your self esteem-as you become more skillfull with interacting, you will be able to practice responding to people instead of just reacting.

When you learn how to respond tactfully, you gain the power to reject behaviors that do not suit your values. 
Do not allow others to tell you that you don't deserve to be treated in such ways. Although you can not control exactly how others treat you, as long as they fall within your range of accepted behaviors, you can continue to interact with them.

Determing your range of accepted behaviors
Not everyone will treat you EXACTLY how you'd love to be treated, but the people you choose to continuously interact with will treat you in acceptable manners.

Be Discerning
You must be careful when drawing the line- sometimes others are having a bad day or a bad week, so it is best to practice patience and understanding. But if they fall way out of your range once, like engage in abusive and hateful behavior with you, you must not see them again until they are ready to act in a mature and caring manner.

You must break ties with these people, and if you do not,  they will continue to treat you badly. You must also not fall into the trap of promises.

If someone promises to change, and they have treated you badly, it is best for your safety and self esteem to not see them until they have changed. You are not their counselor or babysitter. If you have recently just begun to take charge of your personal boundaries, you are especially delicate.
Allow these people to seek counsel in others. If you feel you are ready and firm enough in your stance to help them, do so in a way that doesn't give them the accessibility to hurt you. But do not allow yourself to be swept up in trying to change them and help them. Do not allow them to take over your life. You must respect yourself enough to stop yourself from engaging in such behaviors.

Find Balance
Do not allow others to treat you badly, and do not allow yourself to treat others badly. Do not demand of others what you are not willing to give to them.
Find your self esteem through your ability to be virtuous towards others and towards yourself- not simply in others or yourself.
Self esteem is supported by both internal and external experiences.

To truly respect yourself and defend your personal boundaries, you must know that you are worth it and that others are also worth it. Surround yourself with positive people who love themselves and are supportive. Be honest with them so that they can understand your situation and help you. You deserve to be supported and helped, so long as you do not depend on others. 
The majority of this work is intended for you to process and progress on.
As you practice the mindfulness necessary to build self esteem and personal boundaries, you will cultivate control and responsbility over your life which will allow you to love yourself.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Minimalism Cheat Sheet: Let's Not Overcomplicate Things

The minimalist lifestyle has really boomed over the past years.

With Time naming Zenhabits the best blog of the year, and countless search results under the term "minimalist blog", the minimalist lifestyle has really gotten a hold of the general internet-centric public.

Minimalism's appeal is direct and straightforward. Wanting less and appreciating more makes your life more abundant. You have less needs and desires to fulfill, and you have more freedom because you do not invest your time and resources into too many endeavors. You have more space to be happy.

Minimalism's success is mainly due to mindfulness- being conscious of why you are doing what you are doing.Without mindfulness, minimalism is just a bible you consult without truly knowing why and without truly reaping the benefits.

There are so many minimalism blogs and so many subscribers. Really, though. Do you need to constantly read up on something so simple as being mindful? Do you constantly need to read an article about how to integrate minimalism into your workflow? How to organize your sock drawer in accordance to the balance of zen?

Regardless of the situation, exercising mindfulness is extremely easy. Once you learn how to do it, you just do it. The only thing that makes you better at doing it is doing it more, not reading blogpost after blogpost on the subject.

Stop. What: are you doing/about to do/did you just do? Okay.
Why did you do it?

Gratification, validation, approval? Because you can? Because you had to? Because you were high, drunk, feeling fresh off a marathon of ego-stroking?

Why are you going to eat that? Did the magazines tell you it would make you skinny? You don't want to shatter your mother's illusions about her culinary skills? You actually like it because you just do?

Why are you going on that vacation? Why did you buy those jeans? Why are you not sleeping? Why are you sleeping so much? Why did you take that picture of yourself? Why did you spend five minutes taking a picture of your Inn and Out Burgers, for God's sake?

It all boils down to honestly evaluating how you spend and invest your time and energy.

Are the benefits enticing enough for you to act? If not, carry on with your inner peace and what not. 
If you've got a good momentum, stop for the opportunities that can bring your momentum to a higher level towards a carefully chosen goal. If not, just pass on the opportunity and carry on. 

Remember, minimalism is a catch-all term. I could throw away all of the stuff I don't find essential, but if I still possess the inner need to consume more, that means I need to re-evaluate my values and understand why they aren't up to par with my reality. No amount of organizing or de-cluttering or reading is going to magically  take you through the process of understand without you being there. Mindfulness is being there, and being there fully.

There is here. 

Carry on. And ditch the overly used lifestyle label. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

How to Lose Weight and Get the Body You Want the Easy Way Part 1

Losing weight can be a very frustrating endeavor, but with the right attitude, you can lose weight whilst maintaining a positive, accepting attitude. Using a few simple strategies, you can lose weight without ever obsessing about it. Before such strategies are covered, we must explore a few perspective shifts that will allow for an easier transition between suffering to lose weight and allowing yourself to shed off those pounds.

Stop Setting Yourself Up for Disappointment

Upon deciding to lose weight, many people are hit with a huge wave of enthusiasm and motivation. They feel extremely dedicated to their weight loss goals and they adopt an extreme shift in their lifestyle.
They spend an hour and a half at the gym and follow a very strict eating plan....for a few days.
Once the initial wave of motivation dies down, many people find that they can not sustain such an extreme lifestyle, especially one that promotes habits and routines that seem alien to their previous lifestyles. This often leads them to quit and the yo-yo dieting begins.

This extreme shift causes tension and stress. In order to maintain a sustainable weight loss plan, you must slowly acclimate yourself to the process. Stopping bad habits cold turkey and adopting an intense workout plan is often too much for one to handle all at once.

The truth is disappointing to most who want a quick fix, but the truth is that sustainable weight loss is a slow and steady race.

No secret foods or secret workout plans are going to make you lost ten pounds in the next 3 days. Even if this highly unlikely method happened to work, it would be highly unhealthy and easily reversible.

Accept Yourself Right Now

You have a weight loss goal in mind. You know what you want your body to look like. You are tired of looking and feeling and performing the way you currently do.

In order to adopt a sustainable healthy lifestyle, you must accept yourself as you are right now.
Accept the fact that you are not the shape you want to be, but that you are the shape you are.
Acceptance gives you power and truth. Once you accept yourself, you gain a huge advantage- self honesty.

Skipping out of self acceptance leads to self delusion. Be honest with yourself. Take your measurements and take a photograph, record your personal bests at certain exercises and accept that this is where you are right now.

This is a bitter pill to swallow for most, but once you really, honestly take a good look at your current situation, you gain much more insight and perspective regarding your goals and what steps you need to take to reach them.

This applies to obvious observations, like accepting that you have a flat gluteus maximus and deciding that you would like to build one. This also applies to more subtle factors, like accepting that you are afraid of lifting weights because you are afraid of looking bulky because you want to look like a supermodel because the media has lead you to believe that in order to be attractive and desirable, you must be a certain size.

Try to understand why you want the body you want, and why you want to reach the goals you set up for yourself.

If your goals are driven by the desire to please others and gain the approval of others, you will be sorely disappointed. Find out what drives you and what pleases you, and you will find a source of inner motivation and self responsibility that previously seemed out of reach.

Accept That You Can't Burn Off A Bad Diet

You can't out-train a bad diet. If you eat crappy food, you are highly unlikely to burn it off.
Don't use exercise as a means to burn off calories- learn to be satisfied with less food and you won't need to work out as much.

Eat your vegetables. Many people delude themselves into thinking they can get away with eating crappy food if they don't meet their caloric requirements. This is not healthy and not sustainable. Your body needs essential vitamins, minerals, and amino acids found in natural, whole foods like fruits and vegetables.
Don't be lazy- eat your produce, fill up your plate with lots of produce, and don't delude yourself into thinking you can be healthy without eating produce.

Protein shakes and bars are not a real meal. Neither are rice cakes or whole wheat toast with peanut butter. All of these health foods are healthy alternatives in comparison to fruits and vegetables. 
Eat your fruits and vegetables! There is no magic manufactured miracle health food that can replace the benefits of wholesome produce.

Eat reasonably and use common sense.
Many diets advocate unreasonable portions of food consumption. Don't feel pressured by the diet claims that insist you eat an extremely high amount of protein per day, or extremely low amount of carbohydrates or fats per day. You don't need to eat every two hours. You don't need to consume a certain amount of protein at various parts of the day to avoid muscle loss.

Unless you are a bodybuilder or a professional athlete, you do not need to inconvenience yourself with such extreme strategies. Eat reasonably. Eat small portions and eat good food. Allow your self the occasional treat and allow yourself the time and energy to enjoy a meal. Enjoy eating.

Stop Spending So Much Money
Stop buying the diet pills. Stop buying the countless supplements. Stop buying the "healthy substitute" food products that reek of ingredients produced exclusively in factories. Stop buying the spot reduction gym equipment. Stop buying the overly redundant magazine.

You can spend your money on items that claim to speed up your metabolism and guarantee a five pound lighter version of yourself in three days, or you can spend money on things you actually enjoy.

Weight loss is not a hobby. Spend your money on a legitimate past time.

Be Realistic About Your Goals
Do you hate working out? Or do you hate certain types of work outs?
If you want to look like Jessica Biel but would rather walk to the nearest elevator instead of walking up the stalled set of escalators, then you are barking up the wrong tree.

Transformations are possible, like Chris Hemsworth immense muscle gain for his role as Thor. But are you willing to commit to a strenuous lifestyle that revolves around eating and working out?

Ease Is A Relative Term
What is easy for you may not be easy for another. What matters most if finding what works for you, and what resonates with you.
Some people thrive on a challenge and love outdoing themselves and beating their personal bests. That attitude and drive comes to them with ease- they feel as if they are not fully themselves if they are not meeting their challenges. Intensity is fun for them.

Other people fare best with more moderate and gentle approaches. These people like to be healthy but hate going to the gym. Leniency works best with them, and these people really do not hold aspirations towards looking like the next cover model of Sports Illustrated.

Find out what you value more. What do you naturally feel compelled to do, and what are you naturally driven by?

Regardless of your values, you will need to step out of your usual comfort zone, but the leap won't be too drastic. The leap will have a steady foundation and you will be able to sustain your progress and lifestyle. This new lifestyle will come with ease if you let go of your resistance to what you really want to do.

Friday, November 2, 2012

How to Stop Being Suspicious In a Relationship

Being in a serious relationship leads to developing a very close bond with your partner. No matter how tight, close, and totally open with each other you'd like to be, there will always be a need for some extent of distance between you and your partner. This space is scary for some people.

When some people give their partner space, or at least their idea of what space should be, they start to feel negative feelings and regret. They feel paranoid, at a loss of control, and suspicious. These negative emotions actually create distance, but of a very different kind. This distance encourages the lack of empathy, love, and kindness that genuine closeness facilitates. In order to create the right kind of distance and maintain true closeness, partners must be able to give each other space.

What Is Space?
Different partners require different levels of space and freedom. This freedom does not mean that your partner will cheat on you or do anything to threaten your relationship. Instead, this freedom is intended to allow your partner to invest their time in prospects besides your direct relationships.

Your partner needs their own hobbies, friends, interests, and alone time because they need to take care of themselves in order to be able to function in a relationship.
You also need to take care of yourself and find different people and projects to invest your own time and attention into- do not let your relationship take over your life.
Although your relationship may be the best thing in your life, it can not be the only thing you live for. Learn to enjoy other people's company, your own company, and the company of a few hobbies and interests that make you feel happy.

The Negative Feelings
Usually, when a partner is hesitant to give their partner space, it is due to feelings of suspicion and paranoia. These all arise from a lack of trust between partners and a lack of security with the self.
If you think your partner will cheat on you, you either are willingly in a relationship with someone who is a proven cheater and/or shows interest in acts of infidelity or you just don't trust the person.
Telling the difference is key. If your partner expresses disinterest in you and interest in other people, ask your partner about it. Tell your partner you feel neglected and share your feelings. Listen to your partner's response. If your partner does not care, then stop choosing to be in that relationship.

If you think your partner is going to cheat or do something stupid while you two are apart, examine your distrust. Does your partner participate in activities that you thoroughly disapprove of? Does your partner spend time with people you really don't like?
Why do you disapprove of your partner's friends and hobbies?

Do you disapprove because those friends and hobbies are dangerous and harmful, or do you disapprove because you are jealous that your partner is giving his or her time and attention to people and acitivities other than you?

If you disapprove because those friends and hobbies are dangerous or a bad influence, you should communicate those worries to your partner and listen to their response. If your partner does not see the harm and continues to do the same things and spend time with the same people, you can either choose to stay and compromise or you can choose to leave and rid yourself of the stress. Decide whether most of that stress comes from a place of insecurity and jealousy, or of an actual place of disharmony. If you really feel like your partner is engaging his time in what will lead to a negative, destructive path, you do not have to stay. You may tell him that you apprehend a negative future, but it is ultimately your choice whether you want to stay and see it through the hardships or if you want to leave and be done with issues you do not have to deal with.

If you suspect your partner of cheating or on the path to cheating, evaluate your comfort level regarding the amount of time your partner spends with people you consider "competition." If you honestly feel like you have to fight and compete to keep your partner's attention, you are probably in the wrong relationship and/or suffering from deep personal insecurities. Explore the possibility of deep insecurities and work through them with your partner. If your partner acts in a way that fulfills enough of the mutual understanding and nurturing you need in a relationship, then you two can probably work through it. If you consistently feel neglected in those aspects of your relationship, remember that you are choosing to stay. Expecting things to change when they have consistently stayed the same regardless of your efforts will only disappoint you.

Try not to complicate the reality of your situation.
If your partner respects you and makes an effort to make you feel more comfortable, your partner is compromising and giving extra attention and consideration for the sake of your relationship. Try to match that level of attention and consideration by looking within yourself to remove self-made insecurities and blockages. The more of these inner conflicts you resolve, the more love and attention you can give to yourself and your partner.

If you are still unhappy and stressed out despite increased communication and compromise between you and your partner with the addition of thoughtful introspection and honest self evaluation,  learn to accept the possibility that the relationship might not be the best for you. Do not expect the relationship or your partner to change and bend to your will. If you are truly unhappy, you always have the choice to end the relationship and spend more of your time and effort on loving yourself and finding out what you want.

The more you love yourself and the more deeply and often you love and appreciate what makes you happy, the better you will find and attract a relationship that only adds to that joy.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

How to Deal with Stress and Desire

Stress is the tension and pressure caused by expectations in life.
We stress because we worry about deadlines.
We stress because we fret about solutions.
We stress because we are unsure of the outcome of our words and actions.
We stress because we can not control every aspect in our life, and we stress because we doubt our authority  regarding the aspects we can control.

Stress is the product of expectation, worry, and doubt.
In order to deal with stress, we must understand why we are creating it.


When we project expectations onto a situation, we are taken out of the moment.
We worry and anticipate what is to come instead of focusing on what we can experience and interact with in the present moment.
We fail to see opportunities for action, inaction, and insight because we are too preoccupied with what we should be doing or what we situations we should be producing.

Imagine someone in possession of a lit fire on a cold winter night.
If they are too busy anticipating and building up defenses for possible situations where their fire may be blown out, then they never get to enjoy and benefit from that fire.
If they are too attached to the idea of keeping their fire aflame, then they will not be able to handle the reality that their firewood may eventually run out.

Both situations cause stress. 
The reality is the fire will go out at a certain point.
In order to fully enjoy that fire, one must find a balance between action and inaction.
One must cultivate enough resources to keep that fire going, but one can not spend all of their time cultivating that resource. One must also enjoy the fire.

That fire is akin to a situation. A situation can either progress or regress. 
There will always be a time for that fire to be extinguished- one can not fan the same flame for forever.
Once one stops expecting that fire to stay lit, then one can enjoy the fire.
But one can not expect the fire to stay lit without their action-
one must also take responsibility for the factors they have power over.

If one really wants that fire to stay lit because one enjoys that particular flame,
one will do everything in their power to make it happen.
Usually, if that desire is genuine, then one will find a sense of enjoyment and peace from actively fulfilling their responsibilities and exerting that power regarding that situation.
When one is lacking that genuine will and desire, one experience immense feelings of stress.

Do You Want It?

Do you want that particular fire? Or are you fanning that fire because you have placed expectations onto yourself?
Is this fire important to you? Do you need it, or do you just think you need it?
Do you want that fire to be bright because that brightness resonates with you? Or do you go after a certain brightness because you are comparing your fire to others'?

When we compare our situations to others, and when we go after certain situations because of others, we inevitable create stress. We are placing others' opinions and values before ours. 
How can you expect to feel fulfilled if you are simply borrowing others' priorities?

Once you find your own true priorities, you can work towards going after the realities you want to create. 

How Bad Do You Want It?

Sometimes when we go after what we want, we get so attached to a certain path and certain outcome that we create more stress even when dealing with what we are truly passionate about.

This stress is often caused by a narrow idea of what we truly want.
If a fisherman wants to make a catch, he will not choose a puddle over the sea.
Exercise open-mindedness. The vast amounts of possibilities will allow you to be flexible. The more flexible you are and the more easily you can adjust to situations, the less stressful you will feel.

You Are Not The Goal

Sometimes we attach our own personal worth to the extent which we can fulfill certain goals.
Know that you are not the goal, you are not the progress, nor are you the regression, the failure, nor the stagnation.
Remember that you choose to nurture a situation because you want to experience it, not define yourself through it.

Situations always end, but you will always have to deal with yourself. 
The less you allow the parameters of a situation to dictate your emotions and self esteem, the more space you create in order to be flexible and open minded.

Remember to be open minded and present in the moment.
Let yourself be happy, and let yourself reject and accept what truly resonates with you. Do not chase what you do not care to catch. Be honest with yourself, and try to fully enjoy what the fleeting moments offer you.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

How to Decide for Yourself

Life is full of opportunities to make decisions-
these decisions vary in significance, in duration, and in intention.
Decisions are always a product of intention, regardless of whether they are made consciously or subconsciously. 

Decisions reflect purpose.
Why do we decide upon or against various prospects?
We choose certain goals/situations/actions in order to get what we want.
Decisions are very powerful in life- but the intentions behind them are even stronger.

Attitude and Intentions
A single decision affects the factors assigned to and controlled by that choice.
Intention and attitude affect all decisions.

When one holds a certain attitude and intention, they make choices that resonate with and reinforce that attitude and intention. Although attitude and intention are impermanent and can be instantly changed, most individuals hold onto and get stuck with a few select tendencies.

Until one becomes aware of their attitude and intentions, one will live life according to their unexamined beliefs. These unexamined beliefs will seem permanent and real- and one gives away their personal power to external sources and withstanding habits.

Regarding true personal power to make decisions, one of the most limiting beliefs that one can hold is 
"Someone else knows what's best for me better than I do"
"Someone else knows me better than myself."

The belief that someone/something outside of one's self knows possesses superior discernment regarding one's life works levels both subtle and obvious.

Obvious examples include believing your doctor/teacher/personal trainer/counselor/therapist/etc. know what is best for you better than you do. This is an easy belief to acquire- you pay these professionals to look after certain aspects of your life and improve them.

Subtle examples include believing your partner/parent/friend/media/etc. has a better understanding of what is  best for you better than you do. This belief is a product of an inferiority complex and an imbalanced desire to please others.

One may give that power to their partner or friend because they feel subtly inferior- they may see their partner or friend as more successful/smarter/more attractive/more worthy/better/etc than themselves. 
One may continue giving that power to their parents beyond childhood due to a lack of independence and a self-limiting approach to pleasing their parents and/or keeping the peace in the family.
One may give that power to the media because they desire the approval and applaud received by celebrities, and see those celebrities as superior to them (at least in some aspects.) 

The desire to please others and the desire to give personal responsibility away to external sources leads one to depend on others for self fulfillment. This dependence leads to illusory problems which lead to habits and intentions which control real decisions.
The desire is a problem.

In order to reclaim personal power, one must let go of their limiting beliefs. 
If one suffers from an inferiority problem, one must examine the cause of low self esteem and low self worth.
If one places the approval of others before their own wants and needs, one must learn to enforce and strengthen their personal boundaries.
If one makes decisions based on the reactions of others in order to gain that desired reaction, one must learn to look to themselves for validation and appreciation.

One must understand that only they possess ultimate discernment regarding their own choices that suit their own values, goals, wants, and needs.

One must take full responsibility for their choices and attitude and intentions. It is easy to give personal power to others because it is easy to blame others if all goes wrong. This dependence will always cause situations to go wrong.

One must understand their intentions- is the decision aimed to please others or aimed to resonate with one's self.

The power to decide for one's self with full confidence requires self evaluation and full presence in the moment. The residue of the past can only cloud the present if one chooses it to be so. 

Understand why you want what you want and why you continue to accept the states of your life, and you will find the space and strength to decide for yourself.

Monday, October 1, 2012

How to Stop Labeling People

Labeling one's surroundings is a strongly rooted habit-
we subconsciously organize our environment into categories which help us "survive."
From a survivalist viewpoint, this tendency is extremely helpful-
we must label that area of the forest as dangerous, the members of a neighboring tribe as friendly or lethal, and that body of water as impure.

Arriving at quick conclusions when facing crucial survival situations is useful and promotes our well-being, but when that same tendency is practiced in a totally nonthreatening environment (e.g. our social lives), we actually hinder the flow of our happiness.

How We Organize the People Around Us

Most of us constantly form observations about others within the first few seconds of meeting them.
Their appearance, body language, and general "vibe" seem to communicate to us their personalities.
This alone, in its "pure" act, is a very harmless exercise. There is nothing wrong with deducing a person's emotions, attitude, and mood through what they subconsciously and consciously communicate.

We can use our empathy to tell if a person is happy, tired, sad, grumpy, confident, insecure, and what not. Still, this observation, even when done in a totally neutral manner, can only go so far as to describe a person in the moment one is observing them.
One can not wear the signs of their past unless they are living their past as a habit.

Although helpful when using empathy in order to connect with others, observing others easily and frequently goes awry. Instead of observing others in order to relate to them, we form opinions that separate us from others.

Projecting Onto Others and Cloudy Judgement

Once we stop observing others with a clear mind and open heart, we create opinions based on judgement and separation from that person.

When we see someone who looks a certain way we do not like, we react emotionally- usually with a subtle sense of annoyance or disgust, because that person does not fit the expectations we hold. We can also attribute this undesired appearance to a personality trait or lifestyle we disapprove of.

Someone who sees another dressed in revealing clothes and lots of makeup might react negatively and consider the person cheap, vain, or trashy because they do not look the way they're comfortable with. Once these almost instantaneous opinions form, they harbor extremely negative emotions, thoughts, and behavior towards others.

The person doing the judging is separating him or herself from the other person- isolating themselves from a person who seems to possess traits they do not like. In reality, those very traits are usually possessed by the person doing the judging. This projection of undesired traits onto others causes a majority of the problems within social interactions. 

This can also happen with seemingly "positive" reactions to people. Someone might see traits that they feel they do not have or they deeply admire about themselves in another and rate the person highly. The person doing the rating is attached to these traits and attaches to people who possess these traits. These judgments can lead to obsession. This can also lead a person into regarding the other so highly that they lose respect for themselves and give up their power- like an imbalanced relationship where one is "better" or "more desirable" than the other.

Projections are created when one does not accept themselves completely, when one's limiting beliefs cause them to disown traits and qualities they possess or have the potential to cultivate, and when depends on their surroundings to define themselves.

How to Stop Projecting Labels Onto Others

If one wants to stop projecting onto others, one most accept themselves fully and truthfully evaluate themselves in a clear-minded manner.
One must accept and bring up the things about them they are uncomfortable with. One has to work through these issues and let go of limiting beliefs in order to find total self acceptance.

In order to let go of limiting beliefs, one has to stop projecting fears onto him or herself. Usually, these fears come from the past or present. One can be so caught up on the past that they forget the power in the present, or one can be so anxious about the future that they do not process the feelings and emotions they are presently experiencing.

When one simply lets go of the past and future and lives in the moment, the nagging script of past mistakes and expectations of the future subside and one can tune into the possibilities of the present. One can be clear in the present. Only in the present can one avoid being defined by their past actions and future plans.

One must also practice maintaining an open heart towards themselves and towards others. When one acts from their heart, they do not project expectations onto others. Instead, one can act from a place of genuine care and understanding for those around him or her.

Humans are social creatures, and happiness can not come from isolating one's self from the rest of the population due to illusory beliefs and misconstrued view points.

Connecting with others on a blank slate allows happiness and well-being to flow for both parties.

How to Stop Objectifying Yourself

Everyone possesses a different set of values. Judging others based on conflicting value systems does not result in any positive progress, connection, or sustainable enjoyment.
Yet common ground exists between most people living within society.
One of the most controversial themes existing throughout social boundaries is the subject of objectifying people into mere sexual or visual objects.

Although the individual does not possess control over how others react and perceive them, individuals have the power to send conscious and subconscious messages as to how they would like to be treated. Behavior and choices all contribute to how an individual suggests others treat him or her.

If You've Got It, Flaunt It

A person with a healthy self esteem will feel comfortable with their body. They accept and take care of their body and take pride in keeping up their health and appearances. Some individuals perceive a certain wardrobe as immodest, whilst others may think it acceptable and attractive.

The intention behind how we show off our bodies is much more important and weighty than the actual clothing we wear.

If one wears revealing clothing in order to gain attention and admiration, one risks becoming a mere physical object. Yet, another person may wear the same outfit out of admiration for the style and appearance of the actual clothing. 

We live in a world of intention, and what we pay attention to grows.
If one merely focuses on how many approving glances are thrown his or her way when looking a certain way and fitting a certain image, one becomes reliant upon others' reactions to validate their identity and value.

If one focuses too much on appearances, one equates themselves to the level of beauty one believes they occupy. Beauty becomes a qualitative competition, and the pursuit of such "beauty" harbors negative feelings for the individual and for the individual's acquaintances and friends.

You are not just your face.
Although a person's expression and body language signal their inner activity and emotions, there is no deep meaning behind socially celebrated features.
Large breasts do not make you more of a woman.
Huge arms do not make you more of a man.
A tiny nose and plump lips do not make you a better person.

Although taking care and maintaining the physical body is crucial to happiness and well-being, the identifications made with the physical attributes are purely egotistical and illusory.
Looking a certain way does not demand of you a certain behavior.

Looks Fade

Vanity in moderation never hurt anyone. There is nothing wrong in taking pride in appearance and looking a certain way because it makes you happy. 
When we attempt to look a certain way in order to please others, we lose our power.

Generally, women will always research the certain "looks" the general male population approves of, and men will always look to the GQ or Men's Health magazine.

Besides the ingrained survival instincts that cause men to prefer fertile, curvy women and women to prefer tall, broad shouldered men, the rest of our opinions are generated by the media.

At one point in time, the general population thought blondes were better because of the prevalence of blue eyed, blonde haired starlets being treated like princesses and winning Prince Charming in the movies and television. Some of us know how ridiculous it is to mark one hair color superior to others. Yet some are still living under this subtle suggestion.

Women are constantly dying their hair or changing their makeup in order to emulate the latest celebrity. Usually, these celebrities condone an image based on sexual prowess. Smoky eyes, pushed up breasts, bedroom hair, and non-existent clothing has become the norm. Sex sells in the entertainment industry, but those celebrities are being paid to be watched.

The prevalence of sexually exciting celebrities serves as a "source of inspiration" for the population. The population relates to the sensationalism of the media. We expect the admiration from being a beauty to be gawked at because we compare ourselves to the airbrushed people working in an industry that expressly depends on looks to function and thrive.

The distinction between the entertainment world and real world has been severely blurred.

Why This Hurts Your Self Esteem

If one wants to be a slave to providing visual pleasure, then that is a personal choice.
But happiness is not to be found exploiting a subjective ideal.
There will always be people who do not find you attractive and do not see your beauty.
There will always be people who others find more attractive and beautiful than you.
There will always be people who just don't care how you look.

And then there are the people who equate you to your looks because you do it to yourself first.
There are people who only value your beauty.
There are people who only want to sleep with you because of your looks.
There are people who will criticize and judge you based on appearance.

Accepting the fact that approval does not lie within others will free you from pursuing ideals dependent on the opinions of others. Once you start living and looking the way you want to for yourself, life gets a lot better.

The Thing About Modesty

Modesty is subjective. 
Yet, its hard to deny that overexposure just isn't attractive anymore.
When one constantly wears revealing clothes, there is no mystery.
There can also be no denying that wearing very revealing clothing sends off a specific message. 
Some people see past the clothing and disregard it, but 
the majority of people will associate overexposure to negative traits.

"Why are you dressing like that anyways?" is a good question to think about.
People with nice bodies like to flaunt their nice bodies- they work hard on them.
But one should be careful not the become their nice bodies.
The unhealthiest habits can come from the most beneficial choices.

Just You

You'll never please everyone and even wanting to is such a drag.
Just try to be aware of why you choose to look the way you look.
And if you are experiencing certain social interactions that become the norm for you, evaluate your situation.

If you are being treated a certain way, the cold, hard truth is your looks probably have something to do with it.
Just learn to differentiate between your physical looks and your expressions and body language- which actually have more meaningful implications.

How to not objectify others is for another time.