Let’s Talk About Honesty

I think people liked me more when I wasn’t me. Okay cut!

A couple of years back I decided that it would be easier to navigate through life if I was just a bit more honest and upfront with people. No more “fake nice”, no more “pretending not to care when I do” and definitely no more holding back. Although it became easier for me in some sense because I no longer had to pretend that I somehow had less feelings, I noticed that people were beginning to treat me differently.

Now, I’m not trying to say that my whole life turned upside down because I decided to be more real, but there were definitely some changes – both positive and negative. Concerning the upsides, I became much better at giving advice because I no longer tried to protect people’s feelings by not telling them what they did wrong in a certain situation. I also cared less what people thought about me, because there was no image to uphold – when you’re you, you’re you. Period. But it almost seemed as though more people were beginning to dislike me, avoid me and generally consider me a bit of a bitch. And not only a bitch, but too open about stuff that seemed taboo, or too upfront when it came to solving problems and letting people know what they did wrong (notice how this also became a negative).

But most importantly, being honest had the absolute weirdest effect on my relationships. I would meet someone, begin dating them and as soon as they got to know me better things would go downhill. I can honestly say that boys liked me more when I didn’t say what’s on my mind. But after that, they would first claim how “it’s so cool you’re not like the other girls” (internal sigh), but as soon as any aspect of my personality I chose not to hide bothered them somehow they would RUN. And it’s funny because honesty and being upfront is something I value so much in other people, and can’t imagine how anyone would find it a turn-off.

Just to clarify one point, being honest does not mean being rude. I’ve never been a rude person and never will. Nor is being upfront synonymous with being mean, because I’ve never been that either. I simply stopped being scared of expressing how I truly felt about something or someone. If someone is doing something that’s bothering me, I tell them. If I like someone, I tell them. If I like LIKE someone, you bet I’m gonna tell them because it’s better than sitting around and wondering whether they like me back. And most importantly, if I care for someone I show it (unlike my 17, 18 year old self who would rather die than potentially be seen as “clingy”).

Just recently I decided to be upfront with a friend of mind about something. Okay, “friend”. I think you got the point. I needed to say what I said because it was getting too much for me and I decided that it would be better if they knew too. And guess what happened? That friend (okay, “friend”) of TWO YEARS, who I talked to nearly EVERY DAY, rudely cut me off from his life in the space of around 10 minutes via one angry phone call. I expected somewhat of a weird reaction, but I never expected this. And yes, of course it hurt.

Do I regret being honest? No. If I wasn’t, we would still probably be friends but I do not want to build a friendship based around fakeness, just like I don’t want to build a relationship based around the same thing. But I am slightly confused; we are taught from childhood that honesty is one of the best qualities a person could have, yet most of us grow up with fake personalities – holding back who we are and want we want to say. Where’s the logic in that?

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Sadness is a Blessing

After a night of insomnia, I decided around 8 am that sleeping was out of the picture. After all, I’d slept so much during the past few days because of a nasty cold that I guess I just used up all of my free sleeping hours. I got up, put on some make-up not to scare people and walked downtown to my favorite café. Since it was only 10 am, I was the only customer, so my coffee arrived pretty quickly. I sat there for over an hour, drinking my Americano, smoking my cigarettes (don’t smoke kids – it’s bad) and listening to their sad “indie autumn playlist” whilst observing the dismal rainy weather. I felt so peaceful that I honestly did not want to leave – even the lack of sleep and nasty-cold-feeling didn’t bother me. It was at that point that I came to a realization – sadness is, indeed, a blessing.

In that moment I was not conventionally happy; in fact, the music was causing my thoughts to spiral downwards into every single negative thing that happened to me over the past two-and-a-half years. From personal problems, to a chain of annoying, tiring health problems, to just downright periods of depression and anxiety, my life has been a bit of a shitshow since I turned 19 (I’m 21 now). Yet for once I did not feel that nasty, tired feeling. I felt good on the inside, like I was finally coming to terms with everything.

We live in a society where sadness is viewed as something negative; a sign of weakness, almost a sin. We are pressured into fighting our problems, getting over them as quickly as possible and returning back to that wonderful state of happiness and motivation. Today I truly felt that sadness can also be a wonderful feeling, and that it can be embraced instead of pushed back into the dark corners of our mind. It confuses me that we, as a society, aspire to achieve this robotic type of mentality, where only happiness and strength are acceptable.

From a psychological point of view, this also makes sense. If we keep trying to artificially alter our current state, this puts stress on our mind and body alike. Instead of fighting a problem, why not sit down and allow ourselves to truly feel it in all its negativity and discomfort. I feel like this is a much more effective way of dealing with an issue rather than acting as though you are on a battlefield, winning a war that doesn’t even exist. Until you truly understand why something happened and what you can learn from it, no amount of forced positivity is going to get you anywhere.

Sadness is also an excellent way to bond with others. I’ve had the chance to bond with so many people during these past couple of years than I’ve ever had in the previous nineteen. Happiness, as fantastic as it is, is a rather basic feeling; you don’t tend to have deep conversations when you are happy, and you are not really in the mood to listen to other people’s problems. But sadness is different; it’s a much deeper, tranquil feeling and opens you up to many new thoughts and ideas.

And finally, embracing sadness is also an excellent way of accepting your current circumstances, whatever they may be. Of course things are going to get better, whatever is going on now (and however long it has lasted). And today I understood that the only way things are going to get better is if I accept my current circumstances and truly embrace everything that I have learnt. As humans, we tend to feel hopeless and desperate when we are experiencing discomfort (both mental and physical), but that is because we have been conditioned to do so. There is no reason why we should ignore pain or try to make it instantly go away, not when it is a part of life.

After sitting in the café for over an hour, sleep deprived and all in my thoughts, I got up to leave feeling a completely different person. I have no idea why my brain took me to this strange place, but it was definitely worth it.

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Unpopular Opinion: Why Women Have It Easier Than Men

Considering the current radical feminist agenda, the following post may be controversial but hey – freedom of speech. That’s not to say that I disagree with some aspects; I support equal rights, whether it’s in the workplace, in sexual situations (slut-shaming is gross) and in day-to-day life, but I feel like men are getting a lot of shit for “having it easier”. Below, I’ve listed some points on why it’s easier to be a female in my opinion, and why we should give the male population much more credit.

  • Vulnerability

While women are encouraged to show their feelings, and forgiven for being too emotional, men are judged for it. If a girl cries, it’s ok because she’s just a girl. If a boy cries, it may be interpreted as a sign of weakness. Also, females can use this to their advantage, whilst men often have no choice but to deal with problems and not show any sign of weakness. This may be why male suicide rates are much higher than female ones. There is so much more pressure on guys, and a lot of it comes from the opposite sex. Whilst some women are more understanding, others often put a lot of pressure on their partners to make more money in order to spend more on fancy things. Not all, but a significant number nonetheless.

  • Looks

I feel like so many girls complain about men having really high standards when it comes to looks, but that’s really not the case. I’ve dated several people who idolized the Gigi Hadids and Megan Foxes of the world, but still thought I was pretty. Girls, on the other hand, are much pickier when it comes to finding a partner. They are often searching for the ones with the best looks, the most money, the fittest body and so on, and refuse to settle for “average”. Even if guys claim that they want a girl with the perfect face/body/height, they can easily date someone who doesn’t correspond to that criteria and still find them attractive and love them. But girls are always searching for Mr Perfect, and are very cautious about lowering their standards.

  • Dating

This is somewhat related to the second point. Although we are living in the era of equality, I feel like girls still have the upper hand when it comes to dating. They are allowed to be pickier, sit back and allow the guy to put in the initial effort and impress them. Also, I think it’s easier to find a boyfriend if you’re a single female, rather than find a girlfriend if you’re a single male. Your boyfriend dumped you? Just open your Instagram DMs or Facebook messages and realize that there are several other guys who will support you during this or even want to date you. Your girlfriend dumped you? Shit dude, now you have to go through the whole stage of impressing another girl, and trying to show her that you are better than the other guys she might be talking to.

  • Career

When a female is unemployed, or quits her job, there is not much stigma surrounding that. People are more lenient about letting a girl chill, or live off her parents/partner for a bit until she is ready to find a new work position. Men, on the other hand, are constantly pushed to make more money, get a new job, achieve incredible success by a certain age and be the breadwinner of the family. It’s all sunshine and rainbows when feminists talk about workplace equality, but I think we should consider the situation from the opposite end too; sure, women might get paid less in certain situations, but there is also much less pressure on women in general.

  • Sexual Situations

Yes, maybe many guys have it easier when it comes to not being judged for having casual sex/sleeping around, but they also have to – once again – put more effort in. If you’re a girl, you’re most likely not going to be left without any options; you don’t have to go out and search for someone, take them out on dates and spend money. This is also related to dating in the sense that females have the upper hand in this sphere. As I mentioned above, slut-shaming is bad, but women shame other women just as much – if not more. This is not even necessarily an inequality issue. Men get just as much shit for being “fuckboys”, and harshly judged for “only wanting one thing”.

In conclusion, being a man is hard. Being a woman is hard. Life is hard in general. But I think a lot of women need to sit back and give men more credit. Not all guys are sexist, rapist pigs. Sure some of them may be, but we can also claim that some women are materialistic psychotic manipulators. I don’t see many guys going around and saying that all the time. And this is coming from a girl, living in a country where there is still a significant amount of gender inequality. Feel free to disagree, this is just my personal opinion from observation.

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Taking the Red Pill: From “The Matrix” to Politics

If you’ve ever seen the 1999 science-fiction classic “The Matrix”, or have simply been keeping up with certain socio-political events, it is likely that you will be familiar with the red pill/blue pill analogy. However, to those of you who are unaware, let me briefly explain:

The whole concept of these two pills – and no, we are not talking about recreational drugs – is that it’s a metaphor for truth. The idea was first explored “The Matrix”, where the protagonist is offered to take a blue pill and wake up believing whatever he wants, or take a red pill and be exposed to the truth (no matter how unpleasant it may be). A peculiar but somewhat useful analogy, which is currently being considered from a political point of view. A lot of the time, people refuse to explore ideas outside of their comfort zone, thinking that their beliefs are the only ones worth listening to. It doesn’t matter if the opposing party brings rational, valid arguments – in most cases, the red pill will always be discarded for the blue.

Speaking from a political standpoint, it is no secret that there has always been a major divide between the left (liberals) and the right (conservatives). As of now, this division is perfectly reflected by the current state of America. Now, if you are a US citizen, please don’t be insulted and automatically assume that I am bashing your country; it was just a very tempting example, since things are evidently messed up at the moment. Ever since Trump came to power (and before that too, come to think of it), there has been an open conflict between the two sides. Liberals are often referred to as “Social Justice Warriors” and “Snowflakes” by the right, whilst they themselves refer to the right as “Nazis” or “White Supremacists”. And with the popularity of the internet, disagreements like this are much more intense.

Since a significant number of the younger generation (i.e. everyone under 30) seems to lean more towards the left, the internet – especially websites like Tumblr and YouTube – have always been populated by liberals. However, at some point, they ended up going overboard, giving birth to the Buzzfeed generation. Suddenly, left-wing politics stopped being about tolerance and acceptance, and became a frighteningly radicalized form of liberalism; people began screaming “oppression” at every corner, privilege became a crime and anyone who disagreed with them was either racist, sexist, trans-phobic, Islamophobic or trying to harass them. This angered conservatives, who turned to the opposite extreme and started a trend of “Anti-SJW” channels, some of which include Andy Warski, Bearing, Hunter Avallone and many more.

Initially, the main motive of these channels was to show how brainwashed these extreme liberals are, and point out flaws in their arguments. However, instead of encouraging an intellectual debate, the two sides ended up being at war. There was no dialogue between the two political and social spectrums, and almost no middle-ground – you were either on the left or on the right; either worshiping Trump or hating his guts.

Nonetheless, there has been some progress recently in terms of encouraging dialogue. I would like to bring the example of Laci Green, who was – up until now – a complete Social Justice Warrior meme (not offending her, she said so herself). However, Laci had a change of heart, and decided to reach out to some conservative content creators and discuss their points of view. Here’s what she had to say:

Personally, I neither like nor dislike her. I found some of her content educational, but most of it was somewhat annoying. However, after this video, I gained some respect for Laci.

I guess you could say that I am one of the rare cases that are neither on one end of the spectrum or the other. I like to stay as informed as possible, choosing the most logical argument instead of the one that best corresponds to my beliefs. This whole conflict really got me thinking about how we, as a society, should learn how to communicate with people that hold opposing viewpoints to ours. Although we may have some strong beliefs on certain controversial topics, in doesn’t make them the only valid ones. Also, it doesn’t automatically mean that anyone who disagrees with us is fundamentally wrong – it just shows a clash of ideas.

Going back to my initial metaphor, everyone has a choice. One can either go through life taking the blue pill, staying oblivious to the fact that other opposing viewpoints can also be rational, or take the red pill and acknowledge the validity of some of those viewpoints. Once again, it’s an individual choice, but the second option promises a better life and – on a grander scale – a more stable political climate.

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Let’s Talk About Willpower

Willpower – something that stops us from lying in bed all day with our laptops, right?

It is no secret that the majority of people have certain mandatory responsibilities, whether it be work, university, school, children or even just grocery shopping. It is also no secret that the majority of people tend to feel lazy – some more than others. This is why humans are equipped with this mysterious magic weapon by the name of “willpower”.

Since willpower is intangible, it cannot be observed by the naked eye. Nonetheless, its consequences are always visible; the university student sighs, hits the off button on their alarm clock, gets up, makes coffee, gets into the shower and proceeds to crawl to their morning lecture. Although they don’t always want to hear about Macroeconomics at 9 am, they know it’s mandatory, so they gather all of their remaining willpower and go.

Based on the slightly odd description above, it can be concluded that willpower forces us to do the things we don’t want to do and stops us from doing the things we do want to do (Google seems to agree with me). However, I personally did not require any background analysis to understand the concept since I’ve been in an unstable relationship with my own willpower for the majority of my life.

They say that willpower is like a muscle – it can be trained. At first, it seems strange to refer to something intangible as a “muscle”, but this statement actually makes perfect sense. Let’s think about it; although the majority of people seem to have the basic level of willpower that forces them to complete mandatory tasks (except for that kid who has more fails than passes, or that one friend googling how much strippers make because “I’m done, I just can’t get up for work in the morning!”), there seem to be several levels to  this “invisible muscle”:

1) Willpower Base – forces us to do the most mandatory tasks, such as survival, education, work, looking after our children etc.

2) Trained Willpower – forces us to do the tasks that are not mandatory, but improve quality of life, such as exercising, following a (more or less) healthy diet, maintaining a good social circle, working on self-development through hobbies and interests etc.

3) Higher-Level Willpower – forces us to be in control of our feelings and emotions; gives us the ability to rule our minds by (almost instantly) dismissing negative thoughts and encouraging positive ones, allows us to drastically change what we don’t like about our personalities through repeated mental training.

Now, these three levels shouldn’t be taken as a confirmed theory; these are just my suggestions, and how I visualize the concept. What concerns my position; I suppose I’m still working on the second level. Although the third level is the most challenging, I believe it is easier to successfully transition from the second to the third rather than from the first to the second.

Last night, I decided to do that activity where you write down a list of your problems and then include a rational solution under each one. And you know what? I was somewhat amazed to see that all of my problems could be solved via stronger willpower. Don’t get me wrong; the concept itself isn’t going to eliminate all possible issues in one day, but it is a crucial element to completing the required steps of every solution. Since I don’t want this post to be personal, let’s consider a hypothetical example:

Jane weighs 95 kilograms (not a pseudonym – I’m 55). Although she is pretty heavy, she is not suffering from any health issues and her doctor told her that as long as she doesn’t gain any more weight, it is unlikely that any issues will arise in the near future. Therefore, it is not mandatory for her to lose weight. However, Jane is still unhappy; she feels unconfident in her skin, suffers from fatigue on a daily basis, and finds herself unable to walk up a flight of stairs without losing her breath. Now, if my hypothetical woman only possesses the first level of willpower, she will stay at her current weight, since all of the current problems related to it are not completely detrimental to her existence. However, if Jane masters the second level, it is likely that she will find herself 30 kilograms lighter by this time next year. Why? Because she will use that willpower to improve her diet, take part in regular exercises, make healthier choices and so on.

And you know what the funniest thing is? Getting to the second level isn’t hard. We’ve convinced ourselves into thinking that training our willpower is unpleasant and difficult, but it really shouldn’t be when considered from a step-by-step perspective. Going back to my example, it seems much harder to make lifestyle changes that will allow one to dr

I don’t know about you, but this seems pretty mind-blowing. I mean, think about how many people would achieve their goals via stronger willpower by taking it one step at a time instead of considering them on a grander scale. Doing a bit of extra math every day instead of constantly reminding yourself that you need an A by the end of the semester is more likely to get you that A, because now you are less overwhelmed. Willpower training is just like a good work-out: if you view it as a chore, yet expect outstanding results, you’re not going to get anywhere. I know it sounds cliché, but (for the most part), we are in control of achieving whatever we want; the only thing to remember is that we should learn how to channel our willpower in the right way.

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