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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The Truth About Anxiety (Personal)

When I was prescribed an anxiety pill a couple of weeks ago, I thought it was completely unnecessary. I had gone to the doctor about a completely different problem, and the fact that he thought it was also necessary I drink an anti-anxiety, antidepressant pill for a month seemed like just another inconvenience. Initially, this pill made me really drowsy, spaced out and gave me migraines; one week in, and some of the side-effects are still pretty strong. However, I have made the rational decision to drink this medication for the next three weeks, and fight through the side-effects as much as I can. So why the sacrifice?

I know that a good percentage of my generation complains about anxiety. This is such a widespread problem that it has pretty much become a meme and a joke. It almost seems as though everyone suffers from anxiety – many self-diagnosed – and I definitely didn’t want to be part of that group. Since I wasn’t having full-blown panic attacks, I dismissed the possibility of me having this problem and just went about my daily responsibilities. Little did I know that my life would come to a point where I couldn’t ignore it anymore.

Following a series of health complications during the last couple of years or so, I started to develop hypochondriac tendencies. Even after the doctor told me that I had nothing serious, I was convinced that I was detrimentally sick, and continued to experience symptoms of sickness even after I was supposedly “cured”. I was told that this was normal, and if I looked after myself my body would go back to the way it was in a few months. Instead of coming to terms with this, I began to feel terribly anxious that I would stay sick for the rest of my life and that there was something the doctors were missing.

Fast forward one year, and I went to get checked again. Aside from some minor imbalances in my body, the doctors didn’t find anything and basically gave me the same answer – just look after yourself, don’t worry and you will eventually feel better. There is nothing seriously wrong with you. By this point, I felt shaken up and reluctant to believe that I wasn’t heavily sick. I would experience terrible anxiousness from every minor symptom, and was convinced that I had developed all of these problems when numerous tests showed the opposite. I didn’t even have the motivation to “look after myself properly”, believing that it wouldn’t help anyway.

During my last check-up, my doctor decided to call in a neuropathologist and have him check me. It only took him a minute to figure out that I had bad anxiety, and he ended up prescribing me a medication that I was going to have to take for at least a month to calm my nervous system. I was surprised. After all, weren’t all my fears legit? How was an anxiety pill going to help with complications after a sickness? Well, I was wrong.

Anxiety pills are no joke. The side effects are sometimes unbearable, especially when you first start drinking it. However, I began to notice some positive changes, and decided to continue no matter how drowsy I felt. One week later, and it’s still a struggle not to fall asleep during the day. Sometimes I am tempted to stop, but what pushes me to carry on are the strange positive effects it has on my body. The pains and discomfort I used to experience are significantly better, and I no longer feel so anxious about never getting better. Although I am sleepy, it’s almost as if I can think more logically.

This got me thinking about whether or not this was a much deeper problem than just something I’d developed over the last couple of years due to sickness. I remember having horrible anxiety as a child, which is something I dismissed as the typical case of shyness. Now that I think back, it was definitely more than just that. However, as I entered my teen years, this anxiety began to bother me to the point that I forced myself out of my comfort zone so many times that it probably just went into “remission” on its own, and never looked back since. I didn’t want to think back to those years of my early childhood, let alone analyze them, so I just continued living normally up until a couple of years back.

I don’t want to go into too many details, but I got pretty sick in the summer of 2016. What made it worse is that it took the doctors about half a year to figure out what was wrong with me, and I was given an unpleasant (but definitely not fatal) diagnosis in December of that year. I took a couple of rounds of pills, but the symptoms just kept coming back. Every time I would feel a slight pain, fatigue or hint of nausea, I convinced myself that the sickness was back and I needed to go get checked. Moreover, I didn’t believe the doctors when they said that nothing was seriously wrong and that I would get better it time – according to my perception, I would be chronically sick for the rest of my life.

This began to take over my life, since I felt physically unwell nearly every single day. However, I had no idea that my mental state was affecting my physical one – I simply thought that I felt bad mentally BECAUSE I was not well physically, and didn’t consider that the first could cause the latter. When people told me to stay strong and positive, I looked at them as though they were crazy – how on earth was a change in attitude going to help me get out of this? My hypochondriac tendencies were completely normal in my eyes, and I felt as though nobody understood what I was going through.

Fast forward to now, and I am a hundred percent sure that I will finish drinking the whole monthly prescription of this unpleasant medication. Maybe I feel drowsy and get nasty migraines from time to time, but for the first time in my life I can acknowledge that I definitely experience symptoms of anxiety and probably have for my whole entire life. This pill is supposed to help me feel better and give my body a chance to cure itself without all of the nervousness that stopped it from doing so before; once I’m off it, I’ll be much more aware of whether my fears are logical or just something stemming from anxiety.

A lot of the time, we do not see the link between physical and mental health, but there is actually a really strong connection between the two; positive, passionate and mentally strong people are always the ones to get out of health problems the quickest, and is something I dismissed up until now.

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Gratitude

Gratitude is the number one new year’s resolution we all need. Sure, many people would like to get richer/fitter/healthier/happier, travel more, discover themselves, “find love” and so on and so on, but unless you are actually grateful for what you have now, none of those should be a priority. People are wired to constantly crave to improve their quality of life, and that’s pretty normal. After all, this desire is the first stepping stone to change if you actually act on it, but only focusing on these resolutions is wrong.

Looking back two years ago, I can say that I was hardly thankful for anything. Although I didn’t have any real problems, I ended up being this ungrateful, somewhat bratty eighteen-year-old who complained about EVERYTHING. Remembering the first months of 2016, I realize that I should have been so blissfully happy and appreciating every second of the close-to-perfect life I had. But then again, because I didn’t have any serious problems back then, I literally took everything for granted. If something didn’t go my way – even if it was the most minor thing – I would make a huge tragedy out of it and make sure to mention how everything always goes wrong for me. I suppose the absence of any genuinely serious issues is what caused me to be such a brat in the first place; I just didn’t know any better.

Fast forward two years: 2018, 20 years old and definitely much more tired, stressed and sometimes sad (for valid reasons). But at the same time, I am so incredibly thankful for learning the art of gratitude, which honestly makes up for a lot. Maybe if things stayed as smooth as they were back when I was 18, I would still be the same person – bored, permanently annoyed and bitching about every tiny thing that went wrong.

The “problems” I had back then were mostly due to me not knowing what to do with myself, being too lazy to do what I actually wanted to do with my life and getting into petty personal dramas. Being broke for a couple of weeks was a tragedy, going through a break-up after dating someone for a month or two was life ruining, and gaining half a kilo because I didn’t have time to work out for a few days meant that I would basically spend the next few days avoiding food and feeling miserable because OH MY GOD 500 extra grams. You know, just the usual superficial bullshit.

Little did I know that June 2016 would be the last month I felt comfortable. Without going into too much detail, I can say that the last two years have been so difficult – more difficult than I would like to share. Because I’ve always been that weird-funny-sociable person, many people – even the close ones – probably can’t even imagine the extent to which I’ve had to pick myself up over and over again just to not give up on things that I used to take completely for granted.

But this is not a “feel sorry for me” post – this is a lesson. Although I lost some things I didn’t even realize I had, I gained this incredible feeling of gratitude for everything good that is still in my life. And maybe some days are still bad, but I appreciate the good ones so much that they make up for anything that happened before. And when things get better, I know that I’m never ever going to take the good things I have for granted. I will never be depressed over petty things, procrastinate on the important stuff, or even miss opportunities just because I’m waiting for everything to be “perfect”.

So now, just take a moment to be grateful what you have right now, because good things are fickle and have the tendency to disappear if they are not appreciated. Happy 2018.

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Sometimes

Sometimes I really wish I could have a mentor. And yes, if you are thinking of a wise Buddhist middle-aged man, that’s exactly who I’m thinking of too.

On a serious note, it wouldn’t really matter what form my mentor would appear in. All I need is a wise individual who knows how to keep secrets. I would tell them all about my life, my goals, my problems, and they would use all of their wisdom and experience to help me do amazing things. Someone who would keep me motivated no matter what, tell me that everything will be okay and remind me to get my shit together when necessary. Someone who would remind me about all my responsibilities, but in a way that would be encouraging and not stressful at all. Someone who has been a mentor for months, and years and decades prior to meeting me, and would already know everything there is to know about helping people to focus on what they want and what they need to fix.

I know it seems fantastical, yet a person can dream. Think about it. Wouldn’t you prefer to have someone like that in your life? We’re all encouraged to be our own mentors, yet it gets so tedious that we start to go easy on ourselves in the most detrimental way possible. And when we do get our shit together, so to speak, we find ourselves in a bubble of stress and last-minute panic. I don’t know what the moral of this post is, but I’ll probably finalize it on the following note: if you are not lucky enough to have a mentor, try to be your own mentor (I guess). Imagine that you are two people instead of one, and encourage yourself as you would have liked to be encouraged by somebody else.

Damn it, can I at least have a mentor until 2018?

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Autumn Blur

Autumn is a very hazy time. Leaves fall, nature dies, and everything just seems to die with it. And yet, no matter how tired/sad/moody/indifferent I find myself feeling every autumn, it is definitely one of my favourite seasons.

I’m the type of person who weirdly enjoys feeling melancholic. When you are sad, you have the opportunity to rethink things, re-evaluate goals and gain a better understanding of who you are. Happiness, on the other hand, is like a professional camera with the brightness turned all the way up – in focus, yet unpleasantly blinding. Sounds pretty deep, but I did warn you that this season turns me into a weird existential mess. It’s not like I lie in bed all day: I still have university, with all its endless group projects and exams and assignments; I still have a part-time job; I still try to get my ass to the gym more or less regularly – as well as out, just to ensure that I still have a (more-or-less) good social life. Yet everything becomes blurred, sleepy, weird – unreal.

Time loses its grip during autumn. The days just seem to gradually grow from one to the next, without any particular feeling of what date it is, or even what hour of the day. In fact, I am almost convinced that Lewis Carroll wrote “Alice in Wonderland” based on how many experience the months of September, October and November – you have a vague idea of who you are, yet nothing around you seems to make sense.

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Non-coincidental Coincidences

If you’ve been following my blog, you may have come across my recent, rather lengthy post about the law of attraction (and if you haven’t, that can be easily corrected…hint). In that entry, it is mentioned how I recently “rediscovered” this law and decided to use it to my advantage – and with some results, for that matter. In spite of the fact that I’ve already experienced a bit of success with this mindset, not enough time has passed for me to give an honest account of exactly how effective it is; let’s just say that it seems to be working and I promise to elaborate later in September. Although I’m not going to go deep into “The Secret” just yet, I would like to give a somewhat peculiar account of what happened yesterday. But before we go any further, it’s best to give another back-story.

Ever since I can remember, there have been times where I would think about someone, or simply remember someone, and then suddenly bump into them shortly after. After initially assuming that these were simply coincidences, a trace of doubt began to set in when I realized that these were not people I saw or even thought about often (literally months would pass before I saw or even remembered these individuals). Sometimes, all it took was one vivid memory for me to bump into a certain individual later during the day, even if I hadn’t seen or spoken to them for ages.

Although this started happening more and more frequently, my mind continued to ignore law of attraction as a possible explanation. Maybe it was due to lack of belief, or simply the fact that the concept was stored somewhere in the back of my mind next to long division and embarrassing memories (i.e. intentionally forgotten things). Either way, I acknowledged the weirdness of these occurrences, but didn’t think into them too much. However, yesterday was different.

Last night, my friend and I were walking home from a concert, just talking about stuff. Yes, we were literally just discussing “life stuff” – remembering high-school, getting nostalgic over our teenager years and discussing old friends/boyfriends/almost-boyfriends and so on (and I know she reads by blog so I’m going to insert a small “hi” right here). You know, just normal gossip – nothing out of the ordinary.

However, what did end up being unusual was the fact that I literally saw some of the people we spoke about several minutes after mentioning them. Once again, I hadn’t actually seen these people in months, which made me think about how weird these coincidences were becoming. Only this time, instead of briefly freaking out, I began to consider that these might not be coincidences after all.

Now, let’s get back to the initial topic. According to the law of attraction, our thoughts and feelings have the ability to attract people/things into our lives. Likewise, we also have the ability to attract success with positivity or scare it away with negativity – something that I explained in more detail in my last post. Anyway, the point is that simply thinking about someone can cause you to randomly bump into them, especially if they are somewhere nearby. It’s almost as if the universe aligns itself in such a way that you end up in the same place (at the same time) as the person you remembered. Although either of you could have essentially chosen different routes, or taken slightly longer to get to that exact spot, that person becomes somewhat drawn to you via your thoughts alone. Literally magnetic.

End-note: I’m not claiming this to be a completely valid explanation, but remain pretty open to the idea of non-coincidental coincidences, which sounds mutually exclusive but strangely believable at the same time.

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