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 “Law of Attraction” in the Eyes of a Skeptic

The law of attraction – a peculiar premise that our thoughts have the power to attract positive or negative circumstances into our lives. Positive thinking sends off positive vibrations, attracting one’s desires, whilst negative thoughts attract more negativity. It’s all about the good vibes, bro.

Although I first watched “The Secret” in 9th grade math class (and remained vaguely impressed for a whole 24 hours until my 14 year old brain got distracted by food or some friendship group drama), I never really thought into the Law of Attraction up until now. Just as atheists reject prayer until the first airplane turbulence, or naive college girls continue to take nudes until the first phone hack, I remained pretty ignorant of this concept up until now. In other words, I didn’t consider utilizing this peculiar idea until it became absolutely necessary.

Before I continue, let me introduce a bit of a back story. Sadly, I’ve never been a particularly positive person, or a raging optimist, which means that I’ve always had a bit of a hard time dealing with problems – both emotionally and physically. However, I didn’t actively pursue change for several reasons:

  1. I didn’t experience any serious, long-term issues/discomfort that would require significant emotional and physical effort to deal with (oh, the good days…)
  2. I considered my often skeptical and somewhat pessimistic outlook to be a part of my personality – i.e. “I am who I am…yo”
  3. I’ve always been a bit lazy, to be perfectly real with you

Nonetheless, my life began to take a (wrong…WRONG!) turn back in 2015, meaning that two years later I found myself facing a multitude of different problems; it wasn’t a single floppy flower anymore, it was a whole bouquet of awful. As one trouble multiplied into several, my stress and anxiety levels also became much more…multiplied? Fast forward to summer 2017, I found myself weighed down with several issues – from health, to personal, to financial, to even existential (hello sly blog reference).

Following on, I decided I was pretty much done. It may sound cliché, but it honestly felt as though time had froze and nothing made sense anymore. I kept thinking to myself all over again that, after all these problems, “am I REALLY going to have to go through more problems?” It got to the point where I just decided that I was either hopelessly unlucky or cursed (or both). Why did everything keep going wrong? It almost seemed supernatural for a second, but then I remembered that I don’t do creepy.

So, after several days of wallowing in my own misery, I decided to do a bit of internet research as to why everything seems to be going wrong in spite of countless physical efforts. And you know what explanation kept popping up? That’s right, the good old “negative thinking”. As far as I can see, there are actually two types of negative thinking, with the first being very straightforward – “my life sucks, nothing ever goes right for me, nothing is going to get better”. In spite of the fact that I’m not the world’s biggest optimist, I don’t actually think like that on most occasions. However, I, alongside the majority of the world’s population, practice negative thinking in relation to certain problems.

For example, I have some health issues that don’t seem to be going away, and every time something comes up, my thoughts begin to drift into the direction of “damn, if these conditions haven’t gone away by now, they never will” or “I’m so tired of feeling sick”. Another example would be financial struggles – “oh man, this part-time job doesn’t suit my schedule, looks like I won’t be able to find a job that suits my schedule at all” or “my current freelancing job isn’t bringing in any money, I guess it will never be profitable again”. I can go on for ages, but it would be a waste of time – I think you already got the picture.

This is where the law of attraction comes in. After stumbling upon this concept once again, I decided to actually look into it a bit more extensively. I may not be an expert, but as far as I understand, our thoughts also emit vibrations. If we keep thinking negatively, we will attract more negativity into our lives; our health will deteriorate, we will remain broke and our personal lives will continue to go downhill. Negative thinking is understandable – not many people can remain hopeful when everything is pretty much crap. However, as we continue to respond negatively to our current circumstances, we continue to attract more negativity into our worlds, trapping ourselves in this cycle of never-ending problems.

The law of attraction suggests that, instead of thinking and responding negatively, we should practice positive thinking. But this is not the irritating type of positive thinking where your grandma sits you down and says “hey, just be happy you’re not a starving child in Africa” (yes I’m aware of that, but thinking that isn’t going to solve all of MY problems Grandma let’s just drink tea and watch the news instead ok how about that). No, this positive thinking consists of several strategies:

  1. Reminding yourself of what you want throughout the day – “I want to be healthy”, “I want to be wealthy”, “I want to attract good people into my life” etc
  2. Picturing that you already have all of this, and understanding it’s only a matter of time before you can experience and enjoy it (not only should you picture it, but you should also be certain of it)
  3. Believing that your current state is temporary and things will get better, as well as being grateful for what you already have

Nonetheless, you can’t just sit around and wait for things to happen – you should carefully determine all of the steps you need to take to achieve your desired life. Supposedly, the trick here is that sending out positive vibrations and “asking the universe to give you what you want” will bring everything to you in accordance with your efforts. At first you may not necessarily believe that it will work, but the key here is to repeat these positive thoughts over and over again until you start to see results.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m no spiritualist or dedicated preacher – I’m pretty much the opposite. Unless I’ve done enough research to see that something is valid, my brain will never even consider it. But even as a skeptic, I have come across way too many success stories and rational explanations to doubt the law of attraction.

On a final note, I would like to express my gratitude towards the internet for allowing me to stumble upon this concept once again (good job google!). I may have only decided to utilize the law of attraction a couple of days ago, but I’m somewhat certain that my success story will also be added to the millions that already exist. From this point onward, I will do my very best to fix all of the problems that have accumulated over the past few years via not only action, but also positivity. This has been “The Law of Attraction” from a skeptic’s viewpoint – follow me to see how things unfold. I promise a 100% truthful account of my experience with this.

End-note: if you would like a more professional, accurate explanation, either watch “The Secret” or google/YouTube search “The Law of Attraction”. I’m only a rookie. Follow me?

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I Know That I Don’t

Most people come to a point in their lives where they are no longer sure of who they are, what they want and what the future holds. I like to refer to it as the 20-something crisis; a more optimistic version of the mid-life crisis, during which people seem to forget “how to life” for a period of time. In spite of the fact that being unsure is a perfectly natural state of mind, our society is very unforgiving towards those who express reasonable doubt.

Not knowing what to do is somehow unacceptable in the 21st century. I mean, how can one NOT KNOW what they are striving towards? So many resources! So much support! So much good (although standardized) education! So when successful stockbroker Jordan’s teenage daughter comes home from school one day and says “Dad, I’m not sure what I want to study at college”, it is likely that she will receive the following answer: “Don’t be silly honey, you’ve always wanted to study finance!” (cheers to anyone who got the reference)

However, doubting earlier ideas is definitely not silly – it’s a sign of a healthy rational thought process. The problem lies in how we see the concept of knowledge itself, and how that affects the way in which we perceive the sentence “I don’t know”. Theoretically, knowledge is a very factual concept, based on information which can be tested for validity. We know that the earth revolves around the sun; that a year has 365 days; that plants photosynthesize and so on. So when we are unaware of certain facts, we perceive it as a gap in our knowledge.

But here’s the problem – not all knowledge is factual and unchanging (not to mention that “facts” often change throughout the years themselves). So what we think we “know” concerning who we are, what we want and what the future holds is, in fact, a vague idea. It’s okay to “not know”, because you never really knew in the first place anyway.

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On The Peculiarity of Life

I didn’t expect to be gone for over ten days, but I also didn’t expect things many things. The last couple of weeks have been busy, messy and full of surprises. Suddenly there were so many things to do/sort; from work, to medical, to personal – which always happens before I go to Greece for some reason. I’m also required to drink this tiny pill for a few months, which is pretty light in general but occasionally causes the annoying side-effect of insomnia. Guess who got lucky.

Anyway, all of this chaos got me thinking about how weird life can get. When you really think into things, life starts to seem like one big trip. No, seriously. You’re born pretty much by chance, and then spend the rest of your years feeling like you’re the center of the universe before your body shuts down one day and hell knows what happens next. But while you’re still alive, you experience things in a very particular way, and automatically assume that others must be feeling life the same way. But when you think about it, they don’t.

See, this is the part that really gets me. Because you’re YOU, everything you see/touch/smell/hear/taste is filtered through your own personal prism of how you experience things. And that’s why we automatically assume that everyone probably has the same general feelings towards the concept of life. But it’s not like that in reality.

Before you think I’m on some kind of drug (God, I love G-Eazy references), I do not condone substance abuse, so I’m really not about the stoner life. It’s just something that’s been on my mind lately, and as much as I’m keeping this blog more “serious” than my last, you are going to get some trippy philosophical posts from time to time.

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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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Switching Up My Game

Unlike many other seemingly “beginner” blogs, this blog is actually not my first one. Moreover, this is not my first experience with WordPress.

Prior to this, I had been actively running a more personally-oriented blog for a total of one year and nine months – just about enough time to have a child and raise it to the stage of development where it is capable of trashing the whole house. By the way, this was a theoretical scenario; as much as I love to dote over little children, I don’t plan on dropping everything to have a kid at twenty years young. Alright, let’s not get sidetracked.

As I mentioned, I had a “baby blog” before this one (apologies for all the random maternal references), but it just wasn’t doing it for me anymore. Don’t get me wrong – I’m very proud of every single one of my posts, and very appreciative of all my followers. However, I think it’s time to move on to something more serious than just random ramblings on the topic of my life, feelings, internal monologues etc. I have this persistent urge to discuss more than just the occurrences in my daily life; after all, one of the biggest human errors is forgetting that there is a world outside of one’s little bubble, and I want to work on that.

So, what is this blog going to be about? Since I hate categorizing, and am not too particularly fond of planning things that are difficult to plan, I guess we’ll have to wait and see. Right now, I envision a wide range of posts covering world events, society, culture, philosophy, psychology, entertainment, literature and my own take on the complicated mess we refer to as the Modern Civilization. Although I’m not too certain on the direction this blog will take, I know one thing for sure; if you stick with me, I guarantee that you will not regret that fateful moment you decided to click “follow”. See you soon.