Judging Without Justice

There is a reason why sentences like “No one can judge me but God” exist. Because the opposite is the case – everyone is judging everyone. It almost seems like human nature; Magazines are filled with it, office gossip in the coffee room is fueled by it and family sure seems to be great proponents of it. I don’t think any one needs to be reminded to judge people. I have never heard anyone say: “Hey – don’t forget to judge her”. On the contrary we always have to remind people not to judge one another, for example our own friends.

How did that come about? Is that just a part of the human DNA? Were we cave people gossiping around the fire about how people behaved?

Perhaps we were. One thing is for sure – people have been in packs for a while. And we currently are in a very large pack called a society. Society is built with rules for each other to coexist. It can be simple things on what we consider polite to more complex things, like entire relationships with people. We are not born with these rules engraved in us. No one is born taught not to burp in a meeting, or to say thank you or even just hello and good bye.  For example learning and knowing that talking to your boss should not be like a conversation you have with your mother.

There are so many rules its hard to remember them all. We are all struggling to keep up with the rules that when someone else slips up, it is a nice reminder that others have a hard time sticking to them too. This makes us happy, its almost a relief that we are not alone in this battle to keep up to society’s expectations or perhaps signs of other people slipping up even us the brief belief that we are doing better than others. So we gossip about them, we find some happiness and comfort that we are not alone in our struggles around the many society rules.

We get caught up in judging others, that we tend to forget that we are slipping up on a continuous basis ourselves and we are no better than the people we gossip about. Gossiping or judging, its just finding joy in people’s misfortune. Will it help you feel better? Perhaps for a minute. But generally, negativity does not breed positivity. You might for example be reminded that other people are also talking about you the same way you are talking about others. Your judging energy can be spent better instead on doing something that makes you feel better about yourself. The more you focus on making yourself happy and limit your dependence on external factors to make you happy, the more sustainable your happiness will be. And the less you will care about how others are doing, the less you will judge them and yourself.

Catching Your Own Feelings

You know those days when you wake up with a certain feeling and you don’t know why. You slept well, you have a easy day ahead of you but something just feels off. Or the other way around, you wake up great but by 10am although nothing has happened, your mood has shifted and something just feels off. All your happiness is gone as if something had actually happened to you but it didn’t. You try finding out why you feel this way or looking back to understand what happened to cause this mood and you can’t figure it out.

If you are super zen and mad in touch with your feelings – please give me a call. It seems to be a talent that very, very few people have. Most of us are just swamped with every day lives, work, family, friends, chores. Always understanding how you feel while you are doing the ironing and preparing yourself for a meeting tomorrow while your spouse is asking what you want for dinner – that sounds like a talent that needs to be cultivated for many years. Like a ninja spy or kung fu master.

Unless you are one of those, you struggle like me to keep the balance between life, expectations, feelings and thoughts. I don’t know how you are expected to know at all second of the day how you feel. So the best way to approach it, or so I have found is just to accept how you feel. And accept that you don’t know why.

“I feel a little down now”. or “I’m just off today”.

Practice saying it. Admitting it. Know that it is ok, completely ok to say those words to yourself. You don’t have to say it to others, you don’t even have to say it out loud to yourself. Society has a lot of pressure to smile and everything to be ok making it harder for ourselves even to admit to ourselves our true feelings if they are anything but positive.

What you will find is, the feeling will lessen as soon as you admit it. It will lose its grip on you. From there, you can give yourself some love – treat yourself to things you love or that make you feel good to remind yourself that you can at times feel different. Its ok to not understand how you feel, trust that its there because it needs to be felt and fill your day with kindness to yourself.

Why You Forget The Most Important Thing – Yourself

In a society,  in a family, there is little room for an individual. It goes against the basic sense of what a society is, a group of people deciding to come together. Focusing on yourself is not encouraged, rather looking out for others – if a mother,  you must nurture the family. If you are a father, you must provide for others. If you are a daughter or son, you must be devoted to your elders. Everyone has a role of looking after the other person. That is how a society works, a pack so to say. We look out for other people, we take care of each other. In a world where we wouldn’t have that, we would feel isolated. I am not saying it is bad, although there are many aspects about it I could get into and argue why it is not healthy. Today I want to focus on the aspect – why is it so hard to make yourself as important as other people?

Next to it being frowned upon as mentioned above, it is often seen as selfish. Selfish is never meant in a positive sense. Yet putting yourself first, and focusing on your needs and being selfish, couldn’t be more further away from each other. Selfish is defined as: lacking consideration for others; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure. Putting yourself first and knowing your own importance doesn’t mean lacking consideration for others, it just means considering your needs as well as other people’s needs and putting as much importance on them. It doesn’t mean putting your own profit or pleasure above others, but just making sure you are not suffering while everyone else is taken care of.

There is a lot of balancing to get that right. After many years of neglecting yourself, some people tend to lean to the selfish side. They put their pleasure ahead of others. That is not something I am ok with. Take care of yourself, yet always be considerate to the people around you – how things might impact them. If for example you need time on your own, explain it to the people around you that it has nothing to do with them. Don’t just leave, don’t shove them away – taking care of yourself does not have to include hurting others. I guess finding that balance is so hard for many of us, that’s why people call it selfish. We are also not used to hearing it – people saying: This is what I need. It’s just not something we have established as a society – that fine mix of individualism and society is something that I think many, many people are trying to figure out.

There are so few people that do it well. There are very few examples of people that are able to balances their needs and others well without hurting anyone (I guess that’s why influencers on instagram are so popular). When there is a person who is good at balancing it, we tend to be jealous of them. There is a lot of hate for people who look out for themselves and are still able to balance expectations of others. Just getting used to the idea to putting your needs in the spotlight first is hard enough for us to grasp and learn and then to do it without hurting others – and not alienating yourself from society, now that is almost a rare talent like speaking 10 languages. Rather than being jealous of that, try to learn from watching this person, learn how they go about putting a great importance of themselves and others. Then give it a go for yourself. It might take you some time, but perhaps you will make it your rare talent.

 

Solitude is Bliss

Space around me where my soul can breathe
I’ve got body that my mind can leave
Nothing else matters, I don’t care what I miss
Company’s okay, solitude is bliss

There’s a party in my head
And no one is invited

Tame Impala – Solitude is Bliss

What a great song. If you haven’t heard it yet, please listen to it. It embodies the joy of being alone, the freedom of being by yourself and the beauty of your own company.

Being alone should be bliss. Yet I feel, so many people don’t know how to enjoy their own company. I see so many people around me try to avoid themselves by filling their time with drinking and doing something that is instagram worthy. We all want to escape sometimes yet life is about balance, and you should feel like you are spending just as much time on yourself as you need to spend the time with others. Few people do. Many fear they will feel lonely if they do.

Being lonely is something different than being alone. Alone is the absence of other people, lonely is not feeling connected to other people or yourself. Lonely is something we will all feel once in a while and the emotional state is something we all want to avoid. Yet being alone, that should be a tolerable.

So why is it so hard for so many people to be alone? When we are alone, its harder to be distracted. We tend to hear thoughts we may not want to hear, we tend to feel things we have been avoiding for a long time. Who wants to admit to themselves that they are actually worried about something illogical or who wants to admit to themselves how they truly feel about themselves?

If you can avoid anything unpleasant – why wouldn’t you? Its totally logical to try to live a life full of enjoyment. The problem with that is – no life is spared of pain. Avoiding it, will only make the pain worse and you might find the pain getting bigger and bigger. To the point were it will take over those moments when you feel you are distracted – when you are out with friends or watching a movie. You carry your life with you at all times. Your life includes those painful moments of hurt, shame and fear. If you don’t embrace them and deal with them, they will stick around with you forever.

And they don’t deserve that. Those moments don’t deserve to follow you around in your life. You deserve better and you owe it to yourself to find moments with yourself full of happiness.

The first baby step is to just ask yourself how you really feel when you are on your own. Be honest. Check in and see how you are doing. And ask yourself why you perhaps feel like you feel. That’s already a huge step. You wouldn’t want your friends to lie to you so why should you lie to yourself. You deserve great friends – including the one you can be to yourself.

If You Fake It, You Won’t Make IT

Only once moving to NY did I hear the saying “Fake it till you make it”. It did not resonate with me. Rather yet, it confused me. And since then I keep getting it as advise and I can’t seem to agree with it.

The thing that bothers me most is the word “fake”. Usually I don’t tend to associate many positive feelings with fake. Especially not when it comes to people and their personalities. Hiding who you truly are is a weakness. It means you can’t accept yourself and love yourself for who you are. That much self-hate is not only self-destructive, but can often be projected or let out on to other people. If you don’t feel good inside, it’s hard to do good towards the outside.

 

Additionally, a person acting fact is extremely unpredictable. If a person is pretending to be someone else, they can change who they want to be every day. That just sounds exhausting to me to be honest. You never know what kind of person you will be confronted with.

 

I guess that’s why “fake it till you make it” doesn’t make sense to me. Why would you pretend you are ok with something when you are not? I understand the idea is for example if you are not confident, pretend to be. Yet that sounds like such a disconnect between how you feel and how you show yourself to be. That is very unhealthy. Its ok to be scared, its ok to be nervous and its ok to feel insecure or worried. Accepting it is the opposite of faking it. Accepting it for yourself means that you can deal with it. Dealing with your emotions will help you in the long run. It will help you in other situations where you are nervous again. You will be able to recognize the feeling and handle it. Growth only comes by accepting it, and still facing your struggles with it. Take steps that will help you improve in the long run. Faking it till you are making it, is just putting a band aid on a broken windshield. It’s going to do a really poor job.

 

Also, another reason why you should not fake it to make it is that people will notice you are faking it. As easy as it is for you to spot people when they are acting fake, that easily they notice when you are. And it’s not something people admire. Actually, on the contrary it makes people uncomfortable.

 

Accept your emotions. You deserve better than a fake version of yourself.

Growing Pains

I used to not be able to do any kind of public speaking. Literally, even just introducing yourself to a group of people in a circle was horrifying enough. I like being invisible and don’t see the benefits of people noticing me. I don’t like the spot light and I enjoy any kind of light. The people that want to see me they will. Everyone else, I felt, would judge me. They could sit there and criticize everything that I was saying, or wearing or anything about me really.

That thought hasn’t gone away. I just stopped caring. And the way I did that was going the painful route – speaking more and more in public. The only way to get over it, is really to do it. There are some fears that this cannot apply to (like peeing your pants in public or your clothes ripping exposing your privates) – but most, the only way to get over them is to be confronted with them.

And boy does that suck. The first time someone told me that I told them that that wasn’t true. I mean, if you can avoid things you are scared of in your life why shouldn’t you?Unfortunately I came to realize that speaking publicly is something I would be confronted with again and again in my life even if I tried to avoid it. So I tackled it.

The way I started was small. In group discussions, I forced myself to say one thing. Just one thing. That was nerve-racking. I would think of something in advance, wait for the perfect moment and sweat profoundly till I said something. Once I said it, I would lean back exhausted yet proud. I did it, I spoke in public. Then I started with saying two things. Till I progressed to speaking up in meetings on the phone. Then running meetings on the phone. Till I could run them in person. I found little steps to progress until this week – I presented at a conference to hundreds of strangers. And it didn’t kill me. I was nervous, I prepared, my heart was beating almost out of my chest and I seemed to be the only anxious person in the room.

But I did it. And I could never imagine in a lifetime that I could do it. My advice to you – take small steps. It might take you 10 years like it did me, but trust me I have never been prouder of myself. A whole world has opened up to me and I know I can handle it. Try it, start small. Start tomorrow

De-Finding Yourself

What people think finding yourself is: Knowing your key strengths and weaknesses, by being able to list adjectives next to your name and nailing every job interviews because you know exactly who you are and what you want out of life
 
What I define it as: Being at peace with yourself, knowing your personality to the extent that you never need to define yourself to others
 
People are always telling you who you are. “You’re such an extrovert”, “You’re so silly”, “It seems like a thing you would do”. I can’t remember a time in my life where I felt that I wasn’t been put in a drawer or people weren’t trying to label me. The friends you have, the hobbies you do, these things all tend to support a certain perception or description of you. It helps people build a picture about the person that you are. If we know what kind of person we are dealing with, we find it easier to predict their actions and reactions and thus it seems its easier to handle this person. It’s a natural human way of dealing with the vast amount of variety and information the world throws at us. Putting things intro drawers makes the chaotic world seem far more organized.
 
It only makes sense that after a while, we start putting these labels people give us on ourselves. The world is big and we all try to find our spot in it. We find it easier if we know what role we play and what kind of person we have to be to fill that role. That makes it even harder to find out, who you really are and who are you because you were told to be that person. The struggle to know our true selves seems to bother society so much – there are so many self-help books out there on the topic or movies that address soul searching (for example Into the Wild, Eat Pray love, Almost famous to name a few). This void of who we should be, who we think we are and finding ourselves, it’s confusing. Because perhaps we will also find out we are something we don’t want to be. For example, I’ve struggled most of my life living with the fact that I am an introvert and that that is ok. I always felt to succeed, to be confident I have to be loud, outgoing and happy around other people. Only later did I find out that embracing my introvert is what made me succeed, be loud and happy around other people.
 
Here’s the thing most people don’t get and I didn’t understand for a long time. Knowing yourself doesn’t mean “Fun” or “Adventurous” because guess what, sometimes you are and sometimes you are not. Everyone is on a spectrum and that spectrum can vary from time to time. It can depend on your mood, your situation and the people around you. You will grow, you will pull back, you will surprise yourself and challenge yourself. This is beautiful and extremely scary at the same time. You will spend the rest of your life in the company of yourself and you will continue to surprise yourself (so it wont get boring! Trust me) but that would indicate you will also be living with a stranger. This would mean, you will always feel that void and all these self-help books are useless and the movies are lies.
 
I believe that this doesn’t have to be the case. We all have core traits that we carry with us since we were born. Find your values – what are your core beliefs you want to live by? Pick 3-5 on this list and perhaps discuss them with someone to hear what they think.
Find out, what keeps you motivated and what kills your motivation. What gives you energy and what doesn’t. Is it being around people or doing specific things or specific people?
 
And that’s all you need to know. Things around you will change. Yet those things, never will. Know them and own them

 

This One’s for the Ladies – All The Ladies

This blog post is more for women. Although I would be curious to see if men ever experience this too.

I meet my girlfriends for brunch and something has recently caught my attention. We tend to mention how as children we were often told by our mothers what we have to do to look pretty. “Don’t make a frown you will have wrinkles” or “As a woman you shouldn’t leave the house without make up”. The memories still taunt us, in the back of our heads, they still sit and remind us of standards that were put on us.

You can’t blame the mothers although it seems like the most natural thing to do. They engraved beauty standards on us at a young age that make it hard to accept our looks and wear our skin with pride. But, they were just doing what they thought would help us succeed in life. For most of history, women only did well in life for marrying men. Good looks meant good, rich husbands and good, rich husbands meant good lives. They were, in the weirdest extent, trying to protect us and ensure us a great future not knowing they were doing harm for us.

You would think nowadays, women know better. They know that society puts pressures on girls and we should do everything to protect them. Yet it seems we are not doing enough. According to the Guardian

More than a third (35%) of seven- to 10 year-old girls agreed that women were rated more on their appearance than their abilities, and 36% said they were made to feel their looks were their most important attribute.

I guess we can say there is still a lot of work to be done. So let’s start with ourselves. If we care less about how we look, and focus on our abilities, we project that out to society. If we don’t focus on vanity, we dress for ourselves and we show off our intelligence, we pave the way for future standards. As the article mentioned above points out:

Sam Smethers, chief executive of the Fawcett Society, said women and girls were “persistently judged on what they look like” and suffered “significantly higher” rates of depressions and mental illness. “This is serious. As a society we need to face up to the fact that objectification and harassment is ruining girls’ lives and we are letting it happen,” she said.

So how do we pave the way and get rid of our mother’s voices in our heads?

First – forgive your mother. She was trying her best to let you know how to get by in the world. She probably was held to the same standards or even worse. Luckily you are able to walk away from these and build your own as society has progressed.

Second – every time you look in the mirror, you cat call yourself. I don’t care how if your hair is sticking up, if you have a new red shiny pimple or you look like you got hit by a truck. Go: “Hey beauty” or “Hey Sexy”, which ever one makes you feel like the true fabulous diva that you are.

Third – just risk it. Go out without make up one day. Or without having your hair done. You will notice: No one will care. Because that’s how important looks are. They are not.

Forth – Give the love to all the ladies! Tell each girl she is beautiful for who she is. Because you cant change society but you can make each and every person out there feel adored. It takes so little and can make such a difference. Tell her how her intelligence makes her beautiful, her dance skills give her grace, her wit could light up a room.

Imagine if someone had said that to you instead of telling you about wrinkles as a child, how good that would have felt. If there is one thing we learn in life, is that we can spare others some of our pain.

 

Why Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word

Making mistakes seems almost too easy sometimes. So easy that sometimes we don’t even notice we are making them. We let a comment slip that might hurt someone, we get in stressed out situations and let our anger out on people that don’t deserve it. Sometimes things feel like they are so out of our control we lose control of our composure and make a mistake. Even when we don’t lose our composure sometimes we feel we are doing the right thing and only notice later that the effects it has on people is not what we intended.

Making mistakes is human. Every living creature on this earth makes mistakes. So why is it so hard to admit to ourselves when we make one? Why is it so hard to come to terms with the fact that we are flawed, bound to hurt someone that we don’t want to hurt?

We don’t want to be flawed. We want to feel like we are always the best version of ourselves, we don’t want to be punished for being wrong. It is so hard to admit to yourself that every day you try to be your best and then at times you are not. You misbehaved. As a child if you misbehaved you were punished. You did something and a negative consequence followed. We have engraved it in our brains that now when we make a mistake and we don’t have someone else to punish us, we punish ourselves. We feel a negative consequence. Often its this negative feeling, combined with the thought that we should have known better and done better, that makes us avoid accepting the fact that we made a mistake.

Isn’t life easier if you can just go through it without ever admitting to making a mistake and never feeling bad? If everyone else had to admit defeat to being human and we could go around knowing we are always the best version of ourselves, now doesn’t that sound relaxing? No negative feelings such as guilt or shame. Sounds like a perfect life and to be honest, one that will never be.

Instead we should grow from punishment – thanks to maturity we should learn that you have been punished enough for being human. For making mistakes. You should learn that feeling guilt should only be used to help yourself grow into a better person. It is only useful if it is a fuel for yourself to be better and perhaps reduce the amount of some of your mistakes. it should not be a blocker for you to avoid it even more in your life. Learn to love to say sorry. Learn to move from guilt and move instead into growth. Start by admitted you are flawed. Sorry-Flipped-Bitch-Switch-Greeting-Card

I Get Knocked Down – But I Get Up again, Never Ever Gonna Keep me Down

Not only a great song – but a great life motto. Occasionally – you will be knocked down. If its not life following its usual course, it will be people or circumstances. Life is tough, set backs are normal. Some people compare life to a river – it flows in one direction, it never stops – sometimes there is more water and the river is more rough and other times it is more calm, like a trickle. There are times in life everything can be too much or one thing can be too much and we just feel down.

Sometimes we don’t know why we are down. Its great if you can find out, take a step back, have a cup of tea or a coffee and check in with yourself. Ask yourself honesty, what is making you feel down. You don’t have to tell anyone your thoughts – you don’t have to admit to anyone but yourself that you may be perhaps jealous or insecure or just overwhelmed. Be your own  therapist or whatever you want to call it. Just be sure to be non-judgemental – no one needs to know. Just be honest. Give it a go, you might be surprised to find it will not hurt you as much as you think.

And if you do sit there, waiting to find out what is getting you down, but you don’t that is ok. Sometimes its just the amount of things we need to do in a day. Frequently, life just can be too much. The current can be too strong.

My trick here is to balance out the things that weigh you down with things that make you feel light. For example, if you need to binge watch Netflix, then be my guest. If this is what it takes for you to tank your engine, please do so. Do not get into destructive behavior – I know sometimes we feel like drinking tons of wine or calling an ex will make us feel better but it wont. Generally – if it didn’t make you happy as a 10 year old – then don’t do it. Stick to those things that as a child gave you the strength to grow – they will empower you again. You will get knocked down, take your time to get back up again. If it takes days, weeks whatever it may. Remember if life is a river – it will continue to move forwards.getting-up-is-living

My Journey

Learning to be my Authentic Self

Dr. Eric Perry, PhD

Psychology to Motivate | Inspire | Uplift

The Yoga Path • Omaha, NE

{ Practicing Physical, Mental & Spiritual Health }