Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Recognizing Your Accomplishments

I’m the type of person that will have a conversation with anyone. I like to get to know people because they motivate and inspire me. Movies tell stories of glory, triumph, and heartache but never with the reality and conviction of looking into someone’s eyes and seeing determination and heartfelt passion about something in life. The struggles, the success, the failures, and the lessons learned from them, all culminate to make us who we are and everyone has a unique story. All the time I hear of people surviving horrible conditions, heart wrenching stories of loss, and incredible hardships while smiling and persevering for a bigger cause.

                The story varies from person to person but the feeling of noble accomplishment is the same when you achieve a personal triumph or goal. Take a minute to think about something in your past that moves you deeply that you have accepted and/or overcome. Embrace that feeling of breathing free knowing you did what you set out to do, despite what the world told you or how it tried to stop you. Your accomplishments and aspirations represent the best of who you are. Remind yourself of these personal triumphs at every tough point in the road. Whether you think you’re at a low or not, whatever you’re dealing with, it can be conquered and can become another building block in the person you wish to be. If you don’t believe me think about what you’ve already done.

                Maybe you grew up with nothing and have built yourself into something you always wanted to be. Maybe you’re a single parent raising the most amazing kids in the world when people told you that you’d never make a good mother or father. Maybe you beat alcoholism or drug addiction when the people around you told you it couldn’t be done and you shouldn’t even bother trying. Maybe you finally got the courage to leave an abusive or unworthy lover you felt stuck with for whatever reason. Maybe you had to raise brothers or sisters cause you’re parents couldn’t, shouldn’t, or wouldn’t. Maybe you went from homeless to buying a new home. Maybe life blindsides you with every sucker punch from every direction in the book but you still keep waking up everyday ready to take it. Whatever your story is, look at your accomplishment(s)!

                The scars of days past and internal tears seem to pale in comparison to the feeling of pride deep down inside for what you do, what you’ve done, or who you are. Everything that defines the best of your character comes from the moments when you push yourself past your comfort threshold to do something significant in your life. When you’re faced with a challenge you’re intimidated by, think back to your accomplishments of the past. You were just as nervous, just as scared, just as excited then. Nothing has changed! Never doubt yourself, because you still have the power to do everything you ever did and more. You just have to look back and remind yourself of the mountains you’ve climbed to get where you are, and when you look back at what’s in front of you, it becomes a relative mole hill. All it takes many times in simply to have faith in yourself and what you believe in. Believe that you can get what you dream about. Believe there is love out there for you. Believe that there is hope left to be found. Believe that there are people out there that care, or will care!

Think of life like a roller coaster, not for the ups and downs, but for the anticipation and anguish you feel in line while you contemplate what’s ahead with mixed feelings. Those feelings melt into sheer exhilaration and excitement once you step on and go. The ride is amazing and then feelings of happiness, satisfaction, and elevation from conquering your silly fears arrive when it’s all over. Looking back, it’s not a problem to get in line again and give it a shot because you know you can do it and you know how rewarding it was. It’s the same principle with taking action in life. Use your triumphs to not only define your character, but to spur yourself to take action and be whatever you want to be. Live your dream, confess your love, play it safe or take a chance. It doesn’t matter just believe in yourself every second of the way. Don’t forget how far you’ve come! Give yourself some credit and be brave about whatever you’re facing! You’ll look back on it someday and wonder why you were ever worried!

Hope it helps and I hope you all enjoy the Blogger Picture! Don’t forget to hit the like button, give a thumbs up on your stumbleupon bar, or share the blog with your friends! Thanks!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Finding Love while Single

Finding Love While Single

   Being single has its benefits and drawbacks, just ask anyone who is. At first they may beam about how its great not to have to check in with anyone or the freedom to act on whim but there is always a downside too. Being single can leave out one of the most important human factors in this world, Love. It has been shown that without some form of love and compassion humans and many animals would not be able to survive life on earth. There is something about sharing existence with someone and having faith that you aren’t alone that eases ones external fears. Also, caring about someone else often times forces us to care about ourselves so that we are able to be who we need to be and do what we need to do to protect the person we love, if called upon to do so. Being single can be fun and exciting but sometimes this need for love, connection, and a deeper purpose can leave one feeling empty and unsatisfied with their life.

   That brings the question, where and how do we find love when we are single? The general trend of humans is to become closer to family and friends to fulfill this void of purpose and interaction. While this can satisfy our need for interaction, communication, and physical touch in the form of hugs, handshakes, and other non-sexual activities it does not address some of our internal needs. For the purpose of this article I won’t go into sexual needs as much as the need to love or to be loved in the sense of feeling a positive emotional bond or connection at the deepest level.

   What many people fail to observe is that “love” is a mysterious emotion, which can manifest in many ways and can be directed like any emotion for good or bad purposes. Humans crave love and attention and we do extraordinary things to feel the emotion and experience the joy and happiness associated with it. We look for it constantly and are told by society and Disney from a young age that it is, in fact, a “thing” that will be perfect and magical and everything ends happily when you find it. While this may or may not be the case it has indoctrinated people about what “love” is and where they look for it. The one problem with being single is many people think that love is something that occurs between a man and a woman (or whatever floats your boat) and without the other half of their equation they are unable to share their love with the world. This can lead people down a mental spiral of anguish, heartache, loneliness, and fear when they don’t find it right away or go through a ton of people looking for it. By thinking that love is waiting for the “right” person to come along they inadvertently tend to look too hard, since they are desperate to find it. This can lead to people jumping at any opportunity and calling it “love”. This flaw in the perception of what love is, or what people wish it was, can be one the building blocks for poor relationships. So how do we avoid this?

   We must first understand what love is before we can find it. In my experience and opinion Love is an emotion that occurs within each one of us. Love does not absolutely require another party to be involved, it just happens to manifest in a big way when there is a special one (if that makes sense). Love can also be embraced and accepted when dealing with all sorts of things. I guarantee whoever is reading this has at least one or two things that they “love” to do. Immediately your subconscious says “well, yeah but it’s not the same thing”. I beg to differ. When you “love” something you experience a strong positive reaction to it emotionally. While replacing love for humans with love for objects, nature, animals, music, art, and other forms of beauty is not ideal, it can however serve a purpose to aide a person’s overall happiness and quality of life. The strength of the emotion can vary depending on circumstances and past influences but at its core, love for anything is the same emotion you feel when you stare into the eyes of the person you love and care deeply about. Although we tend to associate the feeling with love because when looking in the eyes of your soul mate, the feeling is more intensified than the one you get as you take the first bite of your favorite food when you’re starving. While we don’t normally see these situations as the same thing, they actually are similar. If we change how we perceive love and realize that we encounter this emotion daily we can take the mystification out of the relationship aspect of it. The weight of love can essentially be lifted so that you can see it for what it is and you can actually enjoy it. Now I’m not saying by any means that you can replace your girlfriend/boyfriend with your favorite pizza but what you can do is enjoy your pizza more when you don’t have a girlfriend/boyfriend. Let me explain.

   By experiencing pleasant emotions we feed our brains with the pleasure chemicals responsible for us liking what we like. When you are single and don’t have someone to love or to love you back our brains produce and receive less of these chemicals. This resulting experience can be one of depression, loneliness, and self loathing. To interrupt this process we can learn to feed our brains with the same chemicals from other sources. While it is no replacement for a deep meaningful relationship with someone who makes your stomach tingle, it can help us to avoid irrational choices while chasing happiness. If we can learn to draw positivity from other sources to supplement our need for love we can sustain a healthy and happy life until we find our soul mate or better half. Like anything worthwhile, this is much easier said than done but let’s discusses how to approach life from this angle.

   The question is how do we replace “love” in our life with objects or experiences and still be happy? The answer is to figure out what moves you, and experience it passionately. Draw the most out of every situation and everything that makes you happy. In order to accomplish this task it takes being mindful of your emotions when you experience something that gives you a positive feeling. Say for example you love music and a song comes on that feels like it touches your soul and takes the words right out of your heart. For that 3:30, exist to be in love with that song. Feel every cord, sail with the high notes and cry with the low. Share its existence. Examine the happiness that it’s bringing you, close your eyes, and be a part of the experience instead of being a spectator. Let yourself be drawn into that feeling of love and feel it’s warmth as it lifts the stress of the day away higher and higher with every note. Too often we find our self enjoying something but not fully experiencing it because we are self conscious about who is watching or we are reserved in our emotions. To experience life fully we must actually allow ourselves to truly enjoy it. After all, life is only the experience of our consciousness. It is up to you to embrace the emotions you choose to keep and discard the negativity you wish to eliminate.

   What about the purpose and meaning a relationship brings to your life? Well this can be sustained by other methods just like satisfying the feeling of love. When we are in a relationship we tend to take purpose, and pride, in making sure our loved one has safety, food, shelter, love, and all the basic human needs met. This caring and nurturing attitude is ingrained in many people, especially women, and can actually be a big part of what provides satisfaction in a relationship. It’s not so much the act of taking care of things but the overall purpose it gives our life. We need a purpose in life just as much as we need air, food, water, shelter, and love. Often times when this is not available via a healthy relationship members of our modern society revert to work to provide meaning for their existence. While this can be done, it usually drags the stress of your job into your personal life and that can be just as damaging psychologically as being miserable.

   So what to do? Find purpose in the things that define what makes you happy. If you love to take pictures plan a trip just for photography. If you love music, plan to go see a band you’ve always wished you could see and never got around to. It doesn’t matter what you’re into you can find a way to draw purpose from it. Maybe you just want to brighten somebody’s day or make people happy. If that’s the case, help a friend, visit a nursing home or children’s hospital, and really try to make someone genuinely happy that you care that much about them. Again, while it may not replace love, the look in the eyes of someone who is genuinely grateful to you for taking the time to care about them when most people don’t is priceless. Purpose will vary by the person and you have to find what works for you. It can be something simple or outlandish. All that matters is that it gives you something to look forward to, to care deeply about, and it makes you feel good.

   Ok, so again, just to reiterate I’m not suggesting that being single is good, bad or indifferent, I am just suggesting that you don’t have to be miserable and lonely if you’re alone. The human mind is an incredibly powerful tool and can be harnessed by the consciousness experiencing it. While the draw to a loving relationship is incredibly powerful bear in mind that it’s not a requirement for happiness. Don’t chase poor relationships, fit a round peg in a square hole, or settle for anything just because you are alone and want to be happy! I understand very well that you may be incredulous about this fact, as I have been in the past, and you may not agree with me. Hell, I might not have agreed with me 5 years ago, but, I have come to learn a lot after extensive soul searching in the last few years. I’ve spent the majority of the last year alone and single, mostly by choice, to try and really analyze what I value and what I am looking for. It has given me clarity in the fact I am now beginning to understand that happiness and sadness lie within. In this simple understanding I have gained the confidence to face the world alone and succeed where many other may fail. By understanding the fact that I can be happy alone, it has given me the courage to know that whatever life may bring in terms of love, I am capable and able to accept it for what it is. I am ready to accept love in whatever form it finds me. Not only does this knowledge comfort me in times of loneliness and self doubt but it strengthens my resolve to live life unafraid of commitment and heartbreak. While love can sting as much as it can heal, knowing this and preparing for it at a fundamental level will help you navigate the world of emotion safely. I’m not going to lie and say that it’s always easy because it’s not. There are times I lie awake at night and wish for nothing more than a beautiful girl to hold me, to kiss me, to tell me everything’s gonna be alright, and that she loves me. There is not a human alive that wouldn’t feel the same at some point, but the strength in knowing that it’s alright whether she’s there or not has given me all the motivation in the world to ensure I stay positive and happy until I find her. I don’t need to rush towards it, or find something that’s close but not quite it. I know I can sustain my spirit and happiness until that day arrives. This is what gives me comfort when I feel that loneliness creep in. I just focus on something that makes me happy or find a purpose and a reason to be happy. While I concede that having a lover to truly care about and having someone who cares about you is much more comforting than substitutes, I am convinced that single people don’t necessarily need to be unhappy people.

   In conclusion this theory may be idealistic and does not address the constant pounding life can give us in our journeys of love and adventure but it is meant to open your eyes and your heart to more possibilities than you think you might have. Learn to leave the negative aspects of situations on the table and take only the positive things in life to heart. Love deeply in anything you do, care about people, and focus on positively affecting peoples’ lives. Don’t underestimate the power of your consciousness and it’s ability to change your outlook for the better. Viewing life in this manner isn’t an interchangeable replacement for love but it can allow you to experience a whole different form of love. Sometimes, this can be just enough of a push to get you through a lonely and rough period without losing hope. So don’t lament single people! Go out and find something you love today and really LOVE it! Experience life as it is and don’t focus on how you wish it to be. That day will come if you keep working towards it but for now embrace what you have and make the best of it. Remember you can only live each day once and tomorrow may not come for some of us. Find happiness now and share it with those around you. You’ll be surprised at just how much more you love your life! Good Luck!


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Finding Meaning in Life

  For thousands of years humans have looked around and wondered why they exist and what the meaning of their life is. They ponder Gods and big bang theories. They discuss cavemen and evolution from primordial slime. They theorize about spirits and higher dimensions of existence. But to date the whole of humanity still can’t agree on any specific over all meaning. There’s a simple reason for this. There isn’t one! It isn’t about the meaning of life, past, present, or future, it’s about the meaning of YOUR life as you live it.

  People can place values on things in life and subjectively give them any meaning they choose. As I have discussed before consciousness is a perception of your surroundings and it only exists within you. When you meet people who appear to have found the meaning of life, they most likely have… for them. What means the most to them may not hold the same value for you. It’s here that people get disconnected from each other when they speak of “the meaning of life”. Since every man, woman, and animals consciousness is independent so too is their perceived value of meaningfulness. Since we only know what we are told many times people are led to believe that happiness and meaningfulness come from certain aspects of life or certain interactions. Since not everyone is the same, people who find these things meaningless end up unhappy and disillusioned. This is where we can step in and intervene in the process by simply discovering what is meaningful to each one of us may differ. Instead of chasing someone elses' happiness or chasing a meaningless “perfect” life we should analyze what makes our individual conscious respond positively. As usual, when it comes too building and developing a connection with your inner self and your consciousness, this can be easier said than done.

  The first step is to slow yourself down a little bit. So many people are forced to rush through their day from task to task and they don’t get a chance to pay attention to the little things that make them happy. We give it a brief second of indulgence and then it passes like a warm summer nights breeze. In order to really enjoy life we must accept and respond to all emotions, both good and bad, and figure out where they stem from, how it affects us, and what we can do about it. Too often we harbor negative emotions and focus on the really big bad important stuff in our life and only stop briefly to enjoy the mini-pleasures of the day. These little luxuries make up for bearing the frequent negativity of the chaotic world we exist within. Our task at hand is to focus harder on these positive moments and make more out of our experience. Instead of shirking them off for thoughts of bills, lovers quarrels, or the injustices of life embrace every second and every aspect of it. It can be something as simple as walking down the street and smelling something that brings back a good memory from childhood. Instead of hurrying on worried about being 30 seconds or a minute later to where you are heading, stop! Take it in, breath deep and capture the essence. Let the images of childhood flood in, hear the sounds of laughter or familiar voices, smell it like you were there again, in a place you were told you could never be again. Yet, there you are standing in the street, far away from that time, living the moment twice through the power of human consciousness. When you’re really, really, comfortable in bed and you’re so happy you want just one more minute, take it! Don’t focus on the seconds passing by but instead wrap yourself in the emotional warmth and happiness of the moment. For that minute nothing else matters, it’s your life, your minute, your deep down happiness! Taking that minute won’t matter at 3:34 that afternoon or 7:52 that night or any other time for that matter. The happiness and joy and the smile it spread across your face is a new moment you can go back to when in a bad place. Capture it to enjoy it all over again. But in order to do that you need to know everything about it to begin with. Let the essence of every second permeate your entire being. Every smell, taste, sight, sound, and touch makes you who you are and what you know. If these experiences are all viewed through a negative perspective it becomes who you are. If you view every moment for what it is and truly embrace and cherish life you will lead a fuller existence then the richest man filled with hatred. Toys, women, money, cars, and everything else are all just aspects of the moment. Happiness can be found in either in their presence or in their absence and they are most certainly not a prerequisite to finding it. It can be found in the smell of rose petals, the spray of an oceans wave, the glint in a lover’s eye or smell of their hair, the perfect meal or drink, or even amidst a baron wasteland within one’s conscious self.

  Happiness is anywhere and everywhere if we are able to harness the moments in which it has come to us in the past. As we pay attention to the things that make us happy we learn instinctively to repeat those actions and begin to make a habit out of being happy and enjoying happy moments. Unfortunately, due to the chaotic nature of life there are moments which are just simply sad as well. But even these heart wrenching and tear jerking experiences can be used to remind us of times that were worse. In that fact alone it’s possible to find happiness within your current situation. For me personally, I just look back upon my teenage years when I was angry at the world and at “god” for taking so many of my family and friends from me too soon. I lived in anger and with a rage I couldn’t explain. As I get older I have begun to understand that this anger came from not understanding and accepting why life is as challenging as it is. Why do these things happen, why is life the way it is, and why do I need to be proactive about changing it? I have come to understand that life is just a reaction of all things to their environment. It the same for energy, particles, people, concepts, and the answer to “why?” it all is the way it is. We are simply individual consciousness bound together by interaction and destined to a chaotic ballet of impeccably random perfection for eternity. We are the masters of our own emotions and also highly influential on the people around us. When we input negativity into situations people take negativity out of them and react to them just as they would anything else bad, with fear, anger, violence, or rejection. When we input positivity into situations people tend to notice and return some form of positivity as a reaction.

  Simply put, changing an interaction and the outcome from it starts with you and the consciousness of who you are experiencing the interaction with. If even one or ideally both parties focus on positively interacting the chance of a good outcome is much greater. Essentially you can be the catalyst that changes a situation from bad to good! Be the trendsetter amongst your friends. Set an example and do good things for people without expecting a return just because it makes both of you feel good. Tell someone something positive that you think or feel about them. React with patience and kindness instead when you catch yourself getting angry or upset with someone or something. It’s amazing how this simple fundamental transformation of your conscious perception can allow you to experience life and reality with a whole different outlook. It can really let you analyze the things that are meaningful to you which are what create happiness. Find those things and embrace them, share them with the people you love and support them as they discover their own form of happiness. Remember their idea of happiness can be independent of yours but acknowledging this can allow you to both experience your own version of being happy without feeling like the other person is missing out and needs to know what you’ve found. Pushing your own happiness on others will seldom get the job done unless it really works for them on whatever level they choose to be conscious at.
The best bet for making your world a better place is to do it yourself and be the better person you wish everyone to be. It can be hard because so many people just don’t care but that makes it all that much more important why those of us who do care should make a difference. So what if other people can’t see the things that mean the most in life are not always tangible goods but the moments that can only be taken away by the loss of our precious consciousness? We can embrace this fact and cherish life for its good and bad days alike. Feel the rain, soak in the sun, learn the sting of goodbye as well as the kiss of hello, find meaning in actions, and mean everything you do. Act with your whole heart and change how the game is played. Not only will you feel better about life but those around you will feel better about sharing life with you. Happiness is contagious. Try laughing wholeheartedly out loud in a crowded quite room. I guarantee others will follow! Sure, they may be laughing at you making a fool of yourself but in reality you’re simply providing a happy moment that person can embrace and brighten up their day with. Where is the harm in that? So live carefree, be happy whenever possible, and try to help those who need a hand. Remember, those who don’t ask for it usually need it the most. It’s also those people who you will make the biggest impression on when you do help them to find a moment of happiness. I hope this rant helps one or two people look at things a little differently and enjoy what’s there for the taking. Happiness is an individual quality within yourself and it’s manifested through meaningful positive interactions! Find out what makes “you” tick and live to that beat! Although I should give you a fair warning, you may not be happy that you didn’t realize it all a little bit sooner! :)