Tag Archives: socializing

How to Stop Envying Other People’s Seemingly Perfect Lives

By Sonia Devine

“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” ~Steve Furtick

It’s in our nature to compare ourselves with others. The ability to weigh one situation up against another helps us make decisions and live our lives productively.

The downside is that when you constantly compare your own life with those of other people, you will always come up short.

Over-comparing causes envy. Envy is the feeling or sensation we have when we want to get something that someone else has and we can’t be happy for them when they have it.

Getting stuck in a cycle of envy is just about the best way to ruin your life. Fortunately, there are several ways to deal with envy that will guide you toward happiness and well-being.

Don’t Compare Your Cutting Room Floor With Someone Else’s Highlight Reel

Have you ever seen anybody post an unflattering photo on Facebook? Let’s face it, you rarely read about someone fighting with their spouse, hating their job, or declaring bankruptcy. Most people show you what they want you to see—a highly edited, glossed-up version of their life.

The next time you feel envious about someone else’s life, remember that you’re only looking at part of the story, the part they want you to see.

Think of something that another person has that you want. For example, maybe someone you know is far more popular than you. On the surface, it may appear that they are surrounded with people who look up to them and that they are well-liked and respected.

But in reality, people might have a different view of them behind closed doors. In this case, the actual reality and what we perceive as reality are two very different things.

Even the most enviable lifestyle has downsides. For example, many people covet the glamour and glitz of the rich and famous. But have you ever sat down and thought about what kind of life a famous person has?

Ask yourself if you’d enjoy someone jumping out of a bush and taking a snapshot of you in your grubby tracksuit pants while you’re collecting the newspaper from the front lawn.

There are always two sides to every coin. What you think you see is not necessarily the reality. So the next time you get caught up in envy, always remember that unless you are that person you don’t really have the whole story.

Isn’t It Already Here?

I am by nature a private person, but I wasn’t always that way. In my twenties, I was invited to every party, had scores of friends, and was (in my own mind, at least) funny, clever, and popular.

As the years went by I became more introverted, and not too long ago I started beating myself up for not having many friends. Why wasn’t I popular like other people?

One particular couple that my husband and I love catching up with came to mind. Whenever we wanted to see them, we had to literally book months in advance because they were so busy with other social commitments.

Then I started to really ask myself, what is the essence of what I think popularity will bring me? The answer was simple: I wanted to feel a sense of connection and belonging.

It was at that time I realized that the essence of what I wanted was already here. I have a loving husband, a great family, a couple of good friends who would do anything for me, and plenty of time to do what I want.

I also realized that I would absolutely hate not having a moment to myself; being popular would probably make me pretty miserable.

So the next time you feel as though you’re missing out on something that somebody else has, drill down into the essence of whatever you think that thing would give you and ask yourself, is it already here?

Do You Really Want What They Have?

If you really want to play the comparison game, remember that if you want someone else’s life you have to be willing to do a complete swap; that is, you would have to give up your life as it is and swap over to theirs.

Here’s an exercise that will help you decide if you really want out of your situation and into someone else’s:

When you’re ready, think of someone you know who has the kind of life that you envy. Then take a piece of paper and in the left-hand column write the heading “What I have that they don’t have.”

Then in the right-hand column, write the heading “What they have that I want.” In this column, you are going to make a list of all the things this person has that you want. Write down whatever comes to your mind. For example, do they have a lot of money, a nice house, nice clothes, or the perfect partner?

When you’ve finished doing this, move to the left-hand column. Write down everything that you value in your life. For example, family, friends, pets, and everyone who is important to you.

One caveat: the other person may indeed have friends, family, and pets just like you. But in this case, you’re not so much looking at what they have (i.e.: a dog, a child, a husband), but the unique relationship and connection you have with your pets and loved ones. So remember to write down the names of your family members, friends, and pets.

Be as specific as you can. Get really clear and what you love about your life. It could be something as simple as being able to finish work early on Thursdays so you can go to the gym.

Now its crunch time; you’ll probably find that the list on the left-hand side is much bigger than the list on the right. So ask yourself, is there anything in this list you would be willing to give up in order to have the life that the other person has?

What you’ll likely discover is that everything you have in your list is as valuable as or more valuable than the things that the other person has.

Practice Gratitude

One of the reasons we feel envy is that we often take the good things in our own lives for granted.

The happier you are with your lot in life, the more good things will come to you. Happiness studies show that truly happy people are not necessarily wealthy, powerful, or famous.

They have simply made a choice to be happy by paying attention to the good things around them. Since whatever you focus on will become the inclination of the mind, this makes perfect sense.

Every night before I go to sleep I ask myself the following questions:

  • What do I take for granted in my life?
  • Who are the important people (or animals) in my life?
  • Who is in my corner?
  • What freedoms do I enjoy?
  • What advantages have I been given in life?

This allows me to take stock of what is important and gives me a nice feeling of contentment before I drift off to sleep. Try it for yourself!

Our society has conditioned us to believe that your net worth equates to happiness. Accordingly many people strive to be more, do more, and have more.

But none of those things actually cause any lasting happiness. They are all impermanent and subject to change. Most importantly, they represent other qualities of the heart that can be achieved regardless of net worth.

Ask yourself the question: “What really makes me happy?” Is it actually the money, possessions, or reputation? Or is it freedom, joy, peace, and serenity?

Happiness is the ultimate currency, and there’s no law that says there isn’t enough of that to go around.


Sonia Devine is a qualified professional hypnotherapist who assists people to make positive changes in their lives.

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7 Signs Your Personality Is Intimidating Others

Have you ever suspected that your friends, colleagues, acquaintances, and even close family members are blindsided by the sheer strength of your personality?

If you are the kind of person who knows their own mind, always sees their plans through, and doesn’t believe in following the herd, other people might find you somewhat intimidating!

Do any of these signs sound familiar?

If so, you probably earn the respect of others – but they may also be a little bit scared on occasion!

1. You Read Other People Quickly

Your intuitive abilities are strong, and you form accurate impressions of people within seconds of meeting them.

Dishonest, ignorant, and bigoted people can’t hide their true nature from you – and this makes them nervous.

You aren’t afraid to call out bad behavior when you see it and are quite capable of putting obnoxious individuals in their place.

2. You Get Straight To The Point

Have you often been told that you are “too blunt” or even “too honest”?

If so, your personality might be intimidating to those around you!

Whilst most people like to ease into a conversation with small talk, this isn’t your preferred approach.

You’d much rather focus on big, important, or even abstract issues rather than what you had for lunch, the latest celebrity gossip, or your next-door neighbor’s vacation plans.

3. You Often Find Yourself In The Minority

You don’t conform just to meet the expectations of others, and you don’t go along with their requests if they don’t sit with your values.

Because you pride yourself on being an independent thinker, it’s likely that you are alone in your opinions from time to time.

People with low self-confidence find you intimidating because they can’t understand what it’s like to validate yourself instead of looking to others for approval.

You’ll also be unsurprised to learn that unintelligent people also find it uncomfortable to be around you, because they soon realize that your IQ far exceeds their own.

4. You Don’t Make – Or Accept – Excuses

You don’t whine about your circumstances and you don’t see yourself as a victim, even if everything is collapsing around you.

There is no place in your life for people who moan and complain.

When you set a goal, you pursue it with vigor and do not tolerate laziness and procrastination.

Although you can be tender-hearted and kind, your willpower can make you appear resilient and tough, which can be intimidating.

It’s not that you lack sympathy for those going through a hard time, just that you have no patience for people who would rather wallow in their own misery than take action.

5. You Aren’t Jealous

For you, it doesn’t matter what other people have.

You know that their money, jobs, or status don’t affect your own chances of success, so you don’t waste your time feeling jealous.

When you congratulate someone on their accomplishments, you truly mean it, without a trace of malice or envy.

Your ability to focus on your own goals and destiny can surprise others, particularly if they happen to be envious or bitter themselves.

6. You Love New Opportunities

Lots of people prefer to stay in their comfort zone, but this isn’t an option as far as you’re concerned.

For you, life is about exploring new ideas and making the best of opportunities you have been given.

In fact, you even see problems or setbacks as blessings in disguise!

You aren’t a starry-eyed optimist, but you have an amazing ability to review a situation from multiple perspectives and try several approaches when solving a problem.

What’s more, you aren’t easily discouraged.

If one solution doesn’t work, you just pick yourself back up and try a new tactic.

7. You Find It Hard To Tolerate Stupid People

Your open-minded attitude and capacity for critical thinking means that stupid or ignorant people really get on your nerves.

Perhaps you sometimes catch yourself thinking, “Why don’t they just read a book once in a while?” or “There’s no excuse for being that ignorant!”

Although you are usually polite and patient, you have no desire to spend any more time than is absolutely necessary with those who can’t understand high-level concepts.

Is an intimidating personality a blessing or a curse?

Sometimes, you might scare away potential friends and partners just by being yourself.

On the other hand, those brave enough to stick around and get to know you will come to appreciate your intelligence, honesty, and unique perspective on the world.

Because you are willing to meet lots of new people there’s a good chance that you will find your tribe sooner or later, even if it takes time to find friends who are capable of keeping up with your incredible mind.

Embrace your intimidating personality! Your proactive, strong-willed nature will set you up for success in every area of your life.

-Powerful Mind via Facebook

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That Emptiness Inside

“People today do not know how to rest. They fill their free time with countless diversions. People cannot tolerate even a few minutes of unoccupied time. They have to turn on the TV or pick up a newspaper, reading anything at all, even the advertisements. They constantly need something to look at, listen to, or talk about, all to keep the emptiness inside from rearing its terrifying head.”

– Thich Nhat Hanh

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10 Qualities The Most Authentic People Have in Common

What makes you one?

1. They’re self-reflective.
To be authentic, unique and individual you have to know who and what you are, which comes through self-reflection. How can you know who you are if you are following everyone else?

2. They have a healthy ego.
In order to be a successful leader of others, you must do so with courage and empathy. You must be confident enough in yourself and your abilities to consider others’ feelings.

3. They focus on possibilities.
When you live authentically you have no time to waste emotion on temporary and sometimes necessary setbacks.

4. They have good character.
You do not say things you do not mean, promises are not made you cannot keep and you stay in a place of integrity in all of your dealings, in and out of work.

5. They’re visionaries.
Because you are deeply connected to yourself, you are open and more innovative. You have been visionary in the creating of yourself and this allows you to bring that skill into all aspects of your life, especially business. You also help others to realize their goals and their potential, and you push both yourself and others to reach those.

6. They’re listeners.
You are more than willing to consider contradictory ideas with an open mind and change your opinion if the argument makes sense. You are genuinely interested in learning, and you are dedicated to discovering the truth.

7. They’re transparent.
Open communication is woven into the fabric of your authenticity. You never leave anyone guessing or hurting because you’re transparent.

8. They’re open and consistent.
You do not hold judgmental attitudes towards others. As you evaluate the thoughts and opinions others hold, even those you do not agree with, you still place them under an umbrella of respect. You are true to who you are and the principles you hold and do not require another person’s approval to feel good about yourself.

9. They’re team-oriented.
You build successful teams and give credit where it is due, sharing your success and achievements with your entire team.

10. They draw upon experience.
You have learned through your own life and improved yourself in thoughtful ways.

– by Psychologist Sherrie Campbell

 

THE MYTH OF THE GOOD OL BOY AND THE NICE GAL

The good of boy myth and the nice gal are a kind of social conformity myth. They create a real paradox when put together with the “rugged individual” part of the Success Myth. How can I be a rugged individual, be my own man and conform at the same time? Conforming means “Don’t make a wave”, “Don’t rock the boat”. Be a nice gal or a good ol’ boy. This means that we have to pretend a lot. 

“We are taught to be nice and polite. We are taught that these behaviors (most often lies) are better than telling the truth. Our churches, schools, and politics are rampant with teaching dishonesty (saying things we don’t mean and pretending to feel ways we don’t feel). We smile when we feel sad; laugh nervously when dealing with grief; laugh at jokes we don’t think are funny; tell people things to be polite that we surely don’t mean.”

– John Bradshaw On: The Family

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We Are All Pinocchio

“Pinocchio went out into the world. He went on his road filled with good intentions, with a vision. He went ready to do all the things he dreamed, but he was pulled this way and that. He was distracted. He faltered. He made mistakes. But he kept on. Pinocchio, in the end, became himself — because the little flame inside him, no matter what crap he went through, would not be extinguished.” 

~Patty Smith

Seems to me even before he becomes a real boy, Pinocchio was already experiencing the reality of real life and more real than most of us. Everything that was mentioned above is characteristic of being human. I beg to disagree with this passage ” in the end, he became himself. “ In my eyes, he didn’t become, he was himself all along. He stayed true to himself no matter what without losing his core -the little flame that refused to be extinguished. When he first ventured out into the world, he was naive (recognizable?) and made poor choices and picked the wrong company and tried to get out of tricky situations by lying. We all did these in some points in our lives. If you tell me you hadn’t, then you’re lying. None of us were born aware and equipped with all the knowledge to survive in this world. We learned it as we go along stumbling and falling. In the end, like Pinocchio, we will realize who we are and where we belonged but the foundation of our true selves is already laid from the start. No amount of experience good or bad could alter our genetic makeup. It could alter the shape a bit but not the core. We are who we are and how we deal with things (attitude) shows what lies beneath. No mask and amount of lying and pretending could hide the real character of a person because eventually, it will show through his actions. I rather deal with an obnoxious person with a good heart than a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

How about you?

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Standard

I remember the time our neighbor- the mother of my then best friend– phoned me to say that the brother of my current tenant was the perfect candidate for my future fling come next vacation. She said unlike all of his predecessors, this one is a professional and not a bum which seems to be my preference and would it not be great to have someone exactly the opposite for a change.

I could have told her a lot of things, one of those is_  it’s none of your busines_ I could have defended myself and my reputation against her wrong assumptions but I can recognize a hopeless situation when I see one. People talk judge and prejudice according to their cranial capacity. One can try to be the summum of decency and morality and still, people would talk. You cannot please everybody.

I could explain to her also that the reason I hang out with bums was time. They have plenty and I had a limited amount of it to spend before I go back to reality. Every second count. I have also an unorthodox way of doing everything. For one, I don’t sleep at night. I gallivant to my heart’s desire and often seek dangerous pursuit not suited for a lady. With me, expect the unexpected, anytime anywhere. The life I lead was not convenient for anyone who has a 9 to 5 day job or any job at all, married or committed or worried about what the people might say. I needed someone who was willing to be on standby 24/7, able to defend himself and protect me, streetwise, charming, sportive and daring. Someone who will lay his life for me and my quest, someone who does not ask too many questions, doesn’t expect anything and doesn’t want a title and the rights to go with it. And who is the ideal person to take the job? A bum.

A professional would complicate and expect things I cannot give. Besides, I didn’t need just a bum, I needed a fairly intelligent, innocent bum. Preferably a virgin who will be content with holding hands and doesn’t demand sex from me because contrary to what other people think, I don’t sleep around. That’s why that time I hung around mostly with teenagers. No, I am not a pedophile. I just preferred their no-nonsense approach in life. You would be surprised how more mature they are than their older counterparts. Luckily, because of my good genes, I looked like just one of them. I never encounter any difficulties associating myself with this group aside from what others thought of me that time_a wayward teenager with enough time in her hands and financial back up from mom and dad. I never bother to correct them.

Like my neighbor who was questioning my standard for a company, onlookers didn’t know or understand my motives. And I cannot blame them because actions speak louder than words they say. They made judgment based on what they think they see and process their thoughts accordingly. It is much easier to jump into conclusion than engage with the taxing work of understanding what lies beneath. Nobody does that anymore. Time-consuming. Wrong pursuit. 

As for myself, I hardly care. I know who I am. I knew what I was doing and what I wanted and the rest were sideshows. My standard when choosing a partner is sky high. I will talk about it in another blog post.  The people I have shared my escapades are not chosen for their shining achievements and social status. They were chosen because they served a purpose. Momentarily. They don’t have a place in my reality nor they hold a permanent position in my life. They were just casualties of my ongoing battle with finding my rainbow connection. Nothing more nothing less.

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And Yet

A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other.

— Charles Dickens (A Tale of Two Cities)

And yet people seem to always know you. In fact, in places where people have ample times in their hands, they seem to know more about your life than you do. They create far-fetched stories about faraway places they never been and put you in the middle of their fantasy. The funny thing is others tend to believe them. Great minds think alike indeed.

Reminds me of something I’ve read somewhere that goes like this:

Gossip can have devastating consequences. We tend to have a strong negativity bias: Almost all of us pay more attention to negative information than we do to positive information. Think about the last time you posted something to Facebook, for example, and got a string of enthusiastic comments followed by a single, stinging rebuke. Which comment did you focus on?

It’s true, isn’t it?

We always tend to see the single black dot on a paper and focus on it but we forget the vast whiteness of the paper surrounding the black spot.

People love to believe fat juicy lies than the simple truth especially if it is about someone they are secretly jealous of or envious of the life that someone is leading. They will gladly swallow anything that can damage their perfect perception of you and your life. It makes them feel better about themselves. Justifying somehow their insecurities and personal issues. Often than not those sort of people will happily feed the fire till there is nothing left anymore of whatever the truth might have been. I have fallen victim of this sort of gossips so many times I lost count already the number of times people have spin gory tales about me. Mind you, my unconventional behavior and nonchalant attitude towards rumors didn’t help much with their already wrong impression of me and once upon a time I couldn’t care less.

They can say whatever they want as long as it doesn’t interfere with my agenda. But you cannot be in the middle of someone’s concept and be invisible. Sooner or later hell will break loose and often times the leading character is the only casualty because it is easier to hit a single target than multiple ones. Safety by numbers and the majority always win.  Fortunately, their movies are not my reality. Unfortunately, like one of those sci-fi movies, when you get hurt or die in virtual reality you die in real life too, the consequences can travel through time and dimensions and even if you don’t die the scars are deep it shows.

You know what they say:

It’s difficult to be the subject of a negative rumor, particularly one that has no basis in reality.

And even if:

You can’t always control what other people say about you, but you can control how you respond—and you can be resilient…

You are only human. You are not invincible. Everybody has limits and sooner or later you will reach your saturation point. And once you’re there you can only do a couple of things:

Wage a war against those who are set to harm you  (which in Dutch is equivalent to “dweilen met de kraan open.” Literally translated: Mopping the floor with the tap wide open meaning: ‘Bailing out a sinking ship.’)

Change your ways and conform. (Yeah, follow the heard and be a copy of the majority. Die before you’re dead.)

Or be a Hermit like me.

Which one it is?

Make your choice and let me know.

 

Haters Gonna Hate

“They will hate you if you are beautiful. They will hate you if you are successful. They will hate you if you are right. They will hate you if you are popular. They will hate you when you get attention. They will hate you when people in their life like you. They will hate you if you worship a different version of their God. They will hate you if you are spiritual. They will hate you if you have courage. They will hate you if you have an opinion. They will hate you when people support you. They will hate you when they see you happy. Heck, they will hate you while they post prayers and religious quotes on Pinterest and Facebook. They just hate. However, remember this: They hate you because you represent something they feel they don’t have. It really isn’t about you. It is about the hatred they have for themselves. So smile today because there is something you are doing right that has a lot of people thinking about you.”

― Shannon L. Alder

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Another Milestone

I realized something the other day while I was looking at my growing collection of succulents; I’m enjoying being on my own.

I know I told you already that I am a loner and prefer solitude than being in a crowd but there is some difference; before, I crave to be among people I have nothing to do with. I love to meet new acquaintances – preferably in far away places so I can run away if it becomes too much and strangers become too close – I love talking to random people, exchanging ideas and watching them doing their things as long as they don’t follow me home and insist to be my friends. Before, I resented being isolated. I was constantly homesick. I wanted to experience again the life I had before; the fun, the chase, the adventures, the thrill of discovering new people, new places and new things. I hated being settled, peaceful, grounded and (more or less) secure. To me it was boring, unimaginative, dead.

I still enjoy meeting people and going places and discovering new things but it is not a must anymore. At the end of the day, I am happy to be home. In fact, lately, while exploring new frontiers, at the back of my mind, I can’t wait to go home. I can’t wait till I am again inside my four walls where I can be alone and peaceful and safe. Safe from expectations, safe from demands, away from the prying eyes and prejudiced judgmental people. I can be whoever I want to be no one will force me.

Before, I charge my battery somewhere, the more peculiar, weird, bizarre, the better. These days home is where I recuperate and I get my fix from peace and quiet and safety my place offers. I don’t want complicated situations anymore. No more dramas, no more unnecessary commitments, no more pretending, no more catering to what society expects.

Today I realized another thing: I don’t have the urge anymore to control things. 

Before, I want everything the way it supposed to be, in my head. I got into a panic when things are not in their proper place and things don’t happen the way I expect and my weight is not 46 kilos. The moment the scale shows one or two gram more I will get so nervous I will go into crash diet and see to it that my weight is back on track within three weeks.

Now, I am 10 kilos heavier and have love handles all over the place but I can stand it. I don’t get agitated anymore when there is a glass on the kitchen counter or a cup somewhere in the living room and there are clothes that have to be ironed in bed. Mind you the glasses and cups and clothes will not be there for long, but they can stay there for a few hours till I find the time and urge to remove them. I can go out now without straightening everything till my house is picture perfect. In short, I’m learning to let go.

I’m learning to let go of my paranoia as well. I can stand open windows now, doors too. Dark days don’t make me think of everything evil and I can take a bath now when I’m home alone and even dare to go into my dressing without locking anything that could be locked. The knife I still keep but I forget it’s there sometimes. I take it as a positive sign and continuing improvement of my mental health.

I don’t know if I’m really getting better or would really get better or I just resigned to my situation. Could be also that I’m just getting old and tired and lost my appetite for anything that rock my already shaky constitution and learning the value of restful and quiet uncomplicated existence.

Who knows…

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A Safari Experience

Last Saturday was a corporate family day. They do this event once a year. I like it better than any other social occasions like Christmas party and such because, for an introvert like me, it’s heaven. You can be among people you are not forced to socialize with. They hired the entire place for member only, free food and drinks and personnel enough to cater to your needs. What could be better than that?

This time it was a zoo they hired. I was skeptical. I hate animals in captivity and if they are there to parade for your pleasure, I hate it even more. That is why I don’t go to the circus or zoo. But I was pleasantly surprised. There were no cages, no fences, all natural open-air surroundings. What they did basically is to turn acres of acres into a jungle, then section off the place into different rooms, each designed for the needs of a particular animal. The division is so subtle it isn’t obvious and each section is so huge you can get lost. You will have an impression that the birds are free to fly around but if you look closely, high above are concealed nets to keep the birds where they are supposed to be. You can even walk among the vultures. They keep track of your movements but other than that, they are pretty docile. The enclosures and viewing areas are so cleverly designed that you can watch the animals without interfering with their privacy. They don’t even know you are watching them.

They named the areas according to the kind of animals you will discover in that specific place; what do you think of Rainforest, Taiga, Tundra and Savannah? Inviting, isn’t it? 

There is an amazing play area for the kids (including big kids) with a huge seating area to rest tired feet, also a number of small play areas dotted along the way.  And those little interactive sections throughout the zoo are also fascinating. There are restaurants and places to drink and have snacks. The parking area is big enough to accommodate thousands of visitors. All and all, it was a positive Safari experience. No wonder the establishment is voted year after year including this year the best park in the country.

I don’t know if I’m going to be back. I hate doing things twice and new surroundings are much preferable than something I’ve already seen. Besides, once you already have seen something, the novelty is gone. How many ways you can see a giraffe for example.

But I did learn something. The lesson I’m walking away with is ‘give something a chance’ who knows, like me, you could be in for a very pleasant surprise.

(Pardon any mistakes. Too tired and too lazy to edit today)

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