Tag Archives: inspiration

Attitude is Altitude

21 Mar

This was the most moving video I have seen in quite some time. If after 4 minutes and 11 seconds I was inspired, I can only imagine the amazing impact that Nick has on audiences across the world when he holds events. Now this is a man who really makes you grateful for what you have.

Nick has a point. There are way too many people in the world who think they aren’t good enough — that they aren’t worth anything. I’ve been there and done that, and let me tell you that while it’s no walk in the park, I learned one thing pretty fast: you are the only reason you think you aren’t good enough. And before you’re like, “that’s not news,” hear me out. This isn’t a “you’re your own worst enemy” spiel, but rather a “stop blaming everyone and their mom and get over yourself” spiel. I hate to break it to you, but the greatest disservice you can do to yourself as a human being is call yourself a victim. Sure, I’ve been through hell and back in a lot of ways, and plenty of you have too, but we’re stronger than that.

If you’re unhappy with yourself or your life, try taking responsibility for it instead of chalking it up to a laundry list of “poor me’s.” Maybe you have been hurt by someone you thought you could trust. Maybe you have been through something traumatic. Maybe you have watched someone you love suffer at the hand of another person, or worse, an illness. But by using those things as an excuse to call yourself victim, you are letting them get the better of you. If you ask me, your haters and your obstacles shouldn’t be getting so much as a nod from you. If you’re going to make them a part of your life at all, don’t use them as crutches. Use them as stepping stones and rise.

Toxic Trouble

15 Mar

This morning, for whatever reason, I woke up with Britney Spears’ song “Toxic” stuck in my head. Yeah, talk about a nightmare. Did you know that at 29 years of age, she’s finally debuting her “most upbeat and mature album yet” on March 29th? Hold on to your hats ladies and gentlemen.

On a heavier note, Spears’ song inspired me to tackle the issue of toxic relationships as today’s blog topic. I hope that this post serves as an inspiration to those of you who find yourselves lost. And if you’re at your wits end with a friend who complains about their relationship but refuses to leave it despite your support and encouragement, I hope that this post might give you clarity as well. And I don’t want to sound like an Eeyore, so I’m going to keep my attitude light for the sake of everyone’s mood. Hope you don’t mind!

So let’s start with defining and identifying characteristics of a toxic relationship. Basically, a toxic relationship is a relationship in which behaviors on the part of the toxic partner are emotionally (and sometimes phsyically) damaging to their partner. I’ve decided that there are five toxic types. Let’s get to know them:

“Independent” Ian

Ian is an independent toxic controller. He disguises his controlling behavior by asserting his independence — “You can’t control me.” Ian keeps his partner feeling insecure by rarely keeping his commitments and being essentially non-dependable. He will promise to call and not follow through. He avoids making commitments  and concrete plans, and when his partner asks for a commitment or expresses her feelings about his behavior, he accuses her of being controlling. Ian is a toxic individual because he makes his partner feel unsafe and insecure within the relationship; his unpredictable habits make her feel like she isn’t a priority. Anxiety over Ian’s behavior causes her to constantly try to “earn” his commitment, an effort that can be  very emotionally draining.

Beth the Belittler

Beth belittles and depreciates her partner by making fun of him when he tries to express his opinions, beliefs, and values, often teasing him about how stupid they are. When he asks her to stop, she will often respond with something like, “chill out, I’m just kidding,” or “can’t you take a joke?” which makes him feel as though he is overreacting. Beth also has no quams about doing this to her partner in public. Beth is toxic because when she belittles and depreciates her partner, she leads him to believe that he can’t make good decisions and that his opinions are wrong or stupid. Sometimes, Beth will even go so far as to make her partner believe that he is “lucky” to be with her, because nobody else would want him.

Bad Temper Trevor

Trevor controls his partner using intimidation. He has an often unpredictable “hair-trigger” temper that makes his partner walk on eggshells around him because she never knows what is going to set him off next. She has given up on trying to disagree with Trevor because he gets so angry. Sometimes he gets so angry that he yells, punches walls, throws things, breaks things, or hurts her. Trevor keeps this side of himself hidden from the outside world, and others often see him as a friendly, nice, likeable person. When his partner confronts him about the inappropriateness of his temper, he frequently blames his outburst on her — somehow it’s her fault that he yells and screams. In doing this, Trevor disowns responsibility for his own behavior and successfully prevents his partner from feeling that she can discuss problems with him openly.

Paranoid Pam

Pam gets jealous over her partner easily. In the beginning of their relationship, he appreciated her jealousy and even felt flattered by it. Over time, however, Pam’s jealousy got out of hand — she became more and more suspicious. She often accuses her partner of cheating on her and fabricates scenarios that lead her to such a conclusion. She becomes outraged when he interacts with any other women on any level — even when he gets a text from his good friend who has a boyfriend. Pam is so paranoid and controlling that her partner is forced to cut ties with meaningful friends for reasons that are not valid.

Deflecting David

Sometimes, David’s partner tries to express that she’s hurt, angry, or upset over something that he did. But when she tries to tell him how she’s feeling, she somehow ends up comforting him and helping him cope with his own unhappiness, hurt, or anger. David manages to deflect ownership and turn his partner into the culprit instead. He breaks down, sometimes to tears, and accuses his partner of making him feel badly. Unfortunately, she gets so caught up in comforting him that no one ends up comforting her. His behavior is harmful because by avoiding validating her feelings, David neglects his partner’s needs by manipulating her to feel guilty. Conflict aside, David often controls his partner by making her believe that she is “lucky” to be with him because no one else would love her, and sometimes he might even be verbally abusive to get his point across.

———

Maybe some of you have met Ian, Beth, Pam, David, or Trevor. Maybe you’ve met all of them — although I hope not. It’s important to note that we all experience our partners behaving in some of these ways occasionally. The difference between whether or not it is typical or toxic lies in the frequency of these behaviors: if you find any of these habits to be the norm, then you are dealing with a toxic personality. Also, it’s not uncommon for an extremely toxic person to possess traits of all five of these characters.

If you’ve never been in a toxic relationship, you probably have a lot of trouble understanding why someone would stay in one. You might be the friend who gets frustrated because you cannot for the life of yourself figure out why your friend won’t just leave already. You might be fed up with their complaining or their apparent blindness. While it’s understandable that you would feel that way, I encourage you to consider the emotional damage that a toxic personality can inflict on someone. Often, people who find themselves stuck in an unhealthy relationship have been broken down to the point where they are only a shadow of the person they were prior to the relationship. They have been made to feel worthless, invaluable, stupid, selfish, insecure and unloveable. Their toxic partner has gotten inside their head, and they are terrified that if they leave, they will never find someone who loves them again. Their self-esteem is so low, and their image of themselves is so distorted, that they genuinely believe that they don’t deserve better.

So, what can you do to help? Remind them, persistently, that they deserve better. Remind them who they were before this relationship, and remind them that people (including you) will still love them when they end it. And above all, be patient, because it will take time and effort to bring them back. I know that usually when someone is in an emotional deadlock with a toxic person, what their friends and family have to say will likely fall on deaf ears. So even if you stop trying to get through to them, at the very least make sure that they know that when they are ready to take that step, they have a support system waiting for them.


Happy belated Pi Day (:

Does it Really?

13 Mar

We’re all familiar with the phrase “my life sucks.” I know I’ve said it, and you probably have too. We all have bad days, and sometimes it feels like things couldn’t get any worse. But it seems to me that we often forget how privileged and lucky we really are. So before you casually announce that your life sucks, think about:

  • The 105,000 people who have died today.
  • The 1 billion undernourished people in the world right now.
  • The 18,000 people who have died of hunger today.
  • The 1.3 billion people in the world who don’t have access to safe drinking water.
  • The 2.2 million deaths of children under the age of 5 this year.
  • The 30.6 million people currently infected with HIV.
  • The 1.5 million people that have died from cancer this year.
  • The 210,000 suicides that have occurred this year.
  • The 43% of the world population that lives without basic sanitation.
  • The 12% of the world population that can’t read this blog post.
  • The 88% of the people in the world that don’t have a computer.
  • The fact that if you have a fridge for your food, a closet for your clothes, a bed to sleep in and a roof over your head, you are richer than 75% of the world population.

Does it really?

Appreciate what you have.

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hyp·o·crite (noun)

9 Mar

…a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings.

Okay, guilty. For those of you who have previously read this blog, or for those of you who scrolled to the bottom and started with my first few posts, you know what I’m talking about. In my defense, I did delete my Facebook for a solid couple of months in the fall but since you were probably directed here via Facebook, you can see that the hiatus didn’t last for long. I could try to justify myself in saying that in this generation Facebook provides a convenient and casual link between first-encounters and phone numbers which I really really needed to make friends in a new town, but then I’d also have to grab a shovel because it was only a few months ago that I was bashing the idea of social networking.

Acknowledgement of hypocrisy aside, I have decided that this is still going to be a really interesting blog about bettering yourself as a person and random cool things I feel like I should share — but for argument’s sake I’m going to modify the whole “social networking and surfing the web are evil” mantra and go with a gentler “social networking and surfing the web are good in moderation.”

Today, a friend of mine asked me what I’m giving up for Lent. Being Atheist, I hadn’t given it any thought. Apparently, deciding what to give up for Lent can be a struggle for some. So, to start spring off with a bang, I decided to make a list of things you can give up for Lent! Enjoy.

1. Taco Bell’s pseudo-meat delicacies: Okay guys, I get it. Your wallet appreciates the 88 cent deal. But I’m not so sure your body appreciates the 88 percent deal that Taco Bell’s got going on — I’d like to know who the brainiac was that thought bragging about 88 percent meat in their commercials would make my mouth water.

2. Giving up really cliche things for Lent: a specific type of candy, alcohol, Facebook — I mean, I could be wrong seeing as how I’m not very well-versed in the religion department, but isn’t Lent supposed to be difficult? Why not try coming up with something specifically tailored to yourself and your own vices? If giving up alcohol and Facebook is hard for you, let’s be honest… you’ve got a bigger problem on your hands!

3. Texting: we text because we’re afraid to be put on the spot. It’s easier to craft an eloquent response via text message than to respond immediately to someone on the phone. We’re losing genuine contact and interaction with the people around us. Why not try giving up texting for Lent and call your friends and family instead

4. Trying to beat this impossible quiz: no, seriously… don’t waste your time. It’s. Not. Possible.

5. Being judgmental: we all do it. We judge people at first glance, at first interaction, and even after knowing them for years. We judge how they look, how they smell, what they do, how they act, and what they say. You want something difficult to give up for Lent? Try this one on for size.

6. Justin Bieber: do I really need to explain?

7. Watching shows like Jersey Shore: not a single one of those guys is good looking, and what the hell is so exciting about TEE SHIRT TIME??

8. 5 Degrees: In Eugene, it’s cold till like… May. At least that’s what I’ve been told. My apartment’s electric bill has skyrocketed with the climate being colder, and I’m sure yours has too, unless you’re already eco-conscious! By giving up 5 degrees and cuddling under a blanket instead, you’re saving money and energy.

9. Drunk Facebooking/texting/dialing: …. it’s embarrassing, right? What better thing to give up for Lent than humiliation!

10. Jesus: wait! Hear me out. I’m thinking, Lent is when you’re supposed to give up something you love. If you’re practicing Lent, it would be safe to assume that you love Jesus. Therefore, isn’t it arguable that giving up Jesus for Lent would be an excellent candidate for sacrifice?

Welcome back :)

A Little Self-ish Today

16 Sep

You know what’s lame? Everyone and their mom recognizes these words, but if I asked you to define the differences between them, could you? Probably not. And if you can, then congratulations. Go get yourself a cookie. Here they are:

  • Self-Esteem
  • Self-Confidence
  • Self-Respect

Self-Esteem is pride and satisfaction with oneself. Someone with high self-esteem is confident without being obnoxious or conceited, open and assertive about communicating their needs, not devastated by criticism, not easily defeated by setbacks, and not overly concerned about what others think. Don’t have it? Get it. Here’s how: Celebrate your strengths and achievements. Everyone makes mistakes — forgive yourself for yours. Everyone has weaknesses — forgive yourself for those, too. Change the way you talk to yourself (I always like to ask myself: “If you talked to others the way that you talk to yourself, do you think they would still be your friends?” If the answer is no, consider being more kind to yourself. As the saying goes, we are often our harshest critics). Don’t hold unreasonable standards for yourself. And lastly, instead of constantly criticizing yourself for your faults, try praising yourself for the parts of you that are beautiful.

Self-Confidence is a positive perception of yourself that allows you to have faith in your abilities. Someone with high self-confidence is a go-getter; they pursue their desires because they believe in their own capacity for success. Don’t have it? Well, don’t just sit there on your ass feeling sorry for yourself. Go get it! Here’s how: Be ambitious. Set goals for yourself. Learn to communicate: ask for what you want, and hear advice and counsel. Be loving and kind: nourish healthy relationships, and detach from relationships that don’t allow you to feel authentic. Be open to change. Be optimistic. And f it’s staying true to yourself or pleasing others, stay true to yourself.

Self-Respect is your acceptance of yourself, your character, and your conduct. People with high self-respect do not criticize themselves for who they are, but rather understand that they are human beings that make mistakes and have faults, and accept themselves as such. People with high self-respect are not so concerned by what others think of them, because they are content with themselves. If you are an excellent hockey player, allow yourself to believe it on your own instead of getting overly excited whenever someone pats you on the back and says you’re amazing. Sure, it’s nice to hear. But a person with high self-respect does not need compliments in order to accept and approve of themselves.

If you find yourself deficient in one or more of the areas listed above, well… apply the techniques I’ve so handily offered and do something about it! You, my friend, are your own worst enemy. You don’t need others to love you in order for you to love yourself. In fact, it’s the other way around. You need to love yourself before you can love others and they can love you. So get crackin’ :)

Loaded Questions

10 Sep

I drove 8 hours today. Do you know what your brain feels like after you drive 8 hours? If you’re from my generation, then you’ve probably played with Gak Splat (remember that gross green shit in a plastic container, that feels like play doh and flubber got their grind on and then popped one out?), and you know.

So I’ll keep it brief tonight — for my sake and yours. I have a challenge for you:

Stop sitting around feeling sorry for yourself, and take charge of your own life. Most people don’t really know how to do that. I used to be one of them, but now I’ve got a leg up on all y’all… and this is the part where you’re lucky, because I’m about to help you kick your mind into high gear (partly so that I can give my own a damn break)! When you’re done reading this, you’re going to go take a gander at these questions and give them a good hard thinking. Try to come up with some answers for yourself, and if you’re not too lazy, I might even suggest going so far as to write down both the question AND your answer. They’ll come in handy next time you’re feeling like him. Seeing some of these questions is going to suck, but that’s the point. They really make you think. When you read them, if you don’t like the answer that comes to you….

Do something to change it.

DIY: Inspirational Wall Frames :)

8 Sep

By Kim Smith

So a few weeks ago, I found these wall collages by artist Kim Smith that are more than a little awesome. They cost $20-30 a pop to purchase (and probably a little more after shipping) so I decided to just do my own little knockoff for about $10, and it turned out great! These frames are awesome gifts for friends (trust me, they love ’em) and cute decor for a college apartment or what have you.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • An old or stupid book (it looks better with yellowed pages — if you want, use Sarah Palin’s book and tea-stain it)
  • Scissors
  • A ruler
  • Glue
  • A wooden 5″ x 5″  frame — it can be basic or fancy
  • Ribbon(s) of your choice (you will use this to hang the artwork..so make it pretty)
  • Colored Sharpies
  • Paint
  • Staple gun

Okay, first things first. Go online and find an inspirational quote. It’s better if it’s short. Mine, for example, says “don’t judge yourself through the eyes of others” because I tend to let it hurt my feelings if people say unkind things. It’s best to choose a quote that will encourage you in some way. If you’re a bitch and willing to admit it, maybe choose one like “goodness attracts goodness” (I gave this one to my friend for an entirely different reason — she’s a very good person. But that’s beside the point; we’re talking about you and pushing yourself to grow), or if you’re reeling from a breakup and feeling hopeless, maybe “believe in love” is a good one for you.

Got one? Okay. Now it’s time to come up with a background. For my own, I cut out a ton of celebrity eyes like some maniacal creep and made a collage. But that’s just me.

  1. Measure a 5 x 5″ square onto a sheet of printer paper using your ruler. This will be the size of your collage.
  2. Choose material for your background; think outside the box. What suits your quote? Old book pages, fabrics, magazine cutouts… all three?
  3. Tear the materials — they look cooler that way — and arrange them collage-style inside the square. Then glue them down.
  4. Then, if you used book pages, spice it up a bit by drawing on it with colored sharpie. Swirls, hearts, stars, bass & treble clefs..whatever shakes your fanny. Don’t overdo it though.. you don’t want too much going on, otherwise the quote won’t stand out.
  5. Type your quote out on the computer and choose a font. I prefer typewriter. Print it out and cut it out, and glue it to the center of the collage.
  6. Paint your frame. You might want to use a coat of gloss finish to give it a more chic appearance — otherwise it will be matte and pretty obvious that you did it yourself. Let dry.
  7. Measure the ribbon. How long do you want it to be? The craft will be hanging by the ribbon on a nail in the wall.
  8. Use the staple gun to secure the ribbon to the back of the frame. You might need a hammer to make sure the staples are tight.
  9. Cut out your collage, and put it in the frame.
  10. Hang it somewhere you’ll see it :)
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