Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Let Them Judge

Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.

Colossians 2:16-17

When the words and expressions of others get to me; when I let their judgements of trivial matters affect me; I remember the words above. How silly is it to let someone's opinion of your choice of food or music matter to you.

We are quicker to be offended by how someone sees our taste in food than by our moral standpoint. We would rather fight for our hobbies than our principles. 

The trivial life pursuits of others should not weigh so heavy on our minds. Yet somehow it does. We don't want to associate with those who dislike our favorite movie. It's become more appalling for someone to reject our sense of style than our sense of self worth. 

The songs that fill your ears are not nearly as descriptive of you as the words that fill your heart. What you feed your mouth is not quite as important as what you feed your mind and soul. While it may be interesting to learn how others live through their food, fashion, and day to day life style choices, do not let this alone be an adequate picture of who they are. 

We are more than our breads and butter and do not let the dismissal of a personal preference get your feelings in a wave. Pay them no mind for you are more than anyone will ever know.

Sweater: forever21
Hat: thrifted
Jeans: urbanbehavior

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Conquring Being Conqured

When I was in grade school,  I had a teacher that wreaked havoc on my future academic career. She instilled in me a fear of asking questions.

When I got up the nerve to ask her something she relished in making me feel stupid for not knowing the answer. "I went through this already. Everyone else seems to get it, why can't you?" It was as if me not knowing the answer reflected poorly on her teaching, and in order to avoid feeling like an inadequate teacher she made me feel like an inadequate student.

In addition to the snarky remarks I'd receive if I asked a question, she would often pick me to answer a question that I didn't have the answer to. The response was either the class laughing at me or her pointing out that I wasn't paying attention to her lesson. This teacher branded into me that I was slow, stupid, and a bad student. For the rest of my school days I avoided asking questions. Instead, I'd struggle through trying to get the right answer. I'd settle for lower marks when I could have done better simply by asking the teacher or my peers for help.

It got to a point where this fear of asking for help trickled into my personal life, where I would rather struggle through something than to ask even a loved one for assistance. It wasn't until I reached high school that I realized I was doing exactly what my grade school teacher wanted.

She, for whatever reason didn't like me (or rather didn't like herself and was taking it out on me) and rather than show patience for her "slow" student she decided to ingrain in me that anyone who didn't get it, anyone who needed help, anyone who was different was wrong or "bad."

By instilling a fear of being wrong in me she was keeping me from learning how to do things right.

Rather than ask, and save myself time, I fumbled over and over again to arrive at the same destination as everyone else. I figured out that she was doing a good job of keep me from progressing. I had become the person she wanted me to be, because I was too scared to be more.

This is how many oppressors work. They get you to feel like there is something is wrong with you, they make you a victim until they no longer have to tell you're not good enough; you'll say it yourself.

Long after I left that class I was still hearing "you're stupid" in my head. But it wasn't her voice. It was mine!

The odd thing is, meeting her and going through that was one of the best experiences of my life. It made me see how people can attempt to keep others down and in their place in order to gain power. It made me alert to it. When someone says "you're stupid" now, I think, "No, I'm not and I know exactly what you're doing."

The same applies to abuse. If someone hurts me the last thing I'll do is remain a victim of their hate. That's what they want me to do.

I can't erase the years where I sat passive in class and in my personal life not asking for help or asserting myself, but I can use the years I have left to learn from that experience and be a much better person.

Don't let an experience in your past harm your future. The best way to teach anyone who tries to keep you down a lesson is by standing up.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Humble Trust

I work to give up my pride and turn away from my arrogance. I am not concerned with great matters. Instead, I am content and at peace. As a child lies quietly in its parents arms, so my heart is quiet within me. I will trust in the LORD, now and forever.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Types of Narcisissim

All of us, in some way, are narcissistic. In small doses, narcissism is not a terrible thing but in a greater quantity it can be a hindrance to you and hurt others around you. We all have a narcissist in our lives just as we all are narcissistic in some way or another. If you can pinpoint the type, and on what level, you can figure out if the narcissist in your life should be avoided as well as if you should be working on taming your own narcissism.

Narcissism has often been looked at as conceit and it is. This is your classic narcissists who feels them-selves as superior to others. This is similar to the compensatory narcissist who creates an illusion of superiority in order to disguise deep seated insecurities. These types often live in a fantasy world and expect prestige, admiration and praise. They are very sensitive to how others react to them.

Not all narcissists act boastfully; some maintain their narcissism by being weak.

The inverted narcissist is a co-dependant who caters to the narcissist needs in order to control them.  These types depend on other people for their emotional gratification or daily functions. They are needy, demanding, and submissive. They fear abandonment, cling and display immature behaviors in their effort to maintain the "relationship" with their companion or mate upon whom they depend. No matter what abuse is inflicted upon them – they remain in the relationship. By eagerly becoming victims, codependents seek to control their abusers.

Narcissists are also either:

1. cerebral -- people who feed their narcissistic needs from their intelligence, academic, or professional achievements. Examples would be evangelists, CEOs, professors, physicians etc.

2. somatic -- people who feed their narcissistic needs from their physicality, exercise, physical and sexual prowess including their "conquests". Examples would be models, professional athletes, actors etc.

 To break it down even further, we can take a look at the 9-point model presented by Bruce Stevens in his article: 'Narcissism: A Nine Headed Hydra? Exploring Types of Narcissism'. In it he describes:

1. The Craver has a lot of love to give but always with strings attached. This type has a great fear of abandonment and clings to people they can connect with, but they are never satisfied.

2.The Power Broker desires...well, power! They will do almost anything to gain power, and rarely consider any consequences of their actions. They can be bullies, arrogant, and cold. By any means necessary is their motto.

3. The Rager is someone on the edge, and when their narcissism is bruised, they will lash out. These types are often verbally and/or physically abusive. They are very controlling.

4. The Fantasy Maker is the type that has retreated into their own reality, because they are living in defense of the painful reality of their lives. They do not live in truth and therefore have difficulty forming "real" relationships with others. 

 5. The Special Lover is the type that believe love is the answer to all things. They believe that they have a special capacity to love and tend to idealize love and the people whom they love. Of course, they face deep disappointment when they realize that their love and/or the ones they love are not perfect.

6. The Body Shaper is highly focused on their physical image. Fashion. glamour, Youth. Beauty. They live very shallow and empty lives, and they tend to deny ageing.

7. The Trickster is an extremely charming and social type. These types can trick people into trusting them, but is very malicious and ruthless in these relationships. They feel a sense of entitlement and are without remorse.

8. The Martyr revels in their suffering. They are victims and love telling people about it. They totally identify with the pain they are dealing with in the present. They want care and support and will exploit others to get it. They tend to form relationships with others who have a need to be needed and then they are exploited. This is their way of controlling other people.

9. The Rescuer is virtuous. They always take the high road in relationships. They appear kind, considerate, and they try too hard. They find it easier to give than to receive. This could be because they were a parentified child in a dysfunctional family.

Image credit: http://browse.deviantart.com/?q=vain&order=9&offset=0#/dqm3rh
Article reference: http://www.timetoteach.co.uk/links/TypesofNarcissists.html

Prayer of Praise

To him who is able to keep you from falling, and to bring you faultless and joyful before his presence--to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be Glory, majesty, might and authority, from all ages past, and now, and forever and ever!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Aesop Fable: The Fox and the Crow

 A Fox once saw a Crow fly off with a piece of cheese in its beak and settle on a branch of a tree. "That's for me, as I am a Fox," said Master Reynard, and he walked up to the foot of the tree. "Good-day, Mistress Crow," he cried. "How well you are looking to-day: how glossy your feathers; how bright your eye. I feel sure your voice must surpass that of other birds, just as your figure does; let me hear but one song from you that I may greet you as the Queen of Birds." The Crow lifted up her head and began to caw her best, but the moment she opened her mouth the piece of cheese fell to the ground, only to be snapped up by Master Fox. "That will do," said he. "That was all I wanted. In exchange for your cheese I will give you a piece of advice for the future ."Do not trust flatterers."

Picture Courtesy of Larry Vienne
Visit the etsy shop for more raven inspired artwork

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Why playing it safe isn’t always best

It makes sense to avoid the risks involved with hazardous things, like jumping off a cliff without a parachute. However, when it comes to getting out of an unfulfilling relationship or job those same cautious instincts can backfire.

Because change seems, scary we believe that it posses a greater risk than sticking with the status quo. However, we often fail to factor in how not taking a risk can lead to an unfulfilling life. As well as all the things we could be missing out on. Consider the following if you are on of the many that play it safe.

Get out of your comfort zone
Many people don’t like to “rock the boat” especially once they obtain some level of success. The downside of this is that you no longer “play to win” instead, you “play to lose”. Experts confirm that this approach of hesitation and second guessing rarely lead you to the desired outcome. Because what you are doing is subconsciously scaling back our efforts and robing yourself of chances to flourish.

In order to “play to win” you have to acknowledge your fear of the unknown in a proactive way. If you are scared of setting up starting your own business or going after that promotion at your company, list your hesitation and ask yourself how you’d handle the worst case scenario. By looking at specific what ifs, you can evaporate some fears and give yourself the confidence boost to get back in the game.

 Stop waiting for the right moment
A lot of us put of doing things we dream of, like taking that dream vacation or starting our own business, because we are holding out for the best conditions possible. What we forget is by waiting for the right moment we may never accomplish these things. Iris Songivliano, a clinical psychologist in New York City said it best when he said “In order to be dealt a winning hand, you have to be in the game.

Rather than waiting around for the right moment, go after what you want. Create your opportunities by setting tiny yet, specific goals. If you always wanted to start your business, you can start by doing some research, figure out what it would take by drafting a business plan. Same goes if you always wanted to visit Germany. Decide which season you would like to go and then read a travel book on the city.

Since the brain interprets small everyday goals as easier to tackle then big lifelong goals, you’ll jump start a stalled mind-set to propel you toward reaching your ultimate outcome.

Don’t dwell on past disappointments
You, like many others, may allow only the negative memories or our past failures to impact your future decision-making. By doing this, you ignore all the positive things you’ve learned from earlier experiences. But the more you see the broader the picture surrounding life challenges, the faster and easier the trail to triumph will shift into focus.   

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Smile Some More. Make Some Smores

The particular day I am reminiscing was a day when summer and fall were mixing, mingling and loving each other. There were flowers in my garden and dying leaves on my lawn. Sun rays kissed the changing leaves and my own cheeks, making me smile.

The day was meant to be a rushed one, doing errands, checking off lists. But while in the grocery store, I spotted something that made me think "slow down, smile more." I spotted a craving, a box of happiness, another reason to smile--a smores kit.

I should explain this burst of happiness came for several reasons. One, I had been craving smores madly. Two, the smores kit was deliciously affordable. Three, it was a kit--meaning lazy me had everything I needed to satisfy my craving and to make smiles come more easily.

The box was placed in the grocery cart and there was racing in my heart to get home and make smores.

I will share a full review of the kit itself. But for now I will say, it is probably one of the best things ever made. I'm not someone who likes chocolate and sweets but this kit is quality, and makes plenty of smores for those who love it.

Oozy chocolate, gooey marshmallow, and crunchy gram crackers all came together to give me yet another smile, mixed with giggles.

We search for moments that will give us happiness, neglecting to see that life, living, simply being is happiness. Seeing the sun out is happiness; the wonder of changing seasons is happiness; a simple snack by yourself or with a friend is happiness. We don't need much to make us smile.  So I think I'd like to smile some more, by loving life and making smores.