Breaking The Rules

Black man with yellow wooden stool on top of shoulders and head

Your Rigidity Is Holding You Back

Ever since we’re toddlers, we’re taught about something called “rules” that govern our conduct within a particular activity or sphere. For the most part, rules are necessary in order to attempt to live in a structured and civilized society. Without rules and regulations, our world would be in even more chaos than it already is.

So as you can imagine, rules do not always have to be followed depending on the situation that you are in. All of us break rules on a daily basis without even knowing it:

  • We’re late to work by 10-15 minutes (but no one says anything about it)
  • We run the yellow and many times red light at intersections
  • We don’t fully stop at stop signs
  • Sometimes we pay our rent a few days late
  • Some people still torrent music and movies (forgetting that it’s illegal)

. . . and the list goes on. We cannot live a perfect life where no rules are ever broken. We constantly break rules without even knowing it. But there are people who are just way too serious regarding their conduct, allowing their rigidity to prevent them from living more flexible lives.

If you’re living a rigid life where you’re finding yourself always following the rules, and repeating the exact same actions day in and day out, then you might have found your answer as to why you’re not finding meaning and happiness in your life. Humans weren’t created to live as rigid creatures; God provided us with free will!

Even though Adam and Eve broke the first rule of all time and imposed sin and punishment on all future generations that followed, does not mean that you should attempt to live a life in which you are stuck within the rules established by society. Rigidity only promotes a dull life and a dull life promotes behavioral and mental health problems.

When you’re rigid, you’re not living: you’re experiencing the inability to be changed or to adapt to new circumstances in a psychologically healthy manner. When this happens, you’re essentially constructing a mental prison and voluntarily entrapping yourself in it. The worst part of it is if you lose the keys to your mental prison and become stuck indefinitely.

Many of us build a mental prison multiple times throughout our lives and not even know it! Some of us remain in these prisons for years or even a lifetime. Real prisons are actually not as bad as mental prisons: they at least provide a structured environment where inmates can participate in activities and learn from each other.

Prisons restrict one’s physical boundaries but mental prisons restrict one’s state of consciousness. Do you prefer being confined within a physical boundary for an X amount of years, or within your own mind despite having the physical freedom to navigate as you wish?

This is not to indicate that after reading this article, you should go out there and start breaking rules left and right. This is for you to take a step back and reanalyze your way of being, and to prevent yourself from constructing a mental prison which can hold you back. This is for you to break free from your rigidity and to start living life again!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

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Living In Superstition

Assorted skull hangings and Halloween decors

Friday The 13th

Many people live in superstition because they seek reasons and explanations for the events which they have no answers for. For others, being superstitious is a fun mindset to apply because it brings them excitement, thrill and hope. On the other hand, there are people who are superstitious out of fear that something unlucky or bad is going to happen.

There are also many people who are not superstitious at all. For them, being superstitious is humorous and silly. They believe that it’s a waste of time and energy to sit around and analyze why a bird repeatedly pecked on their bedroom window at 11:11am, or why a cockroach fell on their shoulder at work.

Living in superstition is not the best way of living, because if randomly odd events do occur and you just so happen to pick up on them, they tend to leave you in a worried and frantic state of mind. When this happens, your superstition is being reinforced even more, increasing your chances of experiencing future episodes of unnecessary stress and worry.

Superstition can lead to chronic stress and anxiety. No one really thinks about it in this way, because not many people relate superstition with mental health. We kind of just take superstition for granted. But superstition can also affect you on an unconscious level, activating stress and anxiety when you least expect it.

Don’t give superstition power when it’s not necessary to do so. It’s completely unnecessary to hold a widely held but unjustified belief in supernatural causation, leading to certain consequences of an action or event. You don’t have to incorporate “the supernatural” in your everyday events.

All you need in your life is God, the creator of what was before, what is now and what will soon be to come. If you dedicate your heart to God and his beloved son Jesus Christ who was sacrificed in order to save humanity on judgment day, then you are living in good hands. Step out of a superstitious state of mind and step into God’s heart.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

God Loves Life

Jesus Christ crucifix statue

Distracted By Negativity

If God didn’t love life, you wouldn’t be here today experiencing love and happiness. He created this world so we could experience what it feels like to live, laugh, smile and most importantly to love. Yet no matter how many opportunities we come across to live a happy and blissful life, we somehow still allow the negativity of this world to influence us.

God loves life when he sees his creation living a prosperous, loving and caring lifestyle. He loves it when we help each other and extend our hearts to one another. He doesn’t like it when we lie, indulge in lust and sin, steal, deceit others, kill and spread hated, negativity and evilness in the world.

Evilness is the negativity which attempts to influence us on a daily basis. Negativity is like an invisible force that hovers all around us in space and time. It easily spreads from one human to another, engulfing us under its influence and keeping us locked and loaded in the negativity trigger.

Once we are positioned in the negativity trigger, we’re shot around like spraying bullets, infecting and injuring others around us. This is the evil never-sleeping chain reaction that continuously rocks this world from its peaceful core. And the more that you partake in it, the harder it becomes to set yourself free.

God loves life because he has given us an opportunity to experience free will. He does not force himself upon you. He allows you to decide if you want to live a life full of love or a life full of sin. But God experiences pain as well, especially when he sees us suffering and indulging in negativity.

One of the crucial problems experienced by many people around the world, is the indulgence in negativity without even knowing it; this is happening on an unconscious level. As we previously discussed, the unconscious mind pulls the strings of your conscious mind. But who is pulling the strings of your unconscious mind?

When the answer is “negativity,” then that’s when you know that you are in too deep. That’s when you have to take a step back and reanalyze your way of being: your choices, decision-making, thought process, thought content, perception, intentions and relationships. Again, God gives you the free will to pick and choose your route: are you going to take a bite out of an earthly and tasty fruit or are you going to drink the blood of Jesus Christ, and live a pure and dedicated life to God and his salvation?

God loves life. Do you?

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Blessed But Still Suffering

Blessed brunette woman holding her hair near pink flowers

Everyday Nagging Pain

When everything lines up nicely and smoothly and your life is going according to plan, you become quick to admit to yourself, “I am blessed!” But when things don’t go your way and you start to complain to others, all you hear in return is, “count your blessings!” So whether you feel blessed or not, one thing remains obvious: suffering just does not seem to ever go away!

Many of us feel blessed when our lives are going according to plan. While a list cannot be composed because everyone considers their blessings to be different than others’, it can be universally concluded that feeling blessed equals something along the lines of, “living the life.” But even with all of our blessings, life still finds a way for us to suffer.

Some of us suffer by experiencing a nagging pain related to emptiness, as if we feel incomplete. We often feel like something is missing within us or in our lives; this is not in reference to materialism. This is in reference to something much larger: a deeper meaning about our lives and where we stand in the world.

Some of us also suffer because we lack a significant other or a close friend who we can call or hang out with. You can have all the materialism in the world and still feel incomplete, without a good set of friends! Continuing to indulge in materialism without meaningful relationships makes the surface smooth and shiny, but the interior dusty and rusty!

And then there are the unexpected life circumstances that can happen at anytime. This can include the death of a loved one or friend, the loss of your job or just about anything under the sun. Keep in mind that you may be blessed and still experience unexpected life circumstances. And your blessings won’t help you recover from them any easier!

It’s fair to say that no matter how blessed you are or you will be, you will always be suffering in one way or the other; maybe not at the same level as others, but still at some level significant enough to impact your emotions, mental health and well-being. Remember that your mental health is not immune to everyday suffering; blessings are not a shield that protects your mental health.

Your mental health is very vulnerable to change, pain and influence by outside forces. Maintaining sound mental health on a consistent basis is a much bigger blessing than living a life full of pleasure and materialism. With sound mental health, you can at least enjoy the peacefulness of sanity. Without sanity, the many blessings that you may have can easily fall apart very quickly.

Are you blessed? Are you still suffering? Probably so.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Drinking And Driving

Drunk adolescent male leaning on SUV in front of woods

Wheel Of Fortune

“Don’t drink and drive” are the 4 words which we repeatedly hear since adolescence, yet there continues to be thousands of drunk drivers worldwide on a daily basis. It’s as if the words are registered and discarded faster than they are processed. Why do so many people continue to drink and drive despite the adverse consequences?

For starters, alcohol has a powerful influence on one’s judgment. Unlike marijuana for instance, alcohol can make someone so intoxicated that they can no longer discern right from wrong; in this case, they get behind the wheel drunk and drive to their destination. What the consequences will be do not matter to them in that situation and state of mind.

This is not to imply that marijuana does not make people intoxicated or stoned. But the difference with this drug is that people who are stoned tend to remain more preoccupied with a relaxing activity, such as watching a movie or listening to music. They are not as tempted to get behind the wheel and go driving to random places, even though it does happen quite often!

Most people would agree that it’s more tempting to drive under the influence of alcohol, because they want to get from point A to point B without any delays. In this case, point B may be another party, their house, a friend’s crib or their significant other’s pad. Drinking and driving has a lot to do with the final destination: “I need to get there tonight and I need to get there quick!”

Even if one tells himself prior to drinking that he will not drive tonight, once those few shots of bourbon or that sour whisky goes down their throat and hits their nucleus accumbens, their judgment begins to quickly change. They may also experience peer pressure from their friends to drive: “come on bro, we gotta make it to this party!”

What started as a good intention of not driving for the night, may end up in a damaged vehicle and a fatality or two. Some would argue that drinking and driving is also fun! You can blast the music with your friends, while speeding on isolated back roads to your destination of choice! Until you lose control of your vehicle or a deer jumps in the middle of the road, distracting you and causing you to swerve and crash into a tree!

The wheel of fortune is not to be reckoned with when it comes to drinking and driving. Be smart and either stay sober for the night, have a designated driver or have someone sober pick you up!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Scared Of The Future

Person holding clear round glass in front of body of water

The Road That Lies Ahead

With so much pressure to keep improving and bettering yourself, many question marks remain about your future. When you attempt to visualize it, your dreams become apparent in your mind’s eye. But in addition to your dreams, the reality that truly lies in the future is pure darkness; you don’t know what tomorrow will bring you!

No one can predict their future. Even if you know that something is supposed to happen next week, is that guaranteed at all? Life always manifests unpredictable events; some bad and some good. But you never truly know what lies in your future. For instance, take a look at the rapper Juice Wrld: he was flying with his crew on a private jet when all of a sudden, he had a seizure in the airport and passed away at the age of 21!

The unpredictabilities that lie in the future can be very scary and anxiety-provoking. Not knowing what life has in store for you tomorrow, is actually quite frightening if you sit down to think about it! Many people experience injuries, losses, sad news and even death when they least expect it.

But does this mean that we should live a guarded and fearful life? Absolutely not. You would be making a grave mistake if you did, because when you live a guarded and fearful life, you are preventing yourself from flourishing; you are essentially half-alive. Do not give power to fear, because once fear senses a little weakness within you, it starts coming at you even harder!

Regardless of not knowing what your future has in store for you, you need to wake up every day and do your best! Live a life of dignity and happiness, even if you are going through difficult times. You are always in a better position than someone else is. And keep your complaints to a minimum. So what if you are eating the same sandwich for lunch 5 days a week! Do you think the homeless person down the street from you has it any better?

Keep dreaming and living your life in the present. Don’t dwell so much as to what is going to happen in the future.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Cake By The Ocean

Cozy beach house overlooking turquoise water and purple clouds

Living Your Dreams

To achieve the big dreams which you have been entertaining for years, you must be certain that you are in the right state of mind. You cannot be 100% focused on your current situation without a little dreaming in-between. Dreams are present-day unrealistic thoughts and fantasies which have the potential to become a reality in the future!

Your dreams should be alive and active every single day, regardless of whether you hold a killer job or no job. Dreams are there to smooth out the bumpy roads and provide you with hope that you will one day be in a better position in life. But not all dreams are related to wealth and prosperity.

Some dreams are about good physical health, new positive relationships or improved mental health. These dreams have nothing to do with money, fame and materialism; but these things aren’t bad either. It all depends on what you want. God gave you free will to decide what you want in life!

If one of your dreams involves a big fat piece of cake by the ocean, overlooking the turquoise water and purple sunset, then visualize and believe that every day of your life, until it becomes a reality! Never let someone else put you down because of your “grandiose” dreams; they’re not grandiose if you can visualize them with your mind’s eye!

People will always have a tendency to discredit your dreams because it’s human nature to not want others to get ahead. But don’t be like them. If someone accomplishes their dreams, sincerely congratulate them for their achievements! Having a good heart free of jealousy and envy will propel you towards your dreams at a much faster rate.

And lastly, live your dreams like there’s no tomorrow. Daniel Craig’s upcoming movie title “No Time to Die” says it best: there’s no time to cut your life short because every day is an opportunity to work towards your dreams. And you must believe that they are achievable; believe with all your will and you will succeed!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Radiate Love With Your Heart

Two persons forming love fingers in front of body of water

It Feels Good To Spread

Nothing feels better than being surrounded by the warm comfort of love. It provides emotional comfort, a sensation of well-being and good mental health. The best part of it is that we can all contribute to spreading love and making this world a better place. But it starts within you! You must go deep within your heart and open the chambers of secretion.

Not everyone’s chambers of secretion are open; some people’s are clogged or non-functional to begin with. Someone can bathe you in love but no one can teach you how to spread it; it must come from you! Many people refuse to love because they have experienced many negative outcomes in life.

These people remain bitter and angry at the world, preventing them from radiating love and attracting positivity into their lives. This is a common mistake of many human beings: preventing your life from filling with love because of bitterness. Remaining bitter will not do you any good.

Some people believe the following, “I’ve been nice my whole life and I’ve always lost! I’m not going to be nice anymore.” This is a destructive mentality because you are preventing your true self from living; you are replacing it with a new identity that you hope will deliver you more respect and positive attention.

This might work for a little bit at first, but in the long run it will fail. Those who are not themselves are more likely to experience a mental illness, because they are not allowing their natural thoughts, behaviors and personality traits to flourish. Don’t try to be someone who you’re not!

Even if the world has treated you unfairly thus far, do the opposite by hugging and kissing the world back. In the bible it says, “You have heard that it was said, ‘eye for eye and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you not to resist an evil person. If someone slaps you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also; if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well; and if someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.”

The best way to live is in peace, love and harmony. We all suffer in this life and experience turmoil and pain. We all believe that life can be very unfair at times and wonder why “bad people” often win and why we lose. Your concern should not be on why others are winning; focus on yourself and being the best person that you can be!

You cannot go wrong with being a loving person.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Feeling Lonely On Friday Night

Silhouette of lonely man standing on railing of building in front of body of water and city

Lonely Feeling At Home

One of the worst feelings to experience is coming home from work on a Friday evening to an empty apartment. After working hard the entire week, the last feeling that you want to experience is loneliness. But loneliness is very common; more common than you would think. But some of you are not buying it, thinking something along the lines of, “I don’t care how other people are feeling, I’m the one who is suffering. For all I know, other people may be doing fun things, while I’m home alone!”

This is a common mental battle which we all experience: believing that others must be living their lives while we’re at home suffering by ourselves. This is a misconception that you must remove from your mind today! Never assume that others are having fun or are happy; this will only make your situation worse.

So many people are in the exact position that you are in. They wish that they would have a group of consistent friends or a significant other who they can happily spend time with on the weekends. But unfortunately, this is not always the case. Life takes you through many different cycles.

These cycles can change at any minute: one day you are in college with your closest frat bros; the next day, you’re 30 years of age and single at home on a Friday night. It’s just the way the world works. But sitting and moping around won’t change your circumstances.

What will change your circumstances is a positive mindset, a strong belief in change and actions! Without a positive mindset and strong beliefs, it becomes very difficult to see any meaningful changes in your life. But positivity and beliefs aren’t enough; you need to implement your beliefs and turn them into actions.

Actions are probably the hardest to apply because it involves changing your habits and ways. And the older that you get, the more difficult it becomes to implement new actions. When you’re young, you have more curiosity, energy and drive to have fun, meet new people and go out to new places.

But that doesn’t mean that you can’t still do all those things when you are older; it just requires a bigger effort. If you are feeling lonely on a Friday night, then remind yourself that you are not alone! We are all in this together. Learn to put aside the negative chatter in your mind and enjoy your company. This phase shall one day pass too!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Losing Hope

Grayscale photography of man looking at incoming light from a hole

Not Seeing Any Results

There are many reasons for why one may lose hope, but there are also many reasons for why one should keep hoping. Living in a culture that feeds on immediate gratification, it’s very easy to fall into the mental trap of expecting instant results. Sure, you can receive instant results, but are they quality and beneficial to your growth as a person?

Social media has a huge influence on our expectations. Whether we are conscious of the process or not, we often compare ourselves to those who have more materialism: your Dan Bilzerians, Kim Kardashians, rappers, Instagram models, Oscar winners and more. We are so attracted by their lifestyles, that we become disappointed when we don’t see our small expectations become a fruitful reality.

Social media is a big problem with why people easily lose hope. Many times, people don’t realize that their goals are unrealistic or unnecessary; they are only shooting for them because they believe that’s what everyone else must be shooting for. They want a BMW when they can’t even afford a Honda!

Your hope for a better life will always be lost if you don’t adjust your expectations. Don’t shoot for unrealistic goals or ones that won’t serve you well; don’t try to be like the rest of them. You must realize that celebrities are celebrities for a reason: they are either extremely talented and gifted, lucky, full of connections or all of the above.

Even if you aren’t shooting for unrealistic goals, don’t give up just because you haven’t seen any meaningful results. For instance, many people believe that they won’t find their significant other because “dating apps suck.” Even though the consensus is that dating apps are not the best way to meet someone, and that even the “hottest” people struggle with them, that doesn’t mean that you should give up hope!

Do what you have to do while maintaining a positive state of mind. You are going to have days when you will feel like giving up, but don’t allow those days to be the end of your dreams. If you want something, are working towards it and believe wholeheartedly that you will accomplish it, then you are already in a much better position to achieve it!

In Matthew 17:20 of the bible, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

Plant those seeds of faith and keep watering them every day.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)