Opening Up To Strangers

Shy redheaded woman covering up face with red sweater

The Game Of Life

It’s easier to be rude and reclusive than to become friendly and polite with a stranger. The society we live in promotes selfishness, competition and getting ahead of others. In return, this causes us to become motivated and independent but at the expense of opening up to others.

You will feel much better about yourself if you step out of your comfort zone and talk to strangers or coworkers who you don’t usually talk to. This is because you will start to feel less selfish; it feels good to hold a conversation or small talk with someone new. It breaks your pattern of communicating only with those who you are familiar with.

If you are shy to begin with, then start by just saying hello to someone who comes your way. For instance, when paying for your groceries, say hi or even strike a small conversation with the cashier; these small random talks spice up your day and prevent you from feeling lonely and isolated all of the time.

With practice, you will become more confident holding conversations with random people. More confidence will help you develop more charisma and people will become more attracted to you. When you start earning more attention and attraction from others, new doors of opportunity will begin to open up for you.

Sometimes you may experience awkward or uncomfortable situations. When this happens, move on and forget about it. Don’t dwell on the past. What’s done is done. But this should not prevent you from trying again. You need to experience uncomfortable situations in order to gain more confidence to set yourself up for pleasant ones.

Life is like a game of trial and error. If you don’t participate, then you will never get better at playing it!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

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Picking Your Battles Wisely

Black horse chess piece cornered by white king and pawn

Don’t Corner Yourself

Many times you will find yourself wanting to make an argument regarding a certain issue to someone or a group of people. Sometimes an argument may be fueled by fatigue, emotions, a bad experience or simply the desire to express yourself. Whatever the reason, make sure your argument is sound and that you place yourself in a position with a good chance of coming out alive.

What is meant by “coming out alive” is that you avoid cornering yourself during an argument secondary to multiple people disagreeing with your stance. This is important because if you become cornered, you start to wish that you never had brought up the argument in the first place; this makes you feel defeated and disappointed.

But you learn from experience. There will be times in life where you will become cornered, especially by a group of people, and you will feel upset and annoyed in return. When this happens, do not escalate the situation! Maintain your composure, agree with the other argument if it’s appropriate and logical to agree with and move on.

From experience, you will learn how to wisely pick your battles in life. You will be able to withhold yourself in certain situations based on intuition and past experience. Sometimes you will have a burning desire to express your argument, but you will be able to hold yourself back based on prior results.

And keep in mind that fatigue can impair your decision-making; you may bring up arguments which never stood a chance of winning from the start. This is why you must always be rested by getting a good night’s sleep; your mental and professional performance depend on it!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Being Happy For Others

Three young women sitting on bench on beach

It’s Not All About You

Being happy rocks! There’s no better feeling than having everything go your way and riding the wave of happiness; cloud nine becomes an understatement. But just being happy about yourself takes away the excitement from your relationships. Relationships strive when both parties can share each other’s happiness.

Being genuinely happy for others will improve your relationships: it shows people that you are not selfish, are empathic and able to share someone else’s happiness. It feels great to feel happy for someone else, even if it’s for a person who you are not close to; empathy has no boundaries.

When you redirect more attention towards others and less towards yourself, you are training your mind to be more caring; you are working towards altruism. In the process, you become more empathic, a better listener and more willing to help others out. You actually start to appreciate yourself more.

But when you don’t share the happiness of others, you are emotionally isolating yourself in your selfishness. At first you are distracted by your cloud nine experiences; you’re on top of the world and nothing can come between you and your bliss. But over time, your selfish joy gets old and you find yourself desensitized to your own happiness.

People can tell when you care about them; it’s a natural feeling that is easily detectable. But someone who does not radiate empathy often comes off as narcissistic or emotionally detached; it’s all about them and little about you. Don’t be that person! Life is so much more pleasurable when you are able to feel someone else’s happiness and enjoy it with them.

Remind yourself that life is not all about you! Inflating your ego to the point of forming an impenetrable barrier will only distance people from your presence. Your goal is to find a happy medium where you are happy for yourself but just as happy for those around you. Life is meant for us to be happy together!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Is Racism A Mental Illness?

One brown game piece versus seven orange game pieces

Divided By Skin Color

Racism is a learned behavior. Children do not initially go to school with racist beliefs, unless they were taught by their parents. Many children of different colors get along very well: you see them playing together, hugging each other and sharing stories with one another.

But as a child matures and is exposed to various opinions and beliefs circulating in society, he starts to form his own opinion. And if his opinion centers around racism, this is usually because he was influenced by someone with racist beliefs. He learns to apply racism as a form of defense; it makes him feel good that he’s not part of that population.

Racism applies all ways: whites against blacks, blacks against whites, browns against blacks, blacks against browns, etc. Many times, a family has an impact on the development of racist beliefs in children and adolescents. If children constantly hear racist remarks and jokes while growing up in the household, they will slowly start to identify with them.

Racism is not a mental illness. There is nothing chemically or structurally wrong with the human brain when someone is racist. Racism is a choice based on learned behavior. It’s as easy way to blame and stigmatize others while boosting your self-esteem. Racism exists because humans have found it easier to blame other people who look different.

Racism can also develop out of anger, but anger is not a mental illness. This does not mean that some people with mental illness are not racist. Racism has no boundaries. It simply is a learned behavior introduced to us by society; no one is born racist. Even schools teach us about racism: learning about slaves exposes children to the concept of racism.

There is no escaping racism; it’s not a mental illness that can be defeated with medication or electroshock treatment. It’s a choice. The only way racism will ever be defeated is when our Lord Jesus Christ will return on Judgment Day. Until then, we must do our best to come together and love each other for who we are.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Sick Of Being Single

Single brunette woman sitting on bench waiting for metro

How To Be Happy Being Single

You go to sleep alone. You wake up alone. You get food alone. You eat alone. And on and on, year after year. Sometimes it feels like you are cursed; life’s way of humoring itself. And once in a while, you get your hopes up when you meet someone new, only to have them ghost in the blink of an eye. Welcome to the single life.

Being single can really take a toll on you psychologically. It promotes loneliness, sadness, anticipatory anxiety and even loss of motivation and drive. That is if you don’t handle being single properly. For some, being single is a choice. For most, it’s a reality that we have to deal with until the chapter ends.

Sometimes no matter how hard you try, you still cannot meet the right person, or any person. You start to lose confidence in yourself and your future expectations. It’s like your mind starts laughing at you and teasing you, “you will be single forever, buddy!” But this is when you have to maintain your strength, optimism and power of belief.

It’s very easy to fall into a mindset that “everyone is in a relationship and I’ve been single forever.” But just because people are in a relationship does not mean that they are compatible or even happy. Many people are afraid of leaving a relationship and starting over!

Guess what happens to these people? Their relationships eventually come to an end. Therefore, don’t worry so much about being single. As long as you are making a reasonable effort on your part, the right person will eventually come your way. It’s important to also stop “looking so hard” for that person.

Allow life to bring the two of you together when it’s meant to be. In the meantime, keep your hopes up, believe that it will happen, continue with positive affirmations and focus on bettering yourself. Many people are in relationships and do not have their life together!

Even though being single can be emotionally hard at times and life seems to become repetitive here and there, you have to keep pushing! You have to stay positive and continue to visualize how you would like your future to turn out. Do not lose your belief of meeting a significant other.

God has a plan for every one of us. He can read our hearts better than we can. Have faith in the process and believe that everything will happen how it’s intended.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Teamwork Makes The Dream Work

Team holding their hands together on a tree

Learning To Work In A Team

We are all selfish to a certain degree. If we could accomplish everything ourselves and take all the credit, we’d ask each other “where do I sign up?” Accomplishments feel good and attract attention and praise; it elevates our self-esteem and even provides us with greater motivation to achieve unaccomplished goals.

But not everything can be accomplished by yourself. Sometimes you need to learn how to work in a team. Many people shoot themselves in the foot by refusing to be great team players; their stubbornness or arrogance holds them back from reaching their full potential in life.

Don’t be one of them. There is nothing wrong with working in a team; collaboration brings many minds together to help solve problems more efficiently. People can tell when you are selfish and not a team player. And guess what happens? Many doors of opportunity are never opened for you, because they are opened for others who are willing to shine together.

Selfishness reeks to high heaven. Who wants to be around a skunk? That’s how you are perceived when everything is about you. Nobody has any interest in trying to guide or help you achieve your dreams. This does not necessarily mean that people don’t like you or won’t talk to you; they just won’t share a piece of the cake with you.

Teamwork truly makes the dream work. Very few people become a success story on their own. There is always a coach, mentor, teacher, guidance counselor, family member or someone significant who helps flip a person into a success story. You have to discover who those people are and allow them to help you, while you help them too!

And even if you start seeing success while working in a team, don’t become arrogant and take all the credit. Rather, be humble and give credit where credit is due. It is better to take less credit for your achievements than to brag with your chest puffed out. People will be more appreciative of your honesty and humbleness.

No talent goes unnoticed. But talent without teamwork can fall short of its full potential.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Being The Center Of Attention

Young black man talking to two young white women

Sharing The Spotlight

Learning how to be content with not being the center of attention all the time will serve you very well. It helps you realize that not everything is about you and that other people deserve just as much attention. By allowing the attention to shift within a group, you are promoting a nurturing and healthy environment for everyone to grow and learn from one another.

People who have difficulty with not being the center of attention are either suffering from histrionic personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder or have a very inflated ego. Guess what happens when attention naturally shifts away from them? They burst.

You want to be modest in life and by always being in the spotlight, you are actually inflating your ego, which prevents the development of modesty. A healthy balance is always key to developing and maintaining a stable state of mind and emotional wellbeing. It is more important for you to feel good mentally than to have your ego massaged on a consistent basis.

You will start to notice that you will appreciate yourself more when you don’t always have attention directed towards you. It helps you in many ways:

  • You become more observant of what other people have to say
  • You become more observant of how other people behave
  • You improve your listening skills and learn more from others
  • You give yourself more time to gather your thoughts
  • You humble yourself
  • You start to learn how to become more selective in your word choice
  • People become more appreciative of your presence
  • People respect the fact that you give others a chance to share the spotlight

Whenever you find yourself seeking way too much attention, take a step back and ask yourself, “do I really need all of this?” It is not about how much attention you receive; it is about the quality of the attention which you receive. Receiving less attention but delivering more memorable acts, is worth much more than receiving a lot of attention on silly and immature behavior.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Don’t Take It Out On Your Family

Young angry woman sitting on bed

Responding With Anger Is Never The Answer

One of the worst things that we can do is to be angry and take it out on our family. They have been there since before we were born. They have provided us with prenatal care, shelter, food and a loving and nurturing environment. And we repay them with irritability and a bitter mood?

Why do we take out anger on our family? The answer is because family members are easy targets: they are the ones whom we feel most comfortable being around with. Comfort is a safe ground for full emotional expressions. We know that our family will take the hit and not retaliate. But this kind of behavior is selfish and unfair.

As a matter of fact, nobody deserves our anger. Who are we to make someone else feel miserable? Even someone who is rude to us does not deserve our anger. Taking it out on other people just promotes more anger and hatred amongst us. There are other ways of dealing with anger.

Anger ruins relationships. Our family can only take it for so long, until they start changing their behavior towards us. And this promotes a vicious cycle of arguments which can turn out to be ugly. Is it worth losing a close relationship with our family over some insecurities?

The best thing that we can do is to find alternative ways of dealing with our anger:

Life is not meant to be lived in an angry state of mind. And life is definitely not meant for us to be angry with our family and others.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Getting Good At Saying Goodbye

Young woman with pink hair standing against window saying goodbye

Saying Goodbye Hurts

Nobody likes saying goodbye to a close friend or relative; it brings upon feelings of detachment and sadness. But all good things must come to an end, at least momentarily. Rather than going through the same cycle of pain after every goodbye, you have to learn how to effectively give goodbyes and protect yourself in the process.

If you find yourself experiencing pain and detachment upon saying goodbye, then that means that you had a great time! This is the goal with every meaningful interaction. So why do we punish ourselves afterwards by feeling gloomy? The reason is because our mind has found comfort in the interaction and does not want to lose its grip on it.

Humans are very social creatures. When we become comfortable with other people, we have a tendency to want to hold on to an interaction for as long as possible. Positive relationships bring us comfort, safety and a sense of wellbeing. With the world being so competitive and cruel at times, being around people who are nice to us is like a breath of fresh air.

But rather than going through an intense session of missing someone after their departure, you have to learn how to control your emotions in a healthy way. Ignoring your feelings is not the right way and intensely missing their presence for 24-48 hours afterwards is not effective either.

It is best if you come to acceptance with their departure right before a goodbye happens. If you know that they will be leaving from your life in a day or two, mentally prepare yourself for the goodbye. Remind yourself how good of a time it has been and that everything happens for a reason; have faith in the process.

Life has a way of bringing people back together who once shared a loving relationship. Whether that is a family member, a close friend or a significant other, it doesn’t matter; trust the process. Don’t torment yourself because life has pulled them aside for a while. Say your goodbyes, treasure the memories with all your heart and mind and go back to living a healthy and positive life.

This is how you get good at saying goodbye.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Giving People A Chance

Two young women sitting on swings in the park

Restarting Your Mind

We often have preconceived notions about a person or group of people, fearing that we won’t like them if we spend time with them. When we don’t interact with someone for a long time, our mind is prone to developing a belief or judgment that is not founded on proof or certainty. And oftentimes, there’s a high chance that we act on these false beliefs.

This process occurs because we are so busy with our personal life that we forget to direct attention to people whom we don’t talk or spend enough time with. Unconsciously, the mind starts forming opinions on these people: “they’re probably not good enough for you”, “there’s a reason you haven’t spoken to them in a while”, “why waste your time seeing them and risk getting in an uncomfortable situation?”

What we need to get good at is controlling these preconceived notions that we develop about others. They’re often very powerful and able to dictate our future moves. If we fall trap, we risk losing perfectly fine relationships. Sometimes it feels like we are fighting against ourself: our mind says one thing while we say another. Who is in control?

We are. Remember that the brain is like a computer; it does all of these random processes in the background which we are not even aware of. Some of these processes dictate how we view others. For instance, when you are using a computer, do you allow it to do whatever it wants? If you sense a slowing down or annoying process in the background, you restart it!

Sometimes we need to restart our mind. This can be done through:

When you find yourself negatively thinking about people whom you have liked in the past, remind yourself that you may be experiencing a preconceived notion, which your mind automatically created without your knowing. Rather than acting on it, give people a chance by spending time with them!

After having a good time with people whom you have liked in the past, you will realize how inaccurate your preconceived notions were in the first place. And rather than burning another bridge, you now have kept another solid relationship in your life.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)