Influenced by the Environment

White man with arrows pointing to head

Everything regarding the way you interpret reality stems from the most important organ in your presence: the brain. How you think and view the world is based on your personality and interpretation of your surroundings. If you can match your personality with an accurate portrait of society, then you will experience a more realistic experience. But once you allow your mind to be influenced by outside forces, you become more susceptible to programming or the manipulation of your mind. You become influenced by the environment to your detriment.

So take what you can from society that is still good and add it to your arsenal. But always remember that it’s your mind that is most precious; keep outside forces in check. Protect your mind for it roams openly in a dangerous land, ready to be attacked by invisible forces. These invisible forces do not care for your sanity. As a matter of fact, they prefer that you join the sheep and obey without questioning. When you ask less questions, you make it easier for them to control you. Their ultimate goal is to control the masses because it makes them feel superior, as if they are God. But they will never be God.

Influenced by the environment - skull with brain experiencing waves of butterfly effects

How do you Know if you’re Influenced by the Environment?

If you believe everything you hear or read in the mainstream media, then you’re being influenced. Of course, almost no one will admit to “believing everything” they hear in the media. “Everything” is obviously an exaggeration. When I say everything, I mean generally being in agreement with what is televised on a daily basis. Many people are glued to CNN, Fox News or BBC without questioning what they see or hear. They were quick to stick out their arms for new mRNA vaccines as soon as they were released to the public. Many don’t question the fact that the vaccines came out within a year or that mRNA vaccines were released during a pandemic out of all times.

Why don’t people question? Because they put too must trust in their government and find it easier to trust a large entity than small sources. They believe that if they start listening to small sources, they will be labeled as a “conspiracy theorist.” Little do they know that the CIA supposedly invented the conspiracy theory tactic. They did this as a form of protection from the masses seeking the truth. But hiding the truth from a population of 7.9 billion is impossible; it will always leak. So as a form of insurance, they created a psychological tactic that labels the truth-finders as “nut jobs,” with the mainstream media as their pawns.

I’m not saying that you need to become a conspiracy theorist. Just keep an open mind to alternative stories and explanations, because the truth always lurks somewhere in the middle. Think outside the box.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Stream of Consciousness

Multicolored-digital-wallpaper-art

Influenced by Outside Forces

How do you know that you have control over yourself? How do you know that you’re being yourself? What if your thoughts are being manipulated or influenced by your environment? Everything you do is influenced by your surroundings, even when you think that you are in control. Your stream of consciousness is influenced by your surroundings. Now this doesn’t mean that you aren’t enjoying your experience. You may very well be celebrating quite often that is! But please understand that you are being influenced every second of your celebrated experience.

Who are these outside forces? Everyone who is part of your reality: movements outside your window, strangers passing you down the street, marijuana smokers staring outside their windows, parking garage employees, liquor store workers, friends, family, social media, the news and the list goes on. Do you get my point yet? Even if you have a strong grip on reality, your mind is being influenced. Keep in mind that influence does not necessarily equate to manipulation.

What is influence and what is manipulation? Being influenced to think, feel or behave in a certain way can be a good thing; it’s not always bad. Being manipulated can be good or bad but it’s always at the advantage of the person or entity who is doing it. Also keep in mind that you can be influenced and manipulated by the internet, television, podcasts, apps, billboards and books; it doesn’t always have to be by people.

Stream of consciousness face

Stream of Consciousness: What is it?

A stream of consciousness is a person’s thoughts and conscious reactions to events, perceived as a continuous flow. Your unconscious mind records every waking second of your existence, including when you’re asleep. This continuous flow of recording is designing your reality and influencing your thoughts and behaviors. Your unconscious sprinkles on to your conscious mind what it has deduced from your environment, and you react accordingly. On the other hand, you can also be aware of your stream of consciousness when it occurs on a conscious level. As a matter of fact, you’re constantly experiencing a continuous flow of thoughts and reactions to events; sometimes you don’t notice it because you don’t think about it.

The bottom line: don’t drift through life without being aware of your stream of consciousness, because you never know if you are being influenced by a negative outside force.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Stream of consciousness GIF smiley face

Emotional Manipulation

White man wearing black sunglasses smoking cigarette

Manipulators are all around us. Sometimes they are our friends, family members, acquaintances, coworkers or strangers. These people love emotional manipulation and can also use fear tactics to further attempt to control your thoughts and behavior. It’s important that you learn how to catch onto manipulative behavior so that you can protect your mental health. It’s not hard for someone to attempt to manipulate you but it can be difficult to catch onto their behavior if you’re not aware of it in the first place.

Narcissistic man practicing emotional manipulation using shh sign

Emotional Manipulation: What to Look Out For

People who manipulate enjoy getting you to do things which aren’t in your best interest. They use tactics such as lying, deceit, passive-aggressive behavior, withholding information, gaslighting, psychological and physical abuse and even sex to achieve selfish goals. Some manipulators are very obvious in what they do and don’t hide it. They have mastered the art of getting others to do what they want. Other manipulators are very discreet and have learned to manipulate without the other person noticing.

All manipulators are dangerous to your mental health but I would argue that the discreet ones are most dangerous. The classic obvious manipulators are people with antisocial personality disorder and/or substance use disorders. These people get stuck in a life of crime or drug abuse, and resort to manipulation to make their ends meet. They’ve done so much manipulating in their past that it’s second nature for them. Discreet manipulators are those with narcissistic personality disorder or sociopathy.

Narcissists are excellent at getting what they want because their inflated ego is full of confidence. They tend to be sharp and emotionally intelligent and have mastered the art of manipulation. Sociopaths have similar traits in addition to dangerous behaviors such as killing, stalking, raping, kidnapping, etc. Either way, whether you’re dealing with an antisocial, narcissist or sociopath, they all have one goal: to win and to see you lose. Keep in mind that many people don’t have any of these personality disorders but still manipulate. They probably aren’t as intense as those with personality disorders, but they can still get away with manipulation if you’re aren’t aware of what they’re doing.

In the end, trust your gut feeling if you think someone is manipulating you. Your intuition is often right.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Taking Advantage of Other People

Angry yellow and black smiley wall art against red brick wall

Leeches are people who sponge off of you and do not offer much in return. For instance, they request to borrow money but do not pay you the correct amount back in time. They may offer to help you with a project and demand recognition for their efforts, despite the fact that their help was not that great to begin with. You can tell when you are dealing with a leech by the way they interact with you and others; they’re needy, obnoxious, demanding and lose it when things don’t go their way. What you need to do is to remain cool, calm and collected and carry on. But if you find yourself taking advantage of other people, then you need to take a hard look at yourself in the mirror.

Even friends and family members often try to take advantage of you. I’m sure everyone knows a person who is nice to you, but always seems to request something from you that is just off. For instance, I have a childhood tennis friend who still keeps in touch with me. We’re on good terms but not the best of friends. He recently came on vacation to Manhattan and knew that I was leaving to Tampa and Pittsburgh for a week. He had the courage to ask me if he could sleep in my apartment for a few days while I was away. This is a friend who I talk to every 2-3 months; we barely keep in touch. The fact that he asked me that question just reinforced my take on his character; someone who wants to take advantage of a situation without considering if it’s an appropriate and respectable action to take.

Taking advantage of other people - hand holding puppet by strings

Taking Advantage of Other People is Pathetic

I think we all have the potential to take advantage of others; it’s called human nature. But you need to correct yourself when you feel like taking advantage of others. If you find yourself requesting something from someone with an uncomfortable feeling in your chest, take a step back and ask yourself why you’re doing it. If you find that the other person stands nothing to gain from your request, is your request even necessary? Classically, people with narcissistic, sociopathic and antisocial traits are notorious for taking advantage of others. They simply do not care about what happens to them, as long as they are gaining something and benefiting in the end.

Another reason people try to take advantage of others is because they don’t want to do the right thing in life. Many times, doing the right thing means putting in more work or taking the less comfortable route in life. Many people are weak-minded and don’t have the discipline or courage to do the right thing. Instead, they spot opportunities in others, regardless of whether they are harming them in some subtle way. When people take advantage of others, they are being manipulative. Manipulation is easy to spot for the trained eye. If you’re not one of those people, then I recommend you start educating yourself about common manipulative tactics, so you can protect yourself from those who take advantage.

Don’t be one of those people. Do the right thing.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

The Media Flips The Agenda

Manhattan city skyline under blue sky

From Corona To National Riots Overnight

Since December of 2019, the world has been focused on the coronavirus which started in China. Since it started, many where not paying close attention; a lot of people did not believe that it would ever get out of China. Towards the end of February 2020, the world realized that it was wrong; COVID-19 was swarming nations like the plague. When March hit, so did a new reality based on loss of jobs, social distancing and quarantining. The world changed forever, as if a new reset were established before our eyes.

For almost three months, humanity was quarantined at home while essential workers continued risking their lives. Mental illness increased and deaths skyrocketed from the coronavirus. When May hit, many southern states began loosening restrictions and people returned back to work. Memorial day was big for beaches; people attended like never before.

Things slowly seemed to be getting back to normal . . . until the death of George Floyd, which rocked the nation upside down. Our reality once again changed, but in the wrong direction and for the worse. Rather than continuing on the smooth momentum we had going, which was based on the virus slowing down, we transitioned into a nation based on rage, riots, looting, anarchy and violence.

Did you pay attention to the media? The narrative switched from the coronavirus to riots faster than a bolt of lightening; it’s as if the pandemic almost never happened. The new talk of the town has been these riots. The media does a great job at creating new realities for us, even if these realities do not serve our best intention. How did society suddenly jump from a rare pandemic to a nation boiled on hate? Just because one man suffered an awful and unfair death in Minneapolis?

People suffer many wrongful deaths every day in this world but the media never touches upon them. Why did the media have to go digging and create this entire fiasco? For what? So we can suffer more as if the coronavirus pandemic wasn’t enough? All the media had to do was talk about the incident for one day and then move on. Instead, it added fuel to the fire by raising tensions and stirring up the idea of racism and police brutality.

Instead of the media helping us to transition out of the pandemic and raising awareness for mental health issues for all the people who suffered for the last three months, it decided to infect us with riots, looting and curfews. Are we truly heading towards a new world order? Are these the beginning signs of control by the government? If quarantining and social distancing were not enough, we are now hit with 8 pm curfews. Think outside the box my fellow humans!

Wake up for the enemy is never sleeping.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Manipulative Minds At Work

Manipulative man holding scarf on his neck

An Apology Without Change Is Just Manipulation

The act of manipulation is one of man’s oldest tricks in the book to achieving control and power over others. Lying, deceit, twisting of words, charm and changes in behavior are just some of the actions portrayed by manipulative artists; their ego is their master. Their intention is to gain at the expense of your loss.

It is important to be able to recognize manipulative behavior and learn how to properly deal with people who employ these sneaky and potentially harmful tactics. As the puppet master pulls the strings to control his or her subject, so do manipulative people with their victims. Their goal is to take advantage of a situation or achieve satisfaction which cannot otherwise be obtained without artful and unfair means.

Even when you confront a manipulative person, they may not admit to their behavior. They may attempt to continue manipulating by adopting a defensive or innocent role with the intent of making you feel awkward or shallow for bringing up the subject. It is important to not back down from your stance; once you confront the manipulation brought upon by another person, continue to address their behavior in a calm and cooperative manner.

Some manipulative people may become apologetic with the intent of covering their compromised behavior. But an apology without change is further manipulation! Apologies are just empty words when not backed by clear and effective change. Do not give a manipulative person the benefit of the doubt; actions always speak louder than words!

Lastly, never become emotionally disgruntled when dealing with a manipulative person; doing so hands them power and control over you. Be the mature role model who stands tall and is not budged by deceitful and cowardly behavior. Being a leader helps implement positive change in those around you and this is how goodness spreads in the world!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)