Disconnected

Recently, I’ve found it difficult to connect with people on a human level. I can’t remember the last time I had a genuinely honest conversation with someone, and i’m growing tired of the superficial conversations I have with people. You know, the ones where we instinctively start to discuss whose life is more difficult. It’s like we’re in a rat race, constantly trying to outdo the next person. When the truth is, we are all just going through the motions of life and the growing pains that come along with it.

If I am being completely honest, I have a great life. I work on my flaws and improve on my weaknesses. I work really hard on growing myself into the person I want to be. However, I feel ashamed to let the world know how happy I am. Why? Because people become jealous and envious that you seem so “put together”. They don’t see the behind the scenes hard work I’ve put into the person I am evolving into. They only find reason to be resentful.

I have a very positive outlook on my life. I focus on the positives, and understand that the problem areas can be worked on. I know that nothing in life is constant and I am okay with that. But I don’t spend each day feeling angry about the pain points in my life. I accept them and roll with the punches, and that works for me. It allows me to stay focused and evolve into the person I want to become.

However, I constantly live in a fear that if I let people know how happy I am that they will find me un-relatable. When the truth is, the only difference between us is the outlook we have on life. I don’t see the grey areas in my life as problems. I see them as opportunities to grow. My approach to the grey areas is to accept them and look for a solution, if there isn’t one, I will sit on the problem until I can find one. When I advise people on how to solve problems in their lives, they find my approach too harsh, or they will give me a list of 100 reasons why the solution won’t work. They make the choice to stay pessimistic, and I can feel myself being sucked into the vacuum that is their negativity. And my outlook on life isn’t negative, so I can’t relate. And in turn there is a disconnect between my world and me.

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Perplexed

As I sit here, starring at my fingers calmly placed over the keys of my keyboard, I am overcome with a sense of calmness. Perhaps it is the familiarity of the keys under my touch, bringing peace to the convoluted thoughts spinning around my mind, I’m not too sure. But I continue to sit here patiently, willing my fingers to decipher my thoughts.

InternetofThingsI’m not sure how I feel. As I look around the world around me, I see that everything is in its correct place. My clothes are tucked neatly in my closet at home, my car is parked in its regular parking spot at work, and everything is as it should be. Yet, while I know that everything is the same as it always has been, everything has changed.

My outlook on life has changed. The person I am is different from who she was just a couple of weeks ago.

I  have always been a person who loves clothes, and any method of self-expression for that matter, but recently I can’t help but think “what’s the point?”. What is the purpose of establishing your individuality?

Recently, we experienced the loss of a family member. She passed away quite young and as I walked around her home, I couldn’t help by notice many of her possessions neatly organized in their assigned homes. A thought flashed across my mind,

“once upon a time, she had gone to a store, and picked out
each item because it spoke to her in some way”.

Days after her passing, the items remain, and she is no more. It’s true that she exists in our memories and left behind a legacy of learned lessons, but we can’t touch her. Instead we are left with items that she purchased to express who she was as a person, and that person no longer exists.

This realization has left me with an internal void. What is my purpose? I believe that my family member passed away young because she had fulfilled her life purpose. She had fully blossomed into the most beautiful flower and I believe god always picks the most beautiful flowers in the garden. But what is my purpose? Am I fulfilling it? I don’t want to leave behind a house full of things if I didn’t use them to make someone else happy. I don’t want to become so fixated on the things in my life that I become sidetracked and neglect fulfilling my life purpose.

I love my job and feel that I am making a valuable contribution to the world around me. The company I work for changes lives for the better, and that inspires me to work to my full potential every single day. The technology this company creates saves lives, and makes an impact in the world that I could never make as an individual. But, I can’t help but feel like there is more that I can do.

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Mind Shackling

Lately, I’ve been feeling confined by the shackles of my mind. The harder I pull to break free, the tighter the shackles become. I try to maneuver to free myself from the madness of my mind and when I think I’m finally free, the elasticity of the rope I’m tied to flings me back against the wall, and then I’m back to where I started.  I can’t escape the hollow feeling inside me. The more I try, the stronger they get. I’m trapped in a world of self-inflicted sadness – my mind keeps playing tricks on me.

I look in the mirror and I don’t recognize the person I see in front of me. I feel lost, and at the height of vulnerability, with no one to turn to. No one to understand the depth of my emptiness. I’m not sure how I got to this point. I was completely blindsided. Maybe there has always been a part of me that felt this  way, and only now that I am taking the time to learn about myself do I see this side of me as clear as day.
Maybe we all have a place inside us that is dark and hollow and filled with vulnerability, insecurity and sadness. After all, we are all human and we share the ability to laugh or cry, or be happy or sad. Our emotions are the thread that tie us all together. We have the ability to feel and analyze the world we live in.  We possess a unique ability to learn about ourselves, understand our strengths and our flaws. However, our perception always seems to skew how we see our lives and sometimes prevents us from seeing the good.

Perhaps the trick to overcoming these emotions is to understand that these emotions don’t define us. They are what make us human. We need to understand that in life we all have ups and downs, and to not allow ourselves to get stuck in the lows. Maybe we will forever remain shackled to the games our mind plays on us and a part of growing and learning in life is to find ways to maneuver through life with them. Perhaps it is the shackles that teach us life’s most valuable lessons and we have to learn to understand those lessons and continue on our journey.

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Breathe. Pause. Take A Minute.

Breathe. Pause. Take a minute to regain your strength and understand your worth. I feel as though I’ve become a prisoner of my thoughts. It doesn’t matter how hard I try, I can’t pull myself free from the shackles that are my insecurities. I try to stay positive and focus on the present. But the more I try, the stronger the memories of my past become. I’m not trying to run away from my past, I appreciate my past and the lessons I’ve learned.  However, lately I’ve become fixated with the negative emotions associated to the events that have taken place in my life. I wish I could control how I feel about the current circumstances in my life – instead of projecting the negativity of the past on to the present.  

I feel as though I’m standing in quick sand. The harder I try to free myself, the faster I sink in. While I exude confidence, I feel like a black hole inside. I feel lost and at the height of vulnerability. I feel haunted by the thought that I’m not good enough. When I least expect it, a little seed of insecurity appears in my mind, and like a fungus spreads to taint all of my thoughts.

Perhaps my insecurities aren’t insecurities, but rather fears in disguise. I’m at a turning point in my life, and maybe I’m afraid of myself. Maybe the fear of the unknown scares me, and I’m unintentionally sabotaging my mind to think that I am inadequate, when deep down I know I possess the potential to be great.  Perhaps I need to just let go and see where life takes me. Perhaps I need to take my advice to myself literally. Breathe. Pause. Take a minute to regain my strength and see where life takes me. Embrace the new direction of my life with open arms.

Bon Voyage Mon Ami

Growing up, I became accustomed to the people in my life passing away. Through the emotional trauma of losing loved ones, I learned to withdraw my emotions from the relationships I created, and to live my life with an inability to feel for those around me. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I had concluded that each individual’s presence in my life would be short lived. Until one day, I realized that I had created an invisible dome around me that prevented anyone from getting too close. I started to feel lonely and isolated, and I realized that I needed to make a change in my life.

Over time, I slowly learned to stop putting obstacles in my way, and to start fighting for myself. If I felt lonely in my life, I needed to evaluate my actions to see what I needed to change to overcome this emotion. I created strong, long lasting bonds with people, however, I never truly overcame my fear of abandonment. 

Recently, a very close friend of mine told me that she’s moving away. I didn’t realize the impact it would have on me until I digested what she was saying. She’s going!  While I know this is a great life decision for her, I can’t help but feel saddened by the news. She’s leaving me.  This news has caused me to experience a whirlwind of uncontrollable emotions. I feel sadness without purpose, frustration without cause, and a void that is bruising my spirit.  This is a great opportunity for her, and while I know there is no cause or reason for me to be upset, I can’t help but feel a sense of loss.  I don’t want her to go. For some weird reason, I just always assumed that she would be near. If I ever needed anything, she would be there.

The best way to describe my emotions is that she was a pillar in my life, and her absence in my life will be missed. Yes I can rearrange the pillars in my life to make sure that everything stays in tact, but I’ll always know that I’m one pillar short. I know that she is only a phone call away; but it’s not the same. I feel defeated, and need to find a way to come to grips with the shift in my life, and be proud of my friend. She is taking a huge leap into the unknown, and as a friend, I need to learn to not be selfish, and understand the insecurities and fears that she is feeling. Venturing into unfamiliar territory can be scary, and I have to have faith in our friendship and ensure that I am strong enough to be a pillar in her life to help her be successful in the transition into her new phase. 

 

Jumping Over Hurdles

At times, I feel that we are our worst enemy. We create a vision for our lives, and when we unexpectedly veer off course, or are pushed into unfamiliar territory, we start to see our lives through a shattered mirror. Our vision of ourselves becomes distorted. Thoughts like “this wasn’t meant to be my life”, “this put my life back 5 years” creep up on us and without realizing it, we’re left feeling vulnerable, helpless or both. It’s as though we mentally confine ourselves to the walls of a padded room in a physic ward. We become so entrapped in the current state of affairs that we fail to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Speaking as someone who has been pushed off a bridge into unfamiliar waters time and time again, I thoroughly understand the pain you feel when they splash into the icy cold abyss. The sharp pains you feel when the realization of where you are kicks in, and your inability to breathe as you look in every direction to find something to hold on to. We all have events in our lives that cause us to feel this way. The death of a loved one, the end of a relationship, learning that pregnancy may not be in the cards for you, not getting into the school of your choice, we all have events in our lives that seem shattering, but they make us stronger people. When you finally accept the changes in your life, and realize that you alone are the only person to pull yourself from the depths of sadness that have been created in your mind, you take a retrospective look at your life and realize that you may have underestimated yourself and tried to create a life that was inferior to what you deserve.

Growing up, I didn’t know what course my life was going to take. I became involved with a group of friends that I had no business associating with. I was in a relationship with someone who treated me slightly better than the dirt on the bottom of his shoes and silenced my voice. I can hide behind the excuse that I had an ill parent and that left me feeling confused and vulnerable. But the truth is, I had created this life for myself. I allowed my thoughts to control me and make me feel inferior. My life would have continued down that path if I didn’t fight for it. I had to fight for the life I thought I could create for myself. I set a list of goals for myself: Complete my master’s degree, find a life partner who will be respectful of the person I am (I wasn’t going to compromise who I was. I had already wasted 5 years and I wasn’t about to waste any more time), and be myself (whether people liked it or not). It was only when I decided to fight for myself that my life turned around, and I truly believe that this is the truth for many people. When we stop playing the victim in our lives and start taking control over what we want to accomplish, it puts us in a better state of mind. Yes, there are going to be events in our lives that push us off course, but it’s how we get back up that defines us. We can’t let the events in our lives define us. Similarly to a hurdle race in track in field, life is about jumping over hurdles. Sometimes our foot gets caught and we stumble, but we have to get back up and finish the race.

You Are Unique Just Like Everyone Else

Deep in my heart I believe that each person has greatness in them. Call me naïve, many people do, but I think one of the most beautiful things in the world is to see people being themselves. Sadly, growing up in a judgmental society where you are taught to have a certain color hair, be of an ‘attractive weight’ or dress a certain way, people become enclosed and refrain from expressing themselves. This is very disheartening to see.

I think Facebook and other social media sites further reinforce a person’s need to conform to societal standards of what is acceptable and what isn’t. Many of us use Facebook to reconnect with old friends and family, which is great, but I think many of us subliminally start to use other people’s success stories as benchmarks for the types of lives we should lead. Somewhere along the line, instead of leading a life that makes us happy, we start to unintentionally train ourselves to think that our lives are inadequate and we start to shift our priorities. We feed into an individual’s online persona which probably represents 30% of a person’s life, however in our minds we genuinely start to believe that we are seeing an individual’s entire life. When in fact, this isn’t true. We all have our ups and downs. In our own way, we’re struggling to find our way through life. While we naturally share our peeks, we also refrain from sharing our low points.

Being the rebel that I have always been, I want to share the pitfalls of my life. I have been told that through my blog I am too transparent with my thoughts and opinions, and that I need to stop being so open. But, my thoughts aren’t any different from what another person is thinking or feeling. I’m human, and I prefer to connect with people on an emotional level. I think that our thoughts can sometimes be our worst enemy and if we don’t discuss or express them, we allow our internal voices to control us. When we visit social media sites, we need to understand that a person’s profile isn’t an accurate depiction of their lives. They are simply looking for an outlet to express the happy moments in their lives. However, deep down, we all have the same fears and insecurities. We’re all the same, on our own unique path through life.

Taking A U-Turn… Sort Of

Being forced to face your fears can be a very scary thing.  The feeling of venturing into the unknown and challenging yourself to grow and become great can be very intimidating. Recently, I’ve forced myself to slowly tread outside my comfort zone, and if I am being completely transparent, existing in unfamiliar territory has been a very scary experience. While I know that I am growing for the better, I feel that my thoughts are bleary.

Late at night, when I am forced to be alone with my thoughts, I find that I am overwhelmed with feelings of insecurity, sadness and calm at the same the time. To accurately describe my emotions, I feel as though I’ve sprinted through a 10k marathon and am finally able to catch my breath.

I’ve been working extremely hard at forgiving people in my life and to accept them for who they are, but it has been very difficult. I know that whether I forgive them or not is irrelevant in their lives. These individuals will continue to flourish in their lives and these negative feelings I hold are entrapping me in an endless cycle of negativity.

I think a key point of weakness for me is that while I am strong, I internalize every interaction I have with anyone and I possess an inability to let go. I have very high expectations for myself and I expect the people in my life to also live up to the standards I’ve placed on myself, which isn’t fair. I take life too seriously, and somewhere along the road, I feel as though I forgot how to whole heartedly laugh and truly enjoy the company around me.  I don’t remember the last time I laughed till my stomach hurt. Somewhere along the road of confronting my weaknesses, I left behind some of my strengths. Perhaps this is why I have been feeling vulnerable. I’ve changed so quickly that I left behind some of the things that made me great. I think I need to take a few steps back and find my sense of humour. 

I am truly grateful for my in laws. At family gatherings, I usually take a seat back and admire how free they are. I’m sure that life throws challenges at them, but whenever I attend a family gathering, there is so much laughter in the air. They are genuinely happy people who laugh till they feel laughter pains, and have an indescribable bond. It is truly remarkable. My hope for myself is that I find my way back to the person who was once carefree and enjoyed the simplicities of life, while growing into an awesome person. Maybe then I won’t feel defeated when I am alone with my thoughts J  

To Bury Or Not to Bury the Hatchet

Life. Just when I thought I had it figured it out, it throws me another curveball, leaving me confused and isolated.  In my earlier blogs I had talked about a tongue lashing I received from a ‘friend of mine’. After that incident I had vowed to remove toxic people from my life. However, a few days ago I received a text message apology, which has left me frazzled. Does a text message apology even count?

I’ve been pondering over this text message for the past few days and the truth is, I don’t know how to respond. On the one hand, this person and I were friends for a very long time prior to the incident that took place last summer. But, on the other hand what was said is unforgivable. And more importantly, given the types of vile statements that were said to me, does a text message apology even count?

Personally, I think an apology received by text message shouldn’t be considered an apology. If one is genuinely sorry for the things that were said, wouldn’t one pick up the phone, or have a face to face meeting to express their remorse? Perhaps I am not as tech savvy as others, or perhaps I value human interaction, but I think there needs to be sincerity in an apology.

Granted that what was said was extremely mean (to say the least) and perhaps he was afraid to approach me, but I think that if someone is courageous enough to say those mean things, they should be brave enough to apology in the same way those initial vile words were spewed.  I don’t think that it is an unreal expectation to have of someone.

Nevertheless, I am doing my best to give my ‘friend’ the benefit of the doubt and like a broken record, I’ve been posing the question ‘Do I forgive my ‘friend’ and look past this incident, or is it too late?’ The truth is, I’m not sure. While I would like to say, ‘yes, I forgive you’, I am stumped at my own personal obstacle of my inability to forgive. I understand that there is strength in accepting an apology and forgiving someone, however I’m not sure on how to overcome my own ego. In Demi Lovato’s book ‘Staying Strong’ she writes, “when you are wronged, it’s better to confront it with tolerance, forgiveness and acceptance”. If I am truly putting myself first in my life, I have to forgive my friend. It doesn’t mean that we will become the best of friends. It just means that I allowed myself to forgive the sadness that was caused and let go of any negative feelings.

 

Stones Along The Way

Opinions. They don’t mean anything until we assign value to them. Yet, we allow them to control us.  They shape our perception of ourselves, and we let them.  One of the greatest things about being human is that we’re not meant to be homogeneous in nature. We’re meant to be individuals, who grow gradually with our life experiences.  Yet we allow people’s opinions of us to create an infinite cycle of thoughts that cause us to become stagnant. We can tend to become so fixated on the opinions of others, that our priority in life can shift from being the people we want to be, to being the people others want us to be.

In recent months, a friend of mine had something posted about her on a social media site. Out of respect for my friend’s privacy, I’ve decided not to elaborate on the situation. However, it left her extremely upset. Constant thoughts looped around her mind: What will my friends think of me? What will my family think? This irked me. Taking a step back from the situation, her concerns should have been, how does this make me feel? Am I okay? What do I need to do to accept that this issue has taken place?

Why do we give other people’s opinions so much weight in our lives? I believe a situation or a problem is placed in front of you to help you grow as a person, not hinder you. We only become weak when value others opinions over our own. One of the greatest gifts of life is that we have the cognitive ability to learn and grow, yet we deprive ourselves of the opportunity to learn valuable life lessons by becoming tangled in this vortex of judgments .

If I’m being completely transparent, I think people’s opinions are irrelevant. Opinions are often based on the internal struggles people have with themselves, and most of the time they don’t have anything to do with the person they are being opinionated about. Yet, we place so much emphasis on them that we allow them to define us, and somewhere throughout this process we lose ourselves.

We need to stay true to what we think and know about ourselves. If we allow other people’s opinions to define us, we sacrifice the ability to grow into our  full potential and lose the opportunity to be the people we could be.