Category Archives: Relationships

Don’t Take Stuff Personally

Yeah, yeah.

People will say stuff to us that gets under our skin, or they might just do something that irritates us. And when we get irritated, a lot of crappy things happen.

When we get irritated, we’re more likely to do things we otherwise wouldn’t do. We might say things to hurt people, lose our ability to focus on the task at hand, or do something stupid. But more importantly, when we lose our cool, we are actually letting something else affect us. We are losing our power because something distracted us and swayed us in a direction we did not intend to head. Staying calm and handling things with a level head is not only good for our daily work but also prevents us from hurting our loved ones. Have you noticed the wiser the person, the less they lose their cool?

I’ve seen that the #1 reason someone loses their cool is that they take something personally. To take something personally, our ego must be at play. Think about it (and we all ‘love’ people with huge egos). Let’s look at some more specific reasons to not take things personally:

INSULTS

If somebody says something with the intention of hurting/affecting you, they are really projecting their own issues. It actually has nothing to do with you. A person who walks around calling people’s faults for enjoyment is suffering their own issue. A happy person doesn’t do that. So when someone tries to bring you down, a progressive approach might be to be concerned with why they feel the need to attack their fellow humans. To take their word seriously and get brought down prevents growth for both parties. It’s really an opportunity to help.

If somebody does or says something (/to you) unknowingly or unintentionally that could be offensive, they were acting in ignorance. And unless you’ve experienced nirvana, you suffer ignorance as well and it should be forgiven. A more appropriate action would be to fill that person in for their own benefit. To get angry because a child commented on your blubber really is a losing strategy. Let the child know they could hurt someone’s feelings.

All reasons I could give really derive from the concept that a statement or action cannot be separated from its source. When you take away the scissors from your 3-year-old and he says “I hate you mommy,” you may not like his choice of words but you know that he is unaware of his actions. You know better, and you certainly don’t get mad at him at tell him “go feed yourself you little brat!” and storm off into your room because of what he said to you. The source must be considered in every statement. Anytime someone says something that could be offensive, the source is either trying to hurt you or is ignorant–neither of which call for taking the comment personally.

The only way that you can be insulted by someone is if you believe the insult to be true. If someone tried to insult me by calling me “gay,” they would fail, because it’s clear to me that I’m heterosexual. If someone called a girl a “bitch,” and she had just been dumped by her boyfriend because he claimed she was a bitch, she might be insulted. “Maybe I really am a bitch! Ouch!” This is where being secure in yourself comes in. Insecurity is your ego feeling incomplete and just waiting to take anything and everything personally.

Compliments, too

There is also reason to not take compliments personally. This one is a bit more of a stretch for most people, but we can start with a simple example. Suppose someone says “you’re so good-looking!” If you take that comment personally, you will eventually get an inflated ego. You aren’t your looks; you didn’t create them or choose them. You could recognize that the person is in fact complimenting your genetics.

But what if they complimented my outfit? I put that together! Me me me me me!

You still can’t remove your physical body from the outfit. But who gave you your sense of style? Style is not created, it’s stolen piece by piece from things you have seen in the past. If someone compliments your intelligence,  patience, or even the way you handled a situation, can you take full credit? Pass the credit along to your teachers, mentors, experiences, and education and keep moving forward. I suppose if you’re feeling down about yourself you can tap into it to boost yourself up, but come on now. The result of this mentality is humility and un-messable-with status. Those are great things. Hubris always kills the main character. Think about it: someone can be so good-looking and amazing, but the second you hear them being conceited, all attraction is lost, no? Why is it that the people we respect the most are totally humble?

When you take something personally, it’s a lose-lose. Nothing is totally your fault or totally to your credit. Practicing removing yourself from the situation helps to both keep you on track and to not get too caught up in yourself.

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To Women, from a Guy, Re: Bodies

I’ve noticed a change has occurred in the portrayal of beauty of women in the media. Basically it has gone from natural to really skinny–so skinny that I don’t think it is healthy. I know at some point there was a big public stink about anorexic models but looking at pics from fashion shows and advertisements, I see nothing has changed.

The fact that this is out there represents a problem, and I say that only because these models are not healthy yet they are models (noun, a standard or example for imitation or comparison):

I don’t know if those were popular models or not, but I know this one is:

Zoe

Now Zoe is a very lovely model, and she’s been in movies and all. She beautiful, but we must admit she certainly is on the skinny side of the spectrum. What I mean by that is that her weight is well below that of the average woman (not just obese americans).

I don’t know where this change occurred. But let me point out two fly superstars who are nothing less because they are not super low weight:

Ms. Rose

Mz. Beats (are they still together?)

These are two lovely women who seem a bit more ordinary in their build (obviously they still have fantastic bodies) and in their diets.

I would just like to say, as a guy, to all women, that I don’t subscribe to that super skinny ideal of beauty. In fact, more than a full figure, I appreciate a healthy body. I think it’s sexy when I see a desire and willingness to work towards a healthy and durable body, from inside out. I don’t think it’s men who have pushed this “skinny thing.” It must be some much bigger, sicker, marketing trend that makes women self-conscious and people write books about.

Since I have this blog, I just wanted to publicly tell all my fellow humans that happen to be female:

Don’t buy into this image at the cost of your health. I don’t really find it attractive…just be healthy, be you. I like dates to restaurants where I can stuff my face with my girl. If you love your natural body, I bet I will too, and I bet it will look and feel better than what you see on TV.

Update: In fact, if Amber Rose or Alicia Keys obtained their body by vomiting after meals, or something bad for their health, that would be a turn off to me personally. It’s more than the physical appearance.

Guys, if you feel the same way, let a woman know that you don’t buy into it either. Some girls are really suffering because of it, and that’s less booty walking around. It’s a damn shame.

But You’re Not Me

Does anyone have the same birthday as you? The same time of birth?

Do they have the same parents as you? With all the same lessons and style of upbringing?

Do they have the same set of friends as you? Down to duplicate Facebook friends list, down to literally identical experiences with those friends from trials, tribulations, arguments, jokes, long talks?

Does anyone have the same set of mentors and schooling as you? Did they pay attention to exactly what you paid attention to, found the exact same stuff interesting, and worked the same amount of time as you?

Does anyone want exactly what you want for yourself? For the world?

Do they have the exact same work experience, with the same boss, coworkers, events, ups and down?

Do they agree with you 100% on what is right and wrong? Do they agree with you on whether Tupac is dead or alive?

And do they see the purpose of life the same way you see it? Have they determined what they are doing here on Earth to be exactly the same thing as what you’re doing here?

Have they suffered the same failures at the same times as you, and gotten the exact same identical lessons from those failures?

Have they gone through the same hardships as you? Experienced the same luxuries?

Do they have the same aspirations?

Do they have the exact same genetic make up (rhetorical), with the same tendencies and preferences for certain types of reactions, behavior, and likes/dislikes?

Do they have the same Nature+Nurture as you?

So how much sense does it make to ask advice? “If I were you, I would x y z x y z ….” But you’re not me. Did they answer yes to all the questions above? Each individual situation is so mind-blowingly, astronomically unique that advice truly makes no sense. It leads us to believe that there is some common place we are all trying to get to, and not to believe that the goal is the path itself–the decisions we make for ourselves and the learning and living process that comes along with it. Whether our decisions turn out “good” or “bad” is irrelevant when it comes to our personal growth.

Imagine if you never made a decision, and every single thing you did in life was directed by the advice of someone who you really admired. What would your last few moments of life feel like? I suspect you would have a lot of painful curiosity.

“People ask advice when they know what they need to do but just don’t want to do it.” Maybe every time we ask for advice, we really know the answer but we are fighting our internal compass. Why don’t we trust what we would do without advice? What is the value of trusting one’s self?

To give advice without being asked for it is to assume you know what lies both ahead and behind another person. It is to attempt to rob their life of making their own decisions. If they ask you for advice, perhaps you can offer it but we all owe it to our fellow humans to remind them that our decisions are not applicable to their lives.

The Best Ring Tone Profile for Focus

I. NEED. TO. CHECK. THIS.

Time for some self-honesty: Twitter, Facebook, Blackberry Messenger,What’sApp Messenger, text messages, e-mail, G-chat mobile, Skype mobile, and the mobile browser.  I suffer phone addiction. I could pass a two-hour bus ride quickly just using my phone. I couldn’t focus or spend quality time with people for long periods of time without checking my phone, and I ended up e-chatting way more than I needed to.

My friend Olgui made a suggestion. She is a designer and works with her hands, which means being “in the zone” is very important for her, as that’s when her creativity flows. She explained to me her ringtone profile:

  • All phone calls ring loudly.
  • No other notification makes a noise or even vibrates.

That’s it! The reason I love this is because anyone who needs to get in contact with you immediately can–they can always call. At the end of the day, if it’s a text message, it cannot be of utmost importance–why let it get in the way of your passion?

I’ve extended my attention span 10-30 minutes, I don’t miss out on things, I’m still accessible in case of emergencies, and I’m better at doing whatever I want to do. Also, I don’t get distracted by vibrations and notifications while I’m spending quality time with friends or family (whereas before I would go to the bathroom, or try to position myself in certain ways so I could sneak a peek at my phone…all taking my attention away from the person before me). The improvement in quality time with friends is more than worth it and I invite you to give it a try. It ultimately will help to make you more present in the current moment.

 

 

Friends Cry to Friends

It’s a simple message sometimes tragically forgotten.

The last time a friend came to cry on my shoulder, I felt honored and realized it was a blessing to be able to provide comfort. When I went to my cousin with my own worries and tears, she told me that it made her feel like I “trusted her, valued her advice, and felt close to her.” It is a testament of friendship when a friend comes to you with their problems. Some forget that it is also a testament of friendship when we go to a friend with our problems. 

I don’t want to be a complainer and dump my problems on my friends, though. Why not? Continue reading

Gratitude, Assumptions, and The Negativity Purge

Your mindset determines what is possible for you. It is like the gatekeeper for your mental vision–a customer and a safety inspector walking into a store will see very different things. Similarly, investors see opportunity in market crashes and people who have conviction that they will be successful see everything as a hurdle not as a dead-end.

More generally, our mindset greatly affects our state of being. Today I was lucky enough to have someone very close to me point out a negative lens through which I was viewing the entire country of Trinidad & Tobago (where I currently live). This blocked me off from finding joy in many parts of the country as I had the negative lens on at all times. Becoming aware of the lens and then freeing myself of it was such a relief that I wanted to write about three aspects of mindsets: gratitude, assumptions and positivity. Continue reading

Understanding Social Clues

Sometimes you are in a social situation–a few people, maybe drinks, dinner, or even a party. A few people might be talking at once. You’re talking to someone or trying to make a point and, all of a sudden, the person turns and listens to what someone else is
saying…mid-sentence! It’s a light-hearted atmosphere so you don’t make a big deal out it despite still feeling a little bit frustrated.

You have two main options:

Say “hey, hey!” and try to speak louder than the other person,

Or, the option that I finally see makes the most sense:

Realize that what you are saying simply isn’t that attention-grabbing, perhaps keep quiet and listen for awhile, and continue to enjoy the night!

The Platinum Rule

There are many lessons to learn from the elderly. They tend to get to a point where their minds close up even when it comes to necessary things such as taking prescribed medication. Not being able to get through to them can make them frustrating to be around. But at the end of the day, you have to suck it up and let them have their way because they’re old, their hearts might be weak, and they’re enjoying their last couple laps of life.

I’ve been noticing that while the rest of us may not be elderly, we all still can act like old geezers. Continue reading

The Role of Trust in Relationships

All human relationships are intangible things; they don’t exist in material form. They don’t seem to exist anywhere except in words–Bob and Jane can only be boyfriend and girlfriend when they say that they are boyfriend and girlfriend (or when facebook says they are). Once one communicates to the other that the relationship is over, then (and only then) its done.

Similarly, the whole relationship is communication. Communication is not simply a part of the relationship, the actual relationship itself is, equals, communication.

In a romantic relationship, if one is having trust issues with the other and their friends-too-close-for-comfort, the bigger problem is not those friends but rather the trust issue. Without trust, the relationship is not there. If “I didn’t cheat on you” or “I didn’t steal the money” doesn’t make you feel totally confident that your bf/gf didn’t cheat or your business partner didn’t steal the money, then what’s the point of even talking to them? What is the point of being in a relationship with them?

That “relationship” really doesn’t exist without the trust. If you want the relationship, there is no choice but to trust the other. This, of course, could lead to some form of let down but we all know the risks!