similar and not

We’re all a bit crazy. In our own way, we have the things that we can’t let go. We have our quirks that keep us from being completely normal. We each have our personalities and past experiences– but really, we’re usually actually quite alike.

We want to be content with our lives, we usually aren’t. We want to be connected to people, but we don’t want to be ignored or typical. We want to be okay, but also better than okay. There’s a lot of difference in what we consider to be “okay”, and someone who is homeless probably values a space to live as more important than someone who has always had one. In addition, we may be more or less ambitious, and in different parts of our lives.

People are not the same. We are separated from a large number of people because of geography, culture, politics, etc. Our experiences are different which makes our personalities and perspectives different. Yet, no matter how different people appear to be, we can understand the emotions of others. Do we understand everything intimately? No. But having empathy makes us able to understand at least a smidgen of their feelings, if we’re able to let go of our reservations.

So understand, or try. Don’t be afraid to relate to other people and their positions. Our emotions are what bind us together.

shivering in me timbers

Out of our raw emotions, fear is one of the most potent feelings to deal with. It’s easy to be afraid, and even the smallest things can make us shake in our boots. We can be afraid of irrational, rational, abstract, or physical possibilities. There really is no limit on how many different things that can terrify us.

We have fear because it makes sense. If there’s a bear, we should not bother it or aggravate it. Our fear in that instance makes sense and helps us survive. Even the more abstract things like losing our job make sense. We fear it because it’s our safety net, its what we do every day, and losing it means we’ll be at risk of not being able to support ourselves. Not all fears are rational, but a good many of them are, and there is reason to be afraid.

That concept might not seem too inspiring, but think about this: you realize there is risk in a dangerous situation and are afraid. If you’re afraid, that means you’re alert and wary. If you are on your toes, it can help you focus on solving that situation. If the fear is irrational, acknowledging our fear is still an important step to getting over it. No matter the state of the cause of our terror, if we know the cause, we can do something about it.

Fear is natural. Fear may even be good in some instances. Being afraid doesn’t mean that that’s our only option, and it most certainly doesn’t mean that we have to stay that way. It may be difficult to move on from such a powerful emotion, but we can do it. We always can.

not flawless

Our experiences are tinted with all that we are, context, and natural human biases. Just misunderstanding the tone of someone’s voice can cause a massive conflict. Intent matters, but so does what actually happened, and what other people understood it to mean. We’re flawed, but so are the people around us.

My point is that your opinions and experiences matter– and so does everyone else’s. We cannot make a bubble for ourselves and give ourselves extra rights. But it becomes frustrating, because, as humans, we like to feel special. It’s our psychological tendency to blame context for our failures and give ourselves credit for our successes. Even though logically we know both choices and context matter, we ignore the role of whichever one is most uncomfortable to recognize.

We could do a variety of things with our lives, but at the end, we need to take responsibility of all our choices. Context matters. Environments can change personality drastically. We could want to be set apart and admired, but first we have to earn that and work towards that. We’re human! We mess up! The real question is whether or not we’ll chose to step up to the plate when the pressure is on.

when you have zero motivation

Sometimes it seems like the point we need the most motivation is the point we have the least. It’s easy to have the drive to do amazing things in the middle of the peptalk, in the middle of the conversation. However, when we need to wake up or push through, motivation somehow disappears through the window.

It is at these moments where we need to pull through and make our own motivation. No human can magically show up everytime we need it. Instead, we need to find the motivation to motivate ourselves. When we can’t focus on our task, we need to instead focus on finding the way to get to that point. Look up quotes! Listen to some intense music! Jump up and down!

We can do amazing things, but only when we have the strength to pull through. Even if you think you don’t have that power, you can build it up. Our willpower is like a muscle. You can’t go straight to the 500 lb. weights and expect to not hurt yourself. So challenge yourself with something that still seems beyond you but that isn’t too far out. Then do it. Take the time. Take the risk! Motivation doesn’t always come organically from within and that’s okay– find it elsewhere and push through.

is it me you’re looking for?

Being forgetful can be amazing. Not forgetful of responsibility or items, but forgetting the self. When we are faced with duty and desire, we can become obsessed with how much we are or are not getting done. When we are perfectionistic, we become so caught up in our own negative emotions, we forget to check on others who might also be suffering. When we stop focusing so much on ourselves, it’s much easier to be ourselves, a kinder version of ourselves.

Often times, we think that in order to be humble and selfless, we somehow should hate the self. If selfish people think they are great, after all, mustn’t that mean that selfless people think they are horrible? Yet selfishness doesn’t necessarily mean that one loves themselves. It is very possible and very common for someone to seemingly hate themselves and still be incredibly self-centered. Hate takes a lot of energy. It takes effort to exert that sort of emotional force. Strictly in terms of physical endurance, it takes a lot out of you, and with other dimensions upon that, it’s safe to say that hate is an expensive habit. That great cost makes it so that limited cognitive resources just don’t have time to think about something else. Even if that hatred is a self-loathing!

Of course, all of this operates on a premise: selfishness is bad, selflessness is good. If people argue against this, it’s usually because their idea of selflessness is letting someone walk all over you, or overworking yourself without a decent level of care for our own well being. When I say “forgetting yourself”, I mean forgetting all the extra stuff. We all do basic things to care for ourselves. We also have things we desire and work for. Forgetting means all that icing on top of that, the overthinking, the dwelling too long, etc. So how do we do that? How do we become selfless?

Simply? We focus on something else. We focus outward instead of in. When we want to complain and think about our own state, we first consider others. We don’t take things lying down, but we don’t fight everyone who crosses our path either. It’s a long term sort of project, and a long term sort of goal that we have to learn how to do on our own, but it’s worth it.

stuff those feelings back where they came from, or so help me-!

Logically, you can know that A is A, and B is B. In your head, you know certain facts and can truly believe them. Reason can tell you it wasn’t your fault, or that it doesn’t matter. However, sometimes the emotions don’t fit. We want to move on and yet our hearts don’t want to go along with it.

Emotions are hard to handle. They surround us in a medium of our existence. They guide us more than we would sometimes like to admit. However, a basic part of being a human is dealing with and expressing feelings. When we don’t talk about how we feel, it tends to get clogged up inside of us. Making a habit of stuffing things down inside of us makes us get stuck on what to say when we really do need to express ourselves. Communication is a skill after all! And practice is the key to any skill. Not dealing with emotions is like being an emotional couch-potato: very unhealthy in the long run.

Even we know what we need to do logically, we can still get stuck on the feeling parts of things. Ignoring the emotions or trying to kill them off somehow doesn’t fix things; if anything, it makes them stronger. Instead, if we want to move past things, we need to face them. We need to admit to ourselves our faults and our current state of mind. It’s hard, and it’s not easy to even know what to do once you’ve acknowledged it. Still, it’s a necessary step to moving past things.

read this if you’ve had a horrible day

In our worst moments, it’s easy to get caught up in yourself and your own problems. If there’s something horrible happening to you, it seems massive after all! It takes up your time and energy, and consumes your day. However, one of the wisest courses of action we can take is trying to back away from it all for a moment. As surprising and unfortunate as it is, an individual human is not the center of the universe, and if all we happen to know about the cosmos is wrong, it’s at least not you.

Other people suffer. This can sometimes be taken as discouraging, since it tends to indicate, “Other people are worse off, therefore you don’t have a right to be upset or hurt.” That’s not necessarily true. The fact is, everyone struggles, and this is beautiful solely because it means you’re not alone. In the most challenging times, we come together as humans, not seperate and bicker about whose situation is worse. The reason is because the distinctions are not that important at a certain level.

Some people suffer worse than you. This is a fact. But that doesn’t mean you can’t feel pain or be upset. What we can learn from others, however, is that our situations are survivable. Even in the most terrifying circumstances, we can grow and we can live. Everything can still be overwhelming! So make connections, and standing together, it’ll be easier to see how big the problem is compared to the rest of life.

Water you even doing?

Drinking water improves your concentration, skin, energizes your muscles, and helps your internal system, but despite knowing that water is good for us, most people don’t drink enough of it. In the grand scheme, looking at your entire life, drinking lots of water doesn’t seem to be something people should be overly concerned about. Drinking water, however, is a way of taking care of yourself. People feel miserable depending on a multitude of factors; one variable that is underestimated is our physical well-being. Often times, we forget to take care of ourselves and it ends up affecting how we live the rest of our day.

There are absolutely times when we are both hungry and angry, but the truth is that mental state is more dependent on our physical state than we like to admit. Are you really furious at someone, or are you just too tired to deal with someone talking? Are you overwhelmed or do you need a nap? The slang “Hangry” exists because so many people get confused between whether or not they are angry or hungry.

Drinking water isn’t going to cure depression. Excercise doesn’t make people not have an anxiety disorder. Eating healthy meals isn’t going to make people suddenly not schizophrenic. However, doing all these little things does make a difference, and for the better. No matter how you are feeling, it is good to take care of your body. While we like to separate ourselves from it, our bodies are ourselves. You need maintenance, you need to recharge, you need some time to sleep, and you need fuel.  So drink lots of water, eat good food, and get some sleep! It may not seem like much, but it makes a difference.