Some “What Ifs” Are Better than “Oh Wells”

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Via Flickr

I’m sure you’ve heard people saying that it’s better to have done something and regretted it later than to not have done something and always wonder what would have happened if you would have had enough courage to do it. I agree with this, but I also believe that it’s not always true.

There are some things that are better left floating in the land of “what if” than being brought down into the world of reality. Why? Because some things might never turn into “oh well”. They might just turn into “why did I do that?”

Now, it’s hard to figure out which “what ifs” are better than others. Perhaps that’s why the idea of always doing something you want instead of wondering about it came to be. But what if there would be a better way than this? What if we could make sure that we go for the right “what if”, leaving the wrong one behind?

The world in which this always happens is a fictional world. We can’t always know. Sometimes we are going to mess up. Occasionally, we’re going to mess up a lot worse than other times. That’s something we need to learn to accept, because striving for perfection is a losing battle.

When trying to figure out if something is worth the risk, whatever that risk may be,  you have to consider how important that thing is for you. Can you learn to be without it? Be careful here. I wrote “learn” intentionally. It is normal to feel like you can’t be without something you’ve started to “crave”, but as time passes, the craving might go away, and you will learn to be without that thing.

However, if you feel like that thing has the potential to complete your life in a meaningful way, perhaps letting go is not the best thing in the world.

Keep in mind here that whatever the conclusion you arrive at, you might still have to learn to be without that thing, eventually. You can’t always get what you want, so be prepared for that possibility too.

Think of the situation where you might feel tempted to call your ex and try to get back together. Such a decision is always loaded emotionally, and I would personally call up a friend to get their opinion, because it will be less biased than yours, but you can also try to think of whether it’s really worth it. It’s very hard, but even in these situations, where the irrational part of your brain seems to be taking over, you might still be able to hear the voice of rationality, lost between your thoughts. Listen to it.

Even here, you might end up where you started all over again, if your ex won’t want to get back together. If you choose to give it a shot, be prepared for this option. But maybe leaving things at “what if” is the better choice.

/Larisa

Taking the Mask Off

Via centennialarts

A month or so ago, one of my professors discussed the notion of the self. He began by telling us that when he was a student, he had a professor who at some point asked him and his classmates to think of when they are themselves the most: when they’re by themselves, or when they’re with other people? He then continued to say that while he did think of this question as a very interesting one, he later realized that it made little sense to ask it, since each one of us has multiple selves, not just one.

However, it is still true, or so I believe (and feel free to disagree with me), that some of these selves are …well, let’s just say, not as real as others. Sometimes we do and say things that we don’t necessarily consider to be true, and that we definitely don’t think are in line with who we really are.

Keeping this in mind, it’s easy to think that when we come home, out “masks” come off, and we finally become who we truly are, not having to hide our feelings, thoughts, and finally being able to do as we please, and speak our minds. But is this really true?

Again, I’ll come back to the idea of multiple selves: it doesn’t means that if you act differently around different people, you’re lying about who you truly are. It simply means that you’re elastic when it comes to which shades of your personality you’re going to let shine at that particular moment. For instance, if you’re with someone who you know doesn’t like a certain type of jokes, then you’re much more likely to not make them (that is, if you care about that person).

Now, it may well be that some of the time, you’re going to lie, thus covering your self, or that particular shade of your self, with a mask. Perhaps some circumstances make it more likely for you to do so than others. Regardless, this doesn’t mean that you’re not being your true self when you’re with your friends, simply because you’re not the same when you’re with them as when you’re alone. Those are simply two different versions of yourself.

/Larisa

The Things You Should Never Tell Yourself

Via 9gag
Via 9gag

I like going on 9gag from time to time, because it’s a lot of fun. Well, what I mean to say is that it can be a lot of fun. It can also be very sad, and sometimes, even frustrating. Lots of people were complaining about the fact that many 9gag users started to post things that weren’t so funny. I personally didn’t have any particular problem with it, because I’m all about people talking about their opinion, and it doesn’t matter if it’s related to something funny or sad.

But then there are the posts that just plain frustrate me. There are many such examples, and maybe I’ll talk about others as I encounter them. The one I posted above is just one of them.

Let’s take each statement one by one, and see what’s wrong with it when said in relation to one’s self:

I hate you

You do realize that you are going to spend the rest of your life with you, right? In essence, you’ve sort of entered a marriage with yourself the moment you were born, and this is not a marriage that you can end by divorce. It’s not a marriage that you should end. So, what do people do when they don’t want a marriage to fall apart? They fix it. There are good things about you, whether you care to acknowledge them or not. They’re there. Be on the lookout, and you’re sure to find them.

You’re weak

Let’s make something clear here, ok? We’re all human beings. No, seriously, we are. That makes us vulnerable, which means that sometimes, yes, we are weak. All of us. Not at the same time, but we all go through phases of weakness, followed by strength. It’s normal.

If you’re feeling weak, don’t blame yourself for it. Rather, look at what made you be that way, and try to fix it. If you can’t do it on your own, then…well, look for help. Even looking for help implies some sort of strength, because it shows that you acknowledge the problem, and you’re ready to do something about it. There is strength in you. You just have to make it come out.

You deserve the pain

So you’ve taken the role of God, eh? You started to decided who deserves the pain, and who doesn’t.

Every single one of us makes mistakes, because, as I said before, we’re humans. If you’ve made a mistake, this doesn’t make you a bad person. It simply means you made a mistake. Try to fix it. If you can’t, then do your best to reduce the negative effects it has. Telling yourself that you deserve the pain won’t solve anything. It will only make you feel horrible, and there’s no point in that.

You’re imperfect

YES!!! Of course you are. We all are. This statement seems pointless to me. It’s like saying “I breathe oxygen”. Yeah, no kidding. So do I! Look at all the stuff we have in common.

But there’s more to this statement, when said in this context: it essentially says that “I breathe oxygen, and therefore I’m a bad person.” Well, then that means that we’re all really bad, because we are all the same in this regard.

It’s ok to be imperfect, really. We all are.

You’ll never be good enough

Not only are you God, but you can also see in the future. That’s quite impressive, it really is! Well, never mind! God is supposed to see in the future, so I guess I should have congratulated you on your impressiveness before this.

Anyway, this statement begs the question “Good enough for what?”. Can you answer it being specific, or do you just think that way in general terms?

It doesn’t really matter if you can be specific or not, because you’re mistaken in thinking this either way. Using words like “never”, and “always” is not a good idea, because they can easily be refuted. So hey! Maybe you weren’t good enough for something at some point, but you can do something to improve it in the future. If you think that you’re not good enough in general, then you are exaggerating. There is something in you, ready to come out and be great and wonderful, but if you keep hiding it, then…

I hope you die

NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!

Whatever is going in your life, you should know that it will get better. But did you see the key word in that sentence right there? It’s life. There needs to be life in order for things to get better.

These kinds of thoughts are quite commonly met in depression. Many of us might experience some of them on a daily basis, but it’s in depressed people that they happen with a lot of frequency. If you notice yourself thinking this way a lot, then you should look for help. It’s out there, and it will help you smile once again 🙂

In the meantime, here are some things you should tell yourself:

Sea_Clouds_Background_Texture_by_StitcherLadyxx

/Larisa

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It’s in the Small Moments

Via deviantart

I talk about this a lot, but since we live in the society we do, I think it’s a topic that needs to be discussed more, until it becomes routine for us to think about it, as opposed to going out of our way to get it on our mind.

It’s about appreciation. And I don’t mean appreciation of the big things. That comes naturally, usually (and if it doesn’t, it might be due to some condition, such as depression). It makes sense to be happy when you get a promotion, when you graduate, or when you’re finally able to buy the car you’ve always wanted.

I am not talking about that kind of gratitude, but I am not saying we shouldn’t feel it. We should, of course!

The problem is this: big moments are few and far in between. No necessarily, but speaking from a general point of view, they are. But they’re obviously not the only kinds of moments we experience. We go through small ones, too, and I think those need a bit more loving thrown their way, especially since we experience so many small moments.

If we could learn to be thankful for those little things, we could bring more happiness into out lives, which is great news, isn’t it? Well, it’s all fun and games to talk about it, but once you try to implement it…that’s when the problems start arising.

We’re used to be in our own little worlds a bit too much nowadays, and this means that we no longer notice most of what goes on around us. But we should…Oh, we should.

A few days ago, for instance, I was walking to class, and I was in a hurry. Luckily, this didn’t stop me from seeing that there were flowers growing in a little spot, and that made me very happy (I do like both flowers and spring very much, hence the happiness).

This is just an example, and there are many more like it, that if you learn to look around you, you might just smile for longer, and feel better. It’s hard to do, no doubt, especially with all the available technology that we can use to distract yourselves. But it’s doable!

/Larisa

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When Your Best Isn’t Good Enough

Horseracing_Churchill_Downs

Trying to do something, and then failing at it utterly is never fun. And I mean never. There is only one thing that can make failing fun, and that is succeeding at that task later. (I spoke about this in my last post)

The problem is that sometimes, you keep on trying and trying and trying, and that success doesn’t seem to want to come. It just won’t.

And it sucks, especially when you feel as though you’ve given all that could, all that you had to that one task. When you’ve given your best, but you haven’t achieved what you were hoping to achieve, what do you do?

Do you back down, and try to look for something else to put your efforts into, or do you keep on trying and trying until you’ve finally succeeded?

There is no simple answer here, sadly. Now, I know what you’re probably thinking…”No clear-cut answer in something to do with real life?! How very shocking…”

Indeed, it probably comes as no surprise to anyone that things are usually more difficult in life than they seem, or than they should be. However, at least for me, this never ceases to be frustrating.

But here are my two cents on the whole matter: it all depends on enjoyment. If you’re doing something, you’re giving your best, and you’re not where you wish you could be, it’s ok. That is, as long as you’re still enjoying whatever you’re doing. If you feel good about it, and it makes you happy, keep at it. Chances are, there will come a day when your best will be good enough. Who knows? There might also come a day when your best is better than good enough.

Now, don’t think that the minute you start disliking or getting frustrated at something you usually like to do, you should quit. Goodness, not at all. There will always be times when you’ll feel frustrated, especially when you’re constantly putting in the best you can, but the results don’t seem to show that.

When you should really start thinking about whether something you like to do has turned into something that you used to like to do is when you’re feeling frustrated most of the time you’re doing it.

In essence, if Frustration > Happiness, or Enjoyment per total, it’s time to reconsider your position. Until then, keep at it!

/Larisa

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Like Music to My Ears

Via Wikipedia

Today when coming home, I decided to turn my Ipod off, so that I could keep my mind clear enough to get my thoughts in order. I have spoken before about the benefits of unplugging sometimes from technology (you can find those posts here and here), and I still do it sometimes (especially when I know I have enough energy to be using my mind for more than listening to music).

Because my ears were not flooded with the sound of the (wonderful) music in my Ipod, I could hear the sounds surrounding me a lot better, and I discovered, once again, that nature itself plays an array of different types of music every single day, if only we care to listen.

The wind was blowing softly, and when passing through the branches of the trees around me, it was playing with the few leaves that were still hanging on to the place they have called home during the summer months.

From time to time, I could still hear a bird or two, which was probably not singing, but merely calling out to another bird. That, too, sounded like music.

Hearing this made me think that there is more music in nature than we realize on a day to day basis.

Have you ever heard the waves of the ocean splashing against the shore, before returning to their home?

Or perhaps the divine purl of a river, which is in a constant rush to meet its sea?

Even the wind, when it becomes louder, is a feast to the ears.

Finally, there’s always that wonderful sound of the rain, as its drops fall softly to the ground, and create the most relaxing music that the world has to offer.

Music is indeed all around us, isn’t it?

/Larisa

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The Anatomy of a Great Day

Via Wikipedia

So, what’s a great day really like?

You see, I love having great days, but it seems to me that in our habit of chasing perfection, we’ve forgotten to appreciate days that are not quite perfect, but that are great, nevertheless. In doing so, we fail to enjoy such days to the fullest.

It’s hard to give a clear definition of a great day. Sometimes, it’s a day that has gone according to plan, yet other times, it’s a day where you were taken completely bu surprise, and done something you never thought you would have done.

Some great days are filled with happiness, while others are filled with a sense of melancholy, or even sadness. Usually, however, it’s a calm sort of sadness, not the kind that’s explosive and painful.

There are great days that are peaceful, sort of like a sunset that tames the bright sky, and makes it submit to the darkness. Other such days, however, are very stressful, to the point of tears even.

With such a wide variety of great days, it’s hard to realize when you’re going thorough one. Indeed, there are some days, especially the very stressful ones, that you probably quite positively despise at the time they’re happening. It’s not until much later that you figure out that that particular day was actually wonderful.

Though it’s extremely hard to describe such a day, I believe I might have figured out what all such days have in common: they help you grow. After a great day, you’ll become a better person. You’ll know more. Now, that knowledge doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be something as basic as “I know that I am strong”.

This is what a great day is like!

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