In-between the Lines of Communication

As we carry out our daily lives, we are in constant communication with others. There are many different types of communication – verbal, non-verbal, written, etc. We are communicating with the world around us even when we do not intend to do so. When we think of communication, we probably instantly think of two or more people talking, however communication goes far beyond that. Communication is such a key to our lives, it serves many purposes.

Communication is so important to us and our well-being. It is so powerful that it has the ability to make or break us. The only true way that others know how we are feeling is how we express ourselves and our emotions. This is the base of human bonding and relationships. When we share how we feel and let our needs and wants be known, it helps us to have a peaceful heart and mind. It is sometimes very difficult to communicate things that are in our hearts and on our mind. We may fear the reaction of others, we may not want to start an argument, sometimes we may not even be able to express or convey our wants. It can be very detrimental to not share and communicate with others. Unresolved issues and communication issues are extremely damaging to oneself and their loved ones. I’m sure that a lot of us can recall a time where we didn’t speak up for ourselves, or we didn’t speak the whole truth, how did that make you feel? For me, this causes me a lot of stress and anxiety. It does not make me feel good about myself.

We are also communicating and sending out cues to others constantly without even trying. Our body language gives big clues on how we are feeling. Our facial expressions often can give away our emotions before we even say anything at all. The way we position our hands, our feet, our body, which way we are facing, all can convey interest or a desire for another to back away. Without thinking, we are constantly taking in information from others, this includes both verbal and non-verbal.

I am still trying everyday to better myself and to express myself. I recognize the importance of effective communication both in my professional and personal life and have seen what a lack of communication or miscommunication can do. It is up to us to express our feelings and desires, there is no other way for other individuals to know how we are truly feeling if we do not. It is equally important for us to ask questions and make sure that others are being heard. It is my hope that we can all speak our minds, because there aren’t many things in life as freeing.

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The Power of Solitude

Once in a while we get the chance to sit alone with pin-drop silence. Most of our days are filled with the hustle and bustle of work, families, and other responsibilities that leave us in a near constant state of commotion. It is in these peaceful moments that we discover the power of solitude.

In life a lot of us, including myself, struggle with balance and this ultimately leads to a burnout. I feel as though balancing rest and work in today’s world is even more difficult. I am the first to admit that I burnout quickly and I require more downtime than most people. I believe this is due to me being a very “sensitive” person and I process life very deeply. I sometimes wish that I didn’t absorb so much energy and emotions as it is quite draining.

When we are with others, so much of our energy and focus are on other people. We keep up with the demands of relationships, work, school, and we are depleted of energy before we make time for ourselves. We need to learn to put ourselves first, because if we are not physically and mentally sound, we cannot possibly give our all in life. Think of the last time that you sat alone outside by the water, drank a cup of tea or coffee in your recliner with no one else home, took a walk in nature just you and the universe. How did that make you feel? I am guessing that for a lot of us, that feeling would be whole, peaceful, renewed, uplifted, and relaxed. I do understand for some that being alone may trigger fear, sadness, and loneliness. Some individuals are alone most if not all of the time and they crave human interaction. It’s all about balance. There were times that I was alone so much that I was depressed and craved companionship, I’ve also been in times where I was around so many people that I just wanted to hide away from the world and be by myself.

Solitude brings about both peace and strength. There is something so beautiful about being at one with yourself, feeling yourself breathe, and having no outside stimulation from the world. One can process thoughts and emotions and find peace in just existing. On the other hand, solitude requires strength as it is not exactly how humans are “hardwired.” There are individuals of course who are introverted and I do find myself becoming more introverted as I age. Solitude is also when we are forced to face our demons. Whether you prefer being alone, surrounded by people, or a mix, please make more time to do what you love and what renews and refreshes your soul. Your mind and body are so precious and we need to put ourselves first so that we can be the best version of ourselves that we can possibly be. Just a few minutes a day set aside just for you can make all the difference in the world.

Calling Compassion

Have you ever wondered how different this world could be if we all learned to have respect and compassion for others? So many of our world’s problems stem from a lack of compassion for mankind. Sometimes we may be stressed, or caught up in our own lives, and we may forget just how much of an impact our words and actions have on someone else.

I am sure that most of us can recall moments in our lives where we have felt disrespected or unimportant. We may have been bullied at school or at work, we may have confided in a friend who didn’t seem to care much about what we had to say. We could have experienced loneliness that made us feel unworthy. The smallest gestures – a smile, a nod, a handshake, a hug, even a kind word, or simple hello can bring so much happiness to someone’s day. Kind gestures can foster trust between two people, you never know if you may be the only person who has shown such kindness to that individual in a long time. I recently spoke with someone who said that I was the first person to give her a compliment for as long as she could remember, I was surprised and saddened by this.

Compassion not only makes the receiving individual happy, but being the one showing love and compassion to others is such a boost to our own happiness. Helping others is so fulfilling and rewarding. We don’t truly know what is going on in other people’s lives, they are fighting battles that we may know nothing about. An act of kindness no matter how small goes a long way. If we could all learn to get along and show love, or at the very least respect, this world would be a much better place. We are not going to like everyone that we encounter in our lives, but at the very least, there should be a mutual level of respect as human beings. Sometimes that is very difficult especially if another individual has done us wrong, but if we choose compassion, we won’t have to live with such negativity in our hearts and on our conscience.

There are many ways to show compassion to others. A smile, a conversation, a comforting hug, a card, a text or call to check in, even just listening to someone and offering your time. There are times that we get so caught up in the everyday that we forget the impact that we make on others unless they tell us. No matter what we are facing, we should always choose to press forward with love in our hearts, it can make a difference to your world and mine.

5 Greatest Life Lessons I’ve Learned

Life is an everyday learning experience and we are constantly evolving and adapting in order to create the best life that we possibly can. I am continuously learning about myself and the world around me, however I have come up with five lessons that I have learned that have helped me tremendously with personal growth.

  1. Take care of yourself mentally and physically. This probably seems obvious, but something that most of us don’t pay enough attention to. We do such a great job of taking care of others, we also need to remember to take care of ourselves both physically and mentally. It’s very difficult to go through life’s demands when we don’t feel sound as a human being. Taking full care of ourselves allows us to live life easier and fuller. Physically, we can eat a balanced diet, make sure that we are drinking enough water, exercise, or keep active in general. We can keep up with selfcare that helps us feel our best. Mentally we can take breaks when we feel overwhelmed, even if it’s a short coffee break, any sort of break lets us recharge. Everyone has a limit and it’s good to recognize when you are getting burned out so that it can be stopped in its tracks. Go for a walk, not only does this help physically, but also helps greatly at clearing our minds. Just being in nature is so refreshing and helps remind us that we are part of an amazing universe. Pamper yourself – take a hot bath, get a massage, take a course, pick up a hobby, etc. When we are mentally and physically whole we can take on anything!
  2. Stop worrying about things that you cannot control. Okay, this is a difficult one, especially for me, but I have learned ways to implement this. It’s so easy for anxiety and worry to take over, then one thought or worry snowballs into another and another. Worrying is a valid human emotion, however we can do ourselves a favor by focusing and putting our energy into things that we do have control over. Worrying about the unknown or uncontrollable aspects of our lives, robs us of the energy that we need to focus on what we can change. I believe in fate and I believe that what’s meant to be will be, this helps me sit back, relax, and breathe. When a worry or situation strikes I ask myself: Do I have control over this? If I do, well I can figure out an action plan and if I don’t, then I try to take the situation day by day and try to give up that control. I also analyze the situation to see what I can do and what my options are.
  3. Share your energy wisely. As much as we sometimes like to think of ourselves as superheroes, we are human beings that have limits and a limited amount of energy reserves. Life alone can be very draining of these reserves, so one tip that I have learned over the years is to be careful who I share my energy with. If you are around negative people, or people that bring you down, this will deplete your energy overtime. On the contrast, surrounding yourself with supportive and uplifting people can do wonders for your wellbeing. It’s human nature to want to care for others, but we should be cautious where we expend our energy.
  4. Don’t take things personally. Not so easy to do right? Someone says or does something that hurts or offends us and we take it to heart. We start to think what’s wrong with me? Does anyone like me? Is this individual acting this way because of me? We may feel like we are at fault and are the root cause of problems. The truth is, most of what people say isn’t about us at all, it’s about the other individual. Lots of times our worry and fear make us extra sensitive and we can view what’s happening incorrectly, making us question ourselves, and lowering our self-esteem. During these times, we must step back, analyze the situation, and try to understand that most likely the reactions and thoughts of others are in fact only fears, projections, and emotions of the other individual that they need to work through.
  5. Follow your instincts. We were born with instinct. We hear phrases like “follow your heart,” and “do what feels right.” Some people have a stronger intuition than others. There are claims that intuition can be built upon and made stronger. Often times, these innate feelings are subconscious and other times it’s like the message is clear as day. These gut feelings are there for a reason: to warn us, inform us, help us, guide us, etc. Most often, that little, or should I say big voice inside of us is accurate.

I really hope that you have found these helpful!

Boundaries

Boundaries mean different things to different people and our personal limits and boundaries vary greatly between us. Most of us don’t even realize that we go through our every day lives setting these invisible boundaries between ourselves and the world around us. These may be expressed by our body language, spoken words, or our instincts that tell us to get closer or back away.

Some individuals have very open boundaries, they are freely themselves, and are open and friendly with many people. Some have what we call “a wall up,” where it’s very difficult to let people in and there are many limits and boundaries in place to prevent one from getting too close. Others are somewhere in-between and this is personally where I aspire to be. For most individuals, I am quite difficult to open up, I don’t trust many people easily, so I subconsciously set limits and boundaries between myself and other individuals. There are some people where I feel instantly comfortable with and it’s with them that my wall is lowered and sometimes I end up getting too close emotionally in a short amount of time. I continuously strive and work for a balance.

There are benefits and downsides to having many boundaries, just as there are benefits having minimal boundaries and being a free spirit. The benefits of having many boundaries is that you can guard your mind and heart a little better, you can choose who you feel is worth your energy and who deserves a place in your heart. The downside is that you may be missing out on getting to know others if you are closing them off, we may be missing out on connections and experiences. The benefit of having minimal boundaries is that you truly enjoy life and experience it to the fullest, the negative is that you may get hurt more by putting your mind and heart on the line. Wanting to put up limits and boundaries can and does protect us, but is also hurting and hindering us.

Having boundaries in place is both beneficial and necessary in all relationships including family, friendships, romantic relationships, coworkers, etc. These boundaries help to keep us happy and to feel respected as a human being. It’s up to us to speak our minds and speak up for ourselves if something doesn’t feel right, it’s up to us to communicate our needs to others, there’s no way for them to know otherwise. In return, we also need to pay attention to the needs and wants of others.

Before I end for now, I must touch on the fact that humans have many emotional and physical needs and will often go about meeting them any way they can because for most of us, not having our needs met is very painful. For example, we may grow very close to a stranger because we are in dire need of friendship and don’t want to feel alone, or we may get into a relationship right after a breakup because we no longer have that individual who was fulfilling our needs. The dynamic between people truly fascinates me and is ever-changing.


The Magic that Happens Just by Being You

Be yourself…that sounds easy right? After all, we are living everyday as ourselves, or are we? I am sure that a lot of us can think of a time or times in our life where we didn’t stay true to ourselves whether it be due to stigmas in society, peer pressure, fear, whatever it may be, it prevented us from being our authentic self. I believe that for many of us, we don’t realize how often we “stray” from ourselves. For example, we could hold back on saying something in a meeting, limit sharing our thoughts, feelings, and opinions with friends and family, or not sticking up for what we believe in.

It seems as though many of us have this innate fear of being seen as different, being judged, fear of trusting and opening up, fear of failure, not being loved, so many other reasons that prevent us from being our true selves. One factor that I have noticed especially in myself is that once I let go of my fears, the world opens up to me. This of course, is not always easy to do, but when we start to love ourselves, boost ourselves the way we so easily boost others, say what we feel, and ask questions, that’s when the magic happens!

photo of three women lifting there hands

We can learn to be ourselves by analyzing the way that we approach people and situations that happen to us in life. We can pay more attention to our interactions with family, friends, coworkers, others in general. Are we saying what’s on our mind and in our hearts? Are we asking questions when we are worried about something instead of believing that we already know the answer? Do we stick up for what we believe in? Do we push ourselves to do the best that we can in life? We can be conscious of the moments and situations where fear takes over and use them as opportunities to slowly start putting ourselves out there. Overtime, this can become second nature.

As with a lot of aspects of life, we cannot control what others do and say, only how we handle ourselves in these circumstances. There will be people that judge and form opinions about us, but I personally have felt that the freedom that comes from being your true self far outweighs any backlash or fears. When you allow yourself to be open, vulnerable, fearless, you open up so many windows of opportunity in the areas of life and personal growth. I have found that living my authentic self has decreased my worry and anxiety and has let me grow and develop as an individual. Remember, you are amazing and beautiful just as you are…let it shine!!

man standing beside cliff