Tag Archives: selflove

What to read when you feel miserable

It is the natural order of things that sometimes we lose our motivation, we lose faith in the future, or we start to see everything in dark shades. And in those gloomy moments, when our world loses colors, we need something that will chase away dark clouds. Something that will show us that there is a beautiful, bright world out there. We can try many things as a mood booster. Sometimes it could be as simple as reaching for an inspirational book. Here I’m going to show you my pick of spirit-lifting books.

Words that heal

I love Jen Sincero. I truly do. I think she is one of the greatest and funniest authors out there and her work has an incredible impact on many lost souls. Including mine. I bought ‘You are the bad ass’ not knowing what I’m buying – the book was sitting on the shelf and staring at me, so I just picked it up intending to read it sometime. Without further ado: in the next few weeks I bought three more copies (cause I thought more people need to read this) including an e-book, so I could carry it in my phone everywhere. How life changing ride it was for me!

Sometimes we need to see that another person who has had similar problems has succeeded. That it is possible, and that it is not too late, even if you have already turned 30 … or 40, or whatever. Because it doesn’t really matter. All that matters is to get your shit together and start creating the reality you dream about.

Jen Sincero is this type of woman you want to have as a friend, or to get drunk with and talk about everything. This is why reading her book is so enjoyable! It simply changes the perception, approach to many aspects of life and ourselves. After reading this, it is certainly easier to discover the greatness that everyone has in them. And it is also damn funny!

So if you ever felt like it’s too late for you and you already started lose your life this one is absolutely must read for you!

I think, therefore, I can create awesomness. Or horrendousness. But the bottom line is that it’s through our thoughts that we create our realities.1 – Jen Sincero

You can figure out everything

Now, talking about awesomness I cannot not mention Marie Forleo. She is the warmest, coolest and down-to -earth person on the planet, that you want to just sit and listen to whatever she is talking about. Her positive energy is so enormous that it spills out and reaches where it is needed most – to the readers and recipients of her podcast. Her book “Everything is figureoutable’ is a great collection of brilliant advices and examples showing that you can really comprehend everything in life. Because everything is figureoutable.

I’ve heard her first in one of my favourite podcasts “Feel Better, Live More” by Rangan Chatterjee (if you don’t know this one drop everything and go check it now!), and straight I reached for her book. I also developed a little addiction to her show ‘Marie TV’ you can find on YouTube.

If you are the person who struggle with unfulfilled goals, perfectionism, and the rest of the negative crap reach for this book.

“Perfectionism at its core isn’t about high standards. It’s about fear. Fear of failure. Fear of looking stupid, fear of making a mistake, fear of being judged, criticized, and ridiculed. It’s the fear that one simple fact might be true: You’re just not good enough.”2 – Marie Forleo

How to love yourself

Want even more positive energy? Here you are! I don’t have to introduce this gentleman. Wayne W. Dyer’s book remained on the bestseller list for a long time. The original text dates from 1976 – the content is still relevant and current. No wonder, this is one of the most valuable self-help books out there. It is a fundamental book on self-improvement.

This is ideal reading if you lack self-esteem, have trouble accepting yourself, and loving who you are. It will teach you how to block negative thought and manipulate awareness in order to take complete control of your life.

“Your worth is determined by you, and with no need for an explanation to anyone. And your worthiness, a given, has nothing to do with your behavior and feelings. You may not like your behavior in a given instance, but that has nothing to do with your self-worth. You can choose to be worthy to yourself forever, and then get on with the task of working on your self-images.”3 Wayne W. Dyer

Simply not giving a fuck

How could I describe Mark Manson’s bestseller? Raw, honest, true and funny. That’s it.

This book touching many aspects including values, purpose, and different mindsets. It is provoking in a way, but not as much, as you would suspect from the title. In fact it’s not about fucking everything, it’s about deeply rethinking many important matters. Truly inspiring read to live a better life.

“Because when we give too many fucks, when we choose to give a fuck about everything, then we feel as though we are perpetually entitled to feel comfortable and happy at all times, that’s when life fucks us.”4 – Mark Manson

These are four books that I recommend wholeheartedly. If you are in a place in your life where you are not comfortable and you want to feel better, reach for one of them. I promise that will help. I will come back to you with other recommendations in one of the future posts, and for now read books, stay positive and be kind to yourself.

main photo by Siora Photography on Unsplash

1Jen Sincero, You are a badass, John Murray Learning.

2 Marie Forleo, Everything is figureoutable, Portfolio.

3 Wayne W. Dyer, Your Erroneus Zones, Harper Torch.

4 Mark Manson, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life, Harper

Change the mindset that blocks you

Almost everything starts in your head. To put it simply, what you think and the way you think creates your reality. It seems easy, right? Unfortunately, controlling your mind is not so obvious. For so often, we fall into the ‘traps of thinking’ that we set ourselves. 

To recognize this process it’s important to observe yourself; your thoughts and reactions. Only by knowing yourself you can catch and change this unhealthy approach to reality. I will present here some common thought patterns that are harmful. I wonder, can you recognize yourself among these ways of thinking?

Photo by Shea Rouda on Unsplash

What is blocking us?

  1. Thinking that you’re not suitable

I’m talking here about this cold feeling of being unworthy and not good enough for something. We have often been told that the world is so structured that there is not enough for everyone. Well, I believe that in life, you get what you have the courage to ask for. And to ask for it, you have to say goodbye to “it’s not for me” thinking pattern.

We are all different; that’s a fact. We all have diverse social and cultural backgrounds, different experiences, different skills. However, we cannot let ourselves be persuaded that we are unfit for something because we are inferior. Or poorer. Or too old. 

External circumstances cannot decide who you are on the inside.

We may struggle with the social and economic situation; some of us may have mental health problems – but this should not affect how we perceive ourselves (in the sense of how we value ourselves). If you believe that you are not worthy of something – you won’t be worthy. Start treating yourself as if you deserve everything you dream about – because it is so. Start from your thoughts – if you are important to yourself, this is how you will become for the world.

2. Thinking that mistakes are the failure and that failing makes you a looser

Failure only exists if you let it. Otherwise, there are only lessons. If you learned something from error or failure, it was not a failure at all. Allow yourself to make mistakes. Forgive yourself for mistakes. And do your best to learn from them for the future. 

3. Equating success with happiness

We could write endless dissertations about happiness. This is an elusive and difficult to define concept. However, when you define it for yourself, remember one thing – do not equate happiness with success. These are two different things. Completely separate.

Making happiness dependent on success can lead you astray. Because often when we reach it, we do not feel fulfilled, either happier. Happiness begins inside of us. Not outside. 

You can be happy working on your success. You don’t have to wait for it to come true, you can feel it along the way.

What is true happiness for you? Can you find it among small everyday things, or you need that thrill of great success to allow yourself to be happy? Can you tell the difference between those two terms: happiness and success? Name it, write it, remember it.

4.Thinking that your worth depends on your accomplishments or productivity

This is the most difficult one for me, as I’m still trying to escape the feeling of uselessness. I often get overwhelmed with projects for which I don’t have time, probably to make up for this numbing feeling. The more I do, the more important I feel. How illusory that is!

The truth is that you can be the most creative person in the world, and yet sometimes you don’t do anything. And that’s okay. The problem starts when you stop feeling worthy straight away.

The value of a human does not lie in how much he can achieve, create, learn. It lies in what a person you are. No achievement is more important than a good, compassionate heart.

Interested in details? You can read more about it here: Do you also fall into the productivity trap?

5. Taking life as a contest

If you’re one of those with a competitive mindset, you know how much stress it brings. Life is not a contest, and you don’t have to be perfect in everything. 

Does it really matter so much whether you do something for a 100% or a 86%?

If you are working on something, do your best but don’t beat yourself up. You can’t always be the best, but you can always be good at something. This applies to every sphere of life – perfectionism is a devastating poison.

Trust me, there is no eternal score board where you can fight for the first place, there is no podium. Nobody is sitting and waiting to judge how you did. If you feel the urge to be the best at everything and outperform everyone else, the problem is probably with you. It would be good if you believed that you don’t have to prove anything to anyone.

Fighting this kind of thinking is arduous if it has bit deeply into us. However, we can change this by working on ourselves step by step. By watching ourselves and make small changes daily. When we know what’s blocking us, it’s easier to free ourselves from it.

Trapped mind: quite different addictions

IF YOU ASK ME WHAT THREATENS OUR DEVELOPMENT THE MOST, I WOULD TELL YOU WITHOUT BLINKING. THE TRAPS OUR MIND CAN GET CAUGHT IN. AND THERE ARE MANY OF THEM SET UP: ANXIETY, DISSOCIATIVE DISORDERS, DEPRESSION, OCD, PHOBIAS, PSYCHOSIS, MANIA AND THE BIG ONE – ADDICTIONS – DOUBLY DEVIOUS BECAUSE THEY CAN APPLY NOT ONLY TO SUBSTANCES.

Another kind of high – brain on an emotional boost

The mechanism of any addiction remains same no matter what is the substance. And what interesting, it is still same, if there is no substance at all. Well, not in a physical form.

Every addiction causes specific reactions in the brain and is associated with impaired function of neurotransmitters and hormones, mainly in the structures of the reward system. Simply speaking, even if you don’t supply the brain with a specific substance, such as a drug, brain can still make it. All you need is the right stimulus. In this case, we can talk about behavioural addiction. Gambling, sex, internet, food and even falling in love – it can all be related to our internal emotional catastrophe. 

Much of addiction issues I’ve touched on already here: Dealing with an addicted mind. As this is very personal topic to me, I’d like go deeper into in areas which are less talked about.

Erotomania is not only sex addiction. Its variation is the ailment of being addicted to being in love. This is where a person needs that specific kick of pleasure – dopamine secreted by the brain – which equates to being high. Think, when you are falling in love you feel that an amazing inflow of pleasure and ecstasy. In a healthy mind, this evolves into a deeper feeling or simply disappears. For some, there is that the irresistible need to re-trigger it. And here we have a problem.

The phenomenon of sex addiction we refer to people who need closeness very much and are just as afraid of it, so they meet their needs by entering into relationships with the body of another person, and not with the ‘whole’ person. A quite different variation is the addiction to emotions that occur when falling in love.

behavioral addictions can be as toxic as those of substances such as alcohol or drugs

Toxic passion

Why is the mind so vulnerable to all these pitfalls? It all comes down to this big, empty hole that we carry within us. Some trying to feel it by overusing alcohol or drugs, some by food, self-harm or uncontrolled shopping, and others trying to fix it with compulsive falling in love. As it might seem innocent, can lead to serious complications in various areas of life.

Firstly, it is difficult for a person with such a problem to build a solid, valuable relationship. Because if something begins to fail, she ( I use this pronoun, as this issue is most common among women) runs away and falls in love elsewhere. Here, the partner is not the most important – it’s addictive emotions that take over. Secondly, the person is susceptible to becoming obsessed. And this can be very damaging to mental health.

Love obsession is also an addiction that brings inability to focus on other areas of life besides the obsession object. We are missing something, and we think that only thanks to the other person we can become complete. And, I know – who read in the nineteenth-century literature may perceive it as something very romantic. But trust me on this – it is essentially unhealthy and destructive. Remeber, even Werter shot himself in the head!;)

Quick fix for the broken soul

Compulsive behavior is one that gives us emotional satisfaction. Is an easy, but ineffective way to deal with what bothers us. It’s like sticking a broken vase with adhesive tape – it seems to stick, but when you pour water into it and put flowers, it will fall apart immediately. For any emotional disorders, there is only one way – working on emotions.

Ways to reconnect with your emotions

When we lose contact with ourselves, we also lose control over our lives. To recover it, we can take steps that will allow to connect with what is happening inside us. Some of the effective techniques to help reconnect with emotions are:

  • Meditation – silencing the mind and putting it in an alpha wave state – you can start with a few minutes a day and gradually deepen your practice. Meditation is about clearing the mind of thoughts and focusing simply on ‘being’.
  • Mindfulness – practicing being here and now – focus on everything that is inside and around you, contemplate reality, see what is happening in your body – what you feel and how you experience it: smells, flavors, sounds, colors, touch …
  • Journaling – make contact with yourself by keeping a diary of feelings – do not focus on the form, just write what you feel, what you think – pour on paper everything that sits in your heart and head. Is a great way to cleanse yourself of overwhelming emotions, as well as to awaken creativity.
  • Exam yourself – as you might think you know yourself very well, there might be parts of you that you’re not aware of. Or parts of you that have changed over the years. Commit to a journey of self-discovery. Make list of questions and answer them. Write it down and come back to it in some time. You can make a list of things you love to do. Things you hate, things that makes you nervous, things that scares you, excite you, amuse you. Play with it!
  • Name what you feel – sometimes it’s not easy to recognize what we feel. Even if you struggle to define your own feeling and emotions, try to name them. If you are unsure what are you feeling make up a name for it. As example- jealove can be a feeling towards a friend you admire, but you also envy him a little. You can create your own personal dictionary of feeling and it could be a fun!

Problem of emotional addiction is not black and white. If you feel that somehow it may affect you, you should look closer at yourself. Even if it touches you slightly, you can still be exposed to its toxic effects. No better way to deal with it, as learning to recognize everything that takes place within you.

/main photo by Nick Fewins on Unsplash/ Photo by Marc Schaefer on Unsplash/

Prioritizing sleep is the best self care

I’m sure many of us get trapped in vicious circle of ‘pursuit of success’ (whatever success mean to you). I notice that recently productivity is so trendy that there is no better answer than “busy”, if someone ask how are you? There would be nothing wrong with it, if not for the fact that by imposing too many things we are really moving away from what we want to achieve. When we can’t keep up with everything, we try to save time somewhere. Usually by cutting sleep. Same, we pay a high price, because lack of sleep is a grave sin.

According to National Institue of Neurological Disorders and Stroke quality sleep is as essential to survival as food and water. Therefore it’s really frightening that so many of us underestimate its salutary influence on the quality of life.

Are you in sleep debt?

Do you happen to not sleep enough few nights in a row, and sleep off over the weekend? Do you sometimes get an hour or two out of your sleep pool to finish something or watch something late at night? If so, I have bad news for you. Lost sleep cannot be simply made up. This debt – accumulation of lack of sleep from sleepless nights – is difficult to pay back. And it’s something more than a fatigue and difficulty concentrating. Why is it so?

First of all, we can’t just get the body accustomed to sleeping less. Even if you think that you are totally fine with your 5-hours sleep night, you may not be aware that you have a debt of sleep. It manifests itself in disordered metabolism of sugars and glucose and the beginning of any negative changes in the body.

The impact of sleep on our lives is multifaceted. Sleep is primarily a time to regenerate brain function. It also affects almost every type of tissue and system in the body.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

With insufficient sleep, our body cannot function normally.

Lack of sleep disturbs certain biological mechanisms. I am talking about functioning of the immune and nervous systems and the operation of long-term memory.

You must sleep to work efficiently

According to Jerome Siegel, from University of California, evolutionary roots of sleep go much deeper. In his research he points out that sleep is primarily to increase the body’s energy efficiency, as well as to optimize time and strength. Due to the fact that we sleep, we are able to use the active phases of life more effectively.

Skimping on sleep can make more damage than we can imagine. Studies shows that the group of effects related to lack of sleep include: increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, obesity, loosing brain tissue, decrease in concentration and creativity, anxiety and depression.

Do you see how huge this is?

You can’t miss the connection from poor sleep with anxiety disorders especially in the Western world.

What happens when your brain does not sleep?

Quoting Mark Rosekind “Every aspect of who you are as a human, every capability is degraded, impaired, when you lose sleep. What does that mean? Your decision-making, reaction time, situational awareness, memory, communication, and those things go down by 20% to 50%.”

But wait, there’s more. On the top of that we can add distraction, brain spasm and brain damage, memory loss, creation of false memories, anger, neurosis, impaired wit, hallucinations.

By now you have realized that proper amount of sleep is vital to lead a healthy and fulfilled life. We cannot live up to our full potential if this area is somehow disturbed.

The importance of sleep in motivation and productivity is undeniable. Sleep is a very important thing on the road to success. But that’s not all, because in addition to sleeping, dreams are also significant.

Bare with me now, so I can lift the veil for you.

What's happening in our dreams can give us tips on important issues in life
Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash

Sleep and dreaming improves the ability to accurately analyze the situation and solve problems. It’s boosting creativity. This is illustrated by research done by prof. Robert Stickgold from Harvard Medical School. He woke up during the REM phase of sleep and asked them to provide associations connecting two words. He asked the same thing students who remained fully aware. It turned out that the first group gave less obvious and original associations. And according to him this is creativity in its pure form.

It is worth watching what we dream of because dreams are closely linked to what is happening in our lives.

According to Professor Mark Blagrove, the function of dreams is to alleviate the strong emotions we experience while awake and to train before events that may occur.

You can see more in dreams

Dreams draw our attention to what we may not see. Hidden fears, needs we are ashamed of – it can be anything.

Jung discovered that dreams reveal the cause of our disharmony and emotional anxiety, reveal hidden potential and brings a creative solution to everyday problems.

Dreams are the way to subconscious

Dreams often show what we do not allow into consciousness and satisfy the desires we suppress. By looking at our dreams we can understand ourselves on a deeper level.

It’s a good idea to keep a dream diary that you can analyze. If you are struggling with any problems this way will definitely prove helpful in solving them. Moreover, knowing that the subconscious is really ruling us, it is worth following what is going on in it.

The messages that dreams bring are needed for our development. We often dream about what we lack and what we need, and realizing this makes our path to fulfillment much easier.

Prioritizing sleep is the best you can give yourself

All this shows us how dangerous it is to neglect the sphere of sleep. Isn’t it great that such a simple and pleasant thing can have a significant impact on our lives? So sleep tight and hope your dreams come true! (only the good ones )

Dealing with an addicted mind

We have been equipped in the great and very powerful, yet fragile tool. Our mind. In ideal world we would be able to fully control it, same got control of whole our life. However, there’s no such a thing as ideal world. It always amazed me, that people can be strong and vulnerable at the same time. That, despite their uniqueness and intelligence, they can lose to a simple substance – a chemical compound, a cluster of elements. Maybe it’s because we are just cluster of atoms too?

Despite the fact that modern psychology and medicine explain more and more mechanisms of bad habits, addictions are still stigmatized. I think it’s because many people still doesn’t quite understand it. The addiction mechanism itself is rather simple. What is more complicated lies in the mind that creates these mechanisms. Many studies indicate that addiction to alcohol, drugs or medicines are a certain, ineffective form of self-healing.

We all have this idea of ​​what addiction is. It’s medical problem. The diagnosis includes a bunch of physiological, behavioral and cognitive phenomena. However, it’s vital to distinguish a habit from addiction. There is a subtle difference between repetitive activity and impaired ability to control it.

So how to recognize the addiction mechanism?

Basically, we become addicted to something that we think helps us cope. The thing we reach for, stimulates our brain in such a way that we feel rewarded. Or relieved. Addiction develops in the context of human personality. You can be susceptible or not, as you would with self-destructive behavior. Because it comes down to it in a broader spectrum. And although the mechanism is the same for every human being, each addiction is different. Below you can see coping cycles of affected and healthy mind:

by Sarah Smock Jordan

If you often seeking relief and running away from yourself into artificial states of mind, you might be in this dangerous spot where the roller-coaster ride starts. Why do I say this? Because this is how it looks from my own perspective.

Am I really an addict?

When I was 20 years old I ended up on rehab. After being locked for few weeks in institution I followed few years of group and individual therapy. What a fun, I’m telling you! While joining university (and you know how students life looks like) and starting over again, I wasn’t even able to socialize, cause most of human interactions are based on things I had to avoid to stay sober. Casual beer, parties, gigs, pubs and restaurants meetings. You know, all that things young adults like to do. I missed all of that in my first years of college. Instead, I spent lots of time with a bunch of ageing guys from AA group. Oh, and got emotionally involved with my therapist. Firmly I do not advise!

You can ask how did I manage to withstand it at a young age? Well, I really tasted it before, and I had it all too much. You know this slogan sex, drugs & rock’n roll? What can I say – I can’t describe teenager me better than that! Following years manifested themselves in depression and neurosis, and eventually a return to bad habits. What I can be proud of, I’ve never back to hard drugs. But there still was irresistible inclination towards that bottle full of happy percentage, not mention overusing holy herbs. It’s long and painful story. Anyways, it happened that I solved this problem in a way, that it no longer bothers me. Not so much. Amazing that I began to develop a healthy awareness of myself and these issues in my thirties. As they say – better late, than never! So, am I sober now?

No. For sure not in a way my therapist wanted me to be. But I’m not drunk or under influence of shitty stuff anymore. And here starts the tricky part. Before I write more, I would like to tell you, that I am not an advocate of ‘not staying away’ from stimulating substances. What I’m trying to say is that in some cases rigid separation from everything can be toxic.

 I remember that obstinate thought I had once looking at people having fun - I want to have fun too. Like a normal person, not an addict. I don't wanna be careful with every thing around me, I don't wanna live in constant fear of triggers that might appear everywhere on my way.I like to try treat everything normal, not as a potential threat to my sobriety.

Not a therapeutic thinking at all. But you know what? I can tell you that for few years of total sobriety I wasn’t happier person at all. Withdrawal from any substance will not help much if you still have a mess in your head. My therapist used to call it “ass cramp” – when your body is sober, but your mind still high in drunken promised paradise.

All addicts needs revolution in the brain and some dabbling in mental guts.

Use of psychoactive substances is transformed into addiction, which further aggravates all previous problems. Without proper changes in your mind, nothing will come out of being sober. Those changes must touch every aspect of your wounded soul. I can tell you it’s not easy journey. And in my case very long.

Did you know that getting drunk or drug use is a self-destructive behavior that is associated with a deep personality disorder?

Overcoming problems with addictions it’s a matter of achieving right perspective. Pint of beer won’t harm you if you know how to approach drinking. Having awareness that you are looking for intoxication is the first step to understand the problem. If you realize that you are drinking to kill something inside you, better put the bottle down. Allow yourself to it only if you are sure that there is no hidden intention.

This applies to all other addictions, because not all of them result from the abuse of psychoactive substances. The same mechanisms apply to addiction to gambling or sex. In addition, different types of addiction can be identified. According to American biostatic and physiologist Elvin Molton Jellinek, who referred to alcohol addiction, there are five types:

  • Alfa – when the substance is used to relax, reduce stress and it leads to loosing control over drinking/using.
  • Beta – addiction combined with physical complications
  • Gamma – most common, is distinguished by a gradual increase in alcohol tolerance. An addicted person loses control over the amount of alcohol consumed, but drinks intermittently, maintains the ability to decide when to start drinking after a break.
  • Delta – can control the amount of alcohol consumed, but is unable to refrain from drinking.
  • Epsilon – periodic getting drunk, in ‘series’.

We can also identify four stages of addiction development: initial, warning, critical and chronic. As you can see all habits and addictions are complex issue. If there is anything that worries you about this topic, I suggest you take a closer look.

Bottle of wine is not a plaster for a broken soul.

addiction is not only alcohol and drugs, it is also medicine, sugar, sex, gambling, food, masturbation, games, pornography, falling in love …

This is probably the most important thing – intoxication will not help you heal yourself of sadness, lack or emptiness. What’s more, it can increase their intensity. Substance abuse is like self-propelled destruction machine. Addicted mind is confused and fragile, it gets easily lost in the complexities of reality. I can certainly say that in my case it contributed to the deepening of nervous problems. Although it’s ok now, I know these problems will come back. Because this is life – take the bitter with the sweet. Relapses may appear unexpectedly. There was a time, bad time, when I was treated medically, but I gave up medication. I currently believe that a holistic approach can be equally effective. Of course, this depends on the specific cases.

To start dealing with any addiction we need to understand what wounds we want to cover with it. We need to look deep inside ourselves, even if we think this is really dark and cold place. We can’t close eyes to avoid seeing those scary shadows we are afraid of. We need to meet our demons – fears, disappointments, failure, rejection, guilt, emptiness. And we need to accept that they are there, inside. Otherwise will be impossible to fight them and transform. I know it might sounds naive, but once we deal with all unpleasant emotions, we will be able to move to the level where we can reveal in ourselves understanding, forgiveness, fulfillment, love. This is how healing starts.

You don’t have to fit in everywhere.

Have you ever found yourself wondering if you look good enough or if you properly dressed? Or what to say if someone ask you, what do you think about emigration crisis? Have you ever noticed that, before you do something, you consider how it will affect your image in the eyes of other people? Have you ever felt that this image is more valuable than real you, because there’s no chance that real you can be liked to the same extend?

Do you know what is one of the saddest things to me? These types of questions typed in google: what do guys like? How to be liked? What men attract women? How to make people laugh? In fact, they all come down to one question: How should I be? You tube ‘psychologists’ often try to answer this question, while they advise you on how to be charismatic, and what perfumes choose to match your personality. More sadly, many people fall for it. The truth is that there is no such a thing as perfect formula by which you will learn what the best business idea is, how to write a bestseller, or how to make every guy fall in love with you.

The fact that we try to find ourselves in the expectations of other people is associated with the way we are brought up. Not only by parents, but by society. Even if we think that we are free from any of conventions or patterns of behavior, some part of us has already been programmed. Some part of us want to fit. Everywhere.

Now, don’t get me wrong – of course need to belong is natural part of us being humans, is absolutely natural and according to social psychology it condition many human behaviors. Writing about it I do not mean a sense of social identity or a healthy sense of belonging to certain groups. There’s a difference between fitting in and belonging.

What I mean here, are situations that are beyond common sense. Situations, where we force ourselves to live in specific split, because the face we show to the world is not our real face. We create some kind of avatar in order to be accepted. To fit it. But I tell you one thing – you’re not a piece of puzzle. You don’t need to fit it.

I worked in a perfumery some time ago, and do you know what the most common question people choosing fragrances was? It was: What’s popular? To me, a perfume freak, it was inconceivable! It was like – fuck my taste, fuck what I might like – let’s buy something trendy, what everyone likes! Sadly, it can be an allegory about other areas of our lives.

Have you heard about bandwagon effect? It's a tendency people have to adopt a certain behavior, style, or attitude influenced by the pressure and norms exerted by groups.It can impact wide spectrum of human behaviors. 

I’m sure we’ve all been there. I experienced it myself over many stages of my life. Sometimes I was too smart, sometimes I was too awkward, sometimes too shy, sometimes too ‘rude’. Among my close friends so often I felt too ‘dressed’, on the other hand, while I worked in beauty industry, I always felt too hippie.

I remember on my first make up job I was asked Which Kardashian is your favorite? Holy Shit, I had no idea there is more than one!

Does it mean that I don’t fit anywhere? No, rather that I’m unique human being. And yes, I still feel often that I stand out in many situations and contexts, with people and their perception of everything. And this is ok. It’s a pity that it took me so long to understand this.

Need of fitting in is sick. It does nothing but damage. The fact that each of us is different is the basis for individual development.

When I created my skincare brand, and went out there with all social media posts etc., one person told me that I have to change brand image, because it’s too dark, and not everyone will like it. Well, the thing is: I didn’t create it so everyone like it. I create it to fulfill my own vision and to express what I like and believe. Surely, it doesn’t sell in millions, but you know what? I have this great satisfaction that I created something real and I don’t mislead, in any way, people who buy my products.

It’s worth realizing that what’s good don’t have to please everyone.

This apply to everything – you can’t go out there and suit everyone. Instead, go inside and focus on what is real in you. Your inner self is the only individual that you have to get along with.

Five things I’ve learned from my cat

Do you also experience sometimes a feeling that at some point all self help publications are same? That it is not easy to find a valuable stuff among those medium quality articles wrote by copywriters? Are you fed up with all those self made coaching gurus out there? So I have one advice for you – get a cat!

Here’s how having a pets might change your perspective in terms of many things. And yes, I serve this post is with a grain of salt 😉

I. My cat doesn’t give a fuck.

As above, he just doesn’t. You trying to blandish, get into grace, makes him like you? He literally doesn’t care. Not about things which doesn’t matter to him. He lives in his tailor made cat world where there is no space for worrying too much, or flatter others. He just doing his own business and that makes him happy. He doesn’t think what anyone might think, because – why bother?

II. My cat really doesn’t care if you like him or not.

Cats has this amazing attribute to be absolutely cut off from someone else’s opinion about them. If you like them – great, if not – whatever. They doesn’t care what you think about them. This is the most healthy approach that one can develop in life. To not be dependable from the visions of others about you. To not get upset if you won’t fit into someone’s else idea about what is great, and what is not.

Lots of us have tendency to people-please, to putting others first, which leaves us open to being taken advantage of while we chase acceptance. In this case, it’s really hard to build a healthy relationship with yourself, and others. I think the most important thing is to learn to like yourself – you are the only person which favor you should care about.

We’re not amused. Try more

III. My cat puts his needs first.

He does what he needs most at the moment. If it comes to play, rest, food (especially food…) he satisfies his needs because he knows that they are important. Is that simple.

More than that, he really understand his needs. It’s not like with majority of humans, that they doesn’t know what they want. He knows. He want. He get it.

He’s not afraid to ask for what he need.

Even if we think about basic, simple needs that we all have, it is surprising that even they are not fulfilled. Let’s take sleep as a example – when was the last time you slept, so that you woke up fresh like a newborn baby? Admit it, how often do you cut your sleep time to do something ‘more important’? How does this apply to other aspects of your life – whether you are eating the way you should, or are you just throwing anything in, so that you don’t feel hungry? Do you allow yourself to rest whenever you need it, or is it luxury in your busy life?

Maybe next time when you feel bit overwhelmed think: what cat would do?

IV. My cat is not afraid to show feelings.

And I mean all spectrum of feelings from deep anger to irresistible love. If he’s mad he will show you that, if he doesn’t like something he will not pretend otherwise. Also, he will show you that he was missing you. He’s not afraid to show love – unlike people, he is not afraid that this may be seen as a weakness.

To remain mentally and emotionally healthy we need to know how to recognize our emotions, and how to deal with them. Ignoring our emotional health makes life easier in the short term. Ignoring feelings, especially those unpleasant, will not make them disappear. It’s like garbage swept under the carpet – you can’t see them but they are there.

V. My cat knows that happiness is based on the joy of small things.

Cats brings mindfulness to the level which probably will never be available to people. The joy of the moment, devoided of any background, unnecessary things and thoughts. Have you ever been so happy about some small thing, like a cat who found this super cool fuzz under bed to play with?

If we do not learn to find joy in these small moments, we will never learn to be truly happy. Life consists of such small things like walk in the sun, favorite tea, extra portion of jam in your doughnut, smile of a stranger on the street, a compliment about the work you’ve done, small talk with a friend, a wonderful dream you were dreaming, great book you read in bed…Bigger things comes always after that.

enjoying himself

I’ve heard somewhere that the reason we love cats so much is because they’re the cutest motherfuckers on the earth. To find more reasons to love them watch this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Itq8_HOPEXU&t=4s

Don’t be that person! (or how not to become a victim)

I bet you know this kind of people (they are not uncommon) – those who have an excuse for everything. Those who are super talented, but the world underestimated their genius. Those who are so special, but the rest of the people does not recognize their uniqueness. Those, who could not fully develop because of inappropriate parents, mean teachers, nomenclature, circumstances, lack of money and connections…They live in their imaginary bubble as a tragic unfulfilled victims of unjust world.

That’s all bullshit. Do you know why? Because the only things that matter are effects.

Nobody will ever care that you were born with the ability of singing on a six-point scale (because that’s what the music teacher said when you were 10) if you don’t start doing something to use it. Nobody will ever care that you have had this amazing writing talent, and possibly to become a new Proust of your generation. You know why? Because you never dare to write anything more than a school essay or a facebook post! Same, nobody gives a shit that if you trained hard enough, you could become a great athlete, or if you spend more time on your drawing, you could become well paid artist.

No one cares about unused talent. NO ONE. SERIOUSLY.

Do you often see such people, mostly your age or slightly older, they can talk for hours over a drink about what they could achieve in life. How special they were. They criticize a song on the radio because they would play this riff better (but they don’t play, and they never will). They say in drunken manner: If only you could hear me playing the guitar in college, with such talent I could play in a band! Yes. You could. But you didn’t. Same like you didn’t write that amazing novel which would be better than anything Gaiman wrote. Or like you’ve never started that business – you know, the one you like to talk about for last five years – that unique idea which you came up with because you are more inventive than others.

What count is what you did, not what you could do.

It’s very easy to become an ageing sad man. You know what’s not easy? Effort.

We all were born with special gifts and talents, but only successful ones put an effort into developing their talents.

Effort is not easy, hard work, commitment and uncomfortable choices are not easy. Spending evening hours finishing your first book chapter is not easy. But it is effective. Jogging in the rain while your flatmates drinking beer and watching Netflix is not easy, but this is the way which is effective if you want to take part in a marathon. What is easy? Saying that you could done all of this better, but circumstances were not favorable.

Probably such pathetic talks about ‘what undiscovered talent I am’ can improve mood for a moment. But life is not a movie in which we can wait for someone to discover us. Sorry for the brutal truth, but you need to make an effort, you need to work to actually get what you want. There is no genie in your life that will fulfill your wish in a split second. In fairness, it happened that one of my girlfriends married her dream’s millionaire, and thus her fairy tale came true. But if you think it happened all of a sudden and like in a fairy tale, you’re wrong – she had to date dozens of assholes before that 😉

Regret is probably one of the most destructive feelings, hence it is so easy to find excuses for everything we’ve fucked up. Or what we didn’t screw up because we didn’t even start doing it. We are creatures that are ruled by ego, so for our failures we most often blame everything else or the world around us. We don’t wanna feel that regret, because it’s awful! It’s so much better to feel like a victim of unjust circumstances. Still not great, but bit better. Because guilt for missed opportunities is the worst. If our life did not succeed, of course, we would prefer it was someone’s fault. If we have to be losers let’s be losers not by our own fault.

We decide what happens in our lives. We are responsible for our choices, for what we spend time and money on, for what kind of people we hang out. So decide for yourself that you never will be that person who moaning about who could he/she be if …(put an excuse here).

How positive thinking leads to success

Hey, do you know that you can achieve better life just by tuning a few things in your mind? Sounds too good to be true? Maybe naively? So I have to tell you there is more in you that you ever suspected. Do you really think that the brains we have been provided with are just an unsightly piece of flesh? Make no mistake about – we are equipped with powerful tools that are able to provide us with what we want. And they’re all in your head. How astonishing is that?

I know you’ve probably heard about positive thinking so many times, that you rolling your eyes every time you see another article about it. But have you ever really delved into this concept and tried to unravel the rules behind it? I don’t want to duplicate content that appears everywhere, but I think it’s worth summarizing and refreshing what we know about it. And maybe add something on the top of that.

The thing is simple – positive mindset is based on the assumption that no matter what, I’ll be fine. As with many of the things I talk about on this blog – it’s simple but not easy. So let’s look closer.

First thing you need to realize is that you are capable of achieving things. If you don’t believe it, why would you even bother? Faith is first, indispensable ingredient of a positive mindset. You can achieve anything if you believe it is possible. Now, I know what you thinking – not everything is possible, and you are damn right! Some things, like becoming king of Thailand, build your dream house on the Moon, or become better rock band that Iron Maiden, will never happened 😉 What I mean is that you are able to obtain things, that are already achievable for others, like become successful in some fields, whatever attracts you. Thing about it – if other people managed to gain something, why you can’t? Are you missing something or were you born defective? In 99% answer is no. You are full, you are gifted and totally capable to attain your dreams. If you look at successful people there is one thing they surely have in common – a clear believe that they are able to achieve what they decide to achieve. Sometimes if you read biography of excellent person you might notice that their life is not perfect. Oftentimes they struggled with many obstacles. But things like dysfunctional background, no financial support or physical inconveniences did not prevent them from achieving success. They believed in themselves and they were right! Why? Here comes another thing hiding behind positive mindset idea – a self-fulfilling prophecy.

"Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve" - N.Hill

Self-fulfilling prophecy is a psychological phenomenon compounded in 1948 by Robert K. Merton, also known as ‘Oedipus effect’. It’s like a thought or expectation that manifests in life because it has been thought. Simplifying, we get what we expect. This conception is clearly merged with the so-called law of attraction, according to which our thoughts are manifested in reality. So whatever believes you hold about yourself they will influence your actions, performance, behavior and practically whole life.

by Peter Fogden

In assumptions of the discussed theory we distinguish the Pygmalion effect or aureole effect, based on the usurpation that we achieve the results we expect, that awaited success appears in our life. It is about fulfilling a positive expectation towards someone because we have created this positive expectation. A similar process works in the opposite direction in the case of low expectations. And this applies not only to ourselves, but to the world around us and to other people.

Let me illustrate this using example of classic experiment from 1950, wherein social psychologist, professor Harold Kelley told one group of students that the next class would be led by a lecturer who is warm, progressive, critical, practical and determined.
In the second group, the word “warm” was replaced by “cold”. The result? New lecturer was assessed by the first students as independent and flexible, and by the second – as intolerant, explosive and stiff in beliefs. Sound impressive, right?

Now you know how important is to create a self-suggestion that will meet your goals. Here you really need to forget about all bullshit that keep you from the life you want. Don’t you even dare thinking that you are not enough educated, brave, creative, attractive, clever, ingenious. Fuck it, who told you that? Parents, teachers, other people? Fuck them to! If you think this way about yourself, what you need to do is replace that thinking with thoughts that will make you feel better! It’s not easy and quick process, but once you start you will discover a great difference in your life. So manifest it, use affirmations and imagine yourself the way you would like to see yourself. If you change the image of yourself in your head, your whole life will change.

While you are working on your own positive mindset you might wonder how is possible to stick to it, while you experiences some difficult times. I want you to memorize, repeat, keep in mind forever and if you still don’t get it, tattoo on your forehead:

there are no failures, only lessons.

Yes, we all fail, but it is our attitude that decides whether failure is failure. For people with positive mindset it’s always a lesson. If you learn something from the defeat, it’s not defeat anymore. Sometimes it might be a blessing we just need to look at everything from a different angle. I can tell you from my own experience that if my article were not rejected by newspaper, I would never start to focus on decent writing. Or if I had not been missed at the promotion, I would never have motivation to changed my job for one I really enjoy. The fact that something didn’t work out is just a hint of what you still need to work on. Think about it, how else should we learn and improve?

Your point of view, approach is the only thing you have control over. Even emotions are formed by behavior, and you have influence over it. Likewise life satisfaction is a matter of attitude, hence it is so vital to develop a sense of gratitude. Gratitude is like a magic spell which changes everything. Once you realize how many things you can be grateful for, you can instantly not only boost your mood, but gradually feel more satisfied with life. My life has changed since I began to be grateful for all these little things like peaceful morning with good book and coffee, beautiful sunset I could watch from my bedroom window, favorite song that I can listen over and over again on my phone. And all this leads to greater happiness, because our life consists of such small things. If you are reading this now on your laptop or phone I can assume that you belong to the lucky ones who are not in danger of war and misery, so even if you think that you have nothing to be grateful for, stop right there. You’re alive. You have a whole universe of possibilities in front of you

Your mind is powerful tool, it’s like the greatest, phenomenal computer created by nature. And it can work in your favor.Your job is to make sure you have the right ‘software’ – positive mindset. Feed it with beautiful thoughts full of gratitude, love and faith. Remember that all your thoughts are shaped by your attitude, and eventually you become what you think.

*Photo by Edu Lauton

Master your focus

This is the thing that everyone want us to do, but nobody ever showed us how to do it. Nobody even explained what it is – this wonderful, almost unattainable physical state. Focus. Think about this – since early stages of our life, through school, college and work, we hear all the time that we need to focus. But how the hell, can we do it? It would be great if someone would kindly show us, right?

In simple word focus is ability to eliminate distractions. Like with many other things – it’s simple, but not easy. The question is – why we struggle so much achieving clear concentration? Is it a matter of some kind of flaw? Or maybe our brains refuse to obey? Let’s find out.

It turns out that most people can’t manage themselves in the right way. We are not aware of how our brain, mind and our attention work. One of my personal You Tube guru, Dandapani, says:

“(…) most people can’t concentrate today for two reasons; one is we’re never taught how to concentrate, and second is we don’t practice concentration. So how can you do something if you never taught how to do it? And how can you be good at something if you don’t practicing? (…) let’s say on average we are practicing a 13 hours of distractions a day, seven day a week, and then you’re wonder why you’re so good at it. That’s the law of practice (…) we become good whatever is we practice.”

Simple as it is – we become all these things to which we devote our attention. When we divide our attention to many things at once, we’re losing. Divided attention is not attention. It’s distraction. And as Dandapani saying, it’s not enough if you sit once a day for 10 minutes meditation practice, while for the rest 1440 minutes your mind is distracted! Do you see where we are going with this?

Unwavering focus is is something you need to practice.
Not for ten minutes a day, but all day. Wonder how? Let’s gets things under way.

  1. Myth of multitasking

First thing you need to remember: multitasking is bad! I mean really bad, ugly and shabby. From now on I want you to think about multitasking like you would think about your older’s brother stinky pair of socks, or pineapple on pizza, or polish disco charts. Or preferably all of them at once. I know what you want to say right now, I really hear your voice  ‘Why?Multitasking is great, it save your time!’ Keep that voice down please, cause this is not the case. Why? Here it is: multitasking forces your brain to switch your focus back and forth very quickly from one task to another. And what is wrong with that? Our brain cannot seamlessly transit from one task to another. Those switches costs you mental price. This is more harmful than you might think and have real negative impact on your productivity and creativity. What it means is that multitasking stops you from getting into a state of flow, which is the best condition for creating any work. Also, it impacts your short-term memory, even leads to increased anxiety. So do one one thing at the moment. Only one.

2. Turn notifications off

Get rid of that stimulating buzzz sound while you working on something important. Seriously, do you need to know who liked your instagram selfie, or what your bestie uploaded in her latest story? No,you don’t! All you need is do you task – that’s all matter. There will be time for all emails, texts, facebook, missed calls. But later, when you finish. Such bullshit really weakens concentration and motivation. You know yourself how much willpower requires you to concentrate, so don’t waste it because of  some stupid notification bells.

3. Try pomodoro technique

This method, developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s., uses a timer to break down work into not long (originally 25 minutes, but you can decide for yourself), timed intervals spaced out by short breaks. Pomodoro is one of the simplest and most effective productivity tools – requires only a timer and simple rules. For this 25 minutes you must really work, without bullshit. After a while you will see that it works. And there’s more – with time it can even help improve your attention span and concentration. Definitely worth a try. You can also try focus music (you can just find it on you tube) while you working on something – it will keep you into what you doing.

4. Be mindful

Learn how to be totally aware of yourself. Try to pay unwavering attention to whatever you do at the moment. Practice it.  Not for ten munutes daily, but all the times. When you speak to someone, pay all attention to that person. While eating contemplate the taste of food, notice its smell and consistency. Be attentive even with trivial activities, such as washing dishes or vacuuming – treat them as a practice of your mindfulness. Practice concentrating on every little thing you do during the day. You’ll find out how good you will be after some time.

(...) If you practice something over and over again, you become really good at it. And that's why people are so good at distraction - because it's what they practice." - Dandapani

5. Meditate

You expected that, right? What can I say, meditation is a thing! It’s the best what you can do for yourself. It can help you grow on so many levels. More or less you know what this is about. Of course this topic deserves more attention and space, and I’ll back to it in future posts. For now, I want to highlight how significant may be bringing this practice to your life. And don’t say that you can’t or you don’t know how – meditation is a process you can learn. Like any other skill.

Once I had tat silly idea about meditation. I don’t know where it came from, but I was expecting something extraordinary from meditating. And by extraordinary I mean flashes, visions, enlightenment, or I don’t know what else, maybe a journey to another dimension. I expected some extreme changes of consciousness. Like after strong joint, or something. Well, forget about it. Meditation can change your consciousness, but not in this junkie-hippie-stoner way some might think of.

Meditation clear your mind and allows you to see things on a deeper lever. It allows to look inside you and to see the connections between all things in reality. And it’s better than being ‘on high’!

There are many apps out there that might help you enter the process and learn it. I can recommend Calm or Headspace, both you can try out for free.

Instead of ending:

This is the second version of this post, the first containing about 1000 words, I ‘accidentally’ deleted. It shows how inattentive you can be when writing about focus…Ironic. I got annoyed, you can imagine, but them I remembered that once ‘accidentally’ I deleted my bachelor’s thesis written in 90 percent. Two weeks before deadline…I realized this time it’s not so bad – I just need to focus more! So I took a shower, grabbed a beer and back to my desk . And here it is. Maybe not so polished, but I wrote what I wanted to write.

Stay calm. Stay focus. Stay mindful.