Focus switch

Whether we’re aware or not, every day we’re given choices. And a new opportunity to improve ourselves. If we use these gifts or not is up to each of us. No one can control our fate unless we allow this.

Whether we’re aware or not, every day we’re given choices. And a new opportunity to improve ourselves. If we use these gifts or not is up to each of us. No one can control our fate unless we allow this.

This being said, today I choose to write about that switch button we can all push, when it comes to personal perceptions and focus.

This morning, while on my way to work, I’ve witnessed 2 indecent gestures of 2 men (sorry guys, nothing personal, yet men seem to overlook common sense more often). However, none of them affected anyone. But these could have easily ruined my day, if I hung on to them. I could have used overthinking and analyze why do men do this or that in public. Nonetheless, as I mentioned, we can push the switch button and change our views, guiding our focus towards a new event or thought.

Man with spectacles

While in the subway I noticed something weird at first sight: a young man (barely reaching his 30s) who spent about 40 seconds looking at his wrist watch. Why weird? Because, most certainly, when seeing something like this, we’re quick to thinking: “Why does it take him so long to read such a basic thing as the hour?” As first impulse, one could easily mock him and say: “Change your glasses, dude”. Yet, by observing his spectacles and mimic, the problem was beyond that… A closer (aka more careful) look would reveal a thick lens, pointing to high diopter.

I felt sorry for this young man, which – most certainly – was working in a corporation, as he got out of the subway to the same station as I did (corporate area of the city). On the other hand, I was happy that he was willing and capable of supporting his life, despite his obvious handicap.

As I was climbing the stairs to the surface, I thought about the ease our minds encounter in switching from one thing to another; one topic to the other; one state to another. We hold an incredible power to which we’re blind, most of our lives, as secondary aspects come first. But, as I say in most of my writings, choice is always free. Nonetheless, we choose to throw our innate gifts on 2nd, 3rd, 10th or even 30th place, granting priority to the less important facts.

But don’t take my word for granted. Just do it once. Be your own volunteer and try the focus switch. You may thank yourself later, as you get used to it and learn the benefits of mind games. Because “focus switch” is just a game, meant for us to really understand the strength within and the magic of discovering it.

Remember: change starts with one!

Love, A.

Afraid to run, afraid to stay

1 minute – that’s how long it took me to figure out the tragic story behind an apparent gentle touch. For such a short while, I was reading. The expression on their faces. Which were contradictory. She was afraid – to stay; but more scared of running. He was in charge… He was pressuring her to kiss him. But no one could have come in between, as no one was interested in such thing. No one will ever know the facts behind such fear. As everyone was in a rush to start their weekend.

1 minute. A fancy car parked on the side road. Car lights on. People waiting for the stoplight to turn green. Me among them, waiting patiently to cross the street. But something, involuntarily, caught my eye. It was her – on the passenger’s front seat. And him – behind the wheel, on the driver’s seat.

pexels-photo-354985

1 minute – that’s how long it took me to figure out the tragic story behind an apparent gentle touch. For such a short while, I was reading. The expression on their faces. Which were contradictory. She was afraid – to stay; but more scared of running. He was in charge… He was pressuring her to kiss him. But no one could have come in between, as no one was interested in such thing. No one will ever know the facts behind such fear. As everyone was in a rush to start their weekend.

I could have stayed, yet I chose to be a coward and move on with the crowd. As my kids were waiting for me to take them home… But I’ll never forget the look on her face! I could feel her pain, determined by the emotional manipulation. She was so afraid of the consequences, that her choice was to stay. Though she was under continuous mental torture. And I know for sure how that feels. I’ve been there myself, more than 10 years ago. And everything came back in seconds…

(You see, you may – at some point – consider that I expose my past experiences just to make my texts more reliable, without actually going through them. But I have – and there is no valid reason for which I would attempt to impress someone just for the sake of reading my articles. I guess all these events, thus being able to empathize with today’s victims, may be what brought me to #SilentVoice campaign. For, now, I understand very well what both physical and emotional abuse mean. And what hides behind a fake, bitter smile. And maybe this is why I am attracted to human behavior analysis and violence combat).

In highschool, I would go for reckless blind dates. I will always remember 2 of them…

One was with a guy 2 heads taller than me. He seemed ok. At first sight. A few dates later, some drug-addict approached us. The guy I was with started a buddy-like talk with the addicted one. And so, his past revealed in a flash. He didn’t, maybe, realize I was there, so he would confess the addict about his time behind bars, due to an “accidental” murder. (I was like: “Oh, my, God, who is this guy?” Useless to say that frighten found shelter in my heart, as I started shaking. Of course, I was all silent, as I was only thinking about running away without looking or EVER going back.) When the addict left, my date turned to me, as if woken from a dream, but realizing I was still there, and said: “You don’t want to go out with me any longer, do you?”

I was afraid and I didn’t know how to handle that question. So I lied when answering: “Of course I do, why not?” But my mind was planning the escape plan and the shortest path. I accepted that terror state of mind for another few (loooooong) minutes, till the date was (finally) up. I tried to behave normally, but my heart was racing home long before my body did. When I got home, I was afraid again. Afraid to tell my parents. So I hid it.

Another call, another date request from the guy. Another episode I didn’t know how to handle. So I went on another date. On my way, the only thing on my mind was to end it. But how? I was afraid… But luck was on my side… 1 hour later, after meeting him, the guy understood my fear and the fact that I was telling lies in regards to my willingness to ve his girlfriend. His words still have an echo in my ears: “You have one attempt to leave. If you look back, I’ll find you!”

Needless to say I ran and never looked back, not for a second, not even after I got home and closed the door behind me.

Strike of luck number 1!

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The second one I will never forget is shorter, in time. 1 day, 1 attempt.

I met him, we went for a soda (I barely sip wine now, in my 30s). It lasted about an hour. Then he said: “Let’s go somewhere else”. I got in the care and he drove away. Towards the place he described as being his home. He goes: “We’re just having a stop so that I can get something, then we’re on our way to the place I want to take you.” (The reckless teenager in me was somehow shaking, yet went upstairs).

I was in the doorway, so he went on: “Go, make yourself at home, I’ll be with you in a second.”

“It’s ok”, I said. “I’ll wait here, as you said it won’t be long”

He insisted: “No, no, go have a seat.”

So I did… In that instant, I heard the key locking the door.

“Aren’t we leaving?” I asked. But he didn’t answer, but came back with a bottle of beverage and 2 glasses. “I don’t drink.” I said. “Don’t worry, I’m just trying to make you loosen up.” he replied. However, he didn’t even pour the beverage, that he made himself comfortable near me, having his hands all over.

I was scared like never before, but I gathered all my strength and said: “Hey, I’m not doing this. You take your hands off me.” (Remember, I was 17!) He didn’t care and went on with his game. So I jumped and said, with the utmost serious (and fake calm) I could: “You need to take me home. Or at least open the door, I’ll find my way!”

I guess he was in shock, as such a young female could resist and, even more, confront him in his own house. He tried again, this time threatening me. He was desperate, but I didn’t give in! I still don’t know how I managed to make him drive me home, safe and sound! All I know is that was the first and last date.

Strike of luck umber 2!

I thank God, till this day, that I’m here, writing for all of you, as I had some dangerous experiences in highschool!

Nevertheless, women still experience similar (and worse) fear as grown-ups. Even though we clearly have some safety measures in place and believe the one we met is marvelous and loving and caring… people change in time. But most of the times, we choose to keep our eyes closed. Be it because we’re madly in love or because society forces us to “behave ourselves”. But if we indulge an insult, a single word of disrespect or 1 slap, they will be continued. Forgive once, and harsher times will follow!

I guess this was the case of the woman described in the first 2 paragraphs. She closed her eyes and fear soon took her over completely. And when a man knows a woman is afraid if him, he’ll feel power playing in his hands, fists and words. He will carry on manifesting his “superiority” till there’s nothing left of a woman’s self-esteem and becomes controllable.

You see, I was lucky. L U C K Y !!!

But most women aren’t. That’s why we need to stand up against abuse. Does he insult you? Reply! Does he slap you? Pack your bags and leave! Does he threaten you? Call the police! Does he follow you? Find a way to get your track lost!

And that, my friend, from the first time! Don’t wait until he swipes the floor with you! Don’t become his doormat! You love him? That’s tough. But love yourself first!

Getting over such an episode is hard work. So don’t let things take you there. You’d better bite your tongue (if you still call his name), rip your heart off (if you still love him) and move on! Brighter days will come. And you will thank yourself for being strong for a moment.

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I’m not talking from what I’ve heard. I’m sharing facts with you. Therefore, I know all the effort it takes to rebuild yourself. To have the courage to look in the mirror and like yourself again. To get up every morning and start again. And again. All over again! But you can do it! So you’d better start today!

The choice is yours! Choose strength!

Love,
A.

Shyness

If I were to answer the question “How would you help a shy person come out of their shell?” I would say: with small steps, as an invasive way would only push them away. Gaining their trust, so that they let me find out where they come from. For, if we know the source, we know where to work for a self-confidence boost. And by NEVER betraying their trust. (The line is too smooth to cross. If we do, they’re gone for good.) And by sending songs with and uplifting message!

As an introduction to #SilentVoice campaign, started on LinkedIn, today I chose a topic often times overlooked, but which makes the main object of the mentioned helping event.

Shyness, as presented by Wikipedia, is a state of fear. Fear of rejection. Fear of disappointment, constructed on a ground of low degree of self-esteem. Some people may say this is inherited. Maybe there is a spark of truth in this. But I would rather go for the developed part of it. Why? Because 99.99% of fears are not inherited, they are developped.


I once had the honor to know a great little man, as I like to lovingly call him, who passed away in October 2016, but left a great legacy of writings behind him. And his words, on the topic of infantile fears, were:

“The only fear kids come to this world with is the fear of strong sounds. All the rest are developed in early ages.”

If we give this a bit of thought, we could easily draw a possible cause: during pregnancy, the embryo is exposed to vibrations only (mother’s voice, mother’s movements, external events, etc). And sounds are vibrations.


However, shyness is not considered something really worth paying attention to. But this is how introverts are “born”…

Shyness

As many other things in life, parents take their kids for granted, most of the times, and can’t cross the barrier of childish communication ways (e.g: we use tons of diminutives). But child behavior specialized psychologists recommend talking to kids like adults, without expecting the same outcome as they would for a grown-up. Because they can’t reply the way we want, as they have no box, thus they’re completely unpredictable. Which, from my point of view, should not be incarcerated by criticism, yet encouraged.

So, talking to kids as with adults and explaining everything you do, instead of using the comfortable phrase “because I said so” will help the kid develop some kind of first layer of self-confidence, as they receive information and are not being scold for asking. Also, asking the kid – when making a mistake – “Do you think it was the right choice to do so?” or “Did you like seeing the other suffer because of your action?” brings an important contribution to his future adult behavior. The same for asking logical questions when they go for “because that’s the way I want it”.

How?

The first question empowers the kid to THINK about their actions and understand what a choice means and where can it lead to.

The second question drives the basis of developing empathy skills, by putting the kid in the situation of interpreting the effect their actions have over the other kid.

The third approach gives the kid an occasion to think about what comes out of their mouth.

These are just some examples of how can we help our kids to grow up differently.

Going back to shyness… What are its traits (as I witnessed them) ?

  • Limited interaction with others – they would rather build their own world, where they’re always safe from being mocked;
  • A never-ending feeling of anxiety in regards to exposing personal ideas – as people are quick to judge; silence doesn’t harm;
  • The preference for solitude – if there’s no one there to talk to, there’s no deceit;
  • Trembling trust – towards others; because of point number 2; trusting means breaking down the wall and makes them feel vulnerable to hits;
  • Day dreaming about actions one would love to go for – low-level of self-confidence blocks real actions;
  • Feeling powerless in front of a challenging situation – meant to cross the borders of comfort zone.

Paradoxically, some people choose to build up a shield around their shyness (most of the times perceived as arrogance) by shooting knowledge bullets or displaying and exquisite sense of humor. But, let me tell you that these people make the best, most loyal and beautiful friends you could ever come across! They’re golden-hearted beings, that never appear on the radar of the fake. And pretty selective, due to trust barriers. And because gossip is just another type of psychological abuse… Oh, not to forget how reliable and skilled listeners they are!

Shy people would rather run things from behind the curtains. And, believe me, their work will always be done in perfect detail, in a timely manner and with the best of intentions. They know for sure what does being overlooked mean, but they have the loudest of minds.

If I were to answer the question “How would you help a shy person come out of their shell?” I would say: with small steps, as an invasive way would only push them away. Gaining their trust, so that they let one find out where they come from. For, if we know the source, we know where to work for a self-confidence boost. And by NEVER betraying their trust. (The line is too smooth to cross. If we do, they’re gone for good.) And by sending songs with an uplifting message!

I’ve been doing this (trying to boost self-confidence) for the past 9 months with a beautiful soul. This person has real issues when it comes to revealing the true self. Because of childhood hardships and mis-perception. What I can tell is that their mind is absolutely brilliant, the heart that beats inside that chest is absolutely stunning, but the shield built around all of this is so powerful that not even the mirror can pursue them to understand the strength and shine that can be found within. Profound talks (on any possible topic you may think of) and small kind gestures is what define this person, buy they’re afraid of real exposure and taking charge of their own life, due to failure. No, not failure itself, but the wrong reactions people have when it comes to missing the target (e.g: acid jokes that step over confidence).

As you can see, the shy ones are not born like this. They become as such, due to the plastic society we live in (which would rather mock such a person) and the strong lines drawn around rusty doctrines. If we would listen to the shy, there would be so many lessons to learn. They have an amazing power of building wonderful things. But the pressure we, the others, put on their shoulders is too heavy to them. Their silence speaks so loud… But our ears are so deaf…

Love,
A.

#SilentVoice

I would be honored to learn stories from people who are shy or afraid to expose themselves to others and help them raise their #SilentVoice. For bringing this to light, this blog will become part of the campaign, so please help me help you, by getting in touch with me or by leaving the title of a topic in a comment and I will try to contact you, in a private message. As I respect confidentiality, I may create fictional characters, in order to keep the #SilentVoice safe.

Dear all,

There are so many beautiful campaigns going on on LinkedIn platform (such as #embracethesuck or #whatwillyourstorybe ) where people are challenged to expose their thoughts in regards to failure and how they did or attempt to overcome it. These are commendable initiatives of beautiful people, driven by that selfless desire of helping others.

In this extent, I would love to join them by having another campaign created, meant to help the less brave ones speak their minds. This will be a real challenge to myself, as its object will be writing or creating a video on a given sensitive topic (e.g: abuse, personal difficult barriers, etc.), in order to raise awareness and, hopefully, build a new path for bringing this world back to its lost humanity.

#silentvoice campaign

Therefore, I would be honored to learn stories from people who are shy or afraid to expose themselves to others and help them raise their #SilentVoice. For bringing this to light, this blog will become part of the campaign, so please help me help you, by getting in touch with me or by leaving the title of a topic in a comment and I will try to contact you, in a private message. As I respect confidentiality, I may create fictional characters, in order to keep the #SilentVoice safe.

I give you a big THANK YOU for supporting this and, thus, helping others to get out their system things they find hard to share. Hopefully, this campaign will be of help and bring a ray of light to the less fortunate.

For updates and if you would lile to join the cause, please follow me on LinkedIn.

Thank you.

Love,
A.

Acid spray!

Most of us, throughout this experience called a life, encounter beautiful people and people that are stubborn to keep their eyes closed to what the “humanity” term should express. Today, my choice of debate goes towards the second cathegory, which hurts the first, on purpose. 

[Listen to: Katy Perry – Roar]

I’ve come across so many malicious behaviors, that I decided to write about this. Not necessarily towards me, as I usually cut it off with a line, but in regards to people I’ve come to care for. However, this message is not just for defending someone in particular or for pointing a finger to a specific person. No, is a more elaborate message, meant to raise awareness to a wider range of today’s issues. One more point to be stressed out from the beginning: this is no feminist rebel yell, but a scream for HUMANITY!

Can’t wait for your comments…

Most of us, throughout this experience called a life, encounter beautiful people and people who are stubborn to keep their eyes closed to what the “humanity” term should express. Today, my choice of debate goes towards the second cathegory, which hurts the first, on purpose.

“You tough ones, let me tell you some of nowadays truths!

The age of men bringing food into the cave, using the only available weapon – the fist – is long-buried. But even the Neanderthals would respect their mating partners. (Of course, you will consider this offensive, but maybe it’s time you reconsidered some values and opened your eyes to the world around you!)

So, I tell you this…

You see women as the weak sex, therefore let me break it down for you. THIS IS W R O N G!!! Just take a look around you! You go to work, they do all the rest. Even more – admit the differences between you and them, considering just a flu or a toothache. I know you’ll find it hard to admit, but if you don’t, you’ll be stuck in your own black, void, mind forever.

Taking the last line, tell me, do you get that empowering feeling of rage against me, now? Will you – comfortably – troll this article? Would you get that triumphal look on your face if you punched me right now and took my teeth as proof of your victory? Or being compelled to look at my swallowed cheek or black eye after your swelling tide has passed would make your ego inflate? Do you feel that your manhood just bloomed if you marked me for life, just for defending your stupid ambition? Would your status get a boost if you bragged about all the horrible assaults I might have been the subject of?

Would all this make you feel man enough? (Take all the time you need, but I’m not sure you’ll pass this test!)

That was a minimal approach of the physical abuse. But what about the emotional one (be it based on cultural/ gender/ worth discrimination)? Can there be a feasible comparison between the 2?

Not sure about this. But I know that both of them leave bruises. And the mental abuse lasts longer. While my black, swollen eye recovers, the affected part of my brain takes continuous effort or even forever. So, before you open your mouth, you’d better do everyone a favor and use your brain. Shooting venomous lines may relieve you on the spot and give you that superiority degree boost and caress your ego, but you’ll be sorry for it. I will, eventually, get over you, but I will rise stronger than you could have ever imagined. And you’ll be left behind, crying your misery loudly in your full-of-my-heart’s-blood fists.

Take my friendly advice (while it lasts) and mind your own business. Take a looooong look in that narcissistic mirror of yours and use cleaning products to make it show your true face. I’m sure you’ll be shocked! Truth hurts! But it will not be me any longer. It will be your own self. And no one will take you out of your head and self-criticism, once you get there. You will have hurt too many people for someone to care for your wake-up call.

So, you should take the lesson on what you’ve done (again, this needs some balls to see and admit), forget about me and treat others with respect. Have you ever heard of this? Try turning the pages of a dictionary if you need additional information. Ah, but that may imply using your hands towards a noble purpose. Can you do that? Do you know how to instruct your hands to do that? Well, everything comes with exercise, so you’ll get the hang of it, eventually. But wait! That requires some coordination between brain and body. And you may get lost here…

As I’ve given too much of my energy to make you – a bully – the subject of my article, I’ll be happy to walk away now and let you check if you have a magnifier. To look for the invisible parts of a brain capable of so much malice and see if there’s any medicine that can heal something that was never there. (You’re confused now…) What was never there? A soul… compassion… love for others… goodwill… care… RESPECT (tough word)!

In the end, all women walk away, once they acknowledge self-worth and gain that power of rising. And they will find some “pussy” guy, who will never be man enough to hit or disrespect them. Such as yourself. You are a true man by doing this, right? As you have no weapons besides the fist and a devilish emptiness in your skull…

Imprint the following words on your retina:

All this behavior of yours betrays a terminal-phase complex, determined by the fear of being surpassed and/ or guided by a woman’s IQ! 

(Touché, puttycat!)

I love happy endings, so let me tell you one more thing, before I leave you helpless on the floor of your conscience (I wonder if you ever had one):

A woman will always get up, no matter what. And that pussy man beside her will give her a hand to help. Even if they will only be friends (another term you need to learn!), that man will stand up for defending her lost treasure – self-confidence.

Oh, and something else. You’ll be surprised to find out how many men would be ready to punch your face for trying to damage the strength of a woman!

So here, you found the happy ending. But you’re not part of it!”

My message to void brains ends here. But I have one more, for the affected side.

To all the ladies out there:

N E V E R   give up! Never bow your head because of doctrines! Speak up for yourselves! Search within your own soul, for there is where strength and happiness lay! Use your voice and don’t you be afraid! Stand up tall and N E V E R  let a “man” destroy your utmost treasure – YOU! You be your best friend and never give the opportunity of a hit (be it on physical or emotional side)! Discover your own selves and you will never settle for less than you deserve! Women are NOT worthy of less equity, while we breathe the  same air! Don’t let the fire burn you, but BECOME THE FLAME! 

Become the flameSo, here you are, a song to keep your chin up and boost self-confidence! This also goes out to all the ones who will never be men enough to hurt a woman, but choose to be the pussy to hold her hand and show RESPECT! Hat off for you, guys!

[Listen to: Stoneback – Stronger]

Love,
A.

Small is always better

The other day, on my way home from work, I took a short break into a small shop. Handmade stuff, beautiful things… But I was looking for a backpack, as the other one had its straps broken (I admit, I load backpacks like no one else!).

The other day, on my way home from work, I took a short break into a small shop. Handmade stuff, beautiful things… But I was looking for a backpack, as the other one had its straps broken (I admit, I load backpacks like no one else!).

So, I spent half an hour looking for a new one. Why so long? Because I pay much attention to details. For a backpack, inside and outside pockets (as many as possible) make the difference for me. So, that one had a color I like, but no pockets; the other had a tiny pocket, but uncomfortable closing system (zippers are my style…), etc.

Anyhow, in the end, I found the one I liked, at a convenient price (smaller than the others): a chocolate-brown color with 7 (!) pockets.

While trying to decide, I saw the above message, hanging comfy on a wall, desperately calling my name… Whispering those words… But I chose to be deaf, as I could not have taken it home that very evening.

You won’t believe the torture in my head…! My mind was silently scolding me for not opening my pocket and taking this valuable friend at home with me. Therefore, the next evening,  in order to escape the torment, I followed my heart and, after work, I saw nothing but the shop on my way. I could hear the words – still calling me – from the street. So, I stopped, bought and left… Holding my treasure tight, so that I would not hurt it. I wanted it to be the new guardian of my home.

As a consequence, I placed it in a safe spot, from where we can see each other and know we will always be there, no matter what…

You may wonder, now, what’s the exact purpose of such posting… 2 words: thorough reminder. Of an amazing principle I’ve been admiring lately and to which I want to remain faithful…

The more we count years, the more we realize what’s really important. I know, however, that there are people thinking that “bigger is always better”. I’ve come to accept the views of others, without feeling compelled to agree. So, I’ll carry on my explanation on why smaller is always better, in my opinion. Considering that we overlook small things everyday.

So, here you are, served with my point of view…

Small things help us enjoy every day. They are well-put, somewhere, waiting for us to find them. To let them show us why life is worth living with every second. And the way they are capable of spicing up a moment or melt another…

If we take only the example of a salad: is made out of small bits of vegetables. However, something smaller mends it, in the end. Think of a salad with no salt, or pepper, or oil, or vinegar, whatever pleases your taste. Now, picture the same, with the added value of the mentioned tiny friends. Can you feel the difference?

The same principle applies to everything…

Think of today’s technology. If you lack the charger of your phone/ tablet/ laptop and the battery runs lower each minute, does this small detail make a difference to your means of  communication?

On a deeper level…

Does a small “I missed you!” make you melt? Does a shy smile make you smile back? Does a small, heartfelt, “I love you!” make you feel like the whole world is yours and there’s nothing else you would need in that very moment?

The last thing I would appreciate you to take the time of thinking about, especially when you cannot find something to be thankful for: does water and the roof above your head make a difference?

I know that I want to collect small things (smiles, drawings of my kids, laughs, etc.) pile them up and let them  change an old mindset… Will YOU?

Love,
A.