With Me or Against Me

C. W. Stratton

Believe yourself

“Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.”

~Oscar Wilde

Saying “if you’re not with me, you’re against me”, isn’t an accurate statement in many respects. However, you will hear this statement made in many settings/interactions; family, friends, social and employment. There are those times when an individual doesn’t actually verbalize these exact words but if you don’t agree with a position they hold on a given situation, this is relayed; even non-verbal. Some people are shunned or talked about when they’re not present because that individual has decided to take an independent position regarding a given situation. There are instances when a group of individuals may have an idea about a particular situation and since the majority agrees with what’s presented, it is relayed as accurate. However, amongst that group there is a tendency of at least one individual within that group that may not actually agree with the consensus. This can quite challenging for that individual and there are times where that individual may have the accurate information but feels compelled to stand with the group and not “rock the boat”. The contributing factor regarding this could be a fear of rejection or our desire to please others.

There are so many that have been in that position and over time of consistently doing this, they make it a common practice. The fear of having an original thought and not exposing it, especially when accurate, can have a negative impact on the outcome of what’s being discussed, along with impacting your growth and development as a person. Fear is crippling in itself and the fear of what others think about you can be just as damaging. We have the innate ability to have independent thoughts and actions but there are times when you choose the easy route and allow others to make the decisions for us; through agreeing with the majority even if we don’t really agree. Think of a situation(s) when you were amongst others and there was a consensus about something and you didn’t agree with, but never said anything. Many of us wish that moment could occur again so we could speak up. It brings you back to “If you’re not, with me, you’re against me”. Would it be such a tragedy to relay what you know to be true, despite the majority’s position? No! It would mean you’re expressing your knowledge of a given situation and your desire for a positive outcome. Just because my thoughts are unlike others doesn’t mean I’m against them. It means I don’t agree with what’s being relayed; that’s all. It shouldn’t create resentment, distrust or perpetuate a lack of commitment to the group.

We all have some sort of standard when it comes to morals, beliefs and values. When we encounter interactions or discussions that totally go against those standards, we shouldn’t have to compromise them in order to please others. It’s not what others think about us that’s important, what’s important is what we think of ourselves. Because at the end of the day, we are left with our own thoughts and assessments of situations. Do we rest peacefully, or do we lay with regret? Live Life Fulling, Live Life Wholeheartedly, Live Boundless.

Emotional Intellect

Life has the tendency or throwing us for a loop emotionally, but we must remain resilient in our pursuits.

C. W. Stratton

Rollercoaster emotions

How people treatment you is their karma; how you respond is yours.”

~Wayne Dyer

During our lifespan we will be challenged on so many levels; physically, psychologically and emotionally. There are those of us who have overcome significant obstacles, both physically and psychologically. However, emotional obstacles tend to trip us up along our journey. Although we may convince ourselves we are attuned to what we are experiencing emotionally at given times, we may not truly know what emotion we are truly experiencing. With this said, we tend to verbalize an emotion that’s easy to relay when we are asked what we are experiencing at the moment. Many times we say:

*I’m good

*I’m alright

*I’m pissed

None of the above are actually emotions, nor are they feelings. We utilize the aforementioned on many occasions to avoid feeling vulnerable. Those statements are protective factors in some respect. Many of the emotions that we experience usually stem from an outside source; it’s not usually physical. Those outside sources sometime touches a sensitive part of us which generates a reaction; discomfort or pain. There are those of us when confronted by the external actions, it touches a vulnerable place within our minds also. The faulty thinking that may accompany what is occurring, allows the actions of the external stimuli to reside there for extended periods of time. This creates a host of confusing feelings and emotional responses, to the point that we have difficulty identifying what we are really experiencing. As a result, we default to our usual way of handling things; whatever that may be for you.

There are those times when emotional confusion occurs and this can happen when we are confronted by some form of reality. When outside stimuli is involved in a given situation we have the tendency to say, “they are pushing my buttons”. Remember that buttons are on clothing and gadgets. We are not clothing or some kind of gadget that has a button that requires pushing in order to be activated. We are beings that can actually dictate emotional responses when encountering a given situation. The most important aspect of dictating emotional responses is to become informed and fully aware of what we are experiencing. Having the discipline to “pause” and assess a situation before reacting is critical to the process of becoming more “emotionally intelligent”.

Emotional Intelligence is the ability to recognize one’s own emotions and the emotions of others, and to identify them appropriately. The information obtained from this can assist in guiding thinking and behavior. Specific identification of what we are experiencing or witnessing is paramount. This is not a task that can be accomplished overnight, this takes time. Given that virtuous effort is placed into becoming fully aware, we begin that path of peace and hopefully nirvana. No matter the experience or source of that experience, keep pushing forward.

Get It Where You Fit In

Being “Original” in thought and action is an accomplishment we all strive for.

Fitting InC. W. Stratton

To be “Original” is to be independent in thought or action.  Then you have the obvious definition; to be the first.  However, we will concentrate on the first listed definition and assess how this plays out in some of our personal lives.  For some, the idea of being independent in thought or actions can be quite scary.  This may be due to the fear of what others may say or think about us.  As a result of this, we default to living off of someone else’s’ idea’s, successes, achievements, and direction.  Although our learning is rooted from obtaining information from outside sources such as parents, friends, teachers or colleagues, many us have remained dependent on these sources even in adulthood.  Our dependency on the aforementioned makes decision-making and problem solving non-existent; no effort needed.

Standing alone or standing for something you believe in, when no one else will, can be nerve-racking and frightening.  Since we refuse to experience these feeling, we decide to follow the status quo, even if we don’t agree with it internally.  We compromise our inner-strength, knowledge and natural abilities, just to fit in.  Eventually we are encapsulated by the opinions, beliefs and values of others.  Obviously, not all of us can be originators of ideas and certain accomplishments but at some point in the process we should have acquired our own direction for our lives, as we see fit.  There are those who have inadequacies and insecurities that have been engrained in us over the years.  We bring those same inadequacies and insecurities into our current circumstances.  The fear of revealing these keeps us motivated to fit in where we may actually never fit it.  This creates life-dissatisfaction and a lack of fulfillment.

We must begin tapping into our innate abilities and identify what our true passions are in life.  This will provide direction which will result in becoming motivated to be our true-selves.  Fear can be a motivator but in many cases, it becomes a barrier to accomplishment.  Courage must be found in the midst of fear.  There are those who may not agree with the direction you have chosen for your life, but make sure your direction is positive, fulfilling and have the ability to reach others who may be in an indecisive place in their lives.  Become an example of the wonders that life can offer and never short-change yourself when it comes to your goals and desires.  You are only given one life, make it count.

The Freedom To Be

Free to be

C. W. Stratton

The desire to improve our lives is viewed as a normal aspect of our society.  We are constantly presented with ways to become a better person.  Right from birth we are taught how to behave and what’s expected of us to be a productive individual.  Those closest to use who are feeding us information, are going off of their own point of reference.  This doesn’t mean what’s being conveyed to us is inaccurate.  Those individuals points of reference eventually become our own at some point.  This tends to create a continuum that will go through generations.  The cycle continues until someone breaks free of the taught thinking and behavior that has become a so-call “norm”.  When this does occur, that person is immediately looked down upon because they are living the up to the status quo that had been created.

Many times, there are those of us who have no clue why we do, what we do.  We acknowledge that others are doing it, so it must be right.  This can be related to so many different things in our lives:

-Family

-Friends

-School

-Neighborhood

-Relationships

-Employment

We follow the majority in many cases.  This may be due to our personal fear of leading, fear of being expansive, or fear of starting something new outside the familiar.  We want more out of life but we don’t take the required steps to be innovative and original.  As a result, we remain within a suffering state that fuels disappointment, underachievement, and life dissatisfaction.  However, we continue to push along with the crowd in hopes that something miraculous occurs to change our circumstances.

We spend a considerable amount of time and energy improving our “external” conditions, to obtain a sense of freedom, happiness, and to solve many of life’s problems.  Improving “external” conditions will never solve “internal” problems.  At the very moment you feel an internal problem is solved by improving external conditions, something else will arise within which will result in focusing on the external once again; to get that warn and accomplished feeling back.  Working backwards like this is likes being on a hamster wheel; you feel like you’re moving forward but you’re actually going nowhere.  We must learn to control the mind and desires to achieve the happiness we ultimately seek.

First improve “internal conditions” in order to maintain those external things.

Self-Deception

 

masks we wearBy, C. W. Stratton:             The evolution and transformation of our existence is such a wonder yet profound process.  As we recall a number of beliefs we once held, during our early stages of life, this may bring some of us to many thoughts and realizations regarding our current place in life.  There may have been a point in time that we believed we would maintain the old thought process throughout our existence.  Assessing this creates a probable response of, “I was trapped”.  This trap may have manifested as being in a place where we needed to conform to the environment and others in order to survive; not survive in the sense that death was a possibility.  This type of survival is associated with saving face and maintaining a certain reputation among your association or peers.  This created self-deception to the point that a character was created along the way.  The character we’ve created presented as our reality.

The portrayal displayed needed to be maintained at all times, no matter the possible consequences of the deception.  It was like the actor who never goes out of character; even off screen. Over time, the portrayal almost felt like our “true-self”.  Although there were instances where breaking character was appropriate, but the pull to be other that ourselves was much greater.  The deceptive-self (portrayal) was greatly accepted amongst our associates.  However, during this process of self-deception, many of us experienced constant turmoil within.  The turmoil may have gotten so overwhelming that it may have even manifested as an explosion.  These explosions may have been toward those close to us or even towards ourselves.  We became so lost in the chaos, deception and explosiveness that it became even more difficult to get in touch with our “true-selves.”  There are those who have been able to come to the realization of the dangers that self-deception has created, and as result a moment of reflection, perspective and assessment was granted.  Many of us were able to break free of the “trap” we existed in for years.

Breaking free and coming to a state of enlightenment regarding the “true-self” eventually concluded that who we truly are enough, and the need to have that character to validate who we “thought” we were became non-existent.  Coming to terms with this requires hard work, discipline and a sincere effort of “Love Self”.  The evolution and transformation is an ongoing process.  Mara (the evil to that tempts, corrupts, instills fear and negatively influences us) is no longer invited into our lives once this realization is made.  However, we must always acknowledge it exists because the aforementioned were all active ingredients to our “self-deception”.  Taking time to continue working on self and utilizing concepts and practices that feed our true-selves will become the fortress that protects us from that character that we once harbored.  Having the courage to sit with our true-selves, daily, without fear, can broaden our enlightenment and willingness to grow as a person.  We are not perfect beings, but many of us strive to be.  Take off the mask, step away from the stage and lights to acknowledge who we truly are.

Searching the Bookshelf from Within

By, C.W. Stratton

Bookshelf

Searching and reading so many books about ways to improve our lives and how to overcome obstacles that we may face, has created so much confusion and increased uncertainty.  Trying to put all the pieces together from the books, social media posts, eBooks and blogs becomes overwhelming.  All the “How To” books lead us in so many different directions.  Going to the bookstore searching for “that right book” is like searching for a needle in a haystack.  When trying to narrow down our choices, we rely on those author names that we may hear in the media.  You know, the authors that relay how great their books are and how helpful their own words were for them.  This is by no means an avenue to discredit those author that spend countless amounts  of time dedicating their craft to reach those who may benefit.  The are great author out there who have been helpful and transforming many lives.

How do we sort through all the titles and advertisements to improve our situations?  It’s a lot of work for many.  The average individual is searching for something specific to their experience.  We want a fix to our circumstances and many want to situation resolved in an instant.  This isn’t realistic by any means.  Just as the our struggles and obstacles in life occurred over time, so does resolving them.  Yes, there is material out their that will be helpful but we must sort through the mess that’s before us; not the books, the mess within ourselves.  If we can get to that point, our search for the right material become less overwhelming.  We may then be able to find something that’s specific to our experience, which will eventually guide us in the direction we desire.

We may be awarded many suggestions from individuals regarding which material has helped them, but keep in mind that your reality and experience may be different than their.  Take the suggestions, look at it closely and decipher which parts of the suggestions can be applied to you.  Your motivation to improve your life or circumstances may initial manifest externally but as you continue to search, that motivation manifest internally which help in maintaining the discipline to continue taking forward steps.  The books are in abundance, life is in abundance and your desire to be the best you can be should be in abundance.  Stepping back and looking at the bookshelf, we begin the process of decision making, so step back and look at ourselves and do the same.  There is so much valuable information out there at our fingertips, lets use it.

The search for answers continue!

Self-Assessment

By, C.W. Stratton

Self assessment
During life we will be challenged and even forced to take a real close look at ourselves and our current position in life.  Forced self-assessment can be fear provoking and overwhelming for the most part.  The self-assessment can be catapulted by our interactions with our loved ones, colleagues, friends or other associates.  The results of the self-assessment can bring about fear, shame, guilt and even pain; for some of us.  There are those of us that may harbor these feelings to the point of feeling total defeat and not wanting to improve our situation.  We tend to protect these harmful feelings and thoughts with all we have.
During our illogical phase, which can last a moment or for a significant period of time, we harm ourselves and others in the process.  If our self-assessment indicates that bad decisions, behaviors  or mistakes were made in our lives, we have the ability to resolve and restore.  Making a bad decision doesn’t make us bad people.  That decision can be transformed into a learning a experience that can help propel us to where we really want to be.  The key is not to stay “stuck” in the bad decision or in the feelings that come with it.  Looking within ourselves and finding the strength that we all possess to move forward is such an enlightening experience.
Looking at ourselves (our Inner-Self; is who we are) and acknowledging the natural gifts and talents that we possess is key.  We have the tendency of being more focused on our personality (things outside of ourselves; family, careers, friends, material things, certain behaviors, etc.), opposed to digging deeper to look at our Inner Self.  We can overcome the negative thoughts and feelings that we may have about ourselves by tapping into our natural abilities and talents that exist.  There are those times where we may say we are having a bad day, but what I’ve found over time, it’s really a bad moment that I hold on to for a whole day.  Self-assessment isn’t a bad thing, it an opportunity to see where change and growth need to occur.