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.

Be Present With Your Experiences

listening-with-mindfulness

C. W. Stratton

Having the strength and courage to face difficult times as they arise has the tendency of creating growth and resiliency; including internal fortitude that can guide you throughout your journey. When initially faced with difficulty or adversity, many have the impulse to run or attempt to create an altered reality of the situation. Many times, this is done to avoid pain or discomfort associated with the experience. Embracing the situation and experiencing the feelings associated has the propensity of building character and provide assistance in obtaining a clear, realistic perspective of the circumstances being faced.

If the option of avoiding or covering up the experience is chosen, limitations and lack of clarity can be formed. When this occurs, the situation or circumstances will never be seen for what they really are. We will alter the experience to our liking in such a way that it makes the individual feel they are managing the situation. This is the process of fooling ourselves but ultimately this is “self-deception”.

The neglecting of the self and the experiences around us become habitual over time. What occurs eventually is that an alternative reality is created which brings about internal suffering. The habit of altering what’s real brings about an abundance of life-dissatisfaction, envy, disappointment and resentment. As a result of this, our world becomes so much smaller with every experience that we choose to alter. We don’t always have to experience pain and discomfort in order to learn and grow, but in order to fully experience life we may want to embrace all of our experiences.

There will always be storms that surface at an expected time, but remember that storms always pass. Live in your true reality and experience because you will always shine at the end of the day. Don’t not allow fear to dictate your experiences with the world. Dig deep within yourself, be present and utilize the strength and courage that already exists within you.

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.

Mentally and Emotionally Imprisoned

Break Free wordpress

The greatest prison that people live in is the fear of what other people think.

~David Icke

By, C. W. Stratton

Life is full of surprises and gifts. However, many of us are too inpatient to wait for these to be revealed. There are those of us that want things to occur yesterday, but when we are so fixated on this we tend to lose sight of what’s right before us. You know the saying, “we have one foot on yesterday and the other on tomorrow which results in us pissing all over today.” I have a clear understanding that we want to improve our lives and at times we will do this by any means. Many times we are just spinning our wheels and not take the risk that requires us to improve. We become locked in to a set of ideas, beliefs and behaviors that totally restrict us from going in the direction that we consistently relay that we want to go in. What is done, is we create a barrier around ourselves and we cry from within about the things we want and what we want to improve in our lives. We become encapsulated by our faulty ideas, beliefs and behaviors; the very things that have restricted and confined us.

The faulty ideas, beliefs and behaviors eventually take form as an invisible wall; they imprison us. Those that are imprisoned have a date of release (many do), but those imprisoned psychologically do not have a date of release. Actually, this is known as the most difficult form of imprisonment to escape. We carry this wherever we go and it’s exposed during our interactions with the world. Consequently, we look outside our ourselves and seek fault in things around us, instead of looking within. This can be quite catastrophic if carry this throughout our life-cycle. We scream, fight and cry but actually do not know why, or who we are doing this towards. In all reality, we are fighting with ourselves because we don’t know how to escape the prison we have created for ourselves. We have the ability to escape this state of mind; why not, we created it.

To escape this requires hard work, consistency, resiliency and self-honesty on our part. It may be scary to look at ourselves but it’s even scarier being locked-in. Breaking from the barriers or psychological imprisonment we have formed can be quite rewarding, refreshing and liberating. We must discontinue looking outside of ourselves to obtain what we say we desire. Risks need to be taken and courage must accompany this in order to break free on the chains we built. Fear is the most significant thing that binds us and until we get to a point of courage, we will remain in the same position we are currently in. There is so much in this world to experience and explore outside of the prison we have manufactured. Some believe remaining in their current position is safe, or even comfortable. I say, “it’s just familiar” so we don’t let go. Escape the prison you’ve created and begin to live.

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.

Legitimate Fear

Fear

By, C.W. Stratton

All of us have experienced some form of fear on one level or another.  Being able to identify legitimate fear becomes problematic for some.  Fear is the unpleasant emotion or belief that something or someone is dangerous, likely to cause harm or a threat.   Another definition suggest that the feeling can be experience weather the threat is real or imagined.  Focusing our attention on the feeling itself has the likelihood to limit our ability in determining if the fear is actually warranted in a given situation.  Obviously there are legitimate reason to experience fear.

*A barking dog exposing its fangs running in your direction.

*A car barreling down the road in your direction as you cross the street.

*Someone threatening you with a weapon or causing physical pain.

*An event or situation that can result in loss of life.

The fear that many of us experience aren’t typically associated with the aforementioned.  After assessing a given situation thoroughly, we may find that our fears aren’t connected to dangers or threats at all.  Some of our fears are associated with others and how they may respond to certain discussions we may be involved in.  We may be that individual who lacks self-confidence, whereas fear becomes a constant feeling at unexpected times.  Given this being a individuals reality, we must realize that lack of self-confidence doesn’t mean there are dangers or threats that will become of harm to the person.  The fear becomes the fear of a feeling that one may experience if we relay a message to someone and they don’t respond in a way that we had depicted in our minds prior.  A result, we begin to condition ourselves mentally to avoid certain conversations, situations and interactions.  Think about some of the ways and things we associate with fear:

*Change

*Changing careers

*Letting someone down.

*Being wrong.

*Asking for help.

*Following your dreams.

*Speaking up about what you believe in.

*Addressing an issue with someone who may have hurt your feelings

*Challenging a statement of someone that you know is inaccurate.

*Stepping outside of certain conventional practices.

*Rejection (avoid hearing that huge word “NO”).

These are only a few things that we associate with fear but as we can see, there’s no real danger, harm or threat involved in these.  However, we hold on and identify the feeling as fear, and in turn, it prevents us from making the progress that we say we desire.  We become paralyzed by the illegitimate fears.  We rob ourselves of the opportunity to communicate our wants and needs; we remain in the comfort zone of stagnation.  Is the zone really comfortable?  It’s just a familiar place to be that’s consumed with discomfort.  It’s time to challenge ourselves (our views, perceptions and ideas of reality) and become more confident and comfortable with who we are as people.  Being able to identify the feeling you are actually experiencing in a given situation is critical to progress; it’s not always fear.  It could possibly be other feelings you may subconsciously refuse to identify (inadequacy, insecurity, shame, or guilt).  It’s time to identify and conquer.