C.W. Stratton Evolve is a word or concept that continually gets thrown around, especially as it relates to doing better or improving. So, why aren’t we more inclined to use the word better or improve? Maybe it’s due to the aforementioned words appearing too plain, bland, or self-explanatory. The word Evolve may seem more of a process that includes sequential stages. Or, it may be a word that is used by intellectuals to identify the process of change and its importance. The definition of Evolve is to achieve or develop gradually, or to produce by natural evolutionary processes. No matter how you may interpret the word, the simple concept is about change; if it be in position, thinking or way of living. This short writing is just a preliminary/introduction to ideas and breakdown of EVOLVE. Evolve is change. Evolve in this context is about positive change and evolve is a process that will hopefully result in lasting change. EVOLVE will present steps and positive ways to identify barriers that many of us may have, or have failed to recognize, in our pursuit of making lasting change in our lives. Some of those barriers are a result of past experiences, not necessarily traumatic experiences, but experiences that have impacted our thinking and ways of doing things. You know, those things we consider NORMAL, when in fact they really aren’t. You may not be able to recognize the faulty thinking patterns at the moment, and how they have guided some of the impulsive/bad decisions that we may have made along our journey. We will get an opportunity to truly embark on our past experiences in the world and hopefully obtain a different perspective of our current position. In doing this, we will begin working on the Self-Narrative; the story we tell ourselves about ourselves. The Narrative has had significant role in how we have lived our lives. It has guided us to this point and it’s time to change it. The same story we tell ourselves is the story we tell the rest of the world. Change may be needed. EVOLVE is coming but in the meantime, look within and begin identifying the faulty thinking/beliefs and assess the narrative that you’ve relayed to yourself over and over.
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.
Life has the tendency or throwing us for a loop emotionally, but we must remain resilient in our pursuits.
C. W. Stratton
“How people treatment you is their karma; how you respond is yours.”
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:
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.
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.
Being “Original” in thought and action is an accomplishment we all strive for.
C. 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.