Young vs Old

youngvsold

(Post taken from my Instagram account @taishka_lefler)

Our society glorifies youth & the young. Firm bodies, supple skin. Worship bodies, not minds. Fawn over skin, not knowledge, wisdom & highly tuned skills.
We’re supposed to believe that youth is the end all & be all.
Youth isn’t the end of the story, youth is the beginning of the story.

As I get older I enjoy the perks that come with age – even though it’s age unseen (I look young for 43). Without living this long I couldn’t have the life experiences that I’ve had.
I couldn’t grow the way I have.
I couldn’t learn the knowledge & acquire the wisdom that I have.
I couldn’t have the people skills, the diplomacy, the life & job skills that I have.
It took 43 years for me to develop into who I currently am. I’m so much more than I was in my 20’s & 30’s. And I’ll be so much more in my 50’s & 60’s.
I have stretch marks from carrying a child & there are businesses that will help me fix that.
I CREATED & GREW A LIFE and I’m supposed to feel bad that I don’t have my pre-life-creating body? To be self-conscious of the evidence?
Our best & brightest scientists can’t even do that!
Without women having babies humanity will die off. Yet THE VERY THING KEEPING OUR SPECIES ALIVE is supposed to be something to be ashamed of, to be fixed, to be corrected.
That, ladies & gentlemen, is the irrational thinking that I’m writing this post about. What we idolize & what we scorn is out of whack.

 

Advertisements

What will people think??

We constantly compare ourselves to others. We compare weight, body type/shape, clothes, jobs/careers, cars, partners or spouses….and on and on and on. We compare Everything! We’re not taught to be content with ourselves. We think someone else is ahead of us in some aspect of life because of something they have that we don’t.

Being a fairly happy-go-lucky person I’ve mostly stopped worrying what others think. They have their own life, I have mine. And mine is Much more fun so I’m not going to hold back because someone might judge something about me.

These 2 things, worrying what others think and also constantly comparing ourselves to them, puts us in a prison, a cage. How can you just be happy and live life and when you feel strangers need to approve of you and everything you do?

business-casual-women

Here’s…someone. She’s going to represent every woman we women compare ourselves to. She’s also going to represent the person we’re worrying ‘what will people think??’

What do you know about her?  She’s blonde…right now (might be a dye job). And that’s she’s dressed nicely. Is she dressed for work? Does she like to dress up for herself? Did we catch her just after a photo shoot where they let her keep the clothes?

63f3f6d5cf79c597e44ef745fabf7834

Men, here’s a random man to represent who you see as your bar, as your competition. You try to match him in all areas of life. You worry what he thinks of you, of your actions, of your life. What do you know about him? He’s dressed in business casual, is white or European and looks serious. That’s it.

From these pictures you can’t tell their height, their likes or dislikes, their sense of humour, their hopes and dreams, whether they prefer Coke or Pepsi, cats or dogs, the country or city life…

We may compare our dwelling and car with someone else in the neighbourhood and feel inferior, not knowing that person has a nicer ride and crib because a deceased relative willed them a lot of money. Or a trust fund came due. Or…any host of revenue sources we aren’t aware of.

Someone at work may always be critical of you, of everyone, making you think they’re a mean person. In reality that person could have just lost their parents, be in a nasty divorce and just found out that they have cancer. And they could be dealing with all of this alone.

You may be comparing your modest lifestyle with someone ‘wealthy’ on your block and not know they are so high in debt that they can barely sleep at night, worrying about it. This person is more concerned with giving a fake impression of wealth than with how they can actually manage to sustain that impression and what it’s doing to them.

You just never know. If you don’t know what’s going on in their life, anything about them in fact, then how could they know anything about you and yours?

Walking down the street, or riding the streetcar/subway/bus, people don’t want to just let loose and dance/sing/etc because…’what will people think??’
People don’t want to make noise making love because ‘what will people think??’ I’d imagine they’d just think ‘I’m jealous’. :p

While listening to a kickin’ song and waiting to cross the street why not just bust a move? Are you worried ‘what will people think??’ Get over it! Let them be jealous, or have snarky thoughts. Let that be their problem, not yours.
While driving seat dance to a good song. Who cares what people think? Belt out to your favourite song! Who cares what people think?

If they’re judging you then they must have a pretty miserable or boring life. Their problem, not yours. You’re too busy having a Wonderful life! Or at least you should be :)

If you want to compare yourself to anyone, to worry ‘what will people think??’ here’s your people:

-font-b-Business-b-font-Casual-Dress-font-b-Attire-b-font-font-b-Men

What-is-Business-Casual-Attire-for-Dinner-for-Men-8

jeans-casual-work-clothes-1

Stylish, in great shape and…not real.

If you’re living any aspect of your life, monitoring your behaviours, based on the question ‘what will people think??’ just remember that you know Nothing about those people. And they know Nothing about you. Appearances tell you nothing about a person. Decide to break free from the prison of ‘what will people think??’ and live to be happy! Everyone loses with judgment. Everyone wins with happy!!

If anyone  makes you feel insecure think of this guy….

businesscasual3_gq_xaviworld

He could be sitting on an invisible desk but I’m inclined to think he’s about to do the leprechaun jig :p

Or think of them in their…

Mens+Fashion+2011+summer+Underwear+Diesel

Beauty and Beyond

Anime_Beauty_-_Dream_Lover

I just wrote a post about ‘The Secret to Looking Younger and Losing Weight’ that I HOPE conveyed ‘beauty’ is an inside job, not just on the outside.

It’s not just about looks! Let’s take Cleopatra:

Cleopatra

This is a rendition based upon an actual existing portrait. Cleopatra wasn’t a beauty but she was described as charming, very intelligent and very confident. And she managed to snag nearly every man she wooed.

Confidence has no comparison. Anyone with healthy confidence is sexy. Period. True confidence is a rare trait and it will make you stand out. You have to believe in yourself before others will. Overconfidence isn’t legit, it’s the same as lack of confidence but with the person trying too hard to make up for it. Remember that.

An interesting thing I hear is that men end up marrying women who make them feel good. As Maya Angelou said “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
If you’re funny, energetic, have a great attitude and are caring and compassionate how could people NOT find you beautiful? Because you’d be so much fun to be around people would gravitate to you.

I find that someone’s personality and attitude affects their appearance to me. How they are on the inside is how I start to see them on the outside. This is not a conscious decision on my part, it just happens.

To be beautiful on the outside be beautiful on the inside! :-D

Dove Real Beauty Sketches

Success

164918

I’d like to write not about the North American view of success, usually rooted in money, but rather in what I perceive to be True success – within ourselves.

Even though my blogs will All be motivation-based their immediate relationship to the topic of motivation may seem a little blurred but I feel that as 3-dimensional people our lives aren’t black and white and Many things touch us. Being positive and motivated, and helping others find this in themselves, isn’t independent of life – it IS life. In my last blog about bullying I showed how I feel motivation and positivity will solve the problem. The headlining of the gun control issue after that horrible massacre of young children at Christmas baffled, saddened and frustrated me. The problem is Not gun availability but rather what happened to make that troubled soul do such a horrendous thing in the first place. A country of so many people and many of the rulers and law-makers don’t seem to care about any of them. Prevention works better than cure! We need to invest in People, not corporations! Prohibition of Anything fails – alcohol, drugs, guns.  “Taboo” is a very good movie that Morgan Freeman narrated, with very valid points on this subject.
Ozzy Osbourne said “If people don’t kill, if guns kill, then why do we send people to war? Why don’t we just send the guns?” Well said Ozzy, well said!!

One of the best tools for development and growth is to Not care what others think. It’s a hard habit to break but well worth it! My ‘nomadic’ upbringing has really helped in this regard; I didn’t really Have anyone to try to impress – not family and not anyone at school since I was always the new kid. When you’re not distracted by this you make decisions that are best for You. You don’t spend money you don’t have trying to impress. You don’t judge yourself through someone else’s eyes.

Part of my personal success has been this very long, convoluted journey of entry level jobs and a mish-mash of post-secondary education-dabbling, trying to find my happiness in others’ viewpoint of how to live or what I should be doing. I have Finally seen the light as to the latter part; my life is for Me! Only I will be living it so I may as well make sure I enjoy it.

Last semester I made some decisions that have given me leaps and bounds towards my personal success. My game plan had been to complete the 2nd year of my Automation and Robotics diploma and the 3rd year of my Mechanical Engineering Design diploma by this summer. To do this I was enrolled in 8 engineering-heavy courses. This course load Would have been doable but at the beginning of the semester I was still working 30 hours every weekend and I also decided to volunteer for a couple of ongoing things and for any school function. I also started a school club and created a Facebook page under the club name but it had a very different mandate than the club – it took a Lot of time. It’s all a blur – like the movie Rushmore. I Do remember being constantly sleep deprived and falling asleep at my desk every single night.

Not surprising it all blew up in my face. I never had time to study or do homework, I actually forgot about tests and I didn’t study for my exams (I was putting all of my time into the club and the Facebook page). And you know what? I wouldn’t change last semester for the world!! I learned SO much about myself! I enjoy putting on events. I love volunteering. I love working with children. I love that I fought my shyness and many people now see me as “so outgoing”, “friendly” and “bubbly”. Only a few short months ago I was preparing myself for a career and life that wasn’t going to make me happy. I was going to force my square self into a round hole. Now I’m on a VERY different path. I’m exploring my motivational side, event planning, and volunteering as a literacy tutor (I have always wanted to do this) . I will start a self-esteem and confidence-building website for youth, keep my school club and the Facebook page alive, and create a Facebook page geared towards employment/job searching/networking for college students. I will also start a support group for birth parents. The thought of doing any of this doesn’t seem like work, I’m Very excited and happy about my future. I’ve never felt this way before.

2012-03-14-09.03

Life is a journey, not a destination. When you decide to go after an ambition or goal you don’t have to wait for it to be realized to become happy, happiness is Part of the journey! Isn’t that great?? Now that I have finally seen the path for my life I have so much energy, excitement and passion! I am actively participating in the direction of my life and I feel great! Up until this point I was just a leaf floating in the wind, completely at its mercy, going wherever it blew me. Now I’m like a bird, steering and directing myself.

One thing I did right all these years was to not worry too much about the money aspect of my life (materialism) and just work on my own skills and abilities instead. I’ve always been proud of what I now call my success; who I truly am. If you were suddenly beamed elsewhere in the world how hard would it be to get to the point where you are now, with career, home, etc? To me That is success. That is what I have put all of my effort into building. I could lose every single physical thing I own and not have it change who or what I am. Materialism has always been my last priority, I was more concerned with acquiring the skills that could help me get anything I need or want. I don’t ‘hope’ or ‘wish’ that life gets better for me, I Expect it. Hoping and wishing keeps it in the ‘belief’ category – pie in the sky. Leave the pie for dessert :)

Being happy is a great thing! I’m naturally a night person and even though I wouldn’t call myself a morning person I Do now wake up with a smile on my face :) I have pep in my step, I have purpose, drive and ambition! Bob Proctor said that your goals should be so big that they scare you. They do indeed! I have Such massive goals, dreams and expectations. A beautiful thing is that I won’t have to do Any of this alone! No one successfully does anything alone, it doesn’t work that way. None of us lives in a bubble. The help I’ll need along the way will be sent to me, I know this to be true. I don’t hope or wish, I know. Once we see and believe ourselves to be a ‘success’ others will see and believe also.

Bullying

SOCIAL Bullying 1

I decided a few months ago that one of my life purposes was going to be to help in the fight against bullying, or bullycide. I spent half of my life in foster homes, and as a child was always the recipient of bullying. At least in those days it stayed at school since there was no internet, social media or texting. I have been trying to decide how this epidemic can be tackled, since the worst affected are public-school age youth. The answer seems to be in the very place it originates, in the schools.

Ellen DeGeneres stated that the education system needs to teach empathy. I agree wholeheartedly with this.

Providing support for those suffering through bullying seems to be the main platform for this issue. I feel this is putting the cart ahead of the horse. I believe we need to concentrate on tackling the bullying and heading off this problem at the source.

Today’s youth are bombarded with way more advertising and marketing than any other generation and the prime aim of marketing seems to be to make people feel they have some shortcoming that only so-and-so’s product can solve. The numbers of preteens, both male and female, concerned and unhappy with their physical appearance is both shocking and very sad. Even before they hit high school many young people have eating disorders. For my generation the death of Karen Carpenter was the shocking result of once being called fat by a heartless music reviewer. She took it to heart and this led to an eating disorder that eroded her health which eventually killed her. How many of these young people have an early death ahead of them just because of Advertising?? Or because they didn’t have effective role models or mentors who believed in them and built up their self esteem? Some designers are using real size models in their fashion shows. Some advertisers are using realistic models in their print ads and magazines. This is an absolutely Wonderful proactive action. And since the music industry has become so much about looks musicians are taking it upon themselves to be in the best shape of their lives. This can also be an inspiration for young listeners, since physical activity makes you feel good, not just look good. Wii bringing physical activity to video games was a great move. There are even a children’s show where physical activity is part of the show; the kids moving around is supposed to keep the main character energized.

The Psychology of It All

Psychology has proven that a certain percent of people repeat what they know; whatever unhealthy abuse they grew up with/currently experience at home. A certain percent of young people who bully are receiving some kind of abuse or neglect at home. Any child who bullies or acts out is telling you something; either there’s an issue at home or an issue with the individual. Schools are Such an important place and teaching is Such an important job; in my view every individual who works in such a place has taken on a Huge responsibility to help direct and protect our most important resource; the future. The reality is that some parents just can’t or aren’t able to do the job of parenting at home and this falls to our teachers as well.

I’d like to counter Ellen DeGeneres’s empathy in schools idea with self-esteem and confidence-building. This would help both the bully and the bully-ee. The person acting out could be too afraid to tell a teacher about their own issues, or just doesn’t know how to ask for help and is taking their anger out on an easy target. I TRULY believe that integrating self-esteem and confidence-building into education would have a HUGE impact on eradicating bullying. I’m still figuring out what format would be most effective and least contested by current-day school boards. School visits to talk about confidence and self-esteem seem the easiest option at this point. The only drawback is that positive vibes die out quickly if not reinforced. I will also shortly also act on my idea from years ago to make a website geared towards youth to help instill self-esteem and confidence in them.

Since youth aren’t the only ones with self-esteem and confidence issues hopefully this is the start of a whole new movement, a whole new era,  where we start putting our fellow humans ahead of materialism, self-indulgence and appeasing our egos. Since reaching adults is much harder than reaching children, hopefully creating change in our youth will create change in adults; trickle-up theory?

My Anti-Motivational Rant

While looking for a picture for this post I saw some Very gruesome images: nooses, bruised, battered and bloodied faces, punches about to be thrown and kicks about to be disbursed. While writing this I was ignoring just how violent young people can be. Whenever an adult would consider an action to be assault I strongly feel that we need to treat young with the same seriousness. Even into late teens some are causing emergency room visits or even hospitalization without being punished in any way whatsoever. If they’re allowed to drive at 16, then why are they not considered to be responsible for their actions when assaulting another? I’m of the generation where belts and wooden spoons weren’t just to hold up pants or kitchen utensils. We survived those punishments. Society is now so freaking lax with any punishment for deserving behaviour, that a certain number of our young people have little or no respect for authority, their elders, themselves, or each other. The only solution I see for aggressive physical behaviour is legal action and self-esteem and empathy work while incarcerated (a group home or whatever setting the judge chooses). And I think ALL bullying incidents should result in required community service. Any infraction by anyone should result in community service. Oh, just thought of a great slogan: “If you’re going to act like an ass, you’re going to get the work of an ass.” (as in donkey) Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? ;)

Rant Done. Thank You

If you want to be part of this movement there are many ways, basically all under volunteering; Big Sisters/Big Brothers, volunteer at your local recreation center, volunteer for a homework tutor organization or the library – in Toronto many branches have homework tutor programs. Every city should have it’s own volunteer website. Toronto’s big ones are (http://www.volunteertoronto.ca) and (https://charityvillage.com/directories/volunteers/find-volunteer-listings.aspx) Charity Village is Canada wide. You’ll be surprised at all the places that use volunteers and have programs you aren’t aware of. YMCA has a lot going on that I didn’t know about until I perused their site one day. There’s a lot you can do in your own back yard as well. Perhaps there’s a single mother in your area or building who could really use some babysitting help. Or maybe just play basketball with the local kids, any exposure to another role model is a great thing for young people. I watched the movie ‘Unconditional’ about Papa Joe (Joe Bradford) who lives in Nashville. He has been a father figure to many fatherless children in his neighbourhood and also distributes food to needy families. We all have the ability to be a Papa Joe.

I wholeheartedly support volunteering. When young people partake in volunteering it helps them see a bigger picture of the world, gives them responsibility and confidence and also lets them see that some people aren’t as well off as they are. This pretty well goes for adults too. And there is no feeling comparable to helping others and giving freely of your own time. The appreciation you get back is very rewarding. To me this is a requirement to a balanced life. Keep yourself happy and ‘the small stuff’ will just disappear :)

My spiritual growth journey

426502_498009960263428_1818861132_n

I have come to the realization that we are here to serve others. We are here to look after each other and put others first whenever possible (you still have to maintain a healthy balance in life and live a decent life). I genuinely care about people and that comes through whenever I deal with anyone (aside from when I’m being stupid and sweating the small stuff) and this causes people to care in return and to help me in my time of need.

You have to give to receive. I have seen and heard about this in action. The Higher Power only wants to help us. When we show we’re deserving we get that help. Being deserving means we’re learning our lessons in life. Being a Scrooge means we’re Not learning our lessons so life heaps on another helping of pain and grief to teach us. There truly is a method to the madness; we can see this if we open our eyes.

We show people how to treat us. This sums up all my bad experiences in the past. It’s very hard to admit but I have let people treat me a certain way. When I didn’t like how things were going I didn’t walk away. I would continually give that person yet another chance to change, which never happened. One ex treated his next girlfriend quite nicely, but when he had interactions with me he went back to his old ways. She showed him she’d only allow good treatment whereas I had showed him he could be a jerk with me with no repercussions. There’s a spoken word poet I like, Suli Breaks. (He did this great video ‘So you want a degree’. You should check it out, it’s really good.) I’ve linked his ‘He’s not’ video. It gets golden at around 3 minutes. Steve Harvey says basically the same thing. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJzBtL2SKZg)

Show gratitude. Here in North America we’re taught greed and want. Chasing the next new toy or keeping up with the Jones’ is a never ending vicious cycle that will never bring happiness. We have to be able to stop and realize how great of a life we have. I try to mostly ignore marketing; that new shampoo does Not do what they say it does. That new beauty cream will not necessarily even be nice to my skin. The best beauty product is Confidence! The best thing you can put on your face is a Smile :) The best way to age well does not come in a bottle but by Stop Worrying and be able to ‘stop and smell the roses’, hear the birds, etc. At any moment you should be able to stop, look around you and see beauty and wonder. To the old angry me this was like a hidden world that I Just Didn’t See. It’s so sad that so many people still wear these blinders. When you have a calmness about you your worries take care of themselves. Recently I could have ended up homeless due to a school loan issue but I just accepted the situation and thought of ways to have my stuff taken care of and knew I’d likely be able to get a shelter bed somewhere. My calmness likely directly worked for me; my landlord allowed me to pay rent late. It’s only now that I can look back on my life and see all the blessings I’ve had along the way. I experienced the unconditional love of maternal grandparents and had a mother who, for the most part, loved me. They’ve all left me years ago but to have Had that love makes me luckier than many. I’ve had no great life by any stretch of the imagination but it has definitely been colourful/interesting and it has ultimately led me to be the person I am today. The trick is to not see the bad things but rather the good. Things are done For you, not To you. I am a much stronger person today for what I’ve gone through. I am also very gentle and kind, this seems to also be a result of ‘colourful’ lives (sandpaper that polishes us).

Be grateful that you have a job that gives you money to pay the bills, be grateful for the food in your kitchen, be grateful for your 5 senses, be grateful for your health. You don’t have to think of people in 3rd world countries who don’t have these, people in your own city don’t have these. Also be grateful for your Ability to be grateful. Again, the people around you don’t all have this ability. You can create your own happiness. That is a wonderful thing :)

Smile! An inner happiness and peace will literally make you shine :) We give off vibes and a happy vibe will attract happy people and situations to you. Be kind to everyone you meet. Never carry over anger from any past hurt, if 2 people in a row hurt you that doesn’t mean the 3rd one will. Have a clean slate for every person you encounter. Allow them to write on that slate, don’t assume for them what they would write. We all have bad or off days. It could be that you’re encountering a great person on an ‘off’ day. Mean people are usually just someone who’s hurting or having a really bad time, try to not add to their woes by being mean in return, or to your own. The smallest gestures have had profound impacts; have made people change their mind against committing suicide.

I often joke about using my powers for good vs evil. (I DO have one super power; whenever in line I tend to be invisible – both to cashiers and the people behind me in line. I’ve also had bus drivers close the door on me Three times!. I just KNOW the one time I try to make this super power work for me in a bank it will fail ;) ) We actually Do have a lot of power, each and every one of us. The hardest part about life is thinking outside of the box that we’ve grown up to believe in. The box doesn’t actually exist. There’s an experiment where fruit flies are put in a small bottle with the lid on. They try for 20 minutes to get out, then realize how futile their efforts are and stop. When the lid is taken off they actually starve to death in this little bottle because they still believe that they’re trapped. It’s easier to deal with and manage billions of people if they believe their bottle has an air tight lid. Guess what? There is no lid! It’s your choice to live life knowing all the wonders of existence are available to you or to live in a little bottle. Truly your choice. Seeing is not believing. Case in point: Is electricity real? Yes. Can you see it? No. Game – set – match.