Comparing apples to oranges

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(This post is from my Instagram account @taishka_lefler)

We seem to always be comparing ourselves to someone. We women compare ourselves to other women. Men compare themselves to other men.

But it’s truly comparing apples to oranges. These comparisons are shallow. Purely on the surface. We can never truly compare one person against another.
There’s a Carl Sagan joke: if you want to make an apple pie from scratch, first you have to create the universe.
Someone can only be compared to me if they have lived my life. Every second of it. But no one has. Not one out of 7.5 billion people has lived a life exactly like mine.

Looks are a culmination of DNA from 2 sources. But those 2 sources are a culmination of DNA from thousands of ancestors. What is the point in comparing looks unless we’re willing to compare ancestors? Just as skin colour is a direct correlation to sun exposure our ancestors experienced, features are a direct correlation to the elements.

We compare strength knowing nothing of the tools provided, or lacking, in that person’s upbringing or in their life.
We judge financial wealth, assuming others care about money the same way that we do.
We judge the looks of someone’s partner, assuming that person looks for the same things we do, knowing nothing of the character, sense of humour or compassion of that partner that drew the person in in the first place.
We compare clothes, accessories, cars…
Brand name clothes are still just clothes. A Gucci handbag is still just a handbag. A Lamborghini is still just a car. And money is merely a tool, only one of many that can usually get the job done.

You are not your things & neither am I. We are all so much more.
We bring so much to the table. We shouldn’t short change ourselves. We shouldn’t make baseless comparisons.
We can really only compare ourselves to… ourselves.

 

Love ❤

Happy couple

When we think of love this is what we think of, this picture above. In English speaking culture the word “love” is first applied to romantic love, then secondly applied to platonic love. But mostly we delegate love as meaning romance.

This limited thinking creates many barriers. We go through life hesitant to express the platonic love we have for people because it’s just not done. As I get older I notice more and more how old customs and ways of doing things are damaging society and holding humanity back.

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We see barriers everywhere that do not exist. We limit friendship to people we already know. We’re slow to let new people in once we have a circle of friends. And we’ll only work on building that circle of friends while we feel we still need friends. Then once we’re content with our circle we just stop.  We just stop. I’ve seen this many times in my years of attending college and university.

A circle can look a bit like a round fence. Keeping people in and keeping others out. And we may have various circles due to our jobs, groups we belong to and relationships we’re in. And each person in our individual circles has their own set of circles, circles we’re not allowed into unless invited. So we can have an intricate pattern of circles, our own and ones we’ve been invited into. Yet each circle has its fence, keeping some people in and everyone else out.

Love, platonic love, is present in these circles but withheld from anyone not in these circles. Being in a circle is like being a member of a private club. Being a member is great! Being invited to events, having access to this whole network of people and their contacts, and basking in the friendship and platonic love that comes with membership. But all of this is only available to members.

We are willing to love people in our various circles but not those outside of our circles. This seems to defy logic. How does someone you know automatically become deserving of love while a stranger, merely for the sake of being a stranger, become undeserving of our love?

We decide they must earn our love by doing something to become our friend; likely by doing something nice for us. Possibly repeatedly. So to do something for them, to love them, they must first do something for us.

This circle is a fence that keeps love in but also keeps love out.

Love has absolutely no limit. We will never run out of love. Yet we get stingy with our love. We treat it like a precious commodity. Even though we expect others to be free and easy with their love towards us.

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Love cannot be fenced in. It cannot be withheld from people, merely because we do not yet know them. It cannot be treated as a reward for positive behaviour. It cannot be stifled. If love is not given room to grow it will wither and die.

After oxygen, water, food and shelter love is the next absolute necessity for survival. We use love to handle all of life’s hurdles. We use love to build confidence to do what we have to do in life and to make the decisions we have to make. We use love to rebuild our lives after we’ve suffered tragedies. We use love to empathize with others who are going through tragedy, to take action to help end that tragedy.

And we use love to say a few kinds words to someone that, unbeknownst to us, kept them from going home and committing suicide as they had planned.

As a fetus, before we have a brain we have a heart.

Love surpasses geography and time. Love is magical and everlasting. And there has yet to be a weapon designed that can conquer it.

Inspiration, Motivation and Laughter

Because I love you guys here’s a 2nd post for today. These 2 videos I found very inspiring; talks given by 2 very well-known men. Please share the links with anyone you know who could benefit from hearing these words.

No matter who we are we all have tough times and find ourselves in need of encouragement from time to time. We all just want to be loved.

 

I’m back 😊

Wow, I haven’t posted in a very long time! I’ve been giving a lot of love to Twitter @TaishkaLefler and Instagram: taishka_lefler lately, you can check those out for regular doses of happy. Here are some ‘posts’ I wrote for Twitter; my solution to the 140 character limit :p (See? There’s a solution to every problem.)

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Dis-Connect

One weekend before Halloween there was the Zombie Walk at City Hall in downtown Toronto. I went to Zombie-watch but was able to get free makeup so I joined the fun. It was unclear when the walk was so I did my own Zombie Walk around the block. Most people didn’t know what was going on that day so I had the element of surprise and ghoul on my side :) I had a lot of fun! I was able to scare a lot of people with my sneaky ways :-D What surprised me is when people were either so intent on their phones or talking to the person they were with or looking ahead as they walked that they Didn’t Even Notice Me. This is how I looked.

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Yes, some people actually paid me no mind.

I sometimes waved instead of trying to eat brains, with this hand.

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The other side looks just as ‘bloody’. When people looked up from their body attachment…

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…they either smiled or waved back but didn’t seem to notice the ‘blood’ on my hand. Sometimes my hand is all they saw, or should I say didn’t see as the ‘blood’ didn’t phase them.

Electronic toys are here for good, no matter the form they take. Social media will forever remain a part of our world, no matter how it evolves. But we have the choice of how much it becomes integrated into our lives. Are you able to turn off the TV, turn off the computer or tablet, put your phone down and just go for a walk or even leave the house for the day? Our idea of ‘I need it’ is like a woman’s purse. Our purses keep getting bigger yet are always full of stuff. The bigger the purse the more stuff we put in it. We don’t need most of that stuff. Men get by with wallets (or did before the man bag became a fashion accessory) . Our purses contain wallets as well as so much more. But we feel that we need all of that stuff. Our idea of ‘need’ is becoming skewered.

Toronto is a large, multi-cultural city with a lot of people. Yet many times I see people on their phones, talking or texting, ignoring all the people around them.

When do we decide to be friendly with people and be open to making friends, or even just having a conversation, and other times (the majority) decide we’ll only talk or text with the people we already know. None of us came into this world having friends, we only came into this world having family (or did, if we’re lucky). We actually made friends at some point, we never just had friends. When do we decide that those people are the only friends we’ll make? When do we become resistant to adding to that friend base? The opportunity is always there but it can take things such as a new school, a new job, or a new home to force us to reach out and ‘talk to strangers’. When we talk to enough strangers we make acquaintances and friends. At the very least we improve someone’s day by being friendly.

We have this feeling of separation from other humans. We see differences, real or imagined. There is so much of the Us vs Them mentality. We group people based on skin colour, religious beliefs, ethnicity, even by where they live. When we talk to someone new, even if by accident, what do we notice? We notice similarities. Shared interests, sense of humour, political beliefs, or even travel destinations. We have the same fears. We all cry. We all get hurt. We all want to love and be loved. We all want to be accepted. We all want respect.

We disconnect ourselves from each other, cut ourselves off from each other. We can be surrounded by a sea of people and will either ignore everyone and everything, listening to music and/or playing games, or texting with a few select people that we’ve allowed into our world.

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Once I had a conversation with someone who never took their oversized earphones off, I had no idea if the music was still playing or not. It was very distracting, it felt like if I got boring they could turn their music back on and I would never know.

We all want to be loved, appreciated, respected….

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Technology is created to improve our lives and to help us connect. It’s up to each of us whether it hits the mark or not.

Tolerance

As with just about anything on YouTube there are negative comments about this video. Those comments have to do with intolerance. And of course I LOVED this video because, to me, it represented tolerance.

In the North American culture, as with anywhere, the population is exploding. So we have more people. But we also have more sensitive people. Spirituality is coming around and the more spiritual you are the more sensitive you are. The younger generations are just coming into this world more sensitive – THIS IS OUR SAVING GRACE, believe me.

People are being more true to themselves, or trying to, but there are angry, opinionated people who make it hard for them. Who make things hard for all of us. Young people are TORMENTING other young people (bullying leads to suicide on a regular basis). Adults systematically discriminate against other adults all the time, or calling a spade a spade, adults bully other adults. ALL THE TIME. Our police, court systems and morgues are busy with the results of young bullies who have grown up and learned to perfect their craft.

The age of intolerance, say about the last 1000 years, has to end. That is the logic of superstition, of the dark ages, of the horse and buggy, of slavery. We’re better than that. Or at least we should be.

Whenever people are too loud with their opinions I file it under “He doth protest too much”. When people don’t care they are indifferent. When people are loudly letting you know something bothers them it makes me wonder why, why does it bother them so much?

My first thought goes to jealousy. My second thought goes to anger; anger at the world, at themselves, at their life. Angry people will jump on the bandwagon of whatever is the ‘target of the day’: minorities, religion, women, immigrants, etc. You know, just stupid stuff. This same logic includes someone saying “those immigrants are taking our jobs” meanwhile the immigrants are working in jobs that that person had no intention of doing anyway. Their anger just needs a direction, it doesn’t have to be logical.

Ok so where does that leave us? The adage ‘Hurt people hurt people’ applies here. We can’t meet intolerance with intolerance. The buck has to stop with us. I’ve been in some bad relationships (who hasn’t?) and recently I’ve decided any hurt would stop with me; when someone else hurts me I’m not going to hurt them back.

The cycle of hurt, of intolerance, has to stop with us. No matter what comes our way we should only give back love, tolerance and acceptance. With time Anyone will change if treated with kindness and consideration. People are 3 dimensional, complicated beings; just because someone is angry or mean doesn’t mean they’re an ahole, it means they have issues that need to be addressed. Many ‘skinheads’ aren’t true Nazi’s, they were loners who were targeted. They were made to feel like part of a group (probably for the first time in their life), to be accepted, to be cared for. They didn’t join to collectively hate another group, they joined to improve their own life, to feel better, to feel happier. So easily that same person could have gone down another life path if another ‘group’ had paid them the same attention.

The best way to combat intolerance is to be tolerant ourselves and to decide that LOVE will be the defining factor in our lives, in all that we think, say and do.

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Be Selfish :-D

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Many of us love to help others. We go out of our way even for strangers; if someone needs something, and we can provide it, then we do. But the downside is that we can completely drain ourselves doing this. We can live our lives for others. This may seem very charitable but it’s not. If you don’t keep your own health and happiness in mind then you’re doing a disservice to others and to yourself. If you ‘dry’ yourself up for others, then how can you keep providing help and assistance? You can only truly help other people when your own tank is full. It’s not about just Doing, it’s about showing other people tricks and tools for how to live a great and fulfilling life. Giving your all to others can create resentment, not the outcome you want. Helping should make you feel Good! Once it stops feeling good stop and question why.

[If you want a visual: You are a car. Looking after yourself is the gas station that fills up your tank. When you help others you give them gas from your tank. If you keep just helping and helping then you will eventually run out of gas. With no gas left, not even for yourself, you need to get back to the gas station for a refill. But you gave away all of your gas so you can’t even get back to the gas station. This is when you have health and emotional problems, which will Persist until you figure out How to get back to the gas station.]

I finally decided to make service to others (volunteering) a part of my life last year. But I also decided to do many other things and ended up putting way too much on my plate. It all fell apart. I’ve taken some time off from the regular demands of life – catching up on sleep, only working as much as I have to, only volunteering for 1 organization instead of 2+. I feel guilty about this at times but after spending 9 years at college/university I had to spend some time figuring out what I wanted to do with my life; none of my past programs showed me that.

Passion and interest have to match up with skills and abilities. I took engineering but was never the top of any of my classes so I had to pay attention to that. I’ve always been passionate about space exploration but since my skill doesn’t match my passion that’s not a good direction for me. (Aerospace engineering is math heavy and that’s my worst subject) Thanks to that insanely busy semester (I tried tackling 2 diplomas – my 3rd year in Mechanical and my 2nd in Robotics, was working, volunteering, training for future volunteering, and started a school club) I noticed I quite enjoyed, and was good at, my club activities and endeavours. I at first thought perhaps Event Management was in my future. Upon careful consideration (the next semester I withdrew and started to just enjoy life and relax) I realized it’s the helping of people that I’m both Good at and Greatly enjoy. But to figure that out I had to leave the rat race for a bit and just spend a good amount of time pondering my life. (And yes, 3 years of engineering is a rat race. Every spare moment is supposed to be spent doing homework, studying and working on assignments. You want a life? You can have one when you graduate ;-) )

So thanks to this time of being selfish I have, for the first time ever, realistic goals for my future career. Life Coach. Holistic Practitioner. And Strategic Interventionist (Life Coaching the Tony Robbins and Cloe Madanes way. It is Amazing what that man can do! I want to be able to positively affect people’s lives like that :) ) And perhaps be a motivational writer and speaker. And of course continuing and sharing my spiritual growth journey :)

That is still a lot, I’ll have to figure out what I’m best at in those fields or how they can be meshed together. But thanks to my time of self-reflection and being ‘selfish’ (by North American standards) I have started to figure out how I can best be of service to others and myself.

Keeping your sanity while looking for love

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Since I tend to write about something I’m dealing with or something that is touching my life I’m going to make today’s post about dating. I am currently actively on-line dating since my hope of meeting the right person in an everyday situation hasn’t happened this past year. On-line dating is probably the most daunting of any type of dating since there is No One to endorse these strangers to you, except their own written words. Dating can be quite draining, have a negative effect if the interaction wasn’t positive and make you just want to give up and go on being single and happy. So this is how I’m going to go about dealing with my urge for having someone in my life.

Women tend to want to feel safe and secure before meeting the individual and may want to talk via messaging or text a little too much before meeting. I used to do this myself. I finally realized that No amount of messaging could make up for actually meeting the person. You can only make a good judgement about the person in person. Words really mean nothing, its body language and actions that are the tell.

Another important aspect of dating, and in life, is listening to your intuition. That ‘intuition’ is the voice of… whatever higher intelligence you believe in: God, angels, the Universe, your soul. Proof that our intuition Should be listened to: think of the times you ignored that voice and regretted. Pretty well Every single time (for me anyway)! I’m just a mere mortal, intuition is bigger than me. It knows better than me (you could even call it your subconscious mind picking up all the red flags your conscious mind is missing).

Get in the habit of being completely honest about All aspects of what you’re looking for and, hopefully, people will respond in kind. It’s a good habit to get into. Successful business people have the same set of rules and ethics for both their work and personal lives.

Women tend to be too forgiving of men and their treatment towards us, expect more!! You deserve to be treated the way you treat others. Don’t accept any less. If you’re already making excuses in your mind and you’re not even effectively dating the person yet, Run!! We need to care for and about Ourselves as well as others. But when someone isn’t showing respect for you they likely aren’t showing any for themselves either. That’s not healthy. Luckily it gives you a quick snapshot that this person is Not worth your time. You should only look at property as being a fixer-upper, Never a person!

The best rule to Always remember about dating is that if you don’t like the person enough to accept them as they are Right now, can’t see yourself being with them long term as they are Right Now, then it won’t work. People don’t tend to change. I’ve been hearing and reading this for a long time and now know it to be true. One thing about life is that we Never seem to trust any rules or advice until we’ve learned them the hard way; I definitely fall into this group. That’s one of the purposes of life, to learn lessons. The trick is to learn things the 1st time around, not the 10th, otherwise life just starts to suck ;-) This goes with dating, once you’ve learned a lesson Stick with that lesson! Don’t forget what you’ve learned and don’t second guess yourself; that will undermine your confidence. If you just listen to your intuition you will make the right decision every time. Life is just Too Short to be with someone who takes away from that wonderful experience, you only want to invite a great person to join you on that journey. A relationship should be where 2 people complement each other.

Anyone looking for a relationship to make them happy will never find that happiness. Happiness TRULY has to come from within. Believe this to be true!! The same philosophy explains why addictions or habits cannot be successfully kicked unless that person Wants to kick them, and do it for Themself. Any sort of change has to be an internal decision, because it happens internally. The person has to care enough about themself to want to make that improvement. Don’t ever forget this. If you’re in a relationship and something like this comes up or is an issue, only the other person Wanting to make that change will cause the change. You can’t guilt or threaten them into it, that won’t last.

Being happy, truly happy, will help you bounce back from any bad date. When someone is cruel or mean that means that they’re hurting and this is a way for them to ‘share’ that hurt. Misery likes company. Staying mad at someone (replaying the event over and over in your mind, telling your friends about it) won’t do you any good, it just takes away from your happiness. Realize that this person has their own issues to deal with, but don’t let them add those issues to yours. Be kind to them (maybe they don’t have much kindness in their life) but keep moving on. You can and will do better. Spread joy and kindness wherever you go but don’t linger if the recipient won’t return that joy and kindness to you.

Having a good heart helps deflect the effects of hurtful people. You’ll understand their actions better than they will, you will not react to them the way most people would (by being hurtful back) and you can have an impact on their life – they’ll always remember your kindness, whether they admit it or not. Being a good, caring person helps you bounce back as well. You know you didn’t deserve any nastiness from anyone, so if you’re the recipient of any you’ll know it has Nothing to do with you and everything to do with the other person.

Not taking things personally can be hard to master but it’s part of being happy – things will only affect you If You Let Them – and is definitely needed in interactions with other people.
Another good lesson to remember is that words have no meaning until you give them a meaning. I’ve had people get offended by my words where there was no offense meant. The offense was taken purely on the receiving end; none was given on the giving end. I find that people who get offended tend to Look for offense, I think this would fall under victim mentality.

If you want to be happy you Cannot entertain a victim mentality. Ever. Victim mentality gives away power, as if you are under the control of someone or something else. Accepting responsibility for yourself and Every Single Action you make will give you power over your life. You will see how you are responsible for your station in life, both the good and bad aspects of it. There Are times when bad things happen and they had nothing to do with us whatsoever, we didn’t cause them. This is how our actions affect our life and future, how we deal with adversity. That we Are responsible for. When you see how your actions or reactions affect your life then you can make better decisions and judgements. We should remove all reactions from our lives and only perform actions. Reacting puts you back under someone or something else’s control. Every minute of every day of your life you are faced with decisions to make. Take charge of those decisions, make them your own. Act on things, don’t react. Life will Never put you in a corner with only one way out. Never. We just have to start seeing things differently. There is Always a positive way out, or something positive that can come from adversity.

All of these philosophies I’ve mentioned can be used as tools in dating, just as in everyday life. At all times you should feel in complete control and always feel its ok to walk away from anyone or any situation. Always have the first date in a public place and have the usual safety precautions of letting someone know where you’re going and make plans to check in with them at a certain time, or as often as you want/need. Listen to your intuition At All Times. The other person should be open to you doing whatever it takes to feel comfortable. Being pushy is a bad sign. If they’re being pushy and you haven’t even Met them yet…. Don’t Meet Them!! You should feel Completely comfortable before meeting.

In life I’ve taken the stance of not bothering to point out things like lying. If you’ve caught them lying you don’t have to let them know you caught it, they already KNOW they’re lying. For some reason guilty people get really angry when the obvious is brought up, so I save myself that argument and just walk away. Arguing is a waste of energy and a negative act. You should be able to have a discussion with someone, not an argument. Another thing I’ll mention is that I have found braggers to Never be as good at what they bragged about as they said. Never. So don’t do this, just don’t. If you’re good at something you can mention it but don’t exaggerate it. The other person will realize your skill when the time comes, let it be a pleasant surprise :) I knew someone years ago who listed his body type as ‘about average’; he was in good shape. This was his pleasant surprise for his dates. I now do the same. I include pictures so if someone is so description shallow they won’t trust their own eyes… their loss :) This is a self-description the profile user gets to pick so it’s as reliable or unreliable as their own self description.

Trust your intuition and believe in yourself. You know yourself, you don’t know the other person, therefore you should be putting yourself first in any dating situation. Above all go to every date with the intention of having a good time, no matter the outcome, (or at least a good meal?) :) Even if you didn’t find a partner, maybe you found a friend.

Don’t Worry Be Happy!

As I progress along my journey to happiness and peace and see how my life is changing, how I’m changing, I become more and more surprised at how willing people are to just Accept their lot in life. So many people truly believe there’s nothing they can do about it, and that’s sad.

A classmate compared me to a guy when I told him how I was handling all the stress and financial situation of being  a student; I’m chill. I didn’t really like the comment because it took me 38 YEARS to become this chill. And I’m much better for it. You will be too if you try it. Bills are due? They’re still due whether you freak out or not. Money all gone? You’re still broke whether you get upset about it. Instead of wasting precious energy on worry you could put that energy into ideas on how to become unbroke :D There’s always a way, always a solution, if we’re clear headed enough to look for those solutions. Sometimes we have to make our own solution but there IS one.

When we expect life to get better, opportunities will come our way. But we have to be willing to work for them. There’s no free lunch in this world, but there are free appetizers or dessert to help you along the way ;) Some incentive as it were. Don’t just Believe life will get better, Expect it! Demand it! And then be willing to do some old-fashioned hard work to make sure it Does happen.

I’ll give away a secret right now. The one thing that will solve All problems is Love. A dose of Love will cure what ails ya. There is no emotion as strong as love. There is no force more powerful. Learn to integrate love into your life, into your daily routines, and you will be well on your way to happiness and peace. And health as well.

Learning to take complete responsibility for everything you do is also a required part of your daily life. No excuses, no blaming others for anything. Blaming and complaining stop. If you don’t like something figure out a way to change or improve the situation. Blaming and complaining are not allowed on this journey. It sounds hard but once you’ve replaced those bad habits with good ones (you can never get rid of habits, just replace them) they stay.