Open your mind

The self, not the selfie

For any of you unfamiliar with the word ‘selfie’ it is a self-portrait usually taken with a mobile. Recently on Facebook and Twitter a new trend has developed where girls and women take no-makeup selfies. Although I have not jumped on that band wagon, the Irish Cancer Society has in a very creative way.

They have decided to use these no make-up photos as a way to fundraise. Using your Irish mobile and texting your photo to 50300, €4 gets donated to the charity. Or you can just text the number and the money is donated without any picture needed.

I believe this is a great idea and I will be donating but I won’t be taking the ‘selfie’. The reason? I don’t share the idea that showing my makeup-less face is that important. Why is it that as woman have we bought into the concept that we need makeup to make ourselves look good? I prefer my face without any blemishes or dark circles however, I don’t think I have ever asked why that is. Men (majority) don’t wear makeup and seem perfectly content walking around with naked faces.

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I believe this comes down to how woman feel about their inner selves. I get a sense that on the whole, most woman don’t like themselves very much. Using the example of the image above there is a case to be argued that woman are made to feel less. Which means there is a great opportunity to change that and it has to start at the individual level. If we had a planet full of well adjusted, happy individuals this would be an easier place to live I am sure.

Ever heard the saying ‘fake it, until you make it’? When it comes to self worth it’s a helpful belief. A great way to make yourself feel more secure in your being is with positive affirmations. I’ll give a few examples but if you want more, read up here. This exercise will work best if you do it every day, writing down the statements and saying them out loud.

  • I am a happy and healthy person.
  • I feel a divine sense of well being, high self esteem and confidence.
  • I believe in myself and my ability to do anything.
  • I have a positive attitude towards myself.
  • I feel appreciative and grateful for everything in my life.

Instead of the importance of looking good to the outside world, why not focus your attention to feeling good on the inside. The more happy you are in yourself the less you’ll care about others opinions of you. Maybe give yourself time to examine what makes you feel attractive and what doesn’t. Decide what you want for you, instead of what the world wants from you.

“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it.” – J.M. Barrie

Equality

Recently in Ireland the equality debate has heated up. Many people are calling it the ‘same sex marriage’ debate, or the ‘gay rights’ debate. I don’t want to call it that. At the heart of the matter it is about some humans having different rights than other humans and that is about equality.

What kicked off this debate was Rory O’Neill, an advocate of same sex marriage. He called some people who have a voice in the media ‘homophobic’. I believe these claims were justified, as the people he named are openly opposed to gay and lesbian partners marrying. However, there was a lot of backlash which resulted in payouts and other such nonsense. For a good synopsis have a read here or listen to what Miss Panti Bliss (Rory) had to say about it.

I get the impression people can find it difficult to empathise with homosexuals. Maybe it seems like an unfamiliar world and they can’t put themselves in their shoes:

How could the marriage of two people in love affect anyone else’s relationship? The divorce rate in North America is about 50%. I assume that’s because when some people get married they think, ‘Well if it doesn’t work out, we can just get divorced.’

That is what hurts the institution of marriage, that sullies the commitment, that is a threat to the vows that were taken. People who are in love and want to spend their lives together can do nothing but add something positive to this world.

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If anything is to be learned about the human race, it is that we grow and we evolve. My children will most likely never use a CD or know what a VCR is. But I would also like to think that my children will never know what it feels like to ‘check themselves’, worrying about what makes them such a target. More importantly I hope they won’t be made to feel like less of a person because of who they love.

“I agree with Dante, that the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in a period of moral crisis, maintain their neutrality” – Martin Luther King

Buy Less, Be Happier

I sure make that sound easy, don’t I?

Maybe it’s not that easy but buying less is a good start to feeling more content. It’s been found that when people have high materialistic goals they often have lower rates of happiness and are more prone to psychological dysfunction. I believe this is because they are actually looking for happiness in the things they purchase. Which of course, is impossible.

With the season of buying all around us, here are some things you can do to get out of the materialism trap. (Maybe trap is too strong of word but I’m going for a bit of drama here.)

  1. Turn off the television. If you prefer you can just watch less, or put it on mute when the adverts are on. They are loud, flashy and have professionals working behind them. Their job is to manipulate you into thinking that you NEED their product. You don’t.
  2. Make shopping more of a business trip, not a recreational activity. It has become very common in our culture to make shopping a way to hang out. How many times have you gone out with friends needing nothing and come home with loads? When you need things, get them, when you don’t, try suggesting going for a walk.
  3. Take part in activities that have nothing to do with the material world. Go for a hike, draw, read, go to a free music gig. If you live in Dublin there is a great way to check out all the free things going on. Go here, and welcome to the Dublin Events Guide for Free Events. Enjoy.
  4. Take stock of what you have and de-clutter. If there are things that you know you haven’t worn/used/enjoyed for at least a year, bin them or give them away. Items of sentimental value can obviously be excluded. But I doubt that old mobile phone charger makes you feel all warm and fuzzy… and you have 4.

If you want to see what other things you can do to get be less materialistic you can do a bit of a Google.  As a start, check out this guy Scott H Young he has some great ideas.

“The things you own end up owning you. It’s only after you lose everything that you’re free to do anything.” – Chuck Palahniuk

Healthy Mind Expansion

I love watching or reading things that help change the way I see the world. I like when I’m offered a perspective that I’ve never considered.

A wonderful avenue to find new information is documentaries. There are TONS out there on every subject you can imagine. Check out this site: Top Documentary Films, browse thousands of documentaries all free online! Yep you heard right, free. You can also browse and watch hundreds of TED Talks, where you can learn just about anything you want. Ever heard of the Aquatic Ape Theory? Neither had I. Thanks Ted.

If you watch something and it blows you away, do some of your own research as well. Documentaries are supposed to be objective but as they are made by people the views can sometimes be slanted. I like to form my opinion on what I’ve learned, not just what I’ve been taught.

I watched a really interesting one a while back called Food Matters, here’s the trailer:

Eat well and be well: “True friendship is like sound health; the value of it is seldom known until it be lost.” – Charles Caleb Colton