A Breakup Letter To Game Of Thrones

So here we are again. It’s July, and suddenly you want me back. It’s the same way every year, and every time since 2012 I’ve acquiesced despite the fact that I know very well that our relationship will just entail an emotional rollercoaster for ten weeks before being forced to wait almost a whole year for the same thing to happen all over again.

I remember the first time we met. You had me hooked from the first episode and I had so many questions on the tip of my tongue that I needed answering. Would Bran survive the fall? How would the bromance between Jon Snow and Robb Stark play out? And just who is related to whom?

We had some good times, and some rough patches. Any scene with Brienne of Tarth was an absolute joy to watch, and so was anything witty that came out of Tyrion’s mouth. It took me a while to recover from the way you hurt me with the Red Wedding, but the year after I still came back for you, ready and waiting for whatever season four,five and six would dish up.

We had a good run, but I’m sorry to say that it’s over. I know you don’t want it to be, I can see you trying to get me back with little teasers about Jon coming back to life, trying to get me to feel the same burning desire to find out what happens that I felt after the first episode. This year, it’s just not working. I’m tired. Tired of trying to keep up with all of the characters’ names and the new countries that are being introduced every second week. Tired of changing my behaviour to actively avoid all of the spoilers that the Internet has to offer. Tired of arguing about fan theories with overly belligerent friends.

I came to this realisation just recently, so close to your seventh season premiere. After months of paying close attention to debates about Jon Snow’s fate I realised…I didn’t care. And in a weird way I’m free. Free from the anxiety of being too emotionally invested in the lives of the Starks. Free from having to sit through an hour of superfluous nudity every week. Free from computer viruses that come with trying to torrent the episodes as soon as possible to narrow the spoiler window.

I know that this won’t hurt you too much, and that you can take solace in your millions of other fans and your Emmys and critical acclaim. But after all of the energy that I invest in you, I’m sick of being left hanging. I can see now that you never loved me back. All this time, it was only ever about the shock value. And it is exhausting. And that’s why, Game of Thrones, I’m officially breaking up with you. 

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Being Comfortable With Uncertainty

“When you become comfortable with uncertainty, Infinite Possibilities open up in your life.” – Eckhart Tolle
“If you want to know your past – look into your present conditions. If you want to know your future – look into your present actions,” states the Chinese Proverb.
Reality is filled with uncertainty. 
Seldom do we have an exact picture of the path ahead, so we accept what arises with determined courage.
It is natural to uphold a level of control, yet we need uncertainty to prevail since the seeds of opportunity lie in the unexpected.
At a deeper level, we fear uncertainty because we lack the life skills to navigate through it. Recognised as the mind’s negativity bias, we doubt our capacity to cope with the unexpected and exaggerate events to the detriment of our mental and emotional wellbeing.
With so much talk of stress these days, we need to know what the imminent future holds in store for us. Yet the security we crave for is but an illusion to lull us into a false sense of safety. 
Author David Rock states in Your Brain at Work, “The brain craves certainty. A sense of uncertainty about the future and feeling out of control both generate strong limbic system responses.”
As a result your brain looks to your external environment to reinforce a known sense of balance. In primitive times our ancestors had to contend with a variety of conditions to sustain life. The threat of wild animals, adjusting to climatic conditions, fear of attack from rival tribes and the outbreak of disease, were barriers to their survival.
Thankfully, life in the modern world is not as bleak, yet modern life is replete with its own stressors which pose a hazard to our wellbeing. Uncertainty for the modern man is contained within: intimate relationships, volatile economies, uncertain job security, weather fluctuations and health concerns.
Bruce Hood affirms in his book The Self Illusion, “…in situations where outcomes are important, we get stressed by uncertainty and feel the need to do something so that we can have the illusion that we can control events.”
To retain binding command of our lives is both a blessing and curse. In one way it affirms our sense of safety, knowing we need not contend with tentative conditions. On the other hand, its misleading bias is overstated by our limited control, if any.
It is no surprise that the mind is notorious for emphasising circumstances which appear less dramatic than they are. Known in psychology as catastrophizing, the inherent bias to perceive events within a negative context.
The fear of “not knowing” what lies ahead impedes our long term welfare. At a deeper level, fear of the future terrifies us because of the unfamiliar conditions which lie ahead. It interferes with attaining emotional freedom.
“Faith means living with uncertainty – feeling your way through life, letting your heart guide you like a lantern in the dark.” – Dan Millman
So how can we embrace the unexpected without the barrage of emotions which ensue?
To accept uncertainty in our lives requires a change in perspective. We yield to the intrinsic forces of life instead of oppose them. However uncomfortable it may seem, we surrender to the natural order of events by leaning in to our fears and insecurities.
You reason with your anxieties by perceiving them with a logical mind instead of becoming embroiled in them. Otherwise, we risk activating our fight or flight nervous system every time, which senses we are in imminent danger instead of being uncomfortable.
Remain present in your body when anxiety threatens your emotional wellbeing. Choose a proper time to examine the motivation for your anxiety. 
Have there been moments in the past which caused similar anxiety? 
If so, are you repeating those same feelings instead of facing them?
Fear is a confronting emotion, though we gain strength when we embrace it as a useful emotion. I often remind myself that fear is an illusion. I can reduce the volume of fear by being exposed to it moderately each time.
We rarely have all the answers, which means uncertainty is as much an inner declaration that everything will turn out well in due course. It strengthens our resolve and commitment to the natural cycles of life. Change in itself is terrifying, not the conditions themselves.
The key lesson is to be comfortable with uncertainty – why? Because it exists and we should avoid retreating in resignation wishing life were different. 
We evolve by being exposed to uncertainty and confronting our fears, otherwise they dominate our mental landscape and grow in intensity. To that extreme that which we oppose must be met head on. 
It was the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius who declared, “If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your own estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.”

Find middle ground between living with uncertainty and maintaining a level of control, short of manipulating outcomes. Let go of tension, anxiety and fear by embracing the unknown. Consider uncertainty a worthwhile journey toward a daring future. 
Uncertainty allows us to re-evaluate the past and make new choices in light of what transpires. It presents opportunities to create a compelling future based on new information.

Its my birthday today.

If I am honest, if I am willing to stand in my own truths and claim the sharp corners of my flaws, I must admit I expected this milestone to deliver a certain knowing. There was an unspoken expectation.
It is a beautiful day, a harmonious balance of humid and moderate temperatures. It is a quiet day with simple pleasures and good company. Still, if I tell the story of my gratitude I am conveniently excluding the complicated pieces of my truth that undermine the complexity of an internal uncertainty.

The day when we remembers our birth. A day special to every one. I am not saying my birthday a Happy Birthday, and there’s reason for it. So, whats a day in my Life, today is only different from normal day. Remembering the Almighty, the supreme power above all, a new day starts.The day itself dawned painfully unexceptional for the unfortunate happenstance of Youth Nature’s folly. Still my friends honored our morning traditions in a way that tethered me to the simplest of joys and was a happy foreshadowing of countless thoughtful gestures of appreciation. In the morning, we exchange the wishes within the family, then the immediate family comes with their wishes, no fancy or high gifts, no show-off to anyone, plain wishes, the traditional ways.

Still those closest to me loved me stubbornly and generously, thoughtfully and gently. It is perhaps the most extravagant gift of all, to be so unconditionally loved for out best in spite of our worst.I couldn’t control my tears. This  was full of Love. I felt little and shallow. This is a such day, will never ever forget, when I close my eyes, first thing comes to me is that I am so PRIVILEGED and in the mean time so poor too. I call that I have a Life, I have facilities that are world-class, I have a status quo, I have proficiency over things, my hands and mind is working fine, but whats the use of such Life, if it’s of no use if it does not uplift the others. It’s like you have a pen and paper, but your words…. Many a times it happens that something happens to us and we try to avoid it, but never try to think from another way around. We follow routine and we miss beauty. I have a plan for this. A dream Plan. A Life that celebrates itself.

I’m still thinking on what I might wish for as I count my blessings, grateful for the love of those who let me stumble.

Select a path,
follow by Heart,
Dream and Conquer,
A life is less for one,
Spark the Lamps of Smile,
A dream that world rejoices;
Shaped by Love,
A messenger of Hope.I

Save sex for later, guys.

Girls risk judgement if they indulge in casual sex. But boys don’t run that risk: they’re expected to run around. Boys just risk the outcome of their own.TrueLovWaits

Double standards 

The world is a strange place. It is perfectly alright, even encouraged, for a young lady to save herself for marriage. Sex before a committed relationship for her could lead to all sorts of judgement and name calling.

But a quick shift over to the guys… and you draw a blank. It has never been stated or expected that men should stay chaste as they await a committed relationship with a woman. A few of you have just read that statement and laughed in your heads, right? Thing is, why shouldn’t guys wait?

Who to turn to?

First we need to understand that when it comes to sex, there’s little to no guidance for young men. Everyone assumes that because you’re a guy, you know what to do. Wrong! Now couple this with the fact that because sex is such a sensitive topic, guys don’t know who to turn to. Your parents? They’re too scared to talk about it. Your relatives? They probably run and tell your parents that you’re having sex.

And your friends? Ha! They’ll just laugh that you’re not having sex in the first place, loser.

Quicksand

So without much to go on, and so much external pressure, guys start having sex. They risk exposing themselves to all manner of diseases because they don’t know how to be safe. Now factor in that if women have sex outside of a relationship, they are frowned upon from here to land’s end.

So you get into a relationship with a girl you don’t really like because of sex. One month turns into one year, one year into five. You swear that you’ll end it with her, and then boom! She’s pregnant. You marry her because you feel obliged to. You’ve let yourself slip so far into a messy situation, all because of sex, that you can’t get out.

Habits die hard

Again, consider this. You’ve been sexually active from when you were 21 (don’t laugh! Just roll with me here). When you turn 30, you’ll probably think “Hey! You know what? I want to find a nice girl and settle down.” Good for you! So you do just that, and you’re out of the game right?

Not exactly… Nine years of your life have consisted of chasing women, getting them to sleep with you, ignoring their calls and messages once you’ve slept with them, and breaking it off when they confront you about why you don’t like them back. You formed a habit. By the time you want to settle down, your mind will be so attuned to this process that even though you want to stay faithful to your wife/fiancée, force of habit will have you chasing and sleeping with other women.

Pumping the breaks

We live in a time where sex has become one of the easiest things to have. While women have struggled with it forever, I’ll wager that men are struggling even more. This is because inasmuch as we are clueless, pride keeps us from seeking help. It’s time, gents, to pump your brakes and drive slow.

This article was originally published on our sister site Love Matters.

I Don’t Think People Give Youths Enough Credit These Days

Teenagers don’t get enough credit these days. There I said it. And you don’t have to take my word for it. Especially considering how well my age fits in the range that I am lobbying for but please spare me a few minutes and hear me out.

I’m sure you’ve come across a post like this at one point in your life whether its around finals time and youths have publicized their insane exam schedule or just another post complaining about the constant choice between social life, academics and sleep. You probably scoffed at our incompetence and made a remark similar to, “when I was your age…” But no, that’s not the point. This isn’t a game of who had a harder childhood, this is a cry for help, a cry for reform. Because maybe you did have a harder childhood and you had your chance at making a change but you didn’t. So it’s our turn now, and please, spare us a few minutes and hear us out.

Youths, no matter in which generation, are stuck in a position filled with misunderstanding and miscommunication. We’ve passed the age where it’s ok to throw tantrums when we don’t get our wish fulfilled or cry over disappointment and pain, whether it be physical or emotional. We’ve reached an age where adults demand “maturity” from us and apparently, maturity is synonymous with robotic because we are expected to make completely rational decisions devoid of all emotional attachments. Words such as responsibility, independence are thrown at us but when we try to live up to these glorified characteristics, we are deemed as rebellious and impulsive.

We try to make a difference in the world and stand up for our beliefs only to be laughed at by parents and older siblings. “You’re too young.” “What do you know?” These phrases are hurled at us as if they weren’t lecturing us about chasing after our dreams and taking responsibility for our own actions a minute ago. They mock us when we tell them that we love someone because how could you be in love at seventeen. You can’t possibly understand something as complicated as love and be able to navigate a word with as many implications attached as love. But so what if we don’t understand what love is. Is that not the point of being a teenager? So we can mess up and try again? So we can fail and weep and stand up taller and stronger than before?

No. You are expected to choose an university program to attend that will ultimately lead you on a path to success, but here’s the catch, only if you listen to my advice. Yes, I agree, it is completely 100% your life to live. No you don’t get to decide your life. Because I am an adult, I have breathed more air and digested more food than you therefore my decision about your future will always be more correct than yours. You can travel when you have your own savings. You can save the environment when you are financially stable. You can start your own fashion line when you have mothered two kids and they are 18 and you are 50 and no longer remember your designs at 17. Take the safe road. I am your mother. I am your father. We only want what’s best for you.

I know you do. But please, spare me a few minutes and hear me out. I want you to trust me to make my own mistakes and learn from it. I want you to remember how it felt like sixteen years ago when you let go and I stood up and after falling a few times I began walking, then running, then jumping and the absolute joy that you felt because my laughter was infectious. The room reeked of delight because for the first time in my life I accomplished something on my own and I was genuinely, 100% happy.

Sure, I may not succeed the first time but like the bedtimes stories you’ve been reading to me since I was three, neither did Thomas Edison. Neither did anyone who left a legacy so please, trust me and let me leave my own legacy.

Never once has there been so many temptation within our reach, so much information available to us at the click of a button. It’s the digital age. A time where we could find out the income tax of Romania in the matter of minutes or the engagement of that one ex. A time of possibilities. So please, trust us in exploiting these opportunities. Trust that we are not a generation that only cares about the number of followers on instagram or the number of retweets we get on a super relatable tweet. We are more than that, I promise you. At least we try to be.

But it’s hard. It’s hard to care about intelligence and inner peace when the entire school seems be obsessed with who’s best dressed and who’s fucking who. It’s hard to care more about learning rather than marks when universities that we are pressured to attend are searching for that 98% average valedictorian applicant. When we seem to be defined by numbers that show up on report cards and scales rather than meaningful friendships and fulfilled dreams. When we seem to be defined by words that are whispered as gossip rather than compliments given to brighten another’s day. It’s hard to be a Youth.

Thinspiration’ Is Killing Your Confidence, But This Is How You Can Get It Back

There are beautiful people all around us. Walking down the street, at work, in line at the grocery store, working out next to us at the gym…on TV, in magazines, movies, advertisements…it’s impossible to go through even the most average of days without being bombarded with beauty.
Images of beautiful people can be inspiring for many different reasons, but when it comes to the physical beauty that we see in the media, we all know that we’re rarely seeing what these people actually look like. Between lighting, special cameras, angles, Spanx, make-up, hair extensions, designer clothing and of course, Photoshop, getting the celebrities we know and love (or love to hate) to look the way they do is a lot of work (not to mention expensive)…and hardly ever natural.

It’s amazing to see the standards of what is considered to be “beautiful” constantly changing. In previous years, one body type was typically revered as the standard of beauty, but now we’re seeing all different body types in the mainstream media.

“Body Love” movements are gaining popularity and many companies, most famously Dove, have exposed the heavy-handed use of Photoshop in advertising. You would think that this would have us feeling more empowered than ever to embrace who we are and love the bodies we were given, but it doesn’t seem to be happening as much as it should be.

Alongside the “Body Love” movement, we’re also seeing the “thinspiration” trend, a trend that takes us in the exact opposite direction of loving our bodies. Having people to look up to and ways to inspire and motivate ourselves can definitely be a positive thing, but when we start comparing ourselves to these people we can bring down our self-confidence in ways we aren’t even aware of in the moment.

Once we start comparing ourselves to other people…whether it’s celebrities, friends or those beautiful strangers at the gym…our thoughts can shift from positive and inspired statements to things like, “I will love myself when…” and “if only I had so and so’s body…” and this type of thinking only takes us farther away from reaching our goals.

When you start comparing yourself to other people, you’re only setting yourself up for disappointment, and here’s why: the only person who is ever going to have Kim K’s ass is Kim K, no one will ever have Gisele’s legs except for Gisele and [insert your favorite celebrity here] is the only person who will ever look like they do because there is only one of them. There’s only one Kim K, one Gisele, and most importantly, there is only one you.

You have to remember that you are the only person who will ever have your personality, your kindness, your body, your imperfections, your everything. And trust me, that’s way better than having exactly what someone else already has.

Now that we’re in the age of body acceptance, we need to drop the comparison game and not only accept the bodies we see in the media, but start accepting our own bodies, as well.

Stop looking at other people and wishing you had what they had. Be nice to yourself. Stop putting yourself down and start appreciating who you are and everything you have. Talk to yourself the way you would talk to your best friend. You would never tell your friend, “I mean, you look good, but you don’t look like Gigi Hadid” would you? I don’t think so. If you wouldn’t say it to someone else, don’t say it to yourself.

We can love ourselves now and still want to change. There is nothing wrong with wanting something more for yourself, but you’re never going to be happy if you can’t appreciate what you already have. Accept and love your body for what it does for you and then get excited about your goals. You can’t have one without the other.

We only get one body, so we have to take care of it and treat it with respect so that it will continue to support us and carry us through life. Work hard for the body you want, but don’t make it about wanting someone else’s body. Make it about wanting your body at its absolute best.

Asocial Media: Our Modern Obsession

Before diving right into this topic I would like to clarify that I am just as guilty of abusing social media as anybody else, and likely far more addicted than many. I am simply aware of my obsession, and have come to realize the impacts that it is having on my lifestyle and my thoughts. This article is not supposed to forcefully tell you or anybody how to use social platforms, but simply to shine light upon a fresh perspective. Quitting social media is not what I am promoting. Simply understanding how excessive over-use affects your life will go a lot farther than quitting without any real purpose.

Alongside the growth of technology has come the increase of many forms of psychological distress. We are seemingly able to find the answers to almost anything, yet wrestle to solve the human mind and answer important psychological questions. Our thoughts are one of the most complex tools of our body, and understanding them is perhaps the key to human happiness. However, the constant pursuit of external validation has been ingrained into our culture, and many of us have completely succumbed to this phenomenon, leaving many under answered questions and thus unfulfilled people.

Evidence for these effects can be found all around us. Young people have higher rates of mental illness than ever before. Millennial teens are ridden with the highest frequency of diagnosed anxiety and clinical depression to date. [i]-[ii] How is this generation so different from those before? There is no doubt that one of the largest contributors to this issue is modern media, which is more influential and exploitative than it has ever been. That being said, the media has been aggressively sending subliminal messages for decades, long before the emergence of this phenomenon. This of course shows that the media is unlikely to be the new, and defining variable of the present situation. Indeed, an aspect of modern life that is unique to the current generation is the intense presence of social media in their daily lives. These social platforms have negatively effected many youth. Although social outlets like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are very innovative methods of keeping people connected from around the world, they have also changed the way many of us process experiences and information. Previous generations had no choice but to be fully present with others and to fully experience their lives without clicking the share button. This fosters self-knowledge, and develops a tolerance for the many obscurities of life. However, the major presence of these websites has created a tendency among millenials to ignore much of the true enjoyment that unique and fulfilling events in life provide. Instead, we often immediately tell ourselves that this is something other people need to experience, instead of experiencing it fully ourselves. Even worse, we often think to ourselves “this post will get so many likes”. Instead of milking all the joy from things like travel, friends, and relationships, we often fall victim to our clouded perceptions of what is truly good. We constantly find ourselves consumed by the need to show what we are up to. That being said, social media often has a tendency to display people and the way they live very inaccurately, creating feelings of inadequacy for their viewers. This reality is just part of the bigger problem.

A constant desire to share how fulfilling our lives are can be explained by a need to boost our own ego. Ask yourself this question: why do we need others to see what we are doing? Is it because we care what they think of us? We are all guilty of this in one way or another, but the root of the problem is a need for external validation. Many people in our generation derive far too much of their self-worth from the perception others have of them. Maintaining an overwhelming need to be accepted completely opposes the development and sustenance of self-confidence. Many of us who are addicted to social media are completely stuck in this cycle. The greatest individuals in our society are those who focus on their own approval, and do not depend on validation from anybody. Many elements contribute to the aforementioned phenomenon, such as parental dependence, changes in family structure, the media, and social pressures. That being said, I believe social media is still a significant piece in the puzzle.

People who have little to no focus on social media image do exist, and they are everywhere. They are soaking up real experiences and focusing on their personal development. For myself, the greatest example of this generational change comes from my days as a 17 year old. From that age onward, I used to walk to the local playgrounds and spend every moment of spare time I had play football with my friends. I had no cell phone and facebook didn’t exist. I was there because it was the only thing I wanted to spend my time doing. Nowadays I can hardly spend a day on the playground without checking my phone. Games and many activities have become plagued with people who lack the passion for the sport, and only want the positive perceptions they receive from everybody who sees them doing it. The individuals at the pinnacle of any activity or career are the people who possess a true passion for what they do. The point here is, it you’re trying too hard for external validation, the true benefits of the chosen activity will fly right over your head. External validation is temporary and in the long run very unsatisfying. It develops a constant craving for more of the same, unlike real enjoyment and internal worth, which is much more difficult to achieve and certainly more fulfilling.

True authenticity has become a character quality that is hard to find. I do not believe that social media is solely detrimental and that’s that. In fact, it is great in many ways. Social platforms have enabled us to connect with far away friends, follow our favourite bands and stay up to date with breaking news. However, I do believe that by re-evaluating our use of these apps and websites, we can reduce the amount of negative impact they have on our lives. Cutting back on Instagram and Facebook time can go a long way towards focusing on the real circumstances in our lives. The less invested we are in these platforms, the more we can invest in ourselves.

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