Christmas is not a Me day

The Holiday Season for many adults is an especially hard time. Too often we feel overly pressured to not only look but we think we should actually be happy too. Media shows everyone but us with a smile on their faces, sitting by the fire, drinking hot chocolate, singing camp fire songs or whatever.

In reality this is a fabricated lie. Especially if you are single. What is more likely to happen is trudging, day by day, through the holiday season feeling alone and forgotten. Wishing the holidays would hurry up and be over so we can get back to our normal life.

If we are not single, or have children, the feelings are similar though for different reasons. We are tired from both work and caring for family. We’re strapped for cash. Recovering from Thanksgiving which is a big expense in itself. Bills are higher – mostly from heating our home. The expense of buying Christmas presents we can be happy about is financially draining.

Then the car breaks because the weather is cold, and our car is old. Our jacket(s) is old and tired and we need a new jacket(s). Gloves, a hat, perhaps a scarf, more items we need to spend money on this time of year is really hard on the budget, or what amounts to a budget.

Now the media pressure of the holidays themselves are wearing us down. Too much happy Christmas music. Too many Christmas commercials, too much Christmas in general. All this flows right into New Years. It is a never ending barrage that has been gaining momentum since the day after Thanksgiving, which anymore is almost right after Halloween.

Relax and unwind, holidays are about events, not 'me'.

Relax and unwind, holidays are about events, not ‘me’.

There is relief from all this pressure and stress. A slight change in thinking is all it takes. News Flash, News Flash, these holidays are not about us! Christmas before Christ was the Roman holiday Saturnalia, which was Roman the Winter Solstice festival. Christmas for early Christian personal health and well being was blended into the Roman holiday.

New Years is credited to the ancient Babylonians Celebrating the entrance of the New Year with the New Full Moon following the Winter equinox or solstice. Their timing was off though according to Julius Caesar who changed New Years around about to where it is today.

The point of this post is a reminder, these holidays are not ‘me” holidays, they are not about you, or about me. They are holidays celebrating events. Events most of the world celebrates in one way or another. But they are not about us. With the exception of a few of us, it is not our birthday. We are not the reason a new year is starting.

It is hard to take ‘me’ out of things, because we view the world from the perspective of ‘me’. For these Holidays, ‘me’ is not the focus, something else is. For these weeks from Thanksgiving to January 2, give ‘me’ a break. Out of the whole year, only a few calendar dates are not about the ‘me’ in us. The dates are about something else entirely.

Unwrapping ‘me’ from the holidays places both the holidays and ‘me’ into their proper roles. Suddenly there is no pressure to be happy and spedning money each waking moment. ‘Me’ is not the reason of these holidays. These holidays are about something bigger and separate from us.

Go ahead and give this a try. At first ‘me’ will complain because everything is always about ‘me’. ‘Me’ will quiet down and relax once ‘me’ understands you are serious. Happy Holidays, You!

Holiday Gifts To Last a Lifetime

Christmas and New Years is too often a time of stress, anxiety, and depression for too many people. Feeling overwhelmed and under budgeted, the next few weeks can feel miserable instead of happy and fun.

How much money needs to be spent on family and friends so they know you love them and are happy they are in your life? Little money really, except for maybe your children who tend to equate things with self worth and peer status. Too many of us have forgotten love and friendship are not purchased with gifts.

People who are your friends and people who love you do not need anything other than returning those same feelings they give you. We are always happiest knowing others love and care for us. Return the goodness and let others know you love and care about them too.

It is wonderful to open a present and find something really unusual that you wanted. It feels better to receive a hug, phone call, email, im, card or letter from someone telling you they appreciate having you in their life.

Things are temporary. They last a short time and then they are gone. Life is more enjoyable thinking fond memories of friends and family, than it is thinking about some great gift you received some years ago.

Things are temporary, wonderful until we forget about them

Things are temporary, wonderful until we forget about them

Most of us do not think much about what we have, and where it came from. We think more  about friends and family. We remember the mostly good times we had with others over the years. Memories are what we store away and pull out in the future. Memories float our boat.

If you are one of those people who feel run down, run over, or just plain tired of the holidays think about this post. The amount of money you spend, the parties you attend, the gifts you give are momentary. The important part of life is letting your friends and family know they are important to to you and your life.

Give a gift of yourself, your friendship and love. Those in your life now, and in the future will &treasure the gift of you that is with them always. It’s not having what you want…It’s wanting what you’ve got – Sheryl Crow “Soak Up The Sun”

Waiting For Perfect You

Life is sometimes confusing. We go through our daily routine, and we do not feel all that special about ‘us’. We seem to have missed out on the charisma someone we know has. We missed out when they were giving out the ‘be funny’ package.

Then it gets worse. We look at ourselves and we see all these defects about us. We see ourselves as too large. Perhaps we see ourselves as too small. Our hair is funny, or our nose is wrong.

The list we make of ourself continues to grow over the years until it seems to fill many pages. No wonder we are not more popular, funny, creative, or happy. How can we be with all the flaws that fill our life.

There is one item of good news about all our faults however. In fact there are several pieces of good news about us that we do not realize. The best and greatest good news about us, is this: We are unique, one of kind, the only us. We are the person, the myth, the legend of US.

I can read your thoughts in the instant. You are thinking this is all well and good, but it does not apply to me. I’m feeling a little argumentative in the moment, and it I say it does apply to you, and to you alone!

Everything flaw on the list you keep about yourself is not important. Every detail lacking in your personality and being is perfect. You should believe this because it is true. If any little part of you were to change, you would not be you any longer. You would be someone else.

Before trying to be someone different, try being yourself

Before trying to be someone different, try being yourself

If you have ever tried acting, pretending to be someone else, it is hard work. I once tried to be someone else, because I was not too happy with who I thought I was. I found after an hour or two it was hard work. It was much easier to be me.

The uniqueness of you is what makes the world a magical place! I want to be around and talk with people not like me. I am plain and boring. When I am myself, and forget about me, I find people actually like me. People enjoy my company and sense of humor.

In these moments, I realize, that all my flaws added together make a wonderful me. If it is true for me, it is also true for you. Everything on the list you keep in your head about what is wrong with you, work together to make a perfect, wonderful you!

When your parents tell you how proud of you they are, and how much they love you, they are not reading from some parents manual. Your parents tell you this because it is true. They know you better than anyone, and they know how all your minor flaws and defects make one awesome package of a person who just happens to be you!

When you go about your day, instead of trying to fit in, and trying to be someone you really are not, relax and be yourself. Those people who you find yourself hanging around with and sharing your life with will surprise you.

They won’t see someone with all the flaws and defect you see in yourself. They see someone they enjoy being around, and if they would let themselves admit it, they wish they could be a little bit like your themselves.

Faces we Wear in Public

I recently read a blog post recently by Anastasia titled, “The anxiety monster”. In her post, Anastasia describes what life is like in her shoes. Anastasia lives with some issues that many of us will never face, while others live with them daily. Anastasia is a brave woman who’s heart is in the right place, and wishes to help others as she is able.

Moving from the brevity of Anastasia’s post to reflect on creating and wearing your face as a mask when in public is the point of this post. Anastasia writes, she turns her face into a mask when going out in public. The idea being that no one will be able to decipher her true self or feelings, if she keeps her face set to mask. As I believe Anastasia understands the process, if there are no facial expressions, there is nothing for people to judge or process about her.

While the idea of people turning their faces into a mask when out in public, sounds good on the surface, there are drawbacks to this behavior. Being emotionless has its place in public, but not always, and not for most people.

Being emotionless may let us think we are indecipherable. No one can read our thoughts, see our fears, or determine our mood. We feel we can look at other people while wearing our mask, and they will not judge us, or form an opinion of us, because we are wearing our public mask.

There are some downsides turning our faces into masks. We have been looking at each other since we were born. We are experts at seeing through what wearing a public mask can not hide. These are not obvious things, but they are there all the same if we are looking for them.

One of the first tools foreigners use in a new land is watching facial expressions and body posture. Even without knowing a word of the language, much can be determined simply by posture and facial expression. Even the lack of expression is expression after all.

We can not hide subtle details of our face changing with our momentary flashes of emotion. Namely around our eyes and lips. These are areas of our faces which we have little control over. Eyes in particular flash emotion, caused by subtle changes of the skin around our eyes.

When someone suddenly becomes angry, subtle changes take place around their eyes. From a casual glance we are not aware that we have seen the changes, yet we know that person is suddenly angry. If asked we usually can not describe how we know what we know about another person is feeling in the moment.

Surprise or fear are two other emotions that are apparent even when we try to keep our face under control. When someone is suddenly surprised or becomes fearful, no matter how they try to control that emotion, it flashes across their face. Anyone watching picks up on that surprise or fear because it momentarily flashes across their face like a neon sign.

Other emotions follow suit, flashing across peoples faces, letting the world see what they feel no matter how they try to control their face. There really is little one can do about these facial expressions commonly called “micro expressions“.

No mask here, I'm tired the sun is in my eyes.

No mask here, I’m tired the sun is in my eyes.

A second concern Anastasia writes about is people judging her in public. If her public mask is place, she feels people can not pass judgement on her.  With her face in a neutral expression, what is there to judge? This too is a sound idea in theory, but simply not true.

Human beings continously pass judgement on other human beings. True, if we are treating our face as an emotionless mask, people may form the wrong opinion of us, but they will form opinions of us all the same. This is something we do without thinking.

Forming opinions by watching expressions others is how a salesperson knows when to apply pressure and when to back off. Forming an opinion is how the beggar knows we are an easy mark or not. Forming opinions of interviewed suspects is how police begin to solve cases.

At the very worst, someone may be attracted to our public mask and form an opinion of us that is simply not true. Then we are confronted with someone forming an opinion of us being someone we really are not.

Turning our face into a public mask to hide may feel secure, but we humans are smart. We generally are not fooled by anothers attempt at deception by wearing a public mask. We are well trained and have honed our skills in deciphering faces and the emotions they display.

We prefer to keep our inside or private us partially hidden away unless we are behind closed doors where we can safely be ourselves. To a large extent we all wear masks in public. Only our masks are closer to the real us.  In public we become actors taking on a bit part, representing what we want the world to think of us.

Actors and Actresses do this very well. They take on roles portraying a character that may be nothing like themselves. They adapt the persona they need to use while performing. Which is what we do, only we are not well trained actors. We make more mistakes.

We put on a face we want to be seen with in public. Perhaps we look happy, content, or curious. We may want to look seductive, or aloof. Depending on the level of interaction we want, we make subtle changes to our public face, prehaps pretending to be more than we reallyare. We put our best self forward, and we hope we are not caught acting.

Wearing a blank face is not fooling anyone. People will still judge, forming opinions that may or may not be true because of the face we wear. People are good at seeing through our masks generally. It is simpler to be ourselves. People will form opinions of us anyway, so what does it matter?

Electronics Mimicking Pet Behavior

I use two cell phones during my week. Not that it matters much. One cell phone is for work, and the second cell phone is my personal phone. What does matter is I do not want a pet in my life. I am fairly busy these days and a pet needs more attention than I can give. Hence, no pets.

If you have or had pets, you know they need a lot from you. They need food, water, and bathroom privileges somewhere. Pets also need and want a lot of attention, mostly when they want it. It would be hard to quantify how much time one would spend taking care of their pet each week, but it is more than a few minutes per week.

What does this have to do with cell phones and other electronics? A lot actually. A few phones, tablets, and other electronics have been very crafty in some cases. Especially when it comes to how their OS behaves.

Some Companies have designed their products to act like pets in some respects, mostly in wanting attention. For example, my work phone is a droid and my personal phone is not. My droid continues to shove information down the pipeline to my phone. Ringing and dinging to get my attention all day long.

When electronics mimic pets to keep your attention on it

When electronics mimic pets to keep your attention on it

My droid appears to be ignorant of the idea that I never use my droid for anything not work related. No news, no social, no anything not work related. Daily it rings and dings alerting me of new items that I may be interested in, or something I need to do to it, or with it as the case me be.

Often my phone wants me to stop whatever I am doing to download updates. Often they are updates to software I have yet to use. I can not remove them, as they are declared part of the operating system and removing them may damage the system.

Then there is the but issue for lack of a better word. Not but calls, but  turning on both location services and blue-tooth while in my pocket. Two to three times a day some days. Too often to be coincidence.

My personal phone, not a droid is more reserved. If I choose to not use an application that is part of the system, it is okay with my choice. I do not have the problem of my personal phone changing settings while hiding in my pocket. Location services and blue-tooth have never turned on without my approval.

My droid phone is trying to be a pet, and my other phone is not. If I wanted a pet and all the attention a pet requires I would get another pet. In the moment, I do not wish to give up what little time I have to spend on a pet, or tinker with my phone.

I find the same problems when I use a non Linux computer. All the tinkering they require. Stopping the flow of thinking because something wants attention or needs to be done. Some accuse Linux of not being integrated. If so, I am happy to pay the price to be left alone, to do what I want do do on my computer when I want to do it, or not.

I am sure Pet Behaving Electronics are filling a gap. Perhaps they are more popular than I imagine? SOmeone sure is happy with them, as they are popular. They certainly replace Blue the dog, and Roxie the cat due to the amount of attention they want each hour.

Maybe there should be a disclaimer, or an attention needed rating on electronics. Buyers should not have to find out after the sale, just how much attention their phone wants.

It seems a little below board. Mimicing pet behavior in an electronic feels sort of cheesy to me. I also dislike not having a choice in an operating system to remove or turn off what I do not want. Maybe I should throw my work phone away and get a pet, it may save time.