Maturing vs. Growing up

We can be grow up without gaining maturity. Growing up happens inevitably, but maturity is so much more than becoming independent and having a sex-life. Maturity is the thing most adults fake to have. The reason for that partially is, that part of maturity is to be confident. The other part is, taking responsibility and understanding that no one cares.

No one cares about how well we are doing at our jobs, or how well our studies are going. Yes, we do try to help each other and we do try to keep each other accountable. And that is all great. But it is just not enough. Unless we realize that we are the ones responsible for how our lives turn out, I can guarantee, it won’t turn out great. Taking responsibility is synonym with effort. And we humans do not like effort. So we’d rather resort to feel-good-quotes and keep telling ourselves, that everything will be fine. But it won’t. Unless we make sure it will.

Even if someone else wanted to deal with the fact, that we are not doing our job well. Even if someone else wanted to read more instead of watching TV, they can never make us. That is the draw-back of living independently. Yes, the people around us, can remind us, of where we want to go. But we have to walk there ourselves.

Do you want to know a secret? I hate it. So much. Taking responsibility for even just my life is so exhausting. And more often than not it does not exactly go well. But we all have to start somewhere, right? I believe maturity is about understanding who we are as an individual and about understanding that that is what matters the most.

Do not make the mistake of thinking that maturity means to never have fun. We can goof around in the weirdest way, but the important thing is, that this goofing around does not endanger anything important: our career, our relationships, or our health. To phrase it in other words: there is nothing wrong with having some fun. There is nothing wrong with making ourselves feel good. In fact, I am all for doing more of what makes as feel good, unless it is at the expense of our overall quality of life or honesty. We should not have to lie to ourselves in order to feel good.

Part of being mature is being able to make our own decisions in a way that benefits us not only short term, but long term. It is about taking responsibility of our health and minds. Our relationship and our surroundings. It is about not only knowing what kind of life we want to live, but also working up the discipline to follow through on working towards that life. Being unreliable is not only annoying and disrespectful to others, but also childish. Children do whatever they want unless they are told not to. Adults do whatever they want unless they tell themselves not to.

There is nothing wrong, with changing one’s opinion. But wanting something and not working towards it, or giving it up, is not taking responsibility for ourselves. No one will hand us the lives we crave. The relationships we want, or the physical appearance we have always dreamed of. We need to understand, that either we take charge or nothing is going to change. Ever.

Rationality AND Emotion

It is very obvious that we have two sides: Our hearts and our heads. And we all know that sometimes they contradict each other. Sometimes we know that something is right even though it feels wrong or the other way around. Both rationality and emotion are incredibly beautiful powers. And both can help us live a better life, be a better person and be happier, or make us miserable and feel like we have nothing left to live for. But how do we handle them, when they contradict each other? How can we handle them at all and how can we use them to our advantage.

The first step to a healthy balance between rationality and emotion is understanding, that both are important and both exist in their own right. Banishing either from our lives will lead to imbalance and pain. We need to acknowledge our emotion. We need to understand how we feel. We live in a world, where we are either over-focused on rationality or over-focused on “feeling good”. The problem with the first is obvious: If we never focus on emotion, we are emotionally immature, meaning, we have no idea what we feel and how to handle it. Focusing too much on “feeling good” is problematic, because it does not allow for pain and anger and their negative siblings and we cannot deal with something that we do not acknowledge.

Everything we experience we need to handle on an emotional and a rational level. Imagine, we had a fight with our best friend. The rational level to deal with that is to understand where our friend was coming from and to admit the points where we were wrong ourselves. But that is not it: It is natural and good that a fight with our friend will trigger some emotion. Sadness, anger, pain. We need to realize that we do feel them and handle them. Maybe we need to talk or journal about them, maybe we want to deal with our anger by working out, or cry. However most obviously it would not be wise, to just deal with the fight emotionally and never talk to our friend about it. And never rationally dissolve it.

Sometimes we feel emotions that seem out of place. And that is alright as well. We can try to make sense of our emotion, but sometimes, there is no real reason for why we feel a certain way, but that is no reason to push the emotion aside and not allow us to feel it. Emotions are beautiful. Being able to express them and show them is not a sign of weakness or a sign that we have no self-control. It is a sign, that we are human. It is a sign that we know ourselves. And frankly once we learn how we can deal with our emotion, it becomes a super power. Because it is how we truly end and argument.

But we do not only feel negative emotion. The interesting thing is: when we learn to handle our sadness and anger we also become happier. Because we learn to recognize not only our negative emotion. We learn to recognize when we are happy. And when we enjoy ourselves, and consequently we learn to understand what got us into a positive state and we learn to repeat that. And when we have dealt with the negativity there is room for happiness inside us.

But it is not all about emotion. There are emotions, that are very persistent and difficult to deal with. We do our best, but we simply cannot handle them. A good example is guilt about past actions. We cannot change what happened and we feel bad about it. And the more we focus on it, the worse we feel. This is one of the points in time, where we need to understand that we cannot handle it emotionally anymore, but we have to be rational and let it go. Move on and maybe come back to it at some point and try to deal with it then. A similar situation is, when we fall in love even though we may be married. Feeling attracted to someone is not something we can control. It is an emotion. It is nothing we have to feel guilty about, but pushing that kind of emotion aside will allow us, to keep living a happy life with our husband.

Just because something is the right thing to do does not mean, it is easy on our emotion. And it is alright to feel that emotion, as long as we do not make a mistake because we based our decision purely on emotion. There is a healthy balance between doing what we have to and doing what we feel like. But it is good to know what we feel like. It does not mean, we have to act upon it. And sometimes acting on an emotion is a good thing. For instance when you feel like telling a team mate, that you enjoyed working with him. That will lift up both you and the team mate, so why would you not say something.

It is important, to control how we act on our emotion, because we may cause harm. But it is just as important to not suppress all emotion. If I feel like crying at the movies, I should. The worst thing that could happen is that I end up with ruined make up. Yes, we will need to do our jobs, even if we don’t feel like it, but maybe we can get ourselves into a bubble bath afterwards.

It is important to tend to our rational side and do the things our head tells us we need to do. Because if we do not do them, we will feel bad about ourselves and this will affect our emotions as well. But it is just as important to take care of our emotion. And it starts with acknowledging them, and then we get to figure out, what helps us feel better. Different emotions will call for different measures and it is journey to find out how to deal with which emotion and when to push an emotion aside for a bit.

Confidence not Arrogance

Everyone knows the importance of confidence. And yet so many people struggle with it. Why? Why is it so darn difficult to build confidence? The simple answer is: because it is work. The slightly more elaborate answer is: because it requires constant hard work and honesty. I believe that when people hear that they should become more confident, they end up becoming more arrogant, which is counterproductive.

Both confidence and arrogance start with someone not feeling good about themselves. The problem with arrogance is, that it is what happens when we try to make ourselves feel better, without being willing to acknowledge our problems. We try to make other people believe, how great we are, because we cannot believe ourselves, when we say “I am awesome.”. We hope that when other people believe, that we are great, we can believe it ourselves and find a way to be at peace with ourselves. In other words we are trying to put up a show. The show that we are awesome. The show that we enjoy our lives and that we are in control.

Another very characteristic thing that is an indicator for arrogance is, when we feel the need to be acknowledged and approved by others, but most importantly: when we always want to be better than others. We constantly need to measure up against other people and be better than them, in order to be able to feel good about ourselves. This sometimes goes as far as we feel the need to put other people down. We feel the need to be seen. We feel the need to brag. We feel threatened when someone is better than us.

And while we keep all this up we end up being exhausted and still not at peace. The reason for this is simple: we lack honesty. Everything we do is nothing but a show. We know exactly that we are not as great, as we want to make other people believe. And we end up never being able to fool ourselves. Because we are not stupid.

Confidence is knowing that who we are is good enough. And that knowledge needs to be based on facts. If we are not confident, we need to consider the possibility, that there are some things we need to work on. Gaining confidence starts with honesty. It starts with figuring out, who we are. What are the things we like about ourselves and what are the things we do not like? For me some things that I did not like were and still are that I do not study enough and how much I tend to complain. Often these things are the very things standing in between us and our happiness.

We do not need to despair. Confidence is not only when we have eliminated all our flaws. Confidence is, when we know we are working towards it. We are improving. Because we started being confidence by being honest, we are still being honest with ourselves. And we get to tell ourselves that we are handled our flaw brilliantly today. Or even just that we improved compared to yesterday. Or that we kept going, even though we did not feel like it. But we can say this without lying to ourselves.

Confidence is not about what other people think about us. Confidence is what we think about us. Confidence allows us to be at ease and gives us peace because we do not have to fear our own thoughts. Of course there will be days where it is more difficult than on other days. And that is where discipline comes in. Confidence is more than just a nice feeling. I said confidence required hard work. And it does so, because it is not always easy to improve ourselves. And sometimes we just want to give in and stay in bed. We all know the feeling. But confidence is what we gain from getting up nevertheless.

We cannot be happy without being confident. And we cannot gain confidence without honesty and self-discipline. We need both. We can acknowledge our flaws and do little to nothing about them. That is just immature, maybe even cowardly behavior. It showcases a lack of self-discipline. And while it is true that some naturally have more than others and some build it easier than others, I do not believe that anyone should allow themselves to use that an excuse to not be confident. If we are self-disciplined, but not honest about our flaws, we are wasting our energy, or maybe we are not as disciplined, as we thought we were to begin with.

I get it. I am struggling with discipline myself. It’s tough. And being honest with ourselves is a bench. But the reality is that we all want to be happy. And being honest with ourselves only hurts us, if it means, we have to work on ourselves. Why would we try to deceive ourselves? Arrogance is, when we try to deceive others in the hopes that at some point we end up believing it ourselves. We need to understand that it is our own decision. No one is making us build confidence. No one is making us be honest with ourselves. But I will rather be honest with myself and put in some work in order to gain peace and happiness. In order to be able to live with myself.

The people who are constantly stating we need to be more confident conveniently forget to mention how much work it is, because they are aware, that if they admit that, some people will choose to not start this journey. But I think, that we need to understand the choice that we have. And it is no good to us, if we think we are confident and still feel so insecure. That insecurity is most likely coming from some flaw within us, that we have not addressed yet.

While it is true, that confidence is not about how other people see is, rather than about us being please about us, we also have to understand that we are humans, which means, we have emotion and rationality. What I have described tackles the topic of self-confidence from a rational perspective. But sometimes there is no rational reason for us to feel insecure. Sometimes we are truly confident rather than arrogant, and still feel insecure. This is a mere emotion, and we really know, we are good enough. In such situations it can help to approach the problem from an emotional side, because the problem is purely emotional to begin with.

Let me illustrate this with an example: I have been very insecure about my appearance and my body since I was a little girl, even though there was no reason for that. When I got into uni and felt insecure, I imagined what I would think about me, if I saw myself. Since what I thought was never really negative, I have been able to tremendously improve my body image. Because what I felt was perfectly irrational. This would not have worked, if I had not been taken care of. Which is, why I advise to take a rational approach to confidence. We naturally try to deal with our insecurities emotionally. But we can do that so much better, if there are actually facts to back up our positive self-talk.

It is also important to understand the difference between being arrogant vs. being confident and competitive. Both types of people may feel threatened when they come across someone who is better than them. But the arrogant person may try to talk them down or talk themselves up, maybe even do some improvement to keep up the facade. The confident but competitive person will take this encounter as a motivation to improve further. That is a good thing as long as we don’t try to improve, just to be better than that person. A confident person does not care if someone else is better at something, they don’t care for. They acknowledge and praise the achievement. But they will not go out of their way to be better than the other person.

Say we meet someone who runs faster than us. Us trying to beat that person is not a bad thing. It may benefit our health and mental state. But it becomes problematic, as soon as we endanger ourselves, or when it makes us feel threatened even though running that fast was never our goal to begin with.

This illustrates beautifully not only what it means to be confident, but also why it is so “in” to not care about what other people think, because if we are confident, it does not matter, what people think, because we know our flaws and we also know we are working on them. In summary confidence is about knowing ourselves. Knowing who we are today. And knowing who we want to be. It is about working towards that in order to not lie to ourselves when we say “I love who I am.”.

The Amount of Talking we do

It appeared to me, when I was working in a team for Uni: Listening is really difficult. And it is very frustrating, to say something just to realize, we were not properly listened to and therefore need to repeat ourselves. Not listening when someone is inherently rude and respectles. But when a team member does not listen to us, do they really mean to be rude? I don’t think so. I think the problem is not just a team member. I believe it is way more universal.

In this day and age, we have forgotten how to listen to someone. We do so much talking, and hardly ever listen. I am thinking of Instagram in particular. We post tons of content and write all the captions in the world, while we only look at pictures of others, responding with one to five emojis, that do not correspond to the caption.

And this talking way more than listening showcases one more thing: a latent arrogance. We are self-obsessed. There is nothing wrong with taking care of ourselves. But when we care mostly about ourselves and maybe a little about someone else, we have a problem. Yes, our first and foremost responsibility is towards ourselves, but we are not alone in this world. Nor should we act like we are. We are not the most important thing in the world and what others have to say is just as important, as what we have to say.

We have cultivated talking without end, hoping that someone will care, but we are at a place, where people can just ignore, what we say, if they do not like it. And that is how we learned to ignore what others say. How many people do we follow who’s post we just double-tab to like, even though, we do not really care for their content? We talk so much and everyone who does not like it, can ignore it, that we have stopped saying valuable things. And we have learned, that what others express can just be ignored.

This may very much be, how the internet works, but is not, how the real world works. And we should review our behavior. The more we ignore on the internet, the more we will ignore in real life. We learn behavior patterns. I suggest only following the people who create value, at least most of the times they post, even if that means unfollowing some of our friends.

We cannot control, what others do. But we can control what we do. We need to start making sure, that what we say and post has value. Not every joke we make will be on point and that is not what it is about. But if we are willing to talk, we should be willing to listen as well. And we should work on taking the things, other people say seriously, because not doing so is plain respectles.

Why Looks Matter.

Growing up many of us have been told that looks are not the most important thing in the world. We have been trained to ignore them as much as possible. The whole thing was designed to prevent us from becoming arrogant and shallow. If looks do not matter, why do companies have dress codes, even though only few of them are for safety? Why do lawyers and bankers show up in suits? It is true: looks are not the most important thing. But they do matter.

Looks are a form of communication. And they say so much more than just what my favorite color is, or that I like cats. Lawyers and bankers wear suits to tell their clients that they are competent. Doctors want to see their mental health patients before sending them over to a specialist of mental health, to assess how badly they are. But Clothes are not just a way to communicate to the world around us that we are competent, or that we know we are attractive.

It is also a way to communicate to ourselves. Taking the time to put on some jewelry or using some mascara, tells us, that we respect and value ourselves and our bodies. And that is something that we most definitely want to focus on, especially if we do have a history of self-harm. Dressing appropriately and nice is also a way to respect the people around us. Because they are the ones looking at us, all day.

But there is one more benefit in taking the time to create a nice outfit and that may be the most crucial one: It allows us, to check in on ourselves. It allows us, to figure out how we are feeling. Even if it is just how we are feeling about a certain piece of clothing. It is a first step to checking in on our actual mental state. And it tells us, how we want to feel. Our personal style reflects who we are. Are we playful? Are we serious and focused on achievements?

When it comes to clothes, many of us have intuitively chosen a style at some point in our lives. And some of us may have chosen clothes based on our body-type and skin color. We have tried to rationalize what looks best on us based on scientific evidence. I see one problem with both approaches: The first does not even acknowledge the power of clothes and dressing well, the second looses all mystery. The second focuses very much on what will look good based on scientific evidence and may easily forget that we only look good, if we feel good. Of course often times we intuitively choose what we should choose according to science. But just because our color season says we should wear green, does not mean, we have to wear green, even if we hate the color.

Clothes have more purpose other than being a form of communication. They should also empower us. Clothes empower us, not only by making us feel good. But they empower us, by reflecting who we choose to be. If you have not done so within the last 12 months I highly encourage you to adjust your wardrobe. Envision who you want to be. Maybe even write it down or make a Pinterest board. Then go into your closet and ask yourself for every single piece that you own not only Marie Kondo’s question “Does this spark joy?” But also: “Is this in line with who I want to be?”.

Why is this so important? What is around us, reflects who we are. Clothes are not just around us. They are on us. They are not only serving us, they are covering our bodies. Surrounding our bodies. Thinking clothes would be a minor detail in a human’s life is a fatal mistake. Because they are what we see when we look at ourselves. They make us feel a certain way. And we need to learn to use that to our advantage. We need to figure out, how we want clothes to make us feel. And then we cannot rest until we find those clothes, that make us feel powerful.

Having high standards when it comes to clothes may be an indicator for being spoiled. But it may also mean, that we know what we want. That we know what we need. It is wonderful, if we are able express our needs. It is so incredibly powerful to be able to choose what we need rather than just take whatever comes our way first. And there is nothing wrong with that. It is actually a skill that is so valuable and important and applies to so many areas in life. Clothes just being a very good way to acquire that very skill.

Do not make the mistake in thinking, that wearing the newest trend will empower you. I am sorry to bust your bubble, it will not. Trends are there for people who do not know who they want to be. Trends are there for people who need the mass’ approval of who they are. But if we wear what other’s want us to wear, we are not utilizing the power that clothes have. Maybe we are even working against ourselves, because we are wearing clothes, that embody values, that are the exact opposite of our own values.

Never adjust your values to what you are wearing. Adjust what you are wearing to who you are.

There is nothing wrong with trying a trend, but there is everything wrong with wearing a trend that is not in line with who we are, just because it is a trend. If we need external approval to that extent, we are very insecure. Insecure to an unhealthy extent.

Clothes are a tool. They can empower us to an incredible extent, if we know how to do it. And learning how to handle clothes properly, finding out what makes us comfortable and empowered. Is more than just finding a style that suits us, that looks good on us. It is about finding who we want to be. It is about respecting who we want to be and it is about learning to understand and communicate what we need. And this goes beyond clothing.

This is what real confidence is. Knowing yourself well enough that you are not pleased with something that is not right for you, just because it is trending right now. Confidence means not wearing a trend unless it suits you. It means not needing the external approval that comes with wearing something trendy. It means feeling comfortable and empowered wearing something that represents your values, regardless of what anyone else says. Because you are wearing what is right for you.

Not in a way that you walk around in inappropriate clothes. But that for any occasion there is something in your closet that is appropriate and the right thing for you. And when you wear it to that occasion you will not feel out of place and you will not feel like you are betraying yourself. This is confidence.

Anxious because Lazy

Sometimes all we do is focus on ourselves. We focus on our body image. And we focus on our goals. And we focus on our mindset. We focus on setting up the perfect life. And when everything seems in perfect order we check back in with ourselves and wonder:

“My Life is perfect, why am I not feeling good?”

Of course this can have a multitude of reasons. But one possibility is, that we are lazy. We know what we would have to do, but we are not doing it. And we may even use our mental instability as an excuse for it. We put off the work we should be doing in favor of creating our mindset, or exercising more, or whatever that may be. With me this would go so far, that I would engage in self-harm, just to have a bigger problem to focus on. Of course not everyone who self-harms does it for that reason, I would even go as far as to say most people do not. But I did. I am also not stating, that anyone with a mental issue, is simply lazy. That would be outspokenly ignorant. But what I am saying is: If our lives are perfect and we still feel anxious, it may be because we are lazy and I think it is absolutely worth checking up on that.

How does our laziness affect our emotional state? We may long for someone telling us, that we are doing well enough. We may long for external approval, because deep inside us we know, that we could be doing better. We end up being anxious, because we do not approve of what we do. We do not approve of ourselves. This can lead to a wrong self-diagnosis. We think, we are attention-seeking, have mental issues and don’t love ourselves the way we should. While this may true as well, the real reason is laziness.

I do not believe, that lying to ourselves, and telling ourselves that everything is fine when it isn’t but can be made alright is a smart move. Sure, there are things we cannot change, like our past. But it does not mean, that we should accept that we are lazy and just decide to roll with it, when it really is something that bothers us. We have control over this. And why would we find ways to cope with laziness, if we can just eliminate that very laziness and make our lives better this way?

How do we know, if we are lazy. We all are aware that emotional state fluctuates and maybe we are not equally lazy all the time. There is a simple way to assess this. We need to have a look at our commitments. All of them. School, work, family life, hobbies, you name it. Once we know what our commitments are, we need to determine, how committed we really are to them. When was the last time, we worked on that project we claim to be close to our heart? Do we only do the minimum of what is expected of us? And if so, why? Could we do more? How much TV and alcohol do we consume? As sad as it is, that last one is a good indicator, because when watching TV we feel, like we are doing something productive, but we can end up doing it for hours, without really doing anything.

How can we fight our own laziness? This is difficult. And I have just started struggling with this, myself. However there are three main steps, we have to take: We have to first acknowledge that we are lazy and in what regards we are.
Then we have to choose not to be lazy. We have to remember, why we made that commitment. Without a good reason to do something we should not be doing it. Everyone whines about how they do not have enough time, but they could not tell you, why they made half of their commitments. So let’s get our why.
And finally we need to strategize. We need to find out, what actions we can take, to not be lazy anymore. We can either increase the effort we put into something, or the time we put into something. We can run faster, or we can run for longer. We can finish a task well or we can work on it for longer. To spend more time on our commitments, I recommend Calendar Blocking. Using a calendar and assign tasks to time slots. Because this way we have full control over our time.
We should not try to force ourselves to doing more than a little more. This is a journey. We need to improve step by step rather than setting up a schedule that we cannot keep to for longer than a day.
Once we have our time slots, and we are working on that task, there is one thought, that I find helpful:

“I am spending time on this. I might as well do it well.

This is great, because it allows you to gradually not only increase the time spent on our commitments but also improve the work we do during that time.

One final tip: Try to quantify. Not everything can be quantified. But some things can. How much time we spent, how fast we wrote something. How long it took us to accomplish the same task as last week. Because even though this sounds very competitive it is true: Success is measurable. And if we only think we are good, with no recent measure to back that up, we are probably not that great and we have most certainly stopped improving, because improvement is change and change is visible, at least to ourselves. We deserve success stories, we are working on improving ourselves after all.

So finding ways to measure the improvement is crucial for our motivation, but also to battle that anxiety, that comes with laziness. Because when we see, how we improved, we know we are not lazy. We are not just telling ourselves, we aren’t to make us feel a little better. We are not lying to ourselves, we are telling the truth and with that, the anxiety will disappear. (Unless there was another source for it, in which case, we are now not to lazy anymore to deal with that as well.) In any case making sure we are not lazy. Making sure, we are improving is equal to being the best version of ourselves. And I kid you not: the best version of ourselves tomorrow is a little better than the best version of myself today. Working on fighting laziness will improve everything. Us as a person, our lives our relationships with ourselves, the world around us and the people around us, but especially the relationship with the people we love.

High Caliber Women

I have been mentally evolved in the thoughts of what makes a high caliber woman for a while now. It is no secret, that I am a woman and therefore it is obvious, where my interest in the topic is coming from.

Respect.

I have talked about respect a lot. And I believe the first and foremost quality a high caliber woman has, is respect. Respect for herself, for the ones around her. For opinions she is presented with. She respects the rules of the community she is living in. That does not mean, she has to like them, but she respects them and lives according to them. For instance this applies to respecting speed limits. Not because she thinks that the speed limit itself deserves her respect, but she respects the government who made those rules enough, to believe, that they make those rules with everyone’s best interest in mind, and therefore she will keep to those rules, because she respects others and she will never want to hurt them, therefore doing, what is best for everybody.

Integrity.

While respect is a very big topic and does affect many areas of a human’s specifically a woman’s life, integrity is even bigger. Much bigger. Integrity is about the character of a woman. Of course a woman gets to choose who she wants to be. She gets to choose her partner and she gets to choose to stay single. But once she chooses she makes a commitment. This does not only apply to relationships. This also applies to everything in a woman’s life. She will not make important decisions like how to spend her time lightly. She will make a decision and commit. Which means, that everything a high caliber woman sets her mind to she considers worth fighting for.

She makes those choices out of respect for herself and her surroundings. But it is impossible to make good choices, choices we can commit to, if we are not able to be honest. If a high caliber woman does not want to do something, she will communicate that. Respectfully. But unmisunderstandably. Because she understands that it is more important to commit fully to the things she does want to do, than to commit to a big number of things half-heartedly. A good woman will choose her commitments wisely, because she understands the importance of those choices. This is what separates her from an experimenting Teenager. There is nothing wrong, with trying out new things. We can also commit to trying something out, we can commit to researching how a new style of clothes would make us feel. But while the Teenager thinks this new edgy style is their new style that they will be wearing for the rest of their lives, a high caliber woman knows she is just trying something new. And once she knows how that new style makes her feel she will commit to wearing it sometimes or not. She does not need to commit to always wearing it, but she can do so, if she wishes to.

Integrity is also about the values a woman commits to. Integrity means that she knows and respects her values. She does not compromise them for momentary pleasure. She protects those values. And she will distance herself from anyone who tries to alter her values. Not because she is a coward. But because she is aware, that the longer she is around people who do not respect her values to more likely it becomes she will water down those very values, which is never something anyone with integrity should be doing.

And finally: She cares about her commitments. Which is exactly, why she does not change what she commits to on a whim. She puts effort into her commitments. She cares about them. And they are valuable to her. This includes her social commitments, her commitments to learning new skills and exploring new hobbies, and this also includes her commitment to herself.

Gentleness and Caring.

I have an entire blog post on caring. And this most obviously ties into commitment and integrity. But it is so important on its own, that I could not just skip it here. Not only caring about something is a very beautiful quality in a woman, but also caring for something or someone. This can be the people around her, her family, her friends, her community, or her pets or flowers or even just the things she own. And she does so in gentle manner. A high quality woman does not have the intention, to hurt anyone or anything, therefore she will approaches things with gentleness. This does not mean, she will fake and be sweet just to please someone, when really she thinks that that person overstepped the boundaries. A high value woman is also honest. But she will not try to put that person back into his/her place, as gently as possible.

But from this caring also comes the protective sides in a high value woman. Gentleness and caring does not make the woman weak. They makes her strong. And make her fight for, what she believes in and protect those dear to her.

Communication and Honesty.

In the section on integrity I discussed the ability of a woman to understand, that she is just researching. In order to know what her commitments are, a high caliber woman will always be honest with herself. This ties back into integrity and respect. Without honesty it is very hard, to make the right decisions and the right commitments.

A high caliber woman will always speak her mind, but she will not end up loud and harsh, doing it. She will stay respectful and gentle, but yet firm. She understands the importance of open and honest communication. She understands that her relationships depend on it. And she tries her best to not lash out on someone for telling the truth or get upset by it. She will try to make her surrounding a safe place for the truth.

Appearance.

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room. Looks. Appearance. They say so much about us. And many people put a lot of time and effort into maintaining them. And I agree with the statement that looks are important. But they are not important in themselves. They matter, because they allow us, to know how much a woman (or a man for that matter) respects herself. Looks are not important to tell us, what social class someone is in. They are important to tell us how well someone takes care of themselves.

Do not be fooled: Appearance does not only include our hair and make up. There is so much more to it. Our level of physical activity, our grooming and our nutrition. A high value woman does not need a personal trainer or a dietitian. She does not need to get a professional to do her hair and nails every other week. But she will take care of her hair, such that it is healthy. She will take care of her diet and exercise such that she is healthy.

She does so, because she values herself. Her routines revolve around staying healthy out of respect. This is the direct counter-action of self-harm. This would not be a blog post of mine, if I would not be mentioning mental health at some point. But I am serious. We cannot be truly high value, if we do not value ourselves. It is not necessary to go crazy with self-care. But it is very much crucial, we communicate to ourselves, that we matter, and that we care.

Knowledge.

A high caliber woman does not only look good and has high standards for her own values and commitments. She also understands the power of knowledge. She understands that there is always more to learn. And she never stops learning. She may not have an interest in every subject out there. But she has respect for every subject out there. Therefore she knows a little bit of everything. And if she meets someone from a field she does not know a lot about she will not be too good to be taught some more about it.

A high value woman will keep reading about the things she cares about. And she will keep growing her knowledge in those fields.

Her relationship to herself.

This may be the most important part of all. A high value woman will always respect herself. This means, she will take care of herself. And she understands that it is her first and foremost responsibility to do so. Every other commitment is meaningless if she does not manage to have a healthy relationship with herself.

A high quality woman knows herself, including her feelings, her likes and dislikes and her needs. she is able to communicate those and take care of herself by satisfying those needs. She will also understand when she is reaching her limit and needs some help. And she will ask for that help.

She keeps herself to high standards and keeps improving constantly. She knows, that once she stops improving she will start loosing her qualities.

Relationships.

Allow me to say one thing: Every woman can be high caliber, if she chooses to. It does not matter whether or not she is in a relationship or not. It would be wrong to state that a relationship is just another commitment, because it is a very special commitment. But a woman does not need to be in a relationship to be high value. I would even go as far as to say that a relationship does not actually affect a woman’s value. Maybe it may seem like her value changes. But that is not the case.

For some women a relationship and the perspective of motherhood is a motivation to improve and grow on an individual level. And that is a good thing. Wanting to improve is always good, no matter where that will is coming from. It does not mean, that her improvement depends on the relationship. It just means, that her relationship makes her better and frankly that is, how it is supposed to be.

But wanting to grow is not tied to relationships. It is not tied to how we grow up. It is not tied to our friends or our environment. It is tied to who we choose to be.

Caring healing Aggression against ourselves.

There is this trend in our society to declare, that we do not care about anything anymore. And to be honest, I have participated in this. And it does make sense. We assume the worst in everyone. We assume, we will get hurt. But if we do not care, we cannot be hurt, right? Obviously not. Because what happens is, that we feed into our hatred for ourselves. We naturally care. Because we are passionate. And because we do care, we end up hating ourselves, because we don’t even manage to not care. But this is not the worst part of it. there are so many things, capable to bring us joy, if we choose to not care about them, we will end up in a cold, joyless world, left with nothing but pain.

There is nothing wrong with caring for things. Caring about our health, our relationships, our hobbies and our work. Because after all we have the right to care about our lives. We don’t have to numb ourselves towards everything around us, just in order to not get hurt. Because our dependence on our hobbies and relationships may hurt us, but not caring about those things at all will hurt us more in the long run.

Why is that? Why do I claim that we inherently want to care? What do I know? Well, it is not just about caring. It is very much about a purpose. And about a direction. It is about individualism and self-identification. We all intuitively know, that what we do and how we think, defines who we are. And that is exactly how caring defines who we are. Which is, why we should never blindly care about something. Which is, why there needs to be research in order for us to be sure about something. But we all need to care. Because we all need a goal. Because we all need something that is worth fighting for.

Here is what may happen, if we do not care. We isolate ourselves from everyone around us, which will hurt us, because no one can live depending only on oneself. But we will ignore that hurt, because we decided to not care about those people that we pushed away. The pain will grow, but will will keep choosing not to care. But there is also nothing else, that we can focus on. We end up trying to focus on identifying ourselves as the person, who is cold and does not care.

Someone said, we should not drink a whole bottle of our favorite high volume percent alcohol? Oh well, we do not care. And with not caring we damage ourselves. But we don’t care about whether or not we damage ourselves or not. And we end up in addictions or self-harm. But we don’t really care, but now we have the perfect way to identify ourselves with not caring.

I know this is harsh. I know it is scary to care. It is scary to just be ourselves, because it is so much easier to desperately try to not care. But not caring and the constant need to prove how much we do not care is so damaging to us. Yes, we may get hurt, if we start fighting for our hobbies. Yes we may run into people who judge us for taking care of ourselves. But I think we should rather take care of ourselves, than end up hurting ourselves, just because we are afraid, what people think of us.

Why do we despise ourselves for caring? Why do we feel, if we start caring about things, we loose our independence? Because we don’t unless we let someone else choose what we are supposed to care for. Choosing what we care for means choosing who we are. And it is power. It is like a woman choosing to be cute and kind. She may have dreaded that her whole life, because she has always feared that being cute may be viewed as being immature. Or weak. When frankly that is a decision entirely up to her. And the world envies women who make the choice to be cute and beautiful, rather than badass. Because there is an undeniable appeal to someone embracing who they want to be, despite of their fears.

There is a distinct appeal to someone choosing to care. Because it is well known how much strength it takes to make that step. We don’t end up vulnerable when we care. I have wondered for too long why I was fascinated so much by all those protagonists in books and movies. I knew my life was perfect but I could not get rid of the feeling that it was not as good as those protagonists’ lives. But why? Because no matter the heart-ship and pain and confusion those characters were undergoing, they were always motivated. By hate, by pain or by love. Those are strong emotions. Emotions, that we are not able to use to our advantage unless we care. Yes, we can hate ourselves for caring, but that will only destroy us.

Caring for something can also help us, to stop feeling uncomfortable with it. I have experienced that myself. I used to hate my feet and find them very ugly. At some point I started caring for them. Nothing fancy. Just taking a little time every other week to put some polish onto my toenails. And guess what: I don’t hate my feet anymore.

So when we hate our bodies, we can start battling that hate, by caring for it. There are so many ways of caring for your body. My favorites are applying body lotions and peelings. But there is also water intake and nutrition and exercise. Understand that taking care of yourself is the polar opposite of engaging in self-harm (with exercise potentially being an exception to this). And that is, why it helps to get more in tune with ourselves. It helps to not hate our bodies so much. And for me the next step always is to take care of things mentally. Be it my blog, my studies or the stories, I want to be writing. This can also be the people around us. Our family. Our pets. Caring for and about them will decrease our level of aggression, will give us a purpose and will define who we are.

I like the thought of being able to define who I am. It is work. But it is so much better than being at the mercy of my own hatred.

Complaining

I keep hating myself for complaining. And then I realize that I am complaining about things that actually do bother me. So why would we try to be complaining less? Well, anyone who has been reading my blog knows that I am about to say: “Because it is destroying the positive mindset.” Well, yes, that too. But that is not even the only issue with complaining. The main problem is that it is costing a lot of mental energy. Not only ourselves, but also the people we are complaining to.

I am not saying, we should ignore the things that bother us. We need to acknowledge them and figure out what the problem is. Why are we bothered? What can we change? And then we either have to live with whatever bothers us, or we deal with it. Dealing with it will take effort and energy. Most likely even more so, than complaining. But in contrast to complaining, it will actually improve the situation and we do not have to feel bad about how we spent our energy.

Let me give you an example. Maybe you are taking this really boring Calculus class taught by this french Professor, that bothers you every time he opens his mouth, because you cannot stand the French Accent in the English. And also: he is not able to make you understand the materials not matter whether or not you pay attention.
There is nothing you can do about the accent. But you could take the class with a different teacher. Or just study yourself. Or you could complain. Or just study more outside of class, to understand what is happening in class.

Complain will not change how well you are able to follow the class, nor the teachers accent. But there are ways you can take care of the problem. And yes: Studying is tiring. And exhausting. And complaining is so much easier. But dammit, it does not help. So really the only thing we can do is shut up and work hard to make the problem go away.

When we feel sad.

Sometimes we have no reason. We don’t really feel bad. We are not really unhappy. But we are not alright either. For me that is exactly the point in time, where I have to get writing. Where I know I have to light a candle and take some take care of my mind of a little. Working on a recovery journal can be helpful to focus on our goals and being grateful and getting a some motivation to get better.

But as great as a Recovery journal is, sometimes, we do not feel like working that hard, when we are not well. I am a fan of lists. So here are two lists, that might help.

A list of things that bother us.

Sometimes it just helps to see what it is, that is bothering us. I like to jam everything down. Usually I have a few points of things that are actual issues and a whole bunch of points that I am just making drama over. However it is important to acknowledge these things. They may objectively not be much of a deal, but in this very moment that we are writing the list, they are to us. And that is why they absolutely deserve a spot on that list.

Even if something is just a drama point: writing it down will allow us to mentally deal with it. Will allow us to be mad or hurt for a bit in a save place. And when we write it down and notice that it is a drama point, which we most likely do, because writing it down makes us think about it, we help us realize that it is not all that bad.

And even if it does not really help with making us feel better, it helps understanding, why we do not feel well. Which is the first step of the way to being healthy and well. As well as it helps us to accept, that we are not perfectly fine and that it is legitimate.

A list of recent great things.

This goes along the lines of a gratitude log. It can contain anything. An awesome talk we had with a friend. A gift we got, or an activity that we really enjoyed. Anything that went well in our lives. Again it is all about acknowledging it. About living consciously.

But maybe you are not in the mood for the rationality of a list. In that case we still need to acknowledge our feelings and express ourselves. Sometimes I find putting on over the top make-up helps. Or singing. Writing, drawing. Any way of expressing yourself. Maybe rearranging furniture or tidying a space. If we choose art to express ourselves, we may not demand it to be good, because that will put us under even more pressure than we already experience.

Another simple way is journalling. I personally have always been journalling from time to time, because I find it is one of the best ways to get my thoughts straight. No one asks us to do it regularly or even every day. We do not have to commit to anything we do not feel up to.

But no matter what we choose to do, neglecting how we feel, because we think we have no legit reason to feel that way is never healthy.