Tag Archives: alone

“I forgot to floss today: Aligning lifestyle with values” – Taylor

Values…What even are those? What does it mean to value honesty, to value kindness, to value flossing every day?

If I asked you to list every single one of your values, chances are it would be seemingly endless; everything from social equality to breakfast foods. If someone asked you, “do you value the ethical treatment of living creatures?” you would likely answer yes. But the question at hand is, what does it really mean to value something? How would I know you valued that, if you hadn’t just flat out told me?

What I’ve learned in my whopping 20 years is that there are 2 different people to every person; there is the person you are and the person you say you are, or the person you would like to be. Our entire lives are spent attempting to close that gap, attempting to push ourselves closer to that ideal self.

Prior to college, never once had I considered the importance of aligning my lifestyle with my values. All through my years, I had been taught the importance of having values and the things that I should value. But nobody ever told me what that entailed. It all looked great on paper, but I didn’t have the substance to back it up.

My first real attempt was 10th grade, when I researched the meat industry. I realized that it was an industry that didn’t align with my values, thus, I became a vegetarian. Now happily vegan, I look back and see that as my first real move towards closing the gap. My freshman year of college I had this professor who taught a critical thinking class. The entire class was focused on sustainability, individuality, self-thinking, and values; He essentially created a class that asked people to take a hard look at themselves in the mirror and ask “Who really am I?” I had never felt so passionate about self-improvement. I began stepping outside of my comfort zone and doing all sorts of things I never would have, all for the sake of aligning my life with my values. I valued independence, so I took myself out to dinner and a movie… alone! I valued working on weaknesses, so I joined an organization that pushed me to be outgoing and conversational. I valued supporting local businesses, so I began going out of my way to always shop and eat local. That class was the real wake up call of what it meant to be an honest person and a good human.

Today, I am a completely different person than I was 2 years ago. Though I value all the same things, I now have substance in my life to show for it. I still have a long way to go, but I feel so much pride and love for the life I live and the person I am. Compliments on my character or my lifestyle mean so much more than they ever did before. My values are now so much more than just words; they have depth and meaning.

As mentioned before, your list of values could go on forever. It’s not easy, creating a life that aligns with every single value every single moment. There are days when I’m whiny or lazy or careless; those days become my fuel to be better. It’s okay to to be different on different days — it’s a constant push and pull. The important thing is that you’re working on it. My hopes in writing this bit is not to make you feel guilty or lazy, but to inspire and empower you to be your best self. As people, we are our own biggest investment, our own personal powerhouse; it’s important to be the best that we can be. It allows us to be better in everything else we do. Go ahead, write a list and think about those values. What are they? What does it mean to live them? And yes, it’s okay to skip flossing every once in awhile.

Taylor Jackson

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Relationships With Time – Lauren

We have relationships with all kinds of people are things. One of those things is time. Have you ever sat back and really thought about how well you and time get along? Maybe you and time should try going on a little date together.

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Social Media and Technology Affect Our Emotions – Mariah

We all can come to the conclusion that media and the technology around us affect our emotional state of mind in our daily lives. From the fact that social media is addictive, to the idea that these devices are enhancing our connectivity, all contributes to our emotions. Hear about the few ways that technology is controlling the way we feel. But what are we doing about this? It might be a good idea to balance our use. Comment below on how media/technology affects your daily life, and your solutions to make your emotional balance possible!

Sherry Turkle’s TED Talk

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“Relationships” by Devon Sweeney & Dr. Eric Pappas

Everyone’s in a romantic rush. It seems like the guy you met this weekend at the party is your boyfriend by Monday…and a distant bad memory three weeks later (What was his name?). It may be a futile effort to try to change anyone’s behavior to something less emotionally draining and sexually tense, but we’ll have a shot at it anyway. Here goes….

So, everyone’s hormones are raging, and we are suffering from an unshakeable loneliness we feel will certainly be filled by the presence of someone who can validate us in ways we feel we cannot validate by ourselves. In other words, rather than fix ourselves, we’d rather have someone else tell us we’re cool. If we felt okay about ourselves, we’d end up in fewer, and far healthier, romantic relationships, but that may be too much work you may think. Besides, if you don’t have a romantic relationship, you must be a loser, no? Maybe we engage in romances more often to fill our complementary neuroses, rather than to enrich each other’s experience. Isn’t it really about insecurity? Being “alone” is scary, but we’re all stuck with it, and just finding someone to fill that emptiness and fear inside you is a prescription for long-term problems and regret. At some point, you might actually marry or commit to one of these individuals quite before either of you are ready. But who knows, maybe everyone needs a first marriage just to learn some stuff.

Here’s the deal. You have to be okay with yourself (or at least on the way to being so) before you are any good to anyone else. Finding someone so you can say “You complete me” is simply saying that “I am not a whole person who is capable of taking care of my own business without someone to help.” This is not an attractive offer.

So, what do you fear about being alone (alone is not lonely, by the way…and all of us are lonely sometimes…it’s just part of the human condition)—that you will have to work on yourself to become a more complete and functioning person who can make good life decisions? Is it just easier to find someone to fend off the loneliness and fear of being alone? It never really works, not for long anyway.

Seriously, you know when you are just using someone to avoid your insecurities, ostensibly to love and care for you, simply because you can’t figure out how to do these things for yourself. We mean, really like yourself, and enjoy being with yourself. If you don’t enjoy being with yourself, what makes you think others should enjoy it? Really…if you don’t like being with yourself, how can you expect others to?

What’s better than that is learning to love yourself. If you are unwilling to do the work to learn to love yourself (or at least start to do so), how can you expect someone else to love you? “I don’t love myself, but I want you to love me.” Not a very appealing offer. Ask anyone.

Now a word about being judicious, both emotionally and sexually. Sure, there are lots of interesting things to learn about both of these things, but lacking some caution usually ends up in some form of disaster. Things we regret. Sometimes really regret. There is no prescription here for how to avoid the behavior we end up wishing never happened. Alcohol is part of the equation, but we’re not going to preach on a topic that is more worn out than your jeans. If you need to escape your daily life pretty often, this should be a red flag. (We agree, taking a vacation from yourself now and then is likely not a bad idea.) What is it about your life that makes you want to escape it so often? Don’t answer, we know why…so do you. And if you don’t…sit down and think about it for ten minutes (turn off your phone). You’ll figure it out.

Here’s what we’ve found out. When you begin to focus your energy on your own growth…emotional, intellectual, philosophical, social, and physical, your decisions seem to become more tempered and intelligent. While it sounds like we have a bunch of answers here, we don’t. But it’s likely that you do. We suggest getting to know yourself a little better, taking a break from whatever your distractions are and just being quiet from time to time. That’s right, just be alone inside your own mind. This can be difficult at first, since so many of us are not at all reflective, and we require constant electronic stimulation. But it gets easier and more attractive as you go. If you spend a little time thinking about your relationships (both friendly and romantic), you may come up with some good decisions. You might even want to do some things on your own; you don’t need someone with you all the time, do you?

A last bit of unsolicited advice: If your girlfriend or boyfriend (or friends) does not ask you questions about yourself …not simply what you did today…but what you think and feel and how you perceive the world…that person is not interested in you. People who are interested in you ask you questions about yourself.   This might be a good place to start thinking about your relationships.

(You are welcome.)

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“Getting To Know Yourself” by Devon Sweeney & Dr. Eric Pappas

It seems these days that so many of us are fighting our own lifestyles…you know, having enough time to do what we want, feeling good about what we do, and enjoying our friendships. Added to that is feeling like we are doing well in school. Currently, students feel more stress, more anxiety, more depression, and worry more (mostly about the future) than previous generations.

It’s true, there are simply more things to stress out about, more pressure, more emotional instability. This is a very complicated, and sometimes unforgiving, world. No one wants to become a victim of their own lifestyle, but lots of people feel that changing their circumstances is too difficult, or they end up blaming others for their own problems. All change starts with individual change, so whatever problems you are facing…you are the solution.  It sounds so easy. It’s not. Change takes time and attention and discipline… that is, even if you are highly interested in changing some of the circumstances under which you live day-to-day. Denial is an issue here. Many of us would like to claim 1) “I am not at fault for my own problems” (right, it’s always someone else’s fault), 2) “There’s nothing I can do to change” (sure, give up before even trying), 3) “I don’t have any problems” (either you are divine or delusional), or 4) “It’s too hard to change” (well, then enjoy being a victim). Whatever the case, so often we end up victims, and perhaps it’s because we don’t know ourselves well enough to feel like we can take control of our lives, or at least begin to do so. If you are not in control of your life, someone else is.

So, if you think all this is just silly, you can stop reading. You are not ready. Really. Everyone can improve his or her life, even if you don’t have some annoying or debilitating problems.

If you are still reading, here’s what we suggest. First, you are not special—everyone needs to continue growing (and everyone has problems and insecurities…no exceptions). Second, realize that change is not easy (despite what they tell you on television or in magazines), and it takes time, attention, and organization. Third, you are capable of making changes (everyone is). Last, learn to take your time.

Remember, all change starts with individual change, and the best way to start changing is to get to know the territory—yourself. You will get nowhere if you do not start understanding who you are, why you do the things you do, and how you can change. Seriously, stop looking for external factors to change around you; instead, start changing internally. And this is a problem because most everyone is so occupied (mostly by technology), they have not even given themselves the time to really get to know who they are, what they think, and how they can have some control over their lives.

So, it seems reasonable to talk about time first. Do you control time, or does it control you? Are you always rushing around? Often late? Are you always thinking you don’t have enough time to do the things you want to do? Always apologizing to friends for not showing up on time?

Maybe controlling your relationship with time would allow you to get to know yourself better. Maybe not always being distracted by technology (and the “obligations” to each other technologically) would offer some time to think about yourself…make some good decisions about lifestyle and how you organize your daily activities.

Being reflective is not a particularly popular endeavor these days. Our lives are characterized by constant activity, and “being busy all the time” may make us think we are productive and important. And many us have been taught that if we are not busy all the time, we are wasting our days…and maybe our lives. Being busy all the time does not mean much…only that you are not controlling your time. While there are busy times in all our lives, most of us on campus could easily control time enough to have some self-directed time, time we can use to just be by ourselves, think about all the events and people in our lives, or just not think about much at all. We all need a rest from 21st Century life.

So, if you are one of those who seems to get carried away by her or his daily lifestyle, obligations, and activities, it might be good to work on a plan the includes some personal time (and this time might be best be unplugged, if you really want the time to be useful). We understand that it is difficult for some of us to be alone, so maybe it’s best for those folks to make a plan to spend just a few minutes alone each day…and then build up to a longer time as it becomes more natural. (If you are not used to spending time by yourself, you don’t know yourself very well.) You don’t have to create a list of things you want to think about, but it’s not a bad idea. What’s bothering you these days? School, future, friendships, parents, romance…. So, pick something to think about, and don’t get discouraged if your thoughts are negative at first (this happens sometimes). Once you get a little more used to time on your own, this reflective time will become wildly productive, so much so that you may well look forward to it. Spending some time alone each day, or at least a few times a week, keeps us balanced and steady, helps us make good decisions, and prevents us from being a victim of time or our lifestyles. Don’t be discouraged if this time does not go just as you plan. Be patient with yourself. Getting to know yourself and how to be alone, maybe for the first time, might take a little more time than you expected.

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