“All By My Selfie”

There’s just so much to relate to in Tiny Buddha Productions’ first short film (about 10 minutes long), All by Myselfie, which I encourage everyone to check out here.

The film is about a young woman who has just moved to Los Angeles, and finds herself struggling to connect with new friends, through a series of missed opportunities. As someone who has moved several times, this hit home, and offers a very accurate cautionary tale about ‘missed opportunities’.

I wanted to briefly touch on this theme because of its relevance in an ever-connected world. For many of us, the screen is our primary means of connection and contact with the outside world. We text friends, we like items on Facebook as a declaration of ‘Hey, I’m alive and I like this!’…but we sometimes place greater emphasis on this, than on picking up the phone to make a call, or meeting with a friend face to face.

We’ve sacrificed connection and quality for convenience and quantity.

And I wonder if this has had an adverse effect when it comes to our ability to forge new connections. After all, when you’re so accustomed to reinforcing the connections you already have online, new connections in person can seem daunting. And it seems like more and more people are struggling with anxiety, often in a social setting.

I’ve been there, the protagonist in the film has, and I’m sure many of you have as well. We see a person we want to connect with – but don’t. Why? Here are just some of the thoughts that bounce around in our minds, feeding into our anxiety:

  • They look busy.
  • What if they don’t like me?
  • What if we run out of things to say?
  • What if they think I’m a creep?
  • I don’t want to intrude.

 

In a mixed attempt at being courteous, afraid, or shy, all at once, we often refrain from making the connection. And then we’re left with a kind of relentless regret (some of us who are harder on ourselves anyway). Over time, more and more connections are missed and we all lose out on the opportunity to create new and meaningful connections with the people around us.

Having experienced that regret first hand several years ago, I vowed to fight back against all those thoughts, replacing them with other ones. Here’s what I mean: take each of the above thoughts, and push back.

They look busy/I don’t want to intrude – I can always ask if they have time to chat just to be sure. And if they look distracted, just wish them well and be on your way.

What if they don’t like me?/What if they think I’m a creep? – What if they do like you? What if you get along wonderfully? You won’t know until you try. Most people are generally polite anyway, even if they don’t like you.

What if we run out of things to say? – Awkward silences, the big boss of social anxiety (at least it is for me). Silence has been something that I’ve had to grow accustomed to. We often try to fill silence with small talk just to keep the conversation going. But it’s not a bad idea to let the silence linger just a moment. Odds are, the other party (who likely also hates silence) will say something. But beyond this, the best way to combat running out of things to say is to ask open ended questions and show genuine interest. Don’t ask simple questions that can be answered with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Ask about their thoughts, their hopes, their dreams, their favourite ________, and WHY. Be curious!

As a general rule, and speaking from my own experience, we always exaggerate the worst that can happen. We amplify how horrible a silence can be, or how embarrassed we may become, or how rude a person may be in reply. We also downplay people’s desire to be civil and non-confrontational. I’ve found that as long as you’re civil and kind to people, they’ll likely be civil and kind back.

So what is the worst that can happen? You realize that a connection cannot be made, you part ways, and you never see each other again. Compare that with the lingering sense of regret that will follow you. Fear, like any other emotion, can be experienced and used in a positive way. It could be an excellent motivator. Try overcoming a fear of making a connection, with the fear of regret that could haunt you forever! In a strange and unexpected way, it worked very well for me.

And anyway, if they’re really a jerk, odds are you don’t want to connect with them anyway! That’s the most likely worst case scenario.

But what about the best case scenario? What if you find someone you connect with or make a new friend? Isn’t that worth the risk of awkward silences, or interrupting someone briefly with good intention? The potential long term gain is massive…but the short term loss (if any) is minimal!

Every single friendship likely started with a connection. Maybe it was a “Hello”, or a question. But these are the seeds that could lead to something truly wonderful.

Why be all by your selfie, when you can be all by your selfie…with friends?

All By My Selfie” teaches us all of these things, and so much more. It’s real. It’s raw. It’s so human. It’s all of us. Check it out. You won’t regret it.

Gratefulness

A short while ago, I was going through a difficult time in my life. Every day seemed worse than the previous. I kept wondering “when will it end? When will I catch a break? When will I be happy?”

I was still reading all of the wonderful blogs I read today, looking for something that would help. Of the many websites I’d visit and read discussing self improvement and growth, something called a ‘gratefulness journal’ kept popping up. At first, I didn’t think anything of it. Just another thing to add to my morning routine.

By this time, I’d tried many different variations of morning routines and not many of them had stuck. Trying this gratefulness journal seemed like another thing to try…why not right? After all, things couldn’t get any worse BECAUSE of this right? And somewhat of an optimist, I figured it was worth a shot.

Strategically I decided to start the following morning because then I would have a day to reflect back on (I say strategically because I think it was a sneaky way to procrastinate until then). I decided that having AT LEAST ONE thing that I was grateful for would be a good goal to start.

The first day that I sat down to write, I found myself at a loss for words. What was I grateful for from the previous day? I really had to think…

Now, at first I thought that there wasn’t much to be grateful for because the previous day had been hard. All I could think about was how the internet had just kept cutting out, or how some of my files had imploded and reached new levels of high conflict….But then a few little things came to mind:
– sitting down to relax and realizing I didn’t have to cook (dinner was made the night before)
– a hilarious email a friend had sent
– a client thanking me for handling the chaos that had unfolded

Little things. It was all little things. But these little things stood out as diamonds in the rough. So I wrote them down.

A month went by and I had stayed true to my word and written down at least one thing to be grateful for every day. I noticed that every day it became easier to appreciate all things I had to be grateful for…so much so that there were days where I found myself making long lists (some of which were repeats, but that had made me smile the day of).

My attitude also began to slowly change. I found that when things in the day were going rough, little things would stand out more. It was easier to focus on them instead of dwelling on the negatives. Day by day, this practice of gratitude became easier and easier.

Today, things aren’t much ‘easier’. But I find myself much happier than when I originally started the gratefulness journal. Rather than extending a 5 minute bad happening to an entire day, I find myself instead extending something short and sweet to keep me motivated throughout the entire day.

The gratefulness journal is one of my favourite morning routines, and although I’ve changed my routine up here and there, the journal has still remained. A few months ago, I also added a ‘daily lesson’ section where I would quickly jot down some wisdom the day have brought. Many of those, I share on twitter every morning at 7am.

So take a moment and pause. Right now. Take one minute to close your eyes and discover at least one thing you have to be grateful for. Maybe it’s the smell of coffee. Maybe it’s someone who smiled at you. Maybe it’s just the fact that you have a home to go to, family to hug, or people who care for you. Whatever it is, appreciate it, and be grateful for it.

There is much to be grateful for these holidays. There’s no time like the present to express and appreciate some gratitude. Whatever you are doing this holiday season, take a moment to pause and reflect. If you can, write it down. Collect the little things that you have to be grateful for.

In a world where so much can throw us off our grooves, this collection of gratefulness can really bring light to our lives. At least it did for me. It’s worth a shot…right?

Wishing you, your families, and loved ones, a happy holidays, with many many things to be grateful for!

xmas2016

The Gods Envy Us

Happy Wallpaper Wednesday everyone! This week’s Wallpaper was a perfect way to inspire and set the tone for a wonderful day. See my thoughts below the image:

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Regardless of what you thought about the movie, Achilles in Troy is making a very good point. Gods are immortal. They live forever. Nothing can kill them. But at the same time, they lack the contrast of life and death to help motivate them to really appreciate the world around them.

True, that the beauty of something is not measured by the fact that it ends, but a subtle reminder that not all things are forever (life included) can act as a motivation not to waste the few precious moments that we have on this planet.

Here we are, this moment, right here…and there is so much beauty to appreciate, to love, to embrace in. Close your eyes…what do you hear? Look around…what do you see? What do you touch? What do you feel? Take a few seconds to really appreciate the beauty around you…and this moment. Because this moment is going to end in the blink of an eye, replaced with another. So take advantage and be mindful of the here and now.

It is fleeing. It is already disappearing. But you can appreciate it, and life, before it does.

With No One Challenging Me, I Choose to Challenge Myself

Happy Monday everyone! This week’s Monday Mantra is “With No One Challenging Me, I Choose to Challenge Myself“.

The inspiration for this mantra came from a brilliantly written comic about school and learning. The mantra reminds us to keep our gaze on ourselves, especially when we don’t feel the outside world challenging us.

It is always better to challenge ourselves and aim to better ourselves in comparison to one person and only one person: ourselves. There are so many people out there we could compare ourselves to, sometimes with positive results, other times with not so positive results. But when we strive to be better than who we were yesterday, or last week, or last year, the path to self-improvement becomes much more clear.

Aim to have a vision of yourself at your best. Then do everything to reach that goal. Do not worry about the others, or their growth, or whether they are ahead or behind you…focus only on that vision and use it to CHOOSE to challenge yourself to be the best you can be.

We can be our own worst enemies…but we can also be our best allies.

Make the choice.

c6s3ir1

Chill Out!

Happy Fun Friday everyone! Today’s fun little gem is a subtle reminder that our egos can often get in the way of the things we do. If we are not hungry for attention, then we are worried that we are being scrutinized by the people around us: somehow, we think that the whole world is watching, people at work, at home, at grocery stores; everyone just watching our every move, judging us, evaluating us.

“What’s he eating? Ew why is he doing that?”

“Why is she wearing that?”

“What an ugly shirt.”

“What’s wrong with her?”

“I can’t believe they failed! Haha!”

And so on. But the reality is….that no one is watching. No one is keeping track of our failures…except for us.

When we meet new people, they don’t know us. They don’t know our story. But they know theirs, and they’re probably worried that their lifetime of failures (rather than their successes) is shining through. We are all so lost in our own minds, with the worries of life around us that most people are too busy worrying about themselves to worry about you. In this peculiar way, we are all alone, together. In this way, the only person who knows everything about us, is ourselves.

So the next time you are out in public and you worry that the gaze of the world is upon you, and that the world knows every little failure…remember this:

ysvuu1t

 

Sometimes Waiting Holds the Answer

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Image used from  www.marcandangel.com

 

Happy Thursday everyone! Today’s truth is a lesson that happened to me just recently. I had made a rather big decision, only to realize that I didn’t have the means to execute my plan. Of course, this was met with a bit of disappointment. Here I had been, excited about finally making a bold decision, and the means to execute it was beyond my grasp.

I’m someone who always tries to seek out a solution. “I don’t believe in the No Win Scenario” is something Kirk and I definitely have in common. I did some research, looked up some alternative options…but nothing that would work properly.

Realizing the day was done and that there was likely nothing more that I could be doing to find a resolution, I decided to go to bed. Maybe tomorrow I’d come up with an epiphany that would solve this dilemma of mine.

The next morning I woke up, but no inspiration hit me. No new solutions. No new alternatives. I was in the same situation as I was the previous night. My decision couldn’t fully be executed. I decided to stop worrying about it (although I was still very disappointed), and focus on something else to make sure the rest of the day wasn’t wasted.

An hour or two later, I received a call. And there it was…a solution. The call had nothing to do with anything I had done. It was random. It was seemingly arbitrary. But it was exactly the solution that I needed.

I’m always going to believe that hard work, determination, persistence, perseverance, resilience…all of these are the keys to getting the things we want most in life. But sometimes, luck is also on our side. Sometimes waiting holds the answer we seek.

There are things that are out of our control. Sometimes, they work negatively against us. Other times, they work highly in our favour. When I realized that opportunity had just fallen into my lap, I couldn’t help but savour it.

These lucky moments in life, where things happen out of the blue, not really because of something we’d done, should be celebrated. Because as much fun creating our own luck can be, sometimes things just happen when we’re patient.

Happy Thursday!

I Will Be the Best That I Can Be

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Happy Monday everyone! Today’s Monday Mantra is : “I will be the best that I can be”.

In life, we aremet with many distractions. They can take many forms, whether it is something that makes us procrastinate, something that breaks our spirit, something that makes us fearful of moving forward, something that inhibits our faith in ourselves, and so on.

We all have our goals and hopes and dreams in life. Sometimes, we are moving towards these goals, and we find ourselves with a set back. It’s hard not to get discouraged with this momentary stall in our plans. It’s hard not to worry that things aren’t going to proceed. It’s hard to see the light in the moment.

But what we have to remember, is that no matter the set back, all that we can and should expect of ourselves is simply to be the best that we can be, and do the best that we can. If we can manage this in light of our set-backs, or even our successes, then our goals, and dreams, and hopes are just one step away. That is all we can expect of ourselves.

Be the best that you can be. Do not hesitate. Believe. Ask yourself what your ‘best’ means, and do everything you can to become it, to do it, to live it.

Everything else WILL fall into place…

Happy Monday!