Saturday, September 11, 2010

Keep Confidence in Your Pocket Wherever You Go!

I like to think about the pros when embarking on something new. I don't like to stress the cons too much, though today I went that route and gratefully there was some intervention. Just as I was starting to think of the CONS of my possible move to Miami (lin particular, one my friend had pointed out which was that many of the guys are unattractive and lack personality while the women are beautiful therefore making the quest for acquiring a fruitful relationship difficult :/), I received this feedback on Ebay from a seller of a sweater I just purchased who I never interacted with, just paid the bill and never said (typed actually, lol) a word:

"You are extremely good looking, smart and have great leadership skills! THANKS!"
Well, this is not common for feedback in general, and even more so since there was no interaction, the person has never seen me and knows nothing about me. Completely random. Even if the seller only knows how to say this one nice thing in the English language, it was definately God's way of working the Universe to let me know that no matter where I am in the world I am still me and should not let anyone "greater" than me stop me from being my greatest and achieving my goals, happiness and success in both career and LOVE (it is very important to me to have a truly loving, committed "there's no one better than you for me" type of relationship). So yes, the idea of being a "single ugly duckling in a sea of supermodels" was scary for a moment. Even though I am not going there with dating intentions or the expectation of finding love, I am not sure if the mentality down there based on what my friend who lived there offered as a con would affect other aspects of my life and more importantly my confidence. You need confidence where ever you bring yourself in life so that you get something positive and grow. After reading the feedback shortly after that conversation with my friend, I feel I can go there not thinking about how my inability to possibly reach the Miami Beauty Standards will affect my life overall :) That's not why I am going there after all, and the those thoughts had never initially crossed my mind. The goal is to make a temporary change in my life that will allow me to learn, grow and share with others and eventually return home a better person that I am today. There is nothing bad that can come out of this, it's all a pro and regardless of whatever obstacles present themselves along the way it will remain a pro as long as I keep my focus on the initial goal.

This story was a "must share" for me because this is not something that always happens when you are starting to feel down and there's no one around to distract you from your thoughts lingering to the "other" things in life. What I have learned is:
  • There's always a something higher than us leading us in a positive direction; God, the Universe, however you view it, will send you a sign to snap you out of any negative information given to you by others or by your own thoughts. That ebay feedback was the friendly reminder.
  • Eliminate the cons on the list. Think about the pros and the goals. The cons will only hold you back from trying something that may bring you to a higher place in life. We already know that there are obstacles wherever we go, no need to dwell on them before they even present themselves, that will get you no where. Keep your focus on the goal in the midst of the obstacles. We can overcome anything.
  • The world is ours to explore and share. Go to new places with the openess to learn and grow. The most important "possession" to bring is your confidence and happiness wherever you go so you can receive the beauty and teachings every new aventure in life can bring.


Friday, September 3, 2010

Always a Light at the End of Every Tunnel in Life

After over a year of unemployment I recently found a job. I was so grateful because the timing could not be any better; just as my last card was about to be maxed out and all of my monthly bills were to come in, I was offered the position I had been hoping for effective immediately. It is far from my dream job, but for where I am currently living it is the best and most convenient and just the job I need to get back on my feet, reclaim my independence and save so that I can relocate when I find a job that is more suitable for me. A little over a year ago, within a few days, I got a broken heart which I blamed myself for (even for his actions, I know, how irrational of me! :p) and found out that the place I was working at was closing down and I was not eligible for unemployment. I had some money saved, but after a couple of months of searching I could not find a job that could work around my demanding school schedule that I had already registered for. My time was up and I had to make a decision: either give up my place and move back to my parents home far from the life that I built and love or give up school so I was free to take any job and stay. I chose the first which was a difficult decision since, as much as I adore my family and enjoy passing time with them as a visitor, I was just never happy there for several reasons. After 7 years away, I packed my bags and my roommate and I said our tearful goodbyes as I embarked on a new beginning. I felt I owed it to my education and all the work and money I had already invested into it. I titled this chapter of my life “Mysterious New Beginnings”. Unfortunately, as 2009 came to an end and winter deepened, I found myself in a serious depression. I was lonely, felt isolated, rejected (love those broken hearts and how one can start to see themselves through the eyes of someone who doesn’t know them) and could not focus on school. My car had broken down shortly after my move for good which put me more than two hours from my close social network and preventing me from getting myself involved in extra curricular activities out here. I felt as though my freedom, independence and traveling safety were gone. Without the balance of work, socializing, like minded people, dance training and school I began to see my life as a failure. I was no longer rational enough to remember that there would be a light at the end of the tunnel and that I had to put the time alone to productive use. I no longer felt like myself and even when I had the chance to be around people, I did not feel good anymore because I did not even know the girl that took over me. I began to dwell on things that normally would not matter as much to me. Because I was not doing anything that I felt was productive, my self esteem plummeted into the ground. The close of the semester and the arrival of summer made things easier and I saw that I was beginning to heal slowly. When I received notice that I was hired for a job last week, I realized how important work, fulfilling a purpose and making my own money were to me; I am extremely independent. The day before I was supposed to start training I went to the doctor to get test results for a mandatory medical examination. I tested positive for tuberculosis. I couldn’t believe my ears, in fact I laughed thinking it was a joke, but that comical little doctor was joking around anymore. I could not start training until I was on medication and further tests were done to make sure that the illness didn’t develop. Since training is done in intervals, I knew that meant I would not be working until October which meant that I did not have a job “just in time”. Surprisingly, this did not phase me much. I was upset for a total of five minutes before I realized that timing was in fact just perfect; the only thing that wasn’t coming just in time was my paycheck. Everything happens for a reason. Had I not been hired I would have never had a TB testing done and I could have developed tuberculosis never knowing that I had to be on medication to kill the germ I had been exposed to. My additional tests came back fine which means I have no worries now of developing tuberculosis or being contagious; I am taken care of. I can still work, I just have to lay low until October training begins and perhaps I am not even meant to work there. So much can happen in a month. The job offer may have came at this time simply so that I could solve a health problem before it started; God and the Universe takes care of us, we just have to have faith. I was not meant to start work there at this time, but I needed to get to the doctor and didn’t know it.

Spiritually, I have been in a bad place for just over a year and I basically lost sight of myself, my spirit and personality. I was still kind and knew my heart and its desires, but I was never happy and it showed. The only time I was positive was when it was to give others encouragement but felt horrible about myself. No matter how good of a person I was, I was not putting out the energy to receive the type of energy I wanted and needed in return. In reviewing my past year, there are a few lessons I have learned here to share:

Work hard and play even harder; we need to take time to smell the roses, surround ourselves with things that we love, expose ourselves to new things and interact with other people. Even if you think you are happy being a loner, nothing can replace the gift of being out in the world and interacting with and helping others. It’s motivating, empowering, educational and will most likely inspire your work when you return to it. I missed out on much of that this year and plan to never let that happen again. As the song goes, “People who need people are the luckiest people in the world.”

There is NEVER a black cloud over your head; it’s not an easy thing to believe when one thing after another is happening to you, and that’s okay, we are all human and bound to be down sometimes. What we need to do, though, is remind ourselves as often as we can that there is absolutely nothing bad that can happen to that something good won’t come out of. No hay mal que por bien no venga is a popular saying in Spanish (Gloria Estefan actually wrote a song titled that). It means that there is nothing bad in which good does not come out of. Life won’t hand us one hard ship without giving us something good in exchange, just continue to send out positive energy and good intentions and have faith.

Though personal and therefore not in full detail, I am sharing the outline of my past year because I am sure there are people who are out there that can relate and may feel alone just as I did. I hope that what I have learned from it can help someone feeling this way to feel hope or to prevent it before it happens. Every obstacle does serve a meaningful purpose in life, sometimes it just takes time to see and understand why. I am finally healing and feeling like myself again and I don’t ever want to let “me” go again. I now this is cliché, but no matter how tough things seem, they can always be worse, so we need to try and cherish every moment, every person and most of all ourselves.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Calamine Lotion to Soothe and Remedy Acne

I don't know exactly what it is, but this magic potion that many of our mother's applied on us after a summer nights play to relieve the nasty itch of mosquito bites does the same for pimples. Dab a little on your pimples before you go to bed to soothe and reduce the redness of acne. For just a few bucks, Calamine lotion may be a great way for you to evict those unwanted acne pimples that are occupying your beautiful face without paying rent! :p
P.S. Some brands even carry calamine with aloe vera in it that absorbs like a lotion for sunburn relief (Hawaiian Waves)!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Is Human Nature Good or Bad?

This is a bit more than a blog, more like an article ;) This is actually an essay that I wrote for my Western Civilization class about my thoughts on human nature.

Is Human Nature Good or Bad?
by Lisa Reyes
November 2, 2009

We come across different kinds of people and different kinds of personalities every day. We see this in our family, friends, co-workers and people we meet practicing our regular routines such as food shopping or going to the dry cleaners. Many of the times when meeting or coming across strangers we may judge them according to how personable they are. The serious or not so friendly person has a bad nature and the friendly, happy go lucky energetic person has a good nature. This is just passing judgment and is what we find more acceptable or reasonable, but not always the case. But is human nature good or bad? My stand on this matter is that human nature is good. I hear so many people complaining that there are “just not many good people anymore”, but what exactly does this mean? Aside from the fact that everyone has a different definition of what “good” is, we seem to spend less time getting to know one another and learning about the life journey one another has had and what events have molded our “personality” rather than what is in our hearts. When we turn on the news and see someone convicted of some heinous crime we often hear the neighbors interviewed say something along the lines, “I’m shocked, he/she seemed like a normal guy and was a great neighbor.” On the other hand we can look at popular images, though fictional, like Scrooge in the Christmas Carol and see an impersonal distasteful human being who was hardened by hurt but deep down had a golden heart that needed to be recovered. I believe we all know a Scrooge. Human nature, and by nature meaning what we “naturally” and originally are, is dominantly good.

Based on the Rogerian Theory, “Humankind is not evil; humankind is good and positive at its core. Wars and other violence do not lie at the core of humanity but are contaminants of society, even though society is not intrinsically evil. However, authoritarianism is evil because it justifies its actions by believing humankind’s core to be negative. The imposition of control upon others is based on mistrust in the goodness of others. (” The fact that there is evil in the world is not what I argue. This cannot be argued as we witness shameful acts in wars, where in some instances soldiers fight beyond their need to, in such cases where there have been unnecessary continued abuse of enemies already captured and imprisoned. It is disturbing and discouraging when we see photos or videos of this, sometimes our own soldiers, laughing at their “game”. We even see things in less drastic ways in pop culture that the mainstream can easily relate to, for example, the uncompassionate actions of Kanye West’s unnecessary public humiliation to a young Taylor Swift during a heartfelt and grateful acceptance speech of an award. Both examples are of opposite extremes, but both have left many wondering, “What is wrong with mankind?” It’s enticingly easy to lose faith in mankind and wonder at times what the worth of goodness is. Though, are we born to act as such? Are we born with the desire to be “bad”, unpleasant and to create misery, sadness or discomfort for others? My answer is no. I believe that who each of us are is a combination of things such as upbringing and experiences and how we each individually react to those experiences. Two good natured people could be paralyzed in an accident. While one may just be happy to be alive and use their experience to make a change in other people’s lives, the other may remain to be bitter, angry, depressed and possibly spend the rest of their life that way. People handle their experiences differently, have different quality levels of support systems and also accept these things into their lives differently. This doesn’t make one or the other good or bad, just different.

The idea that some people are just “born that way” or born “bad” is also disagreeable. Rousseau states that “the child was a moral being who would come to know good and evil with later development of reason” (Cleverley, Phillips p. 34). The continued emphasis on the importance of affection for newborns and the fact that we even have volunteers in hospitals just to hold babies are examples that the majority of us believe and understand this, “… the kind of brain that each baby develops is the brain that comes out of his or her experiences with other people. Love facilitates a massive burst of connections in this part of the brain between six and 12 months. Neglect at this time can greatly reduce the development of the pre-frontal cortex. Early care also establishes the way we deal with stress. Babies rely on their (caretakers) to soothe distress and restore equilibrium. With responsive parents, the stress response, a complex chain of biochemical reactions, remains an emergency response. However, being with caregivers who convey hostility or resentment at a baby's needs, or who ignore their baby or leave him in a state of distress for longer than he can bear, will make a baby's stress response over-sensitive. (” When young children fall into our standards of “bad” they are often accused of being born that way because they are believed to be too young to have met societies standards of “experience” in order be tainted by that. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Babies have emotions. They feel love just as they will feel neglect. The person that is not given affection or loving attention as a baby may always carry that, and of course, may never understand why, since their memory cannot reach that far. One must also keep in mind that young children may not always understand their experiences as an adult may intend them too (like saying “No” to going out to play, perhaps because they just finished eating or need rest) or the fact that some children cannot verbalize what they feel emotionally and may be going through something that their well meaning caretakers aren’t even aware of. In the first case, they may take the answer “No” as rejection or lack of love, since they are too young to understand, and sometimes adults too easily say “No” and don’t have the patience for the “Why?” that children often respond with. Children are bright and even courageous enough to acknowledge that they don’t completely “get it” and ask “Why?” and yet many times adults are either too lazy to answer or too arrogant to acknowledge it as an innocent and valid question as opposed to a disrespectful challenge on the child’s part. Imagine how discouraging and dispiriting this could be to a child. Our response to that question can greatly alter the way the child absorbs and is impacted by the answer “No”. In the second case, we must be mindful that children cannot and/or do not always verbalize themselves. They may have experiences that caregivers are not aware of. These experiences could be as simple as rejection from peers or as complex as abuses such as sexual or emotional abuse. The latter two are not as visible as a bruise. Because of shame or confusion a small child may carry that throughout their life as well and those mainly in charge of them may not know where the potential “bad” behavior is coming from. As ridiculous as this may sound to some, Jim Carey’s version of “The Grinch” is a perfect example of how a child became “bad” after certain experiences and carried it into his adulthood. The movie surely depicts a cranky child, but a child who is loved and shows love. The child Grinch is taunted daily by his classmates but has affection for a classmate who shows him kindness. In the movie, he makes a gift for this classmate, but then remembers how he was ridiculed for having facial hair by his classmates. He shaves which results in wounds to his face and shows up to school the next day bearing his gift in hand and a paper bag over his wounded face. He is then instructed by his teacher to take the bag off his head, which leads to more humiliation through the torture of his classmates. He then flees off never to be heard of again and is always referred to as a “heartless soul”. As the story unfolds, it is the compassion and the “why?” questioning of a child that provokes his return and his journey to feeling whole again, showing viewers that he had a heart all along. He was always good, but certain events led him to become hardened and more importantly having someone believe in him led him to a life altering experience that helped him to release his emotional burdens of the past. Though the character is fictitious, it was created by none other than a human being and is a reflection of many people today. Perhaps if not fully aware, we are subconsciously aware of the fact that human nature is good and desires good because it is created in works of art.

While the presence of “bad” and “evil” in this world cannot be denied, these are things that are built up in humans and are not things that we are born with. I believe that the birth of evil did not come intentionally. We are human and we are not perfect. The smallest most seemingly insignificant action may set some off the path of “goodness” depending on how they are able to handle and how they perceive things that are done to them, just as life altering experiences may set them back on path. Yes, there are psychopathic murders out there doing evil things, but this still falls into the realms of mental illness which is just that, an illness; an extreme one, but not the TRUE nature of human beings. I’m not naïve to the fact that there are parents out there who do not raise their children well and do not instill good values in them, but this is something that was developed over time. All it takes is one act of neglect to throw a young child off course and if not in childhood then life experiences and then history just may repeat itself over and over again. To what level the impact is varies from person to person and experience to experience. Many people may simply develop unpleasant personalities due to their life experiences and perception of things and yet get judged as being bad, while the picture perfect neighbor may in turn be the one guilty of a murder. We are born good; experiences alter us in various ways and society teaches us to be judgmental. The most valuable piece of wisdom passed down to me when I felt dislike for someone growing up was “You never know what happens behind closed doors to make them that way.” Taken literally or metaphorically it still sends the same message. We don’t know everything about one another. We don’t know what crosses others have had to bear to make them the way that they are or “bad”, but the fact that the human race is dominantly good and desires good action is evident in various types of works of art, daily acts of kindness such as holding the door for someone behind us without thought, the way so many unite during disasters such as the World Trade Center tragedy and even the discussions taking place in this course study. It is only throughout the course of our lives that we develop tendencies towards negative actions and attitudes.

Works Cited

Cleverley, John, and D.C. Phillips. Visions of Childhood. New York: Teachers College, 1986. Print.
Gerhardt, Sue. "The Cradle of Civilization." 2006. Web. 1 Nov. 2009. .
Ridgeway, MD, Ian R. "Carl Rogers." 2005. Web. 1 Nov. 2009. .