Easily Influenced?

I can be easily influenced.

So…

I try to surround myself with POSITIVE influences!

I think people underestimate the power of other influences in their lives. I had to say this because many people (including myself) often feel too proud or even too “grown up” to be influenced by others. I used to feel like I was too smart to be easily influenced.

But then I realised, it’s not that I was too smart to be easily influenced. It’s that I had been surrounded by intelligent people that acted as positive influences in my life and my self-image. So how could I possibly go down a bad road when I am only interacting with positive influences?

This realisation didn’t happen overnight. But from my experiences over the years with a few different groups of people, my standards and views on life flow in response to who and what is going on around me. If you surround yourself with people who have what you would consider a lower moral standard than yourself (and lets be honest, cutting all the niceties and polite-ness, you KNOW when this is the case!) you begin to feel like you are an amazingly wise and saintly person! You may then start to feel like because of all your hard work and moral value, you can afford to relax a little and give in to that one vice which appears innocent compared to what’s going on around you. After all, it’s not like you’re being as bad as them!

This is not healthy, this is how bad habits are formed. But it happens. As humans we always compare and most things are relative. I know it!

The wake up call comes when you suddenly find yourself surrounded by people of a higher moral standard than you. It’s very simple! All of a sudden you realise that you would rather not share the stories of those tiny little vices you’ve been indulging in, however small they are. You may even feel a little ashamed! Stay around these people long enough, and you will find yourself phasing out those vices once again. Eventually.

I guess it comes down to which influence you spend more time with. This will end up being your primary influence and the winner of your soul. Boom.

I know that everyone has different degrees of this. We are not all EXACTLY the same. Some people appear much harder to influence than others, but I would like to argue that no one gets this way on their own. If I meet someone who appears to be very well grounded in their values and principles… someone who is simply just very hard to influence, then I will assume that they probably have a much stronger influence in their life with which they choose to really focus themselves. Positive or negative.

This is why I find that religion is such a gift to humanity.

I am fully aware that there are lots of atheists out there living full and happy lives filled with deep inner peace and a love for their neighbours and the world around them. My Dad has always been a real example of this to me. He is an atheist, and I can easily say that he is the most kind hearted person I know. The influences that contribute to who he is are his parents (who are in fact Christian) and his siblings. Their influence is held on to and continued through my Dad’s strong sense of purpose to be a good Dad and provider for our family. I could dedicate an entire book to his example (if I could write a book!).

But family is not the only influence in anyone’s life. I’ve had friends, teachers, classmates, communities, culture, tv, music, art, the list goes ooooonnnnnn….. All of these things are my influences and all of these things have a tendency to send mixed signals from time to time.

I need guidance to know when to follow and when to lead, when to hold on and when to let go, what to believe in and what to be wary of.

I can’t come up with this all by myself.

I need a positive and constant influence to surround myself with.

This is one reason why I have been gradually introducing Catholicism to myself over the past few years. It’s a lot to take on all at once.

But God is one influence in my life who I can say with confidence will always lead me down the right path, keeping in mind that I need to know how to apply my belief and understand God according to the context of what is written and what I have been taught. God is also the one influence who I could present any issue to without worrying about the shame or embarrassment I would rather not put myself through when I am afraid to speak to anyone else. Stating the obvious: I care about how people see me, especially the people I am closest to. God however already knows all there is to me so there’s no point in hiding.

I can’t say that religion is black and white, the Bible, as with any religious text, is very open to interpretation hence there are many different sectors of Christianity who all interprate the Bible differently. I need to take the time to read, pray and meditate on what I am reading and maybe speak with someone about it as well. Someone who I respect and who also knows the Bible and Catholicism better than I do! Speaking indirectly about an issue with someone by asking questions about the Bible may be a lot easier than speaking directly about whatever the issue is. Of course they may read me and figure out what it is that is really bothering me, I have to decide if I want to take that risk!

Anyway, what this all comes down to is I believe that no matter how “mature” we are, we are all easily influenced. The key is to try and choose your influences as wisely as possible. Be picky! Be picky with who your friends are, be picky about the music you listen to and be picky about the TV you watch. Be mindful about how much time you spend with negative influences you can’t avoid, and be determined to spend at least equal or more time than that with the influences you need.

In fact you can start by just choosing one influence that you know you can always depend on to lead you down the right path. When you have found that influence feel free to question it at times, questions lead to a deeper understanding, but do not ever turn your back on it. Keep it with you.

I would like to recommend this post, Everyone Worships Something, on a blog which I don’t always agree with, but I do believe holds a lot of insight and wisdom which I can’t get enough of! I love reading each post as it comes up on my Reader and they always give me something to really think about.

I think I could write half a dissertation about influences, so I will just leave it at that for now!

Much Love!

Smileyface :-)

My Dark Side Helps Me To Forgive

Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us…

My Dark Side helps me to forgive.

Or maybe I should say “awareness of My Dark Side helps me to forgive”?

I can’t say I’m an expert, that’s not why I started this blog.

I think forgiveness has layers. If someone wrongs you, you have to choose whether or not you want to retaliate.

Someone may say that choosing not to retaliate may be forgiveness… but is it really?

I would like to describe myself as a generally calm person. In fact, I often do! If I’m having a good day or if I am in a situation where I NEED to appear positive a.k.a. job interviews, meeting new people, bla bla bla… I describe myself as someone who is “calm” and can stay “calm” in many situations.

This doesn’t mean that I won’t walk away and spend the next 3 days plotting my imaginary revenge or re-playing countless witty comebacks or even cat fight techniques that I should have thought of hours/days ago.

That’s right, I am not a calm person. I am VERY passive-aggressive!!

But on the outside, I really do look like I have forgiven the person! I look like an angel. And oh, don’t I wish I was :'( sadface.

And no, in my grown up years I can say that I have never gone out specifically with the intent of acting out revenge on an annoying acquaintance/friend/loved one. But I have on many occasions “slipped out” an action, word, face or whatever to portray that I really am not happy and that if I were a little more gutsy, maybe I would have thrown a real temper tantrum and thrown my dinner plate all over said acquaintance/friend/loved ones face!

One thing leads to another, bing bang boom everyone hates each other and we are all throwing imaginary dinner plates across the room.

SNOWBALL.

I’m making it sound funny, but it’s not. Relationships, families, communities, nations have broken down this way throughout the history of humankind. Sorry if I sound like someones Mother right now but hey, it is what it is.

I often think I am good because I haven’t retaliated, I have shown “forgiveness”.

But in the end it always comes out.

Those darn emotions get the better of me again :-s

So, anyway, My Dark Side had a (few) big snowball fight(s) and I’ve had time to recuperate. It is The Thorn In My Flesh. It is there to keep me from being conceited. It is there to remind me that I am flawed, I am weak, I am imperfect. I am reminded every day that I need to forgive or else I should not expect to be forgiven. I am reminded that this is something we all go through and that this is something we all need.

This helps me to forgive much more wholeheartedly than I ever have before.

The very freeing thing about this which I am sure has been said before is that forgiveness makes love so much easier.

I can’t stress this enough to anyone. It allows you to give knowing that what you get in return may not be immediate or perfect, but that’s O.K. because we all have our Thorns to deal with and you are going to be a part of the process.

I don’t think this is something I would be able to feel or understand without having to deal with my own Dark Side.

So there we go. My Dark Side helps me to forgive.

“…my power is made perfect in weakness.”

2 Corinthians 12:9

A little elaboration for you :-)

Quietly thanking God for this, although not rejoicing just yet. This was a friggin hard lesson to learn and I still can’t get it right as often as I should. SMH!

Yours Thankfully,

Smileyface :-)

Small Victories: Taking My Own Advice

I have this new trick I’ve discovered. It’s fairly simple but it works for me.

I like to think that I am a fairly good advice giver, particularly when it comes to relationships. I give good advice by trying to relate to the various people involved in whatever dilemma is being presented to the person I am advising.

My issue is that I am not very good at taking my own advice.

I know I can’t be the only one!

I get a kind of “fight or flight” adrenaline feeling where I believe I have to do whatever comes to my head first to get away from the situation at hand. This gives me absolutely no time to really think about how I am going to handle anything. All I am looking for is a quick way out whether that is :-

  • Defeat: Agreeing with something I really don’t understand.

or

  • Victory: Fighting until I feel I have “won”.

Dealing with anything in this way leads to a pretty hollow result, and chances are that when I deal with something in these ways it is never really finished. Whatever the issue is, I feel it hovering over my shoulder until My Dark Side decides to jump out again and restart the entire cycle.

So recently when I was presented with one of my own dilemmas to deal with I took a moment and thought to myself “what would I tell someone else to do if they were in my situation?”

Sounds simple, but it actually worked!

This was a few weeks ago, and I can’t remember what the actual dilemma was. All I remember was that after I took a few moments to reflect inwards and take the advice that I would give to someone else in my situation, everything just felt much clearer. I also felt like I had finally overcome a piece of My Dark Side that had been bothering me for a very long time! These are fairly small things, but the end result when coming peacefully out of a dilemma is a feeling of true victory. This brings confidence, an ego-boost, harmony amongst all involved (at least for a little while!) and in this case a few very happy days :-D

The fact that I am a pretty emotional person means that I do really appreciate small victories!

New new new!!

So as mentioned in my first post I was moving abroad IMMINENTLY. Well that was referring to YESTERDAY.

I am now in my new home! In reality, this country isn’t that new to me :-p. I spent a very large chunk of my formative years here before leaving to start university a whole 6 years ago.

But nonetheless, this chapter of life is still new!

There are a few differences this time around as opposed to when I last lived here as well.

For one thing, my family no longer live here.

Neither do many of my friends although I know they will be back regularly :)

I am now here living with my fiance and his family (parents, aunties, uncles etc.) which is a blessing!

It is beautiful, and although I do have to fit in all the business of new job, new bank account, new phone bills, new stuff (bla bla bla!) all I really want to do is take a nice long walk in the rain forest/beach/town and soak it all in. Note my little clues I’m dropping as to where in the world I am right now! So far: rain forest, beach and town!

I know that this blog is meant to be focused on My Dark Side. But I don’t think she deserves that amount of attention right now.

Of course moving has always been filled with all sorts of drama, EMOTIONS, worries and complications which are littered with all sorts of opportunities for any Dark Side to grab on to and hump away at :-s …. For anyone concerned with the Dark implications of moving, I may delve into those a little later in this blog.

Overall though, I am happy to turn over a new leaf and I am especially happy that for once I really did manage to keep it all under control despite all the opportunities My Dark Side has had over this past couple of weeks. It wasn’t easy but I really do hope I can keep this up!

Anyway, I think I will end this one for now with a key word that I find has been a lot of help to me throughout all the little challenges and successes throughout my life:-

PERSEVERANCE.

Think about it!

Until the next time…

Smileyface!

A beautiful photo my Dad took the last time we all lived here!

Tillah Willah

words. tunes. trouble-making. mangoes. etc

the school of renovating

Just a blog about two kids learning about renovating the hard way.

One Mother to Another

Let's Do Motherhood Together.

Fr Martin Flatman's Blog

New Blogsite is https://fathermartinblog.wordpress.com

hessianwithteeth

This site is all about ideas

cities and islands

Surrounded by water. Surrounded by people.

amilcar sanatan

i may not be many things but one thing i am is an artist

Confessions Of A Crummy Mummy

A UK lifestyle and parenting blog

From Me to Paper

a creative journey

ayummygreenworld

Vegetarian Cooking with Divya Pathak Upadhyay

life[capture]

a celebration of the created

Simply Blushing

Musings on love, life and weddings, of course.

Random Archives

With a bang, not a whimper

Life @ Post

WHAT HAPPENS AFTER COLLEGE

Broken Secrets

Sharing some of life's best kept secrets

Speaking of Marriage

Winifred M. Reilly, M.A., MFT

nicolecherise

Life and Times of Nicole Cherise