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Seeing Things As They Are

One trait that will truly advance you in life, dear reader, is the ability to see things as they really are instead of how you may wish them to be or assume them to be.

 

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Such objectivity requires maturity and even courage in many situations, and is harder to practice than it is to understand.

“One may know how to conquer without being able to do it.” – Sun Tzu

Facing the truth of a situation is the first step towards any kind of progress or change.  And it is often difficult, even scary.  It means shattering a bit of your own ego, and while it will benefit you in the long-run, the immediate effect can be intense pain.  To admit to yourself something true that you don’t like hurts.  It also means that you’re no longer giving yourself the option to tolerate it – admitting the truth to yourself often forces you into change, change that you may not feel ready for; to let go of the false illusion you’ve been holding on to will create a sense of loss that you must mentally, emotionally, psychologically, and materially deal with.

 

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“The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper name.” – Confucius

For example, admitting to yourself that your relationship is rocky and has more downs than ups will create pain, especially if you have been pretending things are perfect and rationalizing it to yourself for a long time.  What’s more, when you truly look at the situation for what it is, you will realize that you are losing something that you never fully had in reality, but only thought you did.  It is actually a gain, but it won’t feel like it at the time.

As long as you pretend and lie to yourself, the more you rob yourself of the chance for real progress and greater happiness.

 

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“The wise men of antiquity, when they wished to make the whole world peaceful and happy, first put their own States into proper order.  Before putting their States into proper order, they regulated their own families.  Before regulating their families, they regulated themselves.  Before regulating themselves, they tried to be sincere in their thoughts.  Before being sincere in their thoughts, they tried to see things exactly as they really were.” – Confucius

You must have the courage, dear reader, to face the truth and the confidence that you will be able to handle the consequences.  If you can’t handle the truth, you won’t be able to handle anything.

Fight Battles You Can Win

A big mistake, dear reader, that many women (and men, for that matter) make in their lives, is that they waste copious amounts of time and energy in fighting battles that they can’t win, either because they haven’t really prepared themselves properly to win, or because what they are in is simply a no-win situation.

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“He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight.” – Sun Tzu

“Thus it is in war the victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory.” – Sun Tzu

“Move not unless you see an advantage; use not your troops unless there is something to be gained; fight not unless the position is critical.” – Sun Tzu

This is what is meant when it is said to go after realistic goals.  It doesn’t mean to dull down your ultimate vision and to settle, but in order to get to that ultimate finish line you can’t waste too much time in situations where you are guaranteed not to win.

One example is when people tend to over-reach and put themselves in positions for which they are unprepared, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.  They simply are not ready.  They haven’t done the work, they haven’t trained.  It would be like Roger Bannister expecting he could break the 4 minute mile barrier simply sitting on his couch without countless hours on the track and in the gym and rehearsing the act over and over again in his mind.  It is of course absurd yet countless women (and men) engage in this sort of thinking all the time.

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“Average people seem to have a strategy of ‘Ready, fire, aim!’  In other words, most people fail to do the necessary preparation and planning it takes to succeed.  Middle-class performers have a fondness for winging it.  Amateur performers are always looking for the easy road, yet appear to be confounded by their lack of success.”

Another way people tend to put themselves in a no-win situation is out of fear – they simply use the situation as an excuse as to why they didn’t go after what they wanted or couldn’t face something difficult – they deplete their energy and capability in distraction.

“For some of us, fighting losing battles is a form of distraction or compulsion, like OCD or an irrational need to check your email and Twitter account every 30 seconds.  Others simply don’t know any better.”

“Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff – It’s All Small Stuff”

The feminine woman of excellence, dear reader, has perspective in life.  She has matured to the point at which she no longer sweats the “small stuff” and she doesn’t get too worked up over things.

“If I make a fool of myself, who cares?  I’m not frightened by anyone’s perception of me.” – Angelina Jolie

She understands that nothing is really as big of a deal as it seems to be.  Sure, she celebrates her successes and still feels the pain of loss when things don’t go her way, but she doesn’t magnify those things to the point where they stop her from progressing and cloud her vision.

 

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“If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster and treat those two impostors just the same … Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it, And—which is more—you’ll be a [Woman], my [dear]!”

To be really successful in life, dear reader, a woman must have the emotional fortitude and maturity to handle both adversity and success without vacillating too much emotionally.   Again, this doesn’t mean that she’s not capable of feeling both intense happiness and intense sorrow – after all, these deep emotions are what make her human, and a woman – but she doesn’t allow them to control her.  She is able to separate from them without dissociating.

Realizing that no matter what happens, that it simply isn’t as big of a deal as you are making it out to be in your mind will set you free.  It will take away the self-created pressure that makes it hard for you to take any constructive action.

 

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“Amateur performers often crack under pressure because they lose their perspective.  Their fear of losing overwhelms them to the point of physical, emotional, and spiritual breakdown.  The champion knows that the secret to performing well under pressure has more to do with their perception of the event than the event itself.  While an amateur is telling himself that he must win, the pro is reminding herself that it’s only a game.  Both performers want to win, but the pro always outperforms the amateur under pressure because she has learned how to calm her nerves by putting things into perspective.  Some people claim that champions perform better than any other group under pressure.  This is not true.  There is an inverse relationship between pressure and performance, no matter who you are or what you do.  As pressure increases, performance decreases.  This occurs whether you’re Donald Trump or Donald Duck.  The reason champions get better results is because they have trained themselves how to perceive the so-called pressure situation.  The amateur perceives it as a threat, which triggers a fight or flight response from the mind and body.  Physiologically speaking, the performer believes he is literally fighting for his life.  Meanwhile, the pro has convinced herself that this situation is just a game, and nobody dies from losing a game.”

 

 

Living from the Inside, Out

Many women, dear reader, will react to a problem in their life by attempting to directly change the external factors that are involved.

 

Long ago in Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia women understood the importance of our feminine soul.:

 

For example, if a child, friend, lover, or coworker isn’t behaving the way she desires them to, she reacts by either ordering the person involved to change or by complaining and arguing about the undesired behavior.

While simply suppressing one’s feelings and saying or doing nothing doesn’t work, neither does this.

And the reason it doesn’t work is because such a reaction comes out of not understanding that your world is simply a reflection of who you are, and that the only thing you can control  directly is yourself, never the world outside of you.

It’s as though you are looking at the events of life through a mirror, and when you don’t like what you see, you attempt to change what is in the reflection, rather than the source, which will in turn change the reflection.

 

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This is all a bit abstract, but try it for yourself – the next time there is something in your world you aren’t happy with, stop and figure out what is inside of you that is causing that to show up, and once you identify it, you’ll have the power to change both it and the reflection in your world.

There is a common parable that captures this phenomenon well:

A man who was traveling came upon a farmer working in his field and asked him what the people in the next village were like. The farmer asked “What were the people like in the last village you visited?” The man responded “They were kind, friendly, generous, great people.” “You’ll find the people in the next village are the same,” said the farmer.
Another man who was traveling to the same village came up to the same farmer somewhat later and asked him what the people in the next village were like. Again the farmer asked “What were the people like in the last village you visited?” The second man responded, “They were rude, unfriendly, dishonest people.” “You’ll find the people in the next village are the same,” said the farmer.

Best of luck, dear reader! (:

 

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Stop Waiting to Be Rescued

The feminine woman of excellence, dear reader, has learned one important truth in life, and that is no one is going to come to her rescue.

What this means is that she understands that no one is going to come along and give her what she wants in life, whether that be her ideal job, ideal man, ideal home, or ideal car.

 

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She realizes and fully accepts the responsibility that she is going to have to go out and make those things happen, for herself.

For instance, if she is unhappy with her current job or social life, she doesn’t sit around and wait or pray or hope for it to miraculously get better.  She takes some time to figure out what it is that she does want, and then plans and takes actionable steps to move towards that.

Many women, dear reader, will complain about certain aspects of their job for example, and say things along the lines of “I deserve better”, “I deserve more money”, or “I am capable of much more than this”.

 

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A feminine woman of excellence has learned that this is in fact a form of dependency, and she eschews it.  She understands that dissatisfaction can be an important first step in any sort of change – after all if you don’t come to terms with your true feelings and be honest with yourself first, you won’t be empowered to do anything – however she doesn’t get stuck there.

She takes steps to change her situation even if those may be small at first.
She realizes that small actions taken or any sort of planning is better than doing nothing at all.  So she spends 10 minutes updating her resume.  And then the next week she looks at a few job posts and talks to several people in her network whom she trusts about what else she might do.

And gradually over time, these small actions will build up to larger ones and end up in her getting what it is she wants.

 

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The same applies in a relationship.  If she is unhappy with her current relationship, she doesn’t lie to herself and tell her that things are fine or will miraculously get better if she simply sits and waits patiently.

She figures out what specifically she doesn’t like and addresses those issues openly.  A grown woman in charge of her destiny does not sit back – she opens her mouth and verbalizes exactly how she feels and is prepared to handle the consequences whatever those may be.  This is often scary for many women, because to do this means that you are risking what you have – having an important discussion on this level can result in wonderful changes to your relationship for the better, but it also means you need to take that risk.

 

 

Taking Risks

It has been said, dear reader, that the world never made a queen of a girl who hides in houses and dreams without traveling.

 

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This is an interesting point to consider – firstly, it introduces the idea that a queen is made, not born, and that she is made by learning to take risks.

The girl who never takes a risk, the one who “hides in houses” or who sits activities out because she’s too afraid to participate, or to fail, will never be made a queen by the world.  The woman who declines, perhaps saying that all-to-familiar line ‘I’m good’, to join in on some fun and exciting activity that she really, deep down, wants to participate in is a woman who needs desperately to learn how to take risks.

“Boldness gives you presence and makes you seem larger than life.  The timid fade into the wallpaper, the bold draw attention.  Everyone admires the bold; no one honors the timid.”

 

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The great, successful, and powerful women of excellence throughout history, dear reader, did not get that way by playing it safe all the time.  One does not achieve greatness without courage, and that means going out and doing things that you are unsure of.

The Hollywood studio MGM had been good to Joan Crawford: it had discovered her, made her a star, crafted her image. By the early 1940s, though, Crawford had had enough. It was all too comfortable; MGM kept casting her in the same kinds of roles, none of them a challenge. So, in 1943, Crawford did the unthinkable and asked out of her contract. The consequences for Crawford could have been terrible; to challenge the studio system was considered highly unwise. Indeed, when she then signed up with Warner Brothers, predictably enough she was offered the same mediocre sorts of scripts. She turned them down. On the verge of being fired, she finally found the part she had been looking for: the title role in Mildred Pierce, which, however, she was not offered. Setting to work on the director, Michael Curtiz, she managed to change his mind and land the role. She gave the performance of her life, won her only Best Actress Oscar, and resurrected her career. In leaving MGM, Crawford was taking a big chance. If she failed to succeed at Warner Brothers, and quickly, her career would be over. But Crawford thrived on risk. When she was challenged, when she felt on edge, she burst with energy and was at her best. Like Crawford, you sometimes have to force yourself onto death ground–leaving stale relationships and comfortable situations behind, cutting your ties to the past. If you give yourself no way out, you will have to make your new endeavor work. Leaving the past for unknown terrain is like a death–and feeling this finality will snap you back to life.

Cleopatra, for instance, first made her mark as a young woman in contention for the Egyptian throne by making a grand entrance and rolling out of a carpet in Caesar’s palace, to ask for his help putting together an army.  She didn’t simply sit back and accept defeat.  She must have known that such a maneuver was risky; after all, she had never before met Caesar, and he was a political enemy of the Egyptians.

 

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But what made the difference, dear reader, was that she trusted herself enough to take the risk – she had self-belief.

First and foremost, a woman must believe in herself and her own talents and abilities if she is going to be able to take the risks that will help her to grow and become the queen she truly is.

This is what is often called “confidence” and why that quality is so widely applauded and sought after, both by men, and other high-value women seeking like-minded friends and confidants.

Moreover, a woman who has learned how to take risks to grow herself, is an infinitely more interesting and fascinating one, dear reader.  She has so much to offer, both in conversation and in company, and this again tends to attract people to her cause.

It is the women who take the most (calculated) risks, dear reader, that are the happiest.

 

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“The biggest risk is not taking any risk… In a world that is changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.” –  Mark Zuckerberg

Life is all about growth and change, and when you aren’t doing either, you are bound to be miserable.

Eventually, risk-taking becomes a habit, and an ingrained and natural part of one’s personality, but if it isn’t already so, dear reader, don’t fret.  It can become so (:

If you are risk-averse, it is advisable to start with small but measureable changes.  Go out and join that latin dance class that you could never see yourself doing.  Audition in a local theater group.  Ask for a promotion or raise.  Go back to school for that advanced degree (this can be done in spare time in the evenings if you don’t want to disrupt your life too much).  Volunteer with a local group.  Honestly, absolutely anything that you would not normally do (i.e. something outside of your “comfort zone”) will do.  What’s the worst that can happen, dear reader, you trip over your feet, don’t get called back, get denied the promotion, or don’t get into the program?  If you never try at all, you will have exactly the same outcome.  If you try, at least you will know that you didn’t fail for lack of effort or for not trying.

 

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“I’ve always believed fitness is an entry point to help you build that happier, healthier life.  When your health is strong, you’re capable of taking risks.  You’ll feel more confident to ask for the promotion.  You’ll have more energy to be a better mom.  You’ll feel more deserving of love.” – Jillian Michaels

From there, the dreams and ambitions you have that might seem far-fetched and out of the realm of possibility will become far more realistic (:

 

Compartmentalization

Compartmentalization, dear reader, is the ability to mentally and emotionally separate different aspects of your life, so that you may better focus and perform at whatever task is before you.

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A classic example is the ability to compartmentalize work and school separately from say, a personal relationship.  It’s the ability not to let issues in one area transfer into the other area and affect it.

For example, say a woman’s relationship or marriage has being going through a difficult time; practicing compartmentalization is what allows her to temporarily forget about those issues when she is at work – when she knows her full attention needs to be present or else her performance will suffer.

She isn’t dismissing her issues, dear reader, she is simply setting them aside so that she can deal with them at a time or place that is more conducive to solving them.  Compartmentalization can be a good thing, as long as it isn’t taken too far and used to facilitate denial.  For instance, calling her husband during work hours to try to resolve issues will almost certainly not get her the results she wants.  She’ll need to pull her attention away from her work, revisit all the negative emotions and difficulties facing her in her relationship, and then need to quickly shut all of this down again to focus back on her work.  Almost every person would be affected and upset by this, and carry some of that emotion over.

 

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Compartmentalization, however, allows ordinary people to do this.

It’s easier to keep emotions and issues constrained into boxes, if they are each dealt with separately, on a case-by-case basis, and one prepares herself beforehand emotionally and mentally to be what she needs to be in that situation.

In other words, the person she is required to be at work is usually quite different from the person a woman is required to be in her relationship.  Compartmentalization allows her to be both of these people.

 

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The tactic is a good one for other reasons as well.  It is good to have many different areas of your life, dear reader, that can bring you happiness.

It’s a crazy morning at home, and your spouse is furious at you. Harried, you slam the car door shut and race off to work where an important task awaits.  Your ability to tune out the situation at home and focus on the job at hand is facilitated by your emotional understanding. It’s a form of emotional intelligence, according to Jeremy Yip, a lecturer and research scholar at Wharton. Compartmentalizing enables a person to identify what is stressing them out and to allow other, unrelated factors in their life to stand on their own merits, Yip says.

A woman who only has a career, to the exclusion of a romantic or social life, or other outside interests runs a much greater risk of unhappiness.  If something goes wrong in her life, she has only one box, so to speak.  The same applies for the woman who has a romantic life, but not much else outside of that.

It is smart, dear reader, to spread the risk so to speak in many different and fulfilling areas.

 

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