February 14

Understanding the Minds of Stupid People

dealing with stupid people

Some minds are as empty as the desert…

Interacting with stupid people is something you’ve probably grown very accustomed to. Whether it’s in your own home, in the workplace, or going out to buy groceries for the week; it’s just harder to avoid stupid people than you imagine. I don’t mean people who are ignorant or even people who lack a formal education; I mean people who are quite literally stupid. It’s become a known tendency for us to associate those who don’t have high-school diplomas or those who work low-paying jobs as “stupid,” yet rarely is this the case. That’s not to say those people can’t be stupid, but that alone doesn’t put somebody into the stupid person category.

The problem with stupid people is that they VASTLY outnumber the intelligent ones. I would easily guess that for every 1 intelligent person you stumble upon; you can probably find 10 or more stupid people nearby without even having to try. That being said, the point of this article isn’t to come across as brass or offensive, rather it’s to understand that this is a reality we must face and deal with on a daily basis. Assuming you’re an intelligent person reading this, learning how to communicate and deal with stupid people is a critical skill, as your interactions with them will generally be far different than your interactions with other intelligent people.

While it’s easy to develop the mindset that you’re just going to shun stupid people out of your life, because they’re so numerous, you’ll soon find that it’s hard to accomplish much of anything without running into them. To try and live life without interacting with stupid people would be near impossible, and in this case, resistance is futile.

Stupid People don’t know they’re Stupid

understanding stupid peopleThe issue with most stupid people is that they’re not consciously aware that they’re stupid. If they were, they wouldn’t be stupid in the first place. That being said, it’s often hard to fault them or point fingers, because, given the choice, they probably would’ve never opted to have been born stupid in the first place. Rather, most stupid people are brought into the world that way and have to make the best of their situation.

This, of course, creates some mixed feelings, as all people should be held accountable for their actions, yet it’s hard to get mad at somebody who possesses such low intellect that they can’t think on a smarter level. If the stupid person KNEW what they were doing was stupid, or KNEW that the choices they were making would lead them down a path they didn’t desire, then chances are high they wouldn’t have chosen them in the first place. This is what separates a lot of stupid people from the more intelligent ones, as smarter people can fully understand and react to the things that go on around them. Stupid people on the other hand are not, and generally they’re forced to make choices based on what they perceive as socially acceptable or through trial and error.

But if that’s the case, are there really that many stupid people around us? It certainly doesn’t seem like that many people are as clueless as you make them out to be, right?

WRONG

A high percentage of people, whether actually stupid or intelligent, have a tendency to think of themselves as smart. The difference being that the intelligent people really are while the stupid people merely think they are.

Is Being Stupid the Same as Being Ignorant?

Nice-to-stupid-peopleMost people easily confuse the two, and it’s easy to understand why. To be ignorant means, you simply don’t know something, as you’ve never had a chance to experience it, or you’ve never been taught. If you’ve never seen the inside of a computer in your life before, and all of a sudden you were asked to build one from scratch, not knowing how on your part certainly wouldn’t make you “stupid” by any means. You’ve simply never been taught how to do so, and so you’re ignorant on the subject. In truth, we’re ALL ignorant on a variety of subjects, as no one person could possibly hope to educate themselves on everything that’s out there.

What makes a person unintelligent (stupid) however, is that they’re unable to grasp on to certain concepts and think in a critical manner. They can repeat back what they’ve been told, but they lack the ability to formulate new ideas of their own.

While there are a million and one examples, it’s like reading a book and then having someone tell you the theme versus discovering it on your own. In both cases, you could repeat back to someone else what the theme was, but in each instance you came across it on different grounds. Being able to figure it out on your own represents a more intelligent approach while a stupid person may not have that option and thus, will have to rely on someone else to inform him or her.

Interacting with Stupid People

Most intelligent people get to a phase where they realize they possess a higher degree of intelligence than most of those around them. Not in a gloating or “I’m better than you” sort of way, but they begin to notice that they see the world through a different lens than most of their peers. This could come from a creative aspect, a more logical aspect, or even something entirely different. Regardless, their critical thinking skills develop at an increased rate, and it can often make the association with others more difficult.

That being said, most stupid people are able to interact with other stupid people very easily. Just like intelligent people are able to interact with other intelligent people very easily. There’s a lot of common ground, and it makes the discussion of ideas and thoughts feel very natural to both parties, sort of like they’re each speaking each other’s native language. Take an intelligent person and a stupid person, however, and it can come across much differently.

The biggest key to understanding when communicating with stupid people is never wanting to dumb yourself down. It can be easy to do, especially if you feel like the other person you’re speaking to is on a different level than you. Why you shouldn’t ever TRY to overwhelm others when speaking to them, don’t ever reduce your intellect just to please another individual. That’s become extremely common in our society today, and most intelligent people bring themselves down a notch when talking to stupid people. It’s certainly not going to help the situation in the long term, and at best it’ll only provide a temporary filter for the current conversation.

All that being said, the biggest thing to understand when dealing with stupid people is to keep it simple and to the point. Don’t put things in such layman terms that it comes across as insulting, but understand that if you try and reach too deep into the conversation a lot of your efforts or intentions might be lost.

Remember: people who are truly stupid don’t know they’re stupid.

Compensating

A lot of people compensate for what they feel are shortcomings in their life. Physical shortcomings, monetary shortcomings, personal shortcomings, you name it. They blow up one section of their lifestyle to make up for another section that’s become deflated.

While a lot of people will admittedly compensate for some aspect of their life, few are as skilled at it as stupid people are. They’ve become very adept at masking their stupidity or other shortcomings in their life, usually promoting or boasting about something they have in an attempt to divert attention from their weaker area to their stronger area.

Take expensive cars or clothes for example. A lot of people like those things and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that; myself included. That being said; usually the big difference in the intelligent person and the stupid person owning the car is that the stupid person will try their hardest to show it off and make sure everyone sees it. It’s their method of saying “look what I have!” or “look what I can accomplish!” These sorts of things aren’t bought by stupid people because they truly like the item, but rather it’s their attempt to elevate their status in society and to gain a higher level of attention in the eyes of their peers. Generally, most intelligent people can see right through this, but other stupid people usually eat it up.

Sometimes stupid people will even go far out of their price range to make things like this a reality. Ever seen somebody who is very low-income driving a big, expensive, flashy SUV? Your first thought is usually why somebody would do that, especially when they’re already short on resources as it is. Once you can understand the nature of compensation, however, you can see why people make certain decisions like they do. It’s not a very SMART decision, and if you’re able to pick up on it, then it’s certainly not going to fool you into thinking this person is something they aren’t, but it’s there nonetheless.

Being Dependent on Stupid People

Being dependent on stupid people, whether it’s your boss at work or a friend you have to rely on, can lead to a lot of unneeded frustrations. Now that isn’t to say stupid people are unreliable, because many of them may be the exact opposite, but it’s still going to be a burden on you.

The problem with being dependent on stupid people is that they have a tendency to keep you from moving in the direction that you want to move in. In a nutshell, they sort of “stunt your growth” intellectually and keep you operating at their level. Since YOU’RE the one who has to rely on THEM, there’s very little you can do to avoid this. How can you possibly put your best skills to use if somebody in a position of power over you isn’t going to allow it? While stupid people won’t purposely try and prevent you from expanding intellectually, it’s still going to happen nonetheless

In short, the only thing you can really do is be consciously aware of the people you’re placing reliance in and adjust yourself accordingly. Don’t waste your efforts trying to impress or “prove” anything to these people, as generally it will net you very little.

What Motivates Stupid People

A lot of stupid people are motivated by the same things that intelligent people are driven by, despite carrying different undertones. As I mentioned above, a lot of stupid people place a huge reliance on what their peers think of them. They’re usually the ones that will unquestioningly follow the latest trends or styles all in an attempt to fit in. Uniqueness is thrown out the window, and Group Think takes control.

The biggest difference in motivation between stupid people and their intelligent counterparts is that most intelligent people choose their actions based on what they are, not on how they look. An intelligent person will rarely do something because it simply makes them LOOK a certain way, but rather they’re doing it because it’s what they want to do. That doesn’t mean all stupid people carry superficial motives behind their actions, but as I said, a lot of time and effort is spent compensating for certain aspects of their life.

Don’t confuse this for necessarily meaning money or image however. It doesn’t mean stupid people only act in ways that’ll make them appear to be something more than they are. It’s wider than that, and it can encompass a lot of different things. For example, if a stupid person has grouped themselves into a certain category or given themselves a certain identity, often they’ll act in a manner that they feel is in accordance to that identity. They may have classified themselves a “redneck” or as being “urban,” and so they base their decisions not on what they truly think is best or most appropriate, but rather how they’re “expected” to act after giving themselves such a label. Not only does this shed the individual of their uniqueness, but it explains why so many stupid people are reliant on what others think of them. It helps to feed the identity they’ve given themselves, even if it’s a negative one. Having an identity such as that gives stupid people a point of reference, a point in which they can use to base their decisions and actions on.

While to a lot of more intelligent people something such as that can be a bit scary, having your identity trapped or linked to a larger group image, to stupid people it provides a safety net. A means in which they can operate without having to risk feeling lost. Anytime something of question comes up; they can fall back on how they’re SUPPOSED TO ACT as opposed to how they really want to act. It’s a rather debilitating mindset to have, yet despite all that it’s still quite popular in our current society.

Swimming in a Sea of Stupidity

The point of all this information isn’t to get angry with stupid people or to get confused over what’s happening; rather it’s to better understand what makes them tick and how you can more effectively and efficiently deal with them. It’s near impossible to live on a day-to-day basis without having to interact with them somewhere, and the more equipped you are for such a situation, the better.

Besides, you may even find that dealing with stupid people isn’t so bad once you’ve learned what to expect.

February 11

Creating Your Own Religion

panda religion

As far as religious beliefs go, I don’t think there’s anything out there as powerful as agnosticism. For those unfamiliar with the term, being an agnostic simply means you don’t follow any particular religious system. It doesn’t mean you’re an atheist and don’t belief in anything at all, but it means that you keep an open mind and form your ideas and opinions based on what you think, not what a religious text tells you to think.

Over time I’ve come to realize the wealth of benefits that such a mindset can lend, and that through this I’m able to create my own religion.how to create your religion

Create my own religion?!

It’s actually not as crazy as it sounds. I don’t mean coming up with my own list of commandments or something like that, but rather living the lifestyle that I find most suitable for me. Creating a set of beliefs that would inspire me, not hinder me. In fact, many people already do this, religious or not, it’s just they do a good job of hiding it. Think about how many people you know that choose to follow one aspect of a religion but not another. Or who deeply believe in one thing but not another. They’re not going 100% “by the book” but are instead putting their own spin on whatever religious belief they subscribe to. In fact, depending on where you live, you’d probably be hard-pressed to find a single person that followed their religion 100% to the core. Most prefer to put their own personal touch on things in an attempt to better integrate their belief system into their lives.

Except there’s just one small problem with this kind of behavior. I’ve noticed that a lot of people who engage in this sort of thing, especially those who are deeply religious, almost feel a bit guilty afterwards.

I guess I’m not as good a Catholic as I thought I was… I can’t believe I was using birth control, and I know that’s usually frowned upon.

This naturally presents a problem if people can’t follow the behavior style they’re most attracted to without having to feel guilty in the process. It’s one thing if someone is committing a legal crime, especially if it involves another individual; however that’s not what we’re talking about here. Your choices should be based what YOU think is best and most practical to suit your needs, not what your church or priest tells you to do.

The most ironic thing is, the power of agnosticism actually comes from the fact that it’s nothing at all. By being agnostic, you’ve essentially shed yourself of all labels and predetermined beliefs and are therefore able to sculpt your reality in whatever way you see fit. You can go where you want, do what you want, and believe in what you want, all without feeling confined or trapped in a particular religious system. The only rules are those which you impose upon yourself, and suddenly you have the entire world at your fingertips.

Of course, this is initially going to be extremely difficult for those with a strong religious background. Imagine growing up your whole life with your family, and then one day someone comes up to you and says that those aren’t your real parents and that you’re in no way related to the people you thought were your siblings. Hearing something like that would put you in shock, and your first reaction would probably be denial. If you’ve grown up with a strong religious background, it’s hard just to drop those beliefs overnight. To top things off, the longer you’ve been attached to something, the harder it is to break away from it. Most people grow attached to the security that a religion can provide for them, especially the promise of an eternal afterlife in paradise if they simply abide by a particular set of rules. What a deal!

The truth is, most people will never explore anything outside of the faith they grew up on. Such a road is just too scary and intimidating for them, and that fear of the unknown can drive even the bravest man back to where he came from. However, for those who are a bit more adventurous, a lifestyle of infinite freedom awaits them; a freedom to truly explore the world and make your own decisions. A freedom that, even in this day and age, few people allow themselves to have.Prayer

Dealing with Critics

Being agnostic brings a lot of critics to the table, and while you may find that you’re not threatened at all by the beliefs of others, others may certainly feel threatened by you. For example, a big question I get asked a lot is “do you believe in God?” and to which I reply that I believe in a higher power, but to what extent such a higher power influences my life I don’t know. “But… but… the Bible says…” is usually the response I get in return. Some people just have a difficult time comprehending the fact that such a freedom exists in this world, and instead of getting hostile with those kinds of people, I’d much rather help them break out of their shell like I have. Don’t confuse this with overconfidence, though, it’s not about me being right and somebody else being wrong, it’s about having the option to explore and make decisions based on what you truly think and feel and now how you feel inclined to act.

For example, there was a very short time period in my life when I considered myself an atheist. In truth, I think this may have been a temporary act of rebellion in my younger years but that’s beside the point. As time went on, I started to think that the entire idea of all life being created through “science” seemed a bit silly. How could a void of nothingness simply transform into the galaxy that we know today? And while all these “laws” of science may hold true, who wrote these laws in the first place? I came to the conclusion that some sort of higher power must have put these acts in motion, because I just couldn’t see how anything else could be possible. In a sense, I was always “agnostic,” but as my perspective on the world widened, I began to see things in a different light.

How does all of this help me, though? What difference does it all really make? Well for one, it gives me a lot more creative and mental freedom. I’m not forced to view the world through any particular lens, and I can instead interpret things based upon my own observation and not the observation of a religious system. In truth, though, I really can’t even begin to explain what it’s like “having my own religion” because until you’ve experienced it yourself, it’s impossible to compare it with a traditional belief system. There is no holy book or scripture, there’s only you and the infinite possibilities your mind can dream up. If that kind of thing sounds scary to you, then you’re the exact person this article as aimed at. If even for just a day, leave everything you THOUGHT you knew behind and take a walk on the more adventurous side. Don’t let what you were told to believe get in the way of what you WANT to believe.

Still, many people will refuse to step out of their comfort bubble and will cling to their religion with every ounce of strength they can muster. As the old saying goes, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. There’s nothing wrong with holding onto what’s familiar if that’s what you truly want to do, but you may one day regret the fact that you never took the time to explore the horizon that was always right there in front of you.

We all know that talk is cheap, though, and action has always been much more potent. In other words, how do you actually go about creating your own belief system and living up to YOUR standards and not the standards imposed on you by some kind of religious system? That’s the easiest part; simply put everything you thought you knew behind you, and take a fresh perspective on everything that’s around you. It’s that easy. Stop worrying about what you’re SUPPOSED to believe and worry about what you WANT to believe. Suddenly the unknown will stop being quite so scary, and you’ll notice your fear being replaced with curiosity and excitement.

If your religious beliefs are too strong for you to let go of, then take a week and pretend like you don’t have any of the answers to see where your mind takes you. You may be surprised at how much of a difference there is in what you were told to believe and what you WANT to believe. What do you really have to lose? I don’t think taking a week off is going to land you in hell anytime soon… and if it is, well, maybe it’s time to reconsider those beliefs in the first place.

January 22

How to deal with Resentment

how to deal with resentment rabbit face

Resentment, whether being received or given, seems to be a natural tendency most human beings have towards one another. In fact, it may happen to us on a daily basis without us even being consciously aware of it. When you perceive another individual as having something you don’t, or thinking that this other person is better than you in some way or form, a natural reaction that tends to form is resentment (along with jealousy).

What is resentment? Similar to jealousy, although not quite identical, resentment is the act of trying to chop someone down a few levels in order to even the playing field. For example, when I first made the switch to a vegetarian diet, I was met with a lot of resentment from family members and even friends. Because these people saw the positive effects such a diet was having on my body, instead of feeling happy for me, they brought forth a wall of resentment. They belittled my diet at every chance they got, and then they’d purposely try and nitpick my physique, looking for any flaw that exposed itself.

I also noticed a similar experience years ago when I started picking up the slack with my physical fitness. People that I once considered friends seemed to radiate a competitive vibe around me as if they were threatened because I wanted to get in shape.

To be perfectly honest, acting that way is something I have a very difficult time relating to. Anytime a family member accomplishes a goal, from losing weight to elevating themselves financially, I feel a great deal of happiness for that person. Resentment is the last thing on my mind, and being competitive with them just seems absurd to me. Their successes rub off on my character, and I especially like it if I knew I played a hand in helping them along the way. If I didn’t harbor this kind of mindset, chances are I wouldn’t be running this site, like helping people succeed is the core value of what I do.dealing with resentment

 Spotting Resentment

It’s one thing when a complete stranger acts this way to you, as most of the time you can easily shrug it off, but it’s an entirely different story when it’s someone who is close to you. It’s almost as if their resentment is putting a strain on your relationship, threatening to break it apart at any moment. On one side, you have your goals and successes, and on the side, you have this other individual pulling you down. If you become TOO successful, this other person may grow to dislike you even more, and you risk losing this person from your life. On the other side of the spectrum, if you hold yourself down to this individual’s level, you won’t be able to successfully grow into the kind of person you want to become.

So what can you do?

I think the answer is probably pretty obvious, but in case it’s not I’ll spell it out for you: Don’t ever hold yourself back for another person. It would be one thing if your success were hurting the other person, but if somebody is going to harbor resentment towards you simply because you’ve succeeded more than they have, they aren’t worth having in your life to begin with. True friends and supportive family members should be happy when you’ve crossed a new boundary or accomplished one of your goals, not feel threatened and insecure.

Another problem with resentment is that others may actually try and bring you down to their level in a multitude of ways. In regards to this site, for example, I’ve had others openly criticize the idea of starting and running a personal growth and development website; saying how what I was doing wasn’t “true” work and that all this personal development mumbo jumbo was just a waste of time. To be productive, I needed a REAL job. I needed to suffer in the workplace a bit because that’s how REAL people etched out a living. Instead of being happy at the success my website was receiving, these people were jealous and resentful, wanting me to suffer at the workplace in the same manner they did.

Dealing With Resentment

When it comes to dealing with resentment however, the easiest way in doing so is to just brush it off. Don’t let it get under your skin or bother you, and CERTAINLY don’t let it dictate your course of action. If you change what it is you’re doing because of something a resentful person told you, then you’ve just shifted all your power into their hands. While it may sound difficult to just “brush it off,” once you’ve identified it for what it is, it really becomes pretty easy.

If I know someone is upset or frustrated with me, not for something I’ve done towards them, but for something I have that they don’t, then there’s no point in me getting upset over it. How can I apologize to somebody when I haven’t done anything to them in the first place? Also keep in mind that because most resentment doesn’t step from physical possessions, it may be hard to understand what is the other person is resentful towards in the first place. It could be something stupid, like another male being taller than them, or perceiving another female as being more attractive. It’s usually not that new car you bought or those new shoes you’re wearing, but rather a piece of your unique character.

Of course, if you have something that others don’t, don’t needlessly flaunt it just for the sake of doing so; that makes you no better than the person who’s being resentful. With that in mind, don’t fear you’ve become some big jerk either just because someone else doesn’t approve of your actions or what you have. Generally these types of people are not worth even taking into consideration, as it’s clear they base their decisions around superficiality anyways. You don’t ever need the approval of another person, and you certainly don’t need them being an influencing factor in your personal decisions.Dealing with resentment is like battling against something that isn’t there, something you can’t see or touch. You only know it’s there when people express it, but aside from that it’s like a force that moves against your control. Don’t try and resist resentment from others, just allow it to pass through you and continue doing what you’re doing; in the end you’ll realize it was never worth fighting anyways.

Dealing with resentment is like battling against something that isn’t there, something you can’t see or touch. You only know it’s there when people express it, but aside from that it’s like a force that moves against your control. Don’t try and resist resentment from others, just allow it to pass through you and continue doing what you’re doing; in the end you’ll realize it was never worth fighting anyways.

January 20

The Importance of Social Skills

importance of social skills

Of all the skills a person can develop, I think the single most useful category would have to be social skills. There are few skills in life that can advance you as far as well developed social skills can, and even if you’re one of the quietest people around, having strong social skills is still crucial in your day-to-day lifestyle.

It’s easy to equate high social skills with meeting new people and going out with friends, as we have this tendency to think that social people are constantly out and about in the company of others. There’s certainly a lot of truth to that depending on the individual, but the reality is, even a hermit is going to have to communicate with others at some time or another. We’re all social creates, it’s just we express that at different levels. Some people can’t make a single decision in life without having to tell 10 of their closest friends, while other people are more reserved and keep to themselves the majority of the time. Either way, a time is going to arise when you’re social skills are going to be put to the test, and if you find they’re not up to par with where you want them to be, you may begin to miss out on important opportunities.

This doesn’t mean that having strong social skills is the end-all-be-all of traits a person can possess, but what it does mean is that this person is very capable of networking with others and identifying like-minded people easier. Someone in possession of strong social skills will have a much easier time making friends, developing a social circle, and branching out then someone who lacks these particular skills.

A Medium for Communication

This is because we all have things we need to say and express, things we need to tell others and things others need to tell us. When you’re in possession of strong social skills, it becomes much easier to convey those messages across to others, and in turn, actually get your point across.

It’s like if two people are giving a speech on the same topic; one person may be enthusiastic and keep the audience fully engaged while the other person may mumble and stumble their way along. Each speaker is equally versed on the facts of the topic, but the speaker who can keep his audience engaged and interested is probably going to have a much easier time relaying his point across.

Imagine going to the doctor and simply saying “I don’t feel well” and leaving it at that. In order to properly diagnose you, the doctor is going to have to do a lot of guess work. In comparison, imagine walking in the door and being able to describe exactly what the issue is in specific detail. Which do you think will lead to a more preferable outcome?

Strong social skills are a lot like that. Even the quietest individual knows what he or she WANTS to say, it’s just they find they CAN’T say it. They lack that medium of communication, the means of converting their thoughts and ideas into words. Quiet, shy, or socially anxious people are by no means stupid, and despite popular belief, it’s not that they “don’t know what to say,” but rather they don’t know HOW to say it. There have more than likely been times you’ve gotten up to speak in front of a large group of people, only to find that as you’re up there speaking you feel nervous and unsettled. Why? It’s just talking… the same we do every day, whether we’re talking to ourselves in the shower or having a conversation with our best friend. I mean, you get up there and you KNOW what you want to say, it’s not like you’re being quizzed by a panel of judges here, yet you still can’t help but feel a bit uneasy. What gives?

It’s because you lack the skills to do so, and whether that lack stems from a lack of confidence or some other source, it’s the same thing people who lack strong social skills go through on a consistent basis. They know what they WANT to say, they just don’t know how to get it across properly. They haven’t developed the proper foundation for doing so, and so in the process of converting their thoughts into words, issues arrive and the message may not be in the same form they had hoped for.

Obviously, this doesn’t mean that if I say “I want some ice-cream” that “I want a slice of pizza” is going to come out instead. It means that I’m going to have a hard time initiating conversation or responding to conversation initiated by others. Without strong social skills, not only will I miss an abundance of opportunities to connect myself with others, but I may not even notice those options are available to me. It’s like when you see a woman flirting with a man and he’s completely oblivious to it… half the time it’s not that he isn’t interested, it’s just that he doesn’t even notice it was taking place right in front of him. Without strong social skills, all those opportunities to connect well with others fly right by you and you’re never able to take advantage of them. This means potentially missed relationships, business deals, or even just good friends. I’ve met some of my closest of friends in the oddest of places, and if that particular spark of conversation had never been started, that person would be missing from my life. Of course, you can’t miss what you don’t have, but a socially enriched life is much more fulfilling than a life by yourself.

Being Shy is no Fun

I spent a good number of years being “shy” when it came to socializing, and people often mistook that for a lack of interest. There could be an exciting conversation taking place right next to me, and although I WANTED to join it, I just didn’t know how. Not only were my social skills severely lacking, but I eventually developed this mentality of “that’s just me.” As if it were permanent and could never be fixed, that being a quiet person was just something I was and that was that. Of course, ask most shy people, and they’ll tell you it’s not an enjoyable way to live life, it’s not something they actively do by choice. Instead, most lack the strong social skills needed to breach from that cocoon, and so they eventually get stuck in the mindset that it’s “acceptable” to live that way. Of course, it certainly IS acceptable if you truly enjoy keeping to yourself most of the time, but most people will probably find that sort of lifestyle dull and possibly even depressing. Many shy people also find they’re caught in some kind of vicious cycle, as they’re often shy because they lack confidence in dealing with others, with that lack of confidence stemming from having weak social skills. While this means that taking the first step is going to be difficult for some, it’s still very possible. I used to go through periods of my life feeling extremely withdrawn from the world, and yet these days I feel cramped up and restless if I’m unable to make plans with people.

As was mentioned above, like many things in life, you can’t miss what you don’t have. If you lack strong social skills, you may not even realize you lack in such a department. You won’t feel upset over missed opportunities because you won’t even they passed, never having seen them in the first place. It’s like trying to miss a friend or family member you never had; how can you miss something that never existed in the first place? Without strong social skills, most opportunities for connection with others will never be created in the first place, so it’s very easy to look at your life now and assume everything is normal. The truth is, you have to listen to your gut instinct. If you find yourself craving that interaction with others when it’s not around, maybe it’s time to take a break from some of your other activities and focus those efforts on your social skills instead.social skills

Developing Social Skills is Fun

Another reason having strong social skills is so important is because it serves as an avenue for fun and entertainment. Few people probably wake up in the morning and say I’m going to develop my social skills today! And instead, most people develop such skills through their daily interactions. In developing your social skills, they sky’s the limit when it comes to choosing an avenue to do so. It doesn’t have to be this intimidating, threatening experience; rather it should be something you actually like doing. Whether in the form of attending a club, group, or workshop, or simply making an effort to fill your free time up with friends instead of television, developing your social skills should be something you find enjoyable. Perhaps you want to take a class at a local university or make an attempt to further your education, either of which would provide you with plenty of opportunities to develop your social skills. Remember it’s not always about how many friends you can make, but simply SOCIALIZING with others. Of course, making new friends and forging new relationships is a definite plus, but as long as you can progress your social skills from what they were to something better, you’re on the right track.

Of all the skills one can develop, I’d definitely put social skills in the number one spot, and at the very least somewhere in the top 3. Few skillsets are capable of opening up such a wealth of information and range of experiences, all while developing themselves via sources of enjoyment. Don’t be afraid of what somebody MAY think of you, instead, focus on keeping those channels of communication open at all times. Make an effort to speak to nearly everyone you meet, from the mailman to the clerk at the grocery store to your neighbor taking out the trash. You have the entire world to gain, and absolutely nothing to lose.

January 17

How to Develop Self Respect

developing self respect

It’s often said that in order to respect someone else you have to first respect yourself. That you have to develop a level of self-respect and become comfortable with your own actions before you can become comfortable around others. In other words, you have to get to know yourself before you can get to know someone new.

While at times this comes across as rather a cliché, the truth is, it’s pretty sound advice. If you can’t develop a level of self-respect for yourself, it’s going to be awfully hard to develop it for another person. More so than that, when we can respect ourselves, we, in turn, become much more confident individuals. We become more honest with ourselves and those around us, and at the same time, we also become more authoritative. When you’ve learned to respect yourself, you don’t let others push you around or make decisions for you. Since you’re intelligent enough to make your own choices and to form your own opinions, you’re also less susceptible to negative influence as well.

The problem is, EVERYBODY always thinks they’ve developed self-respect even when they haven’t. Very few people will openly come out and say “I don’t respect myself” even if that’s the case. In truth, most people that lack self-respect probably doesn’t even realize they lack such a trait; instead they think their opinion of themselves is right. This becomes dangerous, however, as it also affects your interactions with other people as well.

For example, if I lack self-respect and unconsciously think poorly of myself, then I’m much less likely to defend myself against the attacks of others. Someone with a high level of respect for themselves will easily deflect these kinds of attacks back at the attacker, but the person lacking self-respect will only absorb them. It’s like if someone calls you a name, do you simply shrug it off because you know it’s not true, or do your feelings get hurt because you feel what the other person is saying to be accurate? Once you’ve learned the value of your own worth, it becomes much easier to deflect the attacks and criticisms of others, and you’ll probably notice it happening a lot less too.

That’s also because people with a high degree of self-respect broadcast that in everything they do, from walking down the street to their conversations with others. There are some people out there that simply project an aura of confidence and authority, and if you’ve learned the value of your own self-worth then you’re definitely one of those people.

That being said, how does one go from lacking respect and confidence in themselves, to becoming an independent, self-respecting individual? Furthermore, if you lack that level of respect in yourself, how are you supposed to actually help others when they come to you in need?

It’s sort of like that friend (and everybody has one) who consistently tries to give dating advice, even though they seem to score the least amount of dates. Nobody ever wants to be mean to this person, but it’s hard to take advice from someone when it’s obviously not even working for them. Or like a dentist doing work on you when his own teeth are worse than yours. Sure, you can try and act like you know what you’re doing, but any attempt you make is going to look extremely flawed, even if your intentions are good.

In other words, if I haven’t developed that level of self-respect for myself, I can try and act like I respect others, but more than likely any efforts I make are going to fall short. It’s just not possible to do, and because of that your existing and potential relationships are going to suffer.

Actually Developing Self Respect

It’s easy to talk about self-respect, but actually putting it into action and developing it for yourself is an entirely different matter. It’s not just changing one specific thing about yourself, but it’s about taking on an entirely new mindset. In fact, you don’t have to change a single thing about yourself; not the way you dress, eat, or socialize. Rather, it’s viewing the things that you already do in a new light and looking at them for the strengths they give you instead of the strengths they don’t give you.

Admittedly, this seems easier on paper than it is to apply, but it’s actually not hard. Stop viewing the glass as half empty and instead see it as half full. Don’t focus on what you don’t have, but instead, focus on what you do have. If this seems incredibly simple, that’s because it is. You don’t need new friends, you don’t need a new job, you don’t need more money or a flashy new car; all you need is a more positive mindset. Like a lot of things, though, when people get stuck in a slump they often view the world through the lenses of negativity; that is, the bad always stares them in the face, and they can never seem to focus on the positive.

This leads to people seeing a world full of problems instead of the world full of opportunities, and so it’s no wonder these people let others push them around and dictate their life for them. They haven’t developed enough respect to make their own decisions, so somebody else is going to fill that gap and make those decisions for them.

The easiest way to remedy this is to simply branch out. Expand your comfort zone and begin doing new things in life. The more you do, the more you can see yourself accomplish, and the more confidence you’ll become in your abilities. It’s hard to develop any level of self-respect when you laze around all day because you’re never given a chance to see yourself in action, so any negative beliefs you have about yourself are never dispelled. When you actually get out and explore the world, seeing what you’re capable of, it’s hard NOT to respect yourself.

Besides, why shouldn’t you respect someone (you) who’s accomplished so much? If you’re doing the same thing over and over again, day after day, then, of course, you’re going to have a hard time developing that level of self-respect. If I told you that I had no real aspirations in life and was simply happy eating potato chips and sleeping on the couch all day, would you truly look at me with admiration? Probably not, and the same holds true for looking in the mirror as well.

It’s only when you’ve demonstrated to yourself just how far you can go that you can begin to develop a healthy level of self-respect, being both confident in your abilities and assured in knowing what you can do.

If you want an example of this first hand, look at how you feel when you’re cramped up in the house or the office all day, stuck without anything to do. Now compare that to a day where you’ve spent an abundance of time out and about doing a variety of things, and think about which day left you feeling more fulfilled in the end. The day that fed you with rich experiences or the day where you just watched the time go by? Which day do you think tested your skills more? Even if you don’t realize it, the most basic things such a socializing with friends give us a chance to reflect on how exceptional we are as individuals, and it’s through these channels that self-respect is developed. When you cut yourself off from the necessary tools, don’t expect to get the results you desire. If you truly want a healthy level of self respect (as you should) then get there and prove to YOURSELF just how capable you are.