#NoFilter

The 20s are all about realizing your personal importance. Self-esteem, self-image, and self-respect all have to come from you.  There is no one that can treat you better than can for yourself but recognizing that you need to do so can be an uphill battle. Sometimes it takes some prompting, reminders from others, and obnoxiously positive affirmations to let us know that we matter. It shouldn't have to come from someone else but it's okay if it does. You don't need anyone's permission to love yourself. Go team natural, let yourself be a little raw, and know you're imperfectly perfect. #NoFilter necessary. 
 
"To be human is to sense and to be sensed." There is nothing more invalidating then sharing part of yourself and having your courage disregarded. In a world of barriers, disconnection, and aversion to contact, to give your memories to another is bold. Sharing our opinions face to face, from our lips to another's ears, with our unique voices being transmitted across airwaves, is now an act of rebellion, and a welcome one at that. No matter how accepting we say we are or how open-minded we claim to be, the reality is we have to unlearn our biases daily, actively, and consciously. Why do we still have a visceral reaction and have to let our minds catch up when we ask people to be real with us and they share the truth of who they are? Why are we surprised? Why is it off-putting? It's because we want to assume everyone is like us or that they abide by the  unwritten rules of the idealized socially constructed world of exclusivity we're "supposed" to live in. Counter-attack. Rebel, no revolt. Proclaim with proud white flags of peace that who you are deserves to be recognized, valued, and celebrated. Why do we spare other people's feelings at the cost of our own? Release yourself from our self-induced captivity and say what you need to say. Be not afraid to speak your mind and to share the veracity of your intersecting identities, experiences, beliefs, and practices. Words have the power to both keep people imprisoned or to liberate them. Choose the latter. Escape from the tendrils of fear, awkwardness, and embarrassment. No one should ever be ashamed of who they are. It's who you are. You have nothing to hide or to be wary of. If others cannot handle the verisimilitude of you then that's for them to deal with. Listen, and engage. Be present. Commit to conversations, and show people you're there for them. There for them in the way that have relegated your undivided attention to them if only for a moment. It means so much, now more than ever. Speak of the wondrous narrative of you with #nofilter.
 
There's too much damn negativity in the world right now. Bad news seems to come from all sides. People aren't smiling enough. People don't seem to be remembering all the good that happens to them on the regular. People don't appear to recognize how much they have to be thankful for. We're socialized to disconnect from touch. It's crazy because until I would about the age of 12, we're almost always in constant contact with other human beings physically. After that we start being selective with who we come into contact with. Children have no filters (it's a tricky thing but usually has great results) and say whatever comes to their minds. If they like something or someone, they'll say it aloud regardless of it anyone is listening or not. Kids have the right mentality. If you feel something, express it. Forget hiding your emotions, negating your thoughts or dismissing your ideas/opinions. It still stands true that if you have nothing nice to say then say nothing at all, but that doesn't mean you should keep all the great things you have to say about people in too. You like that guy's shoes, or that girl's eyebrows are on flick, or their face is just oomph. Say it (well, maybe not that last one). Give compliments freely, what do you lose by adding benign energy to someone else's life? Build people up and gush about them. If you really appreciate what someone does or says to you, then go the extra mile and tell them so, write a note, send an email, get a gift; whatever you want to show them that matter to you. Smile, you don't even need a reason. Be polite. Ask those follow up questions that show your invested in what that person is sharing with you. Tell someone they are beautiful., handsome, or gorgeous Tell them they are intelligent, insightful or impressive. Tell them they are funny, hilarious or a riot. Whatever good things you have to say about people, give to them. There's no use keeping it in, and they'll never know that you're sending good vibes their way unless you let them know. Boost people up instead of tearing them down. Affirm them. Support them. Entertain them. Engage them, wholeheartedly with #nofilter

In case no one has told you recently and you need a little reminder. You are important. You are needed and wanted. You are loved, adored, and admired. You are seen, heard, and felt. You are irreplaceable, priceless, and invaluable. You matter. You are enough ... you are enough. Don't ever believe anything otherwise.
#NoFilter Challenge - Try it for a day and then pass it on; write a #NF on yourself (arm, wrist, palm) and explain it anyone asks about it - tweet at me if you do it (@drjotengii)
  •  Precision of language (#theGiver) - say what you mean and mean what you say; speak with purpose and try to be as direct as possible; forgo passive-aggressive communications or complicated subtext
  • No lying - do your best to refrain from withholding truths, exaggerations, hyperboles and/or making up stuff
  • Talk to whomever you'd like - no longer are you bound by social rules of engagement; strike up a conversation with a stranger and be okay with it
  • Edit nothing - if you post a picture, mess up a text, misspell in a tweet etc. you leave it the way it is; do not send a *fixer message, edit your words or add photo filters to your posts
  • Be present - all those times you want to say or do something but ignored those urges, listen to them and participate; take your headphones out and keep phone use to a minimum

Recap the week: Loving most of my classes especially journalism; dealing with changes in relationships and accepting the chosen nonexistence of others; had a glorious time with Fraternity Info Night and tabled in the humid heat at Activities Fest; visited the campus museum and a faith group; socialized with newer friends and enjoyed being in public; swamped with schoolwork but found time for a BBQ, hanging out with friends, a fruitful meeting, and laying around at home
The Giver literary quote "8. You may lie." Handcrafted Keepsake Pendant - Lois Lowry - Jonas List of Rules -The Giver - Lois Lowry.  I love it despite disliking dystopian novels in general.  The world they live in is safe but nobody is truly alive.  A quick read that makes one feel intensely grateful for  . . . well, everything. Everything that matters.
My blog post question of the day is ... what is something you wish you could say out loud but haven't? I

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