The Great Battle of Selflessness

Welcome to America: land of the free and home of the brave. Where citizens go through daily struggles to fulfill this great “American Dream” (or whatever that is/means anymore). What Francis Scott Key or Kathrine Lee Bates didn’t know was that this great country was doomed from the start (even with their catchy, political drinking songs/poems). By doomed, I mean being more focused on something other than community and togetherness: ourselves and our selfishness.

Let’s be honest and face this reality: the majority of people in this country are egocentric. “Me, myself, and I.” Personally, I am guilty of having this mindset from time to time. Rather than being thankful for everything I do have (a wonderful, healthy family, great friends that I can rely on, financial means to get an education, food, a place to sleep, etc.) I focus on everything I don’t have: more so, things I want (more expensive tangible items, more currency, better versions of things I already have, etc).

Golly! Do hate myself when I notice these selfish thoughts creeping into my mind. Really though, I’m certain thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of people in worse situations would LOVE to have a wonderful, healthy family. Great friends that they can rely on. Financial means to continue their education, food on the table, a place to sleep or possibly any combination of the these things..

I am so lucky to have these wonderful, blessed things in my life!  

How selfish of me is it to want more? Clearly, feeling guilty about wanting more needs to be dealt with (hopefully I don’t feel alone in this matter).

From a psychological perspective, we are conditioned to want more, to need more to work up this damn “social ladder”. That instead of loving thy neighbor as thy self, we have this craving to be “better” than thy neighbor. Thanks to advertising, we assume by obtaining whatever product they are selling, we will become superior over everyone else that doesn’t have this product (sadly, essentially that is what it breaks down to). 

But why pit people against each other? Why feel this need to be superior?

If everyone is working against everyone else, there would be no progress. Just really inflated prices on practically everything and generally speaking, unhappy people (kinda sounds familiar). Though I know many other factors are playing into the current inflation of prices, it makes sense to me. Everyone is too focused on being “better” than other people, it’s an inevitable and endless cycle of bullshit hierarchy.  People became too greedy and have lost sight of what truly is important: community. Looking out for each other. Being honest-to-good people to everyone else, without any incentives. 

Continuing from this thought through a different perspective, I will share with you a personal experience I have had with battling my own selfishness and fighting against myself to truly find my true potential as a “good” person: (I apologize for changing thoughts mid-blog, Welcome to the organization of my thought process)

Recently, I was faced with a personal dilemma of choosing to be that “honest to their word” person by giving my full-fledged honesty to someone I deeply cared about (selfless) or looking out for myself and keeping some personal information to myself (selfishness). I know, it is REALLY sad and pathetic. I had no idea I was doing this unconsciously until it came to my awareness. Of course, saying (typing) this it does sound VERY obvious which one is the right choice of the two. However, things are definitely easier said than done. Naturally, at first I chose the path of selfishness. Protecting my ego/self esteem was my priority at that time. But, after a while of contemplation, I realized how evil it was of me to withhold this information. That if I truly I cared for this person more than I cared about my own ego, I would be honest. People putting others before themselves are generally stories of true, selfless people. And that is exactly what I wanted to be. The more and more I thought about it, the more I knew what had to be done. 

I was both the defeated and a conqueror in my great battle of selflessness. Defeated in the sense that my self esteem and happiness have greatly suffered, but still a conqueror for doing the right thing and being completely honest with this person. Sure, I feel like shit, but for feeling this way I still feel pretty damn good about it. Although it took all of the courage I had, I learned possibly my toughest lesson thus far:

Putting others before you is a genuine sign of kindness and selflessness towards that other person. Even if it means your own dissatisfaction, just knowing you did the right thing is the BEST feeling ever. Nothing can really compare to this feeling. Although on a smaller scale, fessing up to your mistakes as a child comes to a pretty close comparison. 

Honesty composes a good majority of the core in selflessness. 

As soon as we are honest with ourselves and others, life can be SO MUCH more enjoyable. Take it from me: someone who has struggled, but won in this great battle of selflessness.  

-Val

Relationships

As promised in my last blog, here is one ENTIRE, glorious blog dedicated to relationships. Please keep in mind that everything I say (type) is completely my interpretation of events and I have not mentioned any names of former companions to keep them anonymous.

Where to even begin? Relationships are everywhere in our daily lives. They are not limited to just a significant other, but between your parents, siblings, friends, and coworkers are also various forms of relationships. Though these relationships are expressed in different ways they all have one common component: caring for someone else. Of course, you would care about all of these people in a different way, as well as at a different magnitude [unless you follow closely with Sigmund Freud’s teachings (hopefully someone reading this is laughing)]. Regardless, you care about these people to a certain extent. The type of relationship I am going to focus on are the intimate relationships between two people committed to each other emotionally and physically.

First and foremost, though I am unsure if anything I say coincides with same sex relationships, I fully support gay rights. However, for the purpose of this blog, I can only testify for heterosexual relationships.

Our sole purpose on this planet (in my opinion) is to procreate. Financial stability, a good career, or even a nice house are only amenities accompanying what we believe to be necessary to succeed socially on this planet. It is our primal instinct to procreate in order to spread our genes to our offspring. That being said, the main objective of having relationships is to find a good match/mate and procreate. We go through relationships to figure out what we like and what we don’t like when it comes to the opposite sex (or same sex), thus essentially narrowing down our possible mates as time goes on and we experience different relationships.

As I have stated in my previous blog, I thought I had my shit together when I graduated high school, including a really prospective/potential mate for life. In reality, graduating high school was only the first mere stepping stone of figuring out relationships. At the time I was in a committed relationship and I thought things couldn’t get any better. We had been together for about a year and we decided that we were meant for each other..

Blah, blah, blah. More disgusting romantic shit. Upon graduating, we moved in together in Denver planning on starting the rest of our lives in this wonderful city. What I didn’t notice was that with the move came change within both of us: some of it good, some of it not so good. After about two or three months living together we became two, immensely different people. Our view points, moods, and ideas clashed on a constant basis.Thus, creating such a hostile environment that on August 25th, 2013 our worlds came crashing down. I refuse to go into detail about the events that happened that day (if you would like to know yourself feel free to ask), Just know A LOT of shit hit the fan and both of us ended up in an emotionally unstable state leading up to physical violence. 

Again, this is a truly broad and general idea of what happened and it is only my side of the story so there is probably some bias about what happened. Please, don’t think of me as some sort of saint or survivor by any means, I know there are certain things I could have done differently to avoid this, more so prevent this from ever happening, but I was unaware and frankly stupid about the entire thing (basically the definition of being young).

The point I am trying to make here is that I was in a VERY unhealthy relationship, only because I didn’t see the changes going on: being blinded by this hope that things would go back to how they were before the move. Though it did take a VERY long time to over come what happened that fateful day, we went our separate ways and besides exchanging our apologies, we haven’t spoken since. Moral of the story: if you are unhappy or unsatisfied in any way, either talk about it and try to work through it or just leave before it is too late.

There will ALWAYS be “other fish in the sea”. Sure, no two fish are the same, but that is the glory of it! I always say,

“If everyone in the world were the same, the world would be boring.” 

For me, every relationship is a learning experience: good or bad something is always learned whether it be about myself or about my preferences. Here is a synapses of relationship lessons I have learned throughout my existence:

1. Be Honest- Duh. However, the honesty I am talking about is the brutal, “Honey, I dislike it when you…”, “I would prefer if you…” honesty. Even if you think it might hurt them, they probably don’t even realize what they are doing is bothering you. Besides, wouldn’t you want your significant other to be just as honest with you?

2. Communication- Still pretty obvious. Communicating with your partner is key to having a successful relationship. Again, even if the subject matter is negative your significant other probably doesn’t even know it is an issue. Also, phrasing can be the HUGE difference between, “Can you get off your ass and take out the trash for once?” or, “Hey, I know you are busy doing (blank), but could you give me a hand taking out the trash? It would sure help me out.” Hopefully it is never to that extent, but that my friends is the power of phrasing.

3. Respecting the difference- You are both your own people, having different career paths, enjoying different hobbies, having different friends, and of course having your own “free time”. By respecting these differences between each other, this reassures that although you are working together as a team, there are still two separate people within this team. I’ve personally been guilty of completely losing the sense of who I was to certain relationships. For example, I was dating this guy really into classic rock when I preferred (still prefer) alternative. Sadly, I conformed to his music interests because I didn’t want to make him unhappy (among anything else). Instead of being comfortable with my own interests, I conformed to his so he would like me more. Something to take into consideration: He/She developed an interest in YOU when you first met; He/She enjoyed who you were, if they wanted to date someone similar to themselves, they could buy a mirror.

4. Recognition- The thing you have to realize: your significant other puts up with all of your complicated shit, which I think deserves recognition alone. If it truly is a quality relationship, I’m most certain he/she does other things as well to keep you happy. Which should have recognition/appreciation for the things he/she does to keep you in a happy, sane state. Different couples have different ways of showing appreciation for the other person. By means of going out on a fancy date, purchases of appreciation (outside of Valentine’s Day, anniversary’s, etc.), or a mere verbal recognition: every couple is different. On that same note: don’t do things for your partner expecting something tangible in return, do things for him/her because you know they would appreciate it. If you do receive praise, then all the better. Just don’t go into something expecting something in return.

I know this is a short list, but remember I am only 19, so I do still have a lot more to learn. My only hope is that someone out there can relate to what I have said (typed) and learn from my mistakes/lessons. However, if you have been unfortunate and had to discontinue a relationship, realize it is not the end of the world. Everything happens for a reason and life will come around eventually. I wish I could give better advice on break-ups, but even to this day I have a hard time going through my own. For me to give advice about how you can get through your break-up can be compared to a fish telling you how to breathe oxygen. It just doesn’t work very well.

Hopefully, you have enjoyed reading! I plan on trying to keep a consistent one blog a week pace. Please feel free to give me feedback and let me know how I am doing or ask anything you would like to know more about.

Best Regards,

Val

New Beginnings

Lately, I can’t help taking notice how much things really have changed since graduating high school in the spring of 2013. Considering this is my first blog, I figure telling my story up to this point to be vital if I want to describe such changes.

Of course, everyone says that everything changes after graduating high school. What I didn’t realize was that everything changing was more like: EVERYTHING CHANGING. In short, I thought I had my life figured out: where I was going with my career path, how I needed to reach certain academic goals, who my true friends were, and (as silly as it sounds) who I was intending to marry. Since graduating, literally ALL of these things have changed. Overall, I see these changes not as “good” or “bad”, but equally they have all been learning experiences. Some were just more favored learning experiences than others.

Initially, I thought (like everyone else) I had my life figured out, to such an extent I even created a 4 year plan: (two separate versions just in case)

 

Modification 1
Modification 1
Modification 2
Modification 2

Don’t get me wrong, I am still following Modification 1. Chemistry (more so science in general) will always be my passion, just my career path, people I consider to be “friends”, and romantic relationships have been the ever changing components that make up my life.

A lot of these changes I can directly attribute to changing my perspective to be more open minded and positive (or so I like to think). The cause of this new perspective change:

Moving to Denver.

As simple as it may seem, this move made me humble and realize how to truly embrace people for their differences: not the similarities. Not to downplay or disregard similarities, I just found a new appreciation for the differences within the people I have met. Denver in comparison to Pueblo is very different (obviously). After donating my hair my senior year of high school I decided to keep my hair short to avoid that awkward “coconut head” stage of growing it out. Within Denver, seeing girls with tattoos and/or short hair is not a big deal. People aren’t afraid of expressing themselves. However, when I do occasionally make the trip back to Pueblo, I notice people staring. A LOT. Mainly because (no offense to Pueblo) I believe that people try to “fit” a certain “mold” and don’t really stray from anything too different. Let’s face the facts, I knew I never “fit” this mold (or fit in at all for that matter), but moving to Denver gave me this sense of security knowing that I wouldn’t be judged or starred at for being/expressing myself. Naturally, with this new perspective some friends were lost, other friends were gained and alongside that relationships were also changed (I like to refer to them as “relationshits”**).

Honestly, I could write an entire blog on relationshits. Up until very recently I struggled finding compatibility within the opposite sex. As bad as it may sound, if I found you attractive and we shared at least a few similar interests, that was good enough for me. That’s just it though, I wasn’t taking into consideration what I was needing as far as emotional support (among other things) were concerned. Basically, we could have polar personalities and I would have been content in a relationshit with you. Content even staying with you if it meant you would be happy and me being unhappy. Thank goodness I got over that.

Considering this is my first blog I won’t reveal TOO much detail quite yet about these various relationshits (realize how vulnerable publishing this makes me already), but I promise more will come.

I suppose the quote “Everything happens for a reason,” is very fitting for this blog. Graduating high school and going through these various learning experiences have all happened for their own reasons. As I stated earlier, some experiences were more favored than others, but you have to have the good with the bad. Having one without the other would create a universal imbalance.

Hopefully someone besides my mom will read this. Regardless, I hope you’ve enjoyed reading! I apologize for any rambling or randomness, that is just my thought process at work.

Best Regards,

Val

**To be fair, not all of my previous relationships were relationshits. This is just a generalization of my relationship history. Fortunately, not every male I’ve dated was a complete ass.

Every story has two sides. This is my side.