chance

365 Challenge: Day 234 – Stranger

Posted on Updated on

Stranger: a person whom one does not know or with whom one is not familiar

ranger.jpg

‘Stranger’ is one of those words that immediately evokes something negative in my mind. We tell children to stay away from people they don’t know. We doubt the honesty of someone we do not recognize. New or weird things encourage fear and nervousness. It’s probably healthy to have a normal level of apprehension over those things that feel strange to us. Where I try to push myself in these areas is to look at how I can convert the negative into the positive whenever I’ve deemed something I interact with as ‘strange.’ It certainly doesn’t work in all cases, e.g. children should always stay far away from people they do not know unless a familiar and friendly adult is also with them. But we should push ourselves to try new things in case we eventually find something we actually like or find a way to become comfortable in a slightly stretched out skin.

In the past, I was uncomfortable meeting new people because I didn’t know what to say or do. I don’t like small talk. I felt awkward figuring out topics. Although I love silence when I’m alone, it’s not a good feeling with someone you don’t know. While I am still a little uncertain at times around others I’ve just met, blogging has taken this fear away in many ways. I no longer worry about what to talk about with a stranger. I have so many new topics and ideas from everyone here, plus my confidence and voice have become stronger. It’s turned into a positive experience now when I meet someone new and find a way to bond or connect, even on something trivial or fleeting.

On the flip side, when I walk down the street, if someone I do not know tries to talk to me, I am immediately uncomfortable. ‘Stranger Danger’ flashes in my mind — and I’m an adult. The world we live in today is a scary place and I always worry that I need to look over my shoulder. Living in NYC in some ways gives you quite a thick skin; you learn to watch for things more acutely as there are more people and very different people around you at all times. Different in terms of attracting every sort of person from all industries, all walks of life and all hopes and dreams. If I lived in a smaller town, I might not worry when a random stranger walked up to me; that’s often considered normal. It’s not the case here, but it’s also something I learn to handle each and every day.

It’s scary when an incident like yesterday’s NYC terrorist attack happened several blocks away from me; it also reminds me to be leery of strangers as much as I am trying to find a way to open up to new people. I also don’t want to put on a mask of fear every time I walk out the door. In the end, I try to find balance in being safe, taking educated risks and keeping my guard up when someone new approaches me. Strangers live all around us. Many are good people. Many are just as afraid of us as we are of them. Sometimes it’s worth taking a chance to get to know the stranger who might end up becoming your friend or confidante.

Credit for today’s 365 Daily Challenge once again goes to Janet for suggesting this word. It took on a different meaning this week for me. Isn’t Janet great?

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Advertisements

365 Challenge: Day 180 – Vulnerable

Posted on Updated on

Vulnerable: susceptible to physical or emotional attack or harm

vulnerable

Being vulnerable is often interpreted as letting yourself be open to something that might hurt you. It’s usually not associated with a positive outcome, leaving us to worry about the consequences of other people’s or even our own actions. It could be that we reveal too much about ourselves or we let emotions control our reactions to those around us. In the end, we feel vulnerable over the entire situation, afraid of letting it ever happen again. Being vulnerable is scary. But sometimes being vulnerable, in a healthy way, can help us grow.

Fear is always going to exist. There will always be bad people who do bad things for bad reasons. Life is not a perfectly run machine; there are accidents, breakdowns and system failures. Sometimes it feels like the right thing to do is avoid risk and stay hidden somewhere no one can reach us. Yet if we remain closed up, unable to share our thoughts and interact with others, we might miss out on a ton of good things still to come. That’s where there the element of surprise can often bring wonderful change, giving us the freedom to control some of the parameters so that we have better balance among our ability to be vulnerable in a good way in front of others.

Today’s 365 Daily Challenge word is ‘vulnerable’ as a reminder that while there are many types of natural and unnatural disasters happening all around us, we can’t let ourselves be afraid to open up to others in a safe and comfortable environment. Look for the areas of life where you can experience beauty and love, by letting yourself be a little bit more receptive to new and sometimes scary ideas. Don’t focus on all the negative things that could bring more harm than necessary. Find a balance where vulnerability is within your power to share in comfortable situations and withhold in uncomfortable ones. It doesn’t have to mean someone is weak or open to attack because they allow themselves a bit of vulnerability. It could be that (s)he will find a positive connection that helps calm and settle everything around them.

It’s OK to say “I can’t do it all” or give yourself permission to make a mistake. People understand when you need to take smaller steps and re-schedule something. You can allow yourself a few moments to breathe without worrying what others will think of you. Being vulnerable in a healthy manner is simply taking care of yourself so that you can recharge and refresh before moving forward with a decision or action. But being vulnerable can also be an opportunity to discover something new about yourself.

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

365 Challenge: Day 34 – Judgmental

Posted on Updated on

Judgmental: having or displaying an excessively critical point of view

Today is gonna be a tough one… while I will be honest in everything I include in my post, I wonder (now as I begin writing this) how much I will actually reveal versus holding back any thoughts. I know I shouldn’t hold back, but conveying what one means without looking like a jerk, in a small amount of words on these posts, is difficult.

Judgmental could mean biased. Judgmental could mean racist. Judgmental could mean critical. In sticking with the definition I first found when I went to Google, I will address my nature to be critical… perhaps excessively critical… when it comes to standards. While I am very impartial when it comes to listening and hearing people out before I make decisions, there is a part of me that is very judgmental when it comes to comparing someone else to myself. And to be honest, it is probably my absolute worst characteristic.

Ever since I was a small boy, I have had incredibly high standards for most things in my life. I’ve also allowed those expectations and standards to be applied to the people in my life, whether you are a close friend or family member, a colleague, or someone new I meet. Having high standards is a good thing most of the time. But unfortunately, I often set the standard so high that few, if any, can meet it. And we all know that leads to disappointment… and judgment. My philosophy had always been you should do what I want and I should do what you want. Whaaaat??????

Over the years, I’ve whittled down this trait; however, many years ago, as the perfectionist I was (am?), I felt I could do no wrong and I was the best. I was not my school’s valedictorian. I did not win major awards. So Captain Obvious should have known better. But when it came to behaviors… to being fair, kind, consistent, thoughtful, orderly, structured, engaged… I always thought I knew best. And I wouldn’t stop there. In my head, never outwardly to someone, I’d silently judge others for not living up to those high standards and expectations. My thought pattern: “If I can do it this way, and I know better, so should you.” What an A$$hole I could be!

I’d like to say it was in the vain of wanting people to be the best, and maybe it is now; however, in the past, a small part of me was happy to know that I did something better and that I had achieved a higher sphere of thinking. Sick, I know. I’d slap myself for you, if I could. But in my defense, I really tried to do the right thing and be as good as I could be, and I also wanted everyone else to be that way, too. It wasn’t purely a negative aspect… I was critical because I cared enough to want things to be right. Or “right” as in how I saw them. Wasn’t always reality.

It certainly made things difficult for me. Relationships ended. Or never began. I’d meet someone, start talking, (s)he’d say something I thought was wrong and I was done. I’d judged the person over minutia.

Perhaps he said he didn’t like mystery books. Or she said she’d never go to Hawaii. Silly little things, snap judgment on my part… and I’d move on. And in a relationship, if the other person didn’t have an equal level of contribution, or perhaps dated more people in the past than I had… I was super critical over the whole thing. Few could meet my standards.

My mother called me out for this a lot. She’d tell me I’d end up alone if I couldn’t learn to be tolerant and forgive. If I couldn’t be more open-minded about people’s different ways of doing things. She’d throw 1 or 2 things at me that I’d done incredibly wrong or when I’d been foolish… helping me realize I wasn’t all that perfect.

As the years have gone by, I am a lot less judgmental. But there’s still part of me that will have an immediate reaction to something, and because it’s different than what I believe or know, I am critical and judgmental of them or the situation. Admitting it has been good for me. Recognizing my faults has been helpful. Growing older can make you less sensitive over these things. In the end, I leave this post with one thought for which I could be judged.

Despite everything I’m saying and that I’ve learned, I am still judgmental over certain things. And as hard as I’ve controlled my thoughts and reactions, keeping them internal now, I am still embarrassed over it. But I am smart enough to know it is a small piece of who I am, and over time, it becomes less and less. Yet even more importantly, I am not a hypocrite — as there is no one I am more critical over than myself. And since I fairly dish out that judgment equally to myself and others, perhaps it’s not so bad if I hold myself to the same standards as I hold everyone else:

“Be good people. Do unto others as you would want done on to you. Apply the Golden Rule.”

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay. I am 40 and live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post.