Is Beauty Really Only Skin Deep?

It’s hard to believe loved ones when they tell you that you’re beautiful just the way you are when you’ve heard them criticize or make any sort of derogatory remarks about others’ imperfections. Self-image is learned. If a child were brought up completely shielded from such criticisms, I wonder if their self-image would be any different.

I play a lovely game of ping-pong with my own body image. Just when I think I accept my body just the way it is, I’ll hear a snide remark about someone else’s appearance and rethink that acceptance. Why should I believe I’m acceptable when someone else is deemed distasteful for looking almost exactly the way I look. Does this make sense?

Photographer, Sue Bryce wrote a post and shared a video that brought this to mind.

Body Image

Even children can unknowingly add to self-consciousness. A nine-year-old asked me if I was pregnant when my twins were less than a year old. I hadn’t thought about my gut much before that comment. I’ve been self conscious about it ever since. I feel like if I could redistribute that extra padding to my backside, I’d be OK with it. I just don’t like it where it is. It makes putting shoes and socks on uncomfortable, too. Oof!

So there you have it. Raw and exposed. I am not comfortable with the little bit of belly fat I have. HOWEVER, I view others as perfectly fine no matter how they are shaped! How’s that for confusing. It’s like what I described above in reverse. Why would others believe I think they’re fine just the way they are when I have trouble accepting my own body?

Words by Zachner

Experiences vs. Things

I shared an article on Facebook asking, “What are some of your experiences holding a special place in your memory.” No one responded. Either 1) they didn’t see the post or 2) they can’t think of any experiences to share.

“There’s a very logical assumption that most people make when spending their money: that because a physical object will last longer, it will make us happier for a longer time than a one-off experience like a concert or vacation. According to recent research, it turns out that assumption is completely wrong.”

Denver Art Museum

My most recent experience was the Denver Art Museum. Admission for adults (Colorado residents): $10. Admission for students 0-18 years old: $0!

Some past experiences include meeting friends made online, seeing New Orleans, camping with my cousins when I was young, and in the not-so-distant past, sitting at the dining room table with my whole family playing games, and exploring places in my own state (Colorado) with family and friends. These are all things that bring up warm fuzzies when I think about them; things that will (I hope) remain in my memory forever. The Jag I had, while also a nice memory, was just a thing – a passing fancy (very fancy); a thing that brought temporary joy.

What are some of your favorite experiences? Comment below!

Words by Zachner

When We Say “I’m so busy!”

“Busy-ness has become a sort of status symbol.” Interesting. Is “busy bragging” a valid description of those who announce how incredibly busy they are? How necessary is each thing on an incredibly busy person’s to-do list? How many people add things to their to-do lists to keep from being bored, appearing lazy, or just to feel (or appear) important?

Listen to Oliver Burkeman describe busy-ness…

I think being super busy is exhausting both physically and mentally. Who’s in control here? YOU are! If you are tired of being so busy all the time, STOP IT! You don’t have to do it all.

I used to feel overwhelmed any time I tried to keep an immaculate house. Then I stopped placing such importance on it. I never understood why any lived in house should look like a builder’s display home anyway. If my messy home disgusts you, then that’s your problem, not mine. It’s an American culture that places such importance on spotless homes, not individuals.

It’s also an American culture to be so busy all the time … to be “joiners” … to say yes to everyone who seeks to steal any portion of our time. It’s OK to do nothing sometimes. It’s OK to do nothing on a regular basis. If you feel so compelled to schedule every moment of your day, then schedule time to do nothing. If that’s too difficult, then schedule an activity that doesn’t involve much activity. For instance, go to a museum and stroll through it leisurely – even sit down and just observe while there. Go to a park or beach and just sit for a while. Stay off your phone, tablet, or laptop and just be fully aware of your environment with all of your senses.

Can you do this? Is it too much to fathom? Try working it in once per month, then twice, then weekly. You may find you enjoy it so much that you manage to work it in daily. Comment below how busy you are or how you work in time to do nothing. How do either of those make you feel?

Words by Zachner

The Psychology of Designer Labels and “High End” Products

It’s a psychological fact that wearing expensive designer clothes, carrying handbags with designer labels, and driving luxury cars has a dynamic effect on how we feel about ourselves as well as how others perceive us. For many, the feeling of elevated status is strong. For some, feeling self-conscious is not uncommon. I’m one of those who feel self-conscious behind a designer label. I achieved my dream of owning a Jaguar several years ago only to end up feeling uncomfortable behind the wheel, which had nothing at all to do with the car’s comfort. I didn’t like the way I felt others perceived me.

Designer labels should not define who you are.

Yes, the Pink logo is upside down on purpose. I’m not a fan. :P

Vanity and insecurity lead to over-spending as one attempts to keep up appearances. A vain person doesn’t only want to look good to impress others but also for themselves. It’s possible to dress impeccably and not go broke doing so. People don’t need to know “who” you’re wearing.

In downward social comparison, you make yourself feel better by viewing yourself as more fortunate than others. The converse process also applies. In upward social comparison, you feel far worse about yourself if you see (or believe) that someone is outdoing you. {source}

Poor woman with Louis Vuitton bag.

Social comparison theory states that we determine our own social and personal worth based on how we stack up against others.

The present data suggest that luxury consumption can be a profitable social strategy because conspicuous displays of luxury qualify as a costly signaling trait that elicits status-dependent favorable treatment in human social interactions. {source}

Teens in hand-me-down expensive cars.

Many children with wealthy parents grow into teens who desire designer labels and high end products. Too often, they don’t have a full appreciation of what it takes to afford such luxuries. Parents need to teach their children the importance of working to earn the money it takes for their desired material possessions. If they don’t teach this, they are doing a huge disservice to their children and setting them up for failure when they move out on their own and end up in debt attempting to maintain their parents’ lifestyle.

What it looks like when a rich girl goes shopping.

Stick thin wearing tight jeans, which emphasise their ridiculously skinny legs, a pair of suede high heeled boots, a clingy T-Shirt, a designer bag resting on their elbow joint and dark glasses covering their black eyes. Each coming out looking chuffed with their purchase. ~a people watcher across from a Hugo Boss in England {source}

Then we have a highly privileged and very well-known Royal, The Duchess of Cambridge, who shows us that it’s not important to always wear designer labels. The dress Kate Middleton is wearing in the photo below is one she ordered online herself for $63. She’s pretty amazing for many reasons, and her savvy shopping is just one of them!

Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton Maternity Dress ASOS

Is our choice of clothing and other material possessions a class (upper vs. lower) thing? Is it a desire to appear as something we’re not but think we want to be? Is it a desire to fit in or be treated better than others?

Leave a comment below to tell how designer fashion and/or expensive cars make you feel. Find me on Facebook and comment there if you’d rather not comment here.

Words by Zachner

Working to Live or Living to Work | Prince EA

Are you working to live or living to work? Do you take all of your hard-earned and deserved vacation time each year? You should! Watch this social media piece by Richard Williams (aka: Prince EA).

Interestingly, he’s from my home town … St. Louis!

How many moments have you lost thinking about the next one? We can’t hold onto moments. We can’t press rewind. All we will ever have is NOW.

The most precious things we have in life are moments. Make the most of them before they disappear. See the world while you still can. Cherish those while they’re still here.

When our lives are almost over, it won’t matter how much money we made or how many hours we worked or times we got “Employee of the Month”.

Get away and come together. Take a WHOLE Vacation and be fully present creating memories that will last forever.

Words by Zachner

You are NOT the Center of the Universe!

How big is planet Earth? Compared to our tiny (yes, it’s true) human bodies, it seems huge. Right? Not so much! When you stare out into space on a clear night and marvel at all the stars that seem so tiny, consider this video and then think again about how big and important you think you are.

Feeling tiny yet? Imagine if there were life somewhere else in the universe. Now imagine those lifeforms being large enough to squish you like an ant.

Want more information? Check out You… Are Insignificant: Scale of the Universe.

If you don’t want to read more information, go to The Scale of the Universe and scroll away. FASCINATING!

Words by Zachner

Where Do You Belong?

How do you know you are where you’re supposed to be? Do you get restless in your career or wonder if you’re on the right path. Worse: Do you wonder if the path you’re on is a dead end or a stalemate? Have you ever made a career move that felt like a step down then wondered if you made the right choice? Do you ever worry about job security with the constant advances in technology and automation?

How do we know when we are where we are supposed to be?

Recent reflecting and the change I mentioned working on led me to a decision that shows how I’ve learned to not act on impulse so much but rather to think things through first. Journaling (the good old-fashioned hand-written type) helped me work my way through the decision process that almost turned out differently.

Two Weeks of Thought

On February 26 I wrote about how light work was and how I’ve had to search for work to do in other areas. The words “I’m not leaving” were among the many I wrote that day.

On March 1 a little birdie mentioned an opening in a department I used to work in, a department that is always busy and is consistently growing to keep up with demand. Changes have been made in that department, and the opening was in an area that was largely not responsible for answering phones and more dedicated to finding, preventing, and eliminating fraud (my passion when I worked in that department before). I was intrigued and fascinated by the new tool they had to aid them in their task and wanted to learn more. The wheels were set in motion immediately … TOO immediately.

True to form, I got ahead of myself and was standing on one foot at the edge of a cliff. Oh, the journaling that ensued!

I like numbers! They are exact. There’s no guessing. There are some judgment calls to be made and plenty of puzzles to solve. I like puzzles. This is what I do in my current department.

I DON’T like talking on the phone. I especially don’t like talking to angry people on the phone. Phones would definitely be involved – sometimes none, sometimes many calls in a day (2 is many to me!).

A schedule change would be necessary. I may have been OK with working Sunday – Wednesday (10-hour days), but I’ve grown quite fond of my Tuesday – Friday schedule.

Stress

Stress bleeds into personal life. This is what ended up happening the last time I worked in this other department. The call that would inevitably come in at 5:59:59 when my day was scheduled to end at 6:00 would keep me at work an extra 15-45 minutes; sometimes longer. Trying to complete numerous tasks while worrying that the phone would ring and interrupt me and then jumping out of my skin when it did ring, heart racing as I answered not knowing if there would be an angry person on the other end blaming everything on us, not willing to accept that they made a terrible mistake. Of course, I took each and every one of these calls to heart. I left that behind almost ten months ago when I switched to a different department and haven’t missed it one bit!

That March 1 entry ended with

“Even if they decide not to take me back, this has put me through some deep thinking. Insightful.”

As I read back over entries between March 1 and March 12, I found many points of uncertainty, second-guessing myself, and even fear. THAT’S IT! Decision made.

The Decision

On March 13 I decided that I don’t want to make that change. I want to continue to learn and grow where I am, adding responsibilities as they become available. I’m good at what I do. I feel comfortable at the end of the day that I did a good job. I know that whatever I didn’t finish by my scheduled end time can and will wait for me or one of my teammates to continue where I left off the next day.

Moral of the Story

Before making a leap of faith, step back and think it through. List the pros and cons. If you don’t know what they are, do some research to find out. Some people call it praying and relying on God to guide them. Some people call it being practical and logical. Whatever you call it, it’s still exercising your brain. Just do it! Be smart. Be informed. Make good choices!

I’m confident that I made a good choice!

Words by Zachner

Blog Facebook Page | Updates the Easy Way

Some people prefer not to receive email notifications of new posts. Update preferences can be changed, but following a Facebook page is an alternative. My blog Facebook page is not just for sharing new blog posts; it’s also a place to share other interesting tidbits, inspirations, motivations, as well as the words of others.

Mental Health Recovery

I found a blog post on mental health (self harm) of particular interest this morning.

Little by little, start changing your lifestyle. Drink more water, eat healthier, grow stronger. Cut out toxins and processed foods (something I’m attempting at the moment). Be kinder to yourself with daily positive affirmations- not criticising yourself every morning can truly change your day. Negative thoughts are really ugly, so don’t inflict them upon yourself or anyone else for that matter. Look around you, appreciate Earth! Cut down on technology. Go to bed early, wake up early. Mix up your routine, try something different. Just please don’t you ever give up on yourself!

Words by Zachner

Hamstar Transition | Kia Soul Commercials

Kia’s “From Fluff to Buff” campaign for the 2014 Soul must not have been well received. Hamstar and his fellow hamster dudes went through rigorous workouts to drastically slim down. Result: anorexic looking hamsters step out of the 2014 Kia Soul onto a red carpet to the tune of Lady Gaga’s “Applause”. This is the worst commercial in their collection in my opinion.

Viewers sounded off, and Kia listened. Sort of. In their latest commercial, Hamstar and his pals are fluffier again (middle ground), but now there are lady hamsters depicting a whole other body image issue. All the ladies are super slim and well-endowed in the chest area. <eye roll> What the hell, Kia? We know you know what real hamsters look like. They’re fluffy. Don’t be afraid of it!

Take a look at Kia Soul commercials through the years, starting with their 2010 model…

My personal favorite because I own a 2012 Alien Green Kia Soul…

Enter the skinny hamsters…

And now, Hamstar and his crew ate a few burgers and quit the gym but clearly prefer skinny ladies…

What’s your opinion? Fluffy or skinny hamsters?

For fun… Why hamsters?

If you drive a Kia Soul, the commercial tells us, then you know yourself, love yourself, and get down with yourself.

Words by Zachner

Reflecting, Discovering, and Changing

I’ve been reflecting on the past year, discovering new information and ideas, and am working on making some changes. I’m famous for making changes! I am physically lazy but mentally restless.

The past year has had some major changes already, and the changes aren’t quite finished. A recent chance discovery at just the right time threw me into some quick thinking and deep consideration. I’ve made a decision, and the wheels are in motion. I’m not quite ready to reveal the change just yet, but I will soon.

Another discovery I’ve found rather exciting is that there are many tools and apps available in Google Drive that I was not aware of! One app in particular I’m finding helpful and entertaining at the same time is MindMaps … a way to throw out everything in my crazy, busy mind and try to organize and make sense of it all. The discovery of all that is Google Drive may lead to even more reflecting and changing! :)

Words by Zachner

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