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Sunday, June 23, 2024

How Much does Body Language Say?

Can we really hear more than what is being verbally said by studying body language? Yes. The body does express much, through both subtle and obvious cues. However, how accurate we can be when interpreting it is a whole other matter.

Intuitively and instinctively, you might be picking up both signs and their meanings, in and with context that could be elusive. Yet, you might not be able to trust and unpack what you’re absorbing through conscious knowledge. But something could still seem wrong, or right, or both. Perhaps simply off or just on point.

There certainly is much that can and does come through body language. And each and every single thing can be described and explained in detail. The problem arises when we attempt to “understand” it without really being capable of it and therefore reach erroneous conclusions. So should you even try to get into body language? Yes. But please be aware that you might be mistaken when attempting to get it.

In any case, though, aspiring to grasp at least enough of what body language usually communicates is especially advisable if it is relevant to the type of art that you make (or participate in). In any form of acting it is essential to at least be aware and familiar with the basics to incorporate them. How lacking would acting be otherwise?

Normally, it is best get into the shoes of what you’re representing rather than aiming to emulate external expressions while being void of internal processes that would naturally manifest them. But you can check to see what comes easiest for you. For some, it is like being possessed by a person or a state when they get to acting and the rest flows from that.

The more realistic the acting, the more subtleties in body language are present. And they may be overlooked by most, but noticed by those who pay attention. What are they saying when there are no words? How are words contradicting what they are saying without them? You might figure out the plot and get the spoilers upfront because of body language.

Then again, you might want to ask yourself if you’re reading too much into things. Maybe it’s just sloppy acting after all. Or those signs don’t mean what they seem.

CREDIT: AI-Generated Examples done on Leonardo.AI

Saturday, June 22, 2024

Measures to keep Abuse Out of Your Life

You can’t always keep it all out, but you can take some measures to reduce it.

• Keep a healthy self-esteem. If you define self-esteem as a composition of self-acceptance, self-respect, and self-care, it is easy to see how lacking in this department opens the doors to abuse. If you do not have enough acceptance, respect, and care for yourself, you’re less inclined to trace and reinforce boundaries to protect yourself and to guarantee that you’re treated with dignity. For someone with little self-esteem, any small gesture can seem grand. Why? Because it is still more than they would expect, more than they believe they deserve or are worthy of. This makes you an easy target for abusers. A lot of them know that they can easily have you falling for them by the mere use of flattery (or any form of 'breadcrumbing'). And that’s not all, blaming you for everything also works (filling you with guilt, shame, and also 'gaslighting' you). And even if your self-esteem was initially okay, they may be insistent enough to lower it to the point where it’s not. So chin up and keep it steady. Work on having and maintaining bulletproof self-esteem.
• Be vocal and assertive. You are not a mere recipient for everyone else to crap on. If someone is mean and nasty to you, you can call them out on it. Maybe not right away, and maybe you’ll need to choose your words and tone wisely, but you’re not obligated to passively take in whatever others throw at you and roll with it for an eternity. You matter, too. And by standing up for yourself, you set the example for others and show them that they’re not powerless to stop abuse.
• Adopt a “Do no harm but take no sh*t” philosophy. Okay, not so literally, but it serves as a guideline. If you’re a quarrelsome person who starts fights for no good reason, you automatically hand others a free pass to do the same with you. So don’t do this to others and don’t allow it to be done to you by others either. Train and develop yourself to be able to not take offense (childish insults and wild accusations say more about who makes them than about you) and to defend yourself only when necessary.

These are merely starting points that can help turn things around. If you aren’t already covering these aspects and are, thus, “attracting” abuse into your life. Not to signify that it is your fault, but that you’re not helpless in such circumstances.

See also: What is abuse?

Steps to make it out of Abusive Situations

Every situation is unique and more complicated than words can encompass. Nevertheless, there are five fundamental steps that can be taken to make it out of abusive situations.

• Identify the situation you’re in. Unless you are aware of the situation you’re in, you won’t be able to consciously do much about it. See the ways in which it is abusive and to what extent. Consult experts to be more accurate.
• Decide that you’ve had enough of it. Be stubborn about it so that you can be determined to change it against the odds. Doubting and second-guessing can keep you stuck in the same place forever.
• Locate your exits. What doorways, metaphorically or literally speaking, lead you out of it to less abusive or abuse-free situations, to more favorable places? Which are within your reach?
• Determine your approach. What can you do to get there? Which problems require solving and which obstacles must be overcome? Are you all set or should you gather supplies? You might not be “completely ready,” but ready enough... is enough.
• Don’t let anything hold and pull you back. It is no surprise that abusers would rather you stay or that the situation remains the same. After all, as a victim of abuse, you likely give more than you take and a remorseless abuser would not like to lose that. Do not listen to senseless guilting and shaming. Ignore baseless claims that you won’t make it without them (or that they can't make it without you). Basically, don’t let anyone tell you that you’re obligated to sacrifice yourself for someone else’s selfish agenda when you don’t owe them that.

This being said, do not mistake a situation that is simply not what you prefer or what is most beneficial for you for a situation that is inherently abusive. The steps to make it out of them may be similar, but this distinction is important. Otherwise, among other things, you could lose credibility and goodwill.

See also: What is abuse?

The Far-Reaching Effects of Abuse

Depending on the type of abuse and the severity of it, there are several consequences. However, in general, there are a few far-reaching effects that are often the result of abuse. To list some of them, we have:

• Vulnerable state. When the abuse begins or increases beyond what you’re used to or prepared for, you may be caught off-guard on many levels. This is more the case if the abuse was specifically directed toward exploiting your weaker points and ultimately messing with you. You might have been stripped off what made you stable and secure. You might have been exhausted of your resources and/or blocked from gaining and accessing them and were left with little or nothing to support yourself with. You might feel exposed and at the mercy of violent forces that are out of your control.
• Loss of trust and trust issues. It is not unusual for abusers to come in disguise. Furthermore, it is not unusual for them to be VERY skilled at acting as though they’re trustworthy allies. If you were taken advantage of by somebody like this, it becomes more difficult to trust them and others again. You may have learned for the first time that people aren’t always as nice as they’d seem and you don’t want to risk going through the same again - not with them and not with anybody else. To some extent, it is simply a part of maturing to realize that it is not wise to trust everybody too soon. However, without the ability to trust others, we lose the opportunity to form meaningful relationships and instead corner ourselves, staring at a scary world that we cannot discern.
• Normalization of abuse. It can become a way of living and pass off as “normal.” Maybe it has been going on for so long that it now seems normal. Maybe so many people joined into it that it seems normal. Maybe the same can be found in so many other places that it seems normal. Maybe, technically, it is “normal.” Nevertheless, how “normal” something is, doesn’t necessarily make it worth adapting to and enduring.
• Adjusting to and becoming abusive. “If you can’t beat them, join them.” Naturally, for the sake of survival, we evolve. But into what? It is said that it’s not uncommon for victims of abuse to grow into abusers themselves for they didn’t learn any better and believe that they are stronger for this. At least they’re no longer the victim, no? It is this or somehow managing to instead go another way, doing all in their power to not allow this to continue.
• Distorted worldviews. Abuse is confusing. And some types of abuse can be particularly confusing and designed for this exact purpose; there’s not much you can accomplish when you’re disoriented - when you can’t tell true from false, right from wrong. If you have been severely abused, chances are your mental and emotional states are out of equilibrium. There’s also the chance that you were led to believe whatever was most convenient for the abuser that you believe, no matter how nonsensical. It can take a long time for you to be able to again grasp reality as it truly is, even if you knew it well before the abuse began.

The good news is that all of these can be remedied with proper and sufficient care. The bad news is that it is unfortunate that anyone would have to go through this and spend so much of their lives caught up in it.

See also: What is abuse?

Friday, June 21, 2024

Looking Back, Something was Missing...

Even though it’s too late, spilling my heart just to get it off my chest…

Y’all wouldn’t believe how much of a weirdo I was growing up. I WAS SO OBSESSED WITH MUSIC. I have been singing and dancing since I first could, at home, and then joined classes/teams as soon as I had the chance, at school. I was doing songwriting before I wrote anything else, too.

It was so lonely, though. I could never quite find somebody who was as into it as I was. I imagine what it would have been like if I had met then a person who’d enjoy dancing and singing like I did and was willing to give it their all. It would have been glorious even if we didn’t get anywhere with it. We would have listened to Blink 182 and other bands together too, as my emo “phase” began. And I wouldn't have been so down about how I could never see a girl who looked more like me in the music videos that spoke about love...

Thursday, June 20, 2024

Cancer's Description

Cancer, the fourth sign, is a water and cardinal sign. Known for its nurturing nature, Cancer is affectionate and protective of loved ones. This sign is often associated with caregiving and homemaking, inclined to provide and maintain a favorable space or atmosphere for itself, close ones, or others in general. Its shell may be shielding it from the harsh realities of the world. Yet, beneath this exterior lies a soft and vulnerable heart, yearning for connection and belonging.

Spiritually, Cancer represents the journey of the soul toward safety and inner peace. It teaches us the importance of taking care of ourselves and others and being able to do so away from danger.

For context and more of relevance, please read about The Zodiac.

Monday, June 17, 2024

Top Beauty Tip

I ought to let you know that, in my not-so-humble opinion, the best that you can do for your appearance is to tend to your well-being.

- Wash thoroughly.
- Get proper rest.
- Have nutritious meals.
- Keep yourself active.
- And limit your consumption, engagement and participation with anything stressful, overwhelming, and/or exhausting (yes, even if they're people and places you don't always hate).

While I'm not against makeup or surgery in certain cases, it is still best to tend to the above first instead.

Furthermore, treat yourself to anything that gives you peace or joy that isn't harmful! It greatly helps your natural glow.

Sunday, June 16, 2024

In Which Colors do you Look Your Best?

Did you know that you have a palette? Shocker. No, really, this fact can be overlooked. That based on the color of your skin, your hair, your eyes, and your lips, the colors that you wear may or may not go with you. They may enhance your features or detract from them. They can make you come alive - or not. Not really a matter of life or death, but worth knowing.

If you wish to engulf yourself in colors that go with you, you could guide yourself with color theory and the color wheel, looking for the same, similar, adjacent, or complementary colors to your palette. However, there are other ways to go around it.

A color system for this purpose has become popular lately. It is a system that determines which season of the year you "are". Spring, summer, autumn, or winter. As palettes, they all essentially contain the colors that are most prominent during such season in nature. For example, winter has black, white, and blue. And if you are what is considered a winter, put simply, then these colors would go with you.

Furthermore, there is the issue of metals. Are you gold or silver? Put on accessories and see what stands out as most flattering to you.

And last but not least. Are you low contrast or high contrast? How much contrast is there between the colors that make the totality of you? If you are low contrast, putting on colors that have low contrast between each other would go with you. If you are high contrast, then colors with high contrast.

It shouldn't limit you if you'd rather not play by these rules or break them, but it's useful to be aware of when you're swimming against the current or riding a wave.

CREDIT: AI-Generated Examples done on Leonardo.AI

Saturday, June 15, 2024

Recognizing if you’re being Abused

Avoid playing the victim and victim blaming! This is serious and to be treated with honesty. It might be tempting to pretend to be abused to not be held accountable for your actions or lack thereof. Likewise, it might be tempting to blame a real victim of abuse for their misfortune. Both of these are gravely irresponsible, so own up to what is truly going on. Here’s what you can do:

• Check yourself. Are you bending over backward to fulfill and satisfy others at your own expense? Are you putting up with more than you signed up for or deserve as a human being worthy of basic respect and acknowledgment? Are your needs and wants last or secondary to others’ more egotistic desires? Have you made your (reasonably set) limits evident to others and you’re still being pushed past them?
• Check for motivations and intentions. You may not be able to read minds and hearts, but there are times when these are relatively obvious if only we bother to pay attention. Do not assume. Do not expect the worst for no reason at all. Remain as objective as you can and, if it is a viable option, gather input directly from the source (this is not a good idea if the person is dangerous or would put you in danger in some way). “Was it your intention to push me this far? If that’s so, why?” Look at their response with some amount of skepticism. Are they trying hard to make wrongs seem right when they clearly aren’t, defending abusive behavior? Are they attempting to laugh and brush it off to dodge the questions? Are they genuinely pained that you’d think they were willing to mistreat you because they are doing what they can to treat you well or are they just offended because you could see through the facade they believed was so perfectly put together? Do they not make any significant effort to correct themselves even though there’s much to correct? If you cannot ask them directly, don’t ignore the red flags. Actively and continually going past your comfort levels to the point where you’re unable to function properly does show a lack of consideration. Be lucid in finding the answers to what their motivations and intentions are; accusing others of being ill-meaning is not to be taken lightly.
• Check the alternatives. Are there ways life could be easier and kinder for you without being overindulgent? Would you be able to perform better under other circumstances? What would be more just for you?

You might not like what you figure out upon exploring these aspects of your reality. And unfortunately, many forms of abuse are ingrained and accepted in today’s world - and there’s not much we can do about it. It’s not guaranteed that you’ll be able to be completely free of abuse, but you can reduce as much of it as it’s possible for you. Again, I’ll stress the importance of being honest with yourself about this because things aren’t as simple as pointing fingers and claiming abuse. Playing the victim (when you’re not) can also be a form of abuse. And so can victim blaming, whether it’s you who’s the victim and you’re taking the blame (abusing yourself) or it’s somebody else. Do not rush your interpretations for there’s much to factor in to reach suitable conclusions. 

For further guidance, look for other available information on this issue - many abuse survivors and professionals have freely shared their findings.

See also: What is abuse?

Recognizing if you’re being Abusive

Clearly, I can’t convince remorseless abusers to stop the abuse they so badly crave to do and perhaps immensely benefit from. However, if you’re looking to change your ways so that you don’t do more harm than you ought to, recognizing if you’re being abusive is a place to start. Here’s what you can do:

• Check for how okay others are with your actions. I don’t mean being a people pleaser (this could invite abuse toward you). What I mean is: Were your actions hurtful? And if so, was this necessary? Like when we sometimes must endure some pain in order to heal or improve? Or like when it’s just the way things go and there’s not much that can be done about it? And I repeat: Was this necessary? Do not try to falsely excuse and justify poor or cruel behavior but do not let others shape you to their whims either.
• Check how balanced and fair your giving-and-taking dynamics are. No, it’s not about always keeping score and expecting reciprocity (this can turn into abuse, too). It is more complex than that. Nevertheless, at least noticing how much you’re taking from others in relation to how much you’re giving back (of value) can give you an idea of when too much is too much. Caution: Do not fall for tricks designed to make you feel indebted to others when you can’t afford it. Any truly generous person would give without expecting in return unless they themselves are in need and/or do not have much to give. In which case, it is likely best to be transparent about it and make the exchanges a deal and a balanced and fair trade.
• Check yourself. Are you excessively greedy and insensitive? How’s your self-control? And how about your conscience? If you’re unable to empathize and sympathize with others’ genuine suffering, are you still able to draw a line and decide not to cross it for their sake? You are not obligated to become a martyr, sacrificing yourself for others, but you can form your character in such a manner that it is not abusive.

Changes won’t happen overnight and you ought to want to make them happen for them to happen. There might be many trials and errors as well as relapses. Keep going. Some will notice and thank you and some will not (and they might not owe it to you). But keep going.

See also: What is abuse?