Your assignment today is to write a definition of yourself. Define yourself in three sentences or less. Then write down five things you really like about yourself and five things you wish you could change. Finally, if you could look deep inside, what color do you imagine your soul to be and why? Do this exercise quickly, and don’t spend too much time pondering your answers. Write down the first things that come to mind, and then leave it. Keep this definition in your notebook, and you will refer to it again a few months from now.

I’m a kind, loving, and reserved person who loves to listen to and help others. I love to learn and challenge myself intellectually, think deeply, and reflect on myself and the world. I am peaceful and love having a quiet, comfortable, but engaging life filled with meaningful people and hobbies.

Five things I like:

1) I am peaceful, loving & kind; truly care about others
2) I am hardworking and studious; love to learn and improve myself
3) I get really passionate about the things I enjoy and care about
4) I’m a great listener and advisor
5) I have a goofy sense of humor and make people laugh

Five things I wish I could change:

1) I would like to be less shy/anxious with people
2) I want to be more physically active/lose weight
3) I want to spend more time with others
4) I want to be more proactive about getting things done
5) I want to be less structured and go with the flow more easily

The color of my soul is green. Not only is it my favorite color, but I think it reflects who I am and the things that are important to me. For me, green is about peace, harmony, and being one with yourself and nature. That’s what my internal world is like most of the time.

Start another list of Action Items in your journal. This is a list of tasks you never seem to get around to doing. This is just a list of simple things. You don’t have to do any of them today. Just create the list. What does this have to do with dreams? You’ll see.

Have a game night with the family

Go to indoor water park

Finish a painting

Read The Lord of the Rings

Watch horror movies for Halloween (Starts Oct. 19th)

Play an Ace Attorney Case

Finish Season 1 of Arrested Development

Call a therapist

Go wine tasting

Finish Bioshock: Infinite

Start a scrapbook

Play Portal 2

Play Borderlands

Make a GRE Workbook/Vocabulary list

Make a TB test appointment

Fingerprints

Get work clothing

Get my stuff from Michael’s

Your assignment today is to look at some of your dreams. Pick one. What can you do to boldly go in the direction of that dream? Is there a clear and distinct move you can make today that will start to hurl you toward that goal? Would it really be so scary? What first step can you take in faith? The results may be magical.

Open up a school.
Get a full-time job.
Go to grad school.
Get a kitten.
Design my own house.
Lose weight.
Travel Europe.
Be a wildlife rehabilitator.
Lease a Jeep.
Pay back my student loans.
Go on an African safari.
Learn to speak Spanish fluently.
Learn how to play the violin.
See Simon & Garfunkel live.
Travel the United States.
Go snowboarding.
Take the GRE.
Go on a romantic vacation.
Create a new book club (or join one).

Today your assignment is to observe your choices. Look at every decision you make, from the food you eat to the time you spend on various tasks, to the people you choose to hang out with. Are you making choices that limit you or choices that nurture you?

Tumblr has been an incredible help for me recently, as silly as it is to say so. It has connected me to someone whom I used to be very close to, and it has kept us involved in each others’ lives and interests. I love having something that allows me to express myself as well as reestablish a connection. Even six months ago I thought my friend would be out of my life, moving on, and that us drifting apart would be permanent. But that didn’t happen. I love having her back. ❤

Today I started up with walking again with my mom and dad. It is nice to have some time with them without any stress and where we can just have a nice time and be out in nature. I really want to try to get back on a healthy schedule and maybe lose some weight along the way. Doing an activity like this really helps lengthen the day; otherwise they often seem to run into each other. That’s something I always had a problem with. Next step is to wake up earlier in the day, which I’m going to attempt to do tomorrow morning.

I broke up with my boyfriend of eight years last month, and I think I’m still trying to get over it. If I had it my way, and if I was giving in to 15-year-old me’s desires, we would still be together. I know 15-year-old me is screaming at me, asking me “what are you doing???” She loved him so much, in every single way. Why I started to fall out of love with him, I’m not completely sure. I can’t pinpoint it. Our days started to get worse and worse together, fighting and putting each other down, and barely even kissing each other anymore. I took abuse for so long, despite us both loving each other. It’s heartbreaking to think about. The worst part is that I know I still love him. Somewhere inside of me is a love for him that is stronger than anything I’ve ever experienced, and I can’t bear to think about him not being a part of my life. But right now, I know he isn’t healthy for me. He’s not being healthy for himself either, or for anyone else around him. I want to be his friend, but even that I can’t do right now because he hates me and said he regrets ever knowing me. I hope that’s a lie or an exaggeration, because so much that I have become is because of him. He will always be with me -because he is a part of me-, and I will never regret my time with him. He is a part of my family forever, whether he realizes it or wants it to be true. But I know I broke his heart, and I know it will take him a long time to realize that our break-up probably should have happened, if at all. I hope he doesn’t give up on love because of me, because that would kill me. He’s such a romantic and idealistic man…I wish he could have shown that to me in more positive ways and had treated me better. And there are ways in which I should have treated him better too, at least near the end. He wanted to work on our problems, and I didn’t. Because I am in love with somebody else. I had been falling in love with somebody else for a long time. Through all of our fighting, all of our passionless nights, fading out of one another’s interests… I was falling in love and not even realizing it. And now that person has so much of me, and I don’t even want to take that away. I want to keep giving myself to him and letting him love me back. I am being loved through actions, not words, this time around. He encourages me and makes me feel like a better person, and things just have started to fall into place for me. Right now is still the early stages of our romantic relationship, but we have a long and strong foundation of friendship that we’re building off of. Being with him is comforting and intoxicating.

Though, part of me does not want to give up on my first love, because that’s what my ex was for me. He opened up the world to me and made me realize what I was missing in my life. I had given my heart to him at such a young age and promised him forever, which I have now broken. It makes me, forces me, to re-evaluate what I believe about love, true love, and soul mates. Because I believe he is a soul mate, someone who I still think (even now) is someone who is meant to be with me in this life. We were best friends, and told each other everything. We had an almost psychic connection between us, where we just knew what the other was feeling and thinking. I don’t expect to ever encounter a connection like that again with anybody. And I’m alright with that. I’m okay with him being that special connection in my life. I don’t want to forget him, or our relationship. I’ve told the man I am now in love with all of this… and he even seems to think that what I feel for my ex is true love -the real thing-. Not romantically, but a type of love that is very difficult to describe in words. A love that not many people get to experience. I will always love him.

I had read online about the ways in which relationships end, and one popular reason is that the couple starts to become familial rather than romantic, particularly if the couple met at a young age. And I’m starting to think that that was the case for us. We grew up together, spend all of high school and college together. My parents were his parents and vice versa. I’m leaving so much behind by leaving him. …But we have no romantic spark anymore. We grew too comfortable, too familiar, too much… doing what we had always known, and what we always expected to do. There was a flow about our relationship that I hadn’t noticed until now. We had hung on to our past selves and past emotions, not letting go. And while it kept us in our relationship for so long (because without it, we would’ve been unhappy enough to leave), it also blinded us. It definitely blinded me. And in ways, our relationship ending really makes me trust love a lot less. Makes me wonder what feelings I can trust and who I can trust. Makes me wonder if I should hold on to these ideals about love. I used to believe “if you think it and believe and say it, it will make it so”… and now, I don’t know what to believe. Now I find that these beliefs aren’t translated well to actions that actually keep love alive. They only keep love alive in memories, but they distort the present.

And now I’ve gone on way too long about my break-up but I think I needed it. Back to things that limit or nurture me…

I moved back home, of course, after leaving my ex. I am staying with my parents until I have a steady and reliable income. I start my (first!!) job on October 13th and I’m pretty nervous about it, but not as nervous as I would have once been. My social anxiety seems to have been decreasing a lot lately, and I don’t know if it’s because of all I’ve been through or what, but I’m feeling a lot more optimistic and confident about what I’m capable of achieving. I will be part of Therapeutic Staff Support, where I will be working with children on the Autism spectrum at school or at their own homes. I hope I can be a good counselor and teacher for these kids and help them behaviorally and intellectually. I’m really excited about this position because it combines therapy and teaching. I eventually want to go back to school for Educational Psychology, so I hope that by doing this I’ll know if that’s the path I truly want to take. There’s so much stuff out there that I love. ❤ It’s hard to know what’s right for me.

But back to my point. I really think that moving back home (despite taking me away from NYC), has helped open up opportunities for me. I’m back with family, back with friends, and I am finally taking initiative to put myself out there and get some valuable experience for myself.

That’s all for now. It’s been an emotional roller coaster lately for me, and I expect to still be on the ride for quite some time. I guess we’ll see where life goes from here. I truly hope I’m opening up opportunities for myself rather than limiting them. I plan on going to a therapist sometime soon to really get a hold of my feelings and desires and whether I am making some of the biggest and worst mistakes of my life. At the moment, the only person I can trust is myself, and I’m working on it. I feel happy and finally enthusiastic for the future… now let’s see if that future’s a good one.

3/5/2014

GRE Words of the Day
Audacious: showing lack of respect; syn=fearless; The audacious soldier ignored his commanding officer and rushed into the battle.
Indolent: lazy, inactive; The indolent man stayed at home watching television instead of job searching.
Prodigal: wastefully extravagant; syn=spendthrift; The woman was unusually prodigal when it came to buying new shoes.

Spanish Words of the Day
Emparedado: sandwich
Quiero: I like
Hace: Make

Dream Diary

Face the worst. Apply to jobs. Call/email places. Drive around.

Believe the best. I will be hired & learn the job.

Do the most. I will apply to more than just a few places. I will sign up for more websites. I will drive around. I will ask my professors for recommendations. 

3/4/2014

GRE Words of the Day

Alacrity: cheerful readiness or eagerness
Bombastic: pompous, wordy
Berate: scold or criticize

Spanish Words of the Day

Tengo/Tienes: I have/You have
Oye: Hear

Dream Diary
Your assignment today is to set a really exciting goal.  It should be something that will take up your thoughts for awhile.  It can be a totally frivolous goal, but choose something that will make you proud when you’ve achieved it.

My goal: Be 115 pounds by the end of summer.
1800-1200 calories = 600 calories (food)
400 calories (exercise)
1000 calories/day * 7 days = 7000 calories/week = 2 pounds/week

April 4: 146
May 4: 138
June 4: 130
July 4: 122
August 4: 114

More news: I am now taking a new SSRI, Escitalopram, to treat my anxiety.  We’ll see how this goes.

My Response to “How to Pick Your Life Partner”

My Response to “How to Pick Your Life Partner

My short answer: You don’t.

Although I have to agree with the majority of this article (upon first read), the overarching assumption that we should be “picking” life partners seems to be misguided.  I disagree with the idea that people should be going through their lives looking for that special someone, meeting various people and comparing them to their ideal husband or wife of their dreams.  I don’t think having a life partner should be the goal, as if just having this person is the main point of it all.  That’s the vibe I get from a title like “How to Pick Your Life Partner”, though my interpretation may be off.  Just having a life partner is not meaningful in and of itself; it’s the nature of the relationship and love shared that is really important.  And I know that I’m more idealistic than the average person when it comes to love and romance, so perhaps some people will not be able to relate to the things I have to say.  I suppose that’s fine, but I really do believe that anyone could benefit from looking at love in a new light.  For now, I am going to give the article the benefit of the doubt and say that it has an unfortunate title.  However, I will read the contents carefully (for a second time) and attempt to break down and analyze what it is proposing.  Note: I realize that with this title, the author is pointing out that the quality of one’s life partner is important (why else would he or she be trying to help people find the right one)?  Still, the assumption that the partner is the goal isn’t that great, in my opinion.

The author’s first point, that singles are in a better place than unhappy married people, is a good one, especially at first glance.  I agree with it.   Society sends a frustrating message to people: You need to be in a relationship to be happy.  But this is not true.  Not all relationships are happy ones, and it’s absolutely possible (and healthy) to be single and happy.  Yes, married people on average are happier than single people, but this is only an average.  It does not represent real people or take into account individual differences.  It seems obvious to me that unhappy married people would be less happy than singles; they are in a relationship with someone who does not make them happy, or worse, makes them feel horrible (but see, now I’m talking in averages).  So I appreciate the author of this article for pointing these things out.  However, I think he or she makes a mistake by saying that singles are closer to a happy relationship based on number of steps involved.  In my mind, just because the number of steps are fewer does not mean the person will reach his or her goal any quicker.  An unhappily married person may recover and find a new partner before the single.  Still, on the figurative staircase, the single is rightfully at the higher position for now.

Next up: the author explains how important the person you spend the rest of your life with is.  Agreed.  Still, the idea of choosing this person does rub me the wrong way.  The author presents this as a choice (and I guess it actually is), but I don’t think people should really be viewing it this way.  My next words may be controversial, but I don’t think marriage is something that should be consciously thought over to the extent that this author is suggesting.  But this is the kind of thing we say to people nearing marriage.  Does he have a stable job? Does she want a family? Does he share my political views? Do we have shared hobbies? Should your future partner fit all of these things? Yes, absolutely! Should you be consciously thinking about it and asking yourself these questions? …I’m not sure.  I find myself taking the stance that people should not need to question anything – there should be no question whether or not they want to marry this person.  If they have to question it, there is a problem.  These things should definitely be taken into account, and you should be compatible with your partner, but when it comes down to talking about marriage with your partner – there should be no doubt in your mind.  I guess my main issue with this concept of choosing a partner is that it seems to be all about practicality, when I don’t believe that’s what love or relationships should be about.  And I’m not trying to say something like “love is all that matters!” and to ignore practical things, but I do believe love should be primary.  Rather than thinking about weddings and children and salaries and everything else, I believe the question should be “is this person who I want to spend all of my life with?” or “could I live without this person?”.  With these figured out, you pretty much have the other stuff figured out too.  Note: I have found the person I am meant to live my life with, and I have never consciously thought about whether my partner fits into my life the way this article is suggesting to do.  My partner does fit into my life (perfectly), but it’s not something I’ve ever had to consciously decide for myself.  It just is.  Am I lucky?  Yes.  Does my situation apply to everyone?  Probably not.  But I think just tweaking the way you look at marriage will help make you more successful and happier.  When you create conditions for loving someone like “does this person fit into my life?”, that can create problems.  It’s temporary.  And I think it’s a relationship based on the wrong things.

“People tend to be bad at knowing what they want from a relationship”.  Agreed, for all of the reasons I mentioned previously.  But the bit about most people not having enough practice before choosing their life partner?  Mostly irrelevant, I think.  Every person is different, dynamics are different, the way you will communicate with each partner you have in your life will be different.  What you learn from one relationship will not likely be able to be carried over to your next one.  So the whole idea about being “better” at relationships through practice seems ridiculous to me.  The only way to truly get better at having a relationship is working on the one you are currently in.  You don’t need to have multiple partners so that you’re totally prepared and ready for the “right person”.

Also, the author suggests dating a lot and searching for people online in order to find the right person.  I mean, this is fine.  I think he or she has a point by saying that society severely limits us by telling us the “acceptable” ways to meet the love of your life.  It’s perfectly okay to meet and date many people rather than just passively going about life waiting for Mr. or Mrs. Right.  I give the author a thumbs up for this one.  However, I do want to give people a heads up to be cautious about doing this, though.  One common concept in psychological research is that when people are given more options, they end up being less satisfied with their choices later on.  Sometimes less choice, less thinking and rationalizing, is the better route to take.  People, I think, should learn to trust their instincts more.  Less thinking about their partner’s qualities or seeing if they live up to their ideal partner could go a long way in creating a successful relationship.  The more options you think you have open to you, the more you may think about who could still be out there for you (ooo someone better than your current partner??).  And I think that’s dangerous.  This is why I believe going with your heart (your instincts) is actually how people should form relationships.  So, I disagree with the section of the article “Society encourages us to stay uneducated and let romance be our guide”.  I am pro-gut.  Another current psychological concept: our conscious, rational mind often makes bad decisions.  Plus, romantic relationships are different from running a business.  Romantic relationships (sorry Author), are about romance.  Romance should be your guide; your heart and your instincts are better suited to guide you in this aspect of your life.  It frustrates me when people believe that instincts and “feelings” somehow cause you to make worse decisions than logical thinking.  This is not the case.

The article’s point that “Society rushes us” is spot-on, though.  Couldn’t agree more.

I’m not even going to touch the section of the article relating to biology.  Well, maybe I will a little bit.  A flaw in this section is somehow the idea that our biology is fighting against us.  This is not necessarily true.  Our biology is also helping us.  It knows what it’s doing.  All of those chemicals it sends us is to help us fall in love and form attachment to another person.  And that’s the point of it all, right?  I don’t think we should be complaining about processes that allow us to have the thing we want in our lives.  Sometimes they can mislead us, but they’re there for good reason (and do a great job when it’s the right person!) and shouldn’t be ignored.

The rest of the article is pretty spot-on in my eyes.  I don’t have anything else to critique or add.  All I have is support!  I am thrilled that at the end there that the author commented on the partner “check-list” that so many people want to use to find a partner.  I’m glad the author sort of cautioned people about using that so strictly.  The person you fall in love with rarely has all of those qualities.  Nobody is perfect, but you end up loving them anyway.  That doesn’t mean lower your standards, necessarily.  Just be flexible.  Don’t turn down a possible love interest just because he or she doesn’t meet all of your criteria.  Having an idea of what you’d like your partner to be like is great (as the author says, it really helps to know what you’re looking for), but it should be used as a guide rather than a checklist.

So after reading this article a second time, I still find myself agreeing with most of it.  These are the areas in which I disagree:

-We should not be encouraging people to “choose” a partner
-People in unhappy marriages can bounce back and find the right person.  They’re not necessarily in a really bad position.
-Rational thought should not be used as much as the author is proposing.  Keep in the romance and trust gut feelings!
-Relationships should be based less on practicality.
-Dating around is not necessary to become good at relationships.
-Biology is just as much our ally as our enemy.

Thank you for reading!  I would just like to say that this response was written mainly for myself (therefore, I have not cited sources), and I would be uncomfortable if anyone interpreted this as a professional (for lack of a better term) response to this article.  This response is personal, though I have posted it to allow the public to read it as well.  If it has caused you to think differently and/or more in-depth about relationships, that’s great.  It’s also perfectly fine if you disagree with me.  I enjoy meaningful discussions such as these.  If you have any questions or comments for me, feel free to let me hear them!

~Amy

3/3/2014

GRE Words of the Day

Contempt: Scorn, disrespect; Synonym = disdain; The man who stole from the store and then lied about it was held in contempt.
Impecunious: Poor, having no money; However, the man was forgiven shortly after when it was learned his family was impecunious.

Spanish Words of the Day

Comid(o, a, an, amos): walk
Nad(o, a, an, amos): swim
Ve(o, n, mos): see

Dream Diary

Your assignment is to experiment with the power you possess to be happy (if you want to be).  List ten things that make you happy and do at least three of them.  Then, do at least two random acts of kindness for someone else.  How do you feel?

1. Spending time with Michael
2. Reading and drinking tea
3. Writing, expressing myself
4. Painting
5. Watching movies/television
6. Taking a walk/hike, Biking
7. Playing/cuddling with animals
8. Spending time with friends & family
9. Learning/putting in hard work
10. Creating something new

3/2/2014

Spanish Words of the Day

Cerdo: pig
Conejo: rabbit
Arana: spider

Last night I had a dream that I was hanging out with my friends Sarah, Amy, and Brittany.  I am realizing now that I must really miss them, and that I miss the times we spent together.  I will have to do something with them soon.  Most of the dream is fuzzy to me, but I do remember that Sarah had a secret for us and that we all accepted it.  Possibly represents my fear of opening up to my friends?  However, by the way the dream went, I shouldn’t have anything to be afraid of (and I think a part of me realizes this).

I remember another dream.  I was spending time with Michael’s family (this part of the dream is very fuzzy), but then Michael started talking to a professor or counselor of some sort.  He was telling him how he was feeling depressed and like he didn’t have any friends.  He was frustrated that he wasn’t doing anything interesting and that he felt isolated.  I remember this bothering me, because I think Michael has some stronger friendships than I do.  Anyway, after that, the counselor person told Michael to go to this rock concert that evening so that he could try something new and meet new people.  This really bothered me and I remember feeling quite jealous.  I felt invisible, as if I didn’t matter.  I mean, I wasn’t invited, and he completely ignored that I was an important person in Michael’s life.  The counselor person even encouraged Michael to go with this other random girl, which added to my jealousy, of course.  But what really angered me was that he made it seem like Michael had no one, and that he needed to go do other things alone without me.  Interesting side note: I have only felt jealousy surrounding Michael in my dreams.  Is jealousy something that I suppress?

Dream Journal

Your assignment today is to take a look at where you are aiming.  Examine the targets you have set in your professional life and your personal life.  Are you aiming too low?  If you haven’t even set your goals, your assignment is to find a few targets and take aim.  It is very difficult to achieve success without seeing a goal before you.  Find your targets and aim high.

Personal Life Targets: Travel as often as possible, Buy a house, Find a hobby/talent, Take classes, Spend a lot more time with family and friends, Be anxiety-free
Professional Life Targets: Find my dream career, Go to graduate school, Open up a school/counseling center

New artists I like: The Neighbourhood, Arctic Monkeys, Beck, Young the Giant

I watched Memento last night with Michael. I loved it and immediately wanted to watch it again.  I haven’t yet, but I think I’ll watch a video of it in chronological order, if I can find one.  I plan to write a post about this film shortly.

Today, I will be playing Outbreak: Undead with Michael.  I also hope to watch the SNL episode I missed last night.