BENEFITS OF BEING PROCESS-ORIENTED by Angela See

I used to be the type of person who needed to know what I was headed towards—what job I want to end up with, the type of person I aspire to be, what physical changes I wanted to make with adopting a healthier lifestyle—and that was not working out for me.

I practiced a pattern where I set a goal so specific where, if I was doing anything that either didn't help or steered away from that goal, I felt like I was failing. In my mind, having these goals meant having a linear path towards my own success, and I thought, "Once I become successful, I'd stay successful and be able to sit back, relax, and be happy" but nope

Because I've tunnel-visioned on my goals and based my definition of success on what others might perceive as success (well paying and noble job, a 36-pack of abs, the illusion that I know myself down to the bone), I was frequently unhappy, I was never good enough, and I was extremely hard on myself every time I messed up which was...not fun.

So what do you do when something's not working out? You do something else. This past year has been a whole mess of unexpected obstacles. I learned that you can feel like you have everything you might ever need one day only to have those things taken away the next.  It definitely sucks to deal with, but a change in mindset can help alleviate how much it sucks. A few things that I've been practicing in order to shift my mindset are: 

  1. Appreciating where I'm at in the moment. Let's use body image as an example. What even is a healthy body image? I used to think that a positive body image was loving your body once achieving your fitness goals as a testament to your hard work. But why should anyone be happy only once they've shaved off an x-amount of pounds? Why should anyone wait to be proud of themselves once they've yielded physical results? Let's face it, "permanently sustaining" an active and healthy lifestyle to the degree that we all fantasize about requires a pretty substantial amount of privilege. People need time, money, proper education and coaching, and an immune system of iron in order to achieve that media-level fitness, and although it might seem very doable in the moment, life can certainly get in the way. Work gets too wild, injuries happen, people get very ill. For me, I've definitely battled with losing physical progress due to being ill for a month after my orthopedic surgeries and dealing with an intense bout of stress due to personal issues, and this made me realize how unsubstantial it is to base my worth off my physical progress. Everyday I try to remind myself that even the detrained, soft version of myself deserves the same amount of love that the more toned version of me gets. What matters is that I keep trying to get healthier from whatever point I'm at in that moment.

  2. Viewing my mistakes as stepping stones and emphasizing the value in education. I used to have overly high expectations of myself since I had switched to Kinesiology. Since my major entails a lot of sport and exercise sciences, I felt the need to know everything there was to know about exercising and keeping the right form because if I didn't, I felt like a failure. But hey, I didn't pursue the major only to show off that I already know everything, that is definitely NOT the point of education. We all start from somewhere, and it's not embarrassing to make mistakes every now and again. You have to mess up sometimes to know when you're doing something right anyway. Everything is a learning process, and it's important to appreciate that.

  3. Minimizing comparing myself to others. This one's a given. Don't compare your body to some other person's body, don't compare your life successes with someone else's accomplishments. Don't compare your life to how other people choose to present their own lives on social media. It's all toxic, unproductive, and gets you no where. I've struggled with this a lot, it's VERY difficult to avoid comparing yourself to others when society is so damn competitive. It helps to appreciate other people as their own individuals and to be content in your own agency. 

  4. Keeping the bigger goals in mind while staying flexible. This alone has made me less stressed out and more excited about the future. I know a few things about myself, I know what I like, I know what I don't like—but why does that have to translate to a having singular job title that I am expected to want to do for the rest of my life? The world is constantly changing and there's an immense amount of non-specific to strangely specific jobs out there. Like, yo, we live in a time where lifestyle Instagram posting is a full-time job. Perhaps this is specific to the U.S. and a few other countries at the moment, but it's so difficult to commit yourself to one thing when we live in a time and place where technology and daily things have become so efficient, that we have time to explore several passions (Assuming some sort of financial stability), and sometimes, those passions shift. In short, life has a million potential paths. I've found it useful to try and pursue things one at a time, it helps me gauge what I like more and less and overall gives me a better idea of what I could see myself doing for the long term, although I see myself doing several different things in the future. 

All of these little changes I've been working on have made me more appreciative on the path I'm on rather than overly focused on where I want to be. It's okay to set goals and dream about the future, but how we go about reaching our goals is how we spend most of our lives. Might as well learn to appreciate it for what it is along the way. 

- Angela

 

 

SOCIAL MEDIA AND MINDFULNESS by Angela See

me sitting on a chair

me sitting on a chair

      Something I've been contemplating recently is our generation's need for validation through social media outlets. It makes sense to want validation in that way we look, our ideals, relationships with people, goals, etc, and the internet has created a prime place to put on a show and show off all the cool things we do and accomplish. The downside to this, however, is when we start becoming dependent on this type of validation to the point where it feels necessary to constantly be putting out content, to always be doing something productive, to always be looking our best. When we're not doing this, we're looking onto social media, watching everyone else be productive. It's not news that this cycle is mentally draining, and as a result, I've been challenging myself to spend less time on social media and spend more quality time with myself.

The transition from using my phone to pass time to being present has been very difficult, and sometimes I still whip out my phone without purpose to check social media. It's not to say that social media is pure evil—it's useful when it is—but too much of anything has never been my thing, and being the power-house of production I desire to be, I owe it to myself to give my mind a break.

Why are we on it so often anyway? Why does adding the "social" aspect, aka the idea that anyone and everyone in the world is able to produce content, make it any better? I suppose, just like in real life, it matters what content you choose to surround yourself with. But is every single person actually cognizant of the material they expose themselves to? The popular areas of social media consist of similar images of specific body types, fashion trends, habits, and ideas, and the impact as a result of  overstimulation of these images are unavoidable. It almost seems as if everyone has the same #goals and standards and are equally as hard on themselves when they're not the aesthetic they see online, and it doesn't have to be this way. 

It takes up way too much energy to care that much about how one presents themselves, to constantly seek validation so that we are assured that people like us and approve of our choices, to fill in empty space so no one thinks you look awkward as you sit there on the bus, shifting your gaze onto whatever doesn't look back at you, to prove that we are doing more than "nothing".

But what's wrong with nothing every once in a while? When we are able to live in the present without the constant stimulation of media and how other people are living their lives, we physically become less stressed out and can feel much more grounded in the idea that it is okay to do whatever you're doing and to be who you are without feeling bad, even if you're not your #goals that you have retweeted online from that parody twitter bot with millions of followers.

How does social media affect your ability to be present?

a good day by Angela See

Here are some of my favorite shots from a photo day I had with one of my long-time best friends. Probably one of best photo-taking days I've had in a while. 

future nurse material

future nurse material

Check out the rest of the photo set on my Flickr.

COMFORTABLE WITH FAILURE by Angela See

The idea of being a failure used to hold me back. I used to consider myself a perfectionist, and therefore would beat myself up whenever I didn't get something right, even though I thought I had carefully planned ahead. I used to think that working hard meant getting rewarded, but really, to expect anything as a reward for working hard is unrealistic, I think. I just want to be financially stable and happy with how I spend my time.

I used to pride myself in being a perfectionist, but I don't anymore. In fact, I don't think anyone should be proud of being overly critical of themselves. Sure, being a perfectionist may help someone in performance phases where one's skills are tested at a specific time and place, but to be perfectionist in a practice setting, such as in class, or while working on personal projects, no longer makes sense to me.

 In school, as a pre-health undergraduate, I felt pressured to preemptively know everything and get all the in-class questions right, or else my peers and professors will think I'm an idiot. But then, I realized that I am paying to attend University to learn, and not to pretend like I was born with knowledge of anatomy and physiology, therefore I shouldn't be afraid to try, ask questions, and get things wrong, because that is how I will truly be invested in my studies and learn.

I am slowly learning that failure doesn't necessarily mean that I am not meant to be something, it just means I have to try alternatives in order to succeed in the field that I want to spend my time in. Also, feeling like a failure (i.e. not feeling good enough compared to peers) and actually failing something are two very different things. There will be people out there who shame others for messing up, but those aren't the types of people who will help you grow as a person, so why should their opinions mean anything? Much easier said than done, but failing is necessary in the realm of learning to succeed. 

It's 3 a.m. and I am very sleepy, so I hope this makes some sense.

Goodnight,

- Angela

 

2017 by Angela See

It is a New Year, and I've always thought that New Years Resolutions were silly because it's like, why wait until the New Year to create positive goals for oneself? I would think, "Shouldn't this be a continuous process throughout the year if we want to see ourselves succeed?"

My answer to my own question is: Yes, I do think that it's beneficial for people to constantly keep themselves in check, however, I can acknowledge that most people (In America, at least) get a break during the holidays, which means time to step away from daily responsibilities and time to reflect on the past year, and therefore makes this a convenient timeframe for people to set new goals.

I want to do something different this year. Actually, I want to do something different most of the time because I'm young, still discovering myself, and have the need to keep things spicy. But if there's anything I've learned in terms of goal-setting throughout the years, is that my goals don't need to be hugely dramatic, and it's more likely that I'll attain and maintain my overarching goals if I pace myself.

This year, my unofficial New Year's Resolution is to balance inspiration and discipline. For most of my life, I've sought passion and inspiration in order to fuel my work. Deciding to pursue my passions, especially in this past year, was incredible because I felt I was able to do a plethora of cool freelance and some not-so-freelance jobs just because I decided to do whatever I wanted when I felt like it. But now, I crave some sort of consistency and I yearn to find something slightly more stable to specialize in. Gaining media and web-related work experience has been great, but I still spend most of my time studying Kinesiology, which is wildly different. Because I had my attentional space dedicated to two completely different fields, I don't believe I've performed as well academically as I could have if I had just allotted a little bit of time everyday to work towards the success of my major. At the same time, I don't think I'm doing badly at all, but like my gen psych professor once said, "Grades don't define intelligence, but as a science major, I knew that if I wanted to amount to anything, I had to get A's". This tidbit from my professor definitely highlighted the flaws in our education system/admissions, but in either case, this semester is the last chance I have to see what it's like to lean a bit more towards a mindset of success.

I am aware that discipline (which breeds success) has been bred into a lot of people from the get-go, and perhaps I am relatively late in the game to only decide that I want to get it together now, but when you've been raised to be a little too chill about everything, it's kind of difficult to just decide to transition into a more challenging environment. In either case, I don't plan to eradicate my values for pursuing my passions and doing what I want, I just want to prioritize discipline into my daily life and see where that takes me. 

What are some of your currents goals that you have set for yourself?