You may have noticed on my Links page that Darling Magazine has given me the opportunity to write articles for their blog. Darling is a beautiful publication filled with inspiring stories, motivational articles, creative features, and informational pieces. You can search articles under eight personas: Intellectual, Hostess, Dreamer, Confidant, Stylist, Explorer, Beautician, and Achiever.
I decided to do a round-up of my recent articles so you could easily peruse through them in one spot. Below, there’s an excerpt of each article’s introduction, and you can click any of the “Keep reading…” links to head over to Darling for the whole piece. Send me a message to let me know what you think – and what you might want to see more of! I’d love to hear from you!
“Are We Using Our Transparency as an Excuse for Complacency?”
Today’s society is highly in favor of being transparent, of showing every side of yourself to your audience. Social media, blogs and the online world allow for authenticity and support such transparency. Of course, transparency has its benefits, but it also has its drawbacks.
While connecting with each other is possible in more ways now than ever before, we must be careful about the true intent of our transparency. Transparency is not an excuse to look for acceptance in our faults, but it can be a tool we can use to better our weaknesses.
So, whether you are a beginner blogger, big-time writer or a social media guru, here are four ways to prevent transparency from leading to commiseration and complacency.
1. Know your values.
If someone asked you right this second to name your values, could you do it? Knowing your values deters you from letting your transparency about real life problems go no further than commiseration. Your values are your foundation; they are the standards to which you hold yourself. So be cautious in the values you choose to hold. Think long and hard about them. What’s most important to you? What do you know to be right? Defining your values makes becoming indifferent about them rather difficult. If you know something to be right, it’s hard to justify its opposite.
Without having a clear picture of the principles that define your life, you might find yourself stranded on the island of complacency, where the residents excuse their not-so-pleasant character traits by saying something to the effect of, “It’s just the way I am.” Is it though? Or rather, does it have to be? We are all prone to being selfish, ungrateful or careless at times, but making the choice to be the best version of our already present selves is possible, especially with strong, solid values. Keep reading…
“How to Recognize Bad Advice”
Navigating day-to-day life requires making lots of relatively small decisions and some potentially life-changing ones as well, both of which can be somewhat daunting.
To help make these sometimes tough decisions, seeking advice is usually a smart idea. Yet not every time we ask for guidance are we going to receive sound advice. It’s definitely possible to see the red flags that come with bad advice, we just need to know how to recognize them.
Inexperience lacks wisdom.
Bad advice can take many different shapes. Unfortunately, sometimes people who believe themselves well-equipped to share advice may not be the best suited to do so. If the advice you are being given comes from someone who does not have any experience with your particular situation, then the likelihood of his or her advice being well-founded, and also valid, is not-so-great.
While your advisor may deem the advice helpful, it may not be appropriate for your particular situation. Would you seek advice about making a soufflé from someone who has never done so? Probably not. Similarly, if you are dealing with an issue at work, advice from the newest and least experienced co-worker would likely pale in comparison to the insight someone with experience might be able to provide.
Skewed perspectives make a realistic one near impossible.
On the opposite end of this totem pole is advice which is founded on much experience. Most of the time, advice coming from someone who has experience with your situation is solid because its foundation is based on tried and true knowledge; however, this isn’t always the case. First, consider someone who is a bit jaded. This person may have had a terrible experience with a situation similar to yours which makes it hard for him or her to remain unbiased. But just because his or her dating experience was bad does not mean yours will be, for example.
Similarly, someone who has experienced only favorable outcomes from a situation like yours will likely be biased in the opposite direction. Though his or her relationship has panned out, yours may not — and it may not need to. Both types of biased advice can be harmful because they may not be applicable to your circumstance. It’s important to keep in mind that every situation is unique and that your outcome could be very different. Considering both the good and bad in every situation is important. Realism is key. Click here to keep reading… (My last thought is my favorite!)
“How to Ensure a Competitive Streak Won’t Bulldoze Other People”
We’ve probably all seen this happen before. Success in competition, if not handled properly, can lead to arrogance, to an inability to sympathize or to hard-heartedness. But overall, competition yields positive results; it helps us hone our skill set, build character and become a better version of ourselves.
Some of us are competitive by nature, but we don’t need to say this like it’s a bad thing. In fact, we can use this competitive streak to our advantage. Here are a few tips for doing so.
Evaluate your motives.
Before jumping at the chance to compete, ask yourself your reasons why. Are you vying for a position at work because you want to be acknowledged as the best? Arrogance is not the most becoming attribute. Do you plan to deceive a co-worker so that you receive recognition and he or she does not? Self-confidence isn’t gained by deception. Are you wanting to win just to watch others lose? In the long run, wishing failure on others won’t leave you feeling better about yourself.
In other words, don’t let your motives go bad. Instead, be motivated by the potential to reach personal goals, better yourself and fuel ambition.
Know your purpose.
It’s easy to get caught up in the heat of the competitive moment, but it’s important that you remember what drove you to that moment to begin with. Doing so will help you avoid being swept away by competition for competition’s sake alone. It can even help if you consider your purpose in life. What are you passionate about? What are the desires of your heart? What do you want to be remembered for?
Though these are heavy questions, the answers to them will illuminate your purpose for being competitive; they’ll remind you of your heart-driven reasons for competing in the first place (pun intended). There’s certainly nothing wrong with winning, but hopefully our desire to win goes a little deeper than simply wanting to win. Keep reading…