Parental Pressure

Many of us were raised with the notion that our peers will one day stuff cocaine up our nostrils and lodge a joint in-between our lips, this is the fear mongering of today’s parental figures.

Though drugs can be a true issue, the unspoken problem in Western culture is not peer pressure but rather parental pressure. Parents, grandparents, and guardians alike are often stuck in the same mental bondage that their ancestors were, the most common belief being that life is a ‘one size fits all.’

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Coming from the Bay Area, I have seen one too many heartbreaking situations involving a teenager who took their own life leaving behind a note explaining the stress and frustrations caused by their parental figures.

I am not here to point blame at parents as the reason behind such unfortunate circumstances, but I am shedding light on the fact that parents have a greater effect on their young than anyone else. Friends have an affect on a child for period of their lives but parents have a deep connection that subconsciously alters the lives of those they nurture. In the case of the Western world, parental figures happen to be the ones pushing kids into inauthentic lives.

A majority of parents fear for their children’s wellbeing and overall success in life which subsequently teaches them to fear the unknown. We are forced into colleges and end up in jobs that have nothing to do with our own inclinations, only to figure out, far down the road, that we did not choose our paths but rather let those we respected choose them for us.

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This is not to say that parental figures do not want the best for their children when they pressure them into the norm, but, regardless of the intention, the reality is that parental pressures can be just as harmful, if not more, than peer pressure because parental pressure lasts a lifetime.

Sometimes, we must take a bold stand against the opinions of others, even those who love us most, when it comes to the road we choose to travel in life. Instead of living our lives for their approval, we must choose our own paths. After all, if someone’s love is only based on which school you went to, then there is no love at all.

 

Tinashe Hwande

Edited by. Tayla Hasselbach

 

Be The Person You Would Marry

He has to be 6 feet or taller, she has to have a size 0 waist and a butt like Beyonce, he has to make over 6 figures a year in a corporate job, she has to look like Giselle Bundchen and have the personality of Mila Kunis, he has to be funny, smart, and serious, she has to be funnier, smarter, and supportive.

These are common expectations we have for others when we are looking for our life companions.

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It’s always amused me how we create these laundry lists of expectations for others when we ourselves are quite the opposite.

I used to want a woman who worked out everyday, yet I would occasionally stick to a workout routine. I wanted someone who was supportive, yet I was aloof and flakey. In short, I was the exact opposite of the woman that I “needed” in my life.

How many times have you been approached by a friend and heard them say “you know I really want a good woman/man in my life so my first plan of action is to become a good person”… don’t worry, I’ll wait.

We often wait on perfection while doing nothing to meet our own expectations and standards. We judge prospective life partners by the criteria we’ve been fed by Hollywood and other sources of media when we are living like reality show z-listers.

It was not until I began to live by the standards I held for this imaginary woman that I actually attracted her into my life (and I do mean attract).

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I stopped searching for miss perfect and made the decision to become Mr. Excellence. The irony is I did not have to become the greatest version of myself to bring such a woman into my life. I simply made a commitment to become the best lover and partner far before I saw any signs of life, or in this case “life partner”, I finally started living up to my own standards.

What continues to fuel me into greater action is the idea of becoming the person that I want to marry.

 

Tinashe Hwande

Edited by. Tayla Hasselbach

It’s Not What it Looks Like (Assume Nothing)

Never trust your eyes and always question your judgments.

Our eyes are like CNN or Fox News, they often lie. Not because they mean to be deceitful, but because we see life through bias lenses. It is close to impossible to see the “full picture” in any situation. Our eyes have limited view points and our minds can only process so much information, this is why I stopped accepting my own story as the whole truth.

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When I speak my mind, I do exactly that, speak my mind, I give those around me a glimpse of my perspective. If they happen to relate, then that’s beautiful, but what’s just as important is the perception of those who see life in a very different way. I am now learning that I cannot attain any new information if all I do is refer to my own senses.

I used to be the sort of person that only watched and listened to information that affirmed my perspective and viewed this as “gaining knowledge”. I fed my ego by researching my own truths and ignoring the opinions of others subconsciously. I would hear others out, but to internalize their point of view was outside of my paradigm.

It is against the nature of our bodies to accept information that contradicts our habits, so to question ourselves is one of the hardest actions we could possibly take. Yet it is the most necessary in order to fully embrace life in a holistic manor.

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The meat eating version of me laughed at the idea of veganism and would never entertain the thought because I believed that my viewpoint was real. This was until I took my head out of the sand and saw the travesties of factory farming as well as the physical impact of my preconceived lifestyle.

 

 

We must continue to question what we perceive as truth. We must test our theories and see if they hold true after hearing every side of the conversation.

 

 

Tinashe Hwande

Edited by. Tayla Hasselbach

My Own Worst Enemy, My Own Best Friend

“If there is no enemy within, the enemy outside can do us no harm” -Sun Tzu

Enemies. In some Hollywood narratives, you see the depiction of enemies as evil, malicious beings that reign terror on the hero or heroine. In life, we sometimes make enemies; sure, they may not be after our lives, but they sure as hell are after our highs (happiness).

Time and time again, I have recognized the most ruthless force I’ve ever had to face was me, or at least the illusion of me.

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After promising my parents I would never take a drug or drink alcohol during the first week of high school and fully believing it, it felt like something outside of myself lead me into the five year abyss of my teenage life

 

As much as I would love to blame peer pressure or my environment for my formative lifestyle, the truth is I was the only one who chose to take, sell, and entertain those drugs. There was no magical entity that was making me act against my own well-being, in fact I don’t remember a single person putting a blunt to my lips and forcing me to inhale; all 10,000 hits were my choice and my choice alone.

Coming to the realization that I was my own worst enemy had a surprising effect. Instead of loathing in self-pity, I realized that if I could be my own enemy then I could surely become my own best friend.

If I could destroy myself, then I could heal myself. If I could deceive myself, then I could find my way back to truth. There was nothing stopping me from living a clean and sober life besides me.

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In the process of becoming my own best friend, a process that never ends, I realized that a true friend is not one who always agrees with you and cheers you on as you destroy yourself. A true friend is one who will have the tough conversations and question your lifestyle in order to help you better yourself.

 

Tinashe Hwande

Edited by. Tayla Hasselbach

Are You Needy?

How many times have you gotten into a conversation with someone and the first thing you asked was “how may I serve you?” When was the last time you went to an individual you needed something from and asked what you could do for them… don’t worry, i’ll wait.

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Many of us carry around a needy energy. We go from one social interaction to another, thinking of what we can take from the conversation instead of what we can add to it. Even in giving advice or adding our opinions, often times we do so as a release for ourselves.

I am realizing more each day that the greatest gift I could give in a conversation is a listening ear and a genuine compliment. This also holds true when it comes to physical requests. I used to approach clients in a “what do I get out of this” mentality, simply because the other party did the same and therefore we were two opposing energies looking for our win.

One of greatest examples of needy energy I’ve heard was from a random old man on YouTube who was explaining how our neediness repels and our giving attracts. It may seem common sense that you will attract others if you are a giver, but the act of giving runs deeper than a physical exchange.

When we recognize our abundance through the act of giving, it is an indication to the universe that we have more than enough.

When we are needy however, the universe recognizes us as living a life of lack, which only brings more of that into our reality.

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I used to think that if I “gave too much” I would have nothing left, but once I made the decision to come into interactions with something to offer before I asked for anything, my entire experienced changed.

Though our company is still in its baby stages, I have never experienced as much abundance as I do now, simply because I seek to be of service. I now seek to meet the needs of others as opposed living a life in need.

Tinashe Hwande

Edited by. Tayla Hasselbach

Why Pain Creates Change

Pain is the greatest human motivator. As much as I’d like to think that we change due to the compelling, heart-warming emotions of ecstasy and bliss, the reality is that human beings move when things go to sh**.

Remember touching a hot stove for the first time? I bet nothing was more compelling than feeling the skin peel back on your index finger as the heat of the stove scorched your flesh. No warning signs or cautionary tales could have done what experience did for you on this unfortunate day.

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Pain is an indicator of misalignment. The more pain we feel, the more drastic our actions will be to remove it from our lives. We eat ourselves into hospitals knowing that McDonalds for breakfast, lunch, and dinner is an elixir for disaster, but the pain of finding out we are on the brink of heart failure elicits enough pain to bring about a change.

As Tony Robbins states: “we do things for one of two reasons, to seek pleasure or avoid pain.” In most cases, the need for pleasure is outweighed by the pain in our lives. Pain does not have to be physical, in fact most cases the pain that leads to the greatest change is internal. When we feel the heavy mental burdens of unattended emotions, we are forced to look inward and this inner reflection allows us to find what it is that needs our attention.

Pain is not inherently bad, it is simply a mechanism our bodies use to warn us. Imagine how many limbs we would lose on a daily basis if we could not feel pain, or the ignored, emotional wounds that would go unnoticed until it was too late if pain was out of the equation.

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Pain can be an ally and even a temporary friend that is meant to unveil something to you, but just like any guest overstaying their welcome, a consistent pain often becomes an issue.

I am learning to no longer ignore my pain or view it as a  punishment from the ruling powers of this universe. I truly believe this universe works in alignment with us and our duty is to align ourselves with it, otherwise it will use any tool in its abundant arsenal to get us back in line. Pain happens to be one of the most effective of these tools.

Tinashe Hwande

Edited by. Tayla Hasselbach

 

Stop Taking Advice From Everybody

Everyone has an opinion and we all deserve to express ours. However, taking the opinions of others and holding them as truths within our own lives is a sign that we may not know what we actually stand for, our true values and beliefs. I lived a majority of my young life in this place.

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For some reason, I felt as if everyone else had answers that I myself did not have. I formulated  my own opinions off of the opinions of others and the saddest part about it was most of the people I listened to had no idea what they were talking about.

I used to take relationship advice from so-called “influencers” who had never actually held a healthy relationship, financial advice from people with very little money, and life advice from those who did not even value their own. Thus, most of the opinions I later held were subconscious; though I viewed myself as a “strong-minded” person, I caught myself speaking like the individuals who I surrounded myself with and listened to (both on the internet and in person).

There is no problem in taking advice from others, in fact it is necessary in most cases, but to take advice from just anyone on any subject is as naive as asking your english professor to teach you french.

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It is ok to check the credentials of an individual before you take their advice. If you knew one of your friends liked to sleep around, would you take their advice on how to find a monogamous relationship? Or if you knew your grandma was fiscally irresponsible, would you ask her how to invest your money? If you answered yes to either question, then we have some deeper work to do.

Otherwise, continue to look within yourself for questions and go to those who are qualified for the answers.

Tinashe Hwande

Edited by. Tayla Hasselbach