Have You Had Your Brain Washed Lately?

Brainwashing isn’t just movie stuff or fiction. It is present in different forms in our society. Manipulation, forcefully trying to convince people of something, constantly being bombarded with rants – we are all subjected to brainwashing on a daily basis.

Here’s the thing. Our brain is influenced in all sort of weird ways we can’t possibly imagine. No wonder brands, salesperson “trick” us into buying stuff we don’t need.

Repeating One’s Opinion will Make People believe it!

How many times have you been exposed to mindless rants? Sadly, when you keep hearing the same thing again and again, your brain is more likely to accept it as a common belief.

Researchers call the phenomenon “memory distortion.” Interestingly, even if the person is talking bullshit, we’re still likely to believe it.

Emotional Manipulation – How They Wash and Control Your Mind!

Emotional manipulation basically is an extreme form of brainwashing. We often associate the practice with toxic exes, but these techniques are used by advertisers, politicians and popular brands.

A form of social influence, emotional or psychological manipulation is not a healthy practice. It includes applying pressure to control someone’s thoughts and behaviors through crafty, abusive or other underhanded practices. Emotional manipulation happens when someone uses deception, or similar mechanisms, to exploit another person’s vulnerabilities to achieve his own goal.

An emotional manipulator might talk down your performance at work to make you feel insecure so that you won’t compete for a promotion. An emotional manipulator may use lies or deception to alter your perception of reality. Their goal is to tip the balance of power in their favor. Manipulators control other people by exploiting their weaknesses.

The manipulator will offer you choices, but they’d all lead to the same conclusion. The problem with emotional manipulation is that it is sometimes impossible to discover whether or not you are being manipulated! Your actions as the result of manipulation might be something that’s perfectly normal and okay for you.

What are the common techniques used by manipulators?

  1. They try to isolate you from friends and family. This way they don’t have to worry about a third party. They’d ask you to choose between friends/family and them.
  2. They will attack your self-confidence and esteem. Remember, a manipulator wants to be in a superior position, and mocking, ridiculing and making the victim feel inferior is a common practice. These attacks can be intimidating as well.
  3. Most manipulators brainwash their victims by mentally torturing them. They often resort to blaming the victim and invading their personal space. Needless to say, they lie and makeup stories to mentally torture the victim. They also play upon gut feelings.
  4. Though rare, manipulators can use physical techniques to brainwash a person. These include playing loud music and depriving someone of their sleep. A schedule is maintained that causes physical and mental fatigue.
  5. Signs of a Manipulative Person
  • They make you feel sorry for expressing your concerns. You can’t talk about your feelings or ask for the change you need.
  • Lying, exaggerating and understating the truth are all means of manipulation. Manipulators will distort the facts to keep you off balance.
  • They make you feel guilty. This is a classic tactic. They want you to feel sorry for them. They only highlight their own problems and force you to believe that your emotions, opinions, and problems don’t matter. Manipulators might give the silent treatment to make you feel unimportant or trying to scare you.

Don’t Let Others Think for You.

Often we are blinded by reality and get stuck on a certain idea or belief. When our brain accepts an idea (whether it is right or not), it is impossible to change it no matter what people say.

To avoid brainwashing, surround yourself with a spectrum of information. Don’t settle for the idea/message that makes you comfortable. Stay away from people who care only about their own needs, those who put their self-interest above that of others. You’ll likely come across excellent manipulators who figure out all the ways to push your ‘hot buttons’ to get exactly what they want.

Many adults grow out of this type of manipulation – but some don’t.

To stop emotional manipulation, remember your worth. You are on equal ground with the other person and have the right to be heard. Avoid blaming yourself – never let them manipulate you into believing something is solely your fault.

Your freedom to express yourself through words and actions is essential to your well-being and your mental health. You can’t alter the behaviors of others, but you can limit your exposure to situations that are unhealthy and refuse to internalize the messages a manipulator tries to feed you.

References: 

Signs of Emotional Manipulation & How It Affects Relationships – Brookhaven Retreat 

Image Credit: Punsworld 

 

Know When Enough is Enough!

It’s always good to try to work things out. But you must know when to put your foot down.

No one plans to get into a toxic relationship. In fact, most of us don’t realize we are in one until it is impossible to turn back. Sadly most women can’t recognize the fact that they are being abused. It is also important to note that not all abuse is physical; there is mental and emotional abuse. Abuse can be covert as well as overt.

Abusive partners don’t show their true colours on the first meeting.  In fact, it’s quite the opposite. In the beginning, the other person is extremely affectionate and rushes into a commitment very quickly. Most women being innocent probably believe that he is too good.

Identifying an abusive relationship can be tricky because the victim doesn’t want to break the image of a ‘strong woman.’ After all, good women are ones who compromise.

Of course, no relationship is perfect. But one thing is certain. A healthy relationship should make you feel secure, happy, respected and free to be yourself. Toxic relationships, on the other hand, make you feel drained, depleted, and worthless.

How can you spot a toxic relationship? Watch out for the following red flags.

  1. It’s all take, no give. If you are the only person expected to compromise and change yourself, the threat is real.
  2. Constantly feeling sad or low. If you are always demotivated, stressed out and fatigued, it’s time to re-evaluate your relationship status.
  3. If your partner doesn’t trust you, it is a sure sign of an unhealthy relationship. If your partner is disrespectful to you, says things that make you feel bad, blocks you from leaving the home, forces you to stop spending time with your friends, you are better off alone.
  4. Judgmental relationships can never function smoothly. Criticism and feedback should be helpful and never belittle the other person. Mutual respect is the first requirement of a good partnership.
  5. If the other person doesn’t communicate, there is no relationship. Period.
  6. If your partner wants to be in control or there is a constant tug-of-war, you’re in a damaging relationship.
  7. Good relationships are supposed to improve your life. If you have to change opinions to please someone else, there is no reason to be in the relationship. Stop fuelling someone else’s fragile ego. You can put that time and energy to much better use.
  8. Yes, all relationships go through challenges, but partners work through them together. Your partner should be a source of strength, not negative energies.
  9. You have the right to say No. The other person should value and acknowledge your decision.
  10. The smallest bits of lies destroy a relationship. If someone is constantly lying to you and making you unhappy, let them go.

Remember, life is too short and precious. Don’t spend it with a person who hurts you. Stand up for yourself –  you are powerful and you have the right to decide who stays in your life.

Image Credits: Enough is enough

 

Dealing with Workplace Annoyances

What happens when things start getting on your nerves?

As I write this, I’m battling sleep difficulties, big life changes, and a workload that’s piling higher and higher. This is a stressful, annoying, difficult and sticky situation. I don’t feel frustrated often, but these days, it’s easy to get into that mindset.

I am annoyed at anything and everything – power outages, low mobile battery, heartless co-workers making rude comments, faulty laptop, traffic jams and the construction noise outside my office. All of this is annoying, and much more.

Being constantly annoyed or frustrated isn’t good. Your happiness suffers, your relationships are less pleasant, and you are less devoted to the task at hand. Simply put, you care about everything in the world except what matters the most.

Maybe I should become a little indifferent, a bit inconsiderate. I agree helping people is a good idea, but pleasing everyone and trying to make everyone happy or trying to be socially acceptable only makes one constantly unhappy and even more frustrated.

It’s time to move on. Let’s not wait for everyone to be happy. So how do I regain control over my work life?

The answer is simple – it’s time to sort through the chaos and identify the priorities. What needs to be done ASAP, what needs to be done today, what can wait until tomorrow and what can be postponed until next week!

If you are trying to identify priorities, you must look at urgency as well as what’s important and meaningful.

Things that need to be done ASAP can be important projects, urgent tasks that if not completed can result in damage. I have realized that you have to be ruthless when it comes to cutting out the clutter from your to-do list. More importantly, not every task that is marked urgent is important and not every email must be responded to. You are in the best position to decide what must be done today.

You can negotiate deadlines and push things over the weekend, or even into the next week. Remember having 4 to 5 things on your plate at a time isn’t a bad thing.

Eliminate what is not important. This means telling co-workers or your boss that you can’t take on a particular task. Yes, this is uncomfortable but they need to understand that work can wait a week or longer.

To keep your sanity intact, stick to your ‘To Do’ and ‘Not to Do’ lists. Remember, once you master the art of saying No at your workplace, your life will become a lot easier.

The Secret to Happiness

We can all improve our happiness by making changes in the way we think and act. These 7 steps can sprinkle happiness into your life and the lives of others.

Positivity and happiness aren’t magical powers or something special that cannot be attained by every person. You have the power to make decisions – the decision to take control and steer your life in a positive direction despite all the troubles that come your way.

If you are trying to adopt a happier, more positive life, you must ignore all the negativity. But it is easier said than done. You will feel angry, frustrated, sad, lonely, low, bored and even hopeless at some point. But it is scary to allow such negative feelings and thoughts take control of your life.

So how can you be happy on a daily basis?

  1. Tap your Optimistic Side

An optimistic mindset can help you tackle life’s challenges with ease. It can broaden your attention and thinking to enable you to make better decisions. Being optimistic also leads to a better well-being. Stop comparing yourself to others and dwelling on your flaws.

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Be Optimistic, It feels Better.
  1. Celebrate Your Smallest Achievements

There are moments of joy and laughter around us, but we are often too preoccupied to give them attention. Remember, there’s power in celebrating little moments. After all, life’s too short not to celebrate small moments.

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Celebrate your achievements, no matter how small.
  1. Get Rid Of Toxic People

It’s no surprise that emotions are contagious. The more you’re around negative people and negative emotions, the more likely you are to reflect that attitude. Having a positive support system is crucial to an optimistic outlook and a happy life. You’d be amazed by how much a good support group can help you achieve.

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  1. Let Go Of Grudges.

I’m still trying to master the art of forgiveness. I have realized that holding onto resentment, grudges, and other negative emotions will repel positive emotions. Free yourself from negativity so you have enough space for happiness to fill in.

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5. Be Grateful For What You Have.

Stop dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. Instead, be thankful for what you have today. Doing so has been linked to happier moods.

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6. Regard Your Problems As Challenges.

Eliminate the word “impossible” from your mind entirely. If you have a problem, view it as a challenge that will change your life for the better.

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7. Dare to Dream

Don’t limit yourself. Go ahead and dream big. Remember, you have the power to achieve practically anything and everything you desire.

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Stop Making Excuses!

It’s easy to blame the other person for your problems, but doing so won’t do you any good. Take responsibility for your actions. More importantly, use failure as an opportunity to change for the better.

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All of us have stress, loss, failure or trauma in our lives. We can’t choose what happens to us, but we can choose our own attitude to what happens. Let’s be realistic about life’s ups and downs and focus on the good things. More importantly, let’s keep moving!

Image Credits:

Live, Believe, Inspire. 

Story Pick.

Pexels.com

Pixabay.com

The Secret to Recharge Depleted Motivation

First ask yourself: What Do I Want?

“The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential… these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence.” — Confucius

To be fair, we all need motivation. Often we are lazy, or unmotivated. But that’s not the core problem. We don’t lack motivation. Instead, we care about what others have to say more than what is needed.

The real reason we don’t want to get started or pursue our dreams isn’t a lack of motivation, but rather our fears. What if people don’t approve my ideas? What would happen if this society doesn’t accept me?

We’re right. Look around and you’ll find hundreds of people who had to give up their dreams just because they were too scared to take the first step. I’d like to add a bonus thought here.

Sometimes we care way too much about what others think because we look up to them for support. We believe they would help us take that first step when we just aren’t ready. We also care more about making up things we think would make us socially acceptable. We don’t want to lose our friends and family, our social standing just because our ideas don’t speak to their egos or what’s generally acceptable.

I’ve been trying to figure out the potentially rewarding ideas that actually speak to me – what I want – not someone else’s ego, opinions, feelings, or thoughts. Of course, it is not easy to view ourselves through the lens of others. But if you really want to break free, you have to care more about your own self than other people and their ideas.

The Self Care Equation

You’ll note that there are two parts to the self-care equation – first, stop prioritizing other people’s opinions and caring about what other people think. And second, actively invest in your interests.

When you stop caring about your ideas and fail to actively invest in your own interest, you only end up letting negative opinions, thoughts flow back inside your head.

Know What You Want

One reason we care more about other people’s opinions or ‘log kya kahein ge’ is because it’s the easier thing to do. It’s safer to ‘go with the flow’ and sadly, it is one thing that has been taught to us since the day we were born.

Standing up against the social norms is harder, and scarier to say the least. If you want to be a strong woman and if your thoughts that don’t match with what’s acceptable – you are going to have a really hard time.

Instead of basing your “success” on others, it’s time to figure what you want.

When you figure out what you want, you’d no longer be afraid. In fact, the fear of log kya kahein ge will be quieted a bit. And the best part – following your dreams won’t be “scary.”

How to Know What You Want

It’s really hard to figure that out. But once you get there, all you have to do is just pursue it.

We do know what we want. Somewhere, deep down inside, we have wants and needs that are defined by our preferences and thoughts. Our brain has an opinion on literally anything. But sometimes we misplace our preferences as easily we misplace our wallet and keys.

To figure out your purpose, you must first stop shouting at yourself. Also, don’t let anyone control your life. Don’t look for an immediate answer – that’s not how it works.

I came across an interesting piece by Christopher D. Connors. “Every plan and every action that you take should begin from that very simple question – What do I want.”

“What you want should come from your desire, passion, skills, natural talents and intuitive reasoning to want to arrive at the place that speaks to who you are and where you see yourself going.

When you get to that essence of living and being, the picture will become much clearer. You can then put together a plan based on your desire and the strategy that accompanies it.

This is a critical distinction to point out. What you really want may not be a job or career that can happen overnight. But it’s worth working toward for a future day. This way, you ensure that you are taking steps to live the life that is really yours, as opposed to trying to live someone else’s.”

It’s NOT that simple

It’s natural to feel frustrated when you try to figure out what you want. Okay, should I list all the things I like or all that makes me happy?

Interestingly, most of us struggle with small things like ‘what to eat’ let alone major decisions in our lives. So, identifying wants and needs won’t be easy.

Bits of Advice like “Just Do It” or Brainstorm don’t always work!

You can’t just sit and wait for a miracle to happen thinking that’ll solve the problem. However ‘just do it’ or ‘start brainstorming’ only makes one feel panicked and forced. There are days when I am likely to jump blindly to conclusions – and this includes anything and everything.

Yes, I make emotional decisions for the reasons I don’t know. I have a strong tendency to follow instincts – and often I do make the right decisions. But sometimes, I’m not lucky.

Playing ‘everything is good’ isn’t the best idea, because you are most likely to silence yourself. When you ignore what you desire, you don’t realize you’re not happy.

Don’t Ignore the Signs

Loneliness, helplessness, and feeling low are signs you are ignoring your needs. Inferior confidence is a siren you’ve silenced your feelings for too long. It’s here that you have to decide. Don’t turn to others for guidance. Instead, look for answers within you.

Remember you are responsible for your happiness. And only you can find the answer to “what do you want.” Most importantly, you have to do this yourself. You can return to your why, over and over again. This will help you stay motivated and grounded through the rough patches.

Let’s Put that Balance to Work

You can never succeed if you are exhausted and can’t get your priorities right.

I can remember how difficult it was to show up at work. The place I loved had become my worst enemy. Every passing day was a struggle. If you’ve experienced a stressful period at work, you could relate to this feeling.

My to-do list was mounting and there was absolutely no appreciation from the management’s side. In fact, it was only unjust criticism. I was forced to feel incapable of rising to meet expectations. Soon I was sacrificing my personal time to keep up with my own goals and someone else’s ‘not so logical’ expectations.

There was a phase when I was struggling with ‘the professional syndrome.’ I couldn’t figure out what more should be done to come across as a professional employee. I wasn’t a procrastinator, but I was forced to feel like one. I tried everything to keep up with the rising unrealistic hopes and soon I found myself burned out.

No amount of work or meeting deadlines improved my situation. Unproductive thoughts took up most of my energy and I was working 6 days a week long after my regular shift which eventually prevented me from enjoying life.

What I didn’t realize was at a deeper level, my problem was the lack of ‘boundaries.’ Yes, I had been fooled to become a workaholic! Sadly, we overlook our personal boundaries to meet our professional performance indicators. Trouble begins when we push our boundaries and turn to the ruthless corporate world for approval whether in the form of appreciation or chasing someone else’s version of success. Each time I said yes to impossible deadlines when I really should have said No! And this perhaps was my biggest mistake.

Later I realized it’s not just important to set limits on spending money or having junk food. You must have boundaries to protect your sanity at work. Yes, your bosses, friends, and co-workers are important, but your peace of mind comes first.

There are two types of boundaries – internal and external. External boundaries are pretty clear which include setting work hours, and of course, personal space. That’s right. Your co-workers have no right to be nosey and pokey. Understanding internal boundaries, however, is tricky.

I had failed to set clear internal boundaries. In fact, I kept pushing myself to achieve unrealistic standards of excellence which were never achievable in the first place. I wasted time trying to explain myself to people who loved jumping to ‘premature’ conclusions. But thankfully, I took control of my life.

When I said goodbye to toxic people and situations.

One day I made a promise to myself. I will remain consistent with my goals and more importantly, will detach myself from worries, negativity and unrealistic pressure.

Whenever I received criticism at work, instead of looking at it as a sign of failure (which I was doing – remember professional syndrome I mentioned earlier), I acted more rationally. Are there any possible (hidden) opportunities of growth? Do I really need to get emotionally carried away? Am I respecting my boundaries?

Well, honestly defining internal boundaries wasn’t easy. Being a ‘highly sensitive’ person, I always took other people’s reactions way too seriously. I foolishly did everything possible to fix their problems as my own. The desire to meet deadlines was great, but it drained me to an extent where I could no longer function.

Figure out where limits need to be set.

Trying to keep up with fake success standards can lead you to compromise your boundaries to the point where your physical and emotional health is at risk. While pushing through the ‘burnout’ process personally, I learned a rule that served me well:

If you are not happy even after giving your 100%, it’s a sign that a boundary must be redefined. A strong feeling of hopelessness and constant stress is a sign you’ve probably let an issue go on for too long without addressing it.

If you want a good relationship with yourself, you need to practice kindness. Talk to yourself as you rewire your brain to set new emotional boundaries. Remember, putting yourself first will be new and uncomfortable, but remind yourself that it’s okay to preserve your emotional energy.

As long as you give your 100% at work and are dedicated, you’re doing a good job. Don’t try to please everyone and never feel sad, guilty or upset when you think about yourself.

Never weaken your boundaries

Every time we take on too much responsibility at work or fail to speak up when we should, we only put ourselves under pressure.

Ask yourself: What’s my responsibility in this situation?

While you can never control what your bosses and colleagues will think about you and how they will react, just deliver your best. Also, never let negative people suck your energy.

Last, always trust your gut. Your intuition – even though it sounds cheesy – is an important part of rational decision making. Learn how and when to set physical and emotional limits at work and respect them.

30 is the New 18

The idea of turning 30 and becoming old seems a thing of the past. Let life begin at 30!

A lady once told me girls grow up quickly and this both intrigued and baffled me. At 9, I thought adults have everything figured out – but I was wrong.

Bye, Bye Teens!
When I turned 20, it felt like stepping into a different world. Twenty was just a number, but the curtain closed on my teens – a period where I was totally carefree. Now that I’m thirty, it’s a good time to reflect upon the ‘past decade.’

My 20’s were full of interesting ups and downs. According to Ann Brashares, it’s supposed to be the prime of your life, the most vital, the most beautiful. But you’re making your critical decisions and sometimes your most critical mistakes. So what happened?

I completed my degree and got my first job in a pharmaceutical manufacturing plant. I had a lot of friends and now I’m left with a few good ones. Most friends faded away into their careers and relationships and I learned valuable lessons at work. There was joy, happiness, sadness, and fear.
Overall, it was a good decade. Finding my own way in the corporate world for the first time was scary, but I managed to get a hang of it. I have the strongest support system and I’ve learned to find my own happiness. The only thing left to learn now is to let go!
The 30s has been a bumpy ride so far. I travelled and got my nose pierced (yes, that’s a little late). Two-faced people exist is something I learned the hard way. The fact is we all get hurt at some stage. Life’s too short to stress about negative people and negativity, but there seems to be too much of it. Often we have to make unwanted decisions, swallow our pride and even apologize for being right and it is definitely not the most pleasant thing.
My late 20s taught me to love my own self first and take that leap of faith. I’ve made some amazing friends – people who don’t judge me for who I am.

The 30s and the New Perspective

It’s okay to feel sad at times. It’s kind of hard to unwrap negative thoughts but imagine all the amazing things you can accomplish if you stop worrying about failure. So what has changed the most in me? I have accepted that people change. And if you want to retain your sanity, don’t crave the drama life offers you.

My 20-year-self was emotional and sensitive and the difference between the 20-year-old and the 30-year-old me is my perspective. My eyes know not everything is black and white. My heart knows people are not just good or bad. Life is full of surprises and you just can’t predict what will be thrown at you.
My heart is still 18, but somewhere I know I’ll never be the same ‘carefree’ teenager again. The sooner we learn to identify and tackle the grey areas in life, the better it will be.
Do I have new targets for my 30s? Absolutely!
I never had ‘goals’ in my 20s but I did pretty well. I learned new things, discovered life is exciting; not as scary as I once thought. I know who I am, what I want and what I dislike. It feels good to be empowered. And now I am getting older, I feel a lot wiser.

It sounds clichéd, but for me, 30 is the new 18. So here’s to another eventful decade of learning and personal development. Let’s just hope the world is a little kind.