Rip off the mask, tear down the walls. Show the world my beautiful, vulnerable self!

Posts tagged ‘think’

Running Your Life on Emotion Alone is a Slippery Slope

Sliding Down the Slippery Slope

We’re all guilty, at one time or another of allowing ourselves to make an important decision or choice emotionally, without engaging the logical part of our being. Often, we live to regret decisions made from our gut without at least a modicum of input from our brain. Marketers know this and play to our illogical, feeling side all the time as does anyone else who want to control the choices we make.

They encourage us to disengage our brains by setting off emotional land mines between our feelings and the logical, rational part of ourselves which would ask difficult questions if allowed to intervene. What frightens me is not only are we being encouraged to feel instead of think, but the message is being pumped into us from every direction in a constant bombardment of—let me call it what it is—propaganda.

Infomercials Thrive on Emotional Decisions

How many infomercials use tactics which hit us below the surface of our logic? Take the ones for a well-known pillow manufacturer. The guy wears his shirt buttoned to his chin, the cross necklace conspicuous in the seemingly haphazard way it sticks out above the top button instead of hanging loosely over the collar, or as would be more likely, underneath. The commercials are studded with American flags and a not-so-subtle message to “make America great again” by buying things that are made “right here in the United States”. Boo-rah!

Every one of these visual and auditory components is an emotional trigger encouraging people to pick up their phone or log onto the website and buy the darn things right now. There’s even a code which most people don’t realize is used to track which of the company’s many advertising media sucked the customer in.

Out of curiosity, I logged into the site (without the code) one night just to see what the hype (and expensive TV spots) was all about. At the time, their “buy one, get one free” offer (yet another emotional trigger) was over 80 dollars. It’s now “only” $79.98. Even so, how many of us spend $40 apiece on pillows? I don’t even want to know what they charge for the rest of the product line that’s evolved from the first spate of infomercials that invaded my television time.

Triggering Our Emotions for Profit

My point is, enough people are getting sucked in by these tactics to keep the guy showing up on TV not only in between shows we choose to watch, but on 30-minute, stand-alone infomercials as well. Clearly, playing on people’s emotions to generate sales is a lucrative proposition, especially in today’s environment. I suspect companies like this are counting on people being on a constant emotional high to sell them crap they don’t need now, and would have never considered buying had the thinking part of their brain been engaged.

As for me, I sleep perfectly well on my $5 Big One pillows I got at Kohl’s during one of their “biggest sales of the season”. Were they made in America? Probably not. But when so many people can’t even afford to rent an apartment or keep healthy food on the table, I, for one make no apologies. There are enough monkey wrenches being thrown into trading freely between countries these days as it is.

Step Back, Take a Breath, Engage Your Brain

However, I didn’t intend this post to turn into a rant, but merely a cautionary tale about preventing our  emotions from getting us into hot water. I take advice I was given long ago very seriously with regard to flaming emails from bosses and co-workers. Do not respond right away. Take the time to step back, cool off, and address the matter from a rational place. The decisions and choices we make are no different.

Would you buy a car without taking the time to research your options, check pricing at different dealers, and maybe even see what the average purchase price has been using Edmund’s or KBB? Would you buy a house without looking at comps and assessing your options? Other choices might not have the same impact on you financially, but they deserve equal consideration.

A Time to Think Clearly and a Time to Go With Your Gut

Don’t get me wrong. There are certainly times when trusting your gut is appropriate. If we spent the same amount of time deciding on dinner as we do buying a car, we’d starve. There’s certainly a place for gut decisions. Just understand if you make some of the biggies from the gut instead of the brain, there may be a lot of backpedaling, adjusting, and perhaps even damage control to manage after the decision has been made and the wheels put in motion.

Such was the case with my decision to quit my day job to do a complete career change without adequate things in place to maintain my lifestyle and solvency while I put the new path in place. I’ve taken more steps back than forward in some areas, and taken a beating for leaping without looking first.

Still and all, I wouldn’t go back and change the fact I made the choice when I did. I might have gotten my act together a little sooner. Then again, perhaps the lessons I’ve learned in continuing to follow a dream that isn’t as easy to reach as I’d hoped are worth the struggle, the worry, and the people who’ve come into my life as a result.

Diving in Before We Have All the Answers

The biggest and best of those lessons is accepting I don’t have all the answers, nor do I have the resources or the time to get the answers I need if I isolate myself. Life is a series of hills and valleys, give and take. What I’ve learned by connecting with people who struggle with some of the same things I do, or who’ve overcome some of those things would never have happened if I’d jumped easily from one career to the other.

I’ve also learned working from home, despite the scarce times, is far better for me. Too often, I was manipulated by people who saw someone who was, in many ways naive to the ways of the world when it came to climbing the corporate ladder. I was often someone else’s stepping stone, offering too much because I expected them to be as open and honest as me.

I wouldn’t change that either. I simply learned I’m a sitting duck in the corporate cesspool, and needed to learn to be successful as an entrepreneur. My emotions are too easily engaged, causing me to make a lot of poor choices, or put up with things I shouldn’t have to. Sometimes, the key to making decisions with the right part of our anatomy is knowing when and how we function best.

These days, I have the luxury of time when it comes to making decisions. That isn’t to say I haven’t tripped up a few times anyway. It means I trip up less spectacularly, and spend less time doing damage control. I have certainly given up a lot of things I had when there was a steady paycheck, but I’ve given up the stress, misery, and abuse that went with it. I’d make the same choice again in a heartbeat.

Grateful for Every Minute, Every Breath

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the time and wherewithal to make conscious choices.
  2. I am grateful for the lessons I’ve learned since I left the corporate rat race.
  3. I am grateful for learning to live more minimally.
  4. I am grateful for the little things, like cooler weather and lower power bills.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, friendship, epiphanies, inspiration, motivation, butt kicks, helping hands, opportunities to help others, comedy instead of drama, prolific writing, productive days, health, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, ghostwriter, and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws , of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward.

Effectively Silent

Starting on a Silent Note

I love quiet first thing in the morning, the silence broken only by the whirring of the ceiling fans and the purring of a cat who sits on my desk waiting patiently while I write my morning pages.

When my daughters were young, I’d insist on a minimum of babble, claiming I needed time to wake up before I heard a lot of voices. It’s more than that. I realize now I need the time between sleeping and going full tilt into my day to just be. It’s a time when I don’t want the radio or TV going for background noise. I don’t need the distraction from one, the mindless chatter from the other. It’s the one time of day I want my mind to go wherever it might without having one piece or another held fast by any outside influences.

Moments of Silence are Rare and Precious

Living alone as I do, it would be easy to go either way with silence. I know some people feel the need to fill it with anything just so they won’t have to listen to their own thoughts. Others become mired in it and fear the cacophony of a world of a zillion opinions. I appreciate the opportunity to hear what my inner self has to say.

As my awareness of the beauty of silence increases, I notice other things as well. I no longer run to catch the phone, a text, or an IM. I know anyone who is trying to reach me is, like me, not always available. They’ll wait, as I would for them, until I’m free and can give them my full attention.

Clearing our Lives of Noise

We live in a world where a million and three things are always vying for our attention. We’re left with the often cumbersome task of weeding through the mess and noise to determine what is and is not important. I’ve learned once we do the initial weeding, we’re usually still left with too many demands and too little time. At that point I usually get on what my daughter likes to call my de-cluttering kick.

I know she finds it amusing that I need to, at times, clear some more space, be it physically, energetically, mentally, or emotionally. I think as we grow older and the years seem to flash by at warp speed, we become less patient with the weeding, and seek to simplify our lives more and more.

Some go to extremes and ditch almost everything for a tiny house or a nomadic existence. I know I’ll never be that minimalistic, if for no other reasons than, well, books and cats. I’m not willing to give up either because when the world becomes too much for me to deal with, they are my refuge, and my tune-up. My cats are my loves, my children, and my serenity. My books are old friends, even the ones I’ve yet to read. I could never toss away those relationships.

We Choose Our Surroundings to Suit Our Nature

This may make me sound rather weird, preferring books and fur-babies to relationships with humans. Don’t get me wrong. There are people in my life I wouldn’t consider tossing away either, but most of them understand and relate to my need for space and non-human time. Most of them also appreciate the value of silence.

There’s a lot to be found in silence. It isn’t, as some might think, an absence of sound. Instead, it’s an absence of the overlay of sounds which mask what lies beneath, if you stop to listen.

Often when I meditate, I’ll listen to the silence, and soon, begin to hear what is so often masked; the chirping of birds, the wind rustling the leaves in the tree outside my window, the snuffling sound one of my cats makes when he sleeps, even the settling sounds the house makes.

If my meditation takes me outside my own four walls, I might hear the slosh and crash as the ocean’s waves meet the shore, the sea birds scavenging for a forgotten sandwich, a gentle breeze murmuring under it’s breath, the words indecipherable, but the tune, soothing.

When we sit in silence, we can hear the sounds beneath the sounds, Nature humming along when it’s not obstructed by the innovations of humanity. Most of all, we can, if we allow it, hear the flow of energy which connects us all, oblivious to artificial lines of race, religion, politics, culture, or opinion.

Using Silence to Figure Ourselves Out

Lately, I’ve been feeling queasy rather more often than can be attributed to anticipation, worry, or stress (not to mention, eating crap instead of my usual healthy meals). The silence helps me get in touch with the source of my discomfort. I may not find solutions, but what I find is better. I find peace of mind, not that everything is going to be all hunky dory, but that everything is as it is supposed to be. Things may feel out of whack right now, and the world may seem like a cesspool of contrasting agendas and opinions, but I know it’s only a moment in time.

In the silence, I hear the turning of the wheel which reminds me everything is temporary. What is true today will be a memory tomorrow. Universal guidance will ultimately help us find a place of balance. It might not be the same place we found balance before because there have been changes, even upheavals. Instead, we’ll find a new order, a new balance which is better suited to where and who we are when the dust settles.

I see a great deal of conflict, even with people I love and respect lately. Silence is teaching me there’s a time to voice my opinion, and a time to step away before the conversation escalates into an antagonistic maelstrom of words spoken in anger, never to be retracted. My voice alone will not change people’s attitudes or beliefs. I can offer tools but I can’t force anyone to use them. Getting angry because they choose to follow a belief I “know” is wrong only makes me angry, and to what purpose?

Leaving Space for Others to Think

I’m no different. If someone voices an opinion for which I’m emotionally attached to the opposing side, whether I mean to or not, I tune out all logical arguments they might offer on the subject. But if someone merely plants a seed, then leaves me alone to think it through, I’m more likely to do some investigation and perhaps even alter my opinion. Trying to shove a point of view down someone’s throat is a straight shot to resistance. Remaining silent, while often difficult gives them a chance to process ideas contrary to their own. Maybe they’ll consider the other side and make an effort to educate themselves. Maybe they won’t. But finding common ground or at least agreeing to disagree is more likely within a cushion of silence.

My blogs have become my personal forum. People may read or not, agree or disagree. I’m not here to change anyone. If my words make someone think, if it brings something to light I wasn’t aware of, if a lively but respectful discussion ensues, all the better.

Many times, I feel I’m writing for no one but myself. Then a friend or acquaintance will comment on one of my posts and I realize my audience might be small, but that isn’t such a bad thing.

A Time and Place for A Smaller Audience I was in high school, we had a small theater in the “A” building. It was part of the first phase of construction and was suited to both the general and campus populations at the time. It was small and intimate, lending itself well to the productions performed there.

As the school grew, a multi-purpose building was erected, and became the theater. By then, it was better suited to a population which had exploded in a handful of years. It wasn’t long before all performances were sold out in the larger theater. Yet memories from those early years in the smaller theater, as well as the outdoor production of Sound of Music in an amphitheater which didn’t survive when the population increased even further bring a smile to my face and warmth to my heart.

What I’m trying to say is there is great value in a smaller audience which can’t always be achieved when the numbers and size of the room and stage increase. For now, I’m happy being a production in the “A” building, though I know in time, I’ll become dissatisfied and make plans for a larger stage. Until then, thank you to everyone who reads my words, often, occasionally, or even a single time. You’re all special to me.

Grateful for All Experiences

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the choices I’ve made. Not all have brought great success, but they’ve brought wisdom which I find more valuable.
  2. I am grateful for inspiration. No matter what I’m doing, ideas pop up like thought bubbles in a cartoon strip.
  3. I am grateful for my cats. Even when they’re shoving their head into my mouse hand, sending the cursor all over the screen, or shoving the mouse off the desk, they are pure love. They remind me to stop and listen, even when I think I’m too busy to take a needed moment.
  4. I am grateful I’ve learned to take a step back, at least some of the time, rather than pushing an argument and a friend to the limit.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, friendship, knowledge, fact-checking sources, contradictions, experiences, and wonderful, beautiful words.

Love and Light


About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She specializes in creating content that helps entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author

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