Tag Archives: thoughts

Have you decided on your winter strategy yet?

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Winter strategy? What on earth is she talking about, you may think. But I have a point, I promise.

The other day I was walking, and as I looked down, I saw what I’ve pictured above. And then it hit me. WINTER IS COMING!

As if this recurring event somehow snuck up on me without a warning and took me completely by surprise. Of course I know, that winter is coming – it’s only natural. But I’ve been so busy lately, that I’ve almost forgotten to notice, that summer is indeed over and soon, we’re facing scarves and winter coats. And that’s when I realised, that I hadn’t yet planned my strategy for the winter.

Over the past couple of years I’ve noticed, that I get highly affected by the weather and the lack of sunlight during winter. If I just let things take its course I can very easily end up very depressed until the sun comes out again – not a very desirable place to be.

If I on the other hand am conscious about the effects, I can create a strategy to not end up in winter depression mode. So to me, having a strategy is crucial. Here’s what I’ll try to do this year.

I WILL

  1. Refuse to let the weather define my mood. I will declare that to myself every time I feel the effect of the rain in a negative way. (I know it sounds powerless, but I have experienced how powerful it is to even just tell myself, that I will not let it affect me.)
  2. Make sure to spend time outside every day and get as much of the natural sunlight as I can.
  3. Stay active and go on runs or to the gym (this will be  hard one for sure!)
  4. Eat my vitamin C and D (C for the immune system and D for the lack of sunlight)
  5. Try my best to look for the small joys and see the beauty even in a gloomy day.
  6. Prioritise time with the people I love
  7. Prioritise time with God!

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Has offence become a trend?

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A year and a half ago, I held a book in my hands trying to decide whether to put it on display on my book shelf with my favourites and classics, or under my bed with the rest of my collection. On one hand, it was a classic that I was proud to have read, but on the other hand, I didn’t like the values it portrayed. It ended up under my bed. It didn’t deserve to be on display because of it’s views on life.

Now, a year and a half later, I wonder if I made the right choice.

It may sound like a triviality and not of any importance whether or not a book should be displayed, but it’s not really about the book or what it stood for; it’s about why I didn’t want it on display in the first place.

Listen, not to agree, but to understand

So why was that? Because it offended me. I chose to deal with my offence by avoiding the source and thereby actually not dealing with it at all. I thought that if I didn’t agree with what the book said, then it didn’t add value to my life.

My flaw was that in stead of trying to understand the views, I tried to prove them wrong and that’s how I ended up offended in stead of enriched.

Are we creating a culture of offence?

I recently read an article about Generation Snowflake making the case, that young women are too fragile and easily offended. Claire Fox, head of a think tank called Institute of Ideas had experienced the inability in young women at the British universities to cope with offence. She had been shocked when she stated that “rape wasn’t necessarily the worst thing a woman could experience” to which the female audience broke into tears and gasps of “You can’t say that.”

I agree, it’s an offensive statement, but the reaction was surprising both to her when she experienced it, and to me when I read about it.

Why didn’t they fight back with valid arguments and start a debate, or ask inquisitive questions learning what might have made her say that?

In stead, they chose offence, tying them to the chair of their current state of knowledge and insight. This could have been a massive learning experience, but they let offence limit them. I am not saying that they should end up agreeing with Fox, or Fox with them, but they should at least be able to handle the challenge of being exposed to different thinking and let it nuance their views.

Let’s stop hating on social media

A while back, my facebook feed and the news media were filled with articles about the negative effect of social media on young women. The theory was, that girls who spend time on social media end up depressed and unhappy with their lives because they compare themselves to the polished lives portrayed on those platforms. Never showing the boring days, or the fights with the boyfriend, social media creates an unreachable standard  for what life should look like to be happy.

At first I bought into that idea, but then I realised that maybe the same thing is happening here as with the offensive statements. I started reflecting on my own use of social media.

A collection of good memories

I’m definitely guilty of only showing the good moments on my instagram account. But that’s not with the intention of creating a fake illusion of my life but rather to preserve those memories – big or small – so that I can always scroll back and be reminded of them – I don’t need assistance remembering the bad ones.

I have definitely been inclined to comparing myself to others’ instagram feeds evaluating my own life with their photos as my measuring scale. But at the same time I have also found myself being inspired, motivated, lifted up, or maybe just aesthetically pleased from looking at the photos of the people I follow.

Whenever I’ve found myself comparing myself to others on social media platforms it has been because I didn’t process what I saw. I didn’t use my head, but rather indulged in my feelings, or maybe even offence from their supposedly perfect lives.

The easy solution would be to demonise social media for promoting perfection, and therefore shield our young women from it. But would that be the right thing to do?

What are we cultivating?

What if we in stead of being afraid of what offends us, were curious to seek understanding and let it challenge us?

What if, in stead of wrapping our young women in cotton so that they never get bruised, we teach them how to deal with controversies.

What if we raised powerful women who could be critical and who didn’t get offended when they were exposed to someting different from themselves? Women who could see polished lives on instagram and not compare themselves because they know what kind of platform instagram is – and most important of all who they are themselves? Women who display the book they disagree with on the book shelf in stead of hiding it under the bed.

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Time to slay some lies

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A few years ago I went across the ocean to spend the next two years of my life at a bible school. Those years were the best of my life and I would never give them back for anything. I learned so many things and made friends and memories for life.

During my time there, I remember e-mailing with a friend back home, telling him about some of my experiences. I told him that one thing I’d learned was how many lies I’d believed my entire life. His excitement level didn’t exactly match mine. He responded with worry and concern and probably thought that I had become part of a cult and was being brain washed – I now realize that I probably should have done a better job explaining myself at the time.

What I was trying to communicate through my e-mails was, that I had become aware of how many lies we believe about ourselves and the people around us. How many girls do you know who truly believe that they are ugly when they are actually the most beautiful the world has ever seen? Or fathers who believe that they would win the “worst father of the year”-award while their children are the most loved ones?

Most of us believe things about ourselves that aren’t true, but that somehow snuck in on us and got stuck in our heads.

What we tell ourselves about ourselves and others determine how we respond to the world. So let’s get some things straight and slay some of those fat lies we believe:

1. I’m not qualified to do that

Well, guess what. As soon as you feel qualified to do what you’re doing, it’s time to move on. It’s healthy to be stretched and challenged and not feeling qualified gives you a drive to learn and become better. Being in a position that you don’t feel qualified to be in is actually the best place to be, so just go for it and have fun!

2. My worth is measured in the approval of others

No. Just, no!

Your worth does not have anything to do with anyone else. Just the fact that you exist makes you incredibly valuable. Nothing that anyone does to you or tells you will ever change that fact.

3. I’m a failure

I have somehow managed to believe it several times myself, but that doesn’t make it anymore true. The truth is, you are not a failure. You may experience failure but you are not a failure. The difference is huge and lies in the fact, that you always have the power to correct your wrongs and try again. Sometimes it’s more difficult than others, but it’s always possible. You can always get back up and try again. You may need som help, but it’s never impossible.

The list goes on and on and is different for everyone. Keep an eye out for the lies that you believe about yourself and remind yourself what the truth is.

 

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Should we be worried or am I just getting too old?

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Today, I was filling in for a teacher in cooking class. I was teaching the 7th grade how to cook red curry, make their own ice cream AND baked bananas. It was delicious, and thankfully I had a recipe to follow… I’m the worst with cooking.

Without anyone getting hurt, we managed to successfully cook the entire meal, and it was delicious! As the students sat around their tables waiting for the curry to cook, I sat back and observed them. I let my eyes fall on each one of them and I noticed how they interacted with each other; and suddenly something started worrying me. I saw how 10 kids at the beginning of their teenage years all pulled out their phones as soon as they weren’t entertained anymore. They sat around their tables next to each other, but few had eye contact and if they cared to talk to each other it was about something that went on on their phones.

I remember when I was 13 and took that same class. I went to a small school, so we had to commute to the bigger one and borrow their facilities. We spent the entire bus ride making jokes and laughing with each other. While cooking we would make pranks and we would spend the time connecting and growing closer as friends. At the end of class we would sit down and share the meal while looking into each others’ eyes knowing that we accomplished this together.

This is not what I saw today. In stead, I saw kids who nearly only interacted with each other when needed, because the virtual world was far more interesting.

What worried me even more was when I saw what was on the screens they were all looking at. One of the girls who had, like every one else, pulled out her phone was showing her friends who she had matched with on Tinder. From a distance I took a sneak peak on her screen, and it wasn’t few matches that appeared. And the list of ongoing conversations with the guys was no shorter. At the age of 13 she was already more interested in guys she doesn’t even know but from an app used by grown ups to find hook ups, than the friends right next to her. It was disturbing to me to see how the dynamics have shifted since I was that age. I am no saint myself in the whole online/offline debate at all, but has this come too far?

I sometimes wonder what would happen if we decided to go offline for an entire week. Or less controversial, banned all phones from school premises and forces the kids to talk to one another. I wonder if they experience the same sense of community that I did with my class mates. I wonder if they develop the same social skills and will they be able to interact with other people and show genuine interest in them? Will they be able to stay focused on one task for a longer period of time or even hold conversation with one person and really listen to what they are saying? Do I have a reason to be worried or am I just getting old?

Let me know what you think.

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