If you’re new to my blog, you’ll notice that I don’t write my personal entries like I write the news. Here, I sort of rant and rant and rant until I, somehow, reach the hard point I want to make, but it’s the rambling journey there that is meant to beat my philosophies into your brain. Otherwise, my conclusion just doesn’t hit home as hard as I’d like.
So if you’re the type to skip directly to the end of an article just to get the TL;DR version, you probably shouldn’t be on my website.
If, however, you like to lay back with a hot cup of tea or coffee and a bit of good reading material, you will enjoy my bullshit. Also, if you like lots of randomly placed vanity photos, you will definitely enjoy my blog.
Respect and Relationships
When it comes to relationships (romantic or friendly), I really can’t involve myself with other people unless I genuinely respect them. Once I lose respect for someone — for whatever reason, really — I start to get annoyed with their minor flaws, and it reflects in the way that I treat them.
I’ve even come up with different excuses for my appalling behavior like, “People are dumb,” and “I’m surrounded by idiots,” etc. — but because I am something of a “public figure” online and am therefore exposing myself to dumbasses on a frighteningly regular basis, I’ve learned to simply excuse people for being morons and coexist peacefully alongside these dinosaurs. Not that I’m saying everyone is stupid, but you get what I mean.
I will admit, however, that before hitting the ripe age of 21 or so, I was still something of an immature idiot myself (more-so than I am now, anyway, with years of “stupid” behind me). Unsurprisingly, no one — especially not me — is perfect. And as awesome as everyone’s teachers, parents, or mentors probably are, it takes one really secure and independent person to preach the idea of being allowed to fuck up and fuck up often, something the elders of my youth managed to skip in their life-coaching. The important lesson to learn after that, of course, is that it’s how we change and what we do after we’ve made our mistakes that determines who we are.
Different people respect each other for different reasons, of course. But personally, I’ve found that the values I hold highest in myself are the same values that I look for in my partners or relationships.
For example, for me, the people who I find most attractive and who I am most likely to respect are those who are ambitious, understand the difference between emotions and logic, and have enough real-world experience to hold their own in several different types of situations. I also respect people who aren’t afraid to laugh at themselves, who don’t lash out at others needlessly, and who are more focused on self-improvement and self-maintenance than they are on everyone else’s shortcomings. I respect the sort of people who know how to “exist”, be who they are without shame, and live their lives without impeding on the happiness of others. I respect the sort of people who don’t necessarily need external validation in order to feel successful, and who, instead, lead by example. I respect people who have a natural curiosity for life and who understand that every day is an opportunity for growth.
In other words, I respect myself.
And likewise, I can only respect those with this same ambitious mindset (whether they are friends or romantic partners).
Okay. So be yourself or something, right?
I am the sort of person who often preaches transparency. I’m very much all about “being yourself” and embracing everything there is about what makes you who you are, what makes you unique, and even what makes you kind of crazy. I respect those who aren’t ashamed to be a little off-color, and definitely don’t feel comfortable around nor trust someone who is too “buttoned up”. There’s a falseness in being too corporate that I just can’t relate to, and it is those who often expose their flaws or mistakes that I find myself most empathizing with.
This explains why you will often hear me ranting on my blog when I’ve done something really dumb. Being the sort of person who enjoys leading by example, I often embrace my own failures by using myself as a case study for “what not to do”, both with the intent to help other people, and also to improve myself (or just to joke around, really, because it’s always healthy to be able to laugh at our own mistakes).
After all, isn’t everyone going through the same sort of dumb nonsense anyways? Aren’t we all doing the same stupid things? And on that same note, should the dumb things we do even matter when we’re only showing positive results?
Distracting animated picture incoming:
Of course, this same mindset goes for brands and companies.
Young millenials who’ve both been online for a while, and even those just beginning to expose themselves to the Internet — they (or we, really, as I am counted among them) are stepping into a world where freedom of speech is encouraged, transparency is obvious through a simple Google search, and social media reigns supreme when it comes to real time feedback from brands, companies and people.
Understanding this, it becomes obvious why transparency in the both the corporate and personal world is suddenly encouraged. For an audience to understand or even root for a company or individual, they must first realize where that brand or individual comes from in order to first enable the potential for empathy.
Not to mention: Would you rather be the repentant source of your own shame, or allow others to uncover it as if it’s some terrible scandal meant to be hidden away? Rather than hiding the things that we’re ashamed of or pretending to be these buttoned-up and false likenesses of who we aspire to be, we are better off admitting where we are now, pointing out what sort of goals we’re reaching towards, and learning from both the failures and successes of our past. Only then can we proceed.
There is a bright side to complete transparency, of course.
I wouldn’t encourage you to be your crazy self if there wasn’t some sort of reward in it for you.
The silver lining: By publicly acknowledging our mistakes and being completely transparent about what we are doing to improve or where we plan to be, others who happen to be in the same situation or understand our ambitious journey will be more inclined to show up at our door. It’s a sort of “ask and you will receive” mentality. By being vocal and transparent about where we’ve been, where we are, and where we want to go, those who understand what we’ve been through and have the means or resources to give us what we want (while also receiving something beneficial in return, of course) will be naturally attracted to us.
I say this from personal experience, obviously.
Unfortunately, there are several downsides to success through partnerships.
The more well-known and well-connected we become means the more open to public criticism we will be, and the more often we will find ourselves forced to apologize for shit that, in the big picture or longterm idea, really should not matter. It’s the reason that public figures or large corporations often make these huge, press-covered announcements in order to apologize for the stupid things they’ve fumbled over so they can, instead, focus on improving in the future.
Everything is iteration.
Not even Apple products are completely perfect.
Like everyone else, I’ve made my mistakes in the past and have been completely transparent with those blunders on several occasions. I’ve made my peace with the dumb things I’ve done and have been very public about my own shortcomings, which is why when someone tries to shortchange me for something stupid I did five years ago, I can’t help but think, “Ah, my mistake — I thought it was 2012.”
Ex-boyfriends, online stalkers, hater-ass bitches, etc — the longer you’re alive, the more trolls you will accumulate who will stop at nothing to dredge up some kind of dirt on you in order to make your otherwise amazingly impressive journey seem like absolute bullshit. Sometimes, people see something good in the world and don’t understand why it exists — and so they do their best to snip that thing out of existence.
Realizing this, the most you can really do is continue to live your life in the face of these odds. Continue to be yourself. Continue to do what makes you happy and improve yourself only in the ways that you know are in the interest of self-preservation, or will otherwise be mutually beneficial. Otherwise, what’s the point? You aren’t living your life to make other people happy, are you?
Furthermore, if huge companies can both understand and execute this line of thinking, why can’t we, in our personal lives, do the same?
On Self Preservation and Mutually Beneficial Relationships
I don’t hang out with people I don’t like, and I keep the rest of my relationships with other people in the “purely business” category. At least in a business relationship, we understand that it’s a mutually beneficial partnership where we both respect one another for simply being able to do our jobs, and do them extremely well.
Ambition, however, always seems to has a leg-up on the rest of my personal interests. For example, I’ve been able to observe that in my life, “purely business” relationships have been the most beneficial to my overall health and sanity. Then, just for some variety, a sprinkle of romance and a pinch of friendship come in second and third.
This is because I happen to be a very goal-driven individual. This is evidenced by the fact that most of the decisions I make are done with either self-preservation or mutual benefit in mind. In fact, I’m pretty sure most humans live like this, unless they’re a complete masochist or are secretly a super hero. Then there’s charity and religion and politics, of course.
But shit. Even on airplanes, passengers are directed to equip themselves with an oxygen mask first before attempting to assist other passengers. Darwinism at its finest: Only the strongest survive. And in order to ensure that the weaklings survive as well, only the strongest should continue to lead.
Besides. In most cases, mutually beneficial relationships are the most profitable and rewarding for everyone — this is simply how life works. So as long as we’re not hurting anyone in our quest for self-preservation, and what little interaction we do have with other people is mutually beneficial, then damn — wouldn’t everyone be happy?!
I told you I ramble.
Anyway, what do I know? I’m just some idealistic and crazy writer. My exact recipe for happiness when balancing relationships and careers may not be the case for everyone else. … Although it sure seems to work out well for me. ;P
One Enlightening Phone Call
As it turns out, we all have different things we crave on a day to day basis. Observe, for example, the following conversation I had on the phone last night with a friend of mine in Southern California who I will refer to from this point on as “SoCal” for anonymity’s sake.
The call happened while I was in the middle of some evening chores. Last night, I suddenly had this massive, crackhead-like urge to just clean everything in my room. It’s like that scene in Limitless with Brad Cooper (great movie, by the way) where he realizes he lives in a pig sty and, as a result, ends up giving his tiny apartment a complete makeover. I donned a pair of baby blue rubber gloves, grabbed some disinfectant wipes and a few rags, and got to work.
While cleaning, I received a text from SoCal saying, “What are you doing?” And, instead of texting back, I rang him up and set my phone on speaker so I could continue to talk and clean with my hands free.
After SoCal’s cautious “Hello?” I playfully began to scold him.”I thought I said call me, not text me?” I joked with him while scrubbing down my dirty restroom sink with a lemon scented wipe.
He laughed nervously, then choked out (surprisingly clearly over speaker), “I didn’t want to interrupt you if you were on some hot date.”
I rolled my eyes with a smile, sensing the teasing tone in his voice before whipping back, “Oh, shut up.”
Conversation quickly flowed from there. SoCal’s just one of those people who I can actually talk to, though I’m assuming it’s because he lives so far away. Our conversations are seriously epic sometimes. And I hate to use that word (“epic”) unless needed, but no joke, we talk about some deep shit. Books, technology, government conspiracies, aliens, health, general lifestyle, dating, food, cooking, music, sports and hobbies — whatever.
In the midst of our rambling, I stopped him to ask, “Wait, I have a question.”
“Humor me.” I prep him. “What are the three things in life that you think about all day?”
“Huh? Like, in general or just right now?”
“Like, the three things you just find yourself craving or thinking about constantly in general. And be honest.”
“Uh, why do you want to know?” He seems cautious.
“I’m just curious to see if your top three is anything like mine.” I reassure him, hoping that he’s used to my naturally inquisitive nature by now. “I’m wondering whether every human being’s top three cravings are the exact same, or whether it varies per individual.” I’ve paused my cleaning to sit on the top of my now-sparkling clean toilet (lid down, of course), waiting to hear his answers with genuine wonder.
“Okay, well.” He laughs a little nervously before squeaking out, “Sex, I guess.”
“Me too!” I chime in, not allowing the awkward silence to settle. “That’s like, the number one thing I’m sitting around thinking about all day!” I’m laughing, and he’s laughing as well, easing up after realizing that I’m probably not going to judge him for whatever else comes next.
“Okay, and my career, like, my job.” He sounds more confident with this answer, loosening up while we talk.
“Yes! Same!” Two for two, I’m thinking, practically crossing my fingers in the hopes that our third craving coincides, wanting to pat myself on the back for being a genius.
“This last one probably isn’t going to be the same as yours,” he teases.
Annoyed, “Oh my god, just tell me.”
“Okay — I’m always craving working out. Like, just physical exertion. That sort of thing.” Shit.
“Damn it.” I curse in defeat. “Yeah, I’m a fat ass. Your third craving is all about health and working out. Mine is food.” We both burst out laughing, me feeling completely embarrassed while, I’m sure, he’s sitting there enjoying himself after my humiliating admission.
Then, after conversation recovers from the childish giggling, we managed to agree on the two basic human needs we both believe has the potential to “complete” every human being:
Relationships and Careers
If a caveman can understand these basic needs based on instinct alone — for example, the male’s need to bang combined with the need to hunt and provide, and the female’s need to gather for the nest while being a healthy, optimal and selective mate, and the general human and survival-based need to operate within a clan/herd/whatever — why can’t modern man transparently admit the same in a mature and openly discussed way, and in a manner that encourages both respect of self and of others?
Here’s my guess: In civilized society, the points of relationships versus the point of careers have been made to exist on opposite ends of the “happiness” spectrum. What I mean is, the positive pleasures we derive from both of these needs are very separate and rewarding in different ways, and so society has managed to try and push the two apart in terms of what is acceptable and what is not.
I’m assuming that this comes after years of experience where sex or friendships mingled with one’s career-life has managed to fuck up one or the other in terms of self-preservation and personal health or sanity. Which means that in order to enjoy our relationships and our careers, history proves that we simply need to prioritize and allocate our time between the two basic cravings when appropriate. Heavily leaning towards one end of the spectrum and neglecting the other sounds like a recipe for unhappiness, so it’s important that we find some sort of balance.
I could be wrong, of course.
But this line of thinking seems to work for me, so I’m going to assume it will probably work for you as well.
Also, wow — I applaud you for getting this far into my writing. Really, I do. I must make no sense at all sometimes.
How to balance your career with your relationships.
To tie it all back in, understand first that when it comes to sex, friendships, relationships and careers, none of these things are as enjoyable as they could be without respect for the people you are involved with. For me, if I don’t respect the people I engage with in my relationships, I inevitably begin to start to losing respect for myself simply because I knowingly continue to associate with people who drive me insane. And in the interest of self preservation, that just sounds completely unhealthy!
It’s like that cranky Major Manchek moment in The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton (details on my Tumblr if you have no idea what I’m talking about) — It’s a moment where you feel like you’re the only person who “gets it”, while everyone else is just annoyingly ignorant. And in order to stay mentally sane, your only option is to either blow up like a primitive monkey, or simply extract yourself from the situation. Though again, that’s just me. Self-preserving, mutually-beneficial-preaching me. I think my last entry had something to do with self preservation as well?
For me, when it comes to careers and relationships, being able to respect the people I’m around usually leaves me feeling pumped and excited for the next day. It’s energizing to be around so many ambitious people who are passionate about their work or their hobbies — positive feelings are contagious. Seriously. It’s science.
Don’t expect everyone else to prioritize effectively.
I’ve had the unfortunate displeasure of becoming acquainted with several people who still react on impulse when things don’t seem to be going exactly as they planned, and it’s never been something that I enjoy watching nor experiencing. A lot of people I’ve met are pretty “hot on the trigger” when it comes to reacting in a negative way, and it’s only by distancing myself completely from these people that I manage to not let their psychotic outbursts affect me.
In situations like those, I often find myself thinking, “Please grow up.” To acknowledge that someone lacks basic human discipline is … Well. How in the hell can you respect someone who hasn’t bothered to mature? If they’re happy with that, more power to them. But that doesn’t mean I’m forced to stick around and let their views pollute my own values — I’d rather step away where I’m free to practice my own beliefs safely out of irritation’s way. At least then, it keeps me from snapping at someone during a moment of weakness.
*By the way, watch this video clip of Christopher Hutchins discussing the idea of free speech, and our rights to it. http://youtu.be/jyoOfRog1EM
It’s funny. Having spent nearly 25 years alive now, I start to quickly recognize when I can feel myself boiling up out of anger or irritation. I know exactly what I’ll do during a sudden negative outburst, and it is that side of me, that facet of my personality that I’ve come to dislike. I’ve also come to recognize that this side of me only shows itself when provoked by annoying people to the point of breaking. It’s pathetic, really. Especially when I realize how, if left alone, I probably would have felt completely content.
Unfortunately, this is life. We can’t avoid other people completely. And in our quest to try and surround ourselves only with the people we respect and admire, we are bound to attract a few vultures eager to leech off of our happiness, or stumble onto large camps of “dumbass”.
The goal here is not to eliminate the vultures or cure the “dumb”.
You’ll never be rid of vultures or dumbasses.
Instead, recognize the vultures and dumb people as another card in the game that you simply need to learn how to play. Tadaa. I’m sure I have some entry back somewhere in my blog about how I’ve managed to use my reputation and connections as a springboard for every opportunity I’ve taken, but woah. This entry is getting way too long, and I’m almost positive that most of you don’t have the kind of time needed to read this thing in one sitting.
So let’s wrap it up.
What it all boils down to is …
In the interest of evolution, it’s important that we work hand in hand with our fellow soul-sucking human beings, even when these people sometimes want nothing more than to see us fail. Definitely strive to surround yourself with people who you respect, but also learn to coexist with idiots — you were pretty stupid too at one point. We don’t all start off as diamonds, you little hunks of charcoal, you.
In fact, I suggest exposing yourself regularly to the pains of judgement and criticism. Your constant and unabashed transparency will make your faults feel less like flaws, and more like opportunities to improve — just like a company inviting its target demographic to offer feedback on how better to refine its services.
I hear people complain all the time about things not being exactly how they want it to be, and it is these people that I absolutely loathe. We were all dealt some pretty shitty hands, some more shitty than others. But you need to play the cards you’ve been given because shit, that’s all you have! Lay your cards on the table and say, “Yeah, I’m one King short of a Royal Flush, but fuck it. I’m still in the game.”
Be transparent about where you excel, where you’ve failed, what you’re doing to improve, and where you want to go — respect comes to those who earn it.
I preach transparency in relationships, for companies, for people, for brands — for everything, really. When something is revealed to be simply what it is, what else can you do but work with what you’re given? This isn’t alchemy. We’re not instantly turning wood into gold, and we definitely can’t just magically make a bad situation a good one — we need to work with what we’re given, constantly iterate on ourselves and our output, and stop getting distracted by the dumb, shiny shit on the side. Leap over your obstacles and and continue to do your thing.
Embrace your failures. Laugh more. Shrug more often. Smile at people you don’t know. Respect yourself, and surround yourself with the people who you respect in turn. Take those under your wing who you see a little of yourself in. Understand the difference between love and lust, priorities and pleasures. Indulge often in your basic human needs, but stay balanced. Be the change you want to see in the world, and stop worrying about everyone else. Don’t try to change other people, and don’t worry about what everyone else has going on. You’re not shitting out what they’re eating and vice versa and blah, blah, blah — I say this same bullshit all the time, but seriously you guys — You hold the reins to your life, and you control what direction your life is heading. Try not to run over anyone on the way, but be sure to take a few cool-ass passengers along for the ride.
XOXO Cheri XOXO