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The War on Valentine’s Day

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People have varying opinions about Valentine’s Day and Sweetest Day. Now that we have social media, those opinions are flooded all over the internet. One can’t possibly escape seeing them, unless they choose not to be online.

My own views about such days have changed over the years. I was once one who longed to have someone to celebrate it with and do the cute and romantic things. Usually, I was single and I tended to be bitter about it. The exception to that has been that I would still make it special for my son. Even though a lot of the ads and deals are about couples, those days aren’t only meant for couples to celebrate. It’s supposed to be about celebrating love in general.

My views later changed to feeling that it’s just another way for stores and restaurants to make money. I also felt that so many are just greedy and want another excuse to get more stuff. Whenever I would see someone brag about what their sweetheart did for them or complain because they didn’t do enough, I rolled my eyes. Shouldn’t love be about more than just what we can get from others? Is it really so superficial? Do we really need presents to show love to one another?

I still held onto that view, for the most part, even after I got together with my now husband. I am the hopeless romantic type, but I also felt that I didn’t need grand gestures to know how he felt about me and he most certainly didn’t expect them from me either. For the most part, I felt that the greatest gifts you can give or receive are time, energy, and love. Gifts are nice, but they’re not what’s most important.

While I still feel that way, I have also come to see that putting down those who wish to celebrate it isn’t a healthy way to look at things. Since days like these are supposed to be about celebrating those you love, how can I really tell someone they’re foolish for wanting to celebrate them? I think if you wish to do something nice for those you love, do it and don’t feel shame in doing so.

If you’re one that hates those days simply because you’re single and will feel ignored, I would urge you to remember an earlier point that I made, those days aren’t just about couples. You can still celebrate with friends and family as well and have them be meaningful. There were a few years when I was single that I did just that, bought candy and cute little things that didn’t cost much for people at work, my son, others in my family, and my friends. It’s not about how much you spend or if you even spend anything at all. You can make handmade cards and gifts if you want to do something nice. It’s about the thought behind the gifts, not the gifts themselves.

That is something some forget and I am still highly annoyed with those who feel they’re entitled to amazing gifts and trips for these or any occasions really. My opinion on that sort of attitude is to stop being a spoiled brat and remember what your relationship is really about. If you want to celebrate, great, but don’t make it a competition between you and your partner or you and your friends, who can give or get the better gifts. Attitudes like that tarnish any positive meaning behind the holidays to begin with.

My husband and I don’t personally do much to celebrate them, because we feel that we don’t need those days to tell or show our love for one another. We’ve gone out to dinner a couple of times, but that’s been more or less of an excuse to not cook and do dishes than it is to celebrate the holidays. Some years, I admit that I have gotten a few little things for him. (Though other years, I have done nothing.) I am, as I mentioned, the romantic type. I haven’t done anything out of obligation, but out of a desire to give. I do random things through the year as well, just because. That’s just who I am, a giver. But, it’s about a lot more than that. He’s not been one to buy me anything. Do I feel less loved because he doesn’t buy me flowers or shower me with gifts? No and that’s because he shows me daily that he loves me.

Every day, he tells me he loves me. He kisses me every morning before he leaves for work (or going anywhere without me, even the grocery store.) and at night before we go to bed. (and plenty in between) We hold hands when walking somewhere or even when driving sometimes. He rubs my back randomly and now lately with my pregnancy, he’s been rubbing my feet too. He cuddles with me, tells me I am beautiful, and does things like take care of the housework when I am sick or having a very bad day. He worries about me, encourages me, and believes in me. So yeah, sometimes when people brag about the flowers they got on their anniversary or their birthday, I feel a tinge of jealousy. I will say this though, it doesn’t last long because I remember all that he does and how much he cares. He just shows it in different ways than some do.

That, to me, is the key in relationships. Know your partner, your friend, or family member. Don’t expect them to be someone they’re not and find the ways they show their love and loyalty and then cherish those things they do instead of being upset about the ways that they don’t. If you’re the type that celebrates and wants to make a big deal about holidays and other important days, great. But, if your partner isn’t, learn to accept it. Do not try to change them and don’t let them try to change you either. Like I said, for me, sometimes I still do little things because I want to. I know he won’t, but that’s fine. In that way, we’re very different. But, we accept one another as is. If the love isn’t strong enough that it’s too much of an issue, than perhaps it’s not a relationship worth staying in, only you can figure that out. Know your priorities and know theirs and whether they match, whether the bond you share is going to make it through the times when you don’t agree.

All in all, I am going to sum it up this way, Valentine’s Day and the like are days in which we can ignore them or celebrate them. Whatever you decide is your choice and you’re not wrong for whichever side you land on, just don’t try to get others to agree with you. If you want to celebrate, go for it and make it a day to remember. If not and you wish to treat it as any other day, then just make it the best day possible, as we should strive for every single day. Just be respectful of how others feel. 🙂

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Social Media & the Internet In General, Is It Too Accessible?

Social Media

Growing up, such things as Tablets, Smart phones, Ipads, and the like simply didn’t exist. And having a computer was a luxury, not commonplace. We didn’t have a computer, were on too limited of a budget for things like that. I wonder if these things had never been introduced to us, how we would be living right now. That is neither here nor there at the moment. I read a post by the lovely Jessica and wanted to expand on it. Her post was about social media in general, is it a good thing or a bad thing. I really liked what she had to say and the various comments. I like a good debate now and then. 😉

So, in general, I think social media sites such as Facebook, MySpace, Google, Twitter, and the like can be a very positive thing. Being able to network your business, your talents, and so forth is great. Also, being able to keep in contact with loved ones is a major plus. Where we get into trouble is when we spend so much time on these sites that we forget to spend time offline and do other things. Sometimes I think that we never should have come up with computers, the internet, and so forth.

There are times that I feel we, myself included yes, we lose touch with the world….with ourselves, with our loved ones. “But, I can Skype with my sister in AZ!”, “An e-mail is so much quicker than sending snail mail.”, and so on. All of this is very true and most times I am glad that we have all this technology and that we can do things like send e-mails to friends & family, be more productive at work with our communication, and so on. I will admit too that I can be a bit of a social media junkie myself. I like Facebook, A LOT, more than I should probably. I have found too that a lot of it stems down from boredom. When I have a lot going on offline, I find myself with less time and desire to check in, post, and read my newsfeed. I like seeing pictures, reading updates, and knowing how my loved ones are doing. I like sharing as well, not just updates…but my poetry, short stories, and the like. WordPress too has been wonderful! I have met so many people that I’d not have otherwise met and am glad to be a part of this site.

So yes, overall I am glad we have social media sites. I just think that we need to balance out our online and offline time a bit better. So, this brings me to the original reason for my post today. Are these sites too accessible? In the beginning, we had to be on our personal computers to be on the internet, then came laptops, so you could take your computer anywhere. This comes in handy for business people and students the most, though I have loved ones who use them on the go just to check e-mail, chat, and play games as well. Next step in information technology: Ipads, Tablets, Smart phones, and the like. You don’t even have to have a computer at all now to post your latest Tweet, view your latest bank statement, chat with your friend in Spain, check the stock market, share pictures, or even write your term paper. Have we gone too far or are we just getting started? What are your view points, WordPress? Have social media sites and the internet in general become too accessible? I want to know what your thoughts are, please share!

Taking A Stand Against Hate

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This morning on my way to work, I began thinking about the poem I wrote and shared yesterday. It isn’t just religion that divides us. It saddens me that we discriminate, judge, and treat others harshly at all. At the end of the day, we’re all human. Should it really matter what color we are, whether we’re male or female, whether we’re young or old, what side of town we’re from, what country we’re from, what religion (if any) we choose to follow, how much money we make, what our sexual orientation is, who we voted for, what we wear, and so on? It’s sad that people have to worry about colors they wear because gang members might hurt you or even kill you over it because they think you’re from an “enemy clan”. Just because a kid wants to pray, they might get beaten up. In some countries, you get killed for what you believe, for wanting an education, or for even wanting to do things differently than they want you to.

I was always taught to believe that I am not any better than another person. No one is perfect and no one has the right to judge another and religion had nothing to do with those beliefs. My mom isn’t religious at all, but she still taught me to be respectful and kind. The sad thing is people take judgment into their own hands, some even claim it’s in the name of their higher power that they do what they do, that they were called to smite others. I have far from given up on the human race, for I know there is still much good in us. It’s just disheartening to think about how much evil there is in us as well. I wish this world was much kinder than it is. We don’t have to agree with one another or even say that we’re “cool” with how people live, but we certainly do not need to kill one another over our differences. We also do not need to bully one another over it either. We’re all entitled to have our own opinions and if you wish to speak them, do so, but then it would be wonderful if people could leave it at that.

I am not a fool and don’t believe just by wishing it so that it will become that way, but I can wish for it anyway. I can also do my part by doing what it is I want to see from others. I don’t agree with a lot of things and I will tell people how I feel, but I will still extend my hand in friendship and offer compassion. We will never win over the world with war and violence, those who think so are sorely mistaken. I will continue to live my life helping others when I can, being kind, and loving with all I have. I know I am only one person, but they say one person can change the world. Luckily too, I know I am not the only one who feels the way I do. Let’s continue to break the barriers of hate down, not by judging, sitting on our pedestals…no, that only causes more hate. No one is holier than thou and it’s time to stop acting as such. (that is why many boycott religion by the way, because they’re chased away by judgmental behavior.) Stand on level ground with others and watch what the power of kindness and love can do. 🙂 

Challenge accepted: A sort of blog philosophy

Paul Davis, upon my request, issued me a challenge. I am to write, as he put it, a sort of blog philosophy. I am to write about what message I am hoping to convey with my blog, the whole point of blogs, and how I feel people ought to use them. Well, Paul…I accept the challenge.

First, what is my intended message that I wish to convey to those who happen to stumble across my blog? Well, this all started because my friend Courtney suggested I start a blog to share my life experiences with others because she thinks I can inspire others, give them hope and courage to get through their own struggles. I thought that sounded like a pretty good idea. No longer does my past hinder me, instead I let it teach me, help me grow, and inspire others to push through their own struggles.

My life has been quite the ride thus far, full of lots of joy, laughter, hope, and love….but also full of lots of pain, heartache, abuse, confusion, and anger. For a long time, I let my past hold me back. I beat myself up over my countless mistakes and wondered what the point of trying succeed and have a good life was. I was just doomed to fail in the end, as I seemed to always do. I was definitely one of my worst enemies. I let other’s judgments hold me back. I gave them control when it was never theirs to have.

I was ignored and emotionally abused by my mother, sexually abused by her boyfriend, made a ward of the state, emotionally abused by my father, made fun of in school, used/lied to/cheated on by guys, taken advantage of by so called friends, sat in jail for fines I never paid off when I should have, and so on. I also hurt a lot of people in the wake of all of this. Confused and hurt, I tore myself and others down. I lied, cheated, and stole to get what I thought I wanted. I wanted to be loved and accepted, though I never even accepted myself.

I have grown up a lot, especially in the last year. Dealing with cleaning and gutting my grandma’s house and now taking care of her has really made me mature. I see and read about so many people who have struggled and many who currently do with overcoming their past. I once thought I was a lost cause, but now I know that’s not the case and I know it’s not the case for anyone else. When Courtney made the suggestion to start a blog to tell my story, share my adventures with others, a light went on inside my head. If I can help even one person through a rough time, it’s worth it. I am to be a beacon for others, to show love and compassion, to help, to be a friend. So, that’s it…my long winded answer to what message I want my blog to give: hope.

What is the point of blogs? My opinion is this, it varies. Thousands upon thousands of people blog, all over the world, in many languages, and speak about many different things. Some don’t even speak, they just share photos. In the end though, I suppose there is one main thing that ties us together. We’re all here to share of ourselves. Whether it’s a music video, a piece of art, a book review, poetry, bible verses, venting about a rough day, telling jokes, guess that photo game, etc etc….it’s all a glimpse into the personality of the poster. Whether they intend for people to read their blog or not, they know it’s on the internet and so the possibility is there for people to see it, and start to follow it. We share a piece of ourselves each time we post anything. We open ourselves up to criticism, praise, debate, and so on. The point of blogging is to share and to connect with others. If you wish it to be strictly private, you’d make it so no one could read it…keep a journal if you will. To be online and have it open to the public means you’re willingly sharing of yourself. So yeah, that’s my opinion…we blog to share.

How should a blog be used? Well, I feel it should be used in a positive manner. One should not blog to tear others down, to make a fool out of others where millions of people can see it, and should not be used unlawfully. What is posted is up to the blogger, but hopefully they use common sense and have a sense of decency when they share. Attacking others verbally, in my eyes, is abuse and it’s wrong enough outside the world of blogging….but then once online and millions can see it….not only can it not be taken back, but it’s public, and will leave a lasting impression on so many people. A healthy debate, fine. Many post about difficult tops like views on religion, politics, raising kids, adoption, war, etc…that’s just fine, keeping in mind that the poster is hopefully mature about it. Name calling is childish. It’s done often, people get defensive, and fight over someone’s post. I don’t feel that a blog should be used for that purpose. Take it outside people, get away from prying eyes. You really want to have a heated conversation with someone….find a way to chat privately with them. It’s so awkward to read a post and then see the arguing underneath. The poster probably knew there was a chance that would happen, but the ones starting the fight are no less to blame. It is not my right to tell people how to behave, online or off, but I was given the challenge to express my views. I view blog sites as a place to share, connect, network, and make friends….not fight and make enemies. I know no one agrees with anyone all of the time and to have a healthy debate is great, I just wish there was less fighting and immaturity. Sometimes it’s like being in school all over again, seeing the big fight on the playground. Some are egging them on, some ran and hid, some just passively watched, some placed bets, and others managed to ignore the whole thing. While I feel it is good to keep a part of our childhood alive and be youthful from time to time, some parts of it should be left on the proverbial playground. 😉 With all of that said: Share, laugh, debate, blog on…

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