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Self respect and setting boundaries in friendships

Posted on Oct 22 by

Ang's talking box!I think the only time parents and other adults used to talk to me about self-respect when I was younger was when the word ‘sex’ was introduced into conversation, or even ‘ relationships’. For that reason, I always thought that self-respect and setting boundaries were only something you did when you were a bit older – a bit more experienced in the world of relationships.

Well, if you share this view, I’m here to tell you that it’s just a little wrong. Okay, a lot wrong. Self-respect definitely doesn’t just come into things when you reach sexual maturity, and setting boundaries are things that you do not just in romantic relationships, but with friends, with your family, and with strangers. And they’re kind of all tied up in the same general thing – self-love.

When you respect yourself, you are just a short step away from showing yourself compassion and love. And when you love yourself, you show that by setting boundaries.
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The Kinsey Scale

Posted on Oct 13 by

Image by John A. Mozzer @flickr

Did you know that sexual orientation doesn’t fall neatly into the categories of “gay” or “straight”? Sexual orientation (that is, the gender that a person is attracted to) is often conveniently thought of in binary: you’re either one or the other. You either like boys or you like girls, and depending on which one you like, it means you’re either heterosexual or homosexual. In actuality, there are many different ways that you can classify sexual attraction: there’s bisexuality, pansexuality and asexuality,  just to name a few. But for the purposes of this blog post, I want to talk about the two most common forms of sexual orientation: heterosexuality and homosexuality. And for simplicity’s sake, I’m also going to make the generalisation that people either identify as male or female (although in reality there are a large number of people that don’t identify with either of these labels).

Alfred Kinsey is widely considered the grandfather of modern sexology. He had some pretty radical ideas which are well summarised in the excellent film Kinsey (2004), starring Liam Neeson. For me, the most valuable idea that Kinsey put forward was the idea that human beings are not exclusively homosexual or heterosexual. That is to say, he rejected the idea that you are one or the other. Instead he proposed that there is a scale, ranging from 0 (Entirely heterosexual) to 6 (entirely homosexual), and that most people are somewhere in the middle.
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Voluntourism

Posted on Oct 01 by

Image credit Paul-W @ Flickr

When I was originally asked to write a blog on my experiences in going to Uganda, Africa, for a short-term missions project, I started writing about organising flights, raising money and the like. After I couldn’t find the right things to say, I left it temporarily – and in the meantime, have had my perspective on overseas missions completely shaken.

I don’t know how many of you have ever heard of the term ‘voluntourism’. It refers to the positive intentions of untrained ‘do-gooders’ from Western society who travel to developing countries to join short term mission projects, but instead end up doing things that would be more cost-effective and beneficial if the money was simply donated to locals to complete the same task themself. When I first read this article on voluntourism, I was offended – all I ever wanted to do was help people, and now I was the bad guy? Was I really just spending a whole lot of money on something that wasn’t really benefiting the community in order to uphold a ‘white saviour mentality?’ This just didn’t add up, and this resulted in much debate with colleagues and friends regarding the role of us as Westerns in society.
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100 Happy Days Challenge

Posted on Sep 24 by

The breathtaking view from an unexpected walk

In this post our blogger, Xin, tells us about undertaking the 100 Happy Days Challenge.

A little while ago I completed the 100 Happy Days Challenge. The idea of the challenge was to post a picture of something that made you happy to social media, or if you didn’t want to publicise it you could email it to the Foundation privately. “Cool idea,” I thought, “But not really something I’m interested in.”

Then I opened the website and the first thing it said was “Can you be happy for 100 days in a row? You don’t have time for this, right?”

And they were right on the money. Somewhere deep down, my attitude was reflecting the idea that I had more important things to do than express happiness. In a way, I was saying I was “too busy to be happy”. How crazy is that, right? I mean, if you can’t be happy now, when can you be? Sometimes no matter what’s going on in life, we just have to take a moment to smell the roses. (Especially when we think we’re too busy.

I decided to post my photos on Facebook, using my phone to take the photo and uploading it with the hashtag #100happydays. I was really excited to do it, and I made the resolution to take photos of both objects and experiences that brought me joy in every day life. It did get a little uninspiring after I’d been doing it for a while, but I’d made a public commitment so I kept up with it. And do you know what I learned?
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Addiction to Online Gaming

Posted on Sep 15 by

Image by Peter the Repeater @ Flickr

Xin gets us thinking about addiction in this blog, and when a passion has started to negatively impact on our lives.

In 2003, I started playing an MMORPG called RuneScape. In case you’re not familiar, MMORPG stands for Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game. This is a game where a large number of people can go online and play together, often in a fantasy/adventure setting. World of Warcraft (WoW) is probably the most famous of them, but there are plenty of other ones out there at the moment.

As I was saying, I played RuneScape quite a bit in 2003 when online gaming was just starting to flourish. I enjoyed it so much that I played it at every spare moment of the day, and often in moments that weren’t spare at all. I’d log on to kill greater demons for 20 minutes after breakfast, or set my alarm for 3am so that I didn’t have to share the computer with my brother. In one instance when one of my friends was having a bad day, I chose to stay home from school and go questing with her to cheer her up. I poured hours and hours of my life into the game, and almost as much into the clan (community of players) I was part of, posting on the forums and trying to maintain dozens of friendships. Eventually I couldn’t keep it up, and I finally realised what I had long suspected: that I was addicted to RuneScape.
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Image Expectations

Posted on Jul 31 by

With Fresh Faced Friday coming up on the 5th September, Bethwyn gets us thinking about image expectations, both the ones we place on ourselves, and ones people place upon us.

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You're one of a kind - that's a good thing. Image Credit: net_efekt @Flickr

During the end of Primary School, and all of High School, I convinced myself that I was ‘average-looking’. This may not sound too bad, but, for me, being ‘average’ was absolutely awful. It was a truly awful word that I hated, and yet I used it often to describe myself.

The thing was, I was surrounded by friends – both male and female (mostly female) that I considered more attractive than myself – and quite a few of them were smarter than me, as well. At the time, I felt like you were either beautiful/attractive, or you were smart. There were a few that had both, and a few that had neither. I felt like I was in limbo – not quite anything. It wasn’t pleasant, to say the least.
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Yep, you’re smokin today

Posted on Jul 31 by

Friday 5th Sept is Fresh Faced Friday where you are invited to ‘tear up’ talk about negative body image and help everyone realise it’s okay to love their bodies! In celebration of this, this blog is about a time I looked in the mirror and recognised myself as a beautiful person. I hope that by talking about it, more people come to recognise that it’s okay to feel good about who they are and the way they look, ’cause baby let me tell you: you look smokin’ today.

So a little while ago I had just finished a morning exercise class where I had gotten up at ungodly time of 5:15am to run and pull and jump and swing. I had worked really hard that morning, pushing myself until I was glistening with sweat, yet smiling in my heart for how healthy I felt. I got back to my girlfriend’s place and jumped in the (cold shower, and when I got out to dry myself, I was caught aback by my reflection. In all humility, I had never seen myself look so beautiful in all my life. I stood there for a long moment, amazed at how young and fit and healthy I was.
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Differing Signals: How to be who you are despite confusing messages

Posted on Jul 31 by

Image by Lex McKee @Flickr

I’m quite introverted. I have nothing against extroverts at all – I think it’s so great that they are able to go out and socialise so often, and to have personalities that are often described as ‘go-getters’ or ‘bright sparks’. That’s amazing. But it’s not me. I spend a lot of time either alone or just with a couple of people at a time, and I really enjoy times like that. Socialising takes energy from me, and so I spend a lot of time recovering by doing quiet things.
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Releasing Control

Posted on Jul 31 by

Image by NobMouse @flickr

There have been so many tragedies on the news lately, planes going missing, planes being shot down. Wars happening. World leaders acting less than ideally. And so many problems happening within Australia that people are beginning to question whether we are really the kind and calm people we were once painted to be.

And then within people’s own lives, there are so many worrisome things that happen. Losing loved ones, or having someone close to us get very sick – either suddenly, or gradually. Everyday stressors impact on us, too. The guy driving in front of you that cuts you off or doesn’t indicate before swerving in front of you, your boss giving you more work than you can possibly handle, your friend not returning your calls because they have a new partner and have disappeared into them. Your pet throwing up on your favourite rug, or tripping you over and making you smash your favourite mug.
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Be Kind to Yourself

Posted on Jul 30 by

“To be nobody-but-yourself
in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else
means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.”

ee cummings

 

We don't have to sell us, to conform to what other think we should be. Image Credit Liam Wilde @flickr

When was the last time you looked in the mirror and thought, “I look great; I am happy with myself”? I can say that personally, my inner dialogue fluctuates daily based mainly on my emotions (and not reality).

Our feelings are not always accurate, especially when based in guilt or comparing ourselves to someone else and/or unrealistic standards. I also find that an unhappiness with my body spreads to other areas, making me feel lesser in many facets of life.

Our generation is so stressed; information is coming at us from every direction with perfection always frustratingly just out of reach. We are expected to be advanced in many ways because we have so much that past generations did not (read: the World Wide Web, Facebook, Reddit, etc.). While the expanded worldview we gain from this is invaluable, it also leads to a consuming competition between who looks the best on social media, or does more interesting things on Facebook. We forget that posts and snapshots are momentary, often posed, glimpses not into another’s life, but into a limited view of how they choose to represent their reality. Camera angles and filters can make someone look thin/happy/fulfilled, but let’s not forget the bigger picture.

Body image‘ is one of those catchphrases that makes many young adults roll their eyes because it’s a complex issue that often gets glossed over. However, I think that the image we internalize and tell ourselves ABOUT ourselves is so vitally important. Bigger than your body, what do you think about you as a human being? The bigger picture here is self respect.
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Why do you wear makeup?

Posted on Jul 29 by

Image Credit: MyLifeThroughPhotography @flickr

Have you every wondered about the reason why you wear makeup? Was it your idea? Or did a well-meaning parent or sibling take you aside one day and press a bottle of foundation into your hands?

The reason I’m asking this is because our society conditions girls to think that they need to wear makeup in order to be pretty or attractive. I think that there is something really wrong with that.

The first time I wore makeup was when I was 17 and in year 11 at high school. For years all the girls around me had gradually started wearing makeup until I was one of a rare few that hadn’t yet. I felt happy with my decision, knowing within me that I didn’t need to put a kind of paint on my face in order to be attractive. I valued my brains and abilities over my appearance and hadn’t even thought about makeup.

But all that changed one day when my Mum arrived home with a present for me: a bottle of foundation, mascara and an eyeliner pen. I was confused and hurt when she told me that I should start wearing makeup. She told me that “it would make me feel better” and that I would need to wear makeup when I finished school so I might as well start now.
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