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Archive for May, 2016

Beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder.

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

A recent BuzzFeed video raised an important question for women everywhere… “What if I knew I was beautiful?”

Through the lyrics of love songs, the video exemplifies the way women are told that insecurity is an attractive trait.

“You don’t know you’re beautiful, oh oh, that’s what makes you beautiful” – What Makes You Beautiful by One Direction

“Tap on my window, knock on my door, I want to make you feel beautiful” – She Will Be Loved by Maroon 5

“Girl let me love you, and I will love you, until you learn to love yourself” – Let Me Love You by Ne-Yo

In each of these songs, the message is that a woman should be sitting around, feeling down, until someone comes along and tells her she’s beautiful… But what if she already knew?

Women who exhibit self-confidence can be in danger of acquiring negative labels such as, they are vain or full of themselves. A surprising amount of women are in the unhealthy mindset of being under-confident primarily due to society and people they encounter everyday. Instead of exhibiting confidence and accepting compliments, many women deflect this praise with negativity.

But what would happen if women chose to love themselves, without the need for validation from others? What if they chose confidence over insecurity?

As individuals, we are responsible for providing the validation needed to be confident and to succeed. By rejecting pop culture’s absurd notion that insecurity is beautiful, a woman can embrace a strong, positive self-image and give other women the confidence to do the same. We can teach each other how to treat others and ourselves; because everyone should have the right to know they’re beautiful, from the inside out.

“Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. … And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” – Marianne Williamson

Sun & shadow.

Friday, May 20th, 2016

Prospect Hill

The bright of day, the dark of night; true contrast in nature.

Shot by: Kelly Adamson

The golden rule.

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

Witnessing the way people interact with food service staff can be a very telling experience. Their behavior is often a direct reflection of the person they are and the values they live by, not the quality of service.

If you want to see a person’s true colors come out, watch them realize their “plain” Skyline Cheese Coney has onions and see how they react. Or, visit a crowded restaurant and see how they adjust to waiting a few extra minutes for their food.

Working in the food service industry is hard work, there is no doubt about it. The job often requires working long hours and late nights, running around on your feet, juggling many requests and doing it all with a smile. Understandably, mistakes happen, but belittling or lashing out at service staff is evidence of an inflated sense of self. Using the opportunity to treat someone bad because they are required to be accommodating and agree with you, shows a total lack of respect for others and an underlying need to exhibit power.

Confident and kind people do not feel the need to put others down to make themselves feel important or powerful. Empathetic people apply the golden rule of, “treating others as you would want to be treated.” Maybe everyone hasn’t worked in the food industry, but haven’t we all been there in some way- feeling overwhelmed, exhausted or belittled? How would you want someone to treat you in this situation?

The next time you’re at a restaurant, observe how the people you’re with interact with the service staff and you will potentially learn volumes about them. And, if you ever see a person being put down by a self-involved customer, an encouraging smile or comment can go a long way in turning their day around.

Industries fueled by vulnerabilities.

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

Preparing for significant life events, like a wedding, the funeral of a loved one, or the birth of a new baby, causes overwhelming emotions that don’t allow us to think objectively. While our minds are clouded by emotions we turn to industry “experts” for guidance, creating the perfect opportunity for companies to prey on our emotional vulnerability. These for-profit industries often persuade people to spend an absurd amounts of money that no one in a normal emotional state would ever agree to spend on things that simply don’t matter.

The average cost of a funeral today is $6,000 to $10,000. Grieving families are often guilted into extravagant caskets with “special seals” to keep out “gravesite elements.” Often these seals are just cheap rubber gaskets, but even if they worked, does it really make sense to spend thousands of extra dollars to protect a dead body? A person thinking objectively would say no, but funeral directors know that a grieving loved one is likely to pay for the casket upgrade. Ordering flowers through a funeral home to sit on top of and around the casket can also cost the family thousands of dollars. It’s obvious that no one is at the service for the flowers, and that money could instead be donated or used to support the family of the deceased, but people in a fragile, emotional state aren’t thinking clearly and often say yes. Throughout the entire process, everything is designed to make a profit, but is disguised as a necessity to honor the deceased.

Weddings are no longer centered on the couple celebrating their love with friends and family, unless they choose to do so without the help of wedding planners and retail establishments catering to wedding spenders.. With an average cost of $26,000, weddings are now about creating Pinterest-perfect events centered on “The Dress”, centerpieces, extravagant venues, top-notch catering, an elaborate rehearsal dinner, matching bridesmaids outfits for the bachelorette party, engagement photos on top of the wedding photos and gifts exchanged between the bride and groom the morning of the ceremony… aren’t wedding bands enough?

Couples, who aren’t looking at the event with an objective point of view, are often persuaded to buy into the bridal industry madness. While wedding dress shopping, brides are presented with dresses that cost thousands and thousands of dollars, and then told by consultants the dress is too perfect to pass up, after all it is their big day, can’t someone in their family help with the cost? $10,000 would make a great down payment on the couple’s new home, or go a long way in setting up a college fund for their children in the future, but the brides aren’t thinking straight and the consultants are great sales people.

Capitalism can be a beautiful thing, but the ethics of preying on the emotional vulnerability of people experiencing life-changing events should make us stop and think. These industries are fueled by the purchasing power of the people, who need to harness that power by saying enough is enough. Let’s get back to the basics by focusing on the true meaning and emotion behind what matters most.

Goodbye Winter.

Friday, May 6th, 2016

Main Street OTR

Cold and crisp; no green to be found.  Winter has come and gone once again.

Shot by: Kelly Adamson