Thursday, March 18, 2021

Hypocrisy: the loss of authenticity

I remember when Facebook came out in the early 2000's; I used to "friend" everyone I remotely knew and for a while, it felt like a big happy friend reunion.  I started reconnecting with old friends, getting to know new friends and feeling like I was part of everyone's daily life, it was literally the best invention anyone could come up with. And for a while IT WAS all sunshine and butterflies...until it wasn't anymore. Gosh how I miss the years of well-intended and genuine people!

But this post isn't about social media (I think I've already said my piece on that topic) but about how we have become hypocrites in the name of "political correctness". My grandma used to say "la educación tiene un dejo de hipocresía", which would translate into something like "manners and education have a touch of hypocrisy". I will admit to that phrase not fully synching in until modern times happened, but now I GET IT!
Everyone talks about diversity of everything, but no one mentions diversity of thought. It seems like such a foreign concept to some to not have to always agree with each other. We are all individuals, we naturally think differently and while I am sure we all feel more comfortable around people who think like us, isn't that really boring?
Are we really just tolerating each other? Are we quickly slowly losing our authenticity and becoming the biggest hypocrites? Are we playing a role?

In my case, people who know me well know I am "radical"; many of my opinions are black and white and I can come across as arrogant and self-righteous.  People who know me well also know that I am passionate, understanding and compassionate. Despite my "radical" beliefs, I can appreciate diversity and I actually love a good debate. 
But it does get tricky because there is a fine line between blunt honesty and cruelty. I used to be an "I don't care what people think" kind of person but with experience and maturity, I have come to realize that caring about what people think shows empathy, which is a necessary (and very useful) quality. We all need to be empathic, everyone could use a little kindness in their lives.
But then I think "how much should we care?" Are we willing to lose our authenticity for the sake of empathy?  Am I a hypocrite too?  Do I want to be one?

I know people from all walks of life, I have friends that cringe at the thought of me voting for Trump (and I did!), friends that think my pareting approach is totally off and friends that completely disagree with me on every possible relevant subject, but I'd like to think those friends love me for who I am and embrace diversity of thought (I know I do!).  But some days I have my doubts!
I have lost faith on the idea that "everyone has the best intentions"; we have become slaves to political correctness and in the process we have lost our authenticity and traded it for "social hypocrisy", a quality that our society promotes and has turned us all into single-layer individuals that no longer have the backbone to stand for something but can surely fall for anything so long as it avoids controversy and prevents disagreements. We have come to believe that thinking differently and not going with the flow is evil, that it somehow turns us into rivals. I hope we snap out of it soon!

So to end, I want to say THANK YOU to the real, authentic people in my life, to the friends who are willing to stay in my corner even when they think what I say makes no sense and they'd rather run and hide but decide to stay. Thank you to the ones that can tell judgement and concern apart, to the ones that value honesty and aren't afraid to challenge me when they deem it necessary, Thank you to the ones whose love and friendship don't depend on political views or feeling hurt by a differing opinion. Thank you to the ones that hold on to their authenticity and will never give into hypocrisy! 

Happy Blogging! :)

Edited to add that I've been saying this all along, as evidenced by THIS OLD POST 

Friday, March 12, 2021

Perpetual Sadness

Disclaimer: This post is about a state of "Perpetual Sadness" in our world and not indicative of personal depression or other mental health issues. If you or someone you know is experiencing depression, please seek professional help.

There is something about coming to terms with raw emotions that tends to be intimidating. When I'm sad, all I want to do is sleep or be alone for a bit. 

But facing struggles is part of life and I wholeheartedly believe that a good support system makes all the difference in the world. I often tell my friends and family how blessed I feel for having them in my life; how knowing that a comforting word is only a phone call away makes everything so much easier...some days that comfort is needed more than others.

I have a good life, a life filled with happy moments, amazing memories, an awesome family, and many things going for me (thank you, God!) but lately, there are times when I can't shake that feeling of perpetual sadness that often floods my days. I know sadness is a normal reaction to a loss, disappointment, problems, or other difficult situations and feeling sad from time to time is just another part of being human; but sometimes I feel like the world's current state is just so overwhelming. 

I find myself crying randomly when I pick up my kids from school and see all those children in masks; I know it sounds silly but it just makes me so sad to see what things have turned into and I wonder when we'll be able to go back to some sort of "normal" (I know many people feel this way too). 

I see people around me losing their common sense by the minute and our natural reaction is now to avoid physical contact or personal closeness; the very things that make our hearts beat faster, the things that make us feel loved and connected. I miss the normal and abundantly happy times that we were all so used to.

When I turn on the TV, all I see is a polarized world, a world in which feelings don't matter and the best opinion is the one that matches your own, even if it makes no sense at all. Outside of TV, I see people misconstruing intentions, trampling over moral values, imposing ideas without hearing the other side of stories, spewing insults to strangers, ignoring priorities, and simply not loving one another. 

But whose fault is it? Is this the pandemic's fault? Is it the politicians' fault? or is it US?

We have become used to living in a world of perpetual sadness and I often ask myself how long is too long for sadness? How long is too long for hate? When will the world start focusing on what is good instead of what's bad or offensive?

Ironically enough, my blog's name is "Stories of a Happy Mom" and while I do still consider myself a "happy mom", I find happiness incompatible with the current state of affairs and that just makes me sad.  I have lost faith in humanity, I have seen and heard things this past year that I never thought I'd see or hear.  Sometimes nothing makes sense. 

I find refuge in knowing that it's still very much possible to make a "u-turn", that one day we'll all wake up and say "but there's still so much good among us" and will simply act on it and move on from this worldly funk and perpetual sadness we've all become accustomed to. 

I challenge every one of my readers to begin each day with a grateful heart, to make a choice to be happy and focus on the good.  We can all be each other's light in the darkest times and share the joy in the brightest days!

Happy Blogging!

Monday, January 11, 2021

Happy 2021!


It's weird to be back to blogging after so long, only to wish everyone a "Happy New Year" in mid-January; but I guess it's better than not showing up at all and leaving my poor blog to die alone.  

I won't write another post about how "bad" 2020 was or how "redemptive" 2021 will be, because the truth is that we all live different experiences and any given year is what we make of it. In all honesty, 2020 was a bit uninspiring as far as writing goes but life went on, and incredibly enough, a lot of good things happened for us.

As far as updates go, I can say that we've all managed to stay healthy in the middle of this devastating pandemic, the kids have been back to in-person school, Iggy and I have been working the whole time and we bought a house! (yay!)

Here's a recount of the 3 top things that 2020 brought for us and how we managed to turn them into a positive almost every time:

1. Anxiety: Between the lockdowns and the uncertainty, I know I am not alone when I say that my anxiety was through the roof for a good few months. Not knowing what was coming next, and being bombarded with bad news on a daily basis was hard but a lot of learning came from it.  I was able to turn my anxiety into coping and my coping into spirituality and I can honestly say I'm a better person now when the pandemic started... and for that I'm thankful! I can now handle anxiety better and help others to do the same. Prayer was always a part of my life, but now it's definitely the center of it. "Nothing is impossible to God!"

2. Restrictions: Everyone who knows me is well aware that I love to travel, I also love shopping and hanging out with friends, so the restrictive nature of 2020 was rough for me.  Not only were we confined to certain places and spaces, but we were also constantly missing the human interaction and seeing how the world crumbled around us.  The restrictions, however, brought on more family "togetherness" and with that came better family relations and a mandatory prioritizing of life in general. If this pandemic taught me anything, it was the fact that all we need to be happy is each other and I am grateful that we were able to rediscover ourselves and nurture our family life. Board games, anyone?

3. Isolation: We are relational individuals, we are used to sharing our experiences with others and that is a big part of life, especially when you are a teenager and constantly crave interactions with other teenagers and like-minded people, so the isolation part of the pandemic was particularly damaging to both Olivia and Gaby. It was hard seeing the kids so alone and at times very sad; they were isolated and relying on technology to hold on to that little bit of contact they had with their friends and with that came an obsessive addiction to social media that wa verging on dangerous. So about two months ago, we made the decision to do away with phones for the girls and help them in refocusing their energy to do more "productive" activities and we have not looked back! Some of you might remember this post from 2019 where I talked about my regrets for giving Olivia a phone at age 10. As time went on (and especially during this pandemic), I was able to take a closer look at the danger that comes with the access that a phone provides and I am 100% convinced that kids DO NOT NEED PHONES! So in a way, I am thankful to the pandemic for opening my eyes and helping me get the courage to disconnect the phones and restrict social media for the girls in a world where that seems so odd  (I will write more about this in a future post- I call it the "reclaim my child's brain" movement). I must say that the girls now have even better relationships with their friends, as crazy as that sounds! ;)

Anyway, enough for a comeback post.. I promise I'll blog more this year and I hope everyone has a wonderful 2021, filled with great opportunities.  I hope we all continue to be finders of the silver lining and bearers of smiles and good news.  As tough as life gets, I am confident that humanity and love will always prevail! 

I pray especially for anyone who has been affected by COVID whether it was losing a loved one, a job or having their life turned upside down.

Happy 2021! :)