We are all searching ourselves for a purpose, a career or a life that really matter. So if you feel stuck, trapped or hopeless—if you want more—ask yourself these five questions to get your life back on track:
1. Why am I here?
Right now, whatever coffee shop, classroom, cubicle or conference room you might be sitting in, why are you here?
What brought me to this moment?
What strengths, personality, creativity and talent do I have at my disposal?
Without placing blame or making some sort of rationalization, what the heck am I doing with my life today?
2. What is my story?
Stories are powerful, regardless of whether they are true. They give you a narrative to live by and life lessons to pass on, that shape the person you are becoming.
One of the reasons you might be experiencing unrest and frustration in life today is that you might not have a better story shaping your life.
You need a heroic narrative. A story that calls out your best and highest self.
A big part of this is learning how to let go of past guilt and regret, and to start living your life with conviction. You cannot change your past, but you can create a better future. Today is a new day with new opportunities, so start living a better story. Live with a deeper sense of responsibility with the amazing talents, genius and strengths you have been given.
3. Who do I need?
Investing in the right relationships and surrounding yourself with the right people is crucial to your success. It sounds a bit harsh, but there are some necessary endings that you need to embrace—friends who are not really friends, people who suck the life out of you.
Who in my life is holding me back from becoming my best self?
Who do I need to ask for help?
Do I have any honest voices in my life?
4. What is at stake?
What upsets me about the world today?
What frustrates me?
What problem do I want to solve?
These are clues to your calling. Windows into your soul. Why? What frustrates you reveals what you care about most. The only way to live life with passion is to discover, name and fight for what matters most to you.
5. How can I help?
In layman’s terms, your life can impact and influence others in meaningful ways. Even small ways. A smile, a hug, a thank you, a high-five, eye contact, an email or kind word. All energy transferring in the form of hope from you to another. How beautiful is that?
But you have to start. Commit to serve someone else in some small way. Give more than you take. Listen more than you talk. Write an email or letter of encouragement to someone who has helped you. Get your focus off yourself and onto others.
I guarantee you will surprise yourself with how good it feels to fight for something that matters. For someone who needs your help.
Every family has a few of these types, those who stake their right to every bit of information!
They are the eager beavers or the frequent busybodies present almost in every family. Many a times these intrusive individuals are not overly concerned because they are altruistic or want to see harmony in the family; it is usually because they are meddlers.
Define and verbalize your boundaries: You set the boundaries in your relationships. If those boundaries are crossed and the other person can’t seem to take the hint, you have to assert yourself to restore balance. If you have relatives who fail to respect your boundaries and behave as if the purpose of your relationship is for you to bend over backwards to satisfy all of their needs, you certainly aren’t alone. I’m talking about boundaries that you consider to be bottom lines that should not be crossed, ones that make you feel violated when they are.
Often people make the mistake of succumbing to the outwardly friendly approach of these busy bodies and succumb to their wily ways for the purpose of being liked. By the time they realize, it is too late as they may have established habits and practices that are not only irritating, but also interfering. It’s a fact in most extended families’, relatives feel they have a right to all information and assume an active central role. The thought is that since you are related, you should share every intimate detail of your life with each other, and give commentary and suggestions. In large families, this takes the form of gossip about other family members providing entertainment value.
One must set limits with them and its never too late to do this, because the longer they are allowed to interfere, the greater the influence these meddling types will have on your relationships with others. It is important to speak up when asked to do or say something with which you do not agree.
Do not sacrifice your opinions or what you know to be right simply for the sake of getting along with your relatives. When they do something you do not like, tell them in a civilized manner what they did and why it upsets you.
Try and be conciliatory by explaining what is acceptable, but again, not at the expense of your beliefs or self-esteem. If you have reconnected with any of the family member, be on alert. Old patterns will most likely remain in waiting to thrust you into the same old position.
With this said keep in mind that you have to do what is best for yourself, regardless of how your family may respond.
The choice of making a change is something that you are doing for your benefit, and not for anyone else’s harm.
You should not feel guilty for doing what is right for you.
To prevent your relatives from meddling in your personal affairs here are a few tips you may want to try:
Do not talk too much about your business.
Keep your business out of the street.
Just say nothing. If someone in your family comes to you meddling. Just tell them you don’t wish to talk about it.
Tell your kids to keep their tongue. Sometimes conniving relatives will go so far as to ask your children questions about your life. If some of their relatives want to know about you, tell your children to say, “you have to ask my mother or father about that.”
Change the conversation. If a family member wants to meddle in your affairs, try changing the subject.
Flip the question around on them. Most times people like to meddle in your affairs, but they do not like for you to meddle in their’s.
Another tactic is to answer their questions with one of your own. When the meddling relative begins to inquire about your personal life in a way that you aren’t comfortable with, here is your answer: “Why do you ask?”. The question makes them uncomfortable and forces them to assess their true motives, as well.
Lay new ground rules for your relationship, and stick by them, even when it hurts. It will pay off in the long run.
Eventually your family will get used to the new you, and learn how to relate to you.
Family is what you are born into, there is no choice about it. Do all that you can to keep these relationships healthy and intact. They are important, but always remember that you are in control of your life and how you choose to live it. Don’t allow yourself to be run over or exhausted by meddlesome relatives.
“You can put a stop to it, at best by questioning their intent and at worst by severing the relations.”
She gave life. She is a wife. She is a mother and she is a friend. She is a sister, a survivor ’til the end.
Appreciate her, we don’t dare. Ask her worries, we don’t care. Wipe away her tears, they are invisible as air.
She works, cooks, and cleans. She laughs, helps comfort, and hides her pain. When you struggle, she pulls you through.
All this is her, and what do we do? Complain and create a mess, Provide stress and leave her feeling depressed, Push her away and ignore her advice, Tell her she is nothing without thinking twice.
She swallows her pride, put her feelings aside. Does as you need in order for you to be free. Ignores your ignorance and tolerates your flaws. You call her names, but She answers with pride, dignity, and a complete loss of self. You call her nothing. I call her Strong, Smart, Sensual, Caring, Giving, Surviving, Tolerant and powerful. I call her WOMAN!
“If you can’t go back to your mother’s womb, you’d better learn to be a good fighter.” ― Anchee Min, Red Azalea
Chances are, as feminists and other liberal-minded people, most of you have heard the phrase “rape culture.”
Perhaps some people truly don’t understand what rape culture is.
After all, if you’re hearing the phrase for the first time, it can be really confusing.
We understand the word “culture,” from a sociological or anthropological viewpoint, to be things that people commonly engage in together as a society (ranging from the arts to education to table manners), and we find it difficult to link the word “rape” in with that concept.
We know that at its core, our society is not something that outwardly promotes rape, as the phrase could imply. That is, we don’t, after all, “commonly engage” in sexual violence “together as a society.”
To understand rape culture better, first we need to understand that it’s not necessarily a society or group of people that outwardly promotes rape (although it could be).
When we talk about rape culture, we’re discussing something more implicit than that. We’re talking about cultural practices (that, yes, we commonly engage in together as a society) that excuse or otherwise tolerate sexual violence.
We’re talking about the way that we collectively think about rape.
More often than not, it’s situations in which sexual assault, rape, and general violence are ignored, trivialized, normalized, or made into jokes.
And this happens a lot.
All the time.
And it’s dangerous in that it is counterproductive to eliminating sexual violence from society.
So what, exactly, does rape culture look like? How does it present itself?
Well, to see what I’m referring to, take a look at the examples below.
Because if we don’t understand the meaning behind the concept of rape culture, or if we have a skewed interpretation of the meaning in our minds, we may find it easy to deny its existence.
And you may think that some of these examples are isolated, one-off situations. But in reality, they’re part of a larger societal trend.
That is rape culture.
Rape Culture Is…
1. A university in Canada that allows the following student orientation chant: “Y is for your sister. O is for oh-so-tight. U is for underage. N is for no consent. G is for grab that ass.”
2. Pop music that tells women “you know you want it” because of these “blurred lines” (of consent).
3. A judge who sentenced only 30 days in jail to a 50-year-old man who raped a 14-year-old girl (who later committed suicide), and defended that the girl was “older than her chronological age
4. Mothers who blame girls for posting sexy selfies and leading their sons into sin, instead of talking with their sons about their responsibility for their own sexual expression.
5. Photo memes like this:
6. Supporting athletes who are charged with rape and calling their victims career-destroyers.
7. Companies that create decals of a woman bound and gagged in order to “promote their business.”
8. People who believe that girls “allow themselves to be raped.”
9. Journalists who substitute the word “sex” for “rape” – as if they’re the same thing.
10. Politicians distinguishing “legitimate rape” and stating that rape is “something that God intended to happen,” among other horrendous claims.
11. Calling college students who have the courage to report their rapes liars.
12. The ubiquity of street harassment – and how victims are told that they’re “overreacting” when they call it out.
13. Victims not being taken seriously when they report rapes to their university campuses.
14. Rape jokes – and people who defend them.
15. Sexual assault prevention education programs that focus on women being told to take measures to prevent rape instead of men being told not to rape.
16. The victimization of hospital patients, especially people with mental health issues and the elderly, by the very people who are there to protect them.
17. Reddit threads with titles like “You just have to make sure she’s dead” when linking to the story of a 13-year-old girl in Pakistan being raped and buried alive.
18. Reddit threads dedicated to men causing women pain during sex (I’m not going to give the thread credence by linking to it).
19. Twitter hashtags that support accused rapists and blame victims.
20. Publicly defending celebrities accused of rape just because they’re celebrities and ignoring or denouncing what the victim has to say.
21. Assuming that false reporting for sexual assault cases are the norm, when in reality, they’re only 2-8%, which is on par with grand theft auto.
22. Only 3% of rapists ever serving a day in jail.
23. Women feeling less safe walking the streets at night than men do.
24. 1-in-5 women and 1-in-71 men having reported experiencing rape.
25. The fact that we have to condition ourselves not to use violent language in our everyday conversations.
And the list could go on.
Because examples of rape culture are all around us. They permeate our society at individual, one-on-one levels, as well as in institutionalized, structured ways. That is, after all, exactly how oppression works.
I hope that after reading through the above examples, you have a clearer understanding of what is meant by the phrase “rape culture.” Moreover, I hope that you are more likely to believe in its existence – and to want to fight for its eradication.
Because now that you know what it is, you can work to find ways to prevent it.