Category: blog

Vulnerability is Not Weakness: Let’s See Why!

The most common misconception about vulnerability is seeing it as a weakness. However, this type of thinking results from a general misinterpretation of the word vulnerable.

According to the definition, vulnerable means being susceptible to an attack or harm, which could be achieved by using a security hole from the person’s characteristics. So for someone with lower emotional intelligence, vulnerability would mean precisely the same as weakness. 

But this is not an accurate way of interpreting and connecting the meanings of those couple of terms. They have a deeper meaning, and we are about to discuss them in a bit more detail below. 

Can Vulnerability Be a Weakness?

From a psychological and emotional point of view, vulnerability is anything but a weakness. Just on the contrary – it is often considered a rarely found strength. 

Knowing how to be vulnerable is a very important factor on the path to becoming your best you. Being vulnerable simply means having the courage to:

  • Be your most authentic self and not hide behind facades to impress others;
  • Hold onto who you are without allowing shame or embarrassment to stop you from being real;
  • Show your flaws without feeling like a failure and encourage others to show their letdowns without judging them. 

Or else said – vulnerability is the mindful determination to reveal yourself without fear and be self-confident enough to let others see you for who you are. 

How is Vulnerability Different Than Weakness?

Sometimes, it is hard to accept that someone wants to be good to us or express honest emotion with no second thoughts. So, normally, we keep our defenses too high, making it hard for us to form true friendships and alliances. 

This is where a vulnerability becomes a necessity for further growth. Being vulnerable is allowing someone else to know and love you purely. It requires you to be self-aware and conscious to improve your emotional intelligence. 

The most common vulnerability example seems to be sharing personal information that you normally would not share with someone. Vulnerability does not mean over-sharing – it’s a deliberate decision about who you are sharing with. 

How Can I be Vulnerable and Strong?

To be vulnerable means to let your guards down and be seen for who we truly are. There are a few steps you can go through in order to turn your vulnerability into your superpower:

Change Your Mindset

You are no longer playing the victim, and you need to stop using vulnerability as an excuse to feel sorry for yourself. That means deeply acknowledging a painful situation and your personal role in bringing it about without allowing things to define your identity.

Tear Down Those Walls

Reach out to others and share your story. When you stop playing the victim, you stop looking to others for consolation, and as a result, people will feel safer sharing their ideas because they won’t feel responsible for fixing you. So stop expecting others to swoop in and save you, and instead, use them as a source of inspiration. 

You’ll find that more people can relate to you than you think. And once you realize that you’re not the only one carrying a burden, you’ll feel its weight lift from your shoulders. Then, a sudden power that allows you to move forward will kick in. That’s the moment your vulnerability turns into a superpower.

Commit to the New Mindset

A good mindfulness routine is a perfect countermeasure. When you feel that victim mentality creeping up again, try doing some stream-of-consciousness journaling, gratitude journaling, meditation, and track your sleep to ensure you get those eight hours. These strategies lead to a heightened awareness of the good things in life that, when recognized daily, can stop you from falling victim to the bad kind of vulnerability.

Knowing how to be vulnerable requires you to analyze yourself, identify your existing capacities and focus on your desired ones. This process is called a capacity assessment. It will help you understand your personal needs and where you need to expand your capacity. Vulnerability and capacity assessment play an essential role in personal development.

Why is Vulnerability so Hard?

As we mentioned earlier, you need to take your guards down to allow yourself to be vulnerable. But it is not comfortable letting your guard down and allowing someone else to see your not-so-good side. That makes it hard. And that’s why vulnerability takes courage

Try to observe your conversations with your friends and family, for example. You may notice that most of them are so shallow, basic topics. They don’t go deeper. If you want to build deep connections with people around you, you need to have the courage to be vulnerable.

It is hard and embarrassing to tell people what you’re bad at. You will probably not feel comfortable in these emotions. But we all know that growth does not come from a comfort zone. We are constantly amazed by an example of failure we’ve read about. And still, we don’t want to experience the same things. We are afraid to share our own mistakes, often because of our pride and ego.

But if you open up about your mistakes, you will connect with other people on a deeper level. Your failures are not a big deal. What matters here is what you have learned and how you’ve struggled. This will shape your personality, emotional well-being, and your ability to feel a genuine connection with the people surrounding you. You will enter a new world where you don’t feel shame for what you’ve been through in life. 

Instead, life will become a safe place to exchange experiences. And that’s something worth giving a shot!

How to Stop Overthinking: Your Full Guide

We all overthink situations in our day-to-day life. But if you overthink too much for too long, this might be a sign that you are an extreme overthinker.

If your thoughts are on repeat if you are worrying and ruminating, or even if you overthink about overthinking, then you’ll have plenty of hands-on advice in the paragraphs below.

So, how to stop overthinking and improve your overall well-being?

How to Get Rid of Negative Thoughts?

Let’s say it how it is – people are rarely overthinking about their happiest moments, and overthinking is seldom associated with calmness and peace. So – how are you supposed to stop the automatic negative thoughts from creeping in?

First of all – try to rephrase.

The moment you catch yourself thinking about something negative, try to rephrase it in your head. For example, when overthinking, your negative thoughts might sound something like, “I’m alone, I feel lonely.” Try to restate this and replace it with “I will make time for myself to enjoy my company and practice self-love.” This technique will help you to see things from a different perspective. 

Also, allow yourself to ask for help. It is not embarrassing to see a therapist. We often make it through school and into our careers without ever being taught how to build and maintain healthy relationships with ourselves and others. And this is what a counselor or therapist can do for you.

What Triggers Overthinking?

You are overthinking when you want to protect yourself from your fears and past traumas – even if you don’t do it consciously. But it is very important to deep dive and understand what stands underneath your overthinking patterns.

Think about what wounds and fears you are trying to protect yourself from. It could be a fear of abandonment, rejection, embarrassment, fear of not feeling good enough, and so on.

Normally, you start overthinking, hoping it will safeguard you from fears and negativity. But in reality, you don’t feel protected in any way. Instead, it leads to quite the opposite – when you overthink, you are actually sabotaging yourself and your thoughts; you are not protecting yourself.

What is Overthinking a Symptom Of?

People who suffer from depression, anxiety, ADHD, and eating disorders share a common overthinking symptom. It is a narrative in your head you can’t stop playing over and over again.

When you are overthinking, your mental health and well-being begin to decrease. It lowers your confidence and increases your sense of indecisiveness.

As a part of your self-awareness journey, you need to be aware and accept that overthinking is not serving you in any way. It is not helping or protecting you. Instead, it consumes you by preventing you from growing, having self-confidence, and building healthy relationships.

Is Overthinking a Mental Disorder?

Overthinking is not by itself classified as a mental disorder. But it is a symptom of a mental illness like depression and anxiety. For example, people who suffer from generalized anxiety disorder tend to fall into overthinking habits more often than not. It leads to restlessness, lack of concatenation, and irregular sleep. 

Though it might be easier said than done, a crucial first step for mentally healthy overthinkers would be to learn to let go. Don’t try to control uncontrollable things – instead, try to focus on things you can control, which is your current, present reality. If you train yourself to manage your perspective, beliefs, thoughts, and actions, overthinking can start slowly easing, and your quality of life will change drastically. 

How to Stop Overthinking in a Relationship?

It takes time to build mindfulness habits. But it is absolutely worth it if you wish to have a joyful, peaceful, and deeply connected relationship with your partner.

Your mind is an amazing network of unlimited energy and pathways, and they can lead you straight into relationship hell if you don’t know how to rein them in.

So, how to proceed?

Complete the story in your head and be okay with the outcome

Your mind wants to see the end of every story you play in your head. And if you don’t finish the narratives, your mind will bring them up over and over again. At the end of the day, this will become a rather negative and draining background in your head. 

Sometimes, the story in your head can be one of self-hate, where your mind tells you that you are not good enough for your partner. When you take a narrative to completion, your mind will know what happens at the end and how worse things could be. Your mind will know what fear it might be dealing with, and – paradoxically or not – you might feel way better where you are now. 

The stories in your head are all fiction

You need to be self-aware, and you need to come to a realization that the stories in your head are just thoughts. They are not real. They are all fiction. Your mind is creating them. That is its job. 

So – it would be best if you could stop identifying reality with your thoughts and stop assigning so much significance to your imagination.

Talk to your partner about your concerns

Be assertive in your communication so that you can work things out together as a team. This way, you will be building up respect, trust, and openness in your relationship.

The more honest you are – the better, even if it means you’ll show up as vulnerable. 

Ways to Stop Overthinking 

As we already clarified above, people often overthink to protect themselves from their own fears and suspicions. Allow yourself to feel these emotions, and don’t rush to oppose them right away. As long as you resist, they will persist. 

One way of accepting your fears and wounds is looking at the situation from a different angle. Force yourself to change the perspective of the negative thought – instead of feeling guilt or shame, ask yourself if you are facing fear from your past or the current reality. Often, these thoughts and stories are past traumas that you are projecting onto your present life. If you recognize this pattern, do your best to control and overcome it.

Long story short – when overthinking, we live either in the past or in the future. We miss out on our current reality and cannot be fully content and present. So remind yourself that you can’t change your past, and you can’t control your future. Try to be grounded and present as much as possible, and always bring yourself to the current moment when you start to overthink. 

Reading, writing, and meditation are also very helpful in building mindfulness. Eating healthily and exercising are crucial for overcoming this bad habit, and some daily exercises in Relaxify App will also bring you to create more beneficial inner dialogues. Because change comes gradually, and the results are worth it!

The Simple Pleasures in Life: Your Everyday Happiness Guide

Have you ever heard about intentional living? Except for core values, standards, and beliefs, it is about the ability to look out for the simple pleasures in life – all those little things that make life more magical, meaningful, deep, and fulfilling. 

These simple pleasures in life can inspire us, keep us charged with vitality, and make us feel genuine delight and satisfaction. So below, we are digging a bit deeper into why and how we should intentionally let ourselves love the world every now and then.

Is Happiness Something Extraordinary?

More often than not, people create a vision of happiness in their heads – an image or a “perfect-case” scenario taken out of a fantasy or a romantic novel. We know exactly what happiness should be like… But it seems like we have forgotten what it truly is.

We usually tend to aim for big, powerful, large-scale events in order to be delighted in life. But, as a result, we overlook the simple pleasures that surround us – ever expecting something tremendous and ever neglecting all that’s left. 

So, do we know how to be happy in everyday life? Or else put – can we be happy if nothing super intriguing and fascinating happens in our day-to-day lives?

The paragraphs below are a kind reminder to seek out simple pleasures in life. This means you don’t have to experience extraordinary, large-scale events in order to be comfortable with yourself and feel fulfilled. 

What’s Considered a Simple Pleasure?

Let’s say you buy something very common and typical for breakfast – like eggs, for example. You will feel nothing truly special, right? Eating eggs four times a week has already exhausted your fascination, and you’re considering it nothing but a dull routine. 

But suppose you buy some caviar for breakfast. In that case, you will be having something rare, exotic, and different, which will bring you happiness and satisfaction; you will feel like you are a successful person even if you are not currently working.

The same thinking pattern is applied at large-scale events like getting married, buying a house, and career growth – we are happy only during the period of these events. As a result, we are deeply pleased only when something extraordinary happens. And if not – we tend to feel miserable, unsuccessful, and unhappy. This is among the main problems in thinking patterns, leading to anxiety and depression.

A simple pleasure, on the other hand, is a great pleasure for you and not necessarily a significant one for others. It doesn’t need to receive a collective acknowledgment, and sometimes, it can’t even be communicated – it is a brief delight you feel inside of you that bright up your day.  

This pleasure may look very brief and simple – like eating a strawberry, having a nap, seeing a rainbow, smiling at a stranger as you are passing by, or scanning childhood photos. Yet, these sorts of things may be among the most moving and satisfying ones we can ever experience.

What Are Examples of Simple Pleasures in Life?

People can be deeply moved by different small details that mean nothing to others. So, there is no such thing as a universal list of simple pleasures that go equally well for everyone. 

Anyway, there are quite a lot of repetitive delights that people share, and some of them could be:

  • Popping bubble wrap
  • Seeing a rainbow
  • Walking on a beach
  • The first sip of coffee
  • Cuddling
  • Enjoying a meal
  • Cleaning up a mirror
  • Looking at the clouds
  • Having a warm aromatic bath
  • Listening to the rain
  • Sneezing
  • Watching a good movie by yourself
  • Afternoon naps
  • Lighting a candle
  • Painting or writing
  • Being called beautiful
  • Smelling clean sheets
  • Sleeping an extra hour
  • Talking to a grandparent
  • Someone playing with your hair
  • Discovering a new favorite song
  • A spontaneous haircut
  • A perfectly sharpened pencil
  • A great hair day
  • The warm breeze, etc.

This list is potentially limitless. There are many simple pleasures in this world to be happy about, and it’s absolutely okay to find yours – even if it has nothing to do with others’. 

Why are Simple Pleasures in Life Important?

Often, when we are feeling stressed out, or life gets really, really busy, the first thing that goes out of the window is looking out for those simple pleasures. We forget how important they actually are and as time goes by, we even stop noticing them. (1)

But when we stop detecting all the good things, we start noticing all the bad things instead. They start to slowly build up and bring us more stress and anxiety. We see the world as a very negative place. We become very negative, defensive, and skeptical. Often, we start subconsciously looking for things that are not favorable, which can spiral our lives down into a very gloomy loop.

When we consider positive things, obviously, our life gets a more optimistic focus than when we focus on negative things. So to protect ourselves from habitual negativity, we need to be more self-aware and start noticing when our life is headed toward that negative spiral. 

Then we have to do our best to push ourselves to the positive side. To do that, we can use the power of these simple little pleasures, which means we need to make it a priority to consciously think about them.

We can go outside and search for the little things surrounding us at any given time. We need to open up our senses so that we can enjoy these little everyday blessings. They are always there. It is up to you if you can see and cherish them as often as you deserve to. 

Once we train our brain to do this, it will really shift our whole paradigm. People who can look out for simple pleasures and enjoy them have more meaning, depth, and happiness in their lives.

Or Else Said…

Being able to appreciate small pleasures means trusting our own responses a little more. That means we don’t need to wait for everything interesting and charming for us to be approved and appreciated the same way by others. Instead, we have to trust our senses, open up to the muted signals we feel, and allow ourselves to relish the little life treats without worrying if they make sense to others.

At the end of the day, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to bring your conscious awareness to seek out these experiences, enjoy them, and appreciate them. Soon, you will notice the level of satisfaction in your life will go up to an incredibly elevated span. Staying in this positive mind space will help you continue on the path of your goals and feel much more motivated and fulfilled.

High Expectations vs. High Standards in a Relationship

Building and maintaining healthy relationships with others is not an exact science, and you can’t use a single formula to get you safely through your social realm. Anyway, there are still some basic principles you can figure out and try to follow when looking to bring some structure to your interpersonal communication patterns. 

Understanding the logic of standards and expectations is easily on the top of the list. And learning to use that insight in a healthy and transparent manner quickly follows. 

So, today, we are shining some light on the difference between high expectations vs. high standards, along with the ways to incorporate them in your relationships with others – be them romantic partners, friends, relatives, or colleagues.

expectations-and-standards

What’s the Difference Between Standards and Expectations?

First of all, we need to make a clear distinction between both terms, regardless of how intuitively close to each other they may seem.

Standards are Your Steady Compass

Your standards are your personal set of “norms” of acceptable and unacceptable. They are rather unambiguous and pretty factual: open romantic relationships are either acceptable to you or not; sharing your budget is either acceptable or not; you can either accept being “seen” for three days, or not. 

Standards are not person-specific. They are the healthy boundaries, values, and principles you use to protect yourself from people and situations that you can’t tolerate. When you try to define your own value system, you’re not thinking of a potential partner – you are thinking of yourself.

Also – believe it or not – not everyone has the same standards in a relationship, and being open about your basis for judgment is vital for evaluating your fundamental compatibility with a person in the first place. 

Expectations are Your Fleeting Assumptions and Beliefs

If standards are very real, fixed, and persistent, expectations are more fluctuating, more dynamic, and more burdened with subjective emotion. Basically, they are your belief that something will happen or that someone will act in a certain way. 

Expectations can emerge, form, and evolve as a result of past experiences or hopes for the future. They can be fact-driven or absolutely irrational; they can be too optimistic or too pessimistic; they can be logical or not. And – as you may have already figured out yourself – relationship expectations can also be very painful if they are incongruent with what others deliver.

At the end of the day, both standards and expectations need to be intelligently managed if you’re after a fruitful, mutually satisfying relationship.

Why is Having High Standards in a Relationship Important?

Having high standards in love is basically a form of self care and self respect. If you’re struggling with your self esteem, you can easily slip and keep on tolerating behavior that hasn’t met your standards. That’s you being toxic to yourself – because no one else can be, unless you let them be. 

Your standards should never be lowered in order to meet the expectations of others. This simple management rule is evergreen, no matter if you’re running a business or your personal life. 

Always keep in mind that your momentary passions and fleeting affections will most probably sink into oblivion – but your mere self will always be in the spotlight, and a heartbreak is always better than self destruction.

Some of the examples of high standards in a relationship might be:

  • Respect for your opinions, feelings, needs, beliefs, and desires;
  • Shared values, ethics, morals, and even philosophy;
  • Honesty, trustworthiness, and transparency in challenging situations;
  • Feeling of safety, equality, and affection;
  • Healthy conflict management and ability to communicate freely; 
  • Mutual attraction and corresponding level of desire, etc.

You have a long list of high standards in a relationship? Good for you. Don’t settle with anything less, because you will most probably regret it in the long term. 

How to Manage Your Expectations in a Relationship?

To have high standards is one thing; but to manage your expectations is a different story. The correlation between those two is not unproblematic, especially when big feelings get in the way of your realistic judgment. 

The worst-case scenario is the one where you have high expectations towards people who obviously don’t even stand up to your standards. Being in love often does this trick to people, and that’s the fastest shortcut to disappointment. 

All in all, expectations are not the enemy. On the contrary – they can navigate your experience well enough, as long as they are realistic.

So, how to set expectations in a relationship?

  • Take your time to reflect. Grow out of the moment and make your own list of general expectations you would have towards any partner before and after the current one. Become aware of your own needs, because that’s the only way you can share them.
  • Make it a two-way street. Instead of giving up a list of demands, find a subtle way to communicate them softly and with emotional intelligence. A good strategy would be discussing your partner’s expectations as a way to understand, evaluate, and compare them with yours.
  • Be open and honest. Being subtle and soft doesn’t mean being ambiguous and relying on some vague hints to make you understood. Call things by their real names and don’t substitute “I like spending the weekends alone in the mountains” with “I generally value my space”.
  • Look at the bigger picture. Of course, your expectations might include your partner passionately singing along to your favorite song while sharing a twin flame moment. Anyway, focus your expectations around larger discourses like love language, life goals, compassion patterns – the things that can really affect you and your relationship.
  • Leave a little space for growth. It’s rather unrealistic to expect that you and your significant other will have the exact same expectations towards each other. At the end of the day, you’re different people and staying open-minded is okay as long as it doesn’t mess with your standards

If you follow this simple pattern, designing healthy expectations becomes a mission not-so-impossible. Especially if you have the right person standing in front of you. 

standards-vs-expectations

High Expectations vs. High Standards: The “Standards – High, Expectations – Low” Strategy

Undoubtedly, having high expectations in a relationship can leave you frustrated for a long while – and the more unrealistic your assumptions, the greater the disappointment. Anyway, having no expectations at all is equally unhealthy. 

Volumes of philosophy and psychology have been written on the role of dreams, desires, and expectations in one’s life. So – once you’re sure your prospective partner is near your standards of a good match, your expectations will eventually occur, whether consciously or not. 

Instead of keeping yourself away from all expectations and deliberately distancing yourself emotionally, stay open, direct, and true to yourself and the person next to you. Share your desires; make the extra step to understand and be understood; give it a try and allow yourself to expect great things to happen.

Surely, great things will not always happen. But then – what if they do? 

Pornography and Depression: Are They Related and How?

Recent statistics suggest that problematic pornography use affects about 3% to 6% of the adult population worldwide. In the meantime, The World Health Organization estimates a solid 4% of depression sufferers or about 280 million people all over the globe. 

Of course, these two groups don’t necessarily overlap. In fact, many studies have been carried out in recent years to define and explain the connection between pornography and depression. None of them proved a direct cause-effect correlation, but many of them showed steady overlapping between these phenomena. 

So – can porn make you depressed? Or can your depression drive you to increased porn consumption? Let’s see how things work. 

How Does Porn Cause Depression?

Once again – no one ever proved it does. Or at least not directly. 

There isn’t a single mechanism through which porn will immediately turn you into a sad and self-pitying emotional wreck. Instead, there is a long list of possible interdependence patterns that may include:

  • Taboos. Your background cultural and religious background forms a rather significant part of your value system, whether you want it or not. Certain inbound stereotypes might lead you to a persistent feeling of guilt and shame for consuming pornographic content, causing you to blame yourself and feel pretty bad.
  • Loneliness. Lacking actual physical intimacy and feeling lonely or isolated is among the most commonly spread porn addiction causes. This is a vicious circle where you turn to adult content to satisfy your basic sexual urges but then find yourself gradually depressed about not being able to meet them in any other way.
  • Negative self-image. Early exposure to pornographic content might form some rather unrealistic expectations about intimacy and sexual life in general. And although porn comes in all shapes and sizes, it can often make you feel insecure about your attractiveness and “skills”.
  • Emotional deprivation. If excessive and long-term, porn watching can lead you to objectify the people around you and consider sex to be more physical than an emotional act. Surely, this is not good news for your general intimate life and ability to form healthy bonds with your partners. 

And though these mechanisms are often enough observed in problematic porn users, they are still far from a “formula” that puts a sign of equality between watching porn and being depressed.

pornagraphy

Pornography and Depression vs. Self Pity

It’s more logical and realistic to assume that self-isolating and excessive porn use are common among individuals prone to self-pity rather than clinical depression. And if clinical depression can cause severe symptoms on a purely physical level, self-pity is more of exaggerating misfortune to the point where you become addicted to being sad.

Of course, both conditions are classified as mental health issues and can often overlap with one another. Still, self-pity is a thinking pattern you can work on by choice, while clinical depression is best addressed by a certified mental health practitioner. 

Can Porn Make Depression Worse?

And if there isn’t a single valid proof of the direct correlation between porn and depression, things are different when an already depressed person turns to porn. The reasons are purely physical and are relatively easy to explain.

Low serotonin and dopamine levels are among the most common chemical imbalances observed in people with depression. But then, an orgasm will give you a super fast and efficient serotonin and dopamine hit, making you feel calm and relaxed immediately after. 

However, the “do it for the happiness hormones” strategy is not very sustainable. Just like using drugs, watching porn is something you develop a tolerance to. Then, to get the same effect, you need to do it more often and in larger doses. That’s how treating depression with porn can turn you into a literal pornography addict and stop you on your way to a healthy mental state.

Can Porn Addiction Lead to Anxiety?

Discussing porn and anxiety isn’t much different than discussing porn and depression. There is still no direct “cause and effect” mechanism, but there are certain risks for predisposed individuals. 

Taboos, guilt, shame, and insecurity can both trigger and worsen your anxiety – especially when you begin to compare your intimate life with the adult movie-making industry standards. So if you find yourself feeling less satisfied and having more tension when being intimate with someone, it’s time to consider if you haven’t gone too far.

If not addressed timely and adequately, severe porn addiction can damage your general well-being to the point where professional help is the only option. Unfortunately, statistics don’t say much about porn and suicide, but a quick browse through the Internet will give you a fair number of personal stories thrilling enough to make you think twice and seek support when you need it. 

Stay tuned to the RexalifyApp blog for more insight into mental health, emotional well-being, and coping mechanisms that will help you solve a problem without creating a chain of additional issues to be solved! 

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