Tag Archives: psychology

Grateful and Guilty – Barnes & Noble: The Scene Before Me

Grateful and Guilty – Writing Prompt

bn cafe

Note: The prompt asks the writer to discuss a guilty pleasure. If you haven’t guessed, my guilty pleasure is spending my free time in Barnes and Noble, preferably in the seated cafe area, and soaking up the environment. There’s so much more to learn beyond the books that line these aisles. Following this statement is my description of the scene before me on today’s trip to Barnes and Noble. I hope you enjoy it.

As I sat on the floor of my local Barnes and Noble accompanied by my purse and laptop, the building swamped with locals taking shelter from the rain, I took a good luck around at the faces present among me at the filled seats. Students, potentially from my university, families with small children giggling at the sight of a new picture book, middle-agers catching up on the latests magazine publications, hot coffee warming the palms of their hands. There’s a lot you can learn about the people you see around you just from observing their choices. What do I mean by that, you ask? What they’re eating, what they’re dressed in, how they present themselves among the crowd. Do they smile back when they catch your gaze? Are their faces buried into a novel, concealed? There are so many factors that come into play when you’re evaluating strangers. I often do this before I sit down, if there are choices to be made between seats. I like to scan the area and make mental notes. Who could I see myself talking to? Who seems to have the same interests? Are they reading that psychology book for study, or for pleasure? Do they look intrigued, bored, indifferent? Are they accompanied, did they bring their work from home?

This time, however, there are no seats. I begin fiddling with my fingernails, picking off the remnants of my icy blue nail polish. I can feel my leg falling asleep, and shake it out from under my other leg, stimulating the blood flow to my dead limb. I look up to see a woman packing her work in a rushed manner, the individual on the other side of her phone line consuming her thoughts. Purse and laptop in both hands, I wait for my approach. As I wait, I catch a glimpse into the conversation of the woman sitting behind her joking with the cafe cashier about prioritizing the production of the pumpkin spice latte. I feel like gagging at the mere thought of pumpkin. She evacuates, and I claim the table before anyone has the chance to grab it first, a little table in the center of the room. The room has grown silent, aside from the scattered orders at the cafe every couple of minutes. An increasingly apparent chatter has grown with the expansion of the cafe line, attracting the attention of the readers. They seem agitated by the sudden introduction of noise. And that is simply what it is at this point: noise. Words exchanged between the ten individuals are essentially indecipherable. Even with such a diverse audience, such a broad spectrum of types of people, Barnes and Noble still captures the essence of calmness, focus, productivity. It’s an environment that sparks and nurtures my creativity.

What would you say is your guilty pleasure?

Comment below.

Daily Prompt: Are You A Giver or a Taker? Discuss the Concept.

Often it is said that there is strength in numbers. But what about the strength in ourselves? There are some strong characters in our population that find it in them to maintain themselves as well as the goodness of others, often selflessly. They are the strongest, but they also work the hardest for the greater good. Some do their deeds as a single entity, while others, like I had stated prior, find strength when surrounded by others with alike mindsets, but in either situation, the same chain reaction applies. Some are mothers, leaders, friends, and coworkers. Some are strangers to you and I, but mean the world and more to the ones they bring under their wing. I believe that most people are either one or the other. I have come to know many people in my life on a deeply personal level, and have come to the conclusion that my relationships and interactions involve of a variety of people that fall into either category. There are the ones that shamelessly take what they can from you, from the friendship, from every open resource available to them. And then there are the ones that I prefer, the givers, the ones that will gladly do the dirty work that others don’t want to do out of their own free will, because they know it will lift a physical and maybe even a psychological load off of another’s shoulders. I can be selfish, too, but if I had to say whether I were one or the other, I would be, hands-down, a giver. The amount of time that I spend each day thinking of others is probably significantly more than anyone would consider I contribute, but the actions that come from these thoughts grant others better days through the actions that follow my inspiration to do good. They give them hope for humanity on the occasion, and at the least, a smile that can lead them throughout the day. Giving my strength, love, and support to others even inspires them to want to do the same for another sometimes, which makes the purpose of the original act so much more fulfilling. Positive chain reactions give hope. They reinforce our bond with other beings and prove that we are capable and willing to give, even in times when we don’t receive. I often find myself getting hurt by others because their purposes in life don’t contribute to the greater good, but I know that there are plenty of us out there giving ourselves for the fraction of the population that need someone to protect and nurture them and even to those who have not earned our love. There are enough of us to maintain my faith. My faith in the givers demolishes my disappointment in those who only wish to take.

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Daily Writing Prompt: Do you think that manipulation is at the core of our social interactions? Explain.

puppet

 

I’ve always been deeply engaged in the existence of psychology within our lives. Human interaction occurs in a vast amount of ways, from the way that we maintain eye contact, to the way that we physically interact, with hand holding, handshakes, subtle touches, and other physical gestures. What comes with interaction is the ability to use actions to manipulate the actions or responses of another person, or several other people. Although the existence of manipulative behavior may seem as if it has a negative connotation, it can also have a positive influence amongst people. Yes, some individuals use manipulation for self gain at the expense of another’s feelings or goals, or out of the pleasure of feeling like they can “outsmart” or “dominate” their peers. However, manipulation can be utilized to positively impact the lives of others. For example, I had recently had a discussion with a close friend that was painfully worried about meeting her boyfriend’s parents because she was afraid that they would immediately judge her based upon her cover, long before they could explore the many pages of her wonderful personality. Knowing that she takes my opinions very seriously and cares significantly about our relationship, I assured her of her greatest qualities and comforted her in the thought that they will love her, because I truly believe they will. I used my influence on her to manipulate her thoughts about the situation at hand, and to bring it down to a rational level. Having the confidence of a friend standing behind you and lingering in your mind in moments of insecurity can give you a sense of not being alone in the moment, and I think that my reassurance gave her the confidence to give it a shot, despite her doubt. It turns out when she did meet his parents, they loved her from the very beginning. They couldn’t wait to meet her, and she felt like she was family right when entered their home. She had no reason to worry about what they would think, because on her own, she is an extraordinary person, with or without my confidence, but knowing that her good friend believed in her minimized the issue. That was an instance in which positive manipulation occurred because of influence.

Let me get down to the point here. Yes, I believe that manipulation is a significant part of our core interactions, but the power that is brought upon an individual with the persuasiveness to manipulate can be used in both positive and negative ways. It’s important to value yourself, but to also value the feelings and journeys of those around you in order to avoid destructive behavior that could potentially create a lose-lose situation for both parties.

This has been written from my own personal experiences within my life, and the situations I’ve observed.

20 Things I Wish I Could Do Right Now

bucket-list

1. Go home to South Florida to have some time to myself. It’s about time that I get to breathe in the sea air and the warm breezes. There’s something about my hometown that is addictive to me, that my current city cannot provide.

2. Move out of this apartment and never look back. And into a real apartment, which I will be doing in the coming fall, now that I’ve signed my first lease.

3. Write a novel and have it published. I write so much in my spare time but it never sees the light of day. I’m hoping one day it will get some fresh air. It must be invigorating to get your thoughts out to the world in a large-scale kind of way.

4. Take my ipod, put it on a fast-paced playlist, and go on a run until I feel like my legs are going to give out. I used to go on midnight runs around campus, and I think I might make this a thing again.

5. Find creative inspiration. It’s been bogged down so badly by all the stress I’ve accumulated lately that I barely want to create. It’s a shame, and I want the colorfulness of my life to return.

6. Vlog. Lately, it’s been all class, work, and exams. Like I said. I’m feeling overwhelmed.

7. Start teaching spin classes again. It’s the only thing I don’t mind waking up earlier than the sun for. I always come out of my classes feeling much happier and more motivated than when I came in.

8. Paint a large-scale piece. I wish I had a massive canvas that was big enough for me to use my body as a medium on.

9. Learn the acoustic guitar, finally. It’s been gathering dust in my room and I really want to give it the love and attention it deserves.

10. Have a 90210 marathon. I can never get enough of it, and I’m dreading when I finish the series. I should savor it, but I really just want to know what’s happening next.

11. Cook a romantic dinner. With candles, ambiance, delicious food, and great conversation.

12. Bike at least 10 miles each night. Not in a matter of needing to get somewhere, but for the joy of getting there. When I feel the air in my lungs, the wind in my face as I speed up, and my heart racing, I feel like I’m reborn. There’s nothing comparable to exercise, when needing clearance of the mind.

13. Listen to my music on the loudest volume imaginable, with a bass that’ll make the walls shake. Yes please.

14. Give a speech and not feel a bit anxious. Just speak from the heart.

15. Photograph a wedding or other special event. I love being a part of something emotional and significant in someone else’s life, and knowing that I contributed to that moment in a positive way.

16. Go to a concert that lasted all night. There would be no rush, no curfew, just positive vibes and the sense of community amongst the audience. I would prefer something mellow at this moment, or perhaps something more soulful.

17. Have a slow dance under the stars to the music of a live band.

18. Get together with a bunch of friends and sit around a bonfire, roasting marshmallows and reminiscing about past memories.

19. Sing karaoke confidently in a restaurant and get a standing ovation.

20. Introduce ten new, creative people into my life at this very moment.