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Exploring Self-Love: Affection Towards Self Before Others

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Image Source: Content Pixie | Unsplash

People are more inclined to be open to expressing love during special occasions like Valentine’s day. Normally associated with romantic love, others celebrate the day by showing affection towards their family and friends. Ideally, people should not wait for a special occasion or event to show love. It is good to express your feelings to your loved ones, but it is also important to practice self-love, too. After all, you can only love someone as much as you love yourself. 

“Self-love” is a term that’s been thrown around, but most are not aware of what it really means. People have the misconception that practicing self-love means treating themselves to nice things, but it’s not just that; everything about ourselves grows from a foundation of self-love. It stems from many acts of love we do for ourselves that promote our physical, psychological, and spiritual development, as well as our happiness and wellness. This, in turn, is also an act of kindness toward others since the practice of loving oneself helps to love others in the same manner. 

The importance and practice of self-love

Self-love is critical in life because it influences a person’s decision on the people they surround themselves with, the way they present themselves publicly, how they deal with challenges in life, and their overall lifestyle. It provides self-assurance and confidence in every decision or choice that an individual would have. It also brings happiness and tranquillity, helping one to avoid toxic relationships and choose someone who sees and respects them for who they are instead.

Self-love is a fluid concept. It develops as a result of an individual’s actions, guiding them to make choices that foster their wellbeing and serve them in life. Similar to how people express love to one another, there’s no need to wait for a day like Valentine’s Day to do some self-love. Here are a few things you can try to explore and practice self-love every day.

  • Be mindful. Your thoughts, feelings, and desires influence how you act and behave toward yourself and others. Try to pay more attention to what you’re thinking and how you feel in a certain situation and how you react based on those thoughts and feelings. People with self-love are more aware of these factors and act on this knowledge rather than on what others expect from them.
  • Focus on your needs rather than your wants. The key to happiness is realizing your physical, emotional, interpersonal, and spiritual needs. Be sentient of what is essential and necessary for you compared to what you would like to have but do not really need. Make a self-assessment to figure out what you need in each aspect of your life and distinguish that from what you think you want.
  • Practicing self-care. Once a person learns how to take better care of their basic needs, that is when they will start to love themselves more. People who have a high level of self-love nurture themselves on a daily basis by engaging in healthy activities such as good eating, exercise, adequate sleep, intimacy, and positive social connections.
  • Set boundaries. Learn how to say no to things that can possibly deplete or damage you physically, emotionally, spiritually, or even negatively impact your character. This may include taking part in activities that you do not like, hanging out with people who do not respect you, working for a job that you hate, or simply rejecting someone’s affection that you know you cannot reciprocate. Setting these limits will help you protect and love yourself more in the long run.
  • Schedule a “me time” sessionRegardless of your relationship status – single, in a relationship, engaged, or married – it is important to still make time for yourself to do the activities you enjoy. This will allow you to appreciate the things you enjoy alone and love yourself better.
  • Forgive yourself. Taking responsibility for your actions has the possible drawback of making you unforgiving yourself. People punish themselves far too hard for the mistakes they make as they grow and learn. Accepting your limitations and being kinder to yourself when making a mistake is a good habit to develop. Remember, there are no failures in mistakes, only lessons learned.

Practicing self-love might not be as easy as it sounds. Begin by treating yourself with kindness, patience, gentleness, and compassion, just as you would someone you care about. Make an effort to work on it on a regular basis. Over time, this will help change your ability to accept and love yourself.

What We Talk About When We Talk About Intelligence

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Do you know someone who has high intelligence but seems to always make bad decisions? Maybe you felt some insecurity towards a colleague that seems smarter and it makes you wonder if you are smart enough to do the same task as they are doing. You probably have heard of the terms “book smart” and “street smart”, but you are not sure how to label yourself between those two types. People usually associate intelligence with having a high IQ score, but what does it mean?

Defining what intelligence is

To understand the meaning of intelligence, we must first grasp what it is. From the time of Greek philosophers to the time of psychologists and neuroscientists, the notion of intelligence has been regularly challenged. For example, Plato defined it as the desire to study and the eagerness in finding truth. Thomas Hobbes had a different idea, defining it as having a quick mind with the capacity to understand similarities and contrasts between comparable objects.

Alfred Binet created the standardized intelligence evaluation or the Intelligence Quotient (IQ) test, a tool that is still extensively utilized today. Concentration, memory, reasoning, abstraction, and the ability to cope well with the world are all included in Binet’s aspects of it. David Wechsler also believed that it is a person’s ability to act purposefully, think reasonably, and react efficiently with their surroundings.

Research about intelligence and how it is developed is still a point of discussion today. Currently, intelligence has no absolute definition; instead, it is an abstract construct with multiple aspects. Two people can be described as having a high intelligence yet share relatively few characteristics, they might resemble the parameters of intelligence among various definitions.

Categories of intelligence

According to Howard Gardner, the founder of the theory on multiple intelligence, there are eight types of intelligence:

  1. Verbal-linguistic intelligence refers to a person’s skill to communicate through words and languages. 
  2. Logical-mathematical intelligence indicates a person’s ability to sense, recognize abstract patterns, and perform numerical computations. 
  3. Spatial intelligence is attributed to how well a person can imagine an object well and retain a visual recollection. 
  4. Body kinesthetic intelligence specifies the athletic capabilities of a person. 
  5. Musical intelligence is a person’s sensitivity towards sounds and having the ability to perceive and produce patterns of rhythm
  6. Natural intelligence is attributed to a person’s sensitivity towards nature. 
  7. Interpersonal intelligence is defined as an individual’s awareness of the emotions of others and their capacity to function as part of a team. 
  8. intrapersonal intelligence points to a person’s self-awareness and competence in comprehending their feelings, goals, and intentions.

Meanwhile, Cattell has a different way of categorizing intelligence, dividing it into two categories:

  1. Fluid intelligence refers to the ability to solve abstract problems in novel situations.
  2. Crystallized intelligence represents knowledge and skills acquired through education and experience. 

With these two, he believes that humans can develop crystallized intelligence through practice and experience of fluid intelligence. 

Does the IQ Test work?

After knowing that the definition of intelligence is not absolute and there are many types to it, you might be wondering whether the IQ test being used today really measures intelligence. Maybe you know someone that has an erratic way of thinking or behaving despite having a high IQ score. A general myth that is widespread in society is that IQ scores express a fixed score of inherited brilliance. In reality, an IQ score is simply a measurement of how well a person can do certain tasks at a certain time in comparison with other people of the same age. 

It might measure convergent thinking or academic intelligence which is usually associated with “book smart”, however, it does not go hand-in-hand with other essential aspects of “street smart” such as creativity, adaptability, tacit knowledge, and social skills. It only measures three categories in the theory of multiple intelligences. Therefore, IQ testing might measure intelligence, but the IQ score does not necessarily guarantee success in everyday life.

Enhancing your intelligence

Even though intelligence is a widely abstract concept, you can enhance your intelligence. Typically, environmental factors that may enhance your intelligence include having a good circle of people around you such as family and mentors. There is also a range of noncognitive or affective factors that can play a part in this such as motivation, persistence, attitude, self-concept, confidence, and personal values. 

Based on those factors, there are a few ways you can enhance your intelligence. First, you can enhance your intelligence through instruction which can be done within an academic or corporate setting, as well as through forums, workshops, and other instructional training available. You can do certain activities that can give you a mental workout like reading, playing games like sudoku or chess, and enrolling in a program based on your interest. Another way you could enhance your intelligence is by doing proper physical self-care like having a balanced diet, doing daily physical exercise, and practicing meditation. 

While intelligence is an abstract concept, it is something that everyone can improve on. One secret of increasing intelligence is to embrace your limitations. Do not beat yourself up and try to accept your strengths and flaws while actively training your brain; this way, you may develop a growth mindset, have confidence, and enhance better personal values which are extremely valuable in life.

Home Energy Management: Reducing Bills While Protecting the Environment

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Having electricity is a basic need in modern society that helps people have a good quality of living, from doing household chores to working on their jobs. In fact, some appliances need to have access to electricity for 24 hours such as refrigerators for preserving food items. While electricity has a financial cost to it, the energy that people consume on a daily basis impacts the environment as well. 

Energy consumption has been changing through the years with various new technologies and electrical appliances that make people depend more on electricity. Moreover, the new trend of working remotely causes more energy consumption at home than at the office. A study in Japan found that 64% of teleworkers use air conditioners and lights only for themselves in their workspace which accounts for the 73% to 85% increase in electricity use.

Wasting electricity at home negatively affects the environment because the generation, distribution, and transmission processes of electricity leave carbon footprints. Based on a study from the University of Michigan, household energy consumption is accountable for about 20% of greenhouse gas emissions in the US. As such, energy management at home is important to reduce financial costs and electricity waste.

Here are three simple ways in managing electricity use at home.

  • Unplug devices

    People regularly charge their devices and sometimes leave them plugged in the whole time, like laptops. However, even though the device is fully charged, plugged chargers still consume 60% of the electricity needed while charging. Energy vampires are the unused appliances that silently draw electricity which was found to be accountable for 10% of electricity bills. If one’s electricity bills are about $1,000 per year, unplugging unused chargers and appliances could save $100.

    Unplugging is a very easy thing to do since it only takes a few seconds. However, it could be challenging for people who are used to leaving all their devices and chargers plugged in all the time. The solution is to use a smart power strip that enables them to turn it off through an app on the phone and monitor how much energy is consumed. Unplugging could prevent wasting electricity and reduce energy consumption. Therefore, this would help to make fewer greenhouse gas emissions.

  • Use energy-saving light sources

    An annual event called the Earth Hour is a global effort that encourages people to turn off electricity lamps for one hour. It was found to successfully reduce energy consumption by an average of 4% in several countries such as Australia, United Arab Emirates, and the US from 2007 through 2012. This shows that even though lamps appear to have low wattage, it still contributes significantly to the amount of electricity used at home.

    Lamps are necessary both for functionality and decorative purposes. There are different types of light sources such as incandescent bulbs, light-emitting diodes (LED), compact fluorescent lamps (CFL), electrode-less fluorescent lamps (EEFL), and other lighting systems. A study found that LED uses the least amount of electricity with its operational cost is 6,46 times lesser than incandescent bulbs.

    Switching the lights off is a good way to save energy, but sometimes there is a need to keep the lights on for certain conditions. Such instances include keeping the porch lights on during the night for safety concerns. The most practical light source to use would be LEDs; this way, the lights can be kept on longer without having unwanted costs on your wallet or the environment.

    Smart home automation systems are also a good way to reduce energy consumption. This system uses a movement sensor or remote control to switch lights on and off. Certain types of light sources also have a light sensor which enables them to automatically turn off when there is daylight.

  • Involve other household members

    For those who are not living alone, it is necessary to influence other household members to do the same thing to have sustainable home energy management. The economical aspect of reducing bills is not the only motivation to save energy. This research found that being an “environmental champion” is another motivation that comes from the social influence of both online and offline interactions that promote environmental awareness.

Home energy management is beneficial for saving money and protecting the environment. Unplugging unused electronics, using energy-saving light sources, and involving everyone to do these simple steps can go a long way in terms of reducing electricity costs while being environmentally friendly. Encouraging each other to save energy also enables people to be more aware of one’s connectedness with nature.

Celebrating Love as a Family

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People often take advantage of special occasions to show affection and love like how lovers would celebrate Valentine’s Day. However, people should celebrate and show their affection to their loved ones more often, including families. In fact, exchanging affection with other people, especially family members, should be part of everyone’s everyday life. But, as life happens and people have different degrees of openness with affection, they might not always be in tune with their own and their loved ones’ needs for affection.

People have different love languages and apply that to all kinds of relationships they experience; they show love in different ways and, in turn, feel loved in different ways as well. Similarly, it is also important to learn the love language between spouses, parent and child, and siblings. Individually, being able to speak the love language of each family member will make them feel loved and can also improve their well-being. As a collective, understanding each other’s love languages helps strengthen family relationships and enables everyone to love and communicate better. 

Five ways families can express love to one another 

You can invite your families to try these ways of expressing love and care towards each other:

  1. Prepare and share a special meal. There is nothing that brings a family closer better than a shared meal. Creating a special dish for certain occasions with your family is one way to go about it. In fact, a US-based company called The Little Potato had a survey done and revealed that cooking is one of America’s love languages, and more than two-thirds of the respondents choose cooking as their favorite way to spend time with their family. Also, having meals together as a family routine every day serves many benefits, including boosting a child’s language skills, strengthening family bonds, and improving family health.
  2. Exchange cards. Ask your families to prepare cards to express love for different people in the family on every special occasion and exchange cards after dinner. Cards can also be created for loved ones who are residing elsewhere, like grandparents or other extended family members, and be sent through mail or by utilizing other electronic means. If you have young children, invite them to create and decorate the cards together. This can be a moment to teach them a simple yet meaningful way to express affection as it tells the person that you took your time to make something for them.
  3. Exchange gifts. Giving each other a gift is also a way you can celebrate love with your family. Similar to exchanging cards, the act of giving meaningful gifts can also let your family know that you love them. Research done by Ed O’Brien and Samantha Kassirer​​ supports this and finds that families can also benefit from this as giving to others brings lasting happiness.
  4. Show and turn towards physical affection. Even though people have different love languages, it is found that physical affection (e.g., holding hands, hugging) is a consensus among people regarding behaviors that make them feel loved. This suggests that it is important to show love through physical affection towards family members. While some families shy away from having physical contact due to reasons such as embarrassment or fear of rejection, giving a simple hug or kiss on the cheek will let your family know immediately that they are loved.
  5. Say “I love you”. As simple as it sounds, saying these three words out loud to other family members can be difficult. It could be the feelings of awkwardness, embarrassment, or losing their significance if spoken too often that stop people from expressing their love verbally. Even though actions speak louder than words, it would not hurt to do it and let your families know your feelings.

Imposter Phenomenon: What It Is and How to Overcome It

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Imposter Phenomenon (also known as Imposter Experience or Imposter Syndrome) is a psychological state in which you believe you are not as capable as others perceived you to be. In the 1970s, psychologists Suzanna Imes and Pauline Rose Clance coined the phrase to describe a group of female college students who, despite excellent grades and scores, believed that most or all of their accomplishments were due to chance or error. Follow-up research revealed that both men and women are susceptible to imposter sentiments, with early family conflict and a lack of parental support possibly playing a part in the etiology.

To put it another way, imposter phenomenon is the experience of feeling like a phony that is about to be discovered or as if you don’t belong where you are and were only there by chance. Anyone can be affected, regardless of their socioeconomic status, employment history, skill level, or experience.

Cause and impact of imposter phenomenon

According to a study done by Dena Brevata and her team, up to 82% of people experience imposter phenomenon; the participants believe they haven’t earned what they’ve accomplished and are a fraud. While no research has specifically looked at the relationship between this phenomenon and a person’s intelligence, some experts believe that the Dunning-Kruger effect, a cognitive bias that causes clever people to doubt their own competence, may play a role in impostorism.

In their pioneering studies, Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes discovered that the imposter phenomenon was linked to early family dynamics and gender stereotypes. However, a subsequent study has revealed that the phenomenon affects people of all ages, genders, and backgrounds. Self-efficacy, perfectionism, and neuroticism are all issues that those who suffer from it face. 

Impostorism grows in some competitive environments, including workplaces and even entire professional fields. It is linked to the type of work one does and whether or not it can be measured objectively. This can be found especially in work environments that allow for comparison amongst peers; this pushes people to adhere to a competition mindset in which success is favored and rewarded and failure is looked down on and shamed.

Overcoming imposter phenomenon

The imposter phenomenon can suffocate a person’s opportunity for growth and fulfillment by stopping one from seeking new opportunities in career growth, relationships, or hobbies. Similar to perfectionists, people with imposter phenomenon put a lot of pressure on themselves to perform every assignment flawlessly because they are afraid that making a mistake will show that they are not good or smart enough for the job. They maintain this high level of stress because they believe that without discipline, they will fail; instead of rewarding themselves, they focus on the next task at hand.

People can continue to grow and thrive by confronting this phenomenon. Imposter phenomenon can be overcome by changing one’s perspective on their own talents by reminding oneself that their place in their chosen field is earned through the expertise and accomplishments one has gained.

Here are a few practical methods that can be taken to overcome the imposter phenomenon.

  • Evaluate your abilities. Make a realistic evaluation of your abilities if you often overthink about your performance and social abilities. If you feel like you are being too critical of yourself, remember to include your achievements and strengths in your self-assessment.
  • Stop comparing yourself to others. When you compare yourself to others, you will constantly see a shortcoming in yourself, escalating your feelings of not being good enough or not belonging. Instead, when you are in a social setting, pay attention to the conversation. Have a genuine interest in learning more.
  • Challenge your thoughts. Question whether your views are rational when you begin to evaluate your abilities and stop comparing yourself to others. 
  • Talk to other people. Irrational beliefs tend to fester when they are kept hidden and unspoken about. Turning to a coworker or a mentor who understands your insecurities about your performance can be beneficial in some instances. However, research indicates that reaching out to people outside of your academic or professional group may be a more effective way to prevent impostorism. Those individuals may help contextualize your issues, reframe your perspective, and offer support and love.

Whatever it is that makes you feel like you don’t belong, do not let imposter phenomenon stop you from achieving your goals. Move forward, believe in your capabilities as a person, and continue to improve on yourself.

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