Lifestyle Vibes
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Narcissism or narcissist are terms that are loosely thrown around in today’s society, and often without the proper context. These are terms that shouldn’t be associated simply with selfishness or self-absorption, but with something much more serious. A narcissist isn’t just selfish or self-absorbed; they lack the ability to empathize, they use people for their own personal gain, and they often discard people when they no longer see a purpose in the relationship, whatever that term means to them.

What’s worse is that they’re good at faking it. They know how to attract others and persuade people into placing misguided emotional investments into a relationship that doesn’t actually exist.

They are gifted when it comes to deceit and exploitation, and no one is exempt from the harm they can cause. If you’re in a relationship with a narcissist, friendship or otherwise, here are three ways they can try to take advantage of you.

1. Emotional Puppeteering

This is an act commonly referred to as triangulation, and it’s used by narcissists to maintain control in any type of relationship. In order to manipulate your emotions, they will bring a third party into the relationship dynamic in an attempt to provoke jealousy, and keep the power.

For example, If you have a problem and you go to your narcissist friend for support, they may try to bring in a third party to deal with problem so they don’t have to. They’ll often say things like, “I wish you’d be more like him/her.” If you notice this happening, get out of the relationship before it gets worse.

2. Cognitive Dissonance

Narcissists know exactly who they are and why they do the things that they do. This self-awareness means that they need to put on a mask in order to maintain normalcy in the outside world.

Unfortunately, they’ve learned to do this early in life and it only gets better with time. By the time you find yourself in a relationship with a narcissist, they will have already mastered the technique. This results in people trying to rationalize a narcissist’s terrible behavior with the caring, empathetic, and loving individual they create for the outside world.

3. Idealization, Devaluation, and Discard

This is something more commonly found in romantic relationships with a narcissist rather than friendships, but it can be found in both. This is a cycle that can be extremely damaging to a person, yet it’s something that a narcissist will do without thinking twice.

The beginning of the relationship starts with idealization. They make you feel like you’re the most important thing in their life. This will involve flattery, praise, and telling you they’ve found their soulmate. This will push you deeper into the relationship, and motivate you to reciprocate the praise you feel yourself.

Suddenly, this will change. Instead of receiving praise and flattery, you’ll start to feel criticized for everything you do. You may get some praise here or there, but mostly you’ll be chastised for your actions. During the devaluation phase of the cycle, you’ll feel a great deal of psychological and emotional abuse.

Finally, they’ll discard you. Once they realize they can’t take anything more from you, they will leave you in the most demeaning way possible. Usually this results in leaving you for someone else, or humiliating you in front of others.

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Empathy is the defined as a person’s ability to experience emotion at a high level. However, this doesn’t just mean personal emotion, but the emotions and feelings of others as well. If you’re described as an empath, it means that you have a special connection to the people and world around you.

Empaths are typically creative, compassionate, and spiritual beings. Although being spiritual doesn’t necessarily mean being religious, it just means they are open to the forces or energies they feel in the environments around them. If you want to know whether or not you’re an empath, check out these ten signs to be sure.

1. You Seek Balance Rather than Success

This is a major sign that you’re an empath because balance and comfort are more important to you than monetary success. You won’t do whatever it takes to get to the top, you’ll simply do what you need to do in order to be in balance with your surroundings.

2. You Enjoy Personal Connections

If you’re an empath, creating a personal connection with someone is a valuable experience. Not everyone cares about making one-on-one connections with the people around them, but you do, which could be a sign that you’re an empath.

3. Spending Alone Time is Important

Empaths need time to themselves in order to recharge and relax. Spending time with others is something you love to do, but it can also be draining because you pick up on everyone’s emotions.

4. You Avoid Large Crowds

Crowds generate a great deal of energy that any empath will automatically pick up on. You can only be in a large crowd for so long before you become emotionally and mentally drained.

5. You Don’t Like Cities

Just like large crowds, major cities can be draining both emotionally and mentally. Your ideal home will be somewhere in the mountains or in a more secluded area.

6. You Need to Practice Your Creativity

Whatever creative outlet you enjoy the most, you need to practice it. It doesn’t matter what it is, but you have an active need to express yourself through a creative means. Empaths thrive on creativity and they harbor meaning from the arts.

7. Nature is Healing

When you’re out in the natural world, hiking, camping, or anything else, you feel a strong, healing presence. Nature has the power to recharge you and bring you back down to Earth.

8. Small Talk Feels Meaningless

For an empath, small talk will often feel like a waste of time. Although it can be polite when you first meet someone, you don’t have much of a desire to talk about the weather; you want to talk about something that actually means something.

9. You’re Overwhelmed Emotionally

Empaths can easily find themselves overwhelmed by their own emotions. If you can pick up on other peoples’ emotions, that means your own are going to be that much stronger.

10. You Avoid Confrontation

Confrontation can be extremely draining for an empath, especially if it’s amongst friends. You grapple with consequences of taking one side or another in order to save face.

When two people fall in love, the beginning can seem almost like a guessing game. They’re constantly thinking about how vulnerable to be, what emotions to show, which ones to hide, and just how much insight to provide the other person into how they’re feeling. The beginning of a serious relationship can be fun for these reasons, but it can also be a little confusing.

However, people generally tend to show the same signs when they start to really fall for someone. If you’re observant, these signs will tell you whether or not the person you’ve started dating feels as seriously as you do about the relationship. Check out these six signs to see where you stack up with your significant other.

1. They Make Plans for Two

When a person gets serious about a relationship, they no longer make plans for just themselves, they make them for two. If you’re in a relationship and can’t tell if your significant other is serious, see how he or she sets their schedule. If you’re involved without having to assert yourself, chances are things are getting pretty serious.

2. They Act Like Themselves

One way to tell if someone really cares about you is by observing how they act. When you’re comfortable with someone, you aren’t afraid to be your normal, silly self.

This can be a major indicator into the seriousness of a relationship; the more comfortable your partner is around you, the more serious the relationship is getting. If it’s hard to see your partner’s true self, it may be time to move on.

3. They Take the Time

If your partner takes a while to get ready, if they care about how they look when you go out, or they work really hard to create a memorable evening, it’s a good sign they are falling for you.

Taking the time, even for the smaller aspects of dating life, can show a lot about how someone feels. If your partner doesn’t spend time on themselves for your sake, chances are they don’t feel very serious about the relationship.

4. They Tell You How They Feel

At the beginning of a relationship, it can be hard to tell someone how you truly feel. However, if your partner decides to open up and express their feelings, it doesn’t take a relationship guru to see that things are heating up. Opening up to someone isn’t easy, so when it happens in your relationship, this is a major sign that your partner is falling for you.

5. Other People Get Set Aside

One easy way to tell your partner is falling for you is by how they treat other people in their lives. The beginning of a relationship can be intoxicating, and you may find yourself only wanting to spend time with the person you’re dating. If you notice that your partner is setting plans aside just to spend time with you, you can rest assured that they are getting serious.

6. You Quirks Are Endearing

When it comes to your friendships, your quirks can be used against you. Even your own family will make fun of them, and you, mercilessly. However, you know it’s getting serious with your significant other if he or she finds them endearing.

Your partner will understand that these little things about you actually make you who you are, and that’s a big deal.

The Standing Rock Indian Reservation has garnered support and attention over the last few months, as it rightfully should. Thousands of Native Americans and other supporters traveled in order to lend a hand during the peaceful protests, which endured freezing temperatures and oppressive backlash. Fortunately, these protests were successful, and they resulted in the Army Corps of Engineers denying a permit that would allow Energy Transfer Partners, the company in charge of the pipeline, permission to build.

This was a major victory for the Native Americans who live on the Standing Rock Reservation, and shows the power that peaceful solutions can have the face of injustice. It also provides a little more insight into the way of life that Native Americans hold dear. Their values have been cherished for generations, and they can help us all, native or not. Here are four Lakota Sioux laws that can and will change your life.

1. Respect

A central teaching for the Lakota people is respect. They believe in honoring and respecting all life they see around them for what it provides. The same energy forces move through every living being on Earth, which means that all living things are important; no one thing is more important than the other.

It’s for this reason that all life demands respect. When you start to respect the life and the world around you, you start to see the beauty in things, more so than you did before.

2. Compassion

This is a value that is shared throughout a variety of peoples, not just the Lakota. We should all treat people the way we ourselves would like to be treated. By doing so, we are able to call on each other for support and helping hands.

The Lakota believe that humans all come from the same source, again, we all consist of the same energy, so it’s important to help and care for one another. This was essential during the Standing Rock protests; people empathizing and coming together for the greater good.

3. Generosity

Giving is important, and it’s a major part of life for the Lakota Sioux. Unfortunately, it’s something the world has seemed to lose sight of, especially in this current age. Instead of asking yourself how doing something will benefit you personally, ask how it will benefit others.

Balance is important, but it can never be achieved if we constantly take. By taking only what we need while giving to others, we keep our lives and the planet in balance.

4. Wisdom

Wisdom and knowledge are things that the Lakota people cherish greatly. They place importance on the past and the lessons that can be derived from people who have been around much longer. Their ancestors are never far from their minds, and it’s because they still have a part to play in the energy utilized by all living things. If you listen carefully, you can still hear their words and their teachings in your daily life. Observe the world that exists around you, be patient, and be willing to learn.

Wisdom is invaluable, and it’s something you can use the rest of your life on Earth.

Love is tricky. Whenever we find ourselves in a serious relationship, we want to know for sure if it’s the real thing, or if we’re just trying to convince ourselves it’s the real thing. Sometimes it’s more obvious than others, and sometimes it’s a complete mystery. Not only can it be hard to tell if you’re in love, it can also be hard to tell what kind of love you feel. As humans, we will experience a variety of loves for a variety of people; you can love your best friend, but that’s obviously going to be different than the love you feel for a significant other.

There is a belief that we only fall in love with three people throughout our lives, and each person plays a very specific role. Check out these three types of love all humans experience at some point in their lives, and see if you can relate.

1. The Fairy Tale Love

The fairy tale love you experience is exactly what it sounds like. This is the type of love you see in the movies, television shows, and literally in fairy tales. It’s the love we all aspired to have, and it’s the love we all mistakenly thought it would be easy to find.

If you’ve experienced this type of love before, you know that it shows you how hard it is to pretend to be something you aren’t, or have something you don’t. Essentially, this is the love you had that looked perfect on paper, and it matched up with what you saw on the big screen, but you weren’t actually into it.

2. The Misconception Love

This is the type of love you found when you least expected it. It catches you off guard and completely demolishes any preconceived notions you had about love, relationships, or the people you can ultimately be with. Unlike the fairy tale love, this love looks terrible on paper, which doesn’t make sense to you at all.

This love also happened easily for something so unexpected, and you had no say in it at all. The connection you feel to the other person is incredibly difficult to explain, but all you know is that this person truly understands you and loves you for who you are.

The acceptance this person has for you shakes you, and it can make you feel uneasy at times, but you know it’s the real deal.

3. The Toxic Love

This is the hardest relationship you’ll ever go through, and for good reason. This type of love tends to teach people more about themselves than they would like to know, and it can be incredibly transformative. Manipulation, drama, and lies are the toxic love’s core, and they keep you hooked to the other person much longer than you should be.

Although you know the relationship is bad for you both, you stay in it looking for the next great experience. You might find some, but they will be lost in a sea of terrible experiences that you won’t soon forget. The key to identifying this type of love is that trying to make things work will be more important than whether or not it should.

We always hear that stress is terrible for our mental and physical health. What we don’t always hear is that stress can actually be an advantage in some situations. Feelings of stress can stem from almost every aspect of our daily lives, but that doesn’t mean we have to allow it to get out of control. Stress can actually be an indicator that we’re challenging ourselves, pushing ourselves to reach our goals.

If you’re feeling a little more stressed out that normal, take a look at these five ways that stress can actually be used as a tool. Don’t let stress hold all the cards in your life, but try to use it to your advantage.

1. Use it to Create a Positive Attitude

Although this seems a little counterintuitive, you can actually use stress as an indicator to create a more positive outlook on your life. If you’re feeling stressed out about past mistakes or some unwelcome emotions, don’t linger on them, simply let them go.

You’re feeling stressed because these things aren’t useful to think about any more than you should. Your mind and body are telling you to let them go.

2. Let it Teach You to Let Go of Control

In addition to letting it transform your attitude, you can also use it to let go of your misplaced desire to be in control.

This is more of an issue for some people than it will be for others, but feeling stressed can be a sign that you need to stop trying to take control of every situation. It’s no secret that people like to be in control, but there are some scenarios where it simply isn’t an option. Listen to your stress and let it teach you to let it all go.

3. Harbor a New Found Perspective

Stress can result from a number of different things in our lives, which means that it could be time for a change. If you’re feeling stressed out about a relationship for example, it could be time to look at that relationship from a different perspective. Solve this issue by changing your environment, improving yourself in one way or another, or take the time to try new things. You may find that a new perspective eliminates your stress completely.

4. Share Your Emotions with Others

One of the worst parts about being stressed out is that you just feel drained both emotionally and physically. Although this usually makes us want to be alone, sharing is really the best way to combat these feelings.

Talk to the people around you who care and want to listen; these people are your support group and they want you to get better. Don’t let stress keep you from sharing with those closest to you.

5. Get Some Rest

Sleep is one of the best ways to fight off stress in our lives. Stress can actually be the result of not getting enough sleep in the first place. Getting a full night’s rest will make you feel like yourself in the morning, and it will fight off those negative emotions or worries. Adults should be getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night.

The reliance we place on fossil fuels has taken its toll. Many of the environmental issues we’re faced with today come as a result of our inability to move away from fossil fuels like coal as a means for energy. Although companies and innovators are coming up with ways to combat harmful air pollution, global warming, and other environmental problems, we’ll never really have a solution until we’re able to rely on renewable energy to power our daily lives. Until we’re able to substitute renewable energy for fossil fuels, any solutions we create will only be covering up the real problem.

However, we are making giant steps in the right direction, and renewable energy is becoming more prevalent throughout the global community. Over 500,000 solar panels were installed each day last year, and renewables finally passed coal in order to become the largest source of power capacity on a global scale. The International Energy Agency, or IEA, reported that renewables accounted for more than half of the new power capacity around the planet. Solar and wind power are responsible for leading this drive away from fossil fuels more than any other forms of renewable energy.

Installation of environmentally friendly energy sources was up a total of 15 percent in 2014, which forced the IEA to change its predictions for renewables. They predicted the use of renewables to increase by only 13 percent between 2015 and 2021, underestimating how quickly countries would start following suit. The movement is largely driven by Asia, with China in the captain’s chair, but India and the United States have been contributing significantly. Europe, once thought to be the leader of the renewable energy movement, is falling behind.

“I am pleased to see that last year was one of records for renewables and that our projections for growth over the next five years are more optimistic. However, even these higher expectations remain modest compared with the huge untapped potential of renewables. The IEA will be working with governments around the world to maximize the deployment of renewables in coming years,” explains IEA Executive Director Dr. Faith Birol in a statement.

Although the new capacity added has accounted for a record 153 Gigawatts of renewable power, this type of electricity generation is only expected to make up around 28 percent of all generation globally by 2021. Green, environmentally friendly energy is the fastest growing source of electricity generation in the world, but we’re still falling short in regards to meeting the Paris Climate Agreement, and we won’t be able to keep the planet below a 3.6 degree Fahrenheit warming temperature.

This increase in the use of renewable energy, especially solar and wind power, isn’t only driven by the looming Paris Climate Agreement, it’s also driven by human safety. In Asia, the main concern is air pollution and population health, not meeting the terms of the agreement. Diversifying the energy supply while improving energy security also plays a role in the renewable rise.

As we move forward, we will continue to see a shift in power markets being led by renewables. The market for these types of renewable energies is getting more competitive, which means costs will continue to drop. It’s never been a better time to invest in something real, renewable, and vital.

Of course, we all have a chronological age.  It’s the number of years that have passed since we were born.  But, we also have an emotional age.  Your emotional age is determined by how emotionally mature you are.  And, it turns out, our emotions have an influence not only on how we see the world and life in general, but how we see colors.

You’ve all heard the saying, “I feel blue.” meaning the person is feeling down or depressed.  “Everything is rosy.” meaning things are great.  You “see red” when you’re angry.  People equate happiness with the color yellow, serenity with lavender and nature with the color green.

Our emotional maturity can also have an influence on how vividly we can see colors.  In other words, you might see the color yellow as bright while I might see the exact same shade of yellow as more muted.  I’m not talking about someone being color blind, either.  That’s a whole different thing.  What I mean is that the hues and saturation of a color is perceived differently by different people depending on their emotional age.

Interesting, isn’t it?  The quiz below will analyze how you perceive colors, with your answers determining your emotional age.  So, take the quiz and let us know what you think in the comments!

Our personality is made up of our qualities and characteristics.  Our personality develops over time and is heavily influenced by the environment we grew up in.  Even though you may act differently in different situations and around different people, your true personality is a constant.  It’s who you inherently are as a human being.

Even though we are all different, unique people, our personality falls into one of four categories:  Introvert, Socializer, Intellectual and Thinker.  Introverts enjoy solitude more than social activities.

Socializers are active, outgoing people who love attention and praise.  Intellectuals are inventive and perceptive.  They’re curious and question everything.  And Thinkers quiet, reserved, well-organized people who like to figure out what makes things tick.

According to research, the words you choose to use are also determined by your personality type.  Some psychologists believe that they can tell what your personality type is solely by analyzing your speech and words.  So, it makes sense that someone could determine the words you use the most by determining your personality type.

So, take the quiz below and let us know in the comments how accurate your results are!

Negative, harmful energy can find its way into our homes.  Whatever the reason for it entering, it’s important to perform some regular rituals to rid our homes of it.  Regularly removing negative energy from your living space will help restore balance and harmony. You should repeat the following 4 cleansing rituals if someone is sick, a lot of people have entered your home, you moved into a new home, you feel negative emotions, or negative occurrences keep arising.

1. Burn sage, frankincense, and copal

Burning sage is one of the oldest and fastest ways to remove negative energy from your home. To perform a sage cleansing, open your front door and the windows in the house. Starting from the back of the space, light the sage, let it burn a moment, then blow the flame out.

Proceed to walk around the room covering as much of it as you can. Using a feather or feather fan, waft the sage smoke into the corners of the room up to the ceiling. Make sure to go into every room as you move from the back of the house to the front. When you’ve reached the front, walk out the door and sage around the door and frame. Leave the sage outside to allow it to burn off.  Then light some frankincense resin or copal incense and perform the walk again.

Doing this will ward the negative energy off on a deeper level.

2. Salt the corners, windows and entrances of your home

Pour sea salt into the four corners of your rooms and let it sit for 48 hours. This will absorb the negative energy of previous owners, if you are just moving in, or the negative energy of people who are sick or arguing. After the 48 hours, either vacuum or sweep the salt and throw it away. For extra protection, grind up saffron and mix it in with the salt. In Tibetan tradition, evil energies do not like the smell of saffron, so they won’t enter a space if saffron has been used.

Then, clean the doors and windows of your home thoroughly using a mixture of the juice of 5 lemons, a cup of salt and a 1/4 cup of white vinegar added to a bucket of water (the mixture is strong, so use gloves).  Once the surfaces are dry, pour sea salt on the window sills and on the floor by the door to prevent the negative energies from re-entering your home.

3. Use protection crystals

Black tourmaline absorbs negative energy from people and spaces.  To use it, place a piece in each corner of a room. Doing this builds a protective shield to prevent negative energy from entering your space.  It also absorbs electromagnetic energy, so keeping it near your Internet router, television, computer, and other devices protects you from their harmful energy, also.

Black tourmaline eases anxiety and depression, so holding it in your hands can pull the negative energy from your own body out.

4. Add sound

Think about all of those scary, haunted houses you see in horror movies.  They’re usually empty, dark and quiet.  A quiet space attracts negative energy, which is why sound is such a powerful cleansing method.  Walk around your home ringing a bell, chimes or using a singing bowl to prevent negativity from residing in your space.