8 Ways to Deal With Entitled Anger

Anger is a valid emotion, and it should be expressed not simmered nor irrationally misused. The crackling emotion should indicate the painful experience without an unhealthy sense of entitlement. Perhaps we are often challenged by hurtful incidents, injustice, negligence, wrongdoings, or any other reason that threatens our sense of self or the greater good, and probably it stirs up negative emotions in every tissue and cells of our body. Still, it does not justify mindless behavior that prevents us from deeply listening or implies us to make biased and flawed decisions with awful consequences.

Learning to tame the exaggerated anger even worse, the hostility that drives people away will help us live as a cooperative human being. Our social interactions will improve, and the reasonable individual in us outshines our reptilian brain. It takes plenty of self-awareness to express anger affectively, and maturely. And surely it does not happen overnight. Here are a few suggestions to reflect on:


Identify the primary motive behind your anger

  • Question the intensity – Reflect on the past situations when your anger got better of you. Was it fear, frustration, ego, guilt, shame, anxiety… that made you erupt like a volcano? Once you have the clarity of reason, examine your intentions to understand your behavior better when you are discharging your negative emotions.
  • Compressed or unaddressed anger can manifest in different ways; look for the signs: for instance, mean sarcasm, apathetic attitude, self-sabotaging by not responding to the opportunities, being annoyed by trivial things, having controlling or addictive behaviors, nervous habits, blowing out of proportion a minor incident, chronic fatigue.
  • Ask yourself, is the strong emotional outburst cascading the underlying reason of self-entitled mentality? Exhibiting self-pity, over-exaggerated sense of self-importance, uncompromising attitude, showing signs of frustration when others think differently, passive contempt, cynical, or absurdly critical outlook are typical indications of a self-entitled mindset.

How to curb your entitled anger

  • Learn about the core attitudes of mindfulness and practice them every single day.
  • Do not live in the past, one type or another; hardships are part of life. How you handle the past distressing experiences will influence your present and future. Transforming bitterness and resentment to understanding and generosity by permitting others and yourself to make mistakes is a good start.
  • Stop comparing yourself to others to take the edge off the self-entitled mindset. Focus on what you want to achieve and make a list of the steps you need to take to make them happen. The key is not to get discouraged; there will be setbacks, you will fall, but learn to rise and keep going.
  • Do things not for the reward but because it is the right thing to do. It is always nice to receive acknowledgment for a good deed; however, accept that life does not work that way, and your efforts might be undermined, unrecognized, or simply unrewarded.
  • Practice treating others with compassion and respect.
  • Be happy for others for their achievements. Celebrating other people’s success when you are facing adversity shows beyond doubt the strength of character. 
  • Learn to change – For instance: Join a group that their activity or point of views are unfamiliar to you. Spend time to help the less fortunate through volunteering.
  • While the idea to cultivate restraint is good, there may be times that we need some support. Hence, reaching out for professional help to tackle personal anger issues is a sensible approach.

Featured image by Carina Shoshtary

Interview With Gustavo Francesconi – Brazilian Artist

Regardless of your belief, whether esoteric and spiritual, pragmatic, or ideas based on empiricism, the cognitive value of Gustavo Francesconi’s artwork enhances your knowledge and sensational experiences as if you have visited new worlds.

Gustavo Francesconi is a Brazilian Graphic Artist Plastic Designer. He combines practices that cross over, by exploring colors, shapes, chromatic to poetics, and instrumentals guided by practical-theoretical bases of science and interpretation of symbols.

He creates a dialogue together with sound codes and frequencies, natural elements, and geometrics studies to convey the notion that: “Control the chaos, who wins is a harmony.” His choice of materials from various interests is a representation of conflicts that resolve and work together to heal.

According to Clélia Dehon, responsible for the cultural mediation of the Louis Vuitton Foundation, Gustavo’s art “is a hypnotic universe, with pop features, almost psychedelic exotic who discovers his work.”

Gustavo Francesconi

Interview:

Jupilings: Your story

GF: I was born in a small town in southern Brazil called Joinville. My curiosity and fascination with the human understanding of reality led me to where I am now; I am 34 years old, and I dedicate my days to the creative universe. I am the founder and director of  APOC, an independent graphic design studio created in 2013 as a necessity to evolve my work as a creative. At the same time, this platform allowed me to enter the artistic universe profoundly. I felt in control of my ideas and goals. I have been working as a designer for 15 years. I dedicate myself to artistic research for 7 years and feel the evolution of my thoughts every day. The transformation has taken me to an enlightened and mysterious place, in the future I will be what I lived in the past, and in the past, I will be what I felt in the present. My story doesn’t exist.

Jupilings: Are you working on a new series-

 GF: I become fully self-aware when I reflect on my production. I’m in a new phase. I recently chose to be an independent artist without gallery representation, which allowed me to have control over my entire collection. For the first time, I perceive my production as a whole, observe each technique, and where the creative synapses came from. Maybe I turned a key that I shouldn’t have, but I felt creatively predictable and it bothered me. Presently, my work is mimetic, a constant unfolding of repeated series without cadence, but that are latent to my creative space.

Artwork Gustavo Francesconi

At this time, I am working on a series of collages based on discarded prints and test runs. Material that I kept for years, and I am revisiting to reframe forgotten material, transmuting these compositions into new experiences. I am developing a painting series called Ruptura; basically, landscapes, experimenting with new textures and paints. The motif of the painting focuses on color. The research is about the paint, about density, and dilution of the chosen media. For example, at this moment, I am creating my colors with a mixture of plaster, acrylic mass, acrylic paint, screen printing paint, pigment powder, and liquid. The quantity of these variants determines color plasticity and tone depth.

I am in constant production, either creating graphic pieces or thinking about art. The artist’s job is to perceive the world around and channel this energy to transcend reality.

Jupilings: Please tell us about your interest in the relationship between poetry, music, cosmology and sensorial aspects of matter-

 GF: Everything is connected, it is synesthetic, this relationship is omnipresent in our mind, we create this reality. When I listen to poetry, I think of music, then an image comes to mind, and I can feel a sensation, for instance: a shiver! Poetry would not be poetry without feeling it, thinking it is vernacular, everything that exists can be transformed into poetry, music, image, it is a matter of sensitivity. The way that art reaches us intrigues me greatly, from the media to our sensory systems. Starting with our very limited perception of the colors that consequently shape our reality. Thinking that we see only 3 dimensions makes me believe that we are babies who have just opened their eyes to the cosmos.

Artwork by Gustavo Francesconi

Jupilings: What inner force shapes your artistic concepts-

GF: Curious this question, I started to paint a little late, I always had many questions and theories about the life and creation of the universe, and I realized that this distressed me in a way, the painting was like letting go and organizing these thoughts, it made me materialize these ideas, I have very clear images in my head of things I never saw, painting them makes them real. It is like taking that energy out of a dimensionless plane and materializing the thought. This awakens my pleasure and an urge to create, it is pure magic, ritualistic. I feel alive and powerful before my existence.

 

Gutavo Francesconi

Jupilings: How do you deal with setbacks-

 GF: I solve it as soon as possible. I get on well with them; every day, I send flowers; I know they exist, so I choose to treat them well.

Jupilings: How do you deal with criticism-

GF: I like to receive criticism, especially when it instigates me to think differently, I make the most of it through reflection. I am my most prominent critic; I am not afraid to confront my own choices.

Artwork by Gustavo Francesconi

Jupilings: What is the role of art today-

GF: Interesting this question, I could answer with the phrase “The artist is the antenna of the race” by Ezra Pound, so the role of art is to print reality. I have always seen art as Politics, since the cave paintings, humanity has always looked for ways to express itself and use this tool as a positioning.

Artwork by Gustavo Francesconi

Jupilings: What’s the best advice you’ve ever heard-

GF: Everything has a positive side. Sometimes we forget, it’s always good to remember.

Jupilings: Do you have a favorite painting, film or any other creative media that inspires you and why-

 GF: Everything inspires me, I listen to a lot of music, I love to take a trip down my record collection. I love cinema, I think the creative complexity that involves film production is excellent. But what inspires me most is nature, when I talk about it, I want to talk about everything, life, the universe, energy, God. This movement fascinates me; as there is continuity.

Artwork by Gustavo Francesconi

 Jupilings: What are your thoughts on blockchain platforms for artists since it democratizes access to art-

GF: I believe there is room for both markets, art has several layers and interests. Nowadays, the artist can be independent; the internet plays a crucial role. As an independent artist, when you choose to leave the system of galleries and commissions, it has negative and positive points, like everything in life. It depends a lot on your goals, there is not only one right path, but there are also several.

Jupilings: What is your life motto-

 GF: Time does not stop. Being aware of your existence and choices is the great key to not getting lost in the contemporary world. We don’t even exist anymore, so relax.

Irrational Beliefs – Part 4

Here are 3 irrational beliefs (cognitive distortions) that we need to watch out for and fix since they can lead to lower self-esteem and harm our everyday interactions.

 Always being right – When an individual often puts on a trial other people’s opinions and actions to prove that they are right. They struggle with the irrational belief that being wrong is unacceptable, and they go to any length to validate their argument.

What to do: Practice the Cost-Benefit Analysis Technique to list the advantages and disadvantages of this behavior. Ask yourself how it makes you feel and what you are gaining with an inappropriate attitude. This method examines the underlying motivation, which encourages you to be sensitive and attuned with your noble intentions. In other words, the practice improves emotional intelligence, which plays an important role in our interpersonal relationships.

Personalization involves taking everything personally or blaming yourself or someone else for an issue that was out of control, and a variety of factors played a role in it. This distortion also drives the person to compare himself to others to establish who is smart or attractive.

What to do:

  1. Stop recounting the problem repeatedly to yourself or others so that the toxic emotions are not reinforced—question what part you played in the issue’s outcome.
  2. Change the pattern, view error as an opportunity for self-improvement rather than failure—question what role you played in the problem’s outcome.
  3. Be mindful of your tendency to taking things personally and blaming others.
  4. Do recognize that everyone has their own struggles and life story.

Emotional Reasoning is when you are looking for external causes for your feelings. For instance: “I am anxious, so I must be in danger.” “I feel judged; this means that people are judging me.”

What to do:

  • Apply Double Standard Technique; instead of beating up on yourself mercilessly, pretend that you are talking to a friend with the same problem. Naturally, you will be more caring and practical. Try the same approach be a friend to yourself.
  • Practice Socratic Method: question to expose contradictions in your thoughts and ideas. Put yourself in the hot seat and find holes in your beliefs. Under pressure with critical thinking, reasoning, and logic, you will notice how a change in facts can change your perspective.

Hopefully, this piece and the previous posts have given you a solid understanding of irrational thoughts based on hidden assumptions that we can all experience at one time or another. Whether you are struggling with mental health or not, it helps evaluate our thinking patterns now and then. Yes, the introspection, either by tackling your own struggles or seeking out CBT Therapy, is extremely valuable. It helps us live a productive life by patching up the negativity and building resilience.

 

Artwork by Maja Borowicz

Irrational Beliefs – Part 3

The truth is that the universe naturally shapes our lives through different disruptions. Along the way, different events and individuals will challenge us and push us to unfavorable situations. And the changes will affect how we feel about ourselves, how we relate to others, and how we behave. Problems can trigger irrational beliefs called cognitive distortions. Here are another set of 3 irrational beliefs to be aware of:

Magnification (Catastrophizing) or Minimization – It consists of making a mountain out of a molehill. Or, on the flip side, downplaying the significance of an event or an emotion.

A Magnification example is when an individual thinks that something catastrophic such as suffering a fatal heart attack, will happen. Or when athletes believe that they are inadequate team players because of a mistake.

A Minimization example is when you receive a raise, and you still feel not very good at your job.”

What to do: 

  • In both cases, write down your concern in detail, put into words your emotions, and challenge them.
  • Consider a core principle of Stoicism: “Some things are in our control and others not.” Such as sudden heart attack, illness, traffic, not being able to score a goal, the list goes on.
  • Remind yourself the validity of your emotions is reflections of your thoughts.
  • Keep in mind what you can control is your response and your actions.
  • Challenge your opinion with facts.

Should Statements – the tendency to impose a set of unrealistic or non-viable expectations for yourself or others. The should, ought or must statements indicate obligations that we cling on to, and generally, we get angry if they do not meet our expectations.

What to do:

  • Stop evaluating yourself and others based on statements that signal control and rarely make sense.
  • Adjust your statements to express your preferences, and, alternatively, acceptance of reality is sensible. This way, you are acknowledging that sometimes things are not how we like them to be! Hence, the situation will be less infuriating, and your response will be more sound. For instance, when someone’s actions are misaligned with your expectations, the statement can be expressed: “I prefer if you were more considerate,…”

Labeling and Mislabeling – When you reduce yourself or others based on one characteristic or an incident, basically overgeneralizing a situation, a habit, or a trait with hurtful and emotionally loaded description. For instance: “I failed my exam; I am stupid.”

What to do: 

  • Write down your thoughts and the language you have used to express your sentiments.
  • Recognize the double-standard method you used to communicate your feelings and the lack of compassion or a kinder behavior bestowed on a friend.
  • Practice thinking in shades of grey by rating how you feel on a scale of worst to the best. You will notice that many incidents or actions are not as extreme as we label them.
  • Define what does it mean to be a failure or insecure or any undesired labels?
  • Revisit the labels that you have applied to yourself and others. Talk to yourself like a friend.

Remember that not everyone can reduce or treat cognitive distortions by itself. At times, therapies such as CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) is the best way to learn about coping strategies to deal with challenges.

 

Artwork by Antonio Mora

Irrational Beliefs – Part 2

Most likely, as humans, you have experienced numerous cognitive distortions at one time or another. In the previous post, I highlighted 3 tendencies out of 11 cognitive distortions, and here is another 3 flawed pattern of thinking which are significant in our interactions and relationships. Once you are aware, you can improve and modify the faulty beliefs with practice.

Mental Filter – The mental filter distortion happens when an individual allows a single negative piece of information to overshadow and exclude the positive ones. For instance, when someone focuses on an unfavorable comment or incident and dwells on it while ignoring all positive remarks or experiences.

What to do: Write down the negative thought, challenge it, and reframe the thinking to a positive and realistic one. And remember that a negative situation does not remain negative forever.

Disqualifying the Positive – This distortion involves the rejection of positive statements or events by insisting that they are a fluke or argue against it: “that doesn’t count.”

For example, when someone is praised for a trait or a work, the receiver ignores it and disqualifies the comment based on “they are just nice.”

What to do: The best way to start managing these inaccurate thoughts is to practice receiving compliments and feedback with a simple: ‘Thank you”.

Jumping to conclusions:

  1. Mind reading variant –  it refers to inaccurate beliefs and negative interpretations based on assumptions. We might have an idea of what other people are thinking, however jumping to conclusions without justification by the facts is wrong. For example, you meet an unfriendly or bad-tempered person, and you automatically take it personally or think that they have bad intentions.
  2. Fortune telling variant – in this case, we imagine and predict horrible things will happen to us. Of course, we all feel anxious to some extent if a loved one is late and does not pick up the phone.

What to do:

  • Slow down and actively ask yourself whether your assumptions make sense and are based on valid reasoning or available evidence.
  • In both cases, Mind reading or Fortune telling, for you to remain calm, it is best to balance out by thinking about the two extremes, the negative thoughts, and the possible best outcome of any given situation. This way, you likely feel better.

 

Featured image by Lucio Carvalho

How to Avoid Irrational Beliefs – Part 1

Generally, our brains are wired to control our thoughts and make connections to find solutions to our problems. However, some of these connections are not true or non-helpful since they are based on faulty patterns or biased perspectives on ourselves and the world around us.

These cognitive distortions are often hard to recognize as they have been reinforced as part of our daily thoughts. Even though they come in many forms, irrational beliefs share a commonality, such as a pattern of thinking; they are flawed and potentially damage our mental well-being.

Here are 3 tendencies out of 11 that we will explore in this post:

The fallacy of change – It involves two different but related beliefs that are damaging and inaccurate:

  1. For instance, being helpless and a victim of fate: “the quality of the report was mediocre since my manager gave me a brief the other day.
  2. Being in complete control of ourselves and our surroundings, hence feeling responsible for the pain and happiness of those around us. For instance: “Are you sad because of me?” 

Remind yourself that complete control is faulty reasoning since no one has absolute control over their situation or other people. Even in a crisis, you might not choose what you do or where you go, but you certainly have a choice over how you mentally approach the event.

Polarized thinking or black and white thinking is irrational thinking characterized by the “all or nothing” principle. These individuals tend to think in extremes, which are either impressive or terrible, and have unrealistic expectations. They are often easily annoyed, feel bitter, and disappointed due to their inability or unwillingness to see gray shades. For instance: an extremely competitive person believes that he/she should be “number one or nothing at all.”

Overgeneralization – This is when you use excessive language in your assessment of people or events. For instance, when you are in a hurry and other drivers are not moving fast enough or are stopped by red lights. So you start generalizing this event to an overall pattern. In this example, the individual’s focus is only on red lights! Or you have failed an exam, and you decide that you are stupid or a failure. The way you evaluate your situation and the language you use matters since you will respond to the pattern instead of just that particular event.

Being aware of your predispositions will help you improve your ways of thinking and mental health. To start, notice how you talk to yourself and examine your assumptions. Identify harmful beliefs and challenge them.

 

 

Featured Artwork by Jeffrey Dirkse

Build Resilience In Challenging Times

How we cope or endure the dramatic changes in life requires practical approaches. Whether it is the contagion of pandemic and the collective anxiety it has generated or disaster displacement to personal setbacks or sorrows, we need to harness our inner strength to rebound. Considering that toxic emotions keep us away from the right priorities during distress, we need to build resilience.

This ability steers our creativity and clarity of thoughts to make smart, informed choices from mental fatigue, fear, or panic in times of tribulations.

No matter what has happened, the impact can begin all the way physiologically to our minds and become chronic. The term “Allostatic Load” refers to extreme harm to our overall wellbeing. It occurs when demand on our internal resources exceeds our capacity. Hence the fear puts excessive pressure on our capabilities and resources, resulting in poor decision-making and burnout.

So how do we get back stability and build mental resilience? Let’s start with a Buddhist parable of the second arrow.

The Buddha once asked a student: “If a person is struck by an arrow, is it painful? If the person is struck by a second arrow, is it even more painful?” He then explained, “In life, we cannot always control the first arrow. However, the second arrow is our reaction to the first. And with this second arrow comes the possibility of choice.”

Here are a few suggestions to restore physical and mental strength by building resilience:

  • First, calm your mind – Take notice of your thoughts, especially when they running away towards apocalyptic scenarios. Focus on one positive fact: “it is marvelous that I am safe at my home” versus the bad news. You can also use mindfulness apps such as Headspace or be mindful in support of your initiative to unhook the negative emotion.
  • Connect with your moral compass. Resilient people are guided by compassion, have a solid sense of fairness, and consider right and wrong.
  • Believe in something greater than yourself to give you courage and strength – for instance, “a life purpose or a mission.”
  • Engage in philanthropic activities.
  • Accept that you cannot change what has happened, but you can focus on what you can change.
  • Identify meaningful wisdom in the dire experience
  • Create a social support system with individuals who have a positive outlook in life and a nurturing spirit.

On a final note, a good diet and regular exercise to boost our good health should be part of our daily life.

Feature image by Kierstin Young 

5 Ways To Cultivate Elastic Mind

The world, as we knew it is changing fast, and our competence needs a boost. The social, technological, and cultural developments affected by the pandemic are steaming ahead, and our survivor is much dependent on our emotional radar and our flexibility to adapt. We are trained to solve our problems with rational analysis and logical devices; however, the swirl of change is extraordinary, and the analytical thought process has its limitations. As, Leonard Mlodinow explains in his book – Elastic: Flexible Thinking in a Constantly Changing World:

“Analytical thought is the form of reflection that has been most prized in modern society. Best suited to analyzing life’s more straightforward issues, it is the kind of thinking we focus on in our schools. We quantify our ability in it through IQ tests and college entrance examinations, and we seek it in our employees. But although analytical thinking is powerful, like scripted processing, it proceeds in a linear fashion…and often fails to meet the challenges of novelty and change.”

He further indicates that by embracing elastic thinking, we can effectively respond to new challenges.

The good news is that elastic thinking is an innate capacity that can be honed to reframe the problems and questions which open doors to new ideas.

Mlodinow writes that we solve problems through interactions of different systems in our brains. And as we are trained to dispense from inappropriate urges and unconventional ideas in favor of reason, those structures in our brain that generate new ideas must compete with other structures that censor them. To solve problems, our mental interactions and censors evaluate the most favorable solutions and eliminates the rest. This wiring is well suited to a stable environment as it considered ideas through the lens of what has worked in the past. However, in changing circumstances, we need a new approach to solving a problem.

He writes that as humans, we are attracted to novelty, and the reason is that dopamine is released when we face something new and non-threatening. Hence, we are inclined to explore, learn, and be rewarded with the feel-good dopamine that contributes to feelings of pleasure.

Here are his suggestions to develop elastic thinking:

  • Pick an idea that you don’t believe in and try to convince yourself of it. The idea is genuinely challenging your existing beliefs.
  • Dwell on an incident when you were wrong. Think about it hard for you to realize that you are not always right.
  • Try different food. Research has shown that by ordering the least popular food or a new dish, your creativity and imagination will increase.
  • Talk to strangers, people who are different from you, and think differently from you.
  • Go and see art—all genres of art, not necessarily the most famous paintings but diverse representations of arts.

Remember to cultivate an elastic mind, Mlodinow explains that we should adopt an unstructured approach and not force a logical process to all situations:

“The challenge of insight is the analogous issue of freeing yourself from narrow, conventional thinking.”

Featured Image by Morysetta

Interview with Mariannita Luzzati – Brazilian/Italian Visual Artist

Do you like to wander? Are you seeking solace? Are you turning to nature and landscapes to be inspired and encouraged? Are you figuring out the absurd situations, odd habits, or other eccentric aspects of daily life? In such moments, turning to art re-enacts our emotions and magnifies our natural survival instincts. Complexity in life demands a catalyst to foster coherence and clarity. Seemingly, looking at the artwork that recognizes the intensity of the modern world and comforts in uncertainties or sorrows and amplifies exuberance is beneficial to our well-being.

The contemplative landscape paintings of Mariannita Luzzati is one of the activators to learn about the mysteries of the world around us. An artist that sparks the knowledge to living a hedonic way through a mediative outlook. Born in São Paulo, of Italian parents who arrived in Brazil in the sixties, Mariannita Luzzati artworks honors the natural habitat and explores the interconnectedness of humans to their environment.

“These images suggest that the viewer should contemplate and reflect on emptiness and silence, which for me, is our greatest need today,” says the artist.

Mariannita Luzzati artwork

In 2011 Mariannita Luzzati conceived and developed the Cinemúsica Project in collaboration with her husband, the pianist Marcelo Bratke to bring multimedia performances to Brazilian prisons exploring the dialogue between music and moving images. Cinemúsica was performed in 10 prisons of the State of São Paulo, and Mariannita Luzzati produced and directed a documentary about the project. Since then, Cinemúsica has also been performed in prestigious cultural institutions in Brazil and abroad. Among these are the Southbank Center in London; Performing the World Festival in New York; Sarajevo Winter Festival; Sala São Paulo; Teatro da Paz in Belém and the Rio de Janeiro Opera Hall. The Cinemúsica Project was performed more than 60 times, receiving the Art of Touch Award at the Sarajevo Winter Festival.

 

Interview with Mariannita Luzzati

 

Jupilings: What inner force shapes your artistic concepts-

ML: It is the need to create a pictorial space on my work in which I somehow feel I can insert myself in.

In fact, I create a parallel reality of the aesthetic ideal that I pursue.

Mariannita Luzzati artwork

Jupilings: Why are you focused on the concept of the landscapes-

ML: Because I want to be there, to be at that particular landscape in the middle of nature briefing nature.

Nature is an infinite thematic element, and I always discover new ways of seeing it.

Environmental issues are of great interest to me, and it motivates me to develop my work.

Jupilings: What is your life motto-

ML: To be true to me. This approach includes doing nothing that offends my ethics. To be close to the people I love and to stay close to nature and to have a simple life.

Mariannita Luzzati artwork

Jupilings: How do you dial down the negative thoughts & self-doubt-

ML: A long walk in the countryside is the best way to down negative thoughts. I love swimming and yoga, as well. I always try to ignore negative thoughts. I don’t exercise self-doubts, and I believe that mistakes and successes sadness and happiness are part of life, and we have to experiment it.

Jupilings: How do you minimize distractions when you are working

ML: I never answer phone calls or messages when I am at the studio so, I am very focused when I am working. I love to be absorbed entirely in my studio or my readings during my working time.

Mariannita Luzzati artwork

Jupilings: How do you deal with criticism-

ML: Love it!

I love it when I am criticized! I believe that opening discussions about my work is always interesting and productive and makes me reflect on what I am doing.

Jupilings: Advice for aspiring artists-

ML: Be yourself. Do not follow trends. Be truthful in what you do. Do not mirror the career of another artist. Each human being is unique and has its trajectory. Stay open to other arts such as music, cinema dance, theatre, etc.…

 

Mariannita Luzzati artwork

 

Jupilings: What is the role of art today-

ML: For me, art’s role is to modify the perception of the world and life taking us out of our comfort zone, confronting us with new questions, making us look inside of ourselves, and finally opening a new window in our lives.

Jupilings: What’s the best advice you’ve ever heard

ML: When a white horse passes in front of your window, just jump on it! (I received this advice when I was in my twenties and was reluctant to accept an invitation I received to make my first solo show at a significant Gallery in São Paolo. So, I jumped on it!)

Anger Is Not A Negative Emotion

Aristotle said, “The man who is angry at the right things and with the right people, and, further, as he ought when he ought, and as long as he ought is praised.”

 

Sara Shakeel

Anger is not a bad emotion. It is acceptable to be angry at wrong-doings, social injustice, wickedness, harmful behaviors, or many other forms of disappointments or hurt. Still, how we use that energy is important. Remember that anger is a feeling, and you cannot simply stifle or turn it to apathy. What you should do instead is to experience anger as part of yourself since it is another form of flight or fight response, so do not dismiss it but listen to its message.

When you stop and pay attention to your angry emotions, you will be inclined to control your behavior rather than your feelings. Simply because you do not want to be at the mercy of your anger; instead, you want to flip from putting the lid on inner pressure to be self-disciplined in your reactions.

Consequently, once you acknowledge that anger is part of being human, you will direct your attention to controlling the aggression fueled by anger. Keep in mind that emotions are signals, but the aggressive response is a behavior, therefore a choice. Plus, aggression is not always about violence. Being judgmental, excessively critical, or even passive-aggressive facial or physical gestures indicate aggression.

Consider the following aspects of anger to handle your aggression and not your angry emotions skillfully:

  • Anger is not a negative emotion is part of human experience – Accept it to deal with it constructively. 
  • Anger should not be stifled but influenced. Take a moment to identify your anger’s root cause; is it out of fear, threat, or hurt? This approach will clear distorted perceptions so that you can express your rage in effective ways. 
  • Anger should be communicated – Practice moments of silence before you respond. Remember that nobody will accuse you of how you feel, you are allowed to be angry, but you are responsible for acting upon it regrettably or unjustly. By the way, increasing your emotional vocabulary can significantly support your message.
  • Manage your behavior – Stop ruminating on whatever brought about the negative emotions since it will likely increase your anger’s intensity and cloud your judgment. 
  • Avoid using anger to address your emotional pain since it will become a habit – Learn to deal with it in healthier ways. For instance, if you are mad at someone close to you or at work, talk with them directly only when you are out of your tunnel vision mindset. 

To wrap up, step out of your comfort zone and refrain from lashing out whenever you are upset, or an unexpected has materialized. It might be painful to listen and explore your angry feelings; however, the challenge will equip you well with a toolbox for your responses and place you in a stronger position. 

 

Featured image by Gabe Leonard

Capturing Emotions – Interview With Milenna Saraiva

Without a doubt, Art, especially portraiture channels, a better understanding of ourselves and others. It nudges us towards empathy, appreciation of diversity, and the grasp of emotions. From documentation to speculation, the category of portrait art is fascinating as it gives insights to the interior self. As Lucian Freud stated: ‘I think a great portrait has to do with the way it is approached … it is to do with the feeling of individuality, and the intensity of the regard and the focus on the specific’.

Dynamic and vibrant, Milenna Saraiva captures the spirit and the expressions of her sitter with a strong brush of paint in her portraits. Her strength in depicting the likeness inspired by the individual’s narrative and conviction is passionate. She pushes the age-old genre in new directions where the feelings are revealed, and the appearance utters the individual’s true essence.

Princess Diana – Artwork by Milenna Saraiva – Brazilian Visual Artist

Here is my interview with Milenna Saraiva

Jupilings: Your story- 

Milenna:  I was born in SÃO Paulo, Brazil. I grew up surrounded by musicians and Art in my family circle, so I was always stimulated to be creative. I recollect always drawing since I was very young. I was a shy child, so drawing helped me to communicate and protected me from the world. I ended up getting into dancing and then gymnastics and became an athlete at 12 years old. I used to practice for 8 hours a day, after school, and travel around the country competing with my teammates. Even then, I continued drawing on the side. When I was 17, I injured myself and decide to stop training. At 18, I decided to go to the US to study Fine Arts, and there I lived for the next 14 and a half years. Los Angeles was an excellent teacher and mother to me, but I missed my real base in Brazil and moved back to my country. I continued my education here with a post-grad degree in contemporary painting. I started to make my way into the art world here, doing all kinds of arts-related activities. One of them was live painting. Once I observed and connected with the visual performance, it changed the way I paint and my approach. It has also given me the confidence I need to loosen up and let my emotions come out with way less restrained. Today I have an art studio that I go to every day and spend at least 8 hours working. I spend my time discovering new ways to express myself through my work, painting commissions, murals, and performing live painting in all kinds of events.

Milenna Saraiva Artwork

Jupilings: What inner force shapes your artistic concepts-

Milenna: Art is the language of my thoughts. I find it easier to paint than to use words. The lights, the darks, and the layers of depth that come from playing with textures and colors give me a freedom that I cannot find in Portuguese or English. Painting is my quiet way of expressing my heritage and questioning social values. My work has become a tool for me to narrate my life experiences in parables. The paintings I make reflect my personal mythology.

Jupilings: As a portrait artist, you capture aspects of a person’s identity, likeness, and emotions. In your artwork, do you aim to portray the individuals as to how they see themselves, or how they perceive them-

Milenna: I want my portraits to give clues about the portraited people’s energy and essence. I do want them to identify with the works too. For that, I rely on trying to perfect my technique. Portraits are tricky, though, people want their portraits made still, in most cases are surprised when they see the final product. Their expectation is to see themselves as they see themselves and not how the artist sees them. The way we see ourselves is unique to ourselves. There are many versions of us, one to each different person that we meet, so it’s impossible to fulfill that desire unless you are a photo-realistic artist. And that will never interest me. In my opinion, an artwork will always have the artist’s perceptions engraved all over it.

Andre – Artwork by Milenna Saraiva

Jupilings: What are your thoughts on “portraits” to create a visual dialogue to explore social justice, sexuality, race, and many other controversial subjects-

Milenna:  I’m attracted to controversial subjects, clearly, lol. I think portraits have always been fantastic tools to create dialogues, subtle dialogues with those paying attention. Many artists have and are using imagery and symbols to tell stories, to convey hidden or explicit messages. At this moment, I’m not taking advantage of the allegories that painting offers in all its possibilities; instead, I’m investing in the emotions and expressions of the markings, brush strokes and the colors to do all the ‘talking.’ For instance, the portrait of Marielle Franco, a prominent Brazilian human rights activist, and politician, murdered in mysterious circumstances by the militia, I used a very warm color pallet, with red drips, splashes, a well-defined box behind it, and name it “Seed.” I narrated her story in an observable manner, and those paying attention will hopefully understand it. That means my Art allows me to say what I want to say, but only to those who want to hear it. If Art is a form of communication, my paintings are a language.

Marielle Franco – Artwork by Milenna Saraiva

Jupilings: What is your life motto-

Milenna: It changes a lot from time to time, depending on what’s going on. But there’s a good one I always go back to that says “Live whimsically. Love extravagantly. Dream boldly. Create daily.” 

Jupilings: How do you dial down the negative thoughts & self-doubt- 

Milenna: It’s a constant struggle to balance everything that happens in my mind. But I think I usually sort it all out by painting. Negativity and positivity are only opposite sides of the coin. As well as self-doubt and confidence. I believe that self-doubt is essential for improvement. When I’m questioning myself if something is as good as I could make it, I will keep working on it until self-doubt is gone.

Julian Assange Artwork by Milenna Saraiva

Jupilings: How do you minimize distractions when you are working-

Milenna: I don’t think I manage distractions that well. I could be way more productive If I actually do away with it. I’ve gotten used to doing many things at the same time. Working on several projects at the same time. The distraction is also an opportunity, or maybe a window, to take a moment and then return to something I was very focused on. And sometimes, this little break could give me the answer that I need to finish a piece. So, I guess I embrace them.

Jupilings: How do you deal with criticism-

Milenna: I will only accept criticism from people I respect and have more knowledge than I do. Otherwise, I ignore them completely. Sometimes you need to protect yourself from opinions since every person has a different one, you have to believe in what you believe in. There are many reasons you do what you do and how you do it, that precisely is what makes you unique.

Malala YousafzaiArtwork by Milenna Saraiva

Jupilings: Advice for aspiring artists-

Milenna: If you want to be an artist, study to be one, like a doctor studies to be a doctor. Learn every technique, learn how to draw and produce as much as you can. Only the practice of your craft will allow you to discover your true gift and unique style. Also, be organized with your works, photograph everything, and have an online portfolio since the beginning. It’s important to network, to be part of a group of people who think alike and have the same goals that you do.

Most importantly, what you love. Find out what inspires you and create based on what you love. When you do that, you will want to do it all the time, and you will never feel like you’re working. Know that not everyone will like what you do, and you’ll get many ‘no’s,’ but keep going until you get the ‘yes.’

Artwork by Milenna Saraiva

Jupilings: What is the role of Art today-

Milenna: Art has many roles, in my opinion: To entertain, to express and provoke thinking and emotions, tell a story, shock, and sometimes to simply beautify the world. To me, it’s all of it.

Artwork by Milenna Saraiva

Artwork by Milenna Saraiva

Jupiligns: What’s the best advice you’ve ever heard- 

Milenna: At Santa Monica College, my painting teacher once told me I needed to work harder if I wanted to be an artist and said that “talent isn’t enough.” When I was younger, I was reckless. I used to go out at night and was always come late to painting classes. After that day, something changed in me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Silence Is Power

Silence is the preparation to understand the world around us. Of course, it all depends on how we use it.

  • An earnest silence nourishes the soul and enables awareness. It allows new thoughts to emerge as it stimulates a receptive mind.
  • An enthusiastic silence creates alertness and interest to hear and encourage clarification.
  • Silence brings calm and serenity with others and nature.
  • Silence is a way to doze, to resent, to rage, to be indifferent or detached.

Although there are many intents and purposes for silence, one cannot deny that it plays a vital role in creating something better, meaningful, and peaceful. In the creative world, from composers to writers and artists, silence is used to create a space to communicate ideas without agitation to enhance the experience and encourage comprehension.

Artwork by Michael Whelan

Maybe we should all contemplate the power of silence and how effectively we can communicate without rattling on.

Truly, we should all learn to dwell in silence to express our thoughts and engagement. Knowing that silence is one of the conditions within our power to control, this dynamic state must be part of our daily lives. Certainly, immersing in silence is not an easy task. There are many scenarios that we lose the capacity to be silent, in highly stressful situations, in serious discussions or even self-talk. However, the core understanding of the following statements can help us navigate our emotions and use silence to connect with our creative and strong self.

Silence to calm a situation

You don’t have to turn this into something. It doesn’t have to upset you.”

Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 6.52

Engage in meaningful talk

“Be silent for the most part, or, if you speak, say only what is necessary and in a few words. Talk, but rarely, if the occasion calls you, but do not talk of ordinary things—of gladiators or horses races or athletes or of meats or drinks—these are topics that arise everywhere.”

Epictetus

As a stoic visualize the worst thing that can happen and champion you fears

“Silence is a lesson learned through life’s many sufferings.”

Seneca

You are in control 

“Remind yourself that your task is to be a good human being; remind yourself what nature demands of people. Then do it, without hesitation, and speak the truth as you see it. But with kindness. With humility. Without hypocrisy.”

Marcus Aurelius

The best answer to anger is silence

“Better to trip with the feet than the tongue.”

—Zeno

Stay humble

“Work hard in silence; let your success make the noise.”

– Frank Ocean

On a final note, be present, be conscious as Rumi said: “Silence is the language of God, all else is poor translation.”

 

Artwork from Chris Levine