Due to the abundance of wealth and lack of adverse conditions (civil wars, abject poverty, widespread health epidemics, etc.), western societies have lost a sense of gravitas. People in these societies have lived too easily for too long a period of time. As a result, they have lost their sense of duty, seriousness and respect for others.

In the developing world, most people have seen their standard of living improve during their lifetime, and can expect them to continue to rise over the years even if the economy takes a temporary dip.  So, naturally, they feel well off whether they have a modest home in the suburbs, a small farm in the country or even a tiny apartment in the city. Most Americans do not know what it really means to be poor means because they have not experienced real poverty. They have only seen it on TV and in the movies or read about it in school or in the news.

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, gravitas means seriousness and importance of manner, causing feelings of respect and trust in others. It is understood as a concept involving several attributes.

Usually gravitas is used to refer to politicians, philosophers or world leaders. I believe that it can also be applied to describe to culture and way of life that has true purpose and meaning. In contrast, Western culture has become obsessed with fame and celebrity, with frivolity and pleasure seeking, with superficiality and self-importance. We have lost a sense of seriousness and purpose, we no longer feel a sense of duty or doing the right thing), we lack respect for others (the disadvantaged, the elderly and those who are different from us).

We live in jaded and emotionless society where people only seem to be interested in others if they are trying to get something in return:  money, sex, connections, notoriety and the list goes on and on.  Focusing on our own needs and pleasures instead of demonstrating concern for others and building substantial social connections has lead most of us to live empty lives void of meaning and true worth.

Due to the lack of gravitas in our culture, Americans have created a sick kind of isolation where we only think of our selves and our own happiness.  This is a total switch from the beliefs this country was originally founded on.  We have lost our moral purpose for existence and we need to get it back if we want if we want our lives to have meaning.

Copyright: Yilva Kalmanson

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To others it appears that we like to be independent and free thinkers, we create our own philosophy out of life and refuse to be followers.  We don’t care about going to the right clubs, meeting the right people, dressing conventionally, doing what our friends like to do, mimicking what celebrities say is important, and following the latest trends as seen on television.

Instead it is a natural force coming from deep inside us to make us feel special and different from the rest. We feel attracted by our own philosophy of how the world really works, we tend to dismiss most fads as trivial and silly, and if lots of people become involved in a new cause célèbre you quickly become sick of hearing about it.

If you resemble the description above, that means you are a true contrarian like me. A contrarian is a person who always says the opposite of what is popular or popularly believed. Refusing to imitate the masses when it comes to buying car, selecting a movie or even buying a certain stocks knowing that everyone else is selling them.

A contrarian is also a person who takes up a contrary a position that is opposed to that of the majority, without caring what others think.  In addition, you can be a contrarian by refusing to live a boring life by simply trying to blend in with others and desperately trying to belong to a group for fear of being cast out or ostracized.
We classic contrarians are always ready to say what is truly on our minds and not afraid to offer a true opinion on a topic. I think my true nature is to be a contrarian but does not automatically label me as a troublemaker. I just think my basic instinct is to automatically oppose anything that appears conventional.  I like to act as a free thinker in this world and not defined by other people, family members or cultural influences.

I like having my own opinions and being a counter intuitive person gives me a different perspective on life and the opportunity to use my beliefs and imagination.   Just being myself, being creative and having my own opinions enhances my self-esteem. And it does not cause harm to others by simply disagreeing with them.
I enjoy having a balance between analytical thinking and creative contrarian thinking which has helped me to get through some of the biggest tsunamis in my life. For my own sake and never with the intention of raising eyebrows, I feel more confortable managing my own opinions and try to see life from other angles. The best way to explore reality is by developing your imagination so that you can see life from many different vantage points without reducing it to popular beliefs and narrows way of thinking.
Knowing that the world is not always perfect, I have not always made the right decisions and sometimes I have made the wrong choices but in general I have always had sound moral principles and a good sense of responsibility.   This makes me feel confident about my personal philosophy of living and comfortable in my own skin.  If others don’t like what I say, how I dress, my political views or whom I choose to be friends with then I simply shrug and I say I simply don’t care. It’s their problem that they only want to “fit in” and not mine.
I have developed an art to being a contrarian in a conventional thinking world just simply by not accepting what society dictates as the norm but I do it without insulting or harming others. They do have a right to live their lives the way they want to. It just won’t be as interesting or as much fun.
Yilva Kalmanson

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The only thing that I call a real fortune is not hitting the jackpot but the pleasure that comes from loving others and being loved. I love my husband, my children, my family, my friends, my dog and even my neighbors without expecting much in return.

Scientists have long been keen to prove that love makes us healthier. Many studies have proven that women who have healthy loving relationships tend to live longer.

I personally have a great relationship with my husband, after a stressful day there is nothing better for me than seeing him coming home. It produces in me the greatest sensation of comfort. I feel relief and happiness when I see him, at the same time I feel like my blood pressure has changed dramatically. I also noticed that when I hold my partner’s hand I feel a tremendous sense of calmness. I feel safe all of my pent up anxieties and fears quickly melt away.

I am fascinated by a recent study from the University of Carolina that shows hugging others daily and other physical expressions of caring not only improves a person’s   mental health it also provides significant health benefits and extends your life span.

Experts point that sex is just one of many ways to express your love. The sense of being physically united to another human is only one aspect of the sexual connection.  When you are connected to others not only physically but also spiritually it can help you overcome many of the bad times in your life.  My favorite time of the day is coming from work and being able to communicate with my partner and sit together to exchange our experiences of the day

It is even more important to be able to maintain a steady, long lasting and strong bond between two partners than it is to just have great sex. A relationship based on sex only can never be durable in the long run.

Experts are quick to point out that sex is only one aspect of a physical connection and not nearly as powerful as the real magic in a relationship: the bonding of two people. That sense of being united, even during bad times, is a trait that Brian Baker, a psychiatrist at the University of Toronto, calls cohesion. And his research has found that it’s more important to both a person’s health and happiness than a good sex life. They point that sex is only one form of expression of love. Sex is only one aspect of this important connection between two partners. The sense of being united and being able to depend on your partner during the bad times of our life is what really counts.

Longevity is definitely associated with having a supportive and healthy relationship. If you are in a healthy relationship, the supportive part is crucial and alters the brain in a very significant way. A happy marriage relieves stress and has a positive effect on other neural functions.

To love someone is a great feeling, but to love someone and feel loved in return is an even greater feeling. To love someone unconditionally without expecting much in return is the best of the feelings.

Copyright by:  Yilva Kalmanson

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The voluptuous part of being myself again

By Yilva Kalmanson

The fashion industry may not be the root cause of eating disorders in women, but it certainly does provoke it. By promoting images of female beauty as being waif-like, it causes many women to try to replicate this nearly impossible ideal by subjecting themselves to absurd diets, spend innumerable hours exercising and undergoing unnecessary plastic surgery just to be someone else. Women need to stop chasing the impossible dream and instead enjoy, respect and, most importantly, be happy with their own voluptuousness.

In most cultures, men are attracted to voluptuous women but not women who are considered by others as being overweight. Just because this is what society considers as being hot. The inner being is the most important and that is what we a as women have to focus on. The outer packaging usually does not give a man what they are looking for in the long run. It is only an illusion, lacking substance and subject to the dictates of time and gravity.

Every day we see in the streets all kinds of people — good looking, ugly, skinny, overweight but our eyes almost always focus on those who are considered attractive. Like a good friend of mine used to say “Thanks god there good looking people out there to reward our eyes.” But this does not mean necessarily that we are in love with person and want them to always be in our lives, it is just a sexual desire not a lasting relationship. It’s just a quick gratification of the senses.

Instead of focusing on the superficiality of our exteriors, we should be focusing on cultivating our voluptuousness on the inside.  We should cultivate our voluptuous inner attributes regardless of our size or weight. By developing these great qualities we can make ourselves a truly desirable type of woman rather than who “looks good” but has a repulsive and shallow personality.

Being voluptuous on the inside means having a positive attitude toward life, being compassionate and caring with a good amount of empathy towards others, loving not only your self but others as well. Women can be sexy in their own classy way and not by being vulgar and ostentatious.  Women should be intelligent but not arrogant, ambitious to some degree but without harming others, and respectful of others and treating them as you would like to be treated in return.

By developing good inner attributes, a woman will become irresistible to men who share this belief and can help form the basis of a great relationship that is built on substance, not one that is banal and fades away in a blink of an eye.

As for myself, I am not voluptuously sexy but I am myself. I have a voluptuous life.  I feel accepted by those who love me for the way I am. The values that society wants to impose on me I refuse to accept. My battles are filled with other more important things that matter more to me than trying to look like a model in a magazine.

Lets promote this kind of voluptuousness as being fashionable and a more durable way to seek a lasting and healthy relationship. Even if my old jeans do not fit me like they used to, I am intelligent because there are other things that I have been able to fit in with a greater success.

It really doesn’t matter what size you because every women has a little voluptuous in them.

Copyright: Yilva Kalmanson

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When I first came to America, I did not speak English very well. The little bit of English I learned when I first arrived was essential to help me get by and that was a difficult chapter in my life.

After 26 years, I am still learning more and more words in English. This gives me the opportunity to speak the language more fluently and be able to use it more effectively at work.  I continue, however, to struggle to communicate clearly at times and to understand the many nuances of the English language since Spanish will always be my native tongue and the one in which I am most fluent in.

One example of this on-going challenge is the word  “grudge.” Even though I had heard or seen the word used many times, I never used it because I was not really sure what it meant. For many years, I associated “grudge” with the word “Scrooge” — the mean miser from Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” Sometimes I thought it was another word for a tumor or a cyst because I would hear people say “he has a grudge” and I knew it meant something bad.

According to the Oxford Dictionary, one of the definitions of the grudge is rancor or resentment.  This further confused me because the word “rancor” sounded so similar to “canker” that I thought it was another word for a sore.  Then it came to my mind that the word “rancor” is actually very similar to the word “rincor” in Spanish that means exactly the same thing.

When tying to use both words together in a sentence, I came up with the idea that some people for one reason to another hold grudges for a long time thus creating some kind of canker in their souls.  I also thought of a grudge as being similar to taking daily doses of muriatic acid that over time corrodes your heart and the rest of your body and creates numerous cankers.

Over the years I have met many people that spend their lives bearing grudges.  For some, a grudge could be inherited like the famous retribution of certain counter cultures like organized crime.  It can be also found in the lives of families, communities, races and nations. They sometimes use long-standing grudges to manipulate others to feel in control.

When you harbor deep-seated negative feelings towards a person, those bad feelings actually work against you and they get trapped in your soul until you get rid of them. The ideal would be to go sleep at night and when you wake up, you would be free of these chains of misery.

To expect others to be or behave the way you want them to be and not accepting them for they way they are is completely arbitrary and illogical. By holding grudges, we orphan ourselves from the world and become not only alienated but prisoners of our inability to change and accept others.  Thus, grudges do become cankers on our souls.  And the longer we hold these grudges, the more we damage ourselves.  And this is bad in any language.

By: Yilva M. Kalmanson



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Sadness is a very intense feeling that occurs naturally in human beings. It is is a basic emotion that we all feel at various times in our lives. Sometimes depression manifests itself as a deep and lasting sadness, but it is just as common for depressed people to feel simply “numb.”  Depression sometimes feels like the absence of emotions.  For those suffering from depression, life has no joy or no deep sadness – just numbness.

As I get older, I feel that time passes more and more quickly so I also think being sad has its bright side. I have discovered that I love sad and melancholic music. Being in a sad mood sometime makes me to think and see things more clearly. Psychologist Joseph Forgas of the University of New South Wales in Sydney says “Don’t worry, be sad!” One of his investigations found that people in sad moods have an advantage in remembering the details of unusual incidents that they have witnessed. Negative moods increase one’s analytical thinking. Many beautiful pieces of art have been created by people who were experiencing profound feelings of sadness. 

However, if sadness lingers too long to the point that a person does not see the light at the end of the tunnel and makes them incapable of facing the adversities of life then that individual has a problem with depression. Depression is a disease very different from sadness. Like any other illness, depression can linger for very long periods of time and deteriorate our physical and mental states. A tormented state of mind is not a good sign of good mental health and well-being. Clinical depression requires the understanding of the disease from the person’s point of view. Prolong feelings of depression include fatigue, lack of interest in living, not experiencing pleasure from life, insomnia, feelings of guilt, or sudden loss or gain of weight. It is common also to feel “numb” or to lose the ability to experience life’s pleasures.

I believe feelings of sadness sometimes can become addictive and some people become comfortable or complacent feeling sorry for themselves and for everyone around them. Obviously if you listen to sad music or watch a tragedies on television, you are more included to feel sad mood and these acts reinforce one’s addiction to sadness.  

There have been a number of events in my life recently that have catapulted me into deep stages of sadness including the death of my mother who was my best friend and strongest supporter. It seems to me that there is always something or someone who causes me to become sad during the last year or so.  During this time, I have experienced long episodes of sadness focusing on the lives of dead friends and relatives instead of concentrating on all the good things taking place and all my friends and family who are still alive.  Those who love me try to help me celebrate life’s successes and support me during these difficult times.

For some people, feeling sad is an easier way to avoid the real problems of life, instead of facing them directly.  I compare people who enjoy their misery with pigs enjoying playing in the mud for pleasure. If we feel sorry for ourselves then people will feel sorry for us. Sadness is not a disease and it could be also our major enemy if we habitually make it part of our lives. Getting caught in a vicious cycle in which we lose interest in all the good things in life whenever bad things happen can play very awful tricks in our brains.

As for myself, I have been trying to understand why I feel comfortable being sad and that it is not simply a choice or a bad a habit but an unavoidable part of life. Sometimes the sad episodes in my life last for a very long time so that I forget what joy is and sadness becomes the norm – not the exception.  

There are daily battles that each of us must face. Life is a desperate confrontation with unknown forces that we have to overcome instead of falling for the excuse of feeling sad or unhappy and doing nothing to combat these invisible forces.Battling sadness is a daily exercise we all must do otherwise deep depression will set in. Just accepting these facts of life increases my mental sanity. I want to strive to overcome sadness instead of remaining negative, unable to act, feeling victimized and helpless.

Connecting with people and cultivating good friends can be an arduous task but it will result in a positive outcome if you don’t give in to sadness ruling your life. If the problem is lacking a good friend or soul mate, I suggest finding someone with similar problems and you can be there for each other.  

You do have a choice in life. You can allow yourself to be addicted to sadness and wallow in your own suffering while your life slowly passes by or you can stand up to this invisible mental foe and learn to savor life’s many forms of joy and happiness.  Will you still be sad from time to time? Of course, but don’t let sadness rule your life instead let it be just a natural and temporary part of life.

Yilva Kalmanson


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During the 19th century, decorative masks often were worn by guests attending parties hosted by aristocrats.  Non-aristocrats would use the disguise to cover up a suspicious activity. At those masked balls people could say what they wanted without the fear of being identified by other member of the community.
Masks are a powerful form of disguise, it is something that can be used to conceal the real identity of the person. Probably the most difficult thing in the world is to show others who we really are. I do not even think most of us know who we really are because we are so used to wearing social masks for most of our lives. The problem is that when the time comes that you want to reveal your true self to another we cannot remember how to remove the mask. We have become the mask.
Today, masks are used to represent our roles in society. The game always is between appearance and reality and the endless round of masking and unmasking when we get home. When we are in public we wear our “social masks” permitting us to present different versions of ourselves to other people. Depending on the situation, we have different ways of presenting ourselves at work and in public than we do when we are alone. Some of us like to play the role of the “successful businessman,” others the “clever one,” or the “sexy girl,” the “good mother,” the “playboy” and many others. It all depends of what we want people to believe we are, not necessarily who we really are.
Masks also allow us to feel “safe” and block others from discovering our raw or true nature.  Even if normalcy does not exist in our lives, we like to wear a mask of normalcy so that we can project an illusion of wellbeing and hide all our fears and defects.
The key to true happiness is to accept who we really are without thinking about who we are not and what is lacking in our lives. That is why people who live in societies that lack an abundance of material things feel more content with themselves and what they do have because they don’t feel the need to pretend to be better then others. They do not need to use social masks because they are satisfied with what they have and are comfortable living in their own skin – unlike most of us.
The best of all the roles I have found in life is being myself. It allows me to stop thinking about who I “should” be and allows me to begin a new journey of helping others because I want to, not because I want to show others my “good citizen” mask. The meaning of life started for me when I stopped thinking about what others think of me and began a whole new way of thinking about the well being of others.
Acknowledging who we really are is the only way to achieve reality in life.

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El Espejo ya no es tu mejor amigo

La madurez es un proceso que combina los cambios fisiológicos, psicológicos y sociales.. Los cambios en la persona producen respuestas emocionales de tristeza , frustración y rebeldía.

Los cambios nos afectan mucho porque nos damos cuenta de que ya no actuamos como antes y que en ciertos aspectos como en el caso de la memoria , por ejemplo , nos afecta pensar que ya no funciona de la misma manera que antes. Un ejemplo de cambios fisiológicos,s, se podrían mencionar los cambios en nuestra piel, pelo, cuerpo. etc. Nos cuesta aceptar que el espejo ya no es nuestro mejor amigo y que la forma de “Pera” que por lo general le llega a una persona de cierta edad, está en camino y viene para quedarse.

Por otro lado, madurez significa la búsqueda del significado real de la vida . De un modo u otro dejamos que el “Yo” , que tanto nos agobia,, vuele a otro plano, para darle paso a los seres que realmente amamos y a las cosas realmente apreciamos.. Ahora percibimos el mundo com más claridad, los fracasos son como triunfos. y los triunfos como grandes logros. Nuestros temores se han aplacado un poco más y nuestras metas son más claras.

El comienzo de la liberación reside cuando sentimos que hemos alcanzado un cierto nivel de madurez tanto física como emocional. La mayoría de la personas consideran que son más felices porque se sienten más maduros al saber conducir y reconocer sus emociones de una manera más eficaz que cuando eran más jóvenes y con menos experiencia.

Siempre va a existir ese niño que vive dentro de nosotros. Algunas veces es saludable liberarlo y llevarlo de paseo pero siempre teniendo en cuenta que el adulto es el jefe y que este es el que debe predominar por encima de todo.

By: Yilva Kalmanson

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