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When Watching Television can Enhance Personal Growth

When Watching Television can Enhance Personal Growth
    Television. It isn't ALL bad.

    Many education and personal development experts claim that people watch way too much television these days.

    As a result of having our eyes glued to the television for hours each day, we waste our valuable time watching all the latest reality shows and sitcoms when we could be using that time to do something more constructive with our lives.

    I would tend to agree that the average person should cut down on the number of hours, but I think some TV is actually okay if utilized well.

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    Since we all need breaks in the form of entertainment, I think it’s perfectly reasonable to watch a few regular shows each week. But of course, many people are watching much more than just a few shows on a weekly basis.

    Where Television Can Actually Be Beneficial

    Where I think television can actually be beneficial for us is in programming that is educational and thought-provoking. Programs like the ones on the outdoors, on history — as well as the Discovery Channel, of course — educate us on nature, technology and culture. These can help broaden our horizons.

    Cultural shows in particular can help us learn more about each other so that we, as people, can become more tolerant of each others’ differences. This will help to reduce the level of racism and conflicts we still have in the world.

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    Other programs (especially those highlighting nature and travel) help us build appreciation of our precious planet.  I know that in my case that as a result of watching travel shows, I have been influenced to book trips to certain different destinations around the world…all because of the initial exposure on television.

    It was programs about our planet’s marine life underwater showing colorful coral reefs with tropical fish that got me interested to go snorkeling and then eventually become a certified scuba diver. I saw on TV just how beautiful the underwater world was and I wanted to be in that environment so I could experience it for myself.

    Rather than just watching the coral reef marine life on a television screen in my living room, I wanted to be there in the real actual environment. Even a giant IMAX theatre could not duplicate the real thing when you have gorgeous tropical fish swimming all around you in a 360-degree zone.

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    Television Can Help Us Appreciate Our History

    Television in the form of historical documentaries or even re-enactments of past events in time can also have quite an impact. I always knew about the Great Pyramids in Egypt but when I finally saw more in-depth footage of various ancient Egyptian ruins on TV, I knew that I just had to travel there to see them in real life.

    I actually did go on a trip to Egypt one year — and there is really nothing quite like standing in front of colorful murals that are still vivid on the walls of ancient tombs in the Valley of the Kings after thousands of years. These breathtaking experiences I had were a result of initially being exposed to these ancient antiquities on television.

    The combination of the initial television exposure and real life visits have made me appreciate mankind’s history much more. I get a better sense of where we have been and perhaps what we still have to do to make our society better.

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    Learning From Great People

    Although we can all still learn from great people through their writings, attending a live talk where they are speakers would definitely be even better.  However, since many of these great people are no longer with us, watching their stories on TV with either actual footage of them or through movie portrayals are the next best thing.

    I learned about people like Gandhi and Malcolm X through movie portrayals on television, which prompted me to do a bit more research on them. Their wisdom has made me a better person, again thanks to the initial exposure on TV.

    So if you are already involved in activities that contribute to your personal growth, don’t write off television completely. Use it as one of the tools that you can use to get some exposure to events, people and places that can broaden your horizons further.

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    Last Updated on July 10, 2020

    How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

    How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

    We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

    We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

    So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

    Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

    What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

    Boundaries are limits

    —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

    Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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    Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

    Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

    Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

    How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

    Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

    1. Self-Awareness Comes First

    Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

    You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

    To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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    You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

    • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
    • When do you feel disrespected?
    • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
    • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
    • When do you want to be alone?
    • How much space do you need?

    You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

    2. Clear Communication Is Essential

    Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

    Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

    3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

    Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

    That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

    Sample language:

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    • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
    • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
    • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
    • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
    • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
    • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
    • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

    Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

    4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

    Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

    Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

    Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

    We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

    It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

    It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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    Final Thoughts

    Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

    Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

    Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

    The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

    Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

    Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

    They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

    Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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