Oh, boy. This is so familiar. How many times we have been in a meeting or at the family dinner where people yell louder and louder to be heard but, in reality, nobody is listening?
It’s amazing how from generation to generation the majority of kids are raised to believe that they are the center of the universe and that the world owes them something. That leads to all kinds of wonderful personalities. People who need to be heard no matter what. People who walk over everyone to get to the top. People who shut down and develop mental issues due to extreme stress of inability to fit in and participate in the rat race.
What about learning to appreciate the differences? What about remembering that nobody is perfect and everybody has their own struggles? What about remembering that in a big picture whatever needs to be yelled out is not important?
What about remembering that you are a human being who wants to love and be loved, and that participating in the rat race gets you closer and closer to losing yourself? Every time you think that you need to be, have to be, must be recognized or heard or taken in consideration regarding a business decision, politics, philosophy or other random social issue, you forget that happiness can’t co-exist with stress and an excessive need for a reward that boosts your self-confidence or self-esteem. Happiness means harmony and harmony is not all the above mentioned.
What in a world do we have to say that is so important that everyone has to hear it?
Verbal fights or disagreements are hardly ever won by brute force of yelling.
There are so many paths to take, so many choices to make, so many jobs to experience, and so many relationships to start or to end.
I like these words: “the plot of your life…”, as when you really think about it, you realize that you play so many roles in your life like an actor and everything is like a little play with a plot.
A short list of plays you might be participating in right now:
“ Let’s have a job and make money”
“ I am a sister or a brother”
“ I am in a relationship”
“ I have an issue with my car and the car shop is toying with me”
All these are plays and all of them have a plot. The best part is – that you always have a choice if you want to participate in the play or not. The outcome of opting out might not be something that you like but there is always a choice to do or not to do something. And so the plot thickens…. J
I guess, Nodus Tollens comes right after the question” What in a world am I doing?”
Most of us have a messy past. Painful memories, bad choices, unresolved situations, heartbreak, and etc. And sometimes that past has hurt us so deeply that we have developed an emotional attachment to it and we just can’t let go.
Maybe we have a moment or two when we are able to see life the way it is and not the way it comes to our awareness through the filter of the past experience. These moments do not last long and we go back exactly where we started in the first place. We can’t focus on anything else and can’t leave the past behind. It always somehow creeps in our thoughts and reminds of itself hindering the ability to appreciate moments that are in front of us.
It is truly amazing how people keep punishing themselves and either hold onto the resentment or keep repeating same behavioral patterns expecting an alternative outcome.
Most likely, it is because people are longing for a different outcome, for some kind of resolution, maybe an apology, maybe a different choice, maybe another chance to make it right, and maybe they believe that somebody owes them something. And, instead of allowing themselves to learn from the experience, leave the past behind, leave anger or grudges behind, let go of the pain, or find closure, they choose to hold on to all of that and drag it with them through the reminder of their lives.
Holding onto your past is like keeping a photo of every single person that you have met so far and carrying them with you wherever you go. It’s not like you need to show these photos to your friends, coworkers, strangers and tell the story of how you got hurt and what happened.
You do not need these stories or photos to be able to live through a situation that is similar to something that you have already seen or experienced in the past. And you do not need a constant reminded of something that you can’t change. You need your memories and experiences to be a guiding light. Something that you use to learn and grow.
Cleaning up doesn’t always mean forgetting. It just means – letting go of stuff that is not relevant anymore. Letting go of feelings that hold you back and keep you trapped. Past belongs in the past. Today is the day you live.
So, where do you start? Start with forgiving yourself and accepting the fact that nobody is perfect. It is ok to love imperfection.
Everyone is afraid of death. You. Me. Them. Every single one of us. Unfortunately, there is no way to avoid it. It will claim us all, one by one.
If death is inevitable and nobody can change the outcome, then it should be no brainer – focus on something that you can change. You can live your entire life being afraid to die and then realize that you have never lived.
Fear itself is just a perception of something we do not know or want to avoid. Shouldn’t this feeling be used as a driver to do things that make one’s life worth living? Things that we are afraid of, things that we think we are afraid of, things that seem to be something that is unknown and get deemed to be scary.
Fear is adaptive because it protects us but you can’t live your life in a bubble if you want to live an emotionally satisfying life. Fear is engrained in our genetics and it keeps us safe. Human brain always keeps an eye on everything that can potentially be dangerous or deadly – food, heights, enclosed spaces, elevators, shady people, and etc.
However, letting fear to take over one’s life can be detrimental. You are preserving yourself from imaginary death by robbing yourself of an opportunity to find out what life is and what amazing adventures it can offer.
There is no recipe to what happiness is. There is also no recipe to what living is. But one thing is for sure. Not letting yourself see what’s on the other side and living in constant fear of “what if” is far worse than some discomfort you might experience making first steps and finding out that it was not as bad as you thought.
You should be afraid of wasting your life by living in fear. You should be afraid to allow fear to dictate what you can or cannot do. You should be afraid to wake up one day and realize that you have spent your entire life being afraid and choosing all the safe options, and your time has run out.
“Game over” – should be your fear and not “what if”…
They say it’s okay to be afraid because you are about to do something brave. In my experience, quite often being afraid leads to making some extremely not bright decisions.
So, I would like to paraphrase this saying.
It’s okay to be afraid because you are about to do either something brave or something stupid.
Unfortunately, there is no way to predict which direction you are going to go.
When life is driven by do’s and don’ts and when you have to re-discover yourself after hitting rock bottom, most of the time you have to start from the very beginning.
You have to start with the question, do I know what is happening? Not literally understanding what and who and how but look deep into yourself.
You need to understand how you got here. You need to understand what choices you have made that brought you to this point in life.
You have to understand what you are avoiding and what you are running away from. You have to really understand what exactly you are trying to achieve and what drives that desire.
I am not talking about the lamest statement one can provide – I want to have a good career, decent life, family, and etc. These statements could be recorded and replayed for every single person as these are passed on from generation to generation as a to-do list.
I am referring to actual reasons why somebody is making choices.
Maybe you were bullied as a child and now you have an internal burn to proof that you are somebody.
Maybe your parents got divorced and you felt like you were not needed or loved and now you subconsciously continue choosing partners, jobs, friends that continue making you feel the same way.
Maybe you subconsciously have chosen to go down the other rabbit hole and keep choosing people and jobs that make you uncomfortable with their affection, attention, and constant need for you to be their center of attention.
Maybe your parents didn’t teach you that you are not the almighty center of the universe and now you believe that you deserve things and that world owes you.
Maybe you learned not to care because you are not worthy.
maybe, maybe, maybe….
People say, we learn from our mistakes. People say that if you do not make mistakes, you are not growing. Yes, there is an aspect of truth in everything said.
But these genius quotes do not cover the stupidity that is caused by choices that were driven by the emotional trauma. You can be stupidly brave and do something that will change your life for good and you can also be just stupid and hurt yourself or someone around you.
We all have that one person in our lives that make stupid decisions that are brave in their own right but can be classified more stupid than brave. You know why they make choices they do and you try to help them see the driver behind those decisions but nobody can help them unless they help themselves.
And when that day comes when they ask you – but what about me, I hope you are brave enough to tell them that the only way around this is to start loving and accepting themselves.
When you understand why you make stupid decisions, you open the door to be brave, and that is when it is about you….
Day 5 out of 5, let’s talk about Being …
I was wondering about the topic I want to tackle as my last little challenge when I stumbled upon a post written by a guy I was following a few years ago. His name is Steven and he is paralyzed. One little mishap of trying to dive into the pool and he ended up with a broken neck and unable to breath on his own.
Steven is bed written and can blog only by using voice. His writing is catchy and well done. It sucks you in.
Every time I had an extremely hard day, I remembered him and I had no excuse for feeling sorry for myself. That was just a day and that was just a temporary experience. It will come and go…
“…There is a way to be happy again despite living with a disability, a way to have a purpose and a way to be thankful for all that you still have….” says Steven.
The word BEING has so many meanings and it means so many different things to people that it is almost impossible to try to use more words to explain.
Being is like an amazing adventure with all kinds of curve balls, ups and downs, smiles and tears, anger, happiness, frustration, and excitement.
Being is like everything and nothing at the same time. Being means something only when you have a meaning behind everything you do. Yes, even if that is a spontaneous action.
Being is not just existing. It is more like your thoughts and feelings going on a fritz to catch a moment of life. I know, way too philosophical but when I think of the word Being, I also think of Steven and realize that there is so much more to living a fulfilling life than being able to physically move around.
Some people don’t have that luxury but it doesn’t mean the end of life, it just brings another dimension of being.
In reality, it is so easy to give in and eventually give up the opportunity to live if you have a disability and if that disability means that your body is just a structure to house your living spirit.
I am not religious and I do not mean spirit in a religious way. Spirit of a person, spirit of an amazing living person who has so much to give this world, and who loves life despite of it being complicated.
Most of us, people with all legs and arms and ability to move around and have a physical contact with others, only imagine Being as a combination of physical existence and emotional needs to be accepted, loved, acknowledged. We think of the meaning of life, we think of us and the reason for us being here.
It’s not like people with physical disabilities do not ask: who am I or why am I here, but they see existential questions in a slightly different way. Some of them carry the burden of the society’s opinion of them, they carry the burden of labels that are attached to them by the society, and they carry the burden of being different.
It’s hard to explain what I am trying to say but just the word – disabled – is a label attached to a person because they can’t exist in a world that was built for fully abled.
I do not have a physical disability and I don’t know how it feels to be in a wheelchair or have a prosthetic limb or how it is to be paralyzed but I am pretty sure it is not easy, especially in this world.
So, when I think about what it means to be, I am sometimes wondering if I am actually living or just existing.
Does being in this world encourage you to explore, feel, enjoy, live to the fullest, or being in the world is just making through the day hoping that somebody else will save you?
As Christmas is rapidly approaching, people suddenly are waking up and remembering that this is when you are supposed to be nice or at least make an effort to be kind.
You would think that somehow there is this little nice person sitting in each of us for the entire year waiting to be let out around holidays. Everyone is smiling, everyone is patient, and everyone takes time to think about what good they could do.
Pardon my cynicism, but one would think that homeless people are hungry only around Christmas. One would think that homeless, abused, and neglected animals show up in shelters only around Christmas. One would think that all elderly people become old at the end of the year.
What good does your kindness do if it is only coming out around holidays?
Maybe kindness needs to start within you. Maybe you need to start being kind to yourself every day. Maybe you should stop beating yourself up and start thinking about how it would be walking a mile in your shoes if you were a stranger. Being kind to yourself, can make your heart skip a beat and make your day brighter.
And once we are being kind to ourselves we will start making everything else around us, including people, nicer.
World is amazing but not in the way you think. And, no, people are not nice. Yes, I will stand by my words – people are not nice. The daily reality has numbed us. We worry about existential problems more than we worry about the person next to us.
People choose to be nice and forcefully remind themselves to let the “nice” part of themselves out once in a blue moon. It’s the guilt that motivates a lot of people to be nice, but when the daily routine sets it, we are just busy and worried…
You could say that there are unicorns (nice all the time) and I even work with a few of them. It makes me suspicious as I am afraid that it is just an exterior and what if those people are hurting so badly that the only way they can get through the day is – to pay attention to other people and not think about their own pain.
Being nice is not easy. It takes a lot of hard work. It takes a lot of patience and a lot of strength to refuse to get pulled in the rat race. In the world that is ruled by consumerisms, ruled by ugly dirty politics, there are a lot of angry overworked people. People who want change, people who worry about ending up on the street if they lose their jobs.
The difference between an average person and a homeless person sometimes is just a paycheck. No paycheck, no rent or mortgage. No rent or mortgage and you are on the street…As simple as that….
You would say that I am bitter but I would argue that I am just realistic. We all know that love almost never wins over hate but we still blindly hope. We all do and there is nothing wrong with that.
Hope and forceful ignorant belief that people will do the right thing is what keeps us living but deep down we all know the truth. But enough of my darkness and party pooper attitude.
At the end of the day, I, like the majority of people out there, choose to believe that kindness is the way to go. It’s like Kindness is some kind of universal language that even deaf people can hear and blind people can see.
Og Mandino had a great idea when he suggested the following: “…..Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again….”