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Is it Really that much better on the Other Side?

Looking over fence

Why is it that we can look at something that we don’t have, and fantasize about it, dream about how much better it is? I know this is going to sound counter intuitive, but that’s why I try to stay away from Social Media. Sure people are having fun, but they only post the Good Moments. Sure their new Baby picture is awesome, but you don’t see the other 23 hours, 59 minutes and 59 seconds. How much of that was their child crying, throwing a fit, or just other kid stuff. The truth is, sure from your perspective they have a great life. You want to know a secret, they’re looking at your freedom, and singleness, and they’re reminiscing about how great they had it. Chances are if you’re looking at someone’s life and thinking that they have it great, they’re also looking at someone else and thinking that they have it great. So why write this, no I’m not angry or am I going to lament about someone else’s life. Rather I’d like to talk about how we can be content with OUR LIFE, ways that we can find joy in the everyday things we do.

Are you seeing the Whole Picture?

Yesterday I went for a Hike as part of my Sunday/Funday Adventure, towards IMG_1098the end I came across a beautiful view of a beach. Sometimes I feel that when we compare or lives to others, or we see a snapshot of their lives, we’re forgetting a few important details. This picture was taken from a few hundred feet up, people appear as little specs. The climb up to this spot was treacherous, just one slip and I’d fall all the way down to the bottom. It was nearly vertical, so much so that I was also climbing with my hands. I’m not saying this to get credit, but to point out that to get to this beautiful view, it was at the expense of my life. Sometimes I feel that we see other people’s lives and we don’t ask. How high up did you have to climb to get there, is it something I’m willing to do? How long did it take you to get there, do I have the time to invest in that? How did you get down from there, is it worth my life? So my point is that if you saw this picture and thought wow that’s a great view, and didn’t think of what it took to get there, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Without more information you don’t know if what someone else has is something you’re even willing to do. Whether you’re capable of duplicating what they did.

Poor Pitiful ME!

I’m not saying this to be insensitive, or to down play your problems, but sometimes it’s important to remember that EVERYONE, has their problems. Everyone has moments of doubt, shame, and regret. At times we all will hear that voice in our heads say you’re not “good enough” “pretty enough” “smart enough.” I was watching a movie “Mom’s night out” a few nights ago, there was a scene when the main character was going through this very battle. She was questioning everything she had set out to do that night. It seemed that everything she had tried to do was going up in big horrible flames. As she was asking out aloud if she was enough, another character turned to her and asked “enough for who.” While this is a simple statement, it’s implications are so vast. When you’re comparing yourself to others, or even doubting that what you’re doing is worthwhile, who’s the one doubting? Chances are, you’re questioning yourself, no one else is physically there doubting you. Ok so I know that this is not always the case, for some people they’re surrounded by parents, family, and partners who belittle them, and make them feel insignificant. I’m not talking about those scenarios, and even for those, I would say be intentional about who you surround yourself with. Are you around people that will build you up and make you strong, or those who would use their words to hurt you. If you’re your only critic, then learn how to be less critical of yourself. Learn how to remove your own obstacles from in front of you.

Life is still happening ALL around me!

It’s discouraging to think, but the world doesn’t revolve around me! When I’ve fallen down and scraped my knee, when I’m feeling depressed, when I’m feeling that I’ll never accomplish what I’d like. Life hasn’t stopped, you’re still out there posting your awesome pics of your life, you’re still having great parties, you’re still telling EVERYONE about your awesome relationship (or the good parts of it anyway). Life is still going on despite of what I’m going through. It might sound a bit sadistic, but EVERYONE has problems, think about it, no one is immune from bad things happening. I find this reassuring, and it’s not because “misery loves company” but it helps keep me grounded. In my head I feel as though others are living in a Utopian bubble, they’ve found the love of their life, they have an awesome career, and the’re living their dream life. Reality tells me that this is more of an illusion. So if it’s true that LIFE goes on despite my sad moments, then I have to go out and seek out my own happiness.  I have to find my “little moments of joy” Yesterday was a perfect example of just that, after a great hike and breath taking views, I found out I was 2 hours late for work. My schedule had changed, and I hadn’t double checked it. Not to mention, once I got there, there just seemed to be multiple problems waiting until I got there. Bad things will happen, I’ll also be depressed, I’ll also compare my life to yours. Despite all that, I have to be intentional about seeking out “moments of joy” I have to go out and live life, instead of life dictating how I spend my time. If I have a choice, I will surround myself with people who lift me up and inspire me. Whether it’s fellow bloggers giving me kind words, or even my kind words coming to someone when they need it most.

I believe that we are all connected in a way, I’m not just talking about religion. I believe that we have the capacity to sense when others are hurting and are in need. For me I’m learning how to embrace this and to send words of encouragement, especially when you need it most. I’d like to step away from my usual writing and share a quick story. Another reader OwlOfKnowledge, sent me a thank you a few days ago. Apparently I had sent her a reply to one of her posts a few months back. For reasons unknown, my reply was not read at the time, but in a time that she needed encouragement, my old response resurfaced. Just when she needed those specific words of encouragement, that’s when they found her. I don’t write because I’d like to have a certain number of followers, or that I’d like to think of myself as important. I write because of little moments like that, I’ve had a few of those with close friends of mine. This is the best way to reach more of you, to reach you in your quite moment when you’re not sure of your world around you. The moments when the Universe brings you the kind and encouraging words you needed.

Don’t wait for the Perfect Moment, go out and find your Joy. Look at the animals, they don’t have a care in the world, all they worry about is eating, and being the specific animal that they are. So be like the dog, cat, lion etc…Take time to be YOU. 
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I’m over you, now what! 4 Things to consider before your next Relationship

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“There’s plenty of fish in the sea” “you deserve better” “you’ll find someone else better” “you were never right for each other” Who has not heard these quotes, while they’re well intentioned, why do they not make anything actually better? I’m not sure if this is the season for it, or why, but I keep seeing posts about people going through heart break. While I’m currently not in a relationship, and it’s been several years since my last one, there are a few things that I’ve noticed that seem to help people around me get over their loss. “Get Over” their break-up isn’t the best way to phrase it either, deal with it in a healthy way is probably a better way to look at it. The truth is a break-up will always hurt, even years after, we learn how to not let it affect us the same way. I don’t claim to be a relationship expert, or even a novice for that matter, these are just a few tools that I’d like for you to consider.

Love yourself first

A friend of my told me this a few months back and it has stuck with me since. “You want to understand yourself, not know yourself.” Meaning that knowing something is more as if you’re accomplished all that you can, while understanding is more of a evolutionary process. Loving yourself first is important because of the EGO. When I say your ego, I don’t mean the small voice that convinces you that you can lift that large obstacle, or that you can overcome anything that get’s put in your way, or that you’re more beautiful than others think you are. I’m talking about that voice that tells you “you’re not good enough” “you’re not beautiful enough” “you will NEVER accomplish that goal you set out to do.” This life as we know it is filled with both positive and negative, and when it comes to the EGO, people generally think of the positive side and forget the negative. If you’re constantly having negative self-talk, there isn’t a person in the world that will make this magically stop. Additionally if you’re looking for someone to “complete you” or “make you better” you typically aren’t confident about yourself. Loving yourself first means that you don’t let negative self-talk dictate your day. We all have those negative feelings, some people learn how not to take it seriously. Loving yourself first means that you put your well-being first, by putting yourself first you ensure that your needs are also met. What I’m not saying is to not be loving and kind to others, but imagine a scale if you will. If helping someone is going to come at a far greater negative impact to you, perhaps you should reconsider helping them. Loving yourself first means that you set realistic boundaries, that you are open and honest about your well-being, and that you don’t let others take advantage of you.

What’s your Compass

“I believe in honesty, even when no one is looking”

“I want to have 2 kids, a boy and a girl”

“I believe that my wife should have a choice whether she wants to work or not”

“I want a partner that shares my faith”

“I want a partner that will help me be a better version of MYSELF, and me HER”

My list is much longer, but those are some of the things that are important to me, and I’m looking for someone who has a similar list. Then together we can help each other accomplish our life goals, being together is mutually beneficial. I’m well aware that some couples might not have the same exact goals, but lets’ look at an example for comparison. Lets say the husband wants to be a Doctor, and he wants to help impoverished people, his wife in turn wants to be a Lawyer, who also helps impoverished people. While they don’t have the same career goals, can you see how they can still accomplish their overall goal together? He can provide medical services, while she helps with legal and equality issues for the same group of people. The two of them together can form an organization that helps people.  While this is a hypothetical couple, it illustrates the point well, they don’t have the same specific career goals, but by partnering they can help actualize their full potentials. Simply put, that person helps you accomplish YOUR goals, without diverting you from your path. By knowing where it is you want to go, you can help identify the person that will be the right co-pilot for you, given your goals.

WHY matters more than WHO

You meet someone, they’re attractive, you share a few things in common, and you also feel sexual chemistry. “Wow we have so much in common, would you like to go on a date?” While this is ok for a first date, having a long term relationship should be way more complicated than that. What are their life goals, what are their core values? Do they want to have children, how many do they want to have? How are they going to help me accomplish the things I’ve already set for my life? Have you ever broken up with someone, and then think to yourself “Wow they were totally wrong for me!” If that was the case, why were you together for months, why together for 5 years; worse yet why were you about to marry that person? Psychologist have coined the term “limerence” or “the honeymoon phase.” They both refer to the stage where you’re infatuated with someone, and it’s partly because of the chemical reactions taking place in your body. You find them highly attractive, even though you don’t share everything in common, you feel as though you do. While somethings should be red-flags, you’re willing to overlook their flaws. Scientists have said that this could last anywhere from 6 months to 2 years of a new relationship. While I’m not saying that those feelings aren’t real, what I am saying is that your body is having a chemical reaction, one in which you don’t have much control over. Forming a life together isn’t a small step, but if it’s based on only your physical attraction and sexual chemistry, you’re in for a huge surprise! At some point in your relationship, that insatiable attraction you felt in the beginning will fade, your animalistic sex drive will also fade. That is why it’s important to base you decisions on “the why” you’re with that person, that’s why your compass and life goals matter. That way your relationship won’t be based on just physical attraction and sexual chemistry.

Golden Rule of Relationships

I’m sure everyone is familiar with “Do unto others as you would like them do to you!” For simplicity, lets say that you like your coffee black, with no sugar or cream. Let’s say that your friend likes their’s with some honey, 2 sugars, and 5 creamers. If you’re getting your friend coffee, would you get it the way you like, or the way they like? If you bring them a straight black coffee with nothing in it, they’d probably spit it out in disgust. So why is it that when you’re doing something “nice” for someone you are more likely to bring them a black coffee, after-all that’s the way YOU like it, why can’t they be more thankful. While that’s a very basic example, it’s the way we tend to view our relationships. When you give someone something , you tend to give them something you’d like, and then you wonder why they never used your gift again. When it comes to relationships, I think the Platinum rule should apply, “Do unto others as they would like done to them.” Should you treat everyone with honesty, respect and love, of course you should. At the same time there are times where you have to consider their preference before you do something. This is why I believe that open and honest communication goes a long way, and why we should spend time actually getting to KNOW people. This is especially important if we’re going to be in a committed long-term relationship with them. A great resource I’ve found is learning about The 5 Love Languagesif you find that you don’t agree with anything I’ve said so far, I hope you’ll at least consider this resource. This is probably one of the biggest obstacles facing most everyday relationship, those that aren’t somehow dysfunctional.

While these are just a few snapshots of things to consider, realistically your list will be much longer. You have to consider aside from your physical attraction and a few things in common, why are they in your life? How is this person helping or deterring you from YOUR goals. If you’re planning to be in it for the Long-haul, there are soo many things to consider. The point is that you have to base your decisions on some intangible goals also. By loving yourself first you will have room and energy to devote to loving someone else, rather than learning to love two people at the same time. By looking at what’s below the surface, their values, beliefs, and life goals, you can make a better choice of who will be best for YOU. Why that person specifically, what do you have to gain by having them in YOUR life? Finally having open and honest communication about the things that matter most to you is essential, how will you communicate what’s important to you? It’s a scary thought, but do you have the courage to walk away if that is not the wisest relationship choice for you. Better yet, what if you can know this relatively soon in the relationship, so that you don’t have to experience more pain and heart break after a life together for years.

Just a few thing to consider, I’d love to hear some feedback. What’s on your list, what will you do differently to ensure that your next relationship lasts for the long-haul? Do you have the courage to ask the tough questions? Are you heading into your relationships with all your wits about you?

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Love,Sex, Marriage. A Modern Man’s Perspective!!

Holding Hands Walking

These past few months have been interesting, it’s as if someone turned on a switch. For the first time, I’m really giving a lot of thought to my future. I thought that I’d take some time to reflect back and try to make a succinct thought on what my expectations are for my next relationship. At the same time I thought it would be great to look back at some of my previous thoughts, and see how they have evolved. Since turning 34, I’ve been really thinking about my future, both marriage and career. I’m not one to just jump into anything blindly, call me cautiously optimistic, I’m also the type that has to HAVE A PLAN! I know some of you neurotics will get this. Of course in preparing for this post I wrote down a few key points that I thought I should cover, but as things go, that plan quickly went out the window. Before I get into it, I wanted to make clear that I’m currently reading a book called “The Sacred Search- What if it’s not about who you marry, but why” by Gary Thomas. I wanted to state this upfront because as I was reading, I realized that many of the points I was making in my previous posts, were more succinctly made in this book. I’ll do my best at being clear about what are my thoughts and what are from The Sacred Search.

The One, a single person’s Unicorn!!

Movies and society seems to have a narrative about “The One” when you find them, they will complete you, make you feel whole, they’ll be your light in the darkness. This person posses something you lack. It’s interesting though, after a break-up you hear a totally different narrative, work on yourself first, learn to love yourself, you need to heal yourself before you move on. So of the two which is true, they’re opposite points so they both can’t be true. In Sacred Search, Gary Thomas points out a possible hurdle with thinking that “The One” will complete you. You see when you depend on someone else to make you whole, you’re coming from a place of weakness. We’re all human and have our own faults, what happens when that person isn’t physically able to carry you? What happens when the stresses of life and work are too great for them to carry, and have to carry you too? That could create a situation where that person feels too much pressure, and when they’re not able to carry you, what then, how will you go on? In contrast coming from a place of worth and self-confidence in yourself, you don’t need another person to carry you through the relationship. For me what I’ve noticed is that relationships should be Mutually Beneficial, instead of the other person picking you up and carrying you. If you’re both there to guide each other on your respective paths, if the other person is physically incapable of guiding you at a certain point, you’ll be more than capable of helping yourself. Because you already possess the strength to carry yourself, you’re also capable of helping your partner through their difficult times. Life isn’t always what we imagine, sometimes you finally get that dream job, and it’s not as you’ve imagined. What happens when the insatiable romance fades, what happens when you get to know the other person better, and they’re not everything you thought they’d be? If life has thought us anything, it’s that in most cases when you put a person on a pedestal, most of the time they don’t have the qualities you thought they had.

We just had Sex, OH I think I LOVE YOU!

I’m no Scientist or even a psychologist, but why is it that when you have sex with someone, after being intimate for the first time, or even after a few times, you find yourself thinking, wow are they “The One”? Perhaps Science can help explain this better than I can, there are chemicals that are released in our bodies. One such chemical is the hormone Oxytocin (also known as the love or bonding hormone)which is released after sex, and makes you feel more connected to your partner. One of it’s effects is the desire to cuddle, while this hormone is present in both male and female, they do effect them differently. The human body and brain are very complex, and the various chemicals released could cause a false sense of a connection that might not be there. Instead of just focusing on the strong feelings you get after sex, or in the beginning of a relationship, Sacred Search cautions us to wait until at least after the 1st year before we make any big commitments. I’ve seen first hand friends’ relationships that end, and you hear the old saying “I don’t know who you are anymore.” While physical attraction and sexual chemistry are important. A healthy sex life does more than satiate your sexual urges, it creates a deeper connection (chemically). That’s why it’s ultimately important, for the longevity of your relationship, that you’re in it for more than the sexual chemistry and physical attraction. Gary Thomas points out this is the reason it’s important to also base your relationship on deeper things such as Values, Beliefs, and Life-Goals. Ask any married couple, that insatiable sex drive eventually fades. Of course there are exceptions to that rule, you probably know of a couple that are even more intimate than when they first met many years ago.

I’m committed to you, WELL except for A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I. Besides that though, I’m totally committed!

In my naive mind, I saw a relationship as something you stick to for the long run, well that is unless you come across major differences. In that case, sure divorce might be an option. Not to get biblical or anything, but the Bible never saw marriage that way. When you get married you’re committing to stay together forever, and work out your differences. Now you’re probably thinking “What if my spouse develops or I uncover some serious problems?” That’s why asking yourself “Why am I getting married” rather than who you’re marrying is so important. Gary Thomasuggests that instead of being blinded by the Intense Infatuation you feel in the beginning, remember the chemicals in your body are automatically giving you a false sense of connection to that person. We should find out about the other person, ask questions to see if our values and beliefs are aligned. Remember it’s possible to feel intensely connected to a person, and then find out they’re verbally or physically abusive. Sadly many people still stay in these relationships. In my writing and reflection I did in the past few months, that’s the conclusion I came to also. When you make a commitment, it’s FOREVER, through sickness and health, for better or worse, in richer or poorer. People are inherently flawed, we all have our battles we’re fighting, and at some level you cant hold it against your spouse for also being broken. At the same time though, when buying a car or a house we do our research, and marriage is supposed to last longer than all of those things. We can’t be naive, we should definitely ask the tough questions, sure we may have to walk away from that relationship, and breaking up is HARD. Not to sound insensitive, but if we choose the wrong person to spend the rest of our lives with, we’re going to end up doing much more damage to both of us, and our families that have to endure those relationships.

Seriously GOD why haven’t you given me a perfect Wife/Husband Yet!

“Have I done all that I can?” “Have I put in the WORK?” These are a few of the questions I started asking myself a few months back, not just about my relationships, but about my career also. In my reflection I found that I sometimes came from a perspective of privilege, feeling that I’ve worked hard enough, I DESERVE to get it easy now. That of course is a fundamental flaw in looking at life through that lens. Life doesn’t care if you’ve been good or bad, whether you’ve worked hard or not. It will be life, it will have it’s good moments of immense joy and jubilation; and it will also have it’s moments of deep despair. How we approach each situation depends on us, when you put in the work you get to reap the benefits. Aside from a few fortunate ones, many people that are rich are that way because they have sacrificed a lot to get there. There’s no easy road. Whether you’re religious or not, have you found yourself saying “God why haven’t you sent me the perfect wife/husband yet?” I didn’t know this, but as far as biblical references, aside from a handful of times, God never specifically ordained a spouse for anyone. When talking about marital choices the bible talks about “wise or unwise” choices. I know that Romance movies idolizes two people meeting, that were destined to be together. What we’re forgetting though is that those are the exceptions not the rule. We’d all like to feel special, but for most of us we have to work hard for what we want. If you want a dream spouse, then you have to go out and find her/him

For those that are embarking on that journey to find the partner that’s best suited for them. I hope these few words can help guide you in your decisions. Relationships are inherently hard, we don’t need to create our own obstacles. Whether you’re thinking about marriage, or just looking for a long-term relationship, we have to go into it with as much information as possible. Making a bad decision is already painful enough, but if you can avoid it all together, why not take that extra step. As always go with love, and may you find peace and joy as you embark on your journey.

The Meaning of Living- According to Jim Carrey

Jim Carrey

One of my favorite Comedians has always been Jim Carrey, and Dumb and Dumber has been one of my all time favorite movies. I had previously heard that Jim Carrey is brilliant, and I had thought it was one of those things people say about someone. Today I had the privilege of listening to a Speech he gave at a University this year. I think it’s the most succinct compilation of thoughts I’ve ever heard that gives a glimpse of what Life is about. I took down a few of the ones that touched me, because they reflected the path that my life is on currently.  I highly recommend that you look at the video: Full Speech: Jim Carrey’s Commencement Address at the 2014 MUM Graduation

(The following is a few of the Quotes he gave in the speech, along with a few of my thoughts and why I think what he said is noteworthy)

  • You can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you Love (For me I see people living life according to what they think society and others want them to do, and many of them seem soo unhappy. So why not do something that you’re passionate about, something that makes you feel alive and vibrant at your core)
  • Live your life asking how can I have an effect on the world while I’m here?
  • Ask how can my gift change the world, not what can the world do for me.
  • What if people see me without my mask! (The lesson here is to not let fear and the EGO stop you from being your authentic self)
  • To find peace you first have to let the Armour go. (Instead of fighting against who you are, your authentic self, stop worrying about what the world thinks. The masks we wear prevent us from achieving full happiness. To find peace within ourselves, we must let go of all of these things)
  • Our need for acceptance, can also make you invisible. (We’re constantly striving to feel wanted and accepted, but as we continue to look to others to bring us satisfaction, we find that the goal is always moving. We continue to try, but can never accomplish what we set out to do. This race makes us loose our uniqueness, and we become invisible, we’re no longer our true selves)
  • To find Peace we must let our Light shine through, and take the risk to let ourselves be seen. (Remembering that we all have a gift, something unique that we bring to the world, that is our light, our beacon. Be must be willing to be seen with our flaws, our shortcoming. While recognizing that we bring a talent, a gift to share with the Universe. As Brene Brown would say, we must be willing to be vulnerable)
  • Don’t let Wealth, Fame, Prestige … distract you from your true purpose in life, which is to let your Light shine through!!
  • There should be nothing more important in this world than you. (Learn to embrace and invest time into perfecting your gift)
  • Don’t let your EGO(the voice that tells you that you’re not good enough) fool you, know that you already possess everything you want, believe it and it will come to pass.
  • Stop worrying about how your dreams will come through, just believe, and don’t get caught up on what the vessel looks like. If you miss your chance, the Universe will find a way to bring it back around again.

With each passing day, it’s ammazing what we can find that helps define our path. I’m happy that I’m at a stage in my life that I’m able to learn about these things. After all in the end I’d like to know that I’ve lived my life, and that I’ll be satisfied with what I’ve done. This is just one small stem towards that future. Thank you Kathleen for first posting this, and for guiding others to find their light.

 

 

 

Hindsight is 20/20, and so is HOPE!!!

Hindsight

 

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying “Hindsight is 20/20” I think the same thing can be said about hope. Over the past week I’ve been hearing the same message about hope, but what is it? Why should we be hopeful? According to dictionary.com. Hope is: to look forward to with desire and reasonable confidencethe feeling that  what is  wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best. It takes confidence to be hopeful, confidence in yourself and your path. For me life is about balance, between past, present, and future. Between good and evil, positive and negative. Sometimes life is also about the grey areas, it’s not just Black and White. I was reading a post and came across a bible verse that I wanted to share.

As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth.  “Rabbi,” his John 9disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?” “It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,”  Jesus answered.  “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him. John 9: 1-3

 

Before I get more into talking about being hopeful, I thought it was good to get a little context. Sometimes our understanding is clouded by wrong beliefs. As we see from the example above, Jesus’s disciples thought the blind man was suffering because he did something wrong. As Jesus pointed out, suffering can also be a great opportunity for Love, grace, and miracles. I understand that all may not agree with the example I used, because not everyone agrees with my religious views, however please bear with me for a bit longer. Religious convictions can be some of the strongest, but even with religion we can still have wrong beliefs, and I believe that this example is one that demonstrates that point. But what does this have to do with hope? Just as Jesus’s disciples saw suffering as the result of some type of wrong doing, I believe it’s the same lie many of us tell ourselves. Life is full of good and bad, ups and downs, it can be a bit of a roller coaster. Although things happen to us, it’s not always a result of bad behavior, we’re not being somehow cosmically punished for our past mistakes.

Last week I read a post from thedailylove.com that reminded me that life is also full of nuances. In her post Donna Gates asks Are you Positive or Negative? At first I was a bit taken back by her post, because she suggested that we shouldn’t use those labels. After reading further I realized that she was on to something, sometimes we limit ourselves, and holding on to labels can do that. As I mentioned above life is sometimes nuanced, bad things may happen, and it’s not always a direct result of something we’ve done. In many cases, bad things can lead to victories, triumphs, and life changing revelations. The end of a romantic relationship, could lead to us finding ourselves, and then finding someone that’s better suited for us; but first we have to release ourselves from the old way of thinking.

The other important aspect of Hope is the past. If you’ve been in a similar or worse situation, it gives you confidence. From your past experiences you gain the strength to overcome other situations in the future. As I was jogging last week, I recalled a time in my life when I wasn’t sure what would happen next. Was I going to find meaningful work, will I ever find love, will I have enough money to pay my bills? As those thoughts slowly resurfaced, I realized that although I hadn’t found that “Great Job” financially I’m much better off now, and as for love, I’m learning to love myself. There are many things I consider myself to be; a positive person, an optimist, are among those labels. I also recognize though that there are many other nuances, I’m learning not to let my EGO mislead me. To not get a false sense of confidence, to recognize that my happy moments are giving me strength for the unhappy ones. By seeing where I’ve come from, it gives me strength to endure the day ahead. While I can say that I don’t suffer from depression, I do have my moments when I feel doubt and gloom come over me. In those moments though I’m able to reflect on where I’ve been, and with the help of those who love and care for me, and my faith of course, I’m able to pick my head up again. What I’m not saying is that I live with my head in the clouds, I don’t think that Life is always about lollipops and rainbows, but that it’s nuanced; and recognizing that saves me from inner turmoil.

Tools and practices to be more hopeful:

  • Life is not just black and white, sometimes it’s about the grey areas also. Recognizing where your beliefs are centered is the first step.
  • Your past experiences give you confidence for the future. Experience builds confidence, when facing a difficult situation, ask yourself what other similar situations have you faced before? Chances are you’re here now because you’ve survived past experiences.
  • Having a positive outlook doesn’t mean that you think things are always going to work out. Sometimes some challenges aren’t meant to be overcome, they are there to show us our limits.
  • Going through a bad experience doesn’t mean you’re being punished for something. Although there are consequences to our actions, that rule doesn’t apply to EVERYTHING. Sometimes some experiences are an opportunity for Love, Grace, Mercy, and Life Lessons. Learning to recognize the difference is an important aspect of having hope.

Hope