Lessons on Empathy. What can we learn from Ferguson!!

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With each day comes more news of events much like Ferguson Missouri unfolding. Yet another unarmed person is loosing their life in the hands of police. While death is nothing new, loosing a life to someone who’s supposed to protect you isn’t something we’d like to be a normal everyday occurrence. The events unfolding in Ferguson has become yet another issue that is polarizing, now religion, politics are not the only issues of polarization. I wanted to take some time away from writing about my usual topics such as Love, Relationships, and Self-help to talk about this. How can something like this drive us apart, how is it not bringing people together, why does it separate us? While the issue is very complicated, and picking a particular side is easy, my mind prefers to look at it from a deeper angle. In the recent weeks what I’ve been thinking about is how there seems to be a lack of connection to those involved, to really understand where they’re coming from. For me I believe that part of the reason the events from Ferguson can happen in our communities, and why it seems to polarize other communities is a lack of empathy. I’d like to spend some time talking a bit about that and other closely knit factors.

Practice empathy not sympathy!

I tend to be a more logical person, while I doimage have emotions, and express them quite often. When it comes to making decisions I tend to be a bit more logical. While emotions are necessary, they do cause us to make decisions on things that are perceived, rather than actual evidence. Before I get further, let’s talk a bit about empathy. In a little video I found while researching this topic, Brene Brown gives a great explanation of empathy: The Power of Empathy. Brene defines empathy as having 4 elements: perspective taking, staying away from judgement, recognizing emotion, and communicating that feeling with people. In order to have empathy, we have to be able to put ourselves into someone else’s shoe. In the video she describes this as climbing down into the cave with someone else. It’s very important that we not pass judgement, “well I won’t have…” or “you’re stupid, it’s your fault.” Just by recognizing someone’s emotion it can change the conversation, “it sounds like you’re angry” “I can see that you’re upset.” By acknowledging someone else’s emotion you’re saying that you’re paying attention to THEM. In contrast sympathy is slightly different, but it is perceived vastly different. Sympathy in essence is sticking your head into the cave and saying “wow that looks really bad down there.” Sympathy is acknowledging that something is wrong, but not being willing to step into the mud yourself, you want to stay out of the mess yourself. As Brene says,

Empathetic responses don’t start with “at least”

I had a miscarriage “at least you can get pregnant.”

My marriage is falling apart, “at least you have a marriage.”

So to specifically understand why the Black community in Ferguson is so outraged, we have to fully understand what THEY’RE going through. We can’t necessarily look at the events there through OUR lenses, unless of course you’re living in Ferguson.

Our Perspective forms our Reality

This brings me to a central point that I think needs to be stressed. Our perspectives shape our reality, and this is where emotions could lead us astray. Regardless of what another person says or does, our perspectives will sometimes show us things that are not there. In the work I do I’ve encountered many upset customers, and one particular experience is still fresh in my mind. I spoke to a customer who was not happy with their experience, and felt that they had been treated badly. While I had no desire to follow the policy that initially caused this bad experience. I even tried telling the customer that I wasn’t going to continue to push the issue, but didn’t even get to say that before they began berating me. Not to worry there’s more to the story, but my point is that despite my actual intentions, the customer perceived that they were being treated unfairly, even though I was not actually engaging in the same behavior. It fascinates me that even in the presence of video evidence, people will still maintain there perspectives. Take football for example, there will be a video clearly showing whether a player was out of bounds or not. Despite what that video actually shows, there will be 2 people hotly contesting that the player was either out of bounds or in. Why is it despite concrete evidence people will still say that things are the way they think, even if actual physical evidence says contrary?

Good also exists in bad situations

In a TEDtalk about Courage, one of the presenters Janine di Giovanni talks about her experience as a War Correspondent. Check out her full TEDtalk What does it take to cover a War? In the radio segment the host asks her why does she continue to go to war torn countries to report, and something she said stuck with me. Janine said that although she has seen many tragic and horrific things, she has also seen a lot of good and courageous people in those places. Although there is a lot of darkness there, she has also seen light shine through in the darkness. While I had a previous post that talks about this but from a religious perspective, that is not what she is talking about here. To understand why this is relevant, you have to remember that our world is full of duality, good and evil does co exist. I’ve heard people ask in times of pain “why did this happen to ME” “why did god let this happen to ME” While I’m not here to defend God, a particular verse kept coming up this week:

And we know that God causes everything to work together  for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. – Romans 8:28

This particular verse doesn’t get into the weeds about whether God “lets” bad things happen to people, but what it does say is that god causes things to work for good. I understand that many people reading this probably don’t share my faith, however I know that many have asked this question “why me God?” I’ve heard people try to simplify god down to this, god is good, bad things happen in the world, therefore either god isn’t good or he’s not real. I caution this kind of thinking, so let’s look at an example that will be more relevant. Many people are parents, and they consider themselves good parents, yet bad things happen to their children. When bad things happen we understand that it’s not always directly a reflection of your parenting, that you can still be a good parent. The reality is that many things happen that are outside of our control. Yet there are always opportunities for good to shine through. There is always an opportunity to offer grace to someone who treats you badly. I believe that’s what Janine has experienced in her life.

What does empathy, perspectives and good have to do with Ferguson?

I’ve lamented a bit about a few topics, but again what does it have to do with Ferguson? I believe that when we heard that story, we quickly tried to pick a side, we picked a side that associates more with our lives. We offered our sympathy, and in doing so we didn’t fully take the time to understand why the community was upset. You see while we might share similarities with Mike Brown our Daren Wilson, to understand their lives, we have to really UNDERSTAND them. To really embrace Ferguson and have an honest conversation we have to walk in the shoes of that community. As an African American male, it would be very easy for me to condemn Daren Wilson, he killed a black teen. While that might seem the case on the surface, the real story is far more dirty and murky. This could be our opportunities to really understand the lives of both Daren Wilson and Mike Brown. Especially on social media, this story has raised many divisive and visceral comments, and I’m ashamed to be a fellow human. This situation could be an opportunity for good. One of the things I was reminded from the TEDtalk was that it’s easy to make a negative comment, or to let injustice prevail. It’s much harder to stand up for good, to do the right thing. In the church sermon today about Joy, I walked away with this, sometimes we can’t really offer much help. Sometimes all we can offer is a simple gesture, but even a simple hug, is a step in the direction of empathy. Sometimes in painful situations there really is nothing we can do to make it better.

Writing is a platform for me to express my thoughts to people that are not in my immediate area. While it’s becoming easier and easier, I caution you, my readers to do so responsibly. Today the world is becoming darker, more evil, and even a small gesture will remind us that there is good. While it’s easy for me to pick a side in the Ferguson story, the act of 1 young boy has reminded me I should choose my words carefully. Some people believe they’re only words, Free Hugsbut words are very powerful. “I have a dream” are only words by themselves, but they’re also a rallying cry for the oppressed. Those words taught a nation that we can be more inclusive of our brother and sisters. I have a voice, and I refuse to use it to spew anger and hate. Mike Brown isn’t the only one who lost his life that day, in a way Daren Wilson also lost his life too. The question I ask is what can I do to not continue spreading hate and misunderstanding. A way for me to do that is to have empathy rather than sympathy. While empathy is a great place to start I must also do my part, I must be willing to step out and do good, even if I’m the only one standing. As a 12 year old showed us, even if it’s just a free hug, he’s offering all he can in that situation. Going forward a question I will as is How can I offer YOU help? Not in a Golden Rule kind of way, meaning I’ll offer you the kind of help that I would want. But to actually ask you, what do YOU need me to do for YOU?

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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. 

Oh no I think I came down with S.O.S!!!

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It has occurred to me that I may be suffering from S.O.S (shiny object syndrome). I was reading a post from a fellow writer yesterday (yes miasilvvs I’m talking about your post “The Chase”). In her post she talks about loosing interest in a new relationship after some time has passed, she calls it “The Chase” As I was pondering life, as I always seem to do often. It dawned on me that I might be experiencing a case of Shiny Object Syndrome.

O pining about the Future!
For the past few months I’ve been giving serious thought to what I’d like by future to be, aside from my next relationship, I’m specifically thinking about my career. I’m getting older, and I’d like to have stability in my job. For me part of what has been difficult is that I also need to feel intrinsically motivated with what I do. Otherwise I’ll end up sabotaging what I do, mostly subconsciously, not intentionally. Looking at what I’ve accomplished, I feel as though I can do better, or that I should be at a different place, much further along. I know that many people will say I’m crazy, and that I should feel proud. I was talking about this with a friend a few days ago, and while I don’t think I’m where I should be, that’s what also gives me the motivation to move forward.

Newness is always soo exciting!!
There’s a kind of excitement that comes from doing something new, the discovery is invigorating, but like all things in life, there’s usually a plateau for the newness. I started a new job a few months ago, while I didn’t see it as being a career, I still enjoyed it. I still did my best, and I learnt something new each day. Now that I’ve been there a few months, I’m starting to learn about the “cons” of working there. It’s no longer shiny and new.

What does the future hold for me?
As I was contemplating my future with that job today, it dawned on me that the past several years have been like that. It’s not that I’ve not held a job for more than a few months, I was in the Military for 10 years. Although it’s only part-time, I’ve had a primary job for the past 6 years, and work a 2nd job to supplement my income. Perhaps I should be doing something that will allow me to move, or change jobs every few months. That way I can stay in the newness stage, hmm something to think about next!

No one said figuring out what to do would be this hard, while the future looks uncertain. I’m confident that I will find the Career that’s right for me for where I am in my my life. After-all I’ve gotten thus far, and I haven’t imploded yet. What about you, is anyone else feeling like they get tired of things quickly. Are you also longing for the excitement of going on a new adventure?

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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.

Something’s gotta Give!!

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I can’t believe it’s been a few weeks since I made my last post. I’ve been spending the time mostly reading and responding to posts, thought I’d give all you real bloggers out there a chance to do some real writing :-). All kidding aside though, it’s been an interesting few weeks, like many of you who read this, I too have my moments of absolute joy, and my darker moments of turmoil. It’s always interesting what I notice in those moments though, what picks me up. I’d like to share a few of those things with you.

My main struggle these days, in addition to embracing my singleness, and discovering who I AM. I seem to be struggling to find a job that calls me, one that I can say “ah ha this is my PURPOSE, this is what I was made for” In my last post “Finding your Purpose might be easier than you thought!!”, I talked about how we can find happiness by letting “Our Light” be our purpose. I incorporated that into my daily life this past few weeks, and it made a noticeable effect on my attitude. Some days at work are brutal, but by embracing my positive attitude as my purpose. It has allowed me to reset more quickly after dealing with a bad customer experience. Although this is a good tool for the overall work motivation, I still felt as though something else was missing. I’m someone who will only do things if I can predict the outcome. At this point in my life I have absolutely no idea what the future holds, I don’t know what I’ll be doing Career wise 1,2 or 5 years from now, and I’m not very comfortable with that feeling. While I’m generally not worried that I won’t find something that’s the right fit for me, just the uncertainty is hard to deal with. So why not do something you ask? So far the things I’ve set out to do haven’t worked out, and I believe that it’s because I’m still in my growing phase, I’m still learning something else that is part of the lesson I’m to learn. I have faith that God has something bigger than I can imagine in stored, so I’m learning to let go.

Live as though Heaven is here NOW!

So before I go on and on about my uncertainty about my career path, let me tell you what I saw this week that helped put things into perspective. For me I have to remember to be in the PRESENT, while having goals and future plans are important. If I’m not living in the present how will I know what path I’m supposed to be on. I believe that the signs are always there, you just have to look and listen. I may call it God, you may call it The Universe or Destiny; there is still a force that pushes us in the direction that is aligned to who we are at our core. Just as how last week the sign was to let “My LIGHT” be my purpose, I came across something else that points to the same concept.

This is an excerpt from a Song by Steven Curtis Chapman:

” This Life passes in the blink of an eye. But the Story has only begun. So go, Taste and SEE the goodness of God”

Secondly while watching the Movie “Heaven is for Real” a familiar Bible verse was highlighted. Many know it as “The Lord’s Prayer.” “…may your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven” Matthew 6:10 – NLT

So I know that these were all biblical references, but bear with me a bit more if you don’t share my Faith. You see all of these references are about enjoying Happiness NOW, rather than waiting for something to come by and sweep you off your feet later. Whether it’s that awesome job, or perhaps you’re in search of “The One” you don’t have to wait to find happiness. You see true happiness comes when you learn to embrace and enjoy where you are now. If you fall into “and then” thinking, you may never find that happiness, because you’ll be constantly chasing a goal that will keep eluding you. To be clear I’m not saying that EVERY goal you’ve set for the future can be actualized now! If your goal is to be a Doctor, and you haven’t gone to Medical School, you cant just go start treating people :-). Take myself for example, I see myself becoming a Counselor, I see that as my purpose. While I don’t have a Masters or PhD in Psychology now, being a Counselor involves helping  those in need, those in personal conflict and relational issues. Although I don’t have a degree in psychology, I can still help friends and those close to me. I can even write posts such as this one that will help to lift up and encourage others. In my case I don’t have to be a Counselor or Life Coach to help others, there’s other ways to fulfill my purpose in this case. So what I am saying is to find what makes you happy, learn how to incorporate that into your daily life. Just as Christians believe that Heaven (a future time, when there will only be happiness and no pain) will come later, there is nothing stopping you from having some heavenly traits here now. Just as the verse said “your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.” I believe that we can have a little bit of heaven here now, we don’t have to wait for it sometime in the future.

While you might still be on the road to happiness, remember that you don’t have to wait until you get to your destination to find happiness or fulfillment. It’s possible to enjoy some of that now. By shifting your perspective, and realizing that it is possible to actualize some of your dreams today, it will get you in a better mind-set to accomplish more later.