We all need a room of our own. A space we can escape to. To dream, create, meditate, dance, sing or simply to be silent in. Four walls in which the world is locked out and we forge our own rules and conditions of how things operate.
We need our own room for our own mental sanity.
Because regardless, there are moments you need to regroup. To regain yourself, to gather your thoughts, to reconsider your perspective on life, what you did right and wrong.
We need an area to get lost in so that we can find ourself again.
There is a simple truth we tend to realise the hard way, after suffering too much disappointment in people: not everyone is worth your time.
We need to set limits not to keep others away, but to protect our own selves.
The world has fallen apart because we envy and hate more than we admire and love.
Solidarity is just a word, not an action.
So many empty statements are made, filled with hypocrisy and feint that it is not easy to trust anyone anymore.
We need to clear our lives of toxic, narcissistic people who have nothing real to offer us; to tear off their masks so we can alleviate ourselves from the burden of trying to please everyone to the extent that we neglect our own well-being.
‘No’ is in fact a complete sentence. We need to start saying it more so life can smile upon us.
Everything comes at the right timing, as long as we are able to deal with the situations we are called to face.
To remain optimistic, we need to have positive, smiling people around us.
But unfortunately, those genuinely rejoicing with your happiness are rare to find.
We seek advice from others because it is often deafening to quarrel with the sound of your own voice inside your head. We feel the need for an exterior perspective, in case we’re missing something given that we’re so deep in the situation we’re experiencing.
Perhaps it is true that “advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn’t” (Erica Jong) or maybe it’s just that we look to others to help us find a solution we’re too blind to see.
Talking to others – to the right others – most times helps us clarify things that are fogging our own judgement. It makes us see a clearer picture by getting out of the circle of our own bias and viewing a more spherical perspective.
But there is a catch in turning to friends – or professionals – for help: they’re not you. And whatever they tell you, they’re not the ones who will have to live with the decisions you make.
Not all friends want what’s best for you, neither does everyone understand how you feel, how you react, your idiosyncrasies, needs or desires. But most importantly, no one really knows what you should do in any given situation; opinions are not facts; they’re merely a perspective of reality. And each person behaves differently, leading to a diverse outcome each time. There is no ‘one-shoe-fits-all’ solution to all of our problems. Plus not all ‘friends’ want what is best for you; jealousy is a vicious characteristic.
Remember this: “You are the expert on you and even if you don’t know something, nobody can know what’s best for you better than you. So start trusting your gut instincts more and listen to other so-called experts less”.
“The best place to find a helping hand is at the end of your own arm” (Joshua Miller)
We’ve been through a lot these past couple of years. Things we’d never even considered possible. Our way of life radically changed. Our routines, our habits, our ‘normality’. We’ve learned to expect nothing because everything can change from one minute to the next. And we’ve learned to anticipate the worst, because…well, we’ve seen it happen. We’ve seemingly lost hope but not the will to carry on.
But we’re spooked.
Because doubt and uncertainty have taken over us and our daily lives.
We spook too easy nowadays, precisely because we don’t know what to expect anymore.
We’ve been so used to the weird, the strange, the bad, the irregular, that when something ‘proper’ comes along, with no evident flaw, we’re scared. Afraid that like a bubble it will burst in our face and someone will be lurking around the corner ready to laugh.
We’re spooked because we know we deserve better but are too fearful of acknowledging that value in ourselves.
We’ve been through so much, yet we’ve survived it all.
Now we must show courage, in resisting the things we fear the most and walking straight through them. Good things are bound to happen. And perhaps everything we’re looking for is exactly on the other side of that paralysing fear.
You see it occurring all around you. You read about it, you question if it is as exaggerated – over or under – as they say. Then as it begins to happen all the more, you wonder how come you’ve been off the hook for so long. You’re almost convinced that it’s just a matter of time until it happens to you.
Until it does.
And the initial surprise is shed by the question of “OK, so now what?”
You think you’re prepared, but you never are, until it happens to you.
The challenges we face in life are not the problems per se, but the way we allow ourselves to respond to them.
Sometimes we affect our own fate, and our mentality plays a great part in that.
She sneezed and suddenly the entire bus felt tense. It was as if everyone was holding their breath and counting the seconds until the next stop so most could get off. The pandemic has made us too touchy, always on edge, afraid of almost everything. We fear intimacy because we’ve been deprived of it for so long.
Mask constantly on, she got off at the next stop – that was the plan anyway.
She was observing people as she walked by. Their eyes had become their most descriptive characteristic at the moment; when you conceal everything else, what remains becomes more noticeable and gains greater power. You could sense their exasperation with the current situation: some had already given up wearing masks altogether, others were wearing two; most were slumping as if literally bearing their troubles on their back; and more often than not, they were all irritated by something.
So that’s where we’re at: being constantly agitated and not being able to explain why. We’re tired in all ways it is possible and we lack the motivation to do the basics, let alone go the extra mile. We’re carrying all this stress that is often inexplicable and unjustifiable and we seem unable to shake it off.
It’s easier to complain than to react. Perhaps that’s what we’ve forgotten. And we’ve allowed ourselves to tolerate it all passively for so long that we’re now dwelling in the comfort of inaction, seeing no reason to change anything.
No one will push you forward or get you going unless you do. You are your own motivation, alarm clock, red alert etc. If you don’t find a reason to move, no one else will inspire you too either.
We’ve become so reliant on others, on having things ready, at our feet – perhaps this is the downside of so much automation and technology in our lives. The fact that we tend to disregard that we are in fact in control. So much, that we can even regulate the volume of our own sneeze.
Stress is your body’s way of activating your flight-or-fight response to a perceived state of danger. It causes your senses to go on alert, often resulting in convulsive – irrational – reactions, heightened adrenaline, faster heartbeats, and increased breathing rates, as well as altering your food digestion and consequently your glucose levels. Stress has multiple effects on our body, many of which we are hardly aware of.
It’s easy to advise a person not to stress. What is not easy, is to actually follow that advice.
You may have heard/read it before from so many sources nowadays: stress is a fear reaction to life and life’s constant changes. To manage it, we need to equate stress with fear and then begin to eliminate fear from our lives. We need to wonder why are we in fact so afraid? Why do we so passively give our power away? William James had said that “the greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over the other”. Because in essence, what causes our bpm to rise is in fact our own thoughts. If we replace the constricting and fearing thoughts we allow to invade our heads with positive and empowering affirmations – keeping it cool and focused – will actually allow us to reach what Louise Hay describes as “the totality of possibilities”. If you let your mind go beyond what you think is possible, you open yourself up to a myriad of options and potential.
What is interesting is the fact that many of us create the ideas we have about life by the time we are 5 years old. And from then on we live in the limitations created by our 5-year old consciousness, often stopping us from experiencing all that we could or desire. It is our own excuses, beliefs and limitations that obstruct our way. We have the option of either accepting them or overcoming them and moving beyond what we think is possible. Because it’s all in our head.
Anger is a significant form of stress.
One of the best advice on learning to alleviate it is what is termed as the “5-minute rule”. You should not spend more than 5 minutes stressing over something or being angry. Give yourself five timed minutes to vent, to moan, to scream, to let it all out. But afterwards, take a deep breath, and acknowledge that you cannot change what has already happened, so there is no value in wishing it were different.
Put simply: deal with it, and move on. Otherwise your just wasting your energy and time.
It’s not so easy to do. But it’s definitely worth a try. And if you keep at it, you’ll eventually get there.
There is a game to play when you want to make a quick decision and you’re hesitating between two options. To resolve the dilemma, you’re told to ask yourself a series of questions with two answers; the key is to respond as rapidly as possible without thinking too much. So when you get to the query at hand, you’ll answer quickly enough to know how you truly feel about it. Speed here leads to authenticity.
One such question could be if you prefer to be too hot or too cold. But what really is the answer to that, without being season-sensitive concerning when you’re actually asking the question?
In summer, we’re likely to say we prefer being cold. And in winter, vice-versa.
But then a day comes, when snowfall begins unexpectedly – as suddenly as it may be given the week-long meteo warnings. And everything seems so much prettier. Snow makes everything appear happier, more magical, more walking-on-clouds-fluffy-paradise-bright. You don’t care if it’s cold when you’re dressing up like an eskimo, to walk outside like a penguin, to engage in snowball fights like a child. It doesn’t matter if you can’t feel your limbs, let alone your fingers when you’re gathering snow to build a perfect snowman. Amidst the laughter the snow day is causing, the cold is just a side-effect.
But when it all starts to melt, when the fluffy snowflakes turn into rock hard ice, when it’s too slippery to tread outside in the sludge, and when it’s so freaking freezing that it doesn’t even matter there is the sun in the sky, then, yes, you begin to consider that not everything is so lovely as it initially seems. Everything has its limits, and if you’re not prepared – without the infrastructure or mechanisms – to deal with extreme weather conditions, the problems caused can be life-threatening.
Perhaps the cold is something that can be solved with a warm house (via a fireplace or radiator at least), a cosy blanket, a hot beverage, good company, and some entertainment. Perhaps even the temperature is something we control in our minds. But the truth is, cold makes you shut down to preserve energy.
We want days off because we’re too cold to move. But if we were moving in the first place, we might not feel the cold too much…
There are 86400 seconds in a day. But one is enough to change an entire life.
An instance is what you make of it – it can last entire minutes, losing track of time itself when you’re having fun; or it can be so small that it cannot even be measured when something tragic occurs.
It’s all a matter of perspective. And what we do with what we have.
William Penn had said that “time is what we want most, but what we use worst”.
Lao Tzu in turn uttered that “time is a created thing; to say ‘I don’t have time’ is to say ‘I don’t want to’”.
We often spend our days appearing busy, too much even for our own sake. We make lists, set schedules, post-its, reminders, afraid of missing something, of not having time to do everything we need to or want to. We miss calls from family and friends, postponing their return-call or desired meeting to a later time when we won’t be so pressed. We cram as much as we can in those 86400 seconds of the day, and we still feel they are not enough.
But when something happens – when those few seconds suffice to capsize everything, what matters the most? The clients we gained, the money we earned or the friends we lost and the moments we sacrificed along the way?
It is up to us to prioritise what we spend time on, how we organise the seconds we have to keep our minds and souls healthy and thriving.
Occasionally we have to make time; we have the way if there is the will to do so. Otherwise we will come to regret the time lost, the time we could have spent with loved ones, making memories and filling our days with joy; and that is something we cannot retrieve.
Remember: time is not measured by clocks, but by moments. Particularly those in which you feel happy to be alive.
Have you ever noticed how we often allow a few bad minutes of a day to wreck the entire 24 hours? High stress levels so easily overwhelm us that we consciously believe the entire world is out to get us; that everything suddenly turns against us simply because of one bad moment. Those five minutes you were late in leaving the house means one hour delay because you missed the bus. But so what? The series of unfortunate events is bound to end sometime.
If you come to think about it, life is an occurrence of episodes. We spend inexplicably long hours in some, and irrationally little time in others, but we constantly find ourselves moving on to the next one. We even wonder, often with intrigue, what the next episode will bring.
It’s refreshing to reflect that the best moments of our life haven’t arrived yet. That’s why we need to be open to things around us; to have our eyes and minds wide open to the splendor that is out there. Life might just surprise us.
What is more, we need to choose wisely who we surround ourselves with; who affect our personalities and character and contribute to forming who we are. We need friends who support us and push us to be better. We need people who bring out the best version of ourselves. We need strong role models, like a mother who shows her daughter she doesn’t need constant company to have a good time; she can simply book a flight and get on a plane and leave – alone – and still have a great time because she is empowered, confident, and courageous enough to do so.
If you take the leap with faith, life will reward you for it. Just believe.