There’s something inspiring about waking up to light and colour. It helps awaken your senses and boost your mood. And when you emit a positive vibe, you feel more confident, like you can take over the world if you have to.
He would bring her flowers every morning simply to see that radiant smile of hers.
She would beam like spring in bloom and he would boast of a mission accomplished.
It was simple things like that that made every day special. Monotony was dangerous, and boredom was lethal. It was keeping the spark alive that made it all worthwhile.
There are two types of people in the morning: the chirpy one, who chatters, sings, and is hyperactive from the moment they get out of bed; and the one who doesn’t want a single noise to interfere in the still sleeping zen phase they are painfully trying to get out of.
Miranda was the second type.
Alan was the first.
You can see the problem.
The worst was when the only chance they had to discuss about something was before going to work in the morning because often their shifts did not coincide and they could spend entire days without seeing each other. Despite living in the same house, they didn’t always have the energy after work to talk about anything.
This made it all the more complex.
Because she was also the type to keep everything inside. She restrained herself from expressing what bothered her, be it from the slightest of things – from their online presence, to his behaviour towards others, to her problems at work, or financial difficulties.
The body had a mind of its own, though, and it began to demonstrate its anguish and exhaustion in various forms. The signs were ignored and neglect led to stronger pain in every form.
He saw what she refused to.
How she faded her own light and began to personify that “what doesn’t transmit light creates its own darkness” (Marcus Aurelius).
So he surprised her with a week away.
To a place she only dreamed of; where mice and ducks were favourite cartoon characters; where laughter was the only sound you could hear; where to feel the innocence and carefreeness of a child was mandatory.
“What’s wrong?” Miguel asked as he wrapped his arm around her.
He knew sunsets were her favourite hour. That golden moment when nature seemed at peace, and you could feel serene.
“Nothing”, Adeline feigned.
He read through her reflex reaction that everything was not as fine as she claimed. Her eyes weren’t as shiny as when she really meant that. Other times, he could see the last of the sun’s rays reflect off her glistening emerald pupils. And her smile was genuine. Now she just seemed tired. Or, rather, exhausted. Emotionally.
He perplexed his mind for a minute, wondering whether it was worth asking again, pushing for a different answer.
What he couldn’t tell was that she was restraining herself from saying everything that caused chaos in her head.
She couldn’t figure out how it was all roses one minute, and in a single second, due to a single phrase, everything was upturned. She was upset not only with the way he behaved towards other females – in her presence even – but most of all by the fact that he could hardly identify the problem.
People want to feel they are exclusively loved and valued. Much more so when they’re in a relationship. They want the security that their partner places them above all others, regardless of history or social connections. And it goes both ways. Every kind of relationship needs compromise and concessions. From both. Otherwise the balance doesn’t work.
By the time she decided to say something, the ferry boat had reached the port. And now the time was unsuitable.
He continued as if nothing happened.
But for her it was not as easy.
Silence is hard to keep. But when you break it, you need to be certain that what you’ll say is more important.
It was parked in a different neighbourhood each week. Its flowers were so fresh, their aroma oozed right into the windows of the nearest houses.
The middle-aged woman who ran this ‘business’ narrated how it all began from a single flower cut by her partner on one of their daily afternoon walks. “It was seemingly insignificant, but to me it meant the world”, she recounted as her cheeks blushed. “From then on, he would constantly bring me flowers, regardless of how small, they would always make me smile”.
“So I started this truck. Hoping to make other people happy too”.
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.
It’s scary when everything seems to flow in order.
It feels like you’re waiting for the storm to arrive.
As if you’re in a canoe blissfully sailing calmly in a river, birds chirping all around, sun shining above, and a cool breeze complementing the ride, but all of a sudden you reach the end of a cliff and a steep waterfall awaits, where – like in movies – you have nowhere to hold on to and you end up falling off, screaming at the top of your lungs, before diving into the water below.
Yes, it might be an exaggeration, or an overreaction, or maybe both.
But nothing lasts forever – neither good nor bad times – and perhaps that is what is most terrifying when it’s all good.
There is not much you can do though, other than what most motivational speakers, life gurus and the like prompt you to: take each day as it comes. Live the moment and you’ll soon see that in creating and indulging in every instant, you build a life, one you’re happy and proud of, and which fulfills every essence of your being.
There comes a time when you need to accept that your peace of mind is more important than anything else.
If we constantly place ourselves in a state where we feel we need to keep everyone else happy, sometimes even exceeding our own limits and sacrificing our own wants to please others, we will soon find that we’re losing ourselves. Let alone wrongly exploiting our time and energy.
We need a motive for everything we do. Subconsciously, that is how it all works. Even if it is simply feeling acknowledged, appreciated, respected, valued or love, we need to sense that there is a purpose in the efforts we make.
When things fall apart from the slightest misunderstandings, from things wrongly perceived, or merely from having too many expectations, the disappointment is usually too much to bear.
And that’s when it all comes crashing down.
Because for as long as you’re hyperactive, keeping everything in motion, the ball rolls smoothly. Once the slightest hiccup occurs and something stops – even if for a millisecond – you realise how much you’re coping with, trying to juggle so much more than you can withstand.
We need to learn to be done, not mad, not bothered, just done.
We need to protect our peace at all costs. It’s what matters most. For if we don’t have a healthy mental state, nothing else really matters.
The problem with happiness, is that you feel it won’t last. We are too informed nowadays to know that everything can change in a split second. Your entire life can be uprooted in a single breath.
You never know what you’re going to face every morning you’re lucky to wake up. But you still need to believe that something wonderful is about to happen. Perhaps it truly works, that if you emanate positivity and optimism it will also surround you.
It is very likely that our biggest challenge is fighting our own doubts and overthinking.
Maybe it would be easier if we just let things just be. Allow life to take its course, without pressing too much for a particular outcome, without expecting too much either.
If we allow happiness to find us, it might just settle inside us too, if it finds itself welcomed.
Let’s live each day as it comes, and you never know, there may just be a pleasant surprise waiting to be revealed.
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…
“Call”. It’s as simple as that. Call to tell someone they’re in your thoughts, you miss them, you’d like to meet up soon, you love them.
“Talk”. Say what’s on your mind. Not everyone can guess it. Show you’re interested. Others long to know that there are people out there who care.
“Say good day”. It costs nothing and it can make a whole morning or entire day for any person. One random act of kindness at a time can change the world. It all starts with the slightest of gestures.
“Smile more”. Don’t sulk. Not everything is horrible in this world. Just find those little things that make it all worthwhile. Be positive even if you’re forced to see the bright side. Things will shift eventually.
“Believe”. If you try with the perspective that it will all flourish, you’re one step closer to succeeding. Just have faith that it will work out.
“Hope”. Because when all is done and lost, this is what remains. You have nothing else to lose.
“Trust yourself”. Because if you don’t, no one else will.
You’re stronger than you think. Don’t let your mind – or those sneaky voices in your head – fool you.