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Posts Tagged ‘way of life’

“Would you let me know what time you’ll be home?”
“I’ll try…”

“I know I should clean up my room, but I don’t want to…

“Would you like to be part of our amateur choir?”
“Oh that sounds like fun, but I can’t sing!”

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There are a couple of words that I banned from my vocabulary. You just read a couple of examples of those. (another one is found in this blogpost).

Recently, I realized that this is only one side of the story. There is a whole different side of the story, one that people sometimes tend to forget about.

I’m all for being motivational, all for achieving things, maximizing yourself and going beyond what you think you can do. I’ve experienced things that tell me that boundaries are illusions and that if you push yourself hard enough, you can do whatever you want. The examples are, in my opinion, a way to sabotage yourself. By saying them, you get a free pass to not do something that is actually a bit scary. By saying them, you keep yourself small so you don’t have to step up your game.

There are certain circumstances in which the use of these words are helpful, though.

Consider these following sentences:

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I used to say: “Hope for the best, expect the worst.”. It was a coping mechanism that I don’t fully support anymore. It tells you to want something, be attached to the outcome, and if you don’t get what you want, force yourself not to be sad about it. I don’t see the truth in this anymore. I deal with things differently now.

I’ve been talking a lot about not attaching to outcomes. I think it’s good to want something, but not to be attached to the outcome. But I’ve also found it very hard not to be attached to an outcome. If you want something, it’s natural to think about what the outcome could be like. And just thinking about outcomes will gently and very easily nudge you into the direction of being attached to a certain outcome. So what to do?

I don’t know the answer to that question. Permitting yourself to make mistakes might be part of it. Accepting a different outcome than the ones you anticipated, in whichever way, is another. But then, is it really such a bad thing to hope for the best? (I really don’t like the negativity of the ‘expect the worst’ part anymore.)

Today a friend got me thinking about the difference between hope and faith. For some time now, I have felt like hope does not help me anymore, whereas faith has helped me and continues to help through my life. It has always been with me, and has only grown in the past couple of years. This friend asked me what I thought the difference was between the two things.

I thought for a while and the answer I came up with surprised me in its simplicity. They both voice an anticipating to a certain outcome, without attaching oneself to it. But with hope, the underlying sentiment is uncertainty. And with faith, it is certainty.

With certainty comes confidence. And with confidence comes positivity. And with positivity good things come your way. I feel like this might be part of a bigger question yet unasked. To be continued.

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Today I had a good experience; apparently I learned something without actively pursuing it, which is — to state it lightly — a new experience for me.

I was in a compliment-avalanche with someone I had just met that day (don’t ask, it came quite naturally, really 🙂 ) and at a certain moment, after he had done something that had required some gathering up courage and pushing oneself across a threshold, I complimented him on his win.

He looked at me and I saw him skip the compliment to proceed to the next topic, moment, feeling or whatever it was that occurred at that moment. I decided this was a guy that can handle the remarks that I sometimes can’t help making, so I stopped him and said: “Wait. Hold on. First accept the compliment.”

He stopped, looked at me, and said (I’m paraphrasing, but it was something in line of): “That’s funny. I had realized you were doing that earlier. You take a moment to accept a compliment and then you go on.”

Now, this in itself, although it is a very nice interaction, is cool. But what was even cooler was that I had decided quite some time ago, that I wanted to take a moment to accept a compliment when someone would give me one, without shame, without excuses, without anything other than let it be and accept it. (I could go on that in our times it’s not normal to just accept compliments, but I’ll leave it for now).

The point is, that even without actively TRYING, I somehow managed to internalize that. 0.0. I didn’t even know I was doing that and I just did. Never knew I was capable of learning things without being overly conscious of it! I like how I can still surprise myself after all those years :).

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This is how I would like to react when later, I grow up and have children, whenever they come to me with a problem or situation.

– What are the things you can do about it?
– What could I do to help?
– It’ll be ok, baby.

It could be my standard palette of reactions, which will undoubtedly annoy them beyond crazy :).
But I think these reactions are very helpful because of the following reasons:

What are the things you can do about it?: This helps to empower someone to think for himself and solve their own problem. It also encourages discovering what’s within one’s circle of control. and what isn’t.
What can I do to help?: This shows that you are not alone, and there are other people willing to help you. It also gives the person the responsibility to state what he needs, instead of me making assumptions about what he needs.
It’ll be ok, baby (Komt wel goed, schatje): Sometimes people just need to vent. After they’ve done so, this is the only response I can think of. They don’t need help, they don’t need to do anything about the situation, but they just want someone to listen to them so they feel understood. It could help them accept the situation.

All of the presumed benefits stated above are things that I would like to teach my children, encourage them in, or support them in. Of course, all of the above can also be beneficial in interactions with other people.

Do you agree with me on this? Are there more initial reactions that you find valuable?

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To other people, I look like a busy bee.

I always have something to do, I’m always doing at least 5 projects at the same time, I have a zillion hobbies, all of which I seem to pursue, and I have a lot of appointments.

Beneath that surface, though, is a life that is actually pretty comfortable. Yes, I work hard (most of the time) and yes, there are times that I am more on the move than at home. But quite often, I have a lazy evening on the couch almost every day of the week.

I think it’s all about setting priorities. No matter how big my to do list, if a friend needs my help or a listening ear, I will gladly provide him/her with it. It’s just more important in my life. Work can wait.

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Today I woke up wondering about the difference between finders and seekers.

Lately, I’ve been finding. I’ve been finding a lot of things, I’ve been at the right place at the right moment and I’ve been lucky enough to find myself in places that I’ve been imagining for a long time. I feel blessed to consider myself one of those people that seem to have found their place in the world. I know what you might be thinking, but you can’t create unless you find some fundament to build on.

Some of my close friends are seekers. They seem to be looking for something that is just beyond their reach and as a result, sometimes get frustrated with not finding what they’re looking for.

Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t think this is a personal trait. I have my times in which I’m searching, seeking and not finding what I need. I’m just really interested in what the difference is between the two situations.

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Ha! I had it so backwards all the time! It’s not about believing in yourself. It might actually be about acting according to what you DO believe.

I think that revelation may need some explanation.. here goes.

I’m listening to the book ‘The Happiness Advantage’ by Shawn Achor (watch his TED talk here, it’s fun and it’s about unicorns (!).) and he makes some really good points. He cites dozens of examples of scientific research that proves that if you have a positive attitude, you’re more likely to succeed in something, which for me at the moment, translated into ‘you can succeed at a goal if you believe in yourself.’ Which, coincidentally, is easier said than done.

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