I had a small epiphany when I was in Annecy, France yesterday. The combination of perfect blue water (Lake Annecy has this mesmerizing blue color), beach (yup, there is an actual sandy beach by the lake), and sun (in the Alps, contrary of what you might think) have this magical way of inspiring me. And there is this French like romance in the air that makes you loose yourself into the blues and… simply dream. So, I was thinking of how I’ve had my share of loves, dissapointments, amazing moments and less great ones. I have made mistakes but also made people happy. The circle of… love life, I guess, what can I say? 🙂 But what I’ve discovered is that the best kind of love is the unexpected one. You don’t just pick someone and hope it works out. No, this is different. You meet by chance, and there’s an instant connection and the chemistry between you is way above your head – there’s nothing you can do about it. And you just talk and notice the way their lips curve when they smile or the color of their eyes and all at once you know you’re either lucky or screwed. Or at least, that’s what I’ve learned in the last 30 years.
So cherish it if it happens to you for as long as it lasts. It doesn’t have to be forever because all that matters is that you live it, feel it to the fullest. Let go of the rules, of what you think it is expected from you… just let it take over you. You will always regret the things you did not do, more than the things you’ve done. And… from what I’ve seen, despite what most people think, life can bless you more than once with this kind of love. You just have to surrender to it, not fight it. Act hopeless, and let it be magical. Never Settle until you feel that! It’s just an advice from a unicornian optimistic over the top romantic person that I am :). If you love yourself as you should, you owe it to yourself against all odds!
Have you ever thought that more often than not for many of us the first thing that crosses our mind when we wake up is “I did not sleep enough“? And the second thing we often think and say is “I don’t have enough time“. Interesting?…or rather worrying I would say… No matter if it’s true or not, the thought of “I do not have enough” of something… automatically crosses our mind, without much questioning or real examination. It’s like this society we live in has programmed us so.
We spend a great deal of our lives worrying and wining that one thing or another is not enough. Before touching the floor in the morning, before standing up, we feel that things already don’t go at the pace as they should, that we are lagging behind, that we’ve lost something, that we miss something. And in the evening, when we lay in bed, our mind repeats over and over all the things we obtained or that we did not do that day. We fall asleep with the burden of our thoughts and we wake up thinking of what’s missing from our life…
It’s like we have an automatic feel for an internal discontent with ourselves and our lives, and this lays as foundation for feelings like jealousy, greed, intolerance, feeling of being fed up with this life. Anyways, nothing good in the long run actually comes out of this thinking. It’s negative vibes that we start our day with due to the hectic lives that we have. And actually, if you think about it, it all comes down to the feeling that “I am not enough…”.
But it’s ok. Admitting you are inclined to think as I described is the first step towards a shift in mindset. How about waking up each morning feeling gratitude for a new day, for all the good things in your life? And if you have problems identifying those good things, just sit down for 20 minutes and put them on a list. Start with health, body or the people surrounding you or the experiences life has given you to go through and so on. Nothing is for granted. Everything is a gift to be cherished. So be thankful for it every morning when you open your eyes. Block the “I don’t have enough, I don’t…” thoughts and replace them with “I am grateful for…”. You may notice, a glimpse of a smile when you do this.
Also, when you go to bed, think of the highlight of the day, the best thing that happened to you that day, no matter how grey or bad overall the day was. Be grateful for that one little thing (or big thing I hope :)) that was good. I am sure you can always find one.
Practice gratitude and positive vibes will just come automatically. It happens to me all the time. It’s not easy to train your mind to think this way. We have years of training into “There is not enough of…”, and coming from an X-communist culture myself, this thinking is very well embedded in our behavior. But it’s changeable, and when you manage to replace discontent with gratitude, your mood will change, the things that you attract will change and you will put a positive twist on your every day no matter how grim it may look initially. And it’s not overacting to say, it will change your life. It’s worth to try, believe me 🙂
It’s been a while since I’ve actually used writing to express myself. I guess the last few months, when apparently my perfect image cracked and I was confronted with accepting and loving an imperfect self, made me do it again. Expressing is good, and guess what?, it will always be imperfect. Expect others to judge it! But every each of us should do it. I am the silent type. I do not counter fight, I do not defend myself, I do not speak, I don’t complain… I listen, internalize, sometimes grieve, feel guilty, apologize the most and find my strength to move on and live life. I am actually bad at talking about what I feel. But, in time, I understood this eats me up inside, it pills up, all the unsaid… and writing, well, in my case, apparently helps. And… I have to admit it feels good. So bare with me, if I spam your News feed. I have no intention of using imperfection to avoid owning mistakes in general. That would be against what I am trying to write. I may not be the perfect writer, but that’s not the point. The point is to express what I feel and think, as imperfect as it is, and maybe grow in the process, while, if I am lucky enough, inspire others to do the same and not be afraid to show to the world their beautiful imperfect selves.
What I’ve learned lately is how to value the authenticity and beauty of imperfection. I don’t pretend to know it all, neither am I a model of living to follow, but what I know for sure is the importance of owning who you really are, with the good and the not so good, the highs and the lows, the strengths and the weaknesses. I’ve done right and I’ve done wrong, I’ve made people happy and helped them, and I’ve hurt some deeply in the process, I was a reason to smile, and a reason for tears. Complex, right? But this is what each of us does in a lifetime, every each of us, whether you like it or not. Think about it… This is actually how we grow and we never stop learning and growing over the years. But more importantly, the fact that we are so damn imperfect makes us unique. This is why in order to evolve happily and live beautifully (as I like to say), we need to own it, take responsibility for what we do, learn from it, understand who we are, accept it and cherish life in the process.
I recently started reading a great book I received from a dear friend – “The courage of being vulnerable” by Brene Brown. It really inspires me… with every page I read. Because, yes, it takes balls for a man and lots of guts for a woman to show their vulnerabilities to the world. It is so damn courageous to do so, to stand naked in front of everyone with all you are and feel, and own it. I have lived most of my life avoiding being vulnerable. Though it is so natural, so human, so part of who we are. I have built walls around me not to get hurt, keeping a calculated distance from falling too deeply in love, maintaining control, acting flawless in school or at work, showing strength no matter the situation, and actually even being proud of my no-tear shed for anyone track record in my personal life. But this me, without vulnerabilities… wasn’t really me. This was ultimately pretending, a mask, hiding a more sensitive self. And I have missed a lot pretending… feelings, personal inner development, the beauty of loving with all your heart, the growth and motivation that pain and sorrow can arise from oneself.
When we act bullet proof strong, cold, in-control, we actually put a shield around us and pretend. It’s valid for everyone, and we all are all doing it at some point in time in a situation or another. It’s that pressure of being unbreakable and perfect… In the end, if you think about it, who defines perfection? Social media, friends, family, your network, media in general? Probably other people that pretend to be untouchable, so it’s all a perception in the end. Nothing real. What is real is YOU. The real YOU. Late at night, when you close the door, and there is just you, your thoughts and nothing else, does that uber-strength still apply? Does it really? And then I ask, who are we really? Who is the real YOU? It’s beautifully imperfect the vulnerable way we are. The best feeling is to embrace it, accept it and love ourselves for it. Because it’s real. It’s like living in the NOW. I would actually put vulnerability, together with imperfection, genuine love for oneself and others, and living in the present, as pre-requisites for living beautifully, peacefully and in content with us and the world.
To end this small monologue, I read about this 10 principles of living life to the fullest by Brene Brown in another book, and I thought they are worth sharing. I plan to follow them as much as I can. It may not be easy, but my newly discovered imperfection calls for it :).
- Develop your authenticity – don’t always think of what others say
- Develop your self compassion – give up perfectionism
- Develop your resilience – fight against feelings of being hopeless and incapable
- Develop gratitude and happiness – fight your fears and stop thinking of what is missing from your life
- Develop your intuition, your self confidence and confidence in others – give up the need for security
- Develop your creativity – stop comparing yourself with others
- Invest more time in playing and resting – results at work do not always define who you ultimately are
- Develop a state of peace and silence – give up anxiety
- Invest your time in what makes sense to you, don’t question yourself and don’t live by the expectations of others of you
- Don’t forget to laugh, to sing and to dance – stop pretending that you control every situation, it’s pointless
I remained deeply touched and speechless when I received this morning in my inbox these beautiful lines. It may be one of the most beautiful love letters I was addressed that weirdly enough completely describes me… He said he ran into it, by chance, as he ran into me… unexpectedly, and somehow as the words of this letter all fall into place describing me, so did we, after our first encounter…. #HlunaS
She is unique. A rare woman, a breed of freedom of her own. There is no one else like her, a free spirit in her heart she is. Don’t be surprised about how quickly you fall for her, and don’t be apprehensive about allowing yourself to fall. She won’t catch you, but rather take the plunge with you, holding nothing back.
She values love in its entirety and believes in it fully. Even if you don’t, she’ll teach you too. She believes in fairy tales and happily ever after. Make her your queen and your life will suddenly be made simple. She loves flowers, but doesn’t like red roses. But if she had a choice, she’d rather have chocolates to share with you. She believes in chivalry and holding open doors. While she will always offer to pay and even sometimes insist, don’t let her.
Spoil her. Because she’ll spoil you more.
Love her. Because she’ll love you deeper.
Give her your best. Because she will make you better.
She’ll make you the man you want to be. She’ll make you want to be someone worthy of standing next to her.
She doesn’t see her beauty. She sees only the beauty of others and of nature all around her. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stop reminding her of how beautiful you think she is. She’s constantly looking at others, and looking to see what she can do for them. She listens with a keen understanding, even to the things you aren’t saying. And even when you first met, she was probably taking mental notes of your favorite things, thinking about a birthday or holiday, even if it’s far away. She’ll out do you every time with gifts. She’ll surprise you with things, you’ll wonder why she’s doing this, and she’ll reply with a little smile, “just because I can.” This is part of who she is, the loving nature that Life has molded and shaped for her to be.
Some hearts like hers, are just programmed to love. They are so rare to find in this world that she lives in.
She’s not afraid of saying things, doing things. She’s very blunt. That means she gonna catch you off guard a few times, just go with it. She loves exploring, broadening her horizon, learning everything she can and experiencing and seeing all that is allowed to be revealed to her. I’ll admit she’s a little weird. But a good kind of weird, that will make you laugh. Because she doesn’t even know she’s funny sometimes. She only wants to see you happy, to smile. She kind of lives in her own world sometimes, but if you are lucky she’ll let you be a part of it. She’s fun. Like a child she has the ability to turn anything into a game or a competition, but she’s also, unbelievably quick witted, intelligent, and will never make or provide a dull moment to your life. She simply loves life. And enjoys every moment for the blessing and gift that life is.
Among the many other things you’ll come to love about her, is how goal oriented she is. She never stops. She constantly is going from one thing to the next, and somehow appeasing everyone, even if it’s at the cost of her well being. She’ll do anything for anyone and she never says no. Don’t take advantage of that. But sometimes even she needs someone to slow her down just to enjoy life a little. Enjoy the time with her when it is just you guys. She adores those moments of just the quality time. It is her way of saying, here I am and this is where I want to be precisely — with you.
Fair warning she makes cooking an art, and loves to experiment to the pleasing of the palette; like a painter adding a bit of this and a tad of that. However, the kitchen can resemble a disaster cyclone hitting when she is done. But that’s only a few of her flaws, if you consider that one. She will always clean it up; for she likes a tidy and comfy home. Also don’t introduce her to your mother, unless you are gonna keep her around. You’re mother will never forgive you, if you mess it up. Trust me. She is a keeper, and will make you one of the most happiest man alive.
As carefree and loving as she is, there are parts of her life that aren’t as perfect. In due time, she’ll tell you every secret. She’ll tell you exactly why she is the person she is. When she tells you her deepest secrets, I promise you’ll love her more. Hold her, and don’t let her go. Among the things I love most about her, is her strength. She has the ability to get through some of the hardest things that life throws her way. I forged her in my light and my fire.
I’ll let you have her. But just know, the moment you mess up, someone else will be there to pick up the pieces of her broken heart. For I will insure that she will never look back. She is part of me, and follows me endlessly; for the unconditional love that I have bestowed upon her. I only wish for her, her ultimate peace and happiness.
Girls like her are unbelievably hard to find once in a lifetime, let alone twice.
Trust me when I say this, the greatest regret you may experience or have in life, is the one of letting her go. Or being unfaithful to her. She truly is a one of a kind, very rare to find.
I was thinking the other day how that fact that I have been raised by my parents in the ultimate Disney culture left a strong mark on my personality. Watching fairytales and being inspired by happy endings really shaped my perspective on life. Funny, right? But ultimately true and those who know me can confirm :). So there you go: I believe in people, in breaking the odds, I am more than often too optimistic and of course I believe in happy endings and true love or the idea that two people can find each other and be truly happy together for the rest of their lives. And yes, until some time ago, I also believed in the one true love and the perfect relationship. The last two beliefs were shuttered with age, I must say.
There is one thing that maybe is not as accurate in real life as in fairytales: the fact that there is only one person in the world for us, and unless we find that person, we are doomed to a lonely life of romantic misery. In fact, what I learned through experience is just the opposite. There are actually a lot of people with whom we could experience a passionate love and a deeply fulfilling relationship. When we limit our search to that “perfect” someone, we foster a mentality of perpetual “window shopping” (if you know what I mean 🙂 ). Moreover, we’re very likely to give up too easily on what could be the “perfect” imperfect relationship. It took me a while to understand, but once I did, I was highly relieved and things changed for me: my relationship and the way I felt in general. Seeking perfection is tiring & pressurizing, and it is not at all fulfilling on a longer term. Those of you who are perfectionist know what I mean. It is a sacrifice to seek perfection.
Most of us were fed by fairytales, media, our friends or family that love should come and be easy, otherwise it is not love. II used to believe this, but not anymore. No beautiful or good thing comes easy. Think about it!
Whether, it’s during the first week of dating or the seventh year of relationship or marriage, all relationships will inevitably hit rough patches. These patches often send people running away, rather than staying around to try to work it out. I did this mistake, and most of us, women, do. We like building ideals in our head of the perfect man, perfect relationship, perfect house and so on. But it’s nonsense. I read an article by a psychologist who said “If I could make one change in how Western culture views relationships, I would change the perception that infatuation equals love. Love points out that the initial stages of a relationship often leave the brain flooded with “happy” molecules, a chemical reaction that heightens both emotional and physical attraction. Once these molecules subside, problems surface, leading to conflict and, sometimes, even break-ups.” This does not mean to settle for something that does not work, of course. People may end up realizing they are incompatible after the “love sparkles” go away. And going separate ways is the right and mature thing to do. What I am saying is just that one should deeply look into why he/she is are running away from when issues arise. Some things may be beautifully imperfect even though they are not how we have pictured them initially. You know it’s right to be next to someone, if you have many moments of calmness of mind and soul together. This should give you confidence that you are at least compatible. The rest can be fine-tuned.
Because all relationships are likely to challenge us, the best relationship advice I can give is to find someone you really like and invest in that relationship. Stop looking for the perfect partner and start focusing on what you need to address within yourself in order to achieve a more ideal romance. A relationship is one of the best ways for developing yourself. There are many unexpected choices that could make you happy, but to make a relationship work means being willing to take the ride with someone and then looking inward. Imperfection may surprise you!
Real relationships are rarely easy, but they also shouldn’t be too hard or hurtful. Instead, they should be looked at as an adventure, so we shouldn’t expect a perfectly smooth ride. Every couple is made up of two independent people with two sovereign minds. This means, at times, the two may see things differently. Struggles will arise, and when they do, what matters most will be our ability to get through the hard times. We can anticipate and face challenges with a combination of strength and vulnerability. Yet, to start this adventure, we must open our hearts and minds to the another person. It took me while to do so, but once I did things completely changed, for the good. Naturally, some connections are stronger and some choices more ideal than others, but any love can grow when we are willing to explore our own limitations and grow our own capacity for closeness.
With my birthday knocking on the door, it’s that time of the year I start overthinking my life. Let’s say this weekend I had some extra spare time (more than usual when I act social) to do this as I have been indoors with a flu. Honestly as a bad human habit, or blame it on the fever, I started thinking not at the things I have accomplished so far, but at those missing from my life first…
It took me some time to recalibrate and refocus on all the good things I have been given in my life, realize how many they are actually, be grateful for them, never again fall in the trap of taking them for granted, and welcome the future with a big smile on my face!
I read this great quote today…about Gratitude: “If the only prayer you say in your life is ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.” (Meister Eckhart)
Gratitude means thankfulness, counting your blessings, noticing simple pleasures, little things, and acknowledging everything that you receive. It means learning to live your life as if everything were a miracle, and being aware on a continuous basis of how much you’ve been given. Gratitude shifts your focus from what your life lacks to the abundance that is already present, which is more often than not a lot! Focusing on being grateful and saying thanks makes people happier and more resilient, it strengthens relationships, it improves health, and it reduces stress. I know many may say I am slightly unrealistic, preaching about a constant state of positive gratitude, but if you would practice gratitude, you would see I am not. Actually, to say you feel grateful is not to say that everything in your life is necessarily great. It just means you very are aware of our blessings.
Most people, including me, tend to take for granted the good that is already present in their lives. Have you ever imagined for a second what it would be like losing some of the things that you take for granted, such as your house, your ability to see or hear, your ability to walk, or anything that currently gives you comfort? I did today… and it was a sort of “Aha, moment” combined with “I am damn superficial! Get a grip!” 🙂 Then imagine getting each of these things back, one by one, and consider how grateful you would be for each and every one. I did this exercise a few times, and it just made me realize how lucky I am and really blessed.
Every each of us should start finding joy in the small things instead of holding out for big achievements—such as getting the promotion, having a comfortable “deposit” saved up, being richer, slimmer, more popular, getting married, starting a family, and so on.
What I have learned is that when things don’t go my way, I believe that every difficulty carries within it the seeds of an equal or greater benefit. So, when I calm down, I ask myself: “What’s good about this situation?”, “What can I learn from this?”, and “How can I actually benefit from this?”. It has worked every time to put me back on track and feel comfortable with a not-so-comfortable situation.
Once you become oriented towards looking for things to be grateful for, you will find that you begin to appreciate simple pleasures and things that you previously took for granted. Gratitude should not be just a reaction to getting what you want, but an all-the-time gratitude, the kind where you notice the little things and where you constantly look for the good even in unpleasant situations. Just try to start bringing gratitude to your experiences, instead of waiting for a positive experience in order to feel grateful. This way, you’ll be on your way toward becoming presently happier. 🙂