The most beautiful woman in the world (By Dami O-Aliu)

The most beautiful woman in the world (By Dami O-Aliu)

 

When I was 18 I dreamt a dream

I dreamt of a lady

A woman so strong she feared no man

A mother so true she would do anything for her family

A priceless jewel

A timeless heart

My Queen

My Wife

Its been a year since we promised forever

I can’t believe how time flies

Feels like just yesterday we met

Feels like just a second ago we fell in love

I love you now even more than when we first met but less than I will tomorrow.

I know I don’t deserve you

Sometimes I doubt the existence of God but with every breath you take I know he must truly exist

Who else could have made someone so beautiful

Someone so caring

Someone so kind

Someone so tough

Someone so strong

You are a blessing to me

You are my pillar, my strength and every time I doubt myself you are always there to set me right

I have so much to say but even the words seem insufficient.

I have no idea where or what I would be if our paths never crossed.

I am only grateful you took a chance on us

You not only gave up your heart for me but also gave me our angels.

My life is better than I ever dreamt it could be and finally I can say it and it be true.

You complete me

When we started our journey a year ago I never knew two would become four in just a year.

Angels from heaven through an angel on earth.

My Angel, My wife, My best friend, My everything and more

I promised you forever and forever is exactly what I will give.

On this special day, our first of many more years to share.

Every time I think I love you as much as I could, another day comes by and yesterday never compares to tomorrow.

I just want you to know that the earth has never had a wife so good or a mother so true.

We love you now and forever.

 

NB: Dedicated to my wife on our first year wedding anniversary

MY JURY DUTY EXPERIENCE

MY JURY DUTY EXPERIENCE

Jury Duty (1)

MY JURY DUTY EXPERIENCE

Ideologies separate us, dreams bring us back together

When I was only a few years old I started to ask myself questions about life. I wanted to know everything, the evolution of man, the differences in skin colour, creation of the earth but as I grew older my questions became more specific. Like what motivates us? Who are we? If not who are we then why are we the way we are? Why are we the same yet so different? Why are we (i.e humans) here? This eventually led me to pursue psychology as a first degree.

I wanted to know everything so I read about religion, not an in-depth reading but a fundamental understanding and just as each religion provided solutions they also raised questions. So I looked at science and that just seemed to complicate things even more. What was I to do?

Then a few years ago it hit me. The problem wasn’t the information I was getting but the way I was interpreting it.

This might be a little complex to understand but I will try to simplify it as much as possible. This is something I think I can term Multiple Directions theory (MDT) I realised that as I was being fed different information about different causes my brain almost quite automatically kept some aspects of the information (each theory) without necessarily synchronising it as a whole. The more I tried to synchronise it the less sense it made. My only option was to either build a hybrid theory (mixture of the two) or discard every information obtained and start again.

Maybe an example might help to explain this a bit better. If I was to explain a flight from Aberdeen to Amsterdam and I start to go into details as to how the pilot controls the aeroplane, the engineering mechanisms involved, the aeroplane speed and what makes it glide successfully, what altitude then I suddenly tell you that it goes out of the earth close to the moon, then down again directly into Amsterdam.

As a whole you should discard my theory and want nothing to do with it as you might be aware that intercity planes don’t fly out of the earth’s atmosphere but subconsciously your mind would have recorded the parts that make sense. The next question would be filling the gap/ the missing information (not starting again).

The next assumption is when you hear another theory that supposedly provides a different view of a flight from Aberdeen to Amsterdam. Your mind might seem to process the information as a whole, but in reality what we do not know is that we are processing this information in relation to our previously accepted information and trying to correlate them (It’s like hearing to different witness testimonies and trying to find out what parts are the same). Ideally as a rational being if a story is not totally complete and consistent it must be said to lack validity and reliability but I appeared to disregard that rule and piece things together based on my mixed information. This is something we are not aware we sometimes do

This basically means the more we hear, the more explanations that are provided. The less correlation we would be able to make and the further away we get from the answer we previously set out to get.

We do not realise that our confusion is not always necessarily brought about by the inability of each explanation to define a situation holistically (in wholes rather than analysis or separation into parts) but by a lack of synchronisation from the little parts of “accepted” information.

This view is in many ways different from the Gestalt theory (is a theory of mind and brain that proposes that the operational principle of the brain is holistic, parallel, and analogue, with self-organizing tendencies; or, that the whole is different from the sum of its parts, The word Gestalt in German literally means “shape” or “figure”) in psychology.

I feel I must at this point state that I do not disagree with the gestalt view of a holistic approach but I do think it applies more to visual situations than mental cognition.

Our perceptions are more individualistic and units related than we consciously realise. This can be found in situation where we say one thing and do another.

All I am trying to explain in simpler terms is that the way we interpret the information we receive is what forms our understanding of the world, it determines what we believe and what we act upon. Not the information we receive, so take a moment and realise that sometimes our interpretations might not be right even when the information is the same. It will help you avoid conflicts and lead to greater self-development.

When we mis-interpret information it often leads to mistakes that we sometimes blame ourselves for. Think of how many questions you answered wrongly during your educational development that you know were because you dint read the question right (interpretation) and how many times you blamed yourself for it.

Don’t be afraid to take a minute to re-think of an answer you think without a shadow of doubt to have gotten right. You just might have interpreted the question wrongly.

Build you competence by being willing to go back and take another look at what you think you know. Things are not always what we think they are. Trust your instincts if you have good ones. It sometimes helps.

In order to explain this properly let me draw from an experience I recently had. I tried to write about this as close to the end of the event as possible for two main reasons

a) I could not legally talk about an active case when I am a member of the jury until it is over and

b) I wanted to make sure it was as fresh as possible in my mind.

For anyone who does not know how a jury works or what it is let me give a short and hopefully clear background story.

First of all, a Jury (in the UK) is simply a 15 man or woman panel made of what society will term as responsible members of the community selected randomly to listen to possible evidence about a case in relation to the accused brought forward by the procurator fiscal (crown/city). Their sole responsibility is to decide on if an accused is guilty, not guilty or a not proven charge can be applied. In the United Kingdom as well as many civilised societies it is the responsibility of the procurator fiscal to prove beyond reasonable doubt the guilt of an individual and not the accused responsibility to prove his innocence.  This means the onus of proving a charge lies on the crown/state/procurator and not the defence.

In order to decide or be a member of the jury there are a few things expected of you for the court to accept it was a fair trial.

a) You are not allowed to be biased (i.e race, age, sex, dressing, haircut etc cannot play a role in your decision making).

b) You must not bring in your own prejudices to the court either from experience or otherwise

c) Speculation or hear say in any form is not tolerated in the court which means you cannot assume an explanation to anything unless given during the process of evidence.

d) If the accused remains silence it cannot be taken as guilt.

e) Testimonies of expert witnesses such as doctors can only be taken as the presence of something and not evidence that the accused committed the crime.

g) There must be two or more corroborating witnesses that the just decides to be credible (truthful) and reliable (given a true account of what happened). This simply means there must be mutual corroboration.

h) A witness cannot corroborate themselves. i.e if witness A tells witness B what happened and the witness B is called to the stand, their testimony is the same as witness A and so does not provide mutual corroboration.

I) In a case where there is only one witness and so saying no mutual corroboration there is an exception to the rule in order to establish guilt. This however must be done with serious care. There must be at least two victims in which there is a similarity in method, timing, process used and the two witnesses must be seen as credible and reliable. In order words if for example a child is raped in a corner by a man by the strict sense of the law we only have the childs eye witness testimony against the man. There needs to be two or more victims with very similar events, similar methods and similar timing to the point in which it cannot be disregarded as a coincidence. I must admit I had difficulty believing that an event must have more than one victim if there is only one witness but this is the law as we were given.

J) Only established facts are acceptable.

H) The absence of a particular piece of evidence does not mean the presence of its opposite and vice versa (example is just because someone is not sad does not mean they are happy).

My jury duty experience lasted over 3 weeks and was made up 15 members of society (including myself). We did not have an equal representation of men and women as were made up of an odd number nor did we have an equal age representation as we were randomly selected. The case was details are irrelevant in the lesson and also I am not so sure if it is against the law to state it.

As with any case the procurator fiscal gives a statement then the defence gives the same statement. The onus to prove guilt is on the state and they need to be able to prove it beyond reasonable doubt. One of the most amazing things about my experience was that on day one after just hearing the opening statements with no evidence whatsoever. People had already formed their opinions of the case and the defendant’s guilt.

As this was my first just duty experience I assumed that this was normal. After all “do we not form our opinion of a person within the first few seconds”. The only thing is, I assumed that this would change after a while. I assumed that people will wait and see what the procurator brings to the table and then use that to determine his guilt when compared to the defence’s alternate version of the story. Little did I know that I was extremely naive in this thinking or maybe the best way to put this is that I was the only one that shared this version of thinking. Somehow as the days passed by it seemed like people used their own person experiences to come to a conclusion about the case, now I must hasten to add that this was not what everyone felt but what a good number felt. They spoke about experiences as a child, divorce experience, experience raising a child and even experiences at work and somehow seemed to attribute guilt and innocence based on this. It seemed as if our ability to independently judge a situation was impaired. Almost like hypothetical thinking was either none existent or we just would rather not consider it.

Even to the point that they decided that certain things mentioned in the charge but lacking any evidence or even mention by the procurator fiscal or defence were also assumed to happen. I learnt two very important lessons in this.

1) Changing a person’s mind is a very hard and difficult task and in some case even when multiple contrary evidence is present it still does not seem to register. It took the presence of a judge to discard some charges as there was no evidence mentioning it before people actually seemed to consider it. The charges dropped from about 15 charges to about 7 charges by the end of the trial and even then some members of the jury felt that even though there was no evidence or mention of those things, it still should have stood.

2) People seemed to prefer to believe the worst in a person before they take a second to see if there is any good in that person.

 

These two things made me realise certain things for my daily life.

1) Never take the importance of making a good first impression for granted. It takes a lot more to change a person’s mind.

2) Never forget to take a second to rethink something you seem to be absolutely certain about. It is very possible you have used your previous experience to make that judgement

3) Objectivity is not as natural as we think. Subjectivity seems to be the more natural of the two. It takes effort to remember to be objective.

4) Be careful when you make judgements about people. It might not matter to you but it might matter to them.

5) Rules (such as the rules for make a decision as a member of a jury) matter very little when making judgements about people. Somehow our bias seems to come into play. It is very important to be aware of this.

While a lot of the members of the jury were willing to reconsider their initial judgement when they realised that a man’s freedom was a stake. There were still two or three people that did not even want to reconsider and actually became defensive and took the case personally. They even questioned the judge’s decision to drop some charges even though they knew there was no evidence to support the charges or even a mention of it. This brings me to my final point

6) No matter how hard you try to change a person’s opinion about an event or about you. Sometimes it just does not work. They have their own opinion no matter what happens. Do not waste time on this. Do your very best and move on. Life is too short.

You see in that funny and unfortunate experience I realised that life is not always decided on what we do but what others think about what we do.

 

The Power of Perseverance (AKA Grit)

The Power of Perseverance (AKA Grit)

Persistence_Wallpaper_by_hellhoundp2ku-1024x819

 

The Power of Perseverance (AKA Grit)

Life is messy. Grit and grace come at us fast, side by side. Sometimes the grit becomes overwhelming and diminishes our spirit. What’s good seems lost and gone forever. This is a story about the pathway back to what’s beautiful, when the way back seems impossible.”
Sharon E. Rainey, Making a Pearl from the Grit of Life

 

I have spent a good part of my adult life fascinated and dreaming about success. I have very often wondered what makes a man a success in life? I guess this might seem like a vague question especially when the term success is used but let us for a second try not to get hung up on the word “success”.

 

I know that success to people is relative and will ultimately be based on a person’s individual circumstances. I understand that success to me might be having a loving family and guaranteed roof and food for the lifetime of myself and my family members and to you it could be a seven figure bank account. In the discovery of what makes a man successful I can honestly say that an individuals definition of what exactly success is does not matter in the journey to success. Simply put, it does not matter what you define success to be, the requirement to be successful very often will be the same regardless of destination point. For the sake of this post I will keep success referring to a “successful business”.

I started my journey by looking at IQ, it dint take very long before I discovered that while having a High IQ surely doesn’t hurt. It also does not mean you will be successful. To be honest you don’t need to do too much research to see that success is not always a result of intelligence. Otherwise the most intelligent people in the world would be the most successful.

I then decided to look into Daniel Goleman’s claim that success is driven by EQ (Emotional intelligence). After much reading and to my dismay I also found out that this does not need to be present to be successful. It certainly does not hurt but it really isn’t necessary. You can hire someone who has a High IQ and EQ.

After taking a deeper look (without me turning this friendly post into an educational paper), I discovered it is an age old recipe called “Grit”.

You see when I say Grit I am not talking about being harsh as stone’s nor am I talking about being coarse. I am talking about the psychology definition of what this is. I am talking about being able to find a target and having a powerful motivation to achieve their respective objective. I am talking about good old fashion perseverance.

I guess one of the barriers to see the obvious for me was a life long handicap. My handicap was my education. The idea which is very often also unintentionally taught in subjects such as Mathematics and Physics. The thinking that if a person has not been able to solve a problem it is because they have not found the right methodology. This implies that as soon as you find the right method, then the problem becomes easy to solve and then it can be taught to other people who can also use the same method to achieve success in relation to that problem.

 

While I can not deny the merit in thinking this was, I can also see the handicap this creates in finding a method to success.

I quickly discovered that being successful had nothing to do with method but everything to do with your ability to persevere.

The real beauty about “Grit” is that it has nothing to do with methods or finding an exact way and everything to do with attitude. It also has nothing to do with Intelligence, either general intelligence or emotional intelligence but your ability to manage and keep pushing on.

How does a person get True Grit?

1) True Grit must originate from a genuine belief in what you want to do. I am not talking about a hobby or an interest. Your idea could very well start as a hobby but it must be so much more than that before you can push for it. It must be something you believe in.

2) Belief is not enough; you must be convinced of your idea. You see there is a difference in believing something is needed and knowing something is needed. Your conviction must be analyzed independently and must be honestly looked at. Your idea must serve more than just yourself. What use is an idea if it serves only you? In other words, what is in it for everybody else? This is very often where real value is identified.

3) If you are convinced by the need for your idea and its relevance to the general public or people more than yourself then you must understand that success can be a journey. Now when I say understand, I mean truly know it isn’t a sprint. You see a business or anything worth doing must be allowed to mature on its own. This is the same for life and love. Allowing it to grow means that you know that, just as you are who you are because of the things that happened to you (both positive and negative). An idea worth pursuing is also subject to the rules that it will be hit by both positive and negative things.

You must know that it is not necessarily going to be a bed of roses.

4) If you truly understand the journey. You must anticipate the road ahead and be psychologically and physically prepared for the coming journey. I am not saying that preparation means that you won’t be affected. I am simply saying that preparation for a potential storm might not mean that you will weather the storm but it certainly doesn’t hurt.

5) When the trouble comes and by trouble I mean things like discouragement, frustration and even sometimes financial constraints it is important to focus on the fact that you knew it will happen and work through it.

 

Just as you only know how good an insurance company is when there is a claim to be made. Or how much a person loves you when there is a problem. This is the defining moment when many new start up businesses either become successful or are a failure. This is the moment when true grit and perseverance helps. The difference between a successful company and failed company when they are both given the same idea is the ability to persevere in times of trouble.

 

Unlike Intelligence, the beauty of Grit is that it can be taught. You can equip an individual with the ability to cope or the strength to persevere. Grit is an essential and often overlooked element of success. It correlates more highly with success in business than intelligence or a specific talent.

 

A few things that might help could be simple things such as making sure that

 

a) New ideas and projects dont distract you from old ones

b) Don’t set a goal but later choose to pursue a different one

c) Be diligent

d) Be intentional in whatever you do.

e) Do not allow setbacks discourage you.

 

Just remember that even if you are not the most intelligent or the most social. Success is not impossible.

 

I will end this post with a quote

 

It doesn’t matter if people are playing jazz or writing poetry — if they want to be successful, they need to learn how to persist and persevere, how to keep on working until the work is done. Woody Allen famously declared that “eighty percent of success is showing up.” NOCCA (New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts) teaches kids how to show up again and again.”
Jonah Lehrer, Imagine: How Creativity Works

 

 

 

IF (Then you will be a Man)

IF (Then you will be a Man)

If you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,

And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

 

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;

If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;

If you can meet with triumph and disaster

And treat those two imposters just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken

Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,

And stoop and build ’em up with wornout tools;

 

If you can make one heap of all your winnings

And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings

And never breath a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

To serve your turn long after they are gone,

And so hold on when there is nothing in you

Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;

 

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,

Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch;

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;

If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run –

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,

And – which is more – you’ll be a Man my son!

 

 

by Rudyard Kipling

A life worth living in difficult times (In loving memory)

A life worth living in difficult times (In loving memory)

A life worth living in difficult times

I’m inspired to share with you what an older friend said to me a few years ago. I have been greatly influenced by it. Not exactly in his own words though, he said there isn’t an absolute finish line for everyone in life.

Our tracks are different, our lanes are different and our durations- different. The only thing we have in common is the same judge. For example one person graduates at age 20 and struggles for the next five years to get a job. Another graduates at age 25 and gets a job immediately. One marries a virgin and spends the next decade waiting for the blessings of children. Another, probably after having series of abortions in the past, becomes a mum almost immediately after marriage. One becomes an MD at 30, another becomes MD at 52.

Life is full of twists and turns, ups and downs plus many surprises and offers each one of us different opportunities. It is up to each of us to patiently prepare and wait for that opportunity. We learn on the way- no one knows it all or has it better. The devil always tries to tell us that lie over and over but that’s just it- a lie. There is a reason why we all don’t fall at the same time. Its so that when one is down, weak and discouraged, the other, who is strong, can encourage and uplift him. God never promised that the road would be easy but promised never to leave or forsake us. There’s no competition in life so let’s learn to go easy on ourselves and trust that God is working it all for good (even if it doesn’t make sense at the time).

The bible assures us that there is a time for everything but most importantly that “it came to pass”. Whatever trials, challenge or downtime, this too shall pass and in due course, you’ll be up and strong again to lift up those who maybe down around you” . It is well with us all, Amen!

Lots of things in life are by choice and not by force.

Let’s try to have an amazing life and help others do the same.

Never underestimate just how much of a difference you can make in someones life and how much they can make in yours.

THIS WAS POSTED IN MEMORY OF A DEAR FRIEND. I HOPE IT BRINGS COMFORT TO ANYONE GOING THROUGH ANYTHING THAT SEEMS LIKE THERE IS NO LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL.GOD HAS NEVER LEFT YOUR SIDE EVEN WHEN YOU CANT SEE IT. HE IS RIGHT THERE.

 

YOU MADE MY FIRST YEAR IN UNIVERSITY THAT LITTLE BIT LESS SCARY MISS MO. REST IN THE ARMS OF THE LORD. I STILL CANT BELIEVE YOU ARE GONE.

mo1

Walking like a champion (A hand to help you stand up)

Walking like a champion (A hand to help you stand up)

I woke one morning looking through a dark room

thinking life’s moving too soon

No light to behold

No sign of  troubles after

Wanting to fight yet not knowing how

for a second I gave up praying

nothing to believe in

Then I found your book,

A little hook was all it took

your word

Your heart, your soul

every word like freedom here, bringing me back to life like CPR

every promise a reminder that my story cant be over before it begins

No sitting here looking like life ain’t life no more

No point looking outwards for things you gave before I could walk

You taught me lord to walk proud

I had all I could

showed me the path

Walking the roads of champions

Push myself to the limit

Making a mockery of all the wisdom I acquired prior to your word

To those that say you will never make it,

those that used their words to do nothing but break you

we love you all

Those that felt you gave your all

No hard feelings

I thank you for your words

Your words made me who I am

If not for you I would never have fought

I would never have given my all to see those words untrue

Never have put it all in to ensure I dont believe those words

I thank you because I almost believed the words

I thank you because your words brought me to him,

your little reminders lifted me in a way I will never have found

I learnt opinions ain’t facts, you take it and let it be

I learnt to walk in nothing wearing nothing but my heart on my sleeves

And the days courage walked away I learnt to run out and pull it back

Being who you are comes from the heart

Telling you, that you can be all you set out to be means nothing if you don’t see it yourself

And if you cant see it now, look through the eyes of the one that never sees you as less

Look through the eyes of the one that doesn’t tell you one thing and act differently

Walk with me brothers and sisters

Leave all those lies behind

Let me show you the path I found for I know I can never walk alone

The father walks with us all

Reminds you of things long forgotten

For as long as he reigns,

your life,

your story hasn’t even started yet.

You will walk like a champion soon.

 

THE DAY I FOUND MYSELF (SURVIVAL OF THE WISEST: HOW I CHANGED MY LIFE)

THE DAY I FOUND MYSELF (SURVIVAL OF THE WISEST: HOW I CHANGED MY LIFE)

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To see a world in a grain of sand,

And  heaven in a wild flower,

Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,

And eternity in an hour.

William Blake – Auguries of Innocence

As I walked down my office street my dreams and past aspirations flashed passed my eyes. And all I had was a deeply sad unanswered question, how did I get here? I remembered how many things I thought I would have accomplished at my age and how far I was from my target. Every day just seemed to drive me further away and I had no idea how to fix that.

I had spent countless hours dreaming, countless hours planning and spent what seemed like an eternity believing I could change everything if I just kept on believing in myself. You cannot even begin to imagine my surprise when I found out that almost every book I had ever read and every major tale I had ever heard about success was an absolute façade. It simply did not work. It was inspirational in its way but still something was missing.

I was 25 years old and I still had no major grip on what I sought after. I had attended private schools, gone to two universities, obtained an MBA degree and had 2 professional qualifications. I had achieved all of this before my 23rd birthday yet none of these added up to success in life or happiness. I had never been described as ugly nor did I have any major physical deformities. I was a Christian who deeply believed in all the church ideas on family and love. I had no criminal record, no mental or physical diseases and had not been in trouble with anything ever. I had a respectable IQ and no one had ever referred to me as weird or strange. I was not wealthy; was not happily married to the woman I cared about and I was nowhere near what I felt I could achieve and would achieve in life. So what on earth was wrong? Why couldn’t I just work for what I want just as I read? Why were hard work, determination and undying self belief just not enough?

I blame it on every lie I have ever read, all the “once you believe it you can achieve it” type lines. All the belief and talent in the world was never going to be enough.  Success seemed to have more to do with luck and opportunity than with hard work. I had enough of reading the stories and believing them, they did more harm to my self-esteem than if I had gone through life and tried to make the best of every situation. Guidelines to life sometimes ruin people.

I decided to take the next best step. It was time to work smarter not to work harder. I dumped the “belief only” advice and decided that its time that my life taught me what was real and what was not. They weren’t the Geniuses in life, we are. Why should my interpretation of life depend on their view of life? That’s the only reason I decided to write. I have no intention of going on some ego trip rambling about how I have unravelled the great mysteries to life (I think the Bible is the only book than can claim that or at least for the most part tries to claim that) and I do not believe in guidelines to success. We must all follow our paths but the best way to do that is to know what path we are presently walking on.

I guess it’s about the road that gets you to a place where you finally see yourself for what and who you are and lose all sense of false self grandeur. The day you weep your eyes out because for the first time you really see your flaws and you realise that just knowing what they are means nothing if you continue to do nothing about it. That day “your” world takes a new shape. That day friends and family that have stood by you mean even more; “everything becomes an opportunity”, a second chance to get things right. That day maturity grabs you by the throat and becomes your best friend. You finally dissect yourself accurately and on that day self-pity leaves your side and self-action takes its place.

That day you realise that even though your life and options aren’t what you want you learn to take the highroad (not your way), maybe you do this because you learn to look at everything as a lesson, or because you don’t want to walk around angry anymore hoping to rationalise life, or maybe it is because you finally understand the cards that are laid before you.

There are things we don’t want to happen, but have to accept. There are people we can’t live without, but have to let go and that there are things we don’t want to know or face (often about ourselves), but have to learn. There are days we lack the courage to try to change but know we must someday.

Doing something about what we already know is our fault is the real difference.

That’s where truth comes in. That little push helping you to become what you already were. A diamond in the earth was already a diamond even before it was cleansed and purified. Truth is only here to unearth the diamond that was there all along. I have no intention of presenting a story that thinks for you. I do not believe you need me to and to assume so would be to call you stupid or assume you are incapable of thinking for yourself and we both know that is not true. My “rant” will be a guide to what has to inevitably be your decision; after all it’s only fair you decide since you have to live with the choices you make after.

Married to a Muslim (My Hell Journey)

Married to a Muslim (My Hell Journey)

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It was 1992,I was 22 years old. I had been house hunting and came across this ideal house in the ideal area.

The Landlord showed me around and I decided to go for it, that is where it all began.

Over the coming Months the Landlord would collect rent,do repairs etc but seemed a nice quiet shy kind of guy.

After about a year he started to hang around more and become friendly. I saw no harm but then one day he asked me out,I refused and did not see much more of him for quite some time.

Then 6 Months later he was hanging around again,asking me to dinner,again i said no as i was not interested in getting Involved with a Muslim Man let alone my Landlord. He never gave up and after 3 Years i eventually agreed, that was that in a nutshell.

We started to see each other more and more and he was just hooked and madly in love (I thought). He was around every night,sometimes meeting me at work just for a cuddle,it seemed so sweet.

After 18 Months we decided to get a House together. We moved in and it was just perfect. 3 Months later I discovered I was Pregnant and we were overjoyed. His Parents decided to come and see me for the first time and insisted I convert to Islam for me and my daughter to be accepted. I felt sad but the pressure was on me and I decided to do it. It was not a big deal and I was now a Muslim. My baby was born and the family gathered round giving me all these orders about special baths for me and baby to make us pure and clean,I was so confused. I followed all their instructions etc as my Partner was telling me it was all for the best.

9 Months later we did a Nikkah,which is an Islamic Wedding in his friends House. It was not a special day by any means. I had no Family there or friends,just strangers and witnesses. It was all over quickly but I was now a Muslim Wife. No pictures,no Honeymoon,no memories,probably best way thinking about it now.

To cut this long story very short I went  on to have 3 more Children as he was desperate for a Son. I never had a Boy just 4 perfect beautiful girls. As the girls were growing up his parents, sister were always commenting on how they should dress,eat with their right hand go to Mosque every day after School. Urdu School Saturdays and Sundays,where was my Children’s life? I became quite sad but plodded on to keep the peace but no matter what I did it was never enough for him or his family,always finding fault,always treating us different.

He started to treat me terrible and was always putting me down,never letting me out,casting up bills,telling me I was fat and controlling my whole life. It was like he hated me inside and it was a lot to do with his mother as she was just a Witch and at every chance was always trying to lure him to Pakistan and whenever he would go she would have a line of girls for him to marry. He never went through with it but I still had to be nice to this Woman,like hell I would. I soon realised I was being taken for a mug and they never noticed how much I had changed my life for them.

It was time for me to be me again. I pulled my children out of Mosque,Urdu Schools,made sure they dressed how they wanted to dress,made sure they still had Christmas, Big birthdays,Santa etc which his mother hated, kept my distance from his Family which then caused more problems for us as its very important you stay close to the man’s family as they are very family orientated. I stopped cooking Asian Food and having them all over for dinner,this hurt my Husband but did I care?

No! When his Family left me and my girls out of parties etc he would still go,when they treated me bad he would say “It is your fault“. They would manipulate him in such ways you would not believe as they wanted me gone and he believed every word they said. It was awful but I stood up to them and made sure my kids led a normal happy life.

After 15 Years I saved up some Money as he always controlled me financially and barely gave me enough to live on,baring in mind he was a Property tycoon worth Millions, I had nothing. He grudged every penny he spent on me and my girls but liked the best for himself. I just had enough and while he was away on business I took sofa ,beds from our home and moved to a Rented house. He was in deep shock when he got back and hated me for doing this.

After few Months he would apologise and ask me to come home but I just could never go back to that miserable unhappy sad life. Nothing is worth going through what I went through all because of Love, Religion and culture. 4 years on and he has just finally left me alone as he has realised I will never go back. He has now Married an Asian girl and I hope this means he will let me move on but I am not banking on it,will just have to see what happens!

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EXCITING NEWS. Do you have a true story to tell? Send us your story for a chance to win from £100

EXCITING NEWS. Do you have a true story to tell? Send us your story for a chance to win from £100

Angels

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I Shall Not Walk Alone – My Road to Bone Marrow Transplant (By Samuel Smylie)

I Shall Not Walk Alone – My Road to Bone Marrow Transplant (By Samuel Smylie)

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I sat there with my sister Annette looking at the clock opposite us, at Clinic 6 at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, it was first thing in the morning and we had been sitting for nearly an hour, because my records had failed to be taken from archives. But however they eventually came and the long awaited call; “Mr Smylie?” rang confident from behind us.

“Good Morning, Sam how are you feeling?”, asked the Consultant Hematologist, as we sat down next to his disk, situated against one wall of a sparsely furnished clinic examination room. With a bed on the other side and a trolley of medical equipment against the other.

“Fine Doctor”, I replied considering I had just spent a week in hospital having all manner of tests, both routine and very painful, performed on me; after being told at my first visit to the blood donation clinic on Nelson Mandela Place just of Buchanan Street, in Glasgow City Centre, that I should probably go into A&E immediately.

I was 17 years old and all this was starting to get a little daunting for my young confident and growing mind. The Doctor looked at me confusingly, the way a lot of medical professionals were starting to look at me these days, not that I have, by this time, came in contact with a lot, apart from my GP and friends and family working within the field.

“Explaining this can be difficult”, started the Doctor, my sister shifted in her seat,

“Try your best Doctor”, I prompted,

“Okay, you have a rare Bone Marrow Failure Disease called Aplastic Anaemia”, I stared at him blankly, so no cancer? I thought.

“It caused by the bone marrow failing to produce blood cells to a particular degree that it may become fatal”, the Doctor went on to explain, now I shifted in my seat, my sister remained still.

“From what we can see you don’t have any underlying conditions that may have caused this to happen, we are unsure is it is hereditary, because we just don’t know. However your condition seems to be stable and not fatal”, chimed the Doctor as I struggled to take everything in.

“But Doctor, I don’t feel unwell at all”, I protested.

“Most people with this condition look and fell absolutely fine until the “final stages”, in other words if we hadn’t found this condition your bone marrow may have continued to fail until there was nothing left”.

So we left the clinic, and for the next 6 years I attended the same clinic, talking with the doctors and giving blood samples. No real complications ever came about apart from some very severe infections, that were caused by my lower than average white blood cell count.

However I was feeling deflated because dreams of becoming a Police Officer or joining the Armed forces were now non-existent, my girlfriend left me because she couldn’t cope with my growing depression, another added weight came about when I lost my father not long after diagnosis to Lung Cancer.

So I decided to work hard at university; which eventually paid of when I was offered a job with a large and respected IT outsourcing company, with great benefits and a career plan which will challenge me and allow me to mature and develop as a professional. Then after six years of stability everything failed, literally failed. My bone marrow had started to fully pack in, and from being able to run 1.5 miles in about 12 minutes I couldn’t walk half a mile without feeling breathless, frustrated and tired. I began to bruise easily, as well as bleed regularly from my gums and nose. My active life of weight training, running, swimming and learning to snowboard halted.

My social life became non-existent, as I could not go to busy places, work became increasingly more difficult (resulting in me being taken to hospital on Saturday afternoon), and then cam another blow.

“I would advise you not to go to your new employer this year”, advised my new consultant, who had taken the case because of the rapid decrease in stability in my condition.

So there I was on the telephone with the man who had hired me into my new high flying job explaining to him that I couldn’t accept the employment due to my decreasing condition.

I had lost my job, and my freedom then the biggest heart wrenching feeling came as I was advised that I would need to have a Bone Marrow Transplant or things could become getting a lot more difficult and very quickly, I obviously accepted and now here I am.

Never less the past year hasn’t been all bad, by my side I have had my very own guardian Angel, my beautiful girlfriend Rochelle has stood by me through all the disappointment, all the fear and the increasing feeling of frustrated anticipation as knowledge of the future is out of our reach as human beings. With her help I have managed to stay calm, collected and proactive in my treatment. To date I have had 4 blood transfusions to decrease the risk of heart attacks, organ failure or strokes, as I await for my transplant.

I have been in touch with the Aplastic Anameia Trust, the only charity in the UK that focuses on helping people with this rare disease, as only 150 people are diagnosed in the UK every year. That is equivalent to 2 in 1 million people in the whole Western World. Aplastic Anaemia is a killer, just like cancer, it sucks life away each and everyday and the survivors are truly inspirational people.

I still fight to this day, as the BMT draws ever nearer knowing that at the other side of an email, or a telephone I have someone there for me. But most importantly as my condition continues to get worse my angel is still by my side, hand in hand, until that day when I am better, and I can be the man I always wanted to be too her.

 

 

The Bonny Land of Glasgow City.

The Bonny Land of Glasgow City.

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Stare out the window on a musky gray evening, as clouds creep across the sky,

and see our children swigging from half empty bottles of Buckfast,

In the bonny land of Glasgow City.

Blink, for a moment, and open your eyes,

and see our children pull a knife,

In the bonny land of Glasgow City.

 

Wander the streets as you wade hopelessly, determinedly through troves of trash,

as our children yowl from backstreet alleys,

In the bonny land of Glasgow city.

Watch the sun peek for a moment before turning away,

as it glimpses the downfall of our bonny land,

Glasgow City.

 

Come New Year, and we join our hands,

“Auld Lang Syne” we chant, as we blow on our numbing hands,

for another year of repetition and turmoil,

that is the bonny land of Glasgow City.

My relationship experience in Scotland

My relationship experience in Scotland

 

 

I don’t know if I am a decent writer, but what I know, is that I am not a native English speaker so, please, show some tolerance.

I was about to write for my sexual experiences in Edinburgh as Master student from an exotic foreign and dying country, Greece. But I believe that the writer of ‘’Sex and the City’’ have already done that. And probably they were native American speakers. Anyway, I will share my story with you.  I left from Greece to come here and be a neurobiologist. I thought that a master degree from the famous University of Edinburgh would be my passport to amazing research. I wanted to study at University of Edinburgh because of its outstanding educational system, focus on gathering relevant work experience, and your excellent facilities. Moreover, University of Edinburgh is considered worldwide as a center of excellence so it would be an amazing opportunity for me to be part of it. With many distinguished scientists as professors, I knew that I would gain expert knowledge at the forefront of discovery.  That’s part of the personal statement I send to (the 100) applications. I hope I will not be charged with plagiarism myself.

As you can see I find it hard to find a PhD or a job relevant to my qualifications and I was really unlucky with my interviews. You see, I am the best second listed candidate ever… How amazing is that from a scale between 0 and 10..? ZERO.. It’s the worst thing in the entire universe. Studying for an interview for hours, for days, go to the interview, rock it and then receive a an email that you have been listed second even if you have been interviewed excellently. . How is the first? What did he/she do better? How can you compete God himself? You can not.. That’s why I start applying for irrelevant jobs. And by that I mean whatever jobs.. I even thought that it would be a good idea to be a personal trainer..

But as I wrote, this story is not about my blurry future academic career, but for my sexual life. I think that this subject is more catchy and hopefully I will win the price without copy paste form ‘’Sex and the City’’ or ‘’Fifty Shades of Grey‘’. I cannot compete ‘’God’’ at interviews and I can definitely not compete these girls in these books. So let’s start with my story.

I have curls, you know these massive hairs come out of your head, and I have to shower and brush them every single day if I don’t want to have dreadlocks by the end of the month. Here in UK girls have straight hair so the first thing that a boy notices on me, except my huge but, is my hair. And then of course my beautiful smile, my gorgeous eyes and my deep personality. If we ever get to the point that we actually meet each other and exchange a couple of words. You see I am single the last six years and when I was 18 years old, I made a huge commitment to myself nit to get heart by anyone. Because I cannot stand dramatic situations and I have seen my girlfriends crying and losing weight (which is not that bad especially when you have a huge but) and hairs (which is horrible when you have curls and 90% of the boys especially in U.K are attracted by that figure).  So after I made the decision about my future studies, I decided to have fun and be happy. Please, do not think at any point, that I am still a desperate virgin, and the fact that I will write my actual number is irrelevant, or that I got hurt by anyone. My one and only ex-boyfriend was an amazing person that loved my and treated me like a princess, he spoiled me to be honest and he put my standards about relationships very high. For six years, I was having fun (sex is the right word, but I am not sure if saying that is politically correct especially if this will be published). No commitments, no pressure, no tissues on the floor, zero loss of weight and hair.

Then I came to Edinburgh. By the time I touched this land I felt amazing. I had the feeling that I belong here and that this is the place I should be. Fountains of positive emotions and promises of a better future deluge me. Feeling like under the influence of pills, I thought that this is the right place to fall in love, to feel love, to feel that you miss someone and that you want to see him again even if you are apart for 5 minutes, to hold someone’s hand while raining, to hug someone while walking at the Meadows etc. etc. Having all this in mind I first date during summer. Well during July, because for a Greek this is not proper summer, no offence to the brilliant Edinburgh. It’s not that I did not meet anyone before that; it’s just that it did not happen. I think mainly because I was not spending time with any of the guys I met before Z. I like that. It’s mysterious and I it is not the usual X. Because this guy, Z, is far from usual.

So I dated for the first time in my life before a couple of months. It was the very first time that I went out with a guy (not a friend, not a gay guy, not a friend’s recommendation guy) for a drink and then I went home alone having this unspecified feeling which can be more easily described by questions like: Is he going to call me? Should I call him? Maybe I should have kissed him? And all these questions were troubling me because this Z guy did not try to kiss me, or to take me home for ‘’tea’’ or a ‘’movie’’ or whatever. Then we went out for another drink following the exact same pattern: having fun, nice and interesting conversation, flirting a little bit, goodnight and sleep tight. ALONE. I was so confused. That whole procedure was far away from my comfortable zone which involves kissing, sex and then ‘’I have to wake up early tomorrow so could you please leave?’’

The third time we went out, we kissed. Explosions, fireworks, Katy Perry singing the song in my head. This is how I can explain the feeling.  I thought this is love. I finally, found love in Edinburgh. God or whoever has this authority, bless this city. Well I saw this guy once or twice more. It is not that we did something wrong it is that it did not work that way I had in mind.  So basically he was not the love of my life. But what does that mean? Why we have to find the one and only love of our lives? Especially when we have our lives in front of us. I mean the average age of death is 75 and it increases. Right? I felt amazing for 2 hours, I had butterflies in my stomach (disgusting), my knees were trembling my head was heavy. For these two hours I will always be in love with Z. He was my one and only love for 2 weeks. Now I am not seeing anyone but I am trying to replace this feeling with other extracurricular activities like going out with friends, have fun with them and as cliché as it may sound with small daily miracles (cliché and melodramatic, I could not write something worse than that). What I am trying to say is that we do not need a guy to fill gaps. We have to try to fill these gaps ourselves and then, when we will be 100% sure about what we want a guy will be the extra flavour to an amazing life. And then butterflies and dither will be part of life.

The Life of a Single Parent

The Life of a Single Parent

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“No One else will ever know the strength of my love for you.. After all you are the only one that knows what my heart sounds like from the inside”

“Always remember, You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think” ― A.A. Milne

“Life doesn’t come with a manual, it comes with a mother”

My mother brought me up as a single Parent, she has always worked full time, and I never remember going a full day, without seeing her. She never complained when I cried for no reason or when i broke her “favorite ornament” .

My mum always gave me the very best that she could, and without her i wouldn’t be the person who i am today, dont get me wrong we never always got on, we had our moments like every other parent and child, but no matter what happens i know that its just a matter of lifting the phone and dialing her number, she will help me in which ever way she can.

Thanks to my mum i now know how to cope with being a single mummy, she is my inspiration.

I sit back and think how hard my mum had it when it really was just me and her, we had some tough times, but mum always got us out of them with her head held high.

This is a thank you to all mums not just mine who care for their children, unconditionally love them, and will do the very best for them.

I hope my children see me even half as good of a mum than what i think of mine, after all i learnt from the best.

“A mother holds her child’s hand for a short while, But their hearts forever”

 “Children must be taught , how to think, not what too think”- Margaret Mead

To the man I called Daddy.

To the man I called Daddy.

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To The Man I Called  Daddy.

You where always there for me  from when I was 2 years old, Why did you go? Why did you leave without an explanation? You where the one i looked up to even when you and mum split up. It takes any man too be a father, but a real man to become a daddy, that’s what you told me when you split up with mum. I hated your “new family” even though you never left me out even when your own children where born?

The night you rang me, telling me that you loved me and are always there, i remember thinking you had went nuts, it was so random. If only i knew that it was your way of saying goodbye i would never have hung up.  The next day when i was watching tv and mum called me upstaires, she was sitting on the bed her eyes red, her face stained with tears, i knew something was wrong but nothing could have prepared me for what she was about to tell me.

“He’s gone, he was found by hospital staff, i’m sorry he’s dead,”

I couldnt understand it, collapsing to the floor tears filling my eyes, i was 11 how could you do it? you told me you would always be there. the next couple of days where the worst, finding out that you took your own life still haunts me. Whay wouldn’t you talk to someone, you obviously didnt realise how much people loved you, how much people caredfor you.

Mum tryed to act strong for my sake, but i know that it broke her heart that you where gone.The night before your funeral i sat looking through my pictures of “our family” laughed about the things you said and did to cheer me up. Cried that i’ll have no more new memories, getting up to go to Your funeral, i could hardly speak, i felt like i would choke on my tears  if i tryed talking. i wanted to  be strong, no more tears you would say when i was younger if i had hurt myself, i wanted to be a “big girl”

My theory never worked..

Mum thought it would be best if i didnt go in before your coffin lid was closed, i hated her for not letting me say a proper goodbye,wasnt until i got older i understood that she was protecting me.

Im glad i can remember you , as the way you where, the happy, funny, man that you where.

As your coffin was carried to the grave i held onto mums hand, afraid to let go. I hope now you know how much you effected people when you where alive, no one has ever or could ever say something bad, there really wasnt a bad bone in your body.

Im thankful for the years that i had you in my life, and i will never forget you, or your words of wisdom.

You helped make me who i am today and im eternally greatful.

“in the arms of an angel now, spread your wings and keep us safe”

forever in my heart, forever in my memory

Abort Your Baby, Before its too late (By Janine)

Abort Your Baby, Before its too late (By Janine)

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“You are pregnant,” The words I heard and couldn’t believe at 18.

I couldn’t believe it, I was 18 and going to have my second baby. What would everyone say? How would i cope?
my head was full of emotions, Going home looking at my Calvin, my first baby, I got my head round the idea that
in 8 month’s I’ll be having another..

My first scan was great at 11 weeks 4days gone, no sickness no nothing I felt brillant. As time past and my bump grew all our family knew that there was going to be a new addition to the family, I couldn’t have been happier. Thinking back I wondered why I was so worried at the start.

At week 16 my Back had got really sore, migraines, was being sick and tired constantly, the doctors had put it down to being pregnant and with my first child just being run down a bit, giving me iron tablets, I went home. Something to me still didn’t seem right.

Having my next scan to look forward to i put it to the back of my head. Two days later I was at my midwife. asking how I was, I explained how I was feeling, asking if she could take a few swab tests and urine sample I thought it was just procedure. Then she hit me with the most shocking thought that could have ran through my head. Group B Streptococcus or “Strep B” is a more common name for it.

I had never heard of it so she told me not to worry and read through a few pages of information, Going home ringing my mum and granny explaining to them. They had never heard of it either, so I just carried on, taking things easier.

Then it was finally time for my “big” scan. I was so excited, my mum and partner came with me, as we sat round looking at my baby bouncing about sucking its thumb. Then, “Would you like to no what your having?” looking at my mum and partner sitting at the end of their seats I knew that we all couldnt wait, “A very healthy Baby Girl,” I was so happy My first baby was a boy, we’ll have a “gentleman’s family.”

The minute I got home all other thoughts went out of my head, all I could think of was names. At the end of that week I had 2 names picked. My phone rang, “Hello, its Charleen would you be able to come into the surgery, your results have came back, getting Calvin babysat I went up, my partner was at work, so I just went myself, nothing to worry about, the sonographer said a healthy Baby Girl after all.

As I walked into the midwife’s room she brought me down to a room at the end of the hall, walking in my heart sank, ” Hello, I’m a Doctor from Royal Hospital, please take a seat.” “your results have came back, You have Strep B and, we want you to go for a scan”. I explained that I had my scan at the hospital at the start of the week, everything was okay. “For the results that we need you need more of an advanced scan, we can do it now, or you can travel over, and get someone to go with you.”

Knowing that nothing was wrong I got it done there.”Im afraid you have advanced Strep B, in this case 1 in 32,000 people get this, it has been passed on to your unborn baby.”Asking what that meant, and what I had to do I stared to panic. They gave me strong antibiotics to take to try flush it out of my system and had to go back three days later.”please don’t panic about this, your baby needs you to stay relaxed.”

That night I sat and cried, then I decided on a name, “Chloe” meaning, A strong little flower. Going back to the doctors, they explained the antibiotics didn’t work, my other options where limited, “Carry on with your pregnancy and get antibiotic injections every week, but there will be a strong possibility that your baby will be seriously disabled and a lifetime of health problems, also it will be very dangerous for you to have a natural labour, What we suggest is you having a late abortion and although this will be very hard, we think it will be the safest choice for you.”

At that moment my world fell apart I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, then “kick” my baby was trying to tell me something at that time, “I’m carrying on with this pregnancy, Whatever way my baby is i’ll love and care for her as much as I can.
And that was that, I carried on with the injections, praying that my baby will prove them all wrong I took things as easy as I could.
1st June came round and going out to my mums house to leave anniversary cards to my aunty and uncle for the next day I still had over a month to go.

The sun was shinning, at my aunts I was walking about, couldn’t sit still. Later that evening mum asking was I okay, I told her I had cramps. drinking hot water, and lying down, they wouldn’t budge. Going home later, I got in and packed my hospital back, just in case I remember thinking. 6 o’clock in the morning, I woke my partner and told him to ring his mum and get her to mind Calvin, we had to go to the hospital, the baby was on her way.

In the car the contractions where getting stronger. I could hardly walk to get in. straight down to delivery, the baby’s crowned.
Looking at the clock it was 6:16 am on the 2nd of June, getting into delivery I thought back to my first labour. 38hours 43minutes, not this time though 6:30 am I was holding my Healthy Baby Girl. 6lb  13.5oz at a month early she was as healthy as any other baby.
I remember looking at her, “We did it baby, we proved them wrong, she was brought for tests and everything came back fine.

Chloe is now 15months, has been walking for a month and doing what all other baby’s her age should be.

She will always be “Mummy’s little strong flower,”

Death keeps knocking. (By Zoe)

Death keeps knocking. (By Zoe)

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Picture a child of three, healthy, full of energy, smiling. Beautiful. Now take away the energy, take away the chubby exterior, see the Energy drain the energy, go ahead and drain the colour from her skin. Now the smile, it’s hard to picture when everyone around the child cries, or shouts in frustration. Doctors say there’s nothing wrong, the mother must be crazy right?

Imagine Christmas Eve, a happy child gets washed and dressed so quickly eager to get to bed, excitement fills the air, Santa is coming!  Now take away the happiness, exclude the excitement. Replace the bed with a hospital cot, beeping machines and drips. The child is dying.

Undiagnosed diabetes, the blood is sticky with blood, acidic with ketones and organs are failing. Dr Carson his rounds dressed as Santa, to spread some cheer other night, delivering twin baby dolls to the dying child, a happy memory to leave with.

Amazingly death does not become her. The child lives and leaves hospital weeks later with two new babies.

Let’s skip ahead a few years. The child becomes a young teenager, attends a grammar school, is doing well. Duke of Edinburgh’s award comes along, she eagerly applies, keeping records of community services, extra curricular activities and a sport, on top of the map work and weekends camping with friends, sounds good, right? Now add the show an tell to leaders the girl has to do to teach them what to do in a diabetic emergency, add the extra weight of insulins and hypoglycemic kits to the already heavy rucksack. All part of the experience!

The weekend doesn’t start well with a broken down bus and late arrival to the start point, the heavy rain and blowing gales make it all the better. All the girls trudged in the dark for hours, 1.30am arrived before they made it to the camp site, but no rest for he wicked, tents have to be erected.

Birds chirp, sun slithers into the tents, waking the girls from slumber, only this girl realises herself and two companions perched at the edge of a cliff. The darkness of the night before had concealed why could have been a fatal fall.

no time to dwell, miles of walking lies ahead! At first our girl keeps up, walks with her group and even did her share of map reading and leading. The energy starts to deplete, the headache kicks in and you don’t even want to know how badly she wanted to vomit, frequently! ‘Just keep going we are half way there’ the older man dubbed as leader repeated more than once.

The camp site was a welcome site indeed, trangias popped up all over to cook up some delightful boil in the bag or pack of noodles. Our girl wasn’t hungry, she crawled into her sleeping bag and slept. Not even the violent shaking if the tent from her companions awoke her the next day, ‘girl problems’ was the diagnosis, ball everyone agreed she could board the bus and skip the remaining days walk!

Back at the school, she slumps in a corner, forced to wash trangias before fleeing to the arms of her mother, an straight to an A+E. Have you ever seen on T.V how the lights blur past and faces swim in front of the acting patient’s face, that really happens!

‘We need a drip now’

‘her heart rate is dangerously fast’

Sharp pain explodes across her back and the scene from the exorcist unfolds, then nothing.

Kidneys shut down, respiratory system needed assistance and the heart almost gave up. Amazingly death does not become her. Pneumonia can be fatal.

Let’s jump forward again, past the usual school business of new friends, new loves and stressful exams. Picture our girl now 16, cramps aren’t uncommon at this stage, but hers won’t go away. So what happens when the pain suddenly becomes sharp and a little more tithe right? Hospital.

Sitting in a bed, the doctors don’t believe her, but she has a pain, so let’s keep her in overnight, just to be sure, right? So what happens when the skin starts to turn grey? Is that still normal? Blood tests suggest it isn’t really, poison? From where? Remember the right abdominal pain? Bingo!

‘This is ICU madam we only allow two members of family in at one time to see patients’

Apparently an appendix  can be fatal, amazingly death does not become her.

With life experience like this, what future does this girl have? One in nursing of course, give something back, afterall empathy is needed in such a career!

Year three into her degree, the headaches come. It’s not an easy degree, ward placements on top of university work and exams, anyone would suffer a headache or two, right? So what so you do when it doesn’t go away? What so you do when you can’t write in a straight line? Back to A+E of course. Only this time our girl leaves the hospital with two pain killers and no chance of a ‘just in case overnight stay’.

Give it a few days, rest up, relax, it will go away, right? Wrong! The only thing disappearing for her was her sight. Slowly, but surely.  The GP suggests an urgent appointment with an Opthamologist, he suggests an over night stay with a brain CT scan to investigate further. Imagine the fear when one CT scan isn’t enough. Two CT scans and an MRI later, everyone is still being quiet, but you know that look? That sympathetic look when someone knows something and you don’t? Everyone had it. Finally a doctor appears, why the huddle of other doctors and nurses? Apparently they are a specialised team, to devastate a life with the diagnosis of a stroke.

A torn artery to the neck can be fatal, luckily a clot formed, too bad it broke free and settled in two parts of the brain. Amazingly death did not become her.

This girl, the one you have imagined time and time again in different scenarios, well she is real. She lives on today with a nursing degree, a child and a fiancé, in the hopes that death continues to overlook her, to let her live a full and happy life with  her family. Not to forget the two dolls, who can now legally drink in any country!

My realtionship experience in Scotland

My realtionship experience in Scotland

I don’t know if I am a decent writer, but what I know, is that I am not a native English speaker so, please, show some tolerance.

I was about to write for my sexual experiences in Edinburgh as Master student from an exotic foreign and dying country, Greece. But I believe that the writer of ‘’Sex and the City’’ have already done that. And probably they were native American speakers. Anyway, I will share my story with you.  I left from Greece to come here and be a neurobiologist. I thought that a master degree from the famous University of Edinburgh would be my passport to amazing research. I wanted to study at University of Edinburgh because of its outstanding educational system, focus on gathering relevant work experience, and your excellent facilities. Moreover, University of Edinburgh is considered worldwide as a center of excellence so it would be an amazing opportunity for me to be part of it. With many distinguished scientists as professors, I knew that I would gain expert knowledge at the forefront of discovery.  That’s part of the personal statement I send to (the 100) applications. I hope I will not be charged with plagiarism myself.

As you can see I find it hard to find a PhD or a job relevant to my qualifications and I was really unlucky with my interviews. You see, I am the best second listed candidate ever… How amazing is that from a scale between 0 and 10..? ZERO.. It’s the worst thing in the entire universe. Studying for an interview for hours, for days, go to the interview, rock it and then receive a an email that you have been listed second even if you have been interviewed excellently. . How is the first? What did he/she do better? How can you compete God himself? You can not.. That’s why I start applying for irrelevant jobs. And by that I mean whatever jobs.. I even thought that it would be a good idea to be a personal trainer..

But as I wrote, this story is not about my blurry future academic career, but for my sexual life. I think that this subject is more catchy and hopefully I will win the price without copy paste form ‘’Sex and the City’’ or ‘’Fifty Shades of Grey‘’. I cannot compete ‘’God’’ at interviews and I can definitely not compete these girls in these books. So let’s start with my story.

I have curls, you know these massive hairs come out of your head, and I have to shower and brush them every single day if I don’t want to have dreadlocks by the end of the month. Here in UK girls have straight hair so the first thing that a boy notices on me, except my huge but, is my hair. And then of course my beautiful smile, my gorgeous eyes and my deep personality. If we ever get to the point that we actually meet each other and exchange a couple of words. You see I am single the last six years and when I was 18 years old, I made a huge commitment to myself nit to get heart by anyone. Because I cannot stand dramatic situations and I have seen my girlfriends crying and losing weight (which is not that bad especially when you have a huge but) and hairs (which is horrible when you have curls and 90% of the boys especially in U.K are attracted by that figure).  So after I made the decision about my future studies, I decided to have fun and be happy. Please, do not think at any point, that I am still a desperate virgin, and the fact that I will write my actual number is irrelevant, or that I got hurt by anyone. My one and only ex-boyfriend was an amazing person that loved my and treated me like a princess, he spoiled me to be honest and he put my standards about relationships very high. For six years, I was having fun (sex is the right word, but I am not sure if saying that is politically correct especially if this will be published). No commitments, no pressure, no tissues on the floor, zero loss of weight and hair.

Then I came to Edinburgh. By the time I touched this land I felt amazing. I had the feeling that I belong here and that this is the place I should be. Fountains of positive emotions and promises of a better future deluge me. Feeling like under the influence of pills, I thought that this is the right place to fall in love, to feel love, to feel that you miss someone and that you want to see him again even if you are apart for 5 minutes, to hold someone’s hand while raining, to hug someone while walking at the Meadows etc. etc. Having all this in mind I first date during summer. Well during July, because for a Greek this is not proper summer, no offence to the brilliant Edinburgh. It’s not that I did not meet anyone before that; it’s just that it did not happen. I think mainly because I was not spending time with any of the guys I met before Z. I like that. It’s mysterious and I it is not the usual X. Because this guy, Z, is far from usual.

So I dated for the first time in my life before a couple of months. It was the very first time that I went out with a guy (not a friend, not a gay guy, not a friend’s recommendation guy) for a drink and then I went home alone having this unspecified feeling which can be more easily described by questions like: Is he going to call me? Should I call him? Maybe I should have kissed him? And all these questions were troubling me because this Z guy did not try to kiss me, or to take me home for ‘’tea’’ or a ‘’movie’’ or whatever. Then we went out for another drink following the exact same pattern: having fun, nice and interesting conversation, flirting a little bit, goodnight and sleep tight. ALONE. I was so confused. That whole procedure was far away from my comfortable zone which involves kissing, sex and then ‘’I have to wake up early tomorrow so could you please leave?’’

The third time we went out, we kissed. Explosions, fireworks, Katy Perry singing the song in my head. This is how I can explain the feeling.  I thought this is love. I finally, found love in Edinburgh. God or whoever has this authority, bless this city. Well I saw this guy once or twice more. It is not that we did something wrong it is that it did not work that way I had in mind.  So basically he was not the love of my life. But what does that mean? Why we have to find the one and only love of our lives? Especially when we have our lives in front of us. I mean the average age of death is 75 and it increases. Right? I felt amazing for 2 hours, I had butterflies in my stomach (disgusting), my knees were trembling my head was heavy. For these two hours I will always be in love with Z. He was my one and only love for 2 weeks. Now I am not seeing anyone but I am trying to replace this feeling with other extracurricular activities like going out with friends, have fun with them and as cliché as it may sound with small daily miracles (cliché and melodramatic, I could not write something worse than that). What I am trying to say is that we do not need a guy to fill gaps. We have to try to fill these gaps ourselves and then, when we will be 100% sure about what we want a guy will be the extra flavour to an amazing life. And then butterflies and dither will be part of life.

The 10 Paradoxical Commandments to true happiness.

The 10 Paradoxical Commandments to true happiness.

reflections bench

I came across this quote recently and felt that I must share it with you. It is beautiful and thought provoking. I hope you enjoy it.

 

“The Paradoxical Commandments

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.”
― Kent M. KeithThe Silent Revolution: Dynamic Leadership in the Student Council

Climbing out of a hole? Surviving heartbreak.

Climbing out of a hole? Surviving heartbreak.

The day it all started was like any other. I woke up in the morning went over to kiss her after the normal “oh, How did you sleep?”. I would like to say I never saw it coming but that is not true. I knew it was coming I just hoped it was all in my head. After all i was told that “ as long as I am still here you have nothing to worry about” and my naive self I believed her. Well not really believed it was, more of hoped it would be true. I guess in my own way my ego could not accept that the me as I was, could ever not be good enough. My pride really did need a reality check.

I remember that day more than any other day in my life because on that day a lot of things changed for me. I guess it was the birth of a new person maybe more like a reincarnation than a new birth.

We had been to the shops during the day, had lunch together and at some point in the evening it all happened. I know you probably think it was a big row that led to something else and some day’s I wished it was, as that way I would have been able to justify to myself or rather hide behind the fight and not have to accept the real problem.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah. So we got back from the shops and that was when she told me that she felt “we” needed some space. “A chance to re-evaluate our relationship” I was told. We needed to break up in a real way, not time apart or a brief split but an actual break-up so we can see if we really chose each other. I guess at the time I thought “you know what”, “How bad can that be?”. I knew what I wanted but if she really wanted to do this then I had to accept this at some point.

I guess I figured out in my own naive way that “most guys are assholes these days, I am sure she would go out and find out that I am actually a saint compared to them all. “The best amongst equals” I assumed. I guess my ego had been so drunk on naivety and smoked so much false sense of importance it was in its own world. I mean in retrospect, what a huge ego trip, to imagine I truly felt that I was better than over a billion possible candidates out there. I will hide under the excuse of youthful stupidity.

I mean think about it. I felt she was perfect in every way yet I thought that no other person out there would see that. Sometimes these days I wish I still had some of that “huge level of self grandiose feeling”.

Anyway I digress again. This isn’t really a story about heartbreak it is a story of survival. A few weeks after the break-up it really set in that this was real. This was not some temporary thing. I had really lost the lady I loved. I guess it sort of hit the spot when I once had to drive her to a date. I think I broke down and cried like a fat kid whose ice cream had been taken from him. I felt she was mine and no-one else’s yet I failed to realise she wasn’t a possession I had bought in the shop.  Her heart was not mine to own, it was hers to give.

Back to the break up, so as the days turned to weeks and weeks turned to months I realised how desperately I wanted her back.

I don’t think I have ever grown up as much as I did during that time. For the first time in my life, through the eyes of the guys she dated I started to see the man I wasn’t. I wasn’t as great as I thought I was, I was not as caring, I was not as giving and surely not as thoughtful. I was a lot of things but a great catch really was not it. I dint deserve her especially in comparison to how I saw her. I realised in that period that you truly cannot force someone to love you. You really only have to be someone that can be loved and hope they love you back. Their heart is theirs to give and not yours to own or posses. To anyone that is just about to lose someone they love very much it will do you a world of good to know this to be true. I mean really know it and not just read it. A person’s heart and love is theirs and theirs alone. It is a gift we can never own but must always earn. The minute we forget this, love sometimes starts to dwindle away. While true love can take a while to lead to separation there are a few things worst than lack of love in a relationship.

Anyway, I digress again. After over a year of this break-up and several changes, I finally started feeling again. I realised that I know longer wanted or loved this lady to feel complete. I loved her because with her I wanted to be a better man. I wanted to grow. I no longer needed to be with her but just wanted to be with her.

Being unemployed started to hurt more than it would have if I was still with her. I wanted to be a better man. Now I won’t b*****t you, heart break really hurts. It drains you of everything. I have never felt so much pain without actually having physical pain in my entire life. You question yourself at every turn and the worst part is that the pain seems to never go away. It is there in the morning, it is there at night. In some cases it even becomes an obsession.  I guess the best way to know if it has become one is to ask yourself a two part question, “is getting her back about love? Or is it now just a project?” “Could someone else realistically be better for you?”.

I survived this by a number of ways. I swore to myself that even if it kills me, another year will not pass by and I would still feel the same (In other words: taking full responsibility for change). I realised that though it is true that I wasn’t as good as I thought I was I still wasn’t un-lovable (in other words: Get some self respect, only make sure it is realistically mixed with true self reflection). I knew I wanted her but I wasn’t going to crawl anymore (although I never told her that though).  I could finally re-evaluate what I really wanted from her and not base it on only my feelings. My head could get involved as well. I knew I wanted this girl but I was going to try to do it the right way (In other words: It is okay to want the same person just make sure it is for the right reasons. This doesn’t make you a weak person it just makes you a dedicated person if it is not an obsession anymore).

My self confidence came back. I was still very attracted to this lady. I still wanted her but my motives were real. It meant any time I did anything for her, I no longer felt like it earned me brownie points. It was just what you do regardless of reward.

I know it sounds quick and really obvious but it really works. Do you know how I know it does? I presently have a job that matter’s , a house, a wife and hopefully in the future at some point kids as well. I have a good and very happy life now and I have never felt more confident in my life than how I do now. Guess who I married?

In summary if you want to survive a heart break

A)     Re-evaluate everything you feel was great (it could not have been that great if it led to a break up).

B)     Never be ashamed of love or give your ego a chance to over-ride your heart.

C)     Never give your emotions a chance to over-ride the right thing to do.

D)     If you love some-one then you love them. What the hell can you do about it? Accept it and if it goes away then accept that to.

E)      Gain some self respect my friend. People generally do not love people they cannot respect and people can see when you have no self respect. Don’t be the fat kid without the ice cream.

F)      Accept that just because you worked on yourself and you are now “a better person” in your own head does not give you direct authority over someone. They don’t have to love you back no matter what you do so make sure if you decide to change you do it for the right reason.  It must be a change for you not just because of someone else.

G)     Wait and see. Do not over think it. I know it’s hard but if it is meant to be. It really will be.

No matter what happens if you gain some self development and a new lesson then great. Someone will find you and someone will see you for you.

I will leave you all with this quote. Success is when preparation meets opportunity (Henry Hatman). Good luck and God bless. If you have any additional questions leave a comment and I promise to reply ( as soon as I can).

Let’s talk you never know who can help.

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THE SIMPLE GAINS OF EMOTIONAL CONTROL (A LESSON LEARNT).

THE SIMPLE GAINS OF EMOTIONAL CONTROL (A LESSON LEARNT).

 

I remember the very first time I came across Emotional intelligence. I was so fascinated by it as it tied in with the ideas I felt my life had been teaching me. It seemed like someone had taken my mistakes through wrong reactions and tested them and after doing that he came up with a theory. It was brilliant yet so simple. I had made so many mistakes and taken so many wrong turns.  I wished there would have been an easier journey to make this conclusions but I guess I learnt so someone else does not have to.

I should probably point out that these are just the opinions of one man and as such there is a high probability you might not agree in total. If you don’t then please by all means share with us all (in the comments section). After-all isn’t that the whole idea behind this site.

I guess before I start to talk about emotions and gaining control I should at the very least talk (even if ever so briefly) about emotional intelligence and what it really means.

Here it goes, please try not to fall asleep just yet. 🙂

Emotional intelligence is a form of intelligence rising to fame by Daniel Goleman in his 1995 book rightly called “Emotional Intelligence”. He defined it as Emotional intelligence is the innate potential to feel, use, communicate, recognize, remember, describe, identify, learn from, manage, understand and explain emotions.

Goleman identified the five ‘domains’ of EQ as:

Knowing your emotions.

Managing your own emotions.

Motivating yourself.

Recognising and understanding other people’s emotions.

Managing relationships, ie., managing the emotions of others.

Emotional Intelligence embraces and draws from numerous other branches of behavioural, emotional and communications theories, such as NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), Transactional Analysis, and empathy.

Goleman believed that IQ contributes about twenty percent to the factors that determine life success.

Whether you believe that emotional intelligence as an idea is real or that it determines success in life or not, the fact of the matter remains. Human beings have over 6,000 emotions and you either control your emotions or they control you. The way I see it, emotions must be controlled to avoid making potentially bad decisions. I learnt that this unfortunately is not a magical process that occurs as you grow up. It takes time and willingness to try to achieve this and nothing shows you just how much you lack this as a relationship that doesn’t go how you want it to.

To be able to control your emotions you must first of all truly get to

Know your emotions. There are probably over a million ways we feel, but scientists have classified human emotions into a few basics that everyone can recognize: disgust, joy, acceptance, fear, surprise, sadness, anger, and anticipation.

However according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association there are four major emotions that give us the most trouble, These are anger, fear, anxiety, and depression.

After knowing your emotions we must accept that that emotions don’t just appear mysteriously occur. In other words you were not born angry or in-love. Many times, we’re at the mercy of our emotions on a subconscious level but by bring them to consciousness we are better able to control them. I have never advised anyone to repress their feelings or ignore them as it always inevitably means that it gets worse and could lead to a psychotic break (in extreme cases). A simple exercise could be to try to keep a small diary of your emotions and what triggers them and rate your emotions on a scale.

Try to be aware of what was happening at that time and what was going through your mind. Find out what triggers that emotion. Sometimes it could be as simple as the look in someone’s eyes. Whichever way this will help you also determine if your emotions are irrational or provoked.

At this point I will have to trust that you have your best interest at heart and would like some help on this so I will need you to write down what evidence (proof) supports this emotion and to also write down what evidence supports that this might be incorrect or misplaced feelings.

Now we must move on to a little bit of introspection. Ask yourself if there is another way to look at the situation that is more rational and more balanced than the way you might have seen it before? Keep in mind first glance can be very deceiving and you just might be surprised at your own honesty and result.

Next I will need you to take time out to consider your options. There is always an alternative way to re-act even when someone tries to kill you so know that there is always an option. To be perfectly honest in most cases there are three main possible options. The first being react, second do not re-act and the third re-act in the opposite way of what you normally would have done.

After you have considered your options on how to re-act to the situation or feeling. You must make a choice. Your choice will usually be based on principles or logic. In other words what matters the most to you or what is the most rational way to re-act.

Finally, the above steps show how to not let your emotions control your behaviour, but not how to change the emotions themselves. If you want to control your emotion you must change the way you see the world.

I borrowed some of these quotes from a personality test I developed when at University and I believe that every item here is a lie

I must be perfect in all respects in order to be worthwhile. The simple fact is that not a single person can ever be perfect

Because things in my past controlled my life, they have to keep doing so now and in the future. We all know that change is possible and our past does not guarantee our future. People change and sometimes they are completely different from who they were. In thoughts and in actions. It’s simply the truth.

I must be loved and approved of by everyone who is important to me. A simple fact of life is that not everyone will love you at least not the way you might want them to; you either accept it or be destroyed by it.

 I can be as happy as possible by just doing nothing and enjoying myself, taking life as it comes. I think it is quite likely that nothing will drive you closer to despair and depression like doing absolutely nothing or why do rich people still work?

 Misery comes from outside forces which I can’t do very much to change. I accept that it isn’t always our fault when things don’t go according to what we want but we must learn that how we deal with it is ultimately our choice.

 When people treat me unfairly, it is because they are bad people. Let’s be honest everyone is a mixture of good and bad and that includes you, so don’t be a hypocrite as we all make mistakes.

 If something is dangerous or fearful, I have to worry about it. I learnt that worry adds nothing to you. Not a single thing so it surely does not help solve a problem.

 It is easier to avoid life’s difficulties and responsibilities than to face them. I agree that it is easier but the truth is that it is not wise as we are who we are because of what we have been through and sometimes we learn life-long lessons in some of our most painful times.

It is terrible when things do not work out exactly as I want them to. No one can predict with accuracy the course of their life so it cannot be terrible if it is not something peculiar to you;.

You see controlling your emotions can change your life and gaining a new view on life will dramatically redirect your life. The first time I noticed this was when I went to a church in Edinburgh and I was completely baffled at how the people in the church seemed to not have a care in the world when they sang praises to God. No-one spoke to me but I could see it in them that this was real unexplainable peace. Something I had longed for, for so long and was struggling to find. I was very certain that these people had the same anxieties I possessed but dint understand how it seemed to all dissolve and then it hit me. It dissolved away because their perspective on their life changed. Their problems did not magically disappear. Their life did not change but what they felt because they knew God was in control of their life affected their outward appearance and demeanour. This is what happens when broken relationships and marriages get mended. They simply got a new perspective and then they learn to appreciate what they thought was a failure. Sometimes this is all it takes to see what was there all along and what was obvious to everyone but you.

Surrounding yourself with positive things and looking at life form a different view will certainly help you live a happier life and review everything you once thought was a train wreck. It’s simply like someone with cataract getting a new pair of eyes.

I learnt that we can spend our whole life looking for something we felt was missing and return home to find it was always right beside us. I also learnt that irrational emotions is often the reason why we never see it.

I will end this post with a story I read as I think it best describes what I hope you (the reader) will get out of this

A young man was getting ready to graduate from college. For many months he had admired a beautiful sports car in a dealer’s showroom, and knowing his father could well afford it, he told him that was all he wanted.

As Graduation Day approached, the young man awaited signs that his father had purchased the car. Finally, on the morning of his graduation, his father called him into his private study. His father told him how proud he was to have such a fine son, and told him how much he loved him. He handed his son a beautiful wrapped gift box. Curious, but somewhat disappointed, the young man opened the box and found a lovely, leather-bound Bible, with the young man’s name embossed in gold. Angrily, he raised his voice to his father and said, “With all your money you give me a Bible?” He then stormed out of the house, leaving the Bible.

Many years passed and the young man was very successful in business. He had a beautiful home and a wonderful family, but realizing his father was very old, he thought perhaps he should go to see him. He had not seen him since that graduation day. Before he could make the arrangements, he received a telegram telling him his father had passed away, and willed all of his possessions to his son. He needed to come home immediately and take care of things.

When he arrived at his father’s house, sudden sadness and regret filled his heart. He began to search through his father’s important papers and saw the still new Bible, just as he had left it years ago. With tears, he opened the Bible and began to turn the pages. As he was reading, a car key dropped from the back of the Bible. It had a tag with the dealer’s name, the same dealer who had the sports car he had desired. On the tag was the date of his graduation, and the words… “PAID IN FULL”.

How many times do we miss blessings because they are not packaged as we expected? Or love because they don’t look or act exactly as we felt the package would be? Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; but remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.

Sometimes we don’t realize the good fortune we have or we could have because we expect “the packaging” to be different. What may appear as bad fortune may in fact be the door that is just waiting to be opened.

—— “Essay” China Daily

If you are lucky to have a job, work hard at it. If you are lucky to have friends, cherish them. If you are lucky to be loved unconditionally by someone embrace it and don’t look back, no one said life would be easy they only said it would be worth it. All you have to do is enjoy it.

I hope in some small way I helped make your life just a little bit better and give you a little more perspective than you began reading. I hope that after reading this you would look back at the number of times in life that you fell down and see it as the number of times you stood up and fought. Reading this was another step in that direction so take heart in the fact that you chose to try and not to lie down and drown.


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