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”
Don’ Judge My Path If You Haven’t Walked My Journey.
Have you ever thought that everyone in the world is against you? Ever thought that people stop too condemn you?
Being a young mum (19) with two small children (2 year old, 1 year old), I have had all the comments you can think of.. Don’t get me wrong not everyone has said bad things but there is a bunch of very small minded people who think that i’m a “typical young mum.” I love my children unconditionally, I give them the best I can, And they never go without things that they need. They are my everything. One day out grocery shopping, my oldest was in the trolley eating a bag of crisps, as we where walking round a woman stopped at me and tutted telling me that crisps is not a good choice for my child to be eating, then she started asking my age, telling her, she then turned to me then my son and with a spiteful look said, “children can’t bring up children,”I was gob smacked that a stranger could say something like that. I don’t think that I’m the worlds best, most perfect mother, in act i’m probably far from it, but i am a good mother, who would do anything for my children to make sure they are safe and happy. I just hope that someday them small minded people actually grow up and realise that just because I am young I am still very Mature, And that I can bring my children up, to be the very best that they can be. No matter what they do I’ll always be behind them 100%.
I’m trying to make a life for me and my children, I am currently looking into going back to school, my son will be starting nursery next year, I have my own house and will be starting part time work soon as well, I do not go out unless my children are with me and if I do they are left with a family member. so what am I doing wrong?
I’m hoping reading this that people realize no matter what you do someone will always try to put you down, but don’t let them!!
“worrying does not empty tomorrow of it’s troubles, It empties today of its strength.”…..Corrie Ten Boom
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!
I can feel my hands shaking a bit as I sit down and write this. I can’t tell if it’s from fear, love… Or if I’m just casually about to have a nervous break down. Never the less, stay with me here.
I’m not to sure when reading this how many of you can relate to it but it’s something that is so close to my heart that these words are easy for me. It feels like the pen is just gliding over the paper. My hand seems to have no control.
Where do I even start!
I think most of us have that one person in our life that no matter how many days or years pass they will always stay at the front -line of our hearts, floating around with a huge stick waiting to harass and deny entry to any passers-by. You Love, you lose.. You don’t move on. Typical woman.
I could sit here forever and talk about the many characteristics he has that I adore, or about how each one draws you into him. I could tell you about his heart and how sometimes I swear I could feel it holding me. But I will most defiantly start hysterically crying.
Anyway. All you really need to know to understand my story is that I loved him. He was not only my boyfriend but my best friend. Someone I had and still have unconditional love for. The guy that gave me that beautiful sick feeling in the pitt of my stomach. The guy I found myself completely infatuated with. William. ❤
I’ll take you back to a distant summer were a group of 4 decided to start making memories together. Me and William, my best friend and Williams best friend. They made up couple number two. May I add they are still together and will be getting married this year. Let’s all aw at once. Or let’s not cause happy people are shit let’s face it :/
We all pretty much from day one insisted on spending every second of every day, morning, afternoon and evening together. Just creating memories..
Let’s cut the crap and fast forward one year – everything is still perfect. Must have been about 6pm. At home prancing around like a spring chicken waiting for the boyfriend to arrive.
So 7 o clock came, but he didn’t ..
And then 8 o clock creeped up, but he didn’t… 9 o clock came and still no sign. No call. Nothing.
So you can imagine at this point I’ve got my CSI face on and I’m ready to start interrogating him until either one of us starts crying. Dibs on me. I cry over anything. I’m pathetic like that. So I start tapping away with my obese little fingers in some sort of hysterical rage mode. Seeing not much else but red at this point.
“the mobile phone you have called is currently switched off please try again later..”
Right. So…. He’s ditched me?
Ready to lose the plot any second really. Hands are sweating, my hearts racing I hate the unknown. I’m now just thinking the absolute worst. Or so I thought.. I had no idea my whole world was about to be flipped upside down..
I’m not one to chase, I’ll leave you to your own devices until your ready to come at me. Although saying that.. I did stalk his mobile for a good couple of hours until I gave up and fell asleep on my own dribble n tears. I woke up in the morning and obviously he was the 1st thing to mind. But no miss calls.. No text messages. Nothing. Nada. Not a sausage.
At this point my hearts sunk to the bottom of my stomach and I can feel it starting to wretch. Before I’ve had the chance to do anything I’ve got the wife calling. Perfect. I can vent n find out where this idiot was last night. So unlike him.
“Hello babe, please tell me you have spoken to wiggle…?”
She kinda went a bit silent for a few seconds and then proceeded to change my life as I knew it. All I can really remember is putting my head into my hands and dropping to the floor.
…”He’s dead Sara.
He had a car accident on the way to you last night and he died.”
……… I can’t really explain the feeling I felt, it’s like no other emotion I’ve ever come across before. I just went numb. I couldn’t feel my hands. I couldn’t feel myself breathing. I was ready to die. No doubt in my mind. I wanted to die. I didn’t care how, I just needed to see his face again. Just no words to explain the pain that ran through my heart. I felt like I was crying blood. And every tear that dropped took apart of my soul with it.
I spent every night screaming in the dark. Not wanting to leave my bedroom floor. I couldn’t and didn’t want to feel any comfort. Because it wasn’t possible. There was nothing, absolutely nothing that could have eased my pain. Nothing. I know longer had any concept of what comfort was. I just turned cold. The feeling of emptiness is indescribable. It’s so overwhelming that you have no choice but to let it take over the whole of your mind, body and what’s left of your soul. Grief stops clocks, it stops every aspect of your life and you just no in your heart that life will never be the same again.
What is left?
What do I live for?
Being touched by death transforms your life, sobers your mind and changes your life forever. You never ever stop grieving. Ever. This happened in 2006 and to this DAY my heart has never found a way to fully heal and everyday I am still reminded of him. Everyday.
The funeral was to overwhelming and I couldn’t bring my self to attend the burial. My last thoughts of him, 6 feet under.. I couldn’t do it. I never wanted that thought to be mixed up in all the memories I hold 🙁
There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition..and unspeakable love.
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 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).
I know what you’re thinking, right off the bat; how can there be any ‘Best’ things about being Homeless. I also know you’re probably curious as to where a homeless guy is writing about being homeless from exactly? Do they have free iPads’ and Wi-Fi attached to park benches now?
No. No, they don’t. If they did they would be covered in vomit, dog shit, some Super Strength Lager cans, and that’s if they hadn’t already been sold to buy said lager. But I digress.
Fortunately I have climbed out of that dog shit and vomit flavoured cocktail of park benches and clambered into a shelter. I thank my stars every day as it was the single worst period of my life. I’ve been a lucky man for most of the rest of it, having had nice houses, cars, high powered jobs, and most importantly of all – a beautiful girlfriend and precious daughter.
Sadly, I succumbed to the oldest cliché of all and became a functioning alcoholic, on the way to then becoming a completely non-functioning and very ill homeless man.
5 Worst Things about being Homeless
Oh God, the fear!
It’s probably not surprising to imagine how being homeless would be a ‘bit scary’ to anyone aside from perhaps those that had done a few tours of Afghanistan or something, but being ordered to leave the comfort of your old home with nothing more than a hastily packed bag of essentials is downright terrifying. ‘Drunk’ is also not a great time to rely upon yourself to pack ‘essentials’ either btw.
Where do you even begin?
The thought of walking up to the nearest fellow vagrant and saying “Sup bro, wanna hang?” is akin to the thought of walking up to a Tiger, kicking it in the balls and calling his mother a dirty great big stripy slut.
So you decide to go it alone and ‘see how it goes’. The idea of stepping into the night with no clue as to how you ‘be successfully homeless’ makes you whimper and shake like a newborn puppy cast into a snowdrift.
However, this initial trepidation pales next to the first night, after deciding upon a bush under which to park yourself, every rustle or noise or sight of another human approaching fills your pants with the same kind of shit as you’re probably sleeping on a makeshift bed of at that very moment.
Up until this point in life I had somewhat prided myself on being ‘a bit handy’ and wouldn’t back down from a fight with all but the toughest of tough guys (OK, up until High School. I never said I was Mike Tyson, alright?!). It became apparent that within any second of that entire night, I’d have squealed away from a squirrel if I thought it had even the merest of a ‘wild glint’ in its eyes.
As a person ‘with home’, you know that if you get caught up in your average downpour, frosty night, or blowy day, you are safe in the knowledge that you can dry off, warm up, etc the second you step back inside your front door.
When you’re literally braving the elements it doesn’t matter if the weather is ‘dickish’, mild, or even pleasant; you are always one (or a combination thereof), too hot, too cold, too wet, too dry, too flustered.
Sure, some of these are easier than others to cope with, but you’re never really comfortable and are all too aware that it can (and probably will) get worse. Think of it as Mother Nature’s punishment for you soiling her trees and hedgerows day and night. I’d never known what it was like to be truly frozen to the core, appreciate what it’s like to live in the Sahara, or feel as if your skin in its entirety has actually gotten trench foot.
What’s more, when you get kicked off the porch by whomever is donning the ‘shit-kickers’, clutching just a small bag of belongings (and I was one of the lucky ones) you don’t exactly have the correct seasonal wardrobe of raincoat, a light jacket, perhaps some darling waterproof woolly gloves, the right blend of hat options for snow and sun glare, and so forth.
In all fairness, you wouldn’t want to have to lug it about anyway and would desperately try and stow it in a bush and hope you remember where you left it, and or that it didn’t get stolen by a fellow bush-pisser.
That’s why you tend to see homeless people wearing a thick coat, hat, jacket, and boots whether it be baking hot or pissing it down. And it truly feels as bad as it smells, I assure you.
Like most of us on this site, I am a regular technology user, be it Smartphone, internet, social networking, etc. I also similarly rely on the ability to contact anyone/anytime. Oh, and damn if I am feeling really adventurous I even communicate with family, friends, and colleagues – in person!
Homeless people don’t often choose to spend their money on mobile phone top-ups, but I was actually different. Sadly, one night someone managed to wrestle the phone out of my weak, sleep deprived hands, and so I was left with no means of talking to anyone, finding out about the outside World, or keeping in touch with my ‘old life’.
I’ve never been much of a crier and enjoyed my own company, but for the first week I cried a lot. I was so gut-wrenchingly lonely and just wanted to see my daughter smile for Daddy, to have my girlfriend tell me everything would be alright, to hear my Mum tell me she loved me, to make my boss proud – just one last time.
Now through a series of events stemming from my drinking, lying about drinking, or being too stubborn to seek the help to stop drinking, I had let all those closest to me down. Understandably they had walked away one by one. And now finally I was stark-bollock-nakedly alone.
If you ever wish everyone would just get lost and leave you alone; Trust me, you don’t. Not for long.
Following on from The Isolation (and remember not everyone is an alcoholic like myself) is really just the realisation and questioning of exactly what happened to your life; the people you know, the complete removal of your self-respect and self-worth, and for me obviously; the utter and complete shame of being the un-intelligent person who made yourself homeless .
As a chronic binge drinker I’d have long periods (gradually dwindling, admittedly) of sobriety, where life was pretty damn sweet and I’d be in control. In short, I’d ‘beaten it’. Why didn’t I stop before I had thrown it all away?
Now, ironically I didn’t actually have much of anything much to do all day except drink, or think about my shame, or both. Instead, I walked endlessly around and around the park, replaying every despicable, nasty, selfish, cruel, dishonest, awful thing I had ever done. I was in a continual cycle of self-torture and persecution and I couldn’t escape it.
You can run away from home, or you can run home. Where do you run to when you don’t have one?
The Lack of Emergency Exit Signs
“Excuse me World!
Having contemplated being rock bottom for a LONG time and having stopped the drinking, I’d like to climb back aboard now please.”
Nuh uh, not quite so fast buddy…
Once more, I am sure you have seen for yourself the sheer amount of homeless people out there; with or without drink, drug, or miscellaneous issues. If not, I can tell you. It’s a metric tonne.
I’m not here to tell you why everyone else got into their own messes, or whether it was deserved like my own. However, regardless of how you dug your own hole, rest assured there are a lot of people ahead and behind you in the queue for help.
There aren’t loads of places in government sponsored rehab programmes, there aren’t a bunch of halfway houses out there offering free board. Fuck, it’s hard enough to jostle for some free coffee and bread at the local soup kitchen.
There certainly aren’t any big, flashing neon signs that say – “This way to your new life homeless dude!”
You’ll largely have to find out where you can get help for yourself, knock on a whole bunch of doors (and get a lot of them slammed back in your face), and once you do see any glimmer of help available you sure as hell better fight for it, both emotionally and sometimes physically, and make sure you don’t throw it back in anyone’s face in the process as I saw a lot of people who screwed up the moment they had a foot in the door.
Don’t misunderstand me, there are people out there trying to help, charity organisations, even kind hearted people who WILL try – if you help yourself. But it’s still a bloody hard slog and although I am now thankfully homed in a shelter, I know I continue to have a long way and plenty of time to go before I once again have a place to call HOME.
There are also some not so bad times, honest…
5 Best Things about being Homeless
It’s a bit of a revelation to sit in the sunshine and watch the world go by, completely oblivious to any of its problems. To be rid of job responsibilities, housework, clearing up baby sick. Woohoo! You are free as a bird once more to make your own choices!
After the initial horror, nay, Armageddon of being kicked out of your lovely and painstakingly house by your amazingly patient and gorgeous girlfriend who gave you your beautiful young daughter; pet your dog; watch TV at leisure, oh or eat, there is (believe it or not!), a fleeting yet blissful period where you feel the weight of the World slide away and you begin to think about this ‘opportunity’ to start over in life and make better choices.
To be honest, these ‘better choices’ often became clouded somewhat by the odd can of Super Strength Lager, but a proverbial fresh start was somehow now attainable. Much more than when I was being herded along by my rat race existence, in a job I hated, unable to swim against the tide of ‘regular life’ and do some things I wanted due to simply the perceived ‘lack of time’. Writing for example, reading a book, doing NOTHING but sit by a river in silence.
All those things were brought back to me, in the most horrid way, but I now will make sure they are always a part of whatever the future holds. In short, I’d face planted hard, but I was freshly ‘grounded’ in more ways than one.
In my previously employed incarnation, I had become a mindless middle management drone – sharing the same few conversations with work colleagues about the latest episode of The Walking Dead (how apt…), Call of Duty, the pressures of ‘having to spending time with her indoors’, and of course fatherhood. It’d been a long time since I’d met anyone who felt new, or who’d led a different kind of existence, or who wanted something different out of life.
Now I was meeting and sometime hanging out with characters such a ‘Wheelie Dave’ (he had a wheelchair – us crazy homeless sure know how to give a dude a nickname, eh?) Mental Mickey (oh yeah, they just keep-a-coming!); Stevie (OK, not so hot that one); Father Ted (UK sitcom character – GIYLF), and so many random encounters with ‘normals’, i.e. dog walkers, retirees, commuters, etc.
If you took time to speak politely, they wouldn’t always offer you money but they would often share a tender moment from their own lives, or maybe enquire about your own predicament (if they were feeling especially brave). From these tales of highs, lows, joy and woes, I (as a writer) suddenly had a whole new bank of inspiration, countless fables to regurgitate and regale. Hey, I wasn’t really a homeless alcoholic – I was simply researching for my book!
Either way (and like the corniness or not), unless I was starving hungry or jonesing for a beer/cigarette, such moments often lifted my spirits immeasurably more. There are a lot of very interesting strangers out there to meet and share your life with. Never mind on Facebook and Twitter. Talk to someone! A lot of them also still care about other people. You might just have to prove you’re not a mental or likely to get a bit stabby.
It’s worth making the effort to share your stories with others though, however that may be.
Man Make Fire, Strong Like Bull
Before my excursion into whimpering myself to sleep each day (you NEVER sleep at night unless the lagers were really flowing that day…), I was a successful videogame producer with a love of techno, comics, sci-fi, i.e. a financially affluent geek. I’d had a middle class upbringing and I couldn’t honestly say I had lived in the vague vicinity of anything resembling ‘Da Ghetto’.
As such my survival skills were somewhat limited, to things such as ordering pizza, a bit of DIY, and a pretty good range of ‘Streetfighter’ noises. Putting it bluntly I was no Bear Grylls or Andy McNab.
OK, you got me, I’m still not, but I can now: –
· Find a secluded spot in any park where I won’t be seen or smelled by passers by. Similarly, I can tell someone approaching from about 500 yards away, more if they are upwind and smoking a cigarette.
· Start a fire even in damp conditions with damp paper.
· Erect a makeshift shelter from nothing more than cardboard boxes, using preferably a waterproof groundsheet (I never said I was back in the literal Dark Ages), and make sure I remained largely dry and out of the wind long enough to attempt a power nap.
· Find food via a mixture of scavenging from the bins at one of the local bakeries, donations from kind strangers (thank you again, whoever you were), and bartering for cig/booze with fellow wanderers.
· Last but not least – Find a place to crap. As long as there are no kids about or persons likely to take offense, most men will whip it out and have a pee, but you don’t think of how difficult it is for a homeless person to find place to make number 2 until you are one.
Public Toilets aren’t around like they used to be, and the newer ones even require ill afforded payment, so you are required to either beg a local pub/restaurant/cafe owner to let you walk through their establishment and using the facilities (not easy!), or you learn to hide in the bushes, arse in the wind, and make sure you collect discarded newspapers where you can. Yup – it really is that glamorous!
Humility and Appreciation
Probably the best thing for me personally was re-learning humility and appreciation. *Stop puking at the back!*
In all seriousness though, I’d taken for granted my girlfriend and daughter, had stopped giving them the life they deserved; I’d thrown my family’s love back in their faces time and time again, they all enjoyed a drink so why couldn’t I?
I’d messed up my career, relying on the many ‘last chances’ my former bosses had given me thanks to my past glory (during the ‘dry times’) and imagining it impossible they would dare let me go.
I’d been a complete shit to any friend who had tried to just be a friend for friend’s sake or to try and help me; my ego seeming to think they would always come back because deep down I’m a great guy, remember?
Underneath it all, I had been a successful big shot at major companies, and had it all, so even though I deep down knew the success was fading, and people were becoming disenchanted; there was simply no way I could really lose it all. Was there?
This whole experience has made me remember how lucky I have undoubtedly been in my life. It has rediscovered my drive to be an honest, loving, grateful man and fix those relationships I have messed up. Most of all I was appreciative I was even still alive. I had been remind of my desire to be the Father my Dad never was (he died 3 years ago incidentally, aged just 55 years old – I’ll let you guess what of).
The Only Way is Up
Another possibly contrite statement, but true nevertheless – I have never been to such depths of hell as I have during my relatively brief time on the streets. I’ve tried to summarise it above, but there are a million other ‘worst’ things, yet not so many ‘bests’ about this colossal fall from ‘grace’ of mine.
Un/Luckily, the only way for me is up now. I don’t want to go back there. I CAN’T. I’ve been forced to remember who ‘Sober Louis’ is, and you know what? I kinda like him. Other people kinda like him too.
I am starting from scratch and hopefully by regaining the trust of those around me and with their forgiveness combined with mine to myself, maybe I can even reconnect with my own little family, circle of friends, and career path. ..
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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 two 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.
In simpler words, our perceptions are more individualistic and units related than we consciously realise. This can be found in situations 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.
NB: These are just my views feel free to disagree to give your own views. I am always open to a good logical disagreement.
It is an age old question. Do you fall in love (spontaneous) or pick who we love (spend some time to consider everything)? Which one is forever?
While some people never have to ask this question (lucky ones) for some of us we need to decide. It might seem like quite an irrelevant question but it is a very important one. Do you let all your emotions do all the work in your love life or do you give your brain a chance to help out?
One sunny afternoon while in university, two of my female friends came over to my house in school because it had been a while since we were able to catch up. I was so excited to see them. The only thing was that they had forgotten to tell me that they would be coming with someone else. Where do I even begin to start in describing this lady? She was so beautiful to me. She had the perfect smile, the perfect size, the perfect height and she even dressed perfectly. Her name was so unique; I had never heard it before. Ooh! It was love at first sight.
Days after the visit, I could not get her out of my mind. I just had to see her again. I asked my friends who eventually introduced us. I spent every day over the next 3 weeks with her. We had exactly the same experiences, our families were alike, we coped with things the same way and even knew exactly how the other one felt about certain things even before we discussed it. It seemed like we grew up together and saw the world the same way. It was so exciting I missed classes just to be with her and I simply could not get enough of her. Everything you can imagine you feel during love. I felt it all (heart beating fast, nervous to the point it becomes draining).
We started to date and within a month she said “I love you” and I said the same back. I was so happy I cannot even begin to express by how much.
One evening while at home I decided to give my new love a call (just to see how she was doing), we had only been dating for about 3 months then. It was a short call and at the end I parted with the usual “take care of you, I love you”. Then I waited for the reply but all she said was “take care, ok”.
This was a little weird but I could not make a big deal out of it. I ignored it and tried the same thing the next day. I got the same answer. I tried it the third time and I got the same answer. I could not ignore this anymore so I gave her another call and asked if there was anything wrong or happening with her that she wanted to talk about. After several reassurances that her life was fine, I asked her why she could not say “I love you” anymore.
She simply replied that “she did not know if she still felt the same way anymore”. I was relatively calm when I was told this and I asked her to take time out to figure this out (obviously assuming she would come back to me) and to tell me when she is ready to start dating again).
Two and a half years later I still did not get that phone call. Talk about a long wait, right?
I expect everyone would have their own example of a time when they fell hopelessly in love at first sight and how it ended. It might have taken longer to end than mine but ultimately it must have happened in the same cycle ( Meet, like, love, reason, end). No matter how much you care about a person today it could all be over in a month. That’s just life.
I had spent all my time concentrating on the emotional side of things. The excitement and everything that love at first sight came with had completely clouded my reasoning. When I take a look back, this girl could not have been more wrong for me. Her history and signs showed so much and to be honest I should have known better. I got so lost in feeling lived that I forgot and made excuses for everything I had seen. I learnt it doesn’t matter why someone is the way they are, it just matter who they are now. If you are selfish from being alone, you are selfish and that’s all that matters, after-all every character a person shows gets there somehow. Remember humans are born with no character at all.
You see the main problem here was we had the same characteristics and my chance of becoming emotionally whole would have been eliminated. I am a big fan of being an individual and that’s not what I am talking about here. I know it would have been comforting to have someone who thought like you but it would have inevitably been crippling to have someone who never criticised or challenged you.
As I grew older I learnt to discard all those attributes and things we feel when we meet a new attractive other and focus on the things that make her “perfect for you”. It is important to be attracted to your partner but it is not the most important thing. This is simply because as human beings we already have the ability to identify and be passionate about even the simplest items (like a pen or book) if it is presented to us with the right perspective. So worrying about attractiveness is relatively unimportant.
Each and every one of us holds an innate psychological design containing some-what exact details about our life and the scars left by our experiences. This contains our fears, anxieties, defence mechanisms, our coping mechanisms and in some cases it is something we are not even aware about ourselves.
The amazing thing about this innate item is that it works like a scanner and gives us the capacity to identify another person’s psychological map. I believe that the people we are most attracted to are the people whose psychological design complements our own. We are often searching for similarities but we should be looking for differences. Please note that I am only talking about complimentary differences, nothing else.
I think I must state at this point that we should have already differentiated between our “real” self and our “ideal” self before thinking about this. If we do not know who we really are we might be searching for the wrong type of complementary characteristics. Like I tried to explain earlier If your first reaction to a very complex situation is anger even though it might be advantageous to see yourself as being gentle do not deceive yourself that you are gentle. This could result in you making a terrible mistake in relationship choices. We usually know ourselves best by how we re-act when we hit rock bottom not when things are great for us.
Now here is the kicker believe it or not but opposites attract. The purpose of this unconscious fit is to find someone who can complement our experiences. This could be someone who’s the same as us, but most likely we would be looking for someone we think we might be able to learn a thing or two from; someone who has developed coping mechanisms and defence mechanism that are different from our own. This would be someone that can provide a different perspective to any problem we might find ourselves. This is often someone who has struggled with similar problems along the course of life but has come up with a different way of dealing with it. A way that we personally can appreciate them for. To put it quite simply, our ideal partner would be our best chance of becoming psychologically whole. The sad part is very often he could be the one you have trained yourself to ignore because her/his words are too close to the truth.
Although no two relationships are ever the same, there are still some ways to classify them. These classifications often happen unconsciously and shape our roles in our relationships.
Idol and worshipper– This happens when one partner puts the other on a platform, this often indicates an issue with competition or a fear of failure. To avoid any form of comparison, both partners unconsciously agree to play this game.
Master and slave–This is often found in relationships that existed before the feminist movement. There is uneven distribution of authority and control. The partner who avoids responsibility often obeys the rules of “Master character” and they often describe this as a laid back attitude and describe their partner as control freaks.
The run-a-ways– This type of relationship typically exists amongst teenagers but is not exclusive to them. Both partners have a fear of intimacy and in some cases rejection and they keep chasing each other. Occasionally the chase will swap around.
Birds of a feather– This is typically the couple that most people love to hate. They often believe they are in their own perfect world. They dress like each other, finish each other’s sentences, they hate the same things , share the same interests and believe it is them against the world. Chances are that you know at least one couple like this.
Parent and child type–This is actually more common than you might think. It is a relationship status characterized by dependency and trust in which one partner takes on the role of a child and the other the parent. The general idea here is that if they act needy and dependent their partner would take care of them. This however this often leads the “Parent partner” to deny the need for dependency and thus create later problem if they ever feel they might need it.
Warriors – on the surface these partners look as though they should never have even met. They argue incessantly over anything. They both avoid intimacy by living in a war zone. This are very intimate people and it usually a very bad idea to take any sides during an argument or to attack any one as they very often gang up when threatened.
My classifications are a little un-orthodox, based purely on observation and it is very possible to see some elements of your relationship in all or some of these categories. For example, in a time of grief and vulnerability you may act out the parent and child model, while many couples become like babes in the wood following the birth of a child. Or in times of financial struggle take on the warrior role.
Good or bad chemistry?
All categories serve a single purpose. They are designed to protect ourselves from potential anxiety. Chances are that we are not aware of this until something happens to change it. We all grow and mature, our needs change and our relationships need to adapt to those changes.
Very often in life we spend our time growing up through the years and we look for characteristics that complement our view of our self when we were kids (our ideal self) and we never remember to discard some of this as we grow up and become who we really are.
This often leads to varying interpretations of chemistry. What is good chemistry? Good chemistry is really simple to identify. It is when your relationship is simply effortless. When you feel like you could be naked and have a body full of embarrassing illnesses and still be able to show your SO (significant other). This is very rare to find and should be cherished when we are lucky to find that person.
Most people confuse an effortless relationship to signify a boring relationship. I believe it is quite the opposite. Along life either through television, books and instruments of socialisation we have been conditioned to believe that all the attributes associated with anxiety (such as a fluttering heart, butterfly in your tummy, getting hot all over) are actually signs of a fantastic relationship. While they may be signs of passion they are not signs of a lasting relationship and this is why very often when these feelings disappear people often assume their relationship is heading for the gutter. Understanding that an ideal partner is simply someone that is good for you, someone that makes you feel safe, someone you don’t have to be polite around or mind your quirky habits around, someone you can always count on and someone who you know will do anything to keep you safe. This would normally be someone that can see things differently from you and can provide you with a different perspective on any issue without disregarding your opinion. Like having two sides to a coin they are the ones that give you a shot at being psychologically and emotionally whole. This could be the difference in finding happiness and remaining happy. Let’s face it, people like that (designed specially to deal with you and all the additional stuff you bring) do not come very often.
However be alert and try to see people for what and who they really are. Do not project characters onto people just because they seem like they should be the one.
Most people learn this the hard way and very often they learn this is when the “ideal partner” has come and gone. This usually happens because as we grow up we often forget to discard the information we thought we knew about ourselves. We see the perceived best of us (based on our aspirations and what we feel we need to succeed) and often ignore the reality.
To explain that statement let me use an example. Stephanie wanted to become a singer when she was only 4 years old. It is all she has ever wanted to be and with every passing day her desire to be a world famous singer starts to grow. She spends every day practicing her tones and training her voice. The only problem here is that no one told Stephanie when she was growing up that she could not sing to save her life. Stephanie grows up projecting certain characteristics that are found with singers onto herself. She thinks she sounds marvellous, is very composed, courageous, very hardworking, very dedicated and a bit of a diva.
Along life Stephanie gets several very bad reviews but she always managed to convince herself that they were all not worthy of her “enormous” talent. Stephanie spends all her life trying to make a career in music and she never succeeds. At 60 years of age it finally sinks into Stephanie that maybe she was not as talented as she felt she was.
Stephanie thinks; “It is a pity it is too late to go change my career path, maybe I could have been a success at something else in life. Why wouldn’t anyone tell me I really could not sing?”
When you think about it with that pespective in mind, who would Stephanie’s ideal partner be? Would it simply be someone that saw her for what she was and managed to re-direct her without killing her passion to succeed? Would it be someone that complements her characteristics and will help her succeed not someone who is the same as her and who deludes her into continuing on this fruitless journey all her life. Wouldn’t you agree that the two sound more likely to be true?
When you pick whom you love, remember that it is not about using a person. You have to let the person pick you and you also have to be someone that can be loved. What I am trying to say is that to have a perfect fit you have to complete each other and not just be a one sided affair.
Love at first sight is a fleeting emotion. How do you really love someone you do not know? How do you love someone you cannot yet trust? How do you love someone that you don’t know their bad side (everyone has some)? I love the idea and the concept but to pursue it vigorously is unfortunately responsible for a number of failed relationships. When you meet someone for the very first time discard whatever feeling you might have for them (if only for a little while), good or bad and learn what makes them unique and right for you.
Take your time when you find yourself attracted to a person and learn the ways in which you can complete each other. See the fun in the person and when you meet someone that makes you feel safe, someone that makes you feel like you and someone that provides you with a psychological, emotional or mental edge. Hold it tight and know that it is yours for later in life all beauty and physical attraction passes away and nothing else matters.
Most men in their forties don’t brag about having the most beautiful wife. They brag about having the most caring wife. The most devoted mothers and the most thoughtful partners. To be perfectly honest you could probably find a similar argument in women of that age.
“Love feels no burden, thinks nothing of its trouble, attempts what is above its strength, pleads no excuse for impossibility, for it thinks all things are lawful for itself and all things are possible.” Thomas A. Kempis
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I know what you are thinking. Another boring writer who feels he has the answer to the everlasting question about the meaning of life. Well! You know what? I think for the sake of honesty I have to be honest and say I do not have a universal answer to the question. I have no idea what you might feel after reading this but I will share what I know. You decide after, ok?
A few days ago, I read an article online written and organised by John Riley and Geoffrey Klempner that asked the 10 big questions in life. This article comprised of what the authors felt were some of the most serious questions that were asked in life (some of which I have already thought about before reading his article) . The questions ranged from issues about artificial intelligence, the big bang theory, cultural relativism, life after death and so on but one of these questions really got me thinking not because it was a timeless question but because of the question that was asked about the question (Hope you understood that).
Michael Asked: “Given that reality is immense in comparison to myself, it is obvious that I myself, am not the most important thing of all those things in existence. Therefore, what I consist of is not important — my thoughts and ideas, such as love, happiness, etc. — everything that is personal to me. Having excluded all of those personal things, what is it that is most important then, of all things in existence? That is, in the processes of our making our choices in day-to-day living, what is it most reasonable to see as taking precedence over everything else, having already established that it cannot be anything of a personal nature?”
First of all let me start by saying that deciding the importance of something is a relative question and this is why we have so many different perspectives as to what matters. We might never have the same values and if we did the amount of passion we place on it might differ. It might be easy to see and understand Michael’s point of view but I agree with the dilemma he presents.
As individuals we are probably quite aware that if we did die today? Life goes on. It might sound cold bloded but it is true. The earth was there before we were born and it will still be there if we dropped off it.
So what does it matter. On second thought if we did something with our lives then our work will at least be remembered, right? Well to some level I guess that might be correct. But what happens when our theories become obsolete? Please do not kid yourself, it will become obsolete (well unless it’s a pure science theory and even that is arguable). So what is important?
Honestly, nothing is important individually. Not a single life or a single action. What becomes important is what we do collectively. Does your theory inspire a collective response (for this is the only way it would remain absolute)?
Examples of situations like this can be found when we look at the life work of Jesus Christ. According to the bible, Jesus lived till he was 33 years old but he did not start revolutionising the world for change until he was 30 years old. By my calculations it took him 3 years to change the way over 3 billion people live their lives forever. His works stood the test of time not just because he performed miracles and gave people during his time a real reason for existing. He was truly great (by every universal standard) because his legacy ensured a collective number of people will agree on something greater than themselves and by doing this find a new meaning to life and existence.
If you are not much of a fan of Christianity let me put it in another example. Darwin’s evolutionary theory suggest that human beings as we know them today started from a single cell organism (obviously that is a highly sumarrised version of it) yet today we know that the human body consists of over 6 billion of these. Can you see my point already? We exist today as whole individuals not unicellular organisms by the collection of cells working together to form and create something several hundred times greater than themselves as individuals. This has grown to the point that if one cell dies it does not affect the system.
I believe that the real meaning of life can be found in our collective experiences. Situations like families, nations, churches, institutions.
While we are allowed to do as we please as individuals it often does not bring any sense of fulfilment if it is not collective or there is no collective gain. We find this in our search to find love, to belong to something and to share wealth. A passion to be collectively responsible for something or someone greater than ourselves gives us a reason to live. This also serves as a point of reference when we are plagued with mid-life crisis and questions in our old age.
This however, comes at a price. We must lose our whole sense of identity. At this point I feel I must state that I am not advocating that we stop being individuals. I am simply stating what should be obvious.
There is an old saying that “little drops of water make a mighty ocean”. It is important to note that you are still very valuable as individuals. All I am trying to say here is that while we can gain satisfaction in acquiring wealth and having a loving heart our lives are incomplete without someone or a group to share it with. Our life is given meaning by our existence with other individuals. Our life will be remembered through time only if our decisions today can be the light or the spark that lights a change in the hearts of people. A change that we can all embrace collectively not one that just changes the individual lives of a few.
For some people it takes a life time to discover this and by the time they do it is too late to enjoy it.
When you live life for our collective good it increases the depth, intensity and richness of your life and that of others for without it life simply is not worth living. This is where true love and happiness comes from and this is my meaning of life.
I have learned from experience that no matter what you have, achieve or what you are blessed with in life when you have no-one to share it with. Life simply makes little to no sense.
The meaning of life is to give life meaning. Do something for others and in that you will find true purpose.
Is it just me or is the world just full with several articles teaching you how to find and know Mr right. Almost everywhere you turn there is some relationship “guru” giving advice on how to be happy? Only one advice from me but first a question.
How can you teach someone to find the perfect one when they themselves are not perfect? If you are not perfect why would Mr perfect or Miss perfect want to be with you? When you think of it should this realisation not put a hole in what you describe as Mr perfect? After all if you were Mr Perfect why would you settle for less (you) when you can get more? No-one is perfect so do not search for a perfect person because you surely would not find one. What you need is “The perfect person for you”. Some one that compliments your strengths and caters for your weaknesses (don’t be ashamed we all have some). If you are aggressive, someone who when he speaks it simply calms you down. Someone who deals with your difficulties yet still loves all that you are. Someone that sees potential in you even when you don’t see it in yourself (this person would have seen this from the beginning of the relationship).
Dante was 22 years old and for the first time in his life he was in love. Her name was Nicole and to Dante she was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. He thought he could never care about anyone the way he cared about her. She was so energetic and even though she was older she seemed to have an endless amount of strength. Dante believed all of this because for the first time he went into a new relationship with absolutely no preconceived notions and no expectations of what he wanted her to be. He went in to be happy and that’s all he wanted to be. After all what better way to fall in love than to expect nothing in return.
After a few months Dante and Nicole moved in together. Dante was very happy to have his love next to him. She was anything but happy to have no choice as she had only moved in with him to make him happy not because she wanted it. This situation was one that poor Dante pretended to remain oblivious about because to him he would lose her if she left. After 2 additional years of what was the worst time of her life and what was sometimes the best of his life (two different perspectives) the inevitable could no longer be postponed.
Nicole had finally summoned up the courage to tell him she wanted to be out of the relationship. It had been over a year since she realised that she no longer had feelings for Dante and she could no longer pretend to him. When she finally told him, Dante was totally devastated. He had done everything he could to keep her yet she wanted out. He tried to improve, he tried to think more about her, he even took her out on dates a few times in what could be summed up to be a last minute desperate attempt to salvage what he thought he might still have with her. She was having none of it. For Nicole all she could see was a pointless life, a life of compromise and sadness. There was no amount of effort or change he could make right now that would make her see differently. Only real hope was a real miracle or if through some weird twist of faith; life gave them another chance.
Dante and Nicoles’s story is very similar to that of most couples in the stictest sense only (with regards to love coming and going).
This example help me to illustrate another devastating thing I learnt through life .You cannot make someone love you believe me on this I tried to once and it was no picnic as the end result was only heartache and extended pain. All you can do is be someone who can be loved. It is still up to them to decide.
I’ve learned that no matter how much you care some people just don’t care back. This means do not expect to be loved just because you love someone.
You must understand just because you love the person you are with and have given everything to your relationship does not mean they must do the same. I know that this idea might seem a little difficult to embrace but it is important to know that while matters of the heart are seemingly complex to “accept”, they are amazingly simple to understand. You just have to see it through the eyes of a true friend and not the person in the relationship.
I’ve also learned that just because someone doesn’t love you the way you want them to does not mean they don’t love you with all they have for you at that time. A lot happens to people as they mature in life and very often, people do not know how to show love. Besides that there is no such thing as a universal method of showing love. Everyone has a different idea of how and what it is to show affection and what it is to be loved.
Understanding diversity in every form will help you accept things as they are and more importantly help you deal effectively with it. It caters for “individuality” in a relationship
For some people it just isn’t easy to show love or show they care, but please be careful when reading this for this does not mean that your partner that has not told you they love you after six years has the same problem. Or the guy that constantly shows you signs through his actions that his words are all he has is in the same boat. Do not confuse a good speaker with a doer. Life has taught me that everyone has dreams but not everyone does something about it.
It is vital not to make excuses for people. It is also a travesty to try to change people, it often does not work so do not even try, work on yourself only and If they really care about you they will work on themselves too. I know this because nothing in my life has ever revealed how flawed a person I was as when I fell in love and every day I just wanted to be better for her so much more than I wanted to see her change. It is also important to communicate effectively. When talking to a partner stick to the issue at hand, resist the temptation to bring in something that happened a while ago. If you have managed to get past a problem please let it rest or the issue appears to never have been solved. Do not wait for your ego to be satisfied you won first for there is really no victory when you win and hurt someone else.
Resolve things one at a time and most importantly pick your battle and learn how to pass across an important and emotionally charged message without becoming angry. Anger clouds everything (it is a black cloud). It stops you from seeing what is in front of you very much like love. Always go for only what complements you and not just what you feel you would enjoy only because what you enjoy today; you might not particularly fancy tomorrow.
Remember change is inevitable so look for things that do not change. If you are “lucky” enough to go through ups and downs before marriage (Yes! I said lucky enough). Look to see if the other half’s actions, feelings or emotions changed during your most difficult times together and if it did not. Did she hate you because you became different of did she stay despite the rough ride?
Think again before you run along because something’s are harder to find than you might realise. Situations build character but only if you let it.
It is not what you have in your life, but whom you have in your life that counts. If you are lucky to find real love then love with all your heart and all you have for we have but one life to live.
If I asked you who you were what would you say? Would you describe yourself based on past achievements (things like education, career and personal achievements)? Would it based on items and things acquired through the years (cars, jewellery, houses and properties)? Or would you describe yourself based on internal factors (things like interests, intelligence, motivation, values, self-concept, self-efficacy, self-esteem or personality)?
Whichever direction you choose to go you might still not be able to define yourself in a unique way. This brings the question, what makes you unique? What makes you stand out from the crowd? What is that one thing you believe others do not have?
It could be something that others have but yours is of a varying intensity. Think of qualities like courage, determination or maybe it is something eccentric or quirky. Well whatever it is when you find out it could be the thing that allows you succeed and form your own niche area.
Let me borrow 6 worthwhile quotes before proceeding to explain.
While we have the gift of life, it seems to me the only tragedy is to allow part of us to die — whether it is our spirit, our creativity or our glorious uniqueness ~ Gilda Radner
We are each gifted in a unique and important way. It is our privilege and our adventure to discover our own special light. ~ Mary Dunbar
Rejoice in who you are! It is your uniqueness that will breathe life into your art. ~ Lisa Campbell Ernst
Meeting people unlike oneself does not enlarge one’s outlook; it only confirms one’s idea that one is unique. ~ Elizabeth Bowen
Cherish forever what makes you unique, ‘cuz you’re really a yawn if it goes! ~ Bette Midler
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. ~The Bible Psalm 139: 14
Before we can tap on your uniqueness and turn it into your strength the first thing we have to do is to identify who we are now?
This is a lot harder than you might think. What I mean is that sometimes in life who we think we are is based on an “ideal” perception of ourselves rather than the “real” thing. When we see ourselves through our “ideal” selves we see our self “the way things are supposed to be”. While when we see ourselves through our “real” self, we see things “as they are”.
Differentiating yourself from your unfinished ambitions and dreams (ideal self) allows you to get a realistic picture of yourself and puts you in a better position to see what it is about you that really makes you unique.
Our ideal self is a fantasy about who we might be. It is important to be honest when reading this because it is the only way I can help. By comparing the ideal with the real, we begin to see the gaps in perception we have created, the judgments we have made about ourselves, and the gaps that could be preventing us from fully living our lives in the moment as the person that we truly are.
Let’s try a simple exercise. I want you to get as many photographs as you can from your past along with an exercise book. Take each photograph and sort them out into ranges of every two years and have a table of contents that has 3 parts in it, first containing time range (1987-1989, 1990-1992 etc.) the next containing attributes of what you thought you were then and the other containing everything you achieved during that range of time. Use the pictures from that time range to stir up memories of whom you thought you were.
Now cross compare, decide which characteristic you thought was responsible for whatever level of success you achieved. If you find that you constantly refer to yourself as having a particular attribute (like courage) and over a significant period of time (say 4 years) there has not been a direct relationship then it is time to discard it. It probably isn’t you.
This is a simple exercise but must be done with absolute honesty. When you have completed this successfully all that you should be left with is a real description of who you are. This should contain characteristics that showcase exactly what your strengths are (the characters that you often rely on)
Now that we have discovered what we have it is time to use what we have. Develop your competitive strengths and turn them to what gives you a competitive advantage.
Michael Phelps has been deemed the world’s greatest Olympian He cannot run a 200km race, pole vault or throw a javelin. Michael has spent countless hours (over 10,000 hours) working on what makes him unique and he has developed it into what has become his competitive advantage. The same thing goes in business and in our daily lives and even in romance (people can only love you for what you have, not what you wish/think you had).
Real success does not just come from playing to your strengths and playing down your weaknesses. It comes from self awareness and adaptability. If you overplay strength, it can soon become a weakness. What I mean by that is really simple. If you felt you were the world’s strongest warrior and you spent all you time developing your fighting skills. While you very well could be, at a certain point in your life you might find yourself getting a bit pompous and training less and this could be the difference between your continuing victory and your inevitable fall.
What could have been stopping you from arriving at your “competitive advantage” could be that you had spent a ridiculous amount of hours developing your weaknesses at the expense of your strengths. I dare you to spend time developing just one of your strengths and see what levels of change it will bring to your life.
This is a self help tool that can help bring you out of you shell but I must warn that whatever you term as a strength , it must be completely practical or it is pretty useless to develop and quite frankly a pure waste of time.
“We all wear masks and the time comes when we cannot remove them without removing our own skin.” André Berthiaume.
By now one must be asking oneself why it seems that every time you get closer to what you want it seems further away. Why every attempt at knowledge seems to raise new questions about what life is? Why it seems like we never seem to truly know something we think we know?
The answer is simple. It is the absolute relativity of almost everything we classify as knowledge. This I must point out at this point is only true when there is no moral, ethical spiritual or behavioural reference point as what you find in Christianity, Islam and a few other religions. Absolute relativism simply implies that absolutely nothing is Absolute. Knowledge is constructed not given. Knowledge is contextual not absolute.
Susan is 30 yrs young and married and is now contemplating a divorce. She lives in a small town in the north east of Scotland called Inverurie. On a bright summer day when Susan was 8 years old playing out with a couple of friends in her primary school playground she met a boy named Ben. It was love at first sight. Up until last month Susan was certain Ben was the only man she would ever love. She had known no other and Susan felt that any man that was not like Ben was no man at all. Ben was tall, handsome and charming. He was a great man and a passionate husband. Susan and Ben have been married for about 10 years now. But lately Ben is no longer like “Ben”. He isn’t as charming as he was, he barely listens anymore, he doesn’t take any time out to love her like he used to and he does not seem to appreciate her effort anymore.
Susan is confused. She decides to ask Ben. Ben doesn’t seem to know why. He isn’t even aware that he has changed. He thinks he is exactly the way he was. Susan thinks it’s a front/ cover up to some deeper emotional trouble.
Susan starts to think, what is going on? Why has he changed? Susan starts to think it might be that she gained a bit of weight? “But I have always been this way” Susan thinks. “Well maybe he is cheating on me” she answers herself. “Maybe he just doesn’t love me anymore; maybe I don’t need him anymore? Well if he doesn’t love me I won`t love him too”.
Susan`s world is scattered. Her organised life becomes chaotic and it doesn`t matter whether her pain is perceived or real her reaction is the same. It doesn’t matter whether he is just having an off period. It still isn’t the way it used to be. Susan attempts to reconstruct her world by attributing different explanations to something uncertain. After all how can it be certain when Ben himself might not know exactly why he changed or if he changed at all? Susan bases her decision to divorce him knowing that she might not know the real reason.
This example is obviously fictional but in some ways showcases some of our perception in real life. One must be able to point the most important aspects of this example.
Firstly, a perceived grievance is just as serious as an actual one. It doesn’t matter whether a man actually committed a crime or not, he will still be treated like he did as long as we feel he did. In simple words, would you leave a suspected paedophile alone with your kids even though a jury found him innocent? We are all guilty of this. Just accepting that it might be possible that we don’t know the absolute truth is the first and arguably the most important step. It shapes the next stage, the interpretation of the information.
When we truly understand that no knowledge is absolute but constructed we would understand that just because you were told leaves are mostly green doesn’t mean that they actually are (wasn’t it someone that decided on the name “green”, it really could have been called anything). One must learn/ train themselves to focus on only the facts. In other words whether a leaf is called green or not, it “photosynthesises” (this is a fact) It doesn’t matter whether my sister is here or not. I know she loves me; she doesn’t need to see me every day for me to know this.
How many times have you been wrong about people and situations? That footballer would never make it? My classmate would never amount to much? Education is the only way to success? Miracles don’t really happen? The earth is flat? Coloured people are inferior? My child is special? He/ She would always love me? Why have we not learnt that we don’t always know everything? Would this not help you argue less with people?
In life we never stop learning. We think we do, but we actually never stop every single piece of information re-shapes our understanding of the world and in turn reshapes our behaviour. Let me illustrate this by using an example.
Tom was a Christian, a God fearing man, he loved God with all his heart, and he always had. All of Tom`s life God was all he had ever known, Christianity was all Tom was and he lived by every word that came from the bible. When Tom was 27 yrs old Tom prayed to God for a partner that would love him and help him grow spiritually. Two weeks later Tom met Sandra at a church function. Sandra was beautiful, and just like Tom she had a heart for God. Tom and Sandra went on to get married and stayed married for 16 yrs, they had 3 beautiful daughters and a son. One winter afternoon Sandra had a ghastly car accident that left Sandra paralysed from the neck down and killed all of their kids.
Tom cursed God for he could not understand how his heavenly father would watch and allow this terrible thing to happen. 6 months later Tom committed suicide for he had always felt that his life was to serve God and now that he no longer believed there was a God there was no point living anymore. Tom was 45 yrs old.
I am sorry to use such a graphic illustration, it is simply to create shock and drive home my point. This event changed everything that Tom believed in. Tom who was 45 yrs suddenly decided that everything he felt he knew all his life to be absolute he no longer felt was the truth it reshaped his reaction and thus his behaviour. Tom`s situation is undoubtedly relative and obviously subject to interpretation (After all a worse situation happened to JOB in the bible but God used his problems to strengthen JOB`s faith, please read the book of Job 19:1-26 in the bible for an alternate way to re-act).
This example illustrates that at any time something can happen that would shake our world and if/ when this happens nothing that we learnt in the past would seem relevant. Remember at all times we are always simply a bad decision away from losing everything, love, life, loved ones, our house ,everything really. What we think we know today could mean nothing tomorrow.
I said from the beginning of this book. My sole purpose is not to make decisions for you (I have no right to), but to help you make better decisions, to understand situations better. Interpreting information right helps you make better decisions. It’s not rocket science it’s pretty obvious.
If you understand that what we think we know today may not be what we accept as the truth tomorrow and that this change in reality can/ would inevitably change our behaviour. Why do we not know that all it takes is a change in your partner’s environment to evoke a change in him or her. Life is always changing so he/ she would never always be the same person you met all those years ago. Why should Susan expect Ben to be the same guy? Why should you expect your husband not to change, dint you change yourself? After all your face or body isn’t the same or is it? Your urges, aspirations and motivations are different?
Why can’t we accept that people are not just one person all their lives, but different people at different stages of life. It is simply called maturing. The problem is that people often use this term as a label indicating the development of fully functioning adult parts. As humans we mature all our life. We never stop maturing. Every year your husband gets better. He learns more about your likes and dislikes, he learns how to please you both sexually and emotionally, how to make you smile when it counts and bring you down to earth when you need it. We never stop needing to learn. So who he was yesterday is not who he is today and might not be who he is tomorrow. The true disasters in character building happen when we refuse to learn or cannot learn any more. If you know this why is his/her change so unacceptable? If it causes a real problem (not a perceived or cautious problem) speak about it. If you are with someone that really wants to see you happy they would do something about it but be careful not to ask for him to change something that might also completely change him. Or you just might be where you started from.
I believe strongly that when selecting a person the most important thing to look for is how they respond to change? Not whether they are perfect. If your partner has a weird way of chewing food, you either accept it or move on? If his mother dies does he try to get on with life or sulk for 13 months?
Just like with the example look for the facts, things that cannot change regardless of change. These things are often known as character. If he/she isn’t violent when trouble strikes their first reaction would not be violence.
But what is most important do not at all cost construct your reality of what a person is just because you want them to be that way. Always retain an objective eye; after all it’s your life too.
The quality of life is more dependent on our perspective of life than our circumstance. Inevitably we become whatever we think we are.
As everyday turns to weeks and weeks to years, we see, feel or hear things whether it is from our mentors, a stranger on the street, a person we knew only for a few weeks, a former lover and even from a foe. An action touches us and sometimes that action is so powerful that we carry it on with us till the very day we die. Sometimes the experiences are good and sometimes terrible but it is often the terrible ones that can either make or break us.
Hopefully some-one will learn from this but I must remind you that this is not designed to tell you what to do or how to live your life (eventually you will have to make that decision yourself and live with the consequences). It is designed to show you various options to any given situation by focusing on why we interpret things the way we do
Behavioural psychologists have long debated on whether the first emotion a baby feels is shock or fear. This is because of what is termed the Startle Reflex (is the response of mind and body to a sudden unexpected stimulus, such as a flash of light, a loud noise (acoustic startle reflex), or a quick movement near the face). Many researchers believe that it is the later (fear). So take solace in knowing that even if it doesn’t feel macho to be afraid sometimes, realize that you were born this way (afraid).
There are many sources of fear, some are unreasonable (to everyone else but the person experiencing them) others are considered unhealthy such as Phobias (Please note that just cause you are afraid of something doesn’t mean it can be classified as a phobia). But whatever the source – a sense of the unknown, the future, physical danger, spiritual warfare, financial crises or reputation issues – FEAR IS REAL AND MUST BE FACED HONESTLY.
By now you might have noticed that in most human beings when faced with danger/ challenges that demand a unilateral answer the two foundational responses that appear to be hard wired into our psyche are flight or fight. So are you a fight or flight person becomes the next fundamental question?
Our fears more often than not can make us or break us. In an ideal world they should be treated as a stepping stone and taken one step at a time, even if the steps are baby steps. But we all know we don’t live in an ideal world. It is simply easier to let fear consume us than to fight through fear.
In my experience the best way to overcome a fear is not through dwelling on the fear but by focusing positively on resources we have to overcome it. In my case it was rejection. I was afraid that there was something about me that people might never identify with. Something I needed to prove and show that I was good enough. I wanted to connect with the world in a deeper way but was more afraid of rejection to even try.
You see before I had gotten my first proper job after my first masters degree I had sent over two thousand applications, this was no exaggeration as the true amount is probably closer to three thousand. I had been selected and gotten to the last stage with several graduate placements and in one case I actually got to the last three out of over three thousand applications they said they received and still never got picked. I was in a world where I was good enough to go through different stages for the job application but never seen as good enough for the actual job. Eventually after several years it took me a while to realise that what was truly missing was a sense of worthiness. A sense of direction became no existent, a sense of belonging a fairy tale and a sense of true ownership had no place in my being. I was no longer courageous I had been rejected so many times I felt I did not deserve it. I stopped applying for jobs and no longer cared. I tried to start my own business but needless to say the same fear of rejection came across. This was part of my “journey to self confidence” but at the time I did not know this.
I had made certain what ultimately was not and that is why it hurt. I had believed that I was a perfect gift with no blemishes just waiting to show the world that I was the best thing since sliced bread. I had told myself I would get the job during every interview because I had read so many books about “what you believe you will achieve”. That I never realised that there was second side to the coin which one must also learn and this was the art of rejection or failure.
What was truly missing was not courage in the way we understand it today but courage in its original meaning (i.e from the latin word cor meaning heart). You see I wanted the world to see me for who I thought I was that I had forgotten to make sure I saw myself for who I thought I was. I had missed the most important foundational principle for motivation. This was courage to believe in yourself, courage to accept your own imperfection.
In order for others to believe in you or accept you, you must first of all accept yourself. This will bring about real, genuine and lasting connection with others. You see after all this while I forgot to truly embrace myself. Embracing your strengths is easy but accepting your weaknesses takes real courage. This is what makes you unique and you.
In life nothing is ever really guaranteed but having courage through your fear or vulnerable side helps you to face this uncertainty. It helps you date and interact with the people when searching for a partner even though there is no guarantee the person you meet is the perfect one for you. It helps you to seek a goal you though eluded you even though you might never live to see the extent of your own success. I am speaking about something deeper than just motivation for a project.
Fear either of shame, failure or rejection is not a bad thing. Your ability your ability to deal with it is what will ultimately make you succeed.
You see fear is not just the foundation of rejection it is also the foundation of love, belonging, ownership and true inner strength. If you are afraid to love, you might never find love even when it is standing right in front of you. If you are afraid of rejection by people you will never find connection. I am not talking about numbing fear or pretending like it doesn’t exist. As I believe that emotions exist on a continuum. (i.e removing one removes the other). If you remove the ability to feel an emotion as strong as hate then deep love is ultimately eliminated. I am talking about feeling it and accepting it. I am talking about getting to a point where you realise that you are more than enough to achieve what you want if you chose to learn from mistakes, battle through fears and accept that nothing in life is truly guaranteed, all you can do is always give it your best. What quells the motivation most people receive after reading a book is fear that they might not succeed. What should keep you going is understanding that just because you did not succeed immediately does not mean you will not be a success.
Please remember I can only tell you the truth, you will ultimately have to decide what to do with it. My real turning point in life started the day I decided to let myself be myself. To be seen, heard and hopefully understood regardless of what may come. I dropped so much emotional baggage that day and haven’t looked back.
This did not mean I no longer faced disappointments but I had found a new way to accept disappointment.
When we face disappointment and adversity how we handle them is more important than the disappointment themselves. There is an old Japanese proverb that says “Fall Seven times, Stand up eight times”. This proverb emphasizes getting up more times than we fall. Life will always have trials, it will always contain problems. You will be hurt more than once and disappointed more times than you care to count. This is almost a guarantee because life simply is unpredictable.
However, our survival tomorrow is largely dependent on how we solve our problems today. If you believe you can achieve it, you will most likely try to find a way to achieve it (This is no way means that believing is all that it takes to achieve, it is just a part of the process).
I have learnt that the result of letting a fear consume you is too painful to explain and the feeling when released from that fear is too amazing to be ignored. Life will always throw challenges our way and as we grow older our fears change and anxieties morph but when we decide to face the fear at any given time we can be empowered and very often we discover depths in our ability to persevere and develop patience that we did not know we were capable of.
Do not grow weary when you get afraid for every fear you manage to overcome can only prove to you just how much you have to offer this world. Please note that when I speak of fear I am not making reference to just things we can hold but sometimes to intangible things such as a false belief system based on anxieties. A good example would be a lady that never goes out for dates because according to her all men are losers when the truth might be that she has a deep fear of rejection.
One thing one must put to mind is that “Courage is not the absence of fear but the realisation that something else is more important than being afraid.
You see fear ultimately can cripple you. Fear ultimately has two mantras
a) You cannot do it because of ……..?
Then just when you manage to get through it all then comes the second part
b) Who are you and why do you deserve it?
The two answers are simple.
Answer to A: Despite my fear of …… I can still make it. My fear reminds me that I am human.
Answer to B: No-one deserves success as it is not a gift but I am worthy of it because I believe in myself and what I am doing.
“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.”- Lao Tzu
I have a very good friend who has an almost irrational fear of germs and this affected every area and every aspect of her life. She cannot enjoy outings like most people and even though she always tried to ignore her fear it seemed to take so much from her and she never really felt any sense of relief till she got home and took a shower.
It wasn’t just about her outward appearance but it affected every part of her and every time I watched her do what with any additional intensity could easily be called Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and often wonder how much more at peace she would have been if she faced her fears rationally. The fact is the human body can deal with more germs than she cared to admit.
This does not mean that I think she was irrational. Her situation was neither good nor bad, it was what it was. I just observed as it seemed to completely possess her to the point when she was constantly on the lookout and often distracted because of this. This example is only used to put additional emphasis on the fact that fear is sometimes more than just external and can have internal and extended implications.
Dealing with fear is like greasing the machine of motivation. Embracing fear allows you to finally be in a position to take action.
A belief is not just an idea the mind possesses but an idea that possesses the mind– Robert Oxford.
If you ever see me shining it is just a projection of what I already was
Self-confidence is simply one of the most powerful tools a person can have at his disposal. I believe that it is so powerful that too little or too much of it can ultimately destroy. However, when you get it just right you see yourself for what you truly are.
Self confidence comes from an internal view of oneself. A wise person once said “Be careful what you think cause your thought can become an action, an action can become a habit, a habit a character and a character can be passed on from one parent to an offspring”.
Now, the thought of something as simple as this should have been enough to scare any individual out of evil or harmful thoughts or radically make one more conscious of what they chose to think of themselves or others. This however is not the case.
A few years ago on a holiday trip to England. I attended New Wine Church in London and amongst everything the pastor said. I have held one thing closest to my heart. He said “just as God has given us free will and an ability to do just as we please, so also will he not deny us the consequences of our choices”.
In other words “We are where we are because of what roads we choose”.
You see the thing is, I believed that just as long as a human being is not mentally incapacitated or emotionally blunt his/her attribution of self-inflicted hardship has no excuses. What I am trying to say in simpler words is that “If a man has 2 eyes, 2 legs, 2 hands and 2 ears then whatever situation you find yourself financially is your fault and yours alone. I soon found out this was not an absolute truth. Getting out of a situation when you have put your all into it has as much to do with hard-work as it has to do with timing. I had spent countless frustrated hours feeling emotionally drained and physically exhausted because I believed that I failed because I kept making only “bad” choices and so focused so much on the perceived failure that I missed the opportunities that was present in every situation.
One thing my father said that I would always remember is that “If you were born poor it is not your fault but if you remain poor it’s your fault”. For decades I watched as individuals blamed their surroundings for the circumstances in which they find themselves, they have blamed God, their wives, their husbands, their government, their family and even their children but have always managed to be too blind to see their own inadequacies.
If I must be honest I have committed the same blunder several times and the result has inevitably always been the same (disappointment, dejection, frustration and endless anger) for me. I agree with most of that statement but I do not accept that it is your fault totally. I had taken a statement that must be understood in context and made it general and so missed the true meaning.
I have learnt that failing to see your own inadequacies is one of the biggest handicaps a person can have and to not see that ensures the real cause of a problem is never addressed. You see the thing is true self confidence can only come from understanding your strengths and weakness. This is where the “your fault” part comes in. It does not mean that you are responsible for your failure it simply meant you are responsible for whatever it is that is stopping you from succeeding. The responsibility I am talking about is not “finger pointing responsibility” in other words I am not trying to say it is your fault so something must be wrong with you. On the contrary I am only helping to throw light on the fact that something can be done about the road block. It is about taking control not taking blame. You see no matter where you find yourself today you must make a decision to believe adequately in yourself to start to pursue what you want and cater for any inadequacies you might have. Let me put it another way.
Everything on earth as we know is as a result of something no matter your perspective, whether spiritual, religious, governmental, evolutionary, big bang or magical. Something caused it to be there. I would not be so bold as to say that everything has an explanation as some phenomenon`s we don’t know why they are, we just know they are (at least until someone attributes meaning to causation for it). But often for every situation or thing there is an explainable cause.
Let’s now try to apply the same basic underlining principle to ourselves. When we start to take more responsibility or time to think about whatever career decision, love choice or spiritual journey we want to take we can then ask ourselves. What is the “probable” end result? Asking that vital question enables you to decide to either quit a particular route, re-start or realign.
In the event we decide we do not want to quit as we feel the probable end result is something we desire it then raises a few other questions. Is the re-start or re-alignment going to be smooth all the way? Do we have the ability to follow through till the end? What really happens in the journey between and what do we do while on the way? I will not be able to answer all the questions in great detail in this chapter but as you go through the book I hope to be able to assist in keeping things in perspective.
You see between actualisation there is always to points; a start point (the idea) and finish point (the success of the idea) but in between there is also always the journey through. What do we do during this time?
The first reality is not to expect the journey to where you want to be smooth and easy all the time. I have to admit some people do find it easy but if you were one of those people then you wouldn’t be reading this book as you will have no need for it. This is for people who find it hard just as I did. This is for people searching for self confidence and confidence in their ideas.
You see ideas are easy to come up with it; it is executing them that is difficult. There is a wise but tragic saying that “the graveyard is the richest place on the earth as it is full of ideas”. Ideas are a dime a dozen. However, having a follow through mentality is not. This is what will ultimately make you successful as the reality is that not everyone can do it.
Before you run with any idea you must truly believe in it.
Think of it this way. When a sales man wants to make a pitch to an investor he must believe or at least portray great belief in what he is trying to sell to the investors. He must try and make sure they believe in the idea deeply enough to financially back it but what is just as vital is that they must also believe that he is capable of delivering on their investment. You see self confidence is very important but there are a few other confidence factors here (i.e confidence from the investors on the product/service and confidence in the tool for delivering the product/service).
For the sake of simplicity there are two kinds of ideas.
a) An internal idea: an example is a decision to be a chef, an athlete or a singer/ musician or anything that relies on God given talent.
b) An external idea: A decision to start an online company, be a marketer or basically anything that does not rely on your God given talent.
When dealing with an idea you must be realistic and listen to “positive” criticism.
Being realistic cannot be over emphasized. Understanding the difference between a hobby and a career is very important. The fact you enjoy doing something doesn’t make it a viable career. It is only a career if it can fetch you the means to a decent living.
Basically, if you have a voice like a crocking frog it is simply unrealistic to try to be a classical musician. You might succeed in a different genre of music (i.e maybe hard rock or rap) but not classical. You might even be amazing as a producer for classical music or writer just not as a singer. So being realistic not only helps you to stop wasting time and energy on something you might not be suited for but also helps you re-align to do something your particular talent or skill is more suited for. You see in the example above your talent could be for music but you are just in the wrong genre until you decide to be realistic about your abilities. This level of understanding can only be reached through an open mind.
An example of this can be seen in a number of athletes for example the Da Silva twins and Rio Ferdinand of Manchester united football club. They all really started their careers in a different position from where they ended up achieving success. While they had football talent, it was being utilised originally in the wrong position. Their success came about not from quitting but from re-alignment because they chose to listen to positive criticism.
Even in that example the realignment took part during the journey. The required levels of confidence were present also (i.e the players believed in their football talent that they were able to accept changes to their positional placement and the coaches believed in them enough to make a change that was best for the team and also their careers)
Ultimately your ability to succeed depends on people believing in you or liking what you have to offer this could be at the present or in the future but either way there must be external value in what you have to offer. It is important to take this into consideration when working. It is almost just as important as believing in yourself. Success almost always come from serving others or providing something others either want to see, hear or be a part of. This means that you must consider this when doing anything.
I promised to be as honest as possible in this book so I feel I must at this point interject once more. There is never any guarantee that the present generation will love your work but you must see the vision even if your invention or particular talent is not for the present. An example of this can be seen in the phenomenal success enjoyed by Edgar Allan Poe, Emily Dickinson, Vincent van Gogh, Henry David Thoreau, Galileo Galilei and a few others after their death. Their greatest discovery was not recognised until they were long dead and in some cases they lived their lives in poverty and penury. I will touch a bit more on this later in this chapter. There is sometimes an exception to success only being determined by people liking what you have to offer but as a general guide it is safer to use the alternative (i.e people liking your work or having value to them). I am not saying it is impossible but not many people fall into this category.
It is also important to keep in mind that just because you are passionate about something does not mean any one else will share your passion. If you decide to be a musician the question is do people really want to hear this? If you want to be a writer the question is do people want to read this? If you decide to start a bank the question is will anyone want to save money here? I am sure by this point you get it.
I mentioned a few paragraphs ago that the journey is not always easy and smooth. Well believe it or not this is a good thing and can work in your favour. You see the thing about failure is that it teaches you what not to do. If I may borrow a statement from a friend “When Thomas Edison tested over 3000 filaments before he came up with his version of a light bulb he did not just fail over 3000 times he learnt over 3000 ways how not to make a light bulb”. He never stopped trying he just realigned his attempts. Also worth keeping to heart through your journey to success is that no one remembers the failures (i.e attempts) only the success.
Usain Bolt is today known as the fastest man in the world and probably an athlete with extreme self confidence in his abilities, running the 100 meters race and winning in 9.69 seconds and 200 meters race in 19.30 seconds. Some believed that had he not slowed down at the end of the 100 meters race to show boat he could have achieved this in 9.55 seconds (i.e Hans Eriksen and his colleagues at the University Of Oslo Institute Of Theoretical Astrophysics). Usain Bolt was so confident in himself he once made an offer to the then manager of Manchester United; Sir Alex Ferguson to allow him join the team as a winger. He had no doubt that he would succeed as a footballer if he put his heart to it even though he had only really ever perfected his training as a sprinter. This does not mean he would have succeeded in that role but he surely had the right mental mirrored self image towards success.
Usain Bolt’s meteoric rise to success was achieved through natural talent and a lot of training however this does not mean he did not get beaten on the race track a few times before he achieved world record breaking glory or Olympic greatness. He just made sure he trained hard enough that when it mattered he delivered on his abilities. Today most people in the world know his name as attributed to success but very few know the journey to self confidence and success. No success is ever gained without an understanding that failure is not the end. It is just a lesson on what not to do if we want to succeed.
I have observed that very often it seems like we need to fall to learn to get up. Too many times have I seen human beings lying down complaining about their circumstances and never getting up from it until it consumes. The truth is you don’t drown by falling into a river you drown by staying in it and doing nothing. The human spirit is such a remarkable thing when driven by a goal fuelled by confidence. Its everyday existence ensures that we have a chance for a future. Most times people just need to be pushed to their limit before they realise just how strong they really are.
It sometimes makes me sad that in a lot of peoples situations they need to go through sadness to appreciate happiness, they need to cry to know the value of a laugh and they need to lose a loved one to appreciate the beauty of life. They need to search for love to know never to take it for granted. This to me is one of the greatest tragedies of the human condition but ultimately it is what makes us human and not divine. .
Falling down when trying is not failure it is just a learning curve and should be seen as one. It can be difficult and frustrating to fall but this is also a good thing as the deeper the pain the more you want it. This pain is good and I can honestly say take heart, it gets better (obviously this is assuming your goal was realistic in the first place as mentioned above). This fall should never be allowed to be the reason to give up. This is just part of life. Life will throw you curve balls and we do not always get to pick what happens in life but we do get to pick how we deal with what is thrown our way. This is a principle not just for pursuing your goal but cuts across many areas or life.
How we handle things depends greatly on our perspective of life and what we want from it. You see, life itself is an intangible concept (just as Love or Hate is). It is only worth the value we place on it. For some people that value has only purely emotional attributes and for others rational attributes. That value often describes and differentiates us from everyone and inevitably predicts the intensity of our emotions/feelings towards anyone else. Everything can be taken from you except the choice to think how you want and what to believe in. So the real question is what value do you place on your thoughts? This will guide your life and goals.
I believe that every human being is beautifully and wonderfully created (just as the bible explains), but most importantly I learnt that they are armed through life with the ability to make rational choices (not easy choices but rational choices). This is true and should be applied when pursuing your goals and finding your way to self confidence.
The problem is to know when rational choices are not always the best choice. As in the case of people who became successful after they had died. When sticking to something no matter what is okay just as in the case of Edgar Alan Poe.
This might sound tricky. It`s quite simple really. When it comes to matters of the heart, loved ones, personal passions and in some cases personal fulfilment one must simply know when to put all caution aside and take a chance. Basically, I am talking about when daring to dream beyond rationale is acceptable. Does the potential end result justify the present heartache? Is he/she truly worth all the trouble or is it fear keeping you there? Mastering this ability is the real difference between a success and a failure. Knowing the when and the time, and for how long one can afford to be irrational, when one must call the dream quits and move on and when one needs to push harder than ever before.
Now I feel I should interject again here and say that not everyone has an idea they feel they want to pursue or has a talent that could become a career. It is also true that not everyone has something they feel they can build self confidence on and if you happen to fall into that category there is still hope at being a success. Maybe an example might help explain how.
One hot Sunday afternoon I walked close to where I lived, I saw a man walking down the street eating what appeared to be a sandwich. He was so engrossed in the meal and so satisfied after that he could not be bothered to throw his crust in a bin. As he walked away from where he threw this not so well eaten crumb I watched as a bird flew down and grabbed it from the street. Suddenly the meaning of what appeared to be a simple situation hit me.
This man had thrown away what he no longer wanted as he felt it was no longer useful and for this bird it seemed to be just what he needed. It had flown down and satisfied what was obviously a need. It had seen a random act and taken a cue from it to satisfy its hunger. I watched what scholars refer to today as an “opportunist” seize a randomly presented opportunity and I did not have to pay for this lesson. This is a business model adopted by companies such as Dyson. Dyson Hoovers are considered to be amongst the best in the world but they did not start the idea of a Hoover they only took what others thought had reached its full potential and built on it.
In a nutshell, I am simply saying do not spend all your time looking for inspiration if you have none. Start working on something (anything really) and inspiration will come to you.
Also while I was still deep in thoughts over what I had just observed and its application I saw a young teenage boy trying to perform what appeared to be a very skilful trick on his bicycle. I watched as he almost completed the trick he fell of his bike and then got up to try again. After about ten falls he finally got how to perform his trick. He realised he had not been positioning himself as well as he ought to. I then realised that even things as easy as “riding a bike” can teach you a valuable lesson.
This made me realise that the answer to some of life`s most difficult questions can be found in life`s simplest places. Obviously I am not talking about going nature watching to find answers, but observing the world around you as it happens can give you a more realistic knowledge than just classes. This can sometimes help us make choices.
So what happens when we have spent so long taking in other people’s advice and letting it frustrate us that we feel there is no point going on. I have only one real view on this. Our suffering today should not be allowed to determine our progress tomorrow. The beauty of pain is that when you have fallen to the very depths of sorrow you have no other place to go than to go up. But going up is a “Do it yourself project”. Most motivational books fail in achieving lasting results in the readers because when readers finish they are all puffed up and ready to go do something (i.e motivated) but this only last a while. The truth about why is that motivation must come from within and not from a book. It must be what wakes you up in the morning and not some idea. It should be strong enough to help you build a career that you do not need or want a holiday from. My job as mentioned earlier is not to tell you what to do as you are smart enough to already know this, it is just to try to help you break things down so it’s a little bit easier to get to where you want to be.
No one can lift you as high up as you can, the same way no one can make you feel inferior with-out your consent. Their words and actions carry no meaning if the individual doing them has no value. In other words, the words of a person depend on the value we place on the speaker. So when you look at yourself what value do you place on you? This is not about mirror speaking tactics or about pride. It’s simply about knowing that your path might not be the same as wealthy Mr A but that doesn’t mean you will not get to where he is and surpass him.
In history one will be able to find people who have been able to understand the intense power of the human spirit and its ultimate ability to obtain results and motivate change, people like Abraham Lincoln, William Wilberforce, Nelson Mandela, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Pope John Paul (the 2nd), Mother Theresa, Professor Wole Soyinka and in modern time Americas 44th President Barrack Obama. These individuals are legends today not for being born into royalty or wealth but for what they did in their lifetimes in spite of their starting situations, they challenged each individual to look beyond race and in some cases countries, to seek themselves out and to realise that with human will power and spirit the impossible often become possible.
Not one person mentioned here can clearly state that they have never failed but today no-one remembers any of what could have been many failures. Or do we?
This taught me that failure ultimately is not a bad thing nor does it determine if we will ever be successful only what we do after we fail has the power to determine that.
Taking ownership of failure builds the foundation for success. The pillars of which must be self confidence and belief in what you are pursuing.
Welcome to our site. This site is dedicated to the people out there who have a story to tell that the world needs to hear. A lesson to teach that is unique to your own experience. A lesson from your life’s lecture notes. We are calling all “underdogs” out to tell their stories.
For anyone that does not know it yet, an underdog is a person popularly expected to fail. We want your success stories. We want to learn from you. We want to be inspired by you. We want to be taught by you. We want your story to be the one the world hear. The one that inspires a generation. We want real stories from real people about real events. Feel free to change characters names but inspire the world with a tale that only you can tell.
Welcome to our website (yes, that’s true mine and yours). What we will provide you with is a platform to tell the tale. All credit will be given to the writer so feel free to include your names (if you want). We want to inspire the world with the tales of real people about real events.