Finding Purpose In Life (by Dami O-Aliu)

Finding Purpose In Life (by Dami O-Aliu)

Its been a long time since I wrote, I guess I just needed time to re-process things and hopefully understand the things before me.

 

Life can be complicated but sometimes it can be blissfully simple. In the period I took to step away I discovered that reflection and meditation on circumstances is no longer a luxury afforded by only the wise but now a necessity of every man.

 

I have had time to think about family, love, wealth (money), work and religion. The more I searched, the more answers I felt I got yet in those answers new question arose. This made me come to the inevitable conclusion that no matter how much value we place on the things around us a few things come on top as priceless.

 

Yet, in all I see three main things a person cannot or maybe I should say, should not do without.

 

1) A Sense of Direction, Ownership and Belonging (D.O.B): Similar to the blessed trinity the most important thing comes in three.

 

A) A sense of Direction: I used to dream about days when I would wake up and not have a single thing to do or place to go.  I don’t know if you were/are like me and dreamt about winning a massive lottery.

 

It was the best of my dreams and then one day it happened. I had taken a 6 month leave from work (lots of reasons why which I won’t go into details about) I woke up with nowhere to go and to be honest it felt great for the first few days, I stayed home, looked after the kids, did the laundry and dishes, made meals. It was amazing and then the days turned into weeks and then months. I am not saying it was all bad as I had the option to go back to work earlier if I wanted. What I am saying is that a taste of this allowed me a unique learning experience. There is no life without purpose.

 

I am not saying that your purpose should be work, all I am saying is that at least when I woke up every day I knew exactly what was needed of me and weekend rests felt better because they felt earned. I am convinced that a sense of direction is vital but even more so that it is only a third of a perfect piece.

 

B) A Sense of Ownership: This is the second piece of the puzzle. When I was home I realised that even when I was at work I did not exactly feel accomplished. I felt like I had failed to some degree. Did I hate my job? Not at all, I loved it. I loved meeting new people every month. I knew almost everyone. I was respected by my colleagues, delegates and superiors.

 

Yet something was missing. I realised that what was simply missing was that it wasn’t mine. It was a good job, not the best pay but good enough but it wasn’t my company. I felt no responsibility for the job. This allowed me come to the conclusion that responsibility is also a good this and it brings with it ownership.

 

What am I saying here? I am simply stating the obvious, My family (son, daughter and wife) are my responsibility and because of that simple irrefutable fact I know exactly what they need from me (doesn’t mean I always do it though). There is ownership in the family unity and this allowed me to enjoy the challenges that come with it. I relish the challenges and pray I am up to them but they are no longer negative. A sense of ownership is very important but even with direction and ownership there is still something missing.

 

C) A Sense of Belonging: I am not sure you even need me to explain why this is even important but I will all the same. Have you ever thought about the tragedy of abandonment and the evils that sometimes come from people that have suffered isolation and abandonment?  Or ever thought about radicals or gangs? What makes people give up their lives for a belief? What makes life and family mean so little in comparison? It is a sense of belonging. It is such a powerful motivator than it leads people to abandon everything they see and know and in extreme circumstances to abandon morality. A sense of belonging can also be used in a positive way. An example that comes to mind is missionaries delivering food, help, health aid and charities with international reach.  At this point I feel that I would be writing an irresponsible post if I do not interject and state that a sense of belonging does not in any way mean an abandonment of your own desires or who you are.

 

As a matter of fact I believe that they go hand in hand. A quote that comes to mind that explains it perfectly is by Brene Brown;

“The truth is: Belonging starts with self-acceptance. Your level of belonging, in fact, can never be greater than your level of self-acceptance, because believing that you’re enough is what gives you the courage to be authentic, vulnerable and imperfect.”

 

She also goes on to echo my discovery when she states “A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don’t function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick”.

 

For anyone that has never heard of her, she is worth researching.  My sense of belonging comes from more than just myself. I belong to my family as much as they belong to me. I belong to my friends and I belong to this world. I am responsible for how I leave this world when my time is up (no matter what day that happens).

 

You see, in order to fully appreciate a sense of direction you must see it in connection to ownership and belonging and then and only then do you see the full picture of why they are important as individuals yet part of a family.

 

2) Love: I am glad I discovered this well into the early years of marriage. The love of a wife can be a bedrock. Before I could really understand this I first of all had to understand that I am not perfect in anyway. The fact I have love does not mean I will not abuse it or take it for granted and this only helps to make me take a step back and see how lucky I am. When I talk about love here, I am in no way talking about love from Hollywood movies or from romantic books.

 

I am talking about love where you are hurt but still don’t want to leave. The kind you are afraid to lose and it keeps you working on yourself to become better. I am talking about the kind you know and you feel as real as your own hands. I won’t bore you by telling you all the details of how I came to this conclusion all I will say is whoever you have let them know. If you can’t say it , then write it. If you can’t write it then sing it, if you can’t sing it ask someone to help but don’t stay silent. Love breeds love. Can you imagine a faith worse than loving with nobody to love? If you are lucky enough to have someone to love and someone that loves you back then they deserve to know.  Love forgives, love cares, love appreciates, love grows, love never dies, love never looks back but love also needs love to burn brightest.

 

3) Attitude: I guess this might come as a surprise to some, as attitude is very often not discussed as an important part of a purposeful life. Attitude is simply a settled way of thinking or feeling about something.

Why is this important? I guess it is simply because we are all a victim or product of our perceptions. We react to the world based on the way we see the world. Our attitude is governed by it. Yet we very often forget that though we may not have the best of everything or anything. We have a choice on how to behave. My friends please don’t kid yourselves the way I have always done. We have a choice in every situation.  We have a choice on how to react when we get fired, when our partner leaves us, when we fail to get what we want, when someone cuts in front of us (we all know how irritating that can sometimes be). We can “chose” to rise above it or chose to dwell on it. Our attitude is our choice and ours alone. We are not even victims of our biological urges as most people like to believe. We own our attitude, we own our choices, we own it and must take responsibility for it.

 

Now the best part about attitude is that even if you have a poor attitude, this can be fixed. It is not something you were born with. It is something you develop.  A very useful strategy to develop is “looking at the bigger picture”.

 

 

“Keep your face always toward the sunshine – and shadows will fall behind you.”

― Walt Whitman

 

A few examples might help. When I was 8 years old, I fell “in love” (as much as a child can) for the first time. I was totally crazy for a girl I met in school. I felt that this was the single most important thing in the world to me. I never told anyone about it but to me, she was everything. In that moment at that time I felt like if I did not get her then “life was not worth living”.

 

I don’t think she ever knew who I was or how I ever felt. Now, over 20 years after and it makes no difference what I felt then. It has no impact on my life and thankfully I am still here. Now before you disregard this and call it “puppy love” please note that this was very real to me. If a person perceives something as real then it will always be in your best interest to treat it as such (regardless of your own personal inclinations). I was just as hurt then as I would be now.

 

Another example is one that is very personal to me. Almost a decade ago (during my freshman year) I met a lovely lady who turned out to be a very good friend. She made my first year at university that much easier. She was nice and though we never had romantic feelings for each other she was as good a friend as I could ever ask for. About 3 years ago she unfortunately took her own life. It looks for all indications to be as a result of lost love. I was so devastated by this because we had not been in touch for over 2 years and I just wished I could have offered her what she offered me when I needed it. I cannot even begin to imagine the pain her family is going through even till date. She really was a saint yet in a similar situation she just could not see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I cannot blame her ex-boyfriend as he has a right to pick who he wants to be with. He has a right to choice.

 

In the present world of social media it is quite easy to develop a negative attitude, especially when one looks at what “the rest of the world” seems to be doing.

 

A few realistic steps might help

1) Be careful when developing your attitude and never compare yourself to anyone. What a tragedy it will be if we ever forget the thing that makes us uniquely us. Our experience are uniquely ours and what makes us beautiful and stronger ( A treasure chest of wisdom).

 

2) Whatever people say is simply their opinion. They are entitled to it but it does not mean you have to take it (obviously I still recommend listening to good counsel).  No one can make you feel inferior without your consent so stand firm on who you are.

 

3) Smile and do what makes you happy as long as it isn’t harmful to yourself or others.  We still have a responsibility to others so one unfortunately must reflect on this advice more than all the others. I am in no way asking you to stay with someone you know you do not love at all for fear of breaking their heart. I am simply saying pleasure must be enjoyed with caution.

 

4) Ignore people who simply tell you that you cannot do it and never offer advice as to how to overcome a problem. What good is it telling someone of a problem if it is not backed with a solution? You need positive people around you especially because there will come a day that you might lose belief in yourself. You will need someone who helps you see it.

 

5) Enjoy yourself in everything. Enjoy the unexpected or result that were not what you expected. Many people have discovered great things in error. A positive attitude will help you see through it all.

 

6)Have a positive vision and be happy for other peoples success. I know it might be hard to be happy for your ex when they find someone else they love but try to understand that true love involves being happy for someone else even if they are not with you.

 

7) Finally, always be true to yourself. Not who you think you are or what you would like to be but who you really are (strengths and weaknesses). Never beat yourself down and never compromise or search for dodgy shortcuts. Work smart and not harder but always know who you are what you stand for lest you fall for anything.

 

Your attitude to success will ultimately be the thing you rely on when things go wrong. When (and not if) problems come along the way. A positive attitude will keep you focussed and goal oriented. It will give you power over your circumstances. No matter what you face in life always look at the bigger picture.  Are you worrying about work? Well, If you got fired today, your company will be fine as there are several hundreds to do your job (so take a break and enjoy life).  Your life has been lived many times before you by many others before you (so enjoy the ride and love the people around you while you still can). There will always be wealth on earth (so try not to spend your entire life looking for it).  In work, in family in life, always give more than you expect to receive in return.  These my friends is how we find real purpose in life.

 

“There is a magnificent, beautiful, wonderful painting in front of you! It is intricate, detailed, a painstaking labor of devotion and love! The colors are like no other, they swim and leap, they trickle and embellish! And yet you choose to fixate your eyes on the small fly which has landed on it! Why do you do such a thing?”

– C. JoyBell C.

 

If you have any more suggestions or comments, please feel free to leave a comment below. Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

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May You Find Love

May You Find Love

Even though she never needed, wanted or asked for it. I gave her my heart, I gave her my soul, and I gave to her all the love that I hold within me. I gave her my respect and understanding. I gave her my compassion and my passion; I gave her faithfulness. I gave her my laughter; I opened my heart like never before and let her know my fears and insecurities, my strengths and weaknesses.  I gave her my dreams and made her dreams mine.

I gave her my encouragement and my undying belief in her. I made her my future. If I could love her forever, that wouldn’t be long enough.  All these things I give to her freely, willingly and without regret, because of my love for her, and they shall always remain hers for no-one else is worthy.

But I know now that I have to try hard to move past her, because of the way she affects my everyday thoughts. I know that I have to quit hoping that I will ever get to hold or kiss her again. I don’t want to wake up anymore, in the middle of the night, thinking about her and not being able to get back to sleep.

The feeling I get in my heart drives me to the point of absolute insanity for now I see her without me. I need to fill that hole in my soul that I carry with me, from losing her, but I know that it will never go away. Love doesn’t work that way.

I need to know what it takes for me not to see her perfectly made face in my heart every time, even when she is not around, I still see her as if she is sitting right next to me. Oh! her beautiful smile, exquisite laugh and perfect body. My heart remains lifeless at the thought of permanently losing her smile, the sound of her laughter, her tears, her scent, her belief in me, her encouragement and the unending compassion that lies in her heart.

You see, I finally learned what real love is and the pain it can bring, and that real love is defined through her every day smile. If you ever find that ability to love and care for someone that much, where each waking day is better than the previous one only because she is still a part of your life, and no matter what happens or what your station in life is, be it rich or poor, love given or withdrawn that nothing can change your heart, because you love someone unconditionally then and only then shall you truly know where real strength and love come from.

I wish God found me worthy to be the head of her heart but I can’t take back what’s in my heart or all the feelings that go with it now, or the fact that every good thing I am today or was capable of becoming, I owe to her and leave with her. Real love is a rare and wonderful thing, and as with most rare things, very hard to hang on to and believe it is truly yours.

It’s not just saying the words; it’s when you cradle that person’s face in your hands and look them in the eyes as your heart beat races and say to them “no, I really mean it, I truly love you”.

It is knowing that the absolute worst thing about dying would be missing her and not being able to see her anymore. It is about indefinable understanding regardless of situation, life’s changes or whatever she does, so that every day is like the very first time God showed you mercy and blessed you by putting her in your life.

It is knowing that you listen to your heart and follow it, because you know that there is nothing stronger or more powerful than the unconditional love of another. It can bring you to heights unimaginable, or it can slam you so hard that you think even living isn’t important anymore. It’s about believing because it’s such a hard thing to keep.

I write these feelings and words down in the hope that anyone seeing it knows what true love is when they find someone who sees them as beautiful when they don’t even try, amazing when they don’t feel it and perfect when they know they are far from it or forget it. It will put the feeling of success in your heart; to know what an amazing feeling it is and how free it makes you feel if you can only embrace it and count yourself lucky. It’s like being able to fly without actually leaving the ground; not many people ever get to truly have that and even less enjoy it for life for love is sometimes fleeting. I know in my heart that I have lost one of the biggest parts of me because the hurting never goes away; it will always be there but it helps to make me a stronger person in some ways

So whoever reads this know that if you ever find someone who loves you as much without you having to change yourself first, keep it in your heart and lock it away and keep it there for eternity and beyond. Don’t be afraid to enjoy it reflect on it and to tell other people, Take your time and appreciate the scale of how loved you really are and count yourself as God blessed because it really is the one real and true thing that we can have in our lives that can guarantee a great family, a great life and a life of real purpose with absolutely no limits. Watch as everything else gently starts to pale in comparison and your life brings with it a new direction as it heals and forgives all.

Love long, hard, and forever and If you are yet to be blessed by the undying unconditional love of one may an inextinguishable love find and accept all that is you; bad and good, forever and ever in all conditions.

 

 

Can you die of a broken heart?

Can you die of a broken heart?

Can you die of a broken heart?

I guess it’s quite a deep topic. A few days ago I read the paper and saw an article about a woman that was married to her husband for over 70 years. He was her high school sweet heart and until the day he died they were un-separable. He was 93 years old when he died and then a few days later (3 days after) she also passed away.  As I read this article the inquisitive part of me came to life and I started to ask so many questions came to mind.

The first one was about their love. I looked at the 2012 statistics for England and wales and it showed

There were 13 divorces an hour in England and Wales in 2012
• Women were granted 65% of all divorces
• 9,703 men and 6,026 women aged over 60 got divorced
• One in seven divorces were granted as a result of adultery
• 719 (less than 1%) divorces were granted because of desertion
• The average age at divorce was 45 for men and 42 for women
• 9% of couples divorcing had both been divorced before
• 48% of couples divorcing had at least one child aged under 16 living with the family
• It is expected that 42% of marriages will end in divorce.

In the USA about 40 to 50 percent of married couples in the United States divorce. The divorce rate for subsequent marriages is even higher.

How did they manage this feat? How did they stay in love for so long? Did they worry about the same things our present generation do? Did they ever fall out of love and needed or worked on falling back into love? What about commitment? We know that love and commitment are not the same thing so how did they manage this? What was their story?

You see, I wondered these things because I was recently married. I loved my wife and we had been blessed with kids but both my wife and I were from broken homes. Both our parents were separated. In my case they were married for over 20 years before the separation. I was curious and afraid because I wondered if it could happen to me.  I just wanted to learn from their mistakes if possible and gain from the now deceased couples experience if applicable.

As I researched couples another question came into my mind and this question is the reason for me writing just now. It was a questioned that appealed to the hopeless romantic in me. Did she die because it was her time to go or did she die from a broken heart?

You see the thing is if it was a one off story then I guess it would be more likely she did for any number of reasons besides a broken heart.  Now let me ask you a question, Is this the first time you have ever heard or read such a story? Is this the first time you read a story about true love and the second half dying shortly after the first?

 

According to Dr. Holly S. Andersen, “The answer is yes. A traumatic breakup, an extreme argument or experiencing the death of a loved one can elicit the release of stress hormones that can trigger a heart attack in people prone to them, induce a life-threatening arrhythmia or cause a syndrome that mimics a heart attack in otherwise healthy hearts.”

Another notable quote is from Shauna Springer: “One hallmark of couples who have passed into the ‘soul mate’ phase of their marriage is that they continually bless and inspire others through the way they treat each other and those around them. Another hallmark is the ‘widower’ effect – when two people become one, it is often the case that the death of one is closely followed by the death of the other. This isn’t merely romantic nonsense propagated by Hollywood movie-makers – this actually happens with notable frequency for closely-bonded pairs.
Source: Shauna Springer, Ph.D. “Soul Mates Do Exist – Just not in the way we usually think…” PsychologyToday.com. 7/28/2012.

I am a big believer of research and in it comes as no great surprise that two people can form a bond so strong that when one dies the other could lose the will to live.

Separate studies involving thousands of couples in Scotland and Israel concluded that the risk of death among widows and widowers surges anywhere from 30 to 50 percent during the first six months after their beloveds pass [source:Dahlstrom]. After that initial period of bereavement, the statistical risk of death diminishes [source:Martikainen and Valkonen]. (See hyperlinks if you chose to read more)

One of the most prominent cases is that of Minnesota couple Clifford and Eva Vevea who were ‘hopelessly in love’ for 65 years of their marriage, died within hours of each other.

No matter what people say to you or tell you it is possible to die from a broken heart but that does not mean that you cannot chose to live.  A way to understand or think clearly is to ask one simple question. What would my other half have wanted from me? If they truly loved you (and I guess they probably did) then the answer would inevitably be that they wanted you to live. Another thing to bear in mind is that most studies looked at people aged over 50 years old so it is not clear if this applies to younger people. Now I have to take a stance at this point and be clear on the fact that I am not saying that it doesn’t apply to younger people. I m just saying that there aren’t enough studies to conclude that it does.

My post has to do with true love. Not someone leaving you, not the normal day to day part of dating but the real deal. The type people sometimes spend their entire life looking for.

I am writing this just in-case there is anyone out there that has just lost someone they loved, their soul-mate. I want you to know that what you feel is true, it real and it is possible to still live for those you have left. I do not write this because of experience but because in some cases just knowing that you are not insane helps. Cry out to the people around you because you can die of a broken heart.

 

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