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.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE “A GOOD PERSON” OR A “BAD PERSON”? THE PROBLEM WITH MORALITY.
“Life is neither good or evil, but only a place for good and evil”.
What is Morality? Why does this topic even matter? What’s so special about having a moral reference point?
Morality is from the Latinmoralitas which means “manner, character, proper behavior”. It is the differentiation of intentions, decisions, and actions between those that are “good” (or right) and those that are “bad” (or wrong).
I believe the issue of morality is very vital as man in general is born blank (i.e not racist, immoral and no idea of what good and bad consists of) and can be socialised into violence or a number of ideas. This obviously also raises questions on the right way to raise a child, the right process for rehabilitation for the criminally convicted and so many other questions.
The problem with the question is in the definition. Who or what determines what is good or bad? Who says what is acceptable and what is not?
It is no secret that morals can vary from person to person and culture to culture however many are practically universal, as they result from basic human emotions.
A few years ago I came across this problem in a public forum between Christians and Atheists. The topic that was raised was not necessarily one on morality but one on a divine deity and its responsibility towards the starving folks from third world countries.
Though my topic has nothing to do with my previous discussion, I feel it might be necessary to repost it for the sake of clarity.
The post read as follows:
“I have read a number of views here from both Atheists and Believers especially with regards to starving children in Africa.
First of all let me start by saying that I am African, born, bred and raised in Africa. When we speak about Africa and its problems you must understand that God has nothing to do with it. Africa is one of the richest places on earth. Our people believe that we did not develop so many things in the past because there was no need for it. as necessity is the mother of all inventions. Africa has an abundance of food and in cases where there isn’t there is the land which is rich and fertile, we have good weather so there is a lack of need for massive structures and prior to colonialism there was respect for animal life. We did not kill animals except for when it was needed. Africa in a lot of ways is the cradle of life for the world.
The problems in Africa are complex but I can assure you they were not caused by God. They were started by colonialism, extended by slave trade and have continued by racial discrimination. Every single one of these is caused by men such as myself. When Barack Obama became president it was a big deal that a black man was elected. This feeling was not developed by God it was done by people. African presidents who were taught corruption by colonial masters have for centuries plundered and stolen its resources for their own good and starved their own people.
Africa is in trouble because of people and not because of God. God by nature has given us free will and as such will not deny us of the consequences of our choices. When a king/president rules with terror do the people not suffer?
Look to yourselves and see if you ever learnt anything from the 1st or second world war. Millions of people died. Did God cause this? How about global warming, Did God cause climate shifts?
More important than blame what have you done about it? I can honestly say that in all my years in Africa I have never seen one so called NGO or charity asking for £3 a month to help children ever.
I am happy for the girl that got to go to Disney land but I also know that even in the bible God did not always come down from heaven himself to make a change in the life of his people. He sent someone to deliver them. Look at Moses, Nehemiah, David, Habakuk and Jesus (who walked as a man).
To my fellow Christians be careful not to miss what that really means and my fellow Atheist be careful when speaking about things you really do not understand but have only seen from the media. God has nothing to do with problems in Africa. Africa is damaged by people. To borrow from a saying “Guns dont kill people, people kill people.
When you refuse to feed others when you have enough, you have starved him (not God), When you refuse shelter to a friend, you have made him homeless (not God). God answers prayers through people in a lot of cases so do not say he doesn’t. I have so many testimonies to share but not enough time as I am only passing by.”
In retrospect the post read more like a vent than an educated ramble but it still raised the question of morality. Who determines in your life or in the life of the people around you what is Good and what is Bad? Maybe if we can solve this we can solve the problem of human responsibility and maybe make the world just a little bit better.
Is morality determined by man (as an individual), society (collection of men), emotions or by a divine moral reference point.
Let’s examine the problems with the first one.
Morality defined by man:
“The whole course of human history may depend on a change of heart in one solitary and even humble individual – for it is in the solitary mind and soul of the individual that the battle between good and evil is waged and ultimately won or lost”.
M. Scott Peck
If the definition of what is right and wrong is determined or left to be determined by you or I then what we are essentially saying is that anything outside of myself cannot determine if what I have done is right or wrong.
I guess morality is a philosophical discussion more than it is a scientific one. If morality is defined by a man then ultimately does this mean that if that said man feels that it is morally right to beat a dog till almost death as a teaching then he is right? What does this bring?
In essence what we are really saying here is that if Thomas Smith decided that he wanted to beat his child as a sign of love (maybe in his own way he feels that if he corrects a mistake today it is unlikely to happen again tomorrow). Would you say Thomas Smith is morally a “good person”? After all Thomas Smith is doing this because he feels he is being good to the child.
What if it wasn’t so destructive in nature? What if all Thomas Smith believed was just as he was born without clothes, he feels he is right to walk around without clothes? As man ages so does his preference. A very powerful quote that explains this can be taken from a man called Paul who once persecuted and killed Christians but later became a Christian himself and suffered the same persecution he himself had met out to countless others.
Pauls famously explains the ever changing nature of man in 1st Corinthians 13:11 “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.”
Also as important in morality as defined by man is the question of the Will of man. What happens to his Will?
Albert DeSalvo (A serial killer) famously said “It wasn’t as dark and scary as it sounds. I had a lot of fun…killing somebody’s a funny experience.”
The problem of morality as defined by man is even clearer in the case of Peter Sutcliffe where he also famously stated “The women I killed were filth-bastard prostitutes who were littering the streets. I was just cleaning up the place a bit.”
If he defines/determines morality and in his mind he was doing the world a favour; is he morally wrong? How about TV’s most beloved serial killer “Dexter Morgan”? What he morally right as he only killed serial killers?
Morality defined by society:
How about morality as defined by society? In order to even discuss this one must start with culture. In the simplest definition of culture, it is the way of life of the people. Culture is man developed but more importantly collectively agreed. This means that just because Samantha jones likes to run around her neighbourhood naked, it does not make it the culture of that society. It must be done and agreed by the collective to be so. Culture in a lot of ways is similar to language. It is mans distinction from animals or the beasts of the fields. We (Man) have managed to create structure where it ordinarily won’t have been. This has sometimes been done for the survival of the species and other times for sexual satisfaction (not implying that these are the only two reasons).
Regardless of why a culture started, it brings in some really important questions to the table. A good way to explain this is to look at certain societies both past and present. The first that comes to mind is pre abolishment of slave trade. For the most part certain societies in the world (developed societies) believed that it was okay not just to own, rape, force labour but to kill at will as it was their “property”.
This was a society that did not even treat dogs that way at the time but seemed okay to do this with humans. Were the owners evil or was it society that defined it? Clearly it was society as now that the mentality of this has changed (even though racism still strongly exists) it appears that so also has society.
How about the Holocaust? Was that society or man? In modern times there is a society/village in Papua New Guinea that accepts cannibalism as a way of life. Are they “morally right”? After all it isn’t a crime to eat other humans there? Is the argument for morality as defined by society also based on location (we know cannibalism is not legal in the USA or UK)?
Also importantly is the fact that the only thing that is really constant in life is change and just as we all know now, Slave trade is no longer legal. Society has changed its mind on it, same as being gay. This means that society can also change its mind on other aspects. If Society changes its mind on its stance on Paedophilia, does this make it right? Do you see the problem with morality when defined by society? Can we also customize/manipulate society through public propaganda so morality can also be changed (Just as with Slavery and Homosexuality)?
Morality defined by God (Spiritual Deity):
Let’s look at morality as defined by God/Spiritual Deity. The first and most obvious immediate problem with this is “Which God”? There are many extinct polytheistic religions that man never heard about simply because they died out before man invented written language.
In Hinduism alone, there may be as many as 330 million gods. Some religions worship a pantheon; some religions believe that there is a god in each of us or that we are all a part of a god. There are potentially billions of gods if you follow this system.
Even in religions that agree on a singular deity that deity still differs. It seems like the search for the one true God from an educative perspective will take more than a few hundred life times to know the truth and even then I think if viewed by the same rigidity required for scientific hypotheses to be determined a “fact”, mankind will still come up short.
Now lets see if possible to go away even for just a bit from that problem of
“What God first” and take the assumption that there is only one true God. Lets for the sake of conversation say that this is the God of Abraham/Ibrahim (please notice I did not say Christian or Muslim). I use the God of Abraham simply based on the fact that this is the only time that Christians and Muslims agree on deity and they represent the largest religious sect in the world. Every thing after that simply becomes a disagreement. Unlike “morality as defined by man” and “morality as defined by society”, there is some hope here. First of all in order to be a God, God cannot change which means that his stance on good and evil can not be speculative. God is totalitarian (This is found in the definition of being a God), this means that he has a clear distinction on what is classified as good or evil and this combined with our previous point means that the reference point in theory will be eternal. He has no beginning and no end and is seen as the creator of mankind. This means that he is ageless and timeless.
Even with those being major positives it is also difficult to move away from the fact that God seems to exist through a spiritual consciousness (I am also not saying it is impossible that God is physical) but very often when people talk about hearing from God they are very often not speaking physically. This means that it is impossible to avoid the problem of “manipulation”.
I can presently think of 9 examples when this has been a problem
1) Human sacrifices in Buddhist Burma (over 500 bodies found)
2) Members of lndia’s Thuggee sect killing over 20,000 people a year (estimated to have killed over 2 million people) to appease the goddess kali
3) The Mountain Meadows massacre by a group of Mormons and Paiute Indians (120 men, women and children).
4) The Medieval Inquisition is a series of Inquisitions (Roman Catholic Church bodies charged with suppressing heresy) from around 1184 which tortured and killed thousands (true amount uncertain).
5) The witch trial by Puritans that settled in Massachusetts in the 1600s (20 alleged witches were killed and over 150 others imprisoned).
6) Roman Persecution of Christians (Christians were rounded up and killed. Some were torn apart by dogs, others burnt alive as human torches. This lasted over 100 years). The death toll also in its thousands if not 100 thousands.
7) Aztec Human Sacrifice (over 20,000 sacrifices a year). The sun God needed daily sacrifices of blood. This also is estimated to be in its millions.
8) Islamic jihads (holy wars), mandated by the Koran, killed millions over 12 centuries.
9) Thousands of pagans murdered by self proclaimed Christians not including the crusades killing an estimated 1 million plus people.
A few famous quotes on good and evil when decided by a spiritual deity include.
“God did not create evil. Just as darkness is the absence of light, evil is the absence of God.”
“In each of us, two natures are at war – the good and the evil. All our lives the fight goes on between them, and one of them must conquer. But in our own hands lies the power to choose – what we want most to be we are.”
Finally just before I end this introduction to this very controversial topic and give you a chance to share your thoughts. It seems like no matter what route you chose in defining morality or picking a moral reference point. There will always be the issue of manipulation.
Manipulation very often has a negative connotation to it and in fairness there are genuine reasons why this is the case. However, it is performed daily by almost every one of us and every sector. Think of your local McDonalds for just a second. Have you ever gone in and the music is slow paced just like your pricey restaurant? Even the music is designed or put to create an atmosphere of fast food. Lets take another look at the shelves in a shop. Do you think the ready made meals and the drinks are next to each other by chance? Think about your favourite political speech. Do you think it was not tailored or designed to elicit such a reaction from you? Think about a theatrical preview of a new movie. Is it designed to get you to watch it or not to?
Maybe all of this sounds sinister, Lets think about the first time you went after a person you liked (obviously I say this on the assumption you are a well balanced person). When you went on that first date? The clothes you picked or even dressing up for an interview. Were you seeking a particular response?
So can we say knowing fully well that we use it to survive and it is actually a vital requirement for successes in this present age that it is wrong to be manipulative?
They are all attempts to control the variables in our environment to suit a response in which we find favourable. It affects a person’s free will and choice and when people are really good at it we know them as social puppeteers. Prostitutes use this, politicians use this and religious leaders use this.
Or do we excuse ourselves as well that it is okay as long as we determine it to be (morality as defined by man), maybe according to society (morality as defined by society) or maybe as long as my religion says its fine (Morality as defined by Spiritual deity).
No matter which one of the three we (people) chose to live our life by, it is arguably more dangerous to not have a moral reference point so this remains a question that requires an answer. Maybe the answer is in the question, maybe its not. Maybe you know an answer. I sure would love to read your thoughts on it. So please share your thoughts, don’t just read and go.
In this message Peter Pretorius describes his life story how having being a tobacco farmer and formula one driver his life was remarkably changed. Peter and his wife Ann literally left everything to pursue the call that God had for their lives. They also head up an aid organisation based in Africa where they feed, clothe and educate over 1 million children a day. Peter and Ann spearhead evangelistic crusades across the continent of Africa.
LISTEN TO A VERY POWERFUL TRUE STORY OF HOW A TOBACCO FARMER (ATHEIST) WENT ON TO SAVE AND FEED OVER ONE MILLION PEOPLE.
NB: This message was originally recorded in Destiny Church Edinburgh on the 12 Sep 2006and all copyrights belong to them and the speaker.
As a new month comes into play and old things go into the past, it is with a heavy heart I am writing this letter. I have decided to no longer just keep silent and watch as things destroy and are irrevocably lost but to speak up. I think it is time.
In the unexplainable web of family rivalry, bitterness, mixed truths, sadness, despair, depression, tears, hatred and conflict. I want to start by saying that just because I have taken the decision to speak up please never let it be said that I have taken the moral high ground or I have somehow put myself as “holier than thou, riding on the proverbial high horse”. I only speak because even though it is seen as an old fashion concept I still believe in “Family”.
Writing this is actually bringing tears to my eyes and I am not speaking figuratively. I cry out to God over my family and the life of every one of us. I write this from my heart and I hope that somehow just before the new month starts it gets to each and every one of you just in time.
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”. There is always more than one way to re-act to every situation.
You see the thing is, In the error of youth 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 you sad Dad 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 have watched as individuals blamed their surroundings for the circumstances in which they found themselves, they have blamed God, their children, 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.
Do I speak of one person when I write this? No I do not. I am not excluded. If anything I might even be the biggest culprit of it all.
I believe that every human being is beautifully and wonderfully created, but most importantly that they are armed through life with the ability to make rational choices (not easy choices but rational choices).
There are a few ways in which I could address all the ongoing issues. I could start by taking the road of pointing out who is telling the truth. This road of pointing out inadequacies and faults is one we have always taken but have never gotten any result. We could go on and say “Mr this” should never have said or done whatever to “Mr and Mrs that” but I think our catalogue of faults as a family are more than I am willing to write or go into. It is honestly a miracle that no one has killed someone else. We have all been hurt “very deeply” by each other and the scar from wounds of years ago still show up every day.
We could also go one to take the approach of saying to everyone that they should all just apologise and move on but what good is a half apology or one in which we do not know or accept we did anything wrong. In other to learn from our mistakes one must first of all acknowledge that they have made mistakes. Do we accept that we have all made mistakes? I guess this is a question that only you can answer.
I would like to start by saying that I know I have and I am sorry to anyone I have hurt in the process especially in my youth.
The final option is taken from a biblical principle taught by Jesus over 2000 years ago when a woman was about to be stoned to death for being a prostitute by a crowd of people. Jesus calls out and looks to the congregation and says “Let him without sin cast the first stone”. So I say this to my family, let him without sin cast the first stone.
Let the person that knows they are innocent of all sin be the judge of all. If you have sinned against your family in whatever way either as sons, daughters, mothers or fathers then I beg you not to throw stones in glass houses. I know how hurt everyone is but the problem is that EVERYONE IS HURT AND NOT JUST ONE PERSON.
It is time for peace and a turnaround but this must first come from a heartfelt acceptance when we cannot ignore the hurts we have caused others. I know there were times I disappointed the whole family but only self pride will keep me from knowing that everyone was affected but my decisions and not just myself.
Everyone one of us starts every argument (Please have no delusions about this, everyone does this and does it very deeply also) or disagreement by talking about ourselves, How it affects us, how we feel, what we wanted to do, what we did and how we do not want something. In the role play of our individual lives we are all victims of life.
It is time to stop thinking about how things affect us but how it affects others. I know it is easier said than done and I don’t think it will be easy but I promise you all it is worth changing or fighting for. Life is more than just how we feel or what we want or even our own happiness.
For me, it is now about my family’s happiness. I live for my family and know life has no real meaning until we live for others. Take a look at Nelson Mandela, we do not celebrate him because he was the best man in the world but because he lived for others, same with Jesus.
My family we are not victims. We are the causes of our own hurts and there is only one solution.
Love is the only choice we have, Love can build a bridge between our hearts. Love can overcome all the sorrow, the pain, the countless days of tears, the days you wished life would depart and the depressions we felt. Love will be our bridge and don’t you all think it’s time?
When we stand together it is our finest hour. We can do anything. I write in tears because I still believe that in between all these there is still love somewhere. Please do not prove me wrong or just a dreamer.
In the presence of darkness only light can overcome it and when light comes darkness cannot comprehend it but must give way to a stronger being at the expense of itself. Let love be the light the fixes all darkness.
1 Corinthians 13 (New International Version): If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
I think it is time. I put myself on the line to say let our last name be more than just letters but something that unites us. It is time to let go not because you were not hurt, not because you are not right to be hurt but because it is time to let go.
We have lost almost a whole decade as a family. Who can remember the last time we all smiled as a family? I have only a fading recollection of this. Time lost can never be gained so let’s not lose anymore. Let it be now.
I know we must all follow our paths but the best way to do that is to know what path we are presently walking on. My family we have gone astray and a lot is lost but not all is lost.
I do not write this to chastise or for self regret. I only say we made mistake because it’s about the road that gets you to a place where you finally see yourself for what and who you are and lose all sense of false self grandeur. The day you weep your eyes out because for the first time you really see your flaws and you realise that just knowing what they are means nothing if you continue to do nothing about it. That day “our” world takes a new shape. That day friends and family that have stood by you mean even more; “everything becomes an opportunity”, a second chance to get things right. That day maturity grabs you by the throat and becomes your best friend. You finally dissect yourself accurately and on that day self-pity leaves your side and self-action takes its place. Blame departs along with loneliness and new life takes its place.
That day you realise that even though your life and options aren’t what you want you learn to take the highroad (not your way), maybe you do this because you learn to look at everything as a lesson, or because you don’t want to walk around angry anymore hoping to rationalise life, or maybe it is because you finally understand the cards that are laid before you.
In life there are things we don’t want to happen, but have to accept. There are people we can’t live without, but have to let go and that there are things we don’t want to know or face (often about ourselves), but have to learn.
Doing something about what we already know is our fault is the real difference.
I have learnt that failing to see one’s 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.
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.
I present love as choice and just as I mentioned earlier it is one in which if we chose not to accept God will not deny us of the consequences just as any other choice in life we make.
Yes! We all made mistakes but 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. 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
My family what values do we place on each other? The time for talk is long gone. It is time for actions.
I do not want to end this on a low as a new month shall shortly begin so I would like to say this in the form of two quotes.
When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.”
― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
“There is neither happiness nor misery in the world; there is only the comparison of one state with another, nothing more. He who has felt the deepest grief is best able to experience supreme happiness. We must of felt what it is to die, Morrel, that we may appreciate the enjoyments of life.
” Live, then, and be happy, beloved children of my heart, and never forget, that until the day God will deign to reveal the future to man, all human wisdom is contained in these two words, ‘Wait and Hope.”
― Alexandre Dumas
“Life is messy. Grit and grace come at us fast, side by side. Sometimes the grit becomes overwhelming and diminishes our spirit. What’s good seems lost and gone forever. This is a story about the pathway back to what’s beautiful, when the way back seems impossible.”
― Sharon E. Rainey, Making a Pearl from the Grit of Life
I have spent a good part of my adult life fascinated and dreaming about success. I have very often wondered what makes a man a success in life? I guess this might seem like a vague question especially when the term success is used but let us for a second try not to get hung up on the word “success”.
I know that success to people is relative and will ultimately be based on a person’s individual circumstances. I understand that success to me might be having a loving family and guaranteed roof and food for the lifetime of myself and my family members and to you it could be a seven figure bank account. In the discovery of what makes a man successful I can honestly say that an individuals definition of what exactly success is does not matter in the journey to success. Simply put, it does not matter what you define success to be, the requirement to be successful very often will be the same regardless of destination point. For the sake of this post I will keep success referring to a “successful business”.
I started my journey by looking at IQ, it dint take very long before I discovered that while having a High IQ surely doesn’t hurt. It also does not mean you will be successful. To be honest you don’t need to do too much research to see that success is not always a result of intelligence. Otherwise the most intelligent people in the world would be the most successful.
I then decided to look into Daniel Goleman’s claim that success is driven by EQ (Emotional intelligence). After much reading and to my dismay I also found out that this does not need to be present to be successful. It certainly does not hurt but it really isn’t necessary. You can hire someone who has a High IQ and EQ.
After taking a deeper look (without me turning this friendly post into an educational paper), I discovered it is an age old recipe called “Grit”.
You see when I say Grit I am not talking about being harsh as stone’s nor am I talking about being coarse. I am talking about the psychology definition of what this is. I am talking about being able to find a target and having a powerful motivation to achieve their respective objective. I am talking about good old fashion perseverance.
I guess one of the barriers to see the obvious for me was a life long handicap. My handicap was my education. The idea which is very often also unintentionally taught in subjects such as Mathematics and Physics. The thinking that if a person has not been able to solve a problem it is because they have not found the right methodology. This implies that as soon as you find the right method, then the problem becomes easy to solve and then it can be taught to other people who can also use the same method to achieve success in relation to that problem.
While I can not deny the merit in thinking this was, I can also see the handicap this creates in finding a method to success.
I quickly discovered that being successful had nothing to do with method but everything to do with your ability to persevere.
The real beauty about “Grit” is that it has nothing to do with methods or finding an exact way and everything to do with attitude. It also has nothing to do with Intelligence, either general intelligence or emotional intelligence but your ability to manage and keep pushing on.
How does a person get True Grit?
1) True Grit must originate from a genuine belief in what you want to do. I am not talking about a hobby or an interest. Your idea could very well start as a hobby but it must be so much more than that before you can push for it. It must be something you believe in.
2) Belief is not enough; you must be convinced of your idea. You see there is a difference in believing something is needed and knowing something is needed. Your conviction must be analyzed independently and must be honestly looked at. Your idea must serve more than just yourself. What use is an idea if it serves only you? In other words, what is in it for everybody else? This is very often where real value is identified.
3) If you are convinced by the need for your idea and its relevance to the general public or people more than yourself then you must understand that success can be a journey. Now when I say understand, I mean truly know it isn’t a sprint. You see a business or anything worth doing must be allowed to mature on its own. This is the same for life and love. Allowing it to grow means that you know that, just as you are who you are because of the things that happened to you (both positive and negative). An idea worth pursuing is also subject to the rules that it will be hit by both positive and negative things.
You must know that it is not necessarily going to be a bed of roses.
4) If you truly understand the journey. You must anticipate the road ahead and be psychologically and physically prepared for the coming journey. I am not saying that preparation means that you won’t be affected. I am simply saying that preparation for a potential storm might not mean that you will weather the storm but it certainly doesn’t hurt.
5) When the trouble comes and by trouble I mean things like discouragement, frustration and even sometimes financial constraints it is important to focus on the fact that you knew it will happen and work through it.
Just as you only know how good an insurance company is when there is a claim to be made. Or how much a person loves you when there is a problem. This is the defining moment when many new start up businesses either become successful or are a failure. This is the moment when true grit and perseverance helps. The difference between a successful company and failed company when they are both given the same idea is the ability to persevere in times of trouble.
Unlike Intelligence, the beauty of Grit is that it can be taught. You can equip an individual with the ability to cope or the strength to persevere. Grit is an essential and often overlooked element of success. It correlates more highly with success in business than intelligence or a specific talent.
A few things that might help could be simple things such as making sure that
a) New ideas and projects dont distract you from old ones
b) Don’t set a goal but later choose to pursue a different one
c) Be diligent
d) Be intentional in whatever you do.
e) Do not allow setbacks discourage you.
Just remember that even if you are not the most intelligent or the most social. Success is not impossible.
I will end this post with a quote
“It doesn’t matter if people are playing jazz or writing poetry — if they want to be successful, they need to learn how to persist and persevere, how to keep on working until the work is done. Woody Allen famously declared that “eighty percent of success is showing up.” NOCCA (New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts) teaches kids how to show up again and again.”
― Jonah Lehrer, Imagine: How Creativity Works
As I walked down my office street my dreams and past aspirations flashed passed my eyes. And all I had was a deeply sad unanswered question, how did I get here? I remembered how many things I thought I would have accomplished at my age and how far I was from my target. Every day just seemed to drive me further away and I had no idea how to fix that.
I had spent countless hours dreaming, countless hours planning and spent what seemed like an eternity believing I could change everything if I just kept on believing in myself. You cannot even begin to imagine my surprise when I found out that almost every book I had ever read and every major tale I had ever heard about success was an absolute façade. It simply did not work. It was inspirational in its way but still something was missing.
I was 25 years old and I still had no major grip on what I sought after. I had attended private schools, gone to two universities, obtained an MBA degree and had 2 professional qualifications. I had achieved all of this before my 23rd birthday yet none of these added up to success in life or happiness. I had never been described as ugly nor did I have any major physical deformities. I was a Christian who deeply believed in all the church ideas on family and love. I had no criminal record, no mental or physical diseases and had not been in trouble with anything ever. I had a respectable IQ and no one had ever referred to me as weird or strange. I was not wealthy; was not happily married to the woman I cared about and I was nowhere near what I felt I could achieve and would achieve in life. So what on earth was wrong? Why couldn’t I just work for what I want just as I read? Why were hard work, determination and undying self belief just not enough?
I blame it on every lie I have ever read, all the “once you believe it you can achieve it” type lines. All the belief and talent in the world was never going to be enough. Success seemed to have more to do with luck and opportunity than with hard work. I had enough of reading the stories and believing them, they did more harm to my self-esteem than if I had gone through life and tried to make the best of every situation. Guidelines to life sometimes ruin people.
I decided to take the next best step. It was time to work smarter not to work harder. I dumped the “belief only” advice and decided that its time that my life taught me what was real and what was not. They weren’t the Geniuses in life, we are. Why should my interpretation of life depend on their view of life? That’s the only reason I decided to write. I have no intention of going on some ego trip rambling about how I have unravelled the great mysteries to life (I think the Bible is the only book than can claim that or at least for the most part tries to claim that) and I do not believe in guidelines to success. We must all follow our paths but the best way to do that is to know what path we are presently walking on.
I guess it’s about the road that gets you to a place where you finally see yourself for what and who you are and lose all sense of false self grandeur. The day you weep your eyes out because for the first time you really see your flaws and you realise that just knowing what they are means nothing if you continue to do nothing about it. That day “your” world takes a new shape. That day friends and family that have stood by you mean even more; “everything becomes an opportunity”, a second chance to get things right. That day maturity grabs you by the throat and becomes your best friend. You finally dissect yourself accurately and on that day self-pity leaves your side and self-action takes its place.
That day you realise that even though your life and options aren’t what you want you learn to take the highroad (not your way), maybe you do this because you learn to look at everything as a lesson, or because you don’t want to walk around angry anymore hoping to rationalise life, or maybe it is because you finally understand the cards that are laid before you.
There are things we don’t want to happen, but have to accept. There are people we can’t live without, but have to let go and that there are things we don’t want to know or face (often about ourselves), but have to learn. There are days we lack the courage to try to change but know we must someday.
Doing something about what we already know is our fault is the real difference.
That’s where truth comes in. That little push helping you to become what you already were. A diamond in the earth was already a diamond even before it was cleansed and purified. Truth is only here to unearth the diamond that was there all along. I have no intention of presenting a story that thinks for you. I do not believe you need me to and to assume so would be to call you stupid or assume you are incapable of thinking for yourself and we both know that is not true. My “rant” will be a guide to what has to inevitably be your decision; after all it’s only fair you decide since you have to live with the choices you make after.
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.
“No One else will ever know the strength of my love for you.. After all you are the only one that knows what my heart sounds like from the inside”
“Always remember, You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think” ― A.A. Milne
“Life doesn’t come with a manual, it comes with a mother”
My mother brought me up as a single Parent, she has always worked full time, and I never remember going a full day, without seeing her. She never complained when I cried for no reason or when i broke her “favorite ornament” .
My mum always gave me the very best that she could, and without her i wouldn’t be the person who i am today, dont get me wrong we never always got on, we had our moments like every other parent and child, but no matter what happens i know that its just a matter of lifting the phone and dialing her number, she will help me in which ever way she can.
Thanks to my mum i now know how to cope with being a single mummy, she is my inspiration.
I sit back and think how hard my mum had it when it really was just me and her, we had some tough times, but mum always got us out of them with her head held high.
This is a thank you to all mums not just mine who care for their children, unconditionally love them, and will do the very best for them.
I hope my children see me even half as good of a mum than what i think of mine, after all i learnt from the best.
“A mother holds her child’s hand for a short while, But their hearts forever”
“Children must be taught , how to think, not what too think”- Margaret Mead
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
“You are pregnant,” The words I heard and couldn’t believe at 18.
I couldn’t believe it, I was 18 and going to have my second baby. What would everyone say? How would i cope?
my head was full of emotions, Going home looking at my Calvin, my first baby, I got my head round the idea that
in 8 month’s I’ll be having another..
My first scan was great at 11 weeks 4days gone, no sickness no nothing I felt brillant. As time past and my bump grew all our family knew that there was going to be a new addition to the family, I couldn’t have been happier. Thinking back I wondered why I was so worried at the start.
At week 16 my Back had got really sore, migraines, was being sick and tired constantly, the doctors had put it down to being pregnant and with my first child just being run down a bit, giving me iron tablets, I went home. Something to me still didn’t seem right.
Having my next scan to look forward to i put it to the back of my head. Two days later I was at my midwife. asking how I was, I explained how I was feeling, asking if she could take a few swab tests and urine sample I thought it was just procedure. Then she hit me with the most shocking thought that could have ran through my head. Group B Streptococcus or “Strep B” is a more common name for it.
I had never heard of it so she told me not to worry and read through a few pages of information, Going home ringing my mum and granny explaining to them. They had never heard of it either, so I just carried on, taking things easier.
Then it was finally time for my “big” scan. I was so excited, my mum and partner came with me, as we sat round looking at my baby bouncing about sucking its thumb. Then, “Would you like to no what your having?” looking at my mum and partner sitting at the end of their seats I knew that we all couldnt wait, “A very healthy Baby Girl,” I was so happy My first baby was a boy, we’ll have a “gentleman’s family.”
The minute I got home all other thoughts went out of my head, all I could think of was names. At the end of that week I had 2 names picked. My phone rang, “Hello, its Charleen would you be able to come into the surgery, your results have came back, getting Calvin babysat I went up, my partner was at work, so I just went myself, nothing to worry about, the sonographer said a healthy Baby Girl after all.
As I walked into the midwife’s room she brought me down to a room at the end of the hall, walking in my heart sank, ” Hello, I’m a Doctor from Royal Hospital, please take a seat.” “your results have came back, You have Strep B and, we want you to go for a scan”. I explained that I had my scan at the hospital at the start of the week, everything was okay. “For the results that we need you need more of an advanced scan, we can do it now, or you can travel over, and get someone to go with you.”
Knowing that nothing was wrong I got it done there.”Im afraid you have advanced Strep B, in this case 1 in 32,000 people get this, it has been passed on to your unborn baby.”Asking what that meant, and what I had to do I stared to panic. They gave me strong antibiotics to take to try flush it out of my system and had to go back three days later.”please don’t panic about this, your baby needs you to stay relaxed.”
That night I sat and cried, then I decided on a name, “Chloe” meaning, A strong little flower. Going back to the doctors, they explained the antibiotics didn’t work, my other options where limited, “Carry on with your pregnancy and get antibiotic injections every week, but there will be a strong possibility that your baby will be seriously disabled and a lifetime of health problems, also it will be very dangerous for you to have a natural labour, What we suggest is you having a late abortion and although this will be very hard, we think it will be the safest choice for you.”
At that moment my world fell apart I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, then “kick” my baby was trying to tell me something at that time, “I’m carrying on with this pregnancy, Whatever way my baby is i’ll love and care for her as much as I can.
And that was that, I carried on with the injections, praying that my baby will prove them all wrong I took things as easy as I could.
1st June came round and going out to my mums house to leave anniversary cards to my aunty and uncle for the next day I still had over a month to go.
The sun was shinning, at my aunts I was walking about, couldn’t sit still. Later that evening mum asking was I okay, I told her I had cramps. drinking hot water, and lying down, they wouldn’t budge. Going home later, I got in and packed my hospital back, just in case I remember thinking. 6 o’clock in the morning, I woke my partner and told him to ring his mum and get her to mind Calvin, we had to go to the hospital, the baby was on her way.
In the car the contractions where getting stronger. I could hardly walk to get in. straight down to delivery, the baby’s crowned.
Looking at the clock it was 6:16 am on the 2nd of June, getting into delivery I thought back to my first labour. 38hours 43minutes, not this time though 6:30 am I was holding my Healthy Baby Girl. 6lb 13.5oz at a month early she was as healthy as any other baby.
I remember looking at her, “We did it baby, we proved them wrong, she was brought for tests and everything came back fine.
Chloe is now 15months, has been walking for a month and doing what all other baby’s her age should be.
She will always be “Mummy’s little strong flower,”
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.
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).