Finding yourself is a tricky little game that many of us tend to give up only after a couple of trials. What is it that we seek? What are we expecting to find?
I used to chase around this wild thought inside my head that the more I learn, the more I analyse, the quicker I can jump up and shout: “Got ya!”. Wrong. I eventually realised that I was looking in the wrong place all along…
Imagine trying to find your house keys inside your jacket pockets when you actually remember (you know) that you left them on the kitchen table. You locked yourself out, you did this to yourself. Despite knowing deep within that your keys are hiding inside your home, you still desperately want to believe that you’ll find them in one of those pockets. Frustration kicks in gradually, you’re shaking that poor jacket, rolling your eyes while exhaling loudly. Then you suddenly come to a full stop. You let acceptance climb through your system. Slowing down your breathing, making your pupils come back to their regular size. The panic evaporates, the shivering stops and the corners of your lips slowly start to curl upwards. You sigh out a genuine laugh.
The truth finally hits you and that moment, right there, makes you remember where to really look for. Yes, the door still might be locked, but why haven’t you noticed that open window next to it until just now? Your keys have been inside all this time and instead of finding a way to get there, you had a tantrum on the outside. Am I trying to create a metaphor here? Perhaps, but I let you decide.
All I want to say to you is this: grab that key and open that freaking door finally, will you?
Expectations. Are they hopeful illusions force fed to the mind or pre-warmed up blankets covering reality? Either way they are needed as much as oxygen to our lungs otherwise we suffocate through life.
Some say it’s best not to expect anything so that you don’t get to experience the darkness of disappointment. The hollow space that we all try to navigate away from: seeking alternative routes and strictly keeping our eyes on the destination. One wrong turn, one incompetent driver or simply one fault with the engine will result in crashing right into this unwanted place. It surely is high risk but without it we don’t have the map – and no, I’m not talking about life. No one will give you a map of your life. We all draw ours as we go, however I prefer to make mine to be more like a treasure hunt. And I’m sure you do too because every second that we get to have is worth more than any diamonds and gold.
Every moment you experience whether to be painful or pleasant is a gift that you should treasure because it becomes a tiny puzzle piece that will build YOU. So cherish it and keep your expectations but let them become your motivation. And when someone drives you off your route just kick them out of the driving seat and take the wheel.
Remember: you will not deliberately disappoint yourself but others might do that for you. Have your expectations based on yourself and don’t rely on anyone else to control your emotions. It’s all in your hands and THAT is your map.
We travel through our lives every day. Some of us get on a delayed train, some get stuck at a red light in our cars and some just sit on the sofa flicking through all the international channels while staring at the shiny illusion on the wall (you might call it the TV). We seem to have forgotten how to sit still and take pleasure of it. Not out of boredom, not because we’ve been told to do it but purely because we desire it. We spend hours chasing after routines, giving in to habits and choosing the easy option of following the crowd.
Then we spend about a third of our day earning money so that we can buy all the things that we don’t need but must possess. Things that we firmly believe will make us feel happy. And in fact they do have that effect on us for a few minutes, hours or depending on the purchase maybe days. Never years though. We never get the same excitement that we feel when ripping the packaging open. So we go and get our things and then carry on with our routine. And when the end of the day arrives we take a look back and say something like “such a busy day” or “I still have to do this tomorrow”.
Those 24 hours are nothing but a sample sized life. Make yours exciting. Stop the excuses.
There are some days when you wake up in the morning and you feel like you’re ready to take on the world, to do something different, to stand in front of the mirror and smile until your face hurts. I woke up like this today.
The best part of when this happens is that there is no specific reason behind this emotion. You feel alive and genuinely happy and content with EVERYTHING. Accepting the little things and the big things in your everyday life, realising that you’re a magnificent and amazing human being. Understanding that you are so ridiculously lucky to be alive, to be part of this fantastic experience called Life. Appreciating all the events that are happening to you. Feeling grateful for being able to breathe, to see the colours around you, to stand on your own feet, to hear your friends and family talking to you. Sometimes you need to stop and realise that all the things that you take for granted might seem like a massive gift to others or even an impossible dream to have.
So I challenge you my friend: take a few moments and count your blessings. What do you have that money can’t buy? Because it is the cliché as it is: happiness does NOT come from the things you buy, it is simply enjoying what you already have: your physical and emotional abilities, the wonderful people around you and the yet unknown opportunities that lie in front of you. Be present and love your life the way it is. Let go of your past. Everything else will unfold and fall into its place, I promise.
When you finally realise what you want, you have no choice but to go for it. Stop asking yourself: “but what if it won’t work out?”. If you don’t try at least then all you will have is a selection of imaginary scenarios of how your life could have planned out.
You have the pen in your hand writing the story of your life. Take control. Act on your wishes. What’s the worst that could happen? You make a mistake? So what? If you never make any mistakes then how will you ever learn and become better? Don’t be afraid of failure because failing is nothing but getting one step closer to a stronger you. Get up and try again or try something different. But please, keep trying! Would you rather just stand still and watch your life float by or do you want to experience some magnificent waves?
I feel much better than I did 5 minutes ago because that’s how long it took me to realise that I am actually in charge of my own feelings. Why waste your time reminiscing about the past or daydreaming about the future? When in fact what I only have control over is the now. It comes so naturally to me to give out this advice to others but when I should be telling myself the same thing, the words just get stuck in my throat. They turned into a useless whimper, a squeaky sound instead of forming into a clear-cut motivational speech. 5 minutes. Enough time to reassess your feelings.
How are you exactly feeling right now? If you would need to describe with only 1 word, what would it be? Why are you feeling that way? Without understanding the triggers behind your emotions it is simply impossible to take control over them and steer them into a much preferred direction.
Let me give you an example:
You’re feeling angry waiting at the red traffic light. Why are you angry? You question yourself and notice that you’re angry because you’re running late from a meeting. Are you really angry or is it more like stressed out / anxious? You realise that you’re not angry but worried that you might arrive late. So, what are your options? You can’t physically change the traffic lights from red to green. You could drive through the red light which would mean putting others’ and your lives at risk, so clearly that’s not an option. You make a decision. When the light changes to green, you pull over to make a phone call and let them know that there is a possibility of you arriving a little late. Worry disappears and you carry on driving and actually manage to arrive on time.
This is how you take charge of your emotions. Assess your current situation in as much detail as you can; look for solutions; make a decision and your mood will shift.
Now it would be the perfect time to use the cliché here “it’s simple as 1,2,3” but I seriously dislike clichés and it’s my decision to not use it. Take charge of your emotions and your life now!
I write. I put my thoughts into the form of written words, adjective-heavy feelings and provoking questions. Why? Because I don’t know any other way to enjoy life to the fullest. The little moments in life, that is. To remember the memories better. Also to contribute to your life experience in some way. You are reading this after all and my hope is that this finds you with an open mind.
Have you ever noticed how many sentences run through your brain each day? Of course you have. At least some of it. Now, imagine if you could record them and then listen back what you’re thinking. I guarantee you’d be surprised to hear the way you talk to yourself.
“No, I can’t do that”
“It’s too difficult for me to do this”
“I don’t think they will like my idea”
“I don’t look so great today”
And so on. How many times do you catch yourself saying:
“Wow I’m amazing”
“I’ve done a fantastic job with this”
“Everyone is going to love my idea”
Not very often? Why not? Why have we programmed our brains to think so negative automatically? Why don’t you believe that you are good enough? More than good enough. You are alive. That alone is tremendous news. Enjoy it!