To me, being friends and being single on Valentine’s Day isn’t a bad thing. I find out more about people through friendly exchanges or friendships than I ever would otherwise.
Knowing people takes time. We have quirks. We have stress. We are anxious, busy, tired, and sometimes downright depressed. That’s a lot to spring on a person in a relationship after the “honeymoon” is over, which is usually when people start to sense they aren’t with who they thought they were. This ends up becoming a pseudo-happiness not founded in friendship and love.
But with friendship, everybody gets to check each other out, see what matches up and what doesn’t, before hearts get broken. It’s slower, but it’s way kinder than the way most social expectations work and the ways they make us interact with each other, many times unethically.
And if you do your friendships right, you’ll always gain a friend into your life, even if not romantic. And after awhile, that holds so much more weight in a heart than flighty escapades with people you don’t know that well and they don’t know you that well. Those kinds of interactions that make for feeling empty inside because no one knows you at all. We all have to risk a little to be friends!
So this Valentine’s Day, and like many in my past, I make it my own and I make it about Friendship. Capitalism will make you feel like shit for being single, and for some it makes them feel like shit for being in a relationship, but it’s a lie. You’re an amazing person. Get out there and make another person feel amazing just by saying Hi with a big fat smile and recognizing them. Find one person to uplift and encourage today and you’ll know the essence of Love and Friendship (giving through your pain – giving to others what you wish you had) which is a great segue into what kind of romantic relationship you want anyway right?
And if you’re in a relationship, keep the love alive through Friendship!
People are flocking to personal development and spiritual modalities like crazy these days. Or they might be at church, mass, or temple enjoying various religions of their choosing, or for some, not their choosing.
But the point is, we are all trying to become better people. If you really want to test yourself and see if you’re on track with your development, consider contemplating these five points below. Chew on them for a while before immediately rejecting them and just see what you think. Turn them towards someone who you wish would apologize and ask yourself if this isn’t what you’d want from them.
Then see yourself doing the same for others. If you have trouble forgiving people, then you can use this information to help you visualize how it would feel to have someone forgive you for something you’ve done. Then, when you’re comfortable with that, you can change the visualization and see yourself forgiving someone who’s harmed you.
Try to give them the same feelings that you got from the person that forgave you. If you’re feeling fear or stagnation in your life, or depression and sadness, these exercises will help you become free from what others think. We often trap ourselves with what others think, their judgement and opinions and it causes us to feel unworthy, insecure, and isolated in our culture. But you can change that now, no matter what you believe. And if you can’t physically apologize to people, just practice in your head. It will be effective in taking you to the next step in your journey.
When you can genuinely apologize to someone without needing them to respond back to you, then you no longer care what they think.
When you can admit your wrongs about yourself, without excusing yourself with blame on something or someone else, then you no longer care what others think.
When you apologize to someone for the sake of peace, and not for the emotional or physical comfort people bring you, then you no longer care what others think.
When you can apologize without explaining or reasoning your actions to that other person, but simply use your mistakes to better yourself next time, then you no longer care what others think.
When you can truly apologize and forgive someone as an act of giving, with no expectations, than you no longer care what others think.
It would be tough being this type of person with all people and at all times, but just aiming yourself in the right direction will be enough to get you on track. When you live your life unconditionally loving others in this way, it frees you up from what others think of you – their judgements and opinions, good or bad. The spiritual meaning it brings is profound. It’s up to you to find that in your own journey, but you will. We all know the right thing to do, and we all talk about these right things to do, but it’s really tough to walk that talk, which is where we all need to ramp-up to for significant changes in our social and environmental efforts. If we want a better world, we have to be better people.
I just logged into my Facebook and found a post from one of my friends. He’s frustrated with all the crazy news stories in the media about the problems in our world.
He wants to know where all the good stories are from those of us that care and are doing something to make this world a better place.
I couldn’t agree more. And neither could his Facebook followers!
What a great blog post, I thought. And so here it is.
What am I doing to make the world a better place?
Today, I worked on my mental state of mind through researching self-esteem and self-confidence. I listened to hypnotherapy to help my mind and actions get in-tune with each other.
I want to eat better. I want to behave better. I want to consistently push myself more and more in everything I do. I want to give to humanity and the environment in sustainable ways, even if that just means doing my best in my own little world.
I’ve researched for many years now the effects my diet has on my health, my state of mind, the power of my soul, my finances, and basically my life. But the even better part that I learned is that the better I behave, the less I spend, the less I consume, and the less I pollute. This is a daily task.
My life, inadvertently becomes an example to others. This never really meant much to me until I experienced it with my teenager.
I realized I can talk her all day if I want, but what I do is what she subconsciously picks up on. If I want to know how well I am parenting, all I have to do is see her reactions to me and the life I’m trying to offer her.
I see more changes in her when I just behave the way I want her to behave.
What does this have to do with the state of the world and the environment?
There is a beauty in action and body language. In truth, we are all like my teenager. We watch what everyone else is doing, subconsciously picking it up, and then behave like-wise for acceptance, love and worthiness in the eyes of others.
And this would be great, if the state of our world wasn’t in such place that it is now. We have to reverse these problems through compassionate actions. We have to consciously change our behavior and match it up to what we want to see happen, not go around telling others what needs to happen.
We have to do it.
It takes courage to live this sort of life. We have so many excuses as to why it is easier not to change, or to wait around for the next person to stand up and do it. However, this is not a meaningful life. A meaningful life is changing ourselves first, to match up with our visions of world peace.
This friend of mine on Facebook left a quote from Mother Teresa under his first post:
We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.
Its true. We feel that the little things we are contributing aren’t enough, but Mother Teresa knew that all the small actions amount to a lot more when we consistently engage in those actions daily. Its putting a penny in the spiritual bank.
One of us alone can’t make the world peaceful nor heal the environment, but all of us taking small steps together create an ocean of action. Everything you do, day in and day out, contributes to this ocean we all live in. Are you creating a life of peace and compassion? Are you consciously improving your behavior in empowering ways?
It’s a tough road, but we are all in this together
I support whatever efforts you are putting forth, even if some days you feel like you’re taking two steps backwards. It feels like that often to me too. This is all the more reason we should work together on supporting each other.
But I’ve learned with my daughter that it is possible even when it seems dark and hopeless like the news makes us feel. Today, I talked to her about her own self-esteem. I told her that it would affect every part of her life and how very important it is. I had her sit down and watch a YouTube video about self-esteem. I told her what I wanted for her life. I want her to have good relationships with her friends, and to pursue her passions, and to take responsibility for her actions.
The best part about it is, even though she’d rather be off texting her friends and listening to music, my messages to her always come back to me later. She will tell me how she helped her friends by giving them good advice. When she repeats the advice, I hear my message come back to me from her perspective. I smile to myself when I hear these things because when I said it to her, I thought I had no effect on her.
Last week, she told me one of her school friends wanted to commit suicide. She talked to him and helped him out with these thoughts. He came by our home later to thank her. After he left, she told me that if it hadn’t been for her, he would’ve committed suicide. This is not the first friend she helped.
Is my parenting working? Some would look at our life from the outside and beg to differ. But I know I am teaching my daughter very valuable lessons about life, connections, and how to behave in a crazy world. I know the power of small steps and small conversations, what others would equate to as “not enough” for what is going on in this world.
But I agree with Mother Teresa. The power of who we are, how we behave, and what our actions stand for are far more reaching than we could ever imagine.
One drop at a time
I know in my heart we are all doing things like this to help each other. We just lose these moments in the busyness of our day. We forget what power we are giving to each other and what words are helping others. Some of us lack self-esteem and it makes it hard to internalize that we are the difference!
Now its your turn. Tell me something you’ve done today, or that somebody did for you, to make the world a better place. I know you are putting more good into this world than you probably give yourself credit for. I’d really like to hear about you. I’d also like you to share this blog with others that you know are not giving themselves enough credit for the good they put into this world.
Let’s bring our focus together on this subject by sharing our stories of how we’re helping each other just a little at a time. Just one drop in the ocean at a time. We never know who are encouraging.
Before you go to sleep tonight, look in the mirror while you’re brushing your teeth and remind yourself who you are. Tell yourself you are the difference. When you are positive with yourself, you will eventually become naturally positive with others.
Updated Feb. 23rd, 2013: Here is another article from Zoe Weil on this subject on her blog Humane Connection.
Transformation is a sticky subject. Usually by the time we want to change something about our lives, the pain has become so unbearable that we want a miracle and are wearing holes in the knees of our pants to get it.
The internet, with its “get rich quick,” schemes, try this one diet “trick” for instant results, or do this “magic spell” to get that special someone to fall for you is de-sensitizing us away from true character development. There is an inexhaustible list on the world-wide web and everyone wants to board that express to success without understanding the work they have to do.
It’s safe to say that our problems have far exceeded our solutions, and our solutions are arrows in the dark. We solve one problem and watch three others spin out of control. You make one person happy at the cost of your own. You fix one addiction only to see it pop up somewhere else in your life. You quit one job only to find another one just like it or worse. Maybe you keep dating the same person over and over, just with a different face.
Jumping from solution to solution is a worthy pursuit to find what works for you, but if you’re not understanding the process of transformation, most likely you ditch your old efforts for new ones before anything has time to take effect. This leads to endless seeking and searching and is, quite frankly, exhausting.
WAIT A MINUTE
Patience is hardly used in this (Western) world of convenience we now live in. But the value of patience is priceless and saved for the wise. Waiting, slowing down, becoming still, reflecting, and listening are keys to what you are searching for and not just a bunch of spiritual or religious hype.
Impatience is a wrench in your life to be avoided. Its expressed through fights, illness, addiction, road rage, emotional manipulation and control, excessive consumerism and a lot more of not getting what you really want, except a lot more frustrated. After all, like attracts like.
Patience for patience
If you would like some significant changes in your life, then you will have to get serious about it, and yes, wait. You will have to have patience to learn patience. That is living in the here and now. All these alarm bells that are going off in your life need you. As you deal with each one in its own time, you will learn patience. You will also develop a strength of character that will prepare you for the things you want.
Patience is a step by step process, designed this way for a specific reason. We humans can only handle so much, and much of the time we conveniently distract ourselves from doing the work necessary to build our character for more exciting roles in life, like meeting a soul mate.
But patience is constantly working inside and outside of you in very small increments. When we become still, we start to notice those tiny impulses and then can recognize how they spin out of control into wild emotional binges that show up in addiction, fights, and other unsatisfactory response that leave us feeling exhausted and depressed later. Patience teaches you how to manage those impulses in ways that give you your power back, and work with your situations or other people in a way you can feel good about.
Because if you can’t manage your own emotions, how will your soul mate see you as a soul mate? If you cannot manage the money you have now, how will you be able to handle more of it? If you can’t find time to work on your passions now, how will you have time when the pressures and demands of that passion increase from exposure?
Instant fame and lottery winners can tell us fast success often leads to failure because the right character traits didn’t have time to develop. Many famous people have and are dying of drug overdoses because of the immense pressure they are under from their careers. Countless lottery winners end up broke months later because they didn’t adopt new spending habits to go along with their wealth.
While most of us will never have to deal with that kind of pressure, the message is still the same. We have to learn how to deal with the problems right in front of us. As you build character you will find that you can handle bigger dreams and the bigger demands that come with them because you developed a muscle in your character.
Not only that, but the problems that you are trying to overcome permeate various aspects of your life. A good example is a person that quits smoking sometimes suffers from weight gain. They quit the addiction, but they didn’t overcome the emotional addiction that caused them to start smoking in the first place. But by adopting the right character traits, one of them being patience, you will solve parts of those various problems you are dealing with and learn other complimentary character traits that will help you solve larger aspects of your problems in a systematic way.
Adopt the habit of patience
Slow down and live your life right now. If you make a choice to become more patient today, and actively move towards that decision, you will find a heavy burden lifted from your shoulders as you no longer struggle and fight against things you can’t control anyway.
Take your time to develop this habit right and make sure you’re using it in all parts of your life. Start with one area and start to practice it everyday, even if the practice is just conscious awareness. Visualize yourself as a patient person every night before going to sleep. Consider evaluating your beliefs and expectations that are so prevalent in this society of instantaneous results. Try a few positive affirmations every night before going to sleep. Here are a couple to get you started.
I AM A PATIENT PERSON
ITS OKAY TO RESPOND SLOWLY
I AM FEELING CALM AND RELAXED
BREATHING IN DEEPLY CALMS MY MIND AND HELPS ME THINK CLEARLY
PATIENCE HELPS ME IN ALL PARTS OF MY LIFE
MY RELATIONSHIPS ARE MORE FULFILLING BECAUSE I AM PATIENT
EVERYTHING IS OKAY, I AM OKAY
After doing these things, start looking for confirmations showing up in your life. You might hear people talking about patience, or unintentionally find yourself reading about it on the internet, or noticing parts of a book or movie stand out to you that involve something about patience. That means you are becoming consciously aware of your actions. Pursue those cues!
Do you have a positive affirmation or suggestion for developing more patience? Share your wisdom below.