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17 Ways To Find Love From Within

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photo credit: the BEAuty of BEATRICE

We are in a time when people always think and expect of finding love in the most unexpected places, just as the lyrics of the song goes.  People  crossed the deepest seas, walked the farthest places and conquered the highest mountains to find that elusive affection from another human being.

We even searched the wonderful worldwide web and added a thousand friends to our Facebook  and Twitter  accounts just for the simple reason – that maybe someday that one true love will show up and validate our sense of worth as a person.

But having said all these,  we can’t find the one we are searching for if we are not ready for it.  We can’t force people to love us. Life is not  going to be the way we want it to be, if we are staying in the same old, poor thinking. We need to deal with our own real enemy.

Ourselves.

There is a Universal Law that says, “As Within, So Without.” It is the mirror of our life. It means that we are reflecting in our outside world what we feel from inside.

How can we truly love a person when we don’t even know how to love ourselves. And vise versa. It works both ways. We can’t receive what we can’t give to other people. If we feel so miserable and hopeless about life, we will see sadness everywhere. If we think we are not worthy of love – you bet, that is so right.  It is the simple rule of life.

There is something in us that we need to change from within. If we don’t have the courage to leave a bad relationship, defend ourselves from all kinds of abuse or can’t stand our ground against people, then there is something wrong somewhere.

So, how can we empower and raise ourselves higher?

Here are the 17 bullet points to ponder:

  • forgetting the past mistakes and forgiving the people we hurt and who hurt us back.
  • not beating ourselves up for the bad decisions we have made in life.
  • putting our needs on top of our priorities
  • giving ourselves the needed respect and kindness
  • making our life better each passing day (not making it perfect)
  • taking care of ourselves and finding the ways to make us happy
  • cultivating creativity through hobbies and passions
  • being financially independent
  • controlling our emotions and not letting problems to weigh us down
  • not sacrificing for the sake of other people’s happiness
  • being more loving and compassionate
  • having more faith in God, ourselves and humanity
  • not pleasing other people
  • not taking things personally
  • trusting our own intuition in making decisions
  • not giving up on our own identity
  • finding our own HERO

In other words, we need to find the love and make changes from within – so we can start loving ourselves once again. Because, the more we put an effort in taking care of our own needs, the happier we become and the more we can radiate love to other people.

Self-love is not about being selfish or being a narcissist. It’s not about putting ourselves on a pedestal. It’s about giving us the importance that we rightly deserve. Because when we do, love will find its way back to us.

It always does.

 

Have You Counted Your Blessings Today?

have you countedYou lost your job. You lost a loved one. You failed your college entrance exam. You just had a miscarriage. You were an abandoned child.You met an accident that left you paralyzed.

So, you may ask, “What now?

People from all walks of life have suffered in one way or another. Problems, trials, challenges – these are part of daily life. This is the price you have to pay for living here on Earth and for being human. You are no different from the man who lives down the street, no matter how rich or successful his life seems to be. When you hit rock bottom, sometimes, you will lose touch of reality.

Pain is one of the worst kind of human emotions you could ever feel. When a problem hits you right in the face, it hurts to the core of your being. It’s PAINFUL. Period. No question about that.

As with love, the human heart has the same capacity to feel pain and hurt. Your master’s degree, your  Kim Kardashian-esque look, your  millions of money in the bank has nothing to do with how much you suffer from within when a problem strikes out of nowhere.

You might argue that, “Well, having more money makes suffering a little bit easier than the poor man who doesn’t have a single centavo.” They can easily buy their way to happiness.” That is a good point. However, how come there were rich people who have wasted their lives and turned to drugs, alcohol and gambling in order to escape their problems? How come more have suffered from a psychological malady called depression and suicide? Even the famous people in Hollywood too. Why were they looking for an easy way out of their situation when they have all the means – money, fame, fortune- but still,failed? What is there inside them that money can’t solve and buy?

Yes, there are a lot things that even psychologists and experts on medical science can’t find the answers to the puzzle.

If you are to look at the people who have been through hell and back, people who have only known poverty, suffering, pain and discomfort – they have risen from their own miserable lives and became successful. They have elevated themselves to a status that deserves praise and recognition. They have suffered the same way too and they came out victorious. Why?

Why do others succeed and come out as winners, while others don’t?

There is something that can answer that. It’s not rocket science. It’s not a secret code that you can’t break. You can’t just buy it from eBay or even from the most expensive malls. It’s tough. It’s hard core.

It’s called the STRENGTH OF THE HUMAN SPIRIT.

TENACITY.  RESILIENCY.  ENDURANCE.  STAYING POWER.  FORTITUDE.

Whatever one may call it, it is something that keeps us in the game. Never giving up. Always fighting. Unbroken. No other people can take that inner strength away from you. Just draw it out of your system. Give it life. Give It power. Summon it.

You feel that you’re a victim of circumstances just because you keep on having bad experiences in love or life. You think that life is worthless just because bad luck keeps coming one after another. When you can’t move or think anymore because everything becomes dark and hopeless. You think of yourself as a big loser and a failure.

Have you ever experienced those things?

Problems can be as bad as losing a house, business and loved ones from an earthquake, storm or fire. Challenges create a big mess in your once comfortable, peaceful life.  You love your own comfort zone.  There is nothing quite like it.

Or it can be as petty as losing a phone or wallet. Yes, a phone and a wallet are important. But if you compare it to other bigger problems, it is not really a big deal. Lost a phone? Save and buy a new phone. Lost a wallet? Then buy a new wallet. The money that you lose, you can still earn it. I mean losing it will neither lead to desperation, suicide bombing, jumping over the bridge nor a mass killing of people. But still, sometimes, people react to certain situations like the world is against them.

BUT IT’S NOT. SERIOUSLY.

Find the strength from within and use it to give you the power to rise above the ordeals. Because no matter how bad life is, there is still a lot of beautiful reasons to live. A lot of blessings to count.

So HOW?

LOST A JOB.  Well it’s NOT the only job in the world. There are so many jobs out there. First, remove all the pessimism like I am old, I don’t have a degree, I am not pretty,  I am not  smart enough or I don’t have connections. If you allow those things inside your head, you are your worst enemy. Just be patient and determined.  Look for a part-time job. Start a small time business or direct selling. Take a seminar, training or apprenticeship while waiting for the big thing. Improve yourself and enhance your skills.  Count one blessing.

LOST A LOVED ONE.  Look, you still have other members of the family and relatives. You have your friends. You have your  neighbors. Co-workers. The whole village. The entire universe. Go abroad and find friends and who knows  you may find a new love. You can even find one on the internet without even leaving your seat. The reasons are endless. Just don’t focus on the past. That part of your story is over. You’ve got to move on. Moving on doesn’t mean you are forgetting that special person. It means you are just healing from the pain. So, count your blessing.

FAILED THE COLLEGE ENTRANCE EXAM. Try  it again.Try another school, town or city. Or take a review class and take it again next year. There are old people who despite of their age are still able to go to college and graduate, right? You are still young with a healthy mind and body. There is a bright future ahead of you. Count that as a big blessing.

HAD A MISCARRIAGE. If you are healthy and capable then, try having another baby in two years time. If you are medically challenged, seek an expert for help. If you can afford it, avail a surrogacy service. If all else fails, adopt an orphan or a pet.  Live your life the best way you can. God has a reason for it. We don’t know why. But you are still alive. Just do it, count your blessing.

AN ABANDONED OR ORPHANED CHILD. It was part of your past. The past don’t remain in the present. Forget about why parents could do something like that. Perhaps, they had their issues back then. They were weak-minded, poor or incapable of raising a child. They just did the best thing that they could. Forgive them. Don’t let it define your future. Be grateful that you have grown up to be a fine person.  Count your blessing. Use it as an inspiration when you have your own child. When it happens, count another blessing.

MET AN ACCIDENT THAT LEFT BOTH LEGS PARALYZED. You have other parts of the body that are still working and capable of doing things. You mind is as keen as ever to do crossword puzzles. Your eyesight  has 20/20 vision and can see that sexy lady who walks by. Your sense of hearing is okay and can listen to the chirping of the birds. Your arms can hug your family, hold your baby or dog.  My point is, no matter how desperate your situation is, find something that could still make you say, “I’M OKAY.”  “ I CAN DO IT.”  When that happens. count all your blessings.

There are  a lot of things in this world that you can find worthy of living. Things that you usually ignore because you are in the midst of an electronically wired world. Nature for instance. Mountains. Lakes. The moon and the stars. The grasses and shrubs. The birds and the butterflies. Most importantly, the people who supports and understands you. Count all these blessings.

Yes, life sucks and shit happens. These are inevitable. You are here on earth to survive these challenges because it is the only way to toughen up.  You need to adapt to the situation or die. Life is not only complicated, it’s also complex and crazy. If your emotional constitution is weak, the rest of your mind, body and soul will spiral down into the abyss of nothingness – and you lose.

Always find something to smile about.  Always find joy in things that doesn’t seem to matter. Even little things have its own way of bringing gladness into people’s heart. It’s just a matter of opening your eyes and committing yourself to it.

 Then try this. 

Think of an imaginary jar and fill it with all the wonderful things that you are thankful and grateful about your life. Go, fill it to the brim. When it’s overflowing, close your eyes and say,” Now, it’s time for me to share it with others, Thank you Lord, for all the your blessings.”

Saying Goodbye To Autumn

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              ” Everyone must take time to sit and watch the leaves turn. “  – Elizabeth Lawrence

With the coming of the winter season, autumn days are almost over here in the Gulf region. But the magic of the season will stay in the memory till the next fall comes.

Autumn is when the days are getting shorter. The sand dunes in the desert are forming beautiful slopes.There’s a mix of soft, warm and yet cool breeze that touches your face in the late afternoon. Small birds are tweeting frantically from their nests. The picturesque meadow is covered with flowers. The dry, crisp leaves and white fragrant flowers from the jasmine trees in the front garden are falling gently to the ground. The intertwined branches of bougainvillea vines and yellow bells that are attached to the tall concrete fences – are stretching far and wide and letting its dainty and fuchsia and yellow colored flowers scatter on the grass. The tiny red flowers are littering the cobblestone path. At night, the beach parks are teeming with frolicking hooded children and parents sitting around the bonfires eating kubus , kebab with tahina and sipping hot mint green tea.

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Just few months ago these thoughts filled me with great anticipation. Autumn is a lovely season for me next to spring. A hint of smile flashes across my face. It brought to mind a romantic drama movie that I have watched back in 2000 called  Autumn in New York  starring my all-time crush actor Richard Gere and the lovely Winona Ryder. It was a rather sad, tragic  yet romantic movie where Winona died of a terminal cancer. But I won’t ever forget the serene and awesome quietness that surrounds the film during their long walks and private talks around the garden and lake of the famous Central Park New York. The place was filled with emotion of love and compassion. Imagine the scene where there was a subdued conversation of their hands and eyes – filled with love in her moment of great struggle to have a little bit more time to live.The beautiful mix of colored foliage of green, yellow, orange and brown around added to the drama of the moment. I was indeed a sight to behold. The sceneries were captivating yet haunting. As what Tom Hanks said from the movie, You’ve Got Mail,Don’t you just love New York in the fall? “

The autumn season is a lovely experience to have but it also creates a feeling of loneliness . The warm cuddle by the fire during this time abound.  If spring is the season of birth and new beginnings, autumn connotes passing of the year, growing old, decline, end and even death or mourning.

It also sets the mood for reading and writing poems. No wonder famous poets got their source of inspiration to write poems about this time of the year . Wikipedia said  William Yeats’ poem The Wild Swans at Coole  echoes his melancholic expression and symbolizes his ageing self while John Keats’ To Autumn describes it as the time for mellow fruitfulness. For me, this moment simply spells love and romance.

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As I savor the aroma of my hot coffee in my favorite tall, white mug with a blue kitty face print, I started to pull up my laptop and look out the window to remember the remaining days of this season. There is a heavy drizzle outside. The change in weather signals the coming of the winter season. It’s not snowing in the Middle East but it gets to be very,very cold during the winter nights of December.

In a way, saying goodbye to autumn is not really a bad thing. I have written a lot of different stuff for my 30 Days Writing Challenge by Jeff Goins during this season. This article was one of them. It was for Day 12 – Tell About Your Day exercise. The challenge disciplined me to focus and improve on my writing. Autumn days created this atmosphere for me to be inspired and found my muse. No need to be sad because the change is only temporary. Life starts all over again next season. That thought alone gives me enough reason to cheer up.

What nice or sad memories do you have during autumn days? I would like to hear about it.

My Rugged Edge Journey To Motherhood

Ah,  the joys and pains of bearing children starting from the tiny bit of life inside the womb up to the time they are old and wise enough to have a life of their own.  They call it ” motherhood “.  I used to call it ” Anti- ME Time  stage “.  It is a path that every woman must eventually take despite the twists and turns, the rocky roads up ahead and the hills and the valleys along the way.  Sometimes, there are  moments that we need to stop when you reach the crossroads of life and make a hard decision on which way to go.  Raising up children is like living in the eye of a hurricane. And anyone can imagine what it is like to be in a hurricane. And no matter what age, education or status in life we have, nobody is really prepared for it.

SO JADED. Luckily, I was blessed with two daughters. I said that because I believe it is much harder for me to raise up boys.  It definitely lessened my anxiety about gangsters, killing, drugs, alcohol and bad driving. Though raising up my daughters does not necessarily mean life was easy because I also have my fair share of difficult times with them. From the moment they became defiant  by age two and learned how to say ” NO’  to everything I say , up to the point of challenging your authority, patience and wits when they began their so-called ” teen years”. It is a known fact that the burdens of motherhood can catapult sometimes into mild to deep depression. This is when the ” anti- ME Time  ”  stage syndrome attacks. However, the pains of growing up are made even worse when kids are living with a single parent.

Having been separated for 13 years, my role as a single mom automatically doubled up.  I was acting both as a mom and dad who have to act, feel and think as a man and a woman.  So, when all else fails I will shout , ” This is a job for superMOM ! ”  Seriously,  I just  need to juggle between parenthood and my career. To do the dishes, laundry and groceries during weekdays and fix the broken chair, do a paint job, cut down a tree branches on weekends.   And in between those activities I need to attend to a dozen of things too such as, bring my kids to a doctor,  attend a PTA meeting or help them out with their school projects .  For us single moms, the art of multi-tasking is an understatement.

GROWING UP, GETTING DOWN Life with my kids is not exactly a bed of roses. There are indeed a lot of thorns alone the way.  One daughter stopped high school, ran away several times, had a boyfriend , got pregnant and recently had a miscarriage . These misfortunes  happened even before she turned 18 and in all occasions I cried.  And then, society passes  biased judgement to parents like me  and  paints me with a big red scarlet letter .  I was like an alleged criminal being cross-examined  and forced to confess to a sin that I didn’t commit.  I admit  there were  a lot of times when my kids were growing up without me because I was forced by circumstances to work and take care of my family’s needs singlehandedly. But do I have a choice?

MILES AWAY I need to leave the country and find a better job abroad and bear the hardship of being away  a million miles from my kids.  The most difficult times for me are when they are getting sick or having personal problems. Those would have been precious moments when they are needing the most my warm hugs and kisses or telling them that I am by their side no matter what.  However I do not want to waste my time wallowing in self-pity when I can do something to make my children’s future a better one.  It may not be the best decision for others, but it was the decision I already made and stood by it. All I want is the best for my kids.  But no two children are alike, not even identical twins.  So we need to love them according to their own individuality.   When the younger kid erred on the wrong side, the elder one was a consistent honor student, got a  college scholarship and leadership awards and in six months time will graduate from college and  if lucky , again with honors.    So, where did I go wrong and what made some things right???  .

Actually,  I do not have to explain to people why things happened and why I made certain decisions. I am not here in this world to live up to their expectations nor to please them. Kids may fall down a lot of times and all we parents can do is to help them get up on their own two feet deeply hoping they have  more strength after each fall.

” Being A Mother Is An Attitude, Not A Biological Relation”   –  Robert Heinlein

I am not a perfect mother, I am far from it.   My hair gets messy, I knock down my coffee a lot of times, my purse runs out of money, I argue with my kids, family and friends. I burn the toasts, lose  my job, I forget things and I suffer from migraine a lot.  But no matter how imperfect life may be, for me, I am a stronger and a better parent now. The Anti-ME time became the WE time.

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By far,  I do not even have regrets.  Honestly , I still feel being on the edge at times and still give myself the privilege to wallow in despair.  The difference is,  I know when it is time to stop crying , get out of  my comfort zone and challenge the status quo. Our role as a parent is to  give them guidance and be there for our kids when they need help and  to love them unconditionally.  Mothers are born nurturer and caregivers since the time of Stone Age. We are hardwired for that.  We may  have the tendency to control and dominate our  loved ones lives .  But no matter how sad and difficult  it can be , we need to give them wings to fly on their own. I believe being free is the only true essence of life.  But freedom comes knowing one’s limit as well.  Things may seem a bit gloomy on the horizon but I need to let them go and  to find out for themselves what lurks over the hedge.  That is the only way we can help them, to live life to the fullest, for them to make mistakes  and  come back and say, that despite the dark side , hope floats and life is still worth living.

As Jodi Picoult says,  ” After all motherhood is not just about bearing a child, it’s about being witness to its life” .

Things are looking up for the three of us, and hopefully it will continue to get better. It’s just a matter of seeing the glass half-full.

As a mom, do you also have a fair share of your rugged edge path?