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6 Life Ruining Qualities You Don’t Even Know You Possess

And how you can change them

Photo by Engin Akyurt from Pexels

When I was only 16 years old, death hit close to home when I lost 3 of my best friends in a car accident. That moment changed me forever.
Since that time, I began to see life from a different point of view where we can die young.

Questions were running in my head

  • Would I be next?
  • How people will remember me?
  • What impact I have made in my life?
  • What Impact I have made in somebody’s life?

I couldn’t find any simple answer for that, but it took a huge life shake to realize what matters for me the most.

“We can get angry about silly things and even spend the entire day thinking about it when the only thing stands between us and death is a few seconds.”

So what makes life difficult for us?

Living like an immortal being

Eliminating the possibility of us dying makes us take a lot of things for granted, hold grudges, and find excuses for not pursuing our dreams, and keeps our mind occupied with events we have no control of

Kalina Silverman who was a student. Struggled to adopt her new college life, yet made it to the sophomore year, and got involved in journalism, which allowed her to travel and meet people.

During a trip to Germany, she visited the Berlin Wall, and a written question got her attention:

“What do you want to do before you die?”

When she got back, she made a project called “Big talk”, and it was about having a deep conversation with people instead of small talk. She interviewed random people and asked them the previous question, then she followed her question by another one:
“what if you found out you were going to die tomorrow?”

These questions brought people to tears and made them realize how many people they want to reach out to, places they want to visit, dreams they want to pursue, and they aren’t ready to die yet. It was just a rush of feelings and regrets hitting their reality.

Dan Pedersen wrote:

“All we have are present moments. We should live them, instead of always thinking about what we don’t have.”

Living a present moment means living with daily gratitude, and count our blessings, although it’s hard to see them for what they are.

We need to have higher goals and purpose to feed this feeling of gratitude, which will create an extra reason for us to wake up every morning, feeling alive, and ready to conquer the day with no compromises.

Also, we need to have a skill of finding a balance between living the moment and working toward the future to live our life to the fullest.

And only then, our life will become more meaningful, and our minds will focus more on what matters.

Takeaway

  • Find a balance between having higher goals and going through your day like it’s your last day
Photo by Engin Akyurt from Pexels

Feeding Sadness with Sadness

“There are two types of people in the world: those who prefer to be sad among others and those who prefer to be sad alone.” Nicole Krauss

Psychology researchers, Annemieke J.M. Van den Tol, and Jane Edwards found out the main 4 reasons we listen to sad songs when we feel sad:
1. Seeking Connections
2. Relate to a message a song provides.
3. Use a sad song as a high aesthetic value for distraction.
4. A Memory trigger

At such a moment, while our mind slowly drifts toward depression, it will make more sense to find something that we can relate to, and nothing can be better than sad music.

Having self-awareness is the key lesson to get out of this mindset as soon as we develop feelings of sadness.

What’s more important than getting out of such a mindset is to be aware of our feelings, for that we need to work more on our self-awareness, so we can take the first step in finding a way out of that.

Takeaway

  • Be aware of your feelings and change your mindset as soon as you develop negative thoughts.

Getting Angry about “Almost” everything

Let’s face it. We all have that specific day when nothing is going right.

You woke up, brush your teeth, but toothpaste is almost empty, you squeeze the hell out of it and barely get some. Then go to the kitchen, take a bowl, put some cereal, and pour milk — the spoon is kinda dirty, you take your spoon to the sink, and accidentally drop your bowl on the floor. Then angrily you toss the spoon in the garbage, get dressed, and go.

Everything seems so irritating. People honk without a reason. You get cut off from every direction — you reach your work, get hit by a person holding a cup of coffee, coffee is all over you, and now you smell like the office kitchen.

How would you feel about that?

Some of us will lose it, and guess who will take this explosion of emotions? That poor guy with hist coffee.

“There’s nothing wrong or evil about having a bad day. There’s everything wrong with making others have to have it with you.” Neil Cavuto

It’s OK to have a bad day, to feel mad, disappointed, and frustrated — we still humans; so don’t let your emotions blind you from seeing how beautiful life can be.

“Why should we feel anger at the world? As if the world will notice!” — Marcus Aurelius

Pressure makes people look impatient, angry, and rude. If we all can reach that point too, why can’t we have empathy and understanding for each other rather than getting mad at them?

“Maybe we all have darkness inside of us, and some of us are better at dealing with it than others.”― Jasmine Warga

Takeaway

  • Understand the only you control is your attitude. And it’s your choice whether you will have a bad moment or an entirely bad day.

Blaming others

When I finally graduated from high school, I got asked by my father about what major I would like to take, I answered with enthusiasm “Programming”. He expected me to say Medical school because that was my wish when I was young. I remember that he just got mad, and I didn’t want to disappoint him, so I agreed and went abroad. I studied medicine, but at some point, I couldn’t take it anymore.
I dropped out of college just a few years before my graduation, and I spent my twenties blaming him for it.

I could have said no, I could have refused my father’s offer and follow my dream but NO, all I wanted is to leave my city and discover the world, and the only way I could do that is by accepting my father’s help.

Although, I knew exactly why I went to study medicine, and “a desire to study it” wasn’t the reason, I still blamed him because that was easier for me than to confront my failures.

The hardest truth for a person is facing the consequences of their decisions and wrongdoings, that’s why we look for other reasons — or people to blame on.

Ph.D. Bernard Golden illustrated that the origin of blaming others comes from being in defensive strategy, and to protect our ego, we use blaming to mask and avoid some feelings like “shame, guilt, hurt, disappointment, sadness, and feelings of inadequacy or powerlessness.” that will create a false feeling of being right.
By taking responsibility for the decisions you made, you are taking ownership of your life, and therefore control your attitude towards the outcomes.

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances” ― Viktor E. Frankl

Takeaway

  • Stop blaming others and take responsibility for your decisions
Photo by Samuel Silitonga from Pexels

Chasing happiness

The one fact we all agree on is the need to find happiness. We spent days and nights doing things we don’t even like for the sake of finding it, and if we think about happiness as a state of mind, we will enjoy the path of reaching our goals and the challenges we encountered along the way.

The hardest part isn’t reaching our goals, but to maintain and keep the rush of the joy that comes with it. This is the reason why we lose interest after a while and start chasing a new goal. The way we think as human beings make us different from each other. And the way we interpret happiness is no exception.

“It isn’t what you have or who you are or where you are or what are you doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about it” –Dale Carnegie

When we connect our happiness to people, places, or goals, we unconsciously create a void within us that can lead to uncontrollable emotions, that will enslave our mind to turn back to that person or place to feel happy again.

We interpreting happiness as something we do, like shopping, buying rare items, having a meal, or helping others.

Finding happiness by helping others can be as simple as listening, understanding their pain without comparing it to ourselves, making somebody’s day by giving them a sincere compliment, and show them our appreciation.

The major key is to enjoy the process of helping others, enjoy listening to them, enjoy making their day, buy them gifts, and pay for their meal. But you have to be sincere, authentic, and do it while expecting nothing in return.

Not everyone will appreciate your kindness the way you expect, and it’s OK. It wasn’t about them in the first place; it was about you, about your peace of mind and your happiness.

“Everybody in the world is seeking happiness and there is one sure way to find it. That is by controlling your thoughts”

Takeaway

  • Happiness is a process that you can create, not a result to chase

Give an Opinion nobody asks for

When people tell us about their problems, they don’t give a damn about our opinion. Yet, we feel like we are experts at recognizing the mistakes of others, and always have something to say.

We all know how it feels like to get dumped by your boyfriend/girlfriend, get fired from a job, failing a test, or lose somebody close to you. But what we need to understand is that even if we know what this person is facing, sometimes they need nothing but to be heard.

I can’t count the times when I fell into this trap unwillingly, trying to help. When our mind is in a peaceful state we can think clearly, and know-how things work (For others), and when people talk about their problems, we unconsciously start telling them what to do without them asking for it. The fact this is a bad idea lies in how we formed our minds, based on events and experiences we’ve had encountered in our lives. That’s why we think we are the experts on everything people face, even though sometimes we talk for the sake of talking, without even understanding what they’re going through.

We want to feel useful and relied on. We want to be the kind of people who can make a change and create a better moment. We want to feel loved. And to reach that, we need to fight this tempting urge of giving an opinion and be present.

Takeaway

  • Stop giving your opinion if nobody asked you for it and let others express their feelings


6 Life Ruining Qualities You Don’t Even Know You Possess was originally published in ILLUMINATION on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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