We are born with personality not character. Character is something we have to develop throughout our lives. Through each obstacle we overcome our character is developed; likewise the strength of our character can grow by learning to accept certain truths about life which are undeniable. Life is beautiful and full of opportunity; however just as true is the fact that life can be full of surprises which can be challenging. Such challenges intensify whenever we hold on to old paradigms, negative thinking patterns about ourselves, self destructive behavior or if we choose to not work on our wounds and traumas; leaving us feeling “stuck” in the past, helpless and powerless about our lives.
There are certain truths about life which many people would rather deny are there; hence they walk around with blinders hoping this will make things easier. However, just because one chooses to deny a truth, doesn’t mean it is not there. If we took the time to observe these truths, to learn from them and accept them as part our reality, our lives would become easier to handle and the strength of our character would become stronger.
Let’s take a closer look at some of life’s truths:
Give meaning to your life.- Quantum physics, sacred teachings, old doctrines have always taught how our thoughts affect how we create our own reality. By examining these teachings, one can learn to understand that having a meaningful life is something we have total control over; it is a choice. You don’t have to change the world, you don’t have to impact a whole community in order to “be the change” this life needs, or to have a meaningful life; remember that in order to give others “water” your well first has to be full. A meaningful life isn’t one based on how popular you are or how much you have; a meaningful life is a life which you would be pleased with even if others didn’t accept you or if you didn’t have so much material things….Knowing this, can you then take a closer look at yourself and be happy with what you see?, can you enjoy your own company?.
In order to learn to love yourself, one first has to learn to stop primarily focusing on “fixing” the life of others vs learning to focus and develop your own life. You didn’t come to this life to play “savior” while your own life is a mess. Your first responsability is YOU, that is how you fill your soul with water.
Our society is based on a consumer mentality; this means they are trying to sell us things we don’t need, claiming those things will make us feel better; as a result too many of us are focused on what we don’t have or comparing ourselves to others, leaving us feeling empty and tired. There is nothing wrong with living comfortably and working towards expansion, but in doing so make sure your economical expansion goes hand in hand with your mental and spiritual plane.
I have had the privilege to have seen both sides of the coin…I have shared shacks with those who barely had anything to eat or drink, whose material possessions consisted of blankets on a dirt floor and old broken wood furniture. I didn’t just spend a day or a week with them. I didn’t just popped up for a visit, I lived with them and learned to value my life. I got to see first hand the innocence and beauty of the soul of those who are less fortunate; they weren’t my charity, they became my family and I am proud to still call them friends. Likewise life gave me the opportunity to have the best of the best (materially speaking), to go to school and spend time with the children’ of politicians, CEO’s etc. I got to see first hand how material things can take over your life, how too much can turn you into a cold person; all the while hungry for more. I got to learn from my own experiences as I too wasted time, opportunities and threw my own money away without thinking of anything or anyone else. I learned by losing, what real friends mean, and what success truly entails. Being wealthy isn’t the problem; the problem, is not knowing how to balance things or how to value what you have. The problem lies when you no longer know why you need more and others stop seeing you and only see your bank account. Likewise being poor is not the ultimate tragedy, one can work themselves out of that, but it requires education; true education; skill, and a genuine belief in hard work. It requires one to stop blaming the rich and start owning your life. It requires not to see yourself as a victim of your circumstances but to see your circumstances as one more challenge to be overcome. Obviously there are exceptions to these rules; darkness of character can be found on either side of the scale as can greatness. Take a close look and ask yourself, what will it take for your life to have meaning to YOU. Listen to your yourself and stop listening to what others may think will make you happy; nobody knows what that is except you. Respect yourself enough to listen to your own voice.
The perfect partner doesn’t exist.- Too many people have bought into the twisted Disney version of happiness. They still believe there will be a princess or prince charming who is to come and rescue them; magically making all things difficult disappear and granting them perpetual bliss. This type of thinking is a virus which sadly too many of us impose on our children who later on become unsatisfied adults. There is a difference in learning to cherish and to maintain the ideology of love in its purest sense vs. believing in fictional fairy tales.
Teenagers can be experts at being idealists… That is not the problem; actually more of us should learn to hold on to the intensity, to the romance which can spice our every day lives. We should learn to hold on to the rebellious side of us when others are trying to beat us down. The trick lies in learning to integrate such idealism with the magic from childhood, and the realism of adulthood. This may seem like an easy task, sadly the way our society is built, is meant to strip us of both childhood magic and teenage idealism; turning us into sarcastic adults who confuse realism with bitterness. There is no perfect partner, just like there is no guarantee that you and your partner won’t change over time. Realism is accepting people will change and it will require work from both parties. Healthy realism is accepting that one may or may not be able to walk the same path no matter how much work you put into it. There are those who are meant to develop if not at the same rate closely enough. There are also those who no matter what you may do, life has a different path for each person; hence the saying there are those who are lessons in our lives and there are those who are meant to share our path permanently. Realism isn’t holding on to people and unhealthy situations because someone said so. It doesn’t make you a better person to hold onto someone while hating your life for it; knowing that whenever one partner isn’t happy, the other one isn’t either, unless one chooses to ignore or is in denial.
Once more I have been witness to both sides of the coin. My grandparents spent their whole life together, there couldn’t be two people who loved each other more, and who were meant to grow closely at the same rate. They were not judgemental; never taught or disown any child of theirs who went through a divorce; they understood what happiness really felt like. My parents on the other hand divorced; to be honest it was the best decision they ever made. They were two different people, with very different views in life, very different characters, and dreams. I have never seen my parents as less for being divorced as my grandparents taught me that every person has the right to find a piece of heaven within this earth, within this lifetime. They taught me that we came here to live not to survive. I learned from them that those who really know love, are the ones who don’t pass judgement when a relationship ends. Those who are not happy with their lives but choose not to change it or end it, are the first ones to dictate sentence. No partner will be perfect so you will need to put effort into your relationship; this doesn’t mean you should stay with someone who makes you miserable. We should think about our relationships as a work of art. A work of art isn’t going to paint itself, it needs the guidance and the vision of the artist; it takes time, commitment and work. A work of art is one which is born out of inspiration not duty; the same goes for people.
Life is a game.- This life is ours to learn, to experiment, to grow. We weren’t put here to be miserable, to suffer, to work like slaves and then die. Chess is one of my favorite games and frankly is probably the best way to look at life. We need to learn life’s rules, play with them without getting out of the game, infuse our own thinking and move on to the next level. Life won’t ever be beautiful, intense yet peaceful, if we are too afraid to play with it. No one can become a good chess player without first taking the time to learn the rules, putting the effort and dedication to master the game, and then taking the chance to win or lose playing against an opponent (life’s obstacles)…so take life seriously, but no more seriously than you would take a game of chess.
Everything ends.- Nothing lasts forever. We all are young for a period of time then we get older. We will fall in love, we will fall out of love many times during our lives until we find our rhythm. We will live and die like those before us; this is not to make you depressed; instead see it as a reminder of how precious your time here is. Don’t waste it on destructive behavior, don’t waste your life focusing your energy on those who don’t want it. Feel thankful and grateful for those situations and people who do bring growth to your soul, and who do want to share their time and energy with you. If this cycle of life had no ending, life wouldn’t be precious. It is the ending which makes our time here so valuable and so beautiful; therefore learn from your mistakes and value their lessons. Value your time here on earth because whether or not you believe in reincarnation, this time right now, this lifetime is all you have, all you will remember….this is your chance to level up!
Be weird, Be romantic, Be you!.- Since you understand that everything ends, then we need to learn to love with everything. I see too many workshops and therapists teaching about how to set up walls. Walls aren’t the same as boundaries. Loving someone doesn’t require walls, it requires that you drop them. If you look at life as a routine, it can become mundane. There are many people out there who live as roommates and they teach others that such way of living is “natural” after a time. That isn’t true; there is nothing natural about just cohabiting with someone who is supposed to be your partner, the person you have chosen to share your heart with. To experience real romance, you will need to learn to pause and take time to “bring” magic, to “create” magic in your life.
Real romanticism isn’t something you can fake; one can pretend for a period of time but unless you become a romantic which means tapping into the deepest parts of you, pretending won’t get you far. To be a romantic you need to learn to be real…romance emanates from our dreams AND our wounds, from becoming vulnerable and sharing who we really are with someone, the good, the bad, the light, the dark. Romanticism requires you to expose yourself with nothing left but your naked soul.
To be a romantic you need to learn to expose your soul, your hurts and your joys first to yourself (your conscious). To be a romantic is to learn to accept and to love yourself; then you can truly offer romanticism to someone else in a way that is mingled with your everyday life. Take the time to do all those things which you have left behind but which brought joy, sensuality, and peace to your life; share those moments with your partner.
To be a romantic is to bring your partner into your own world without pretenses. There is nothing more beautiful than letting someone in, nothing more alluring than to feel trusted with the most vulnerable parts of someone else. I always hear and read about the importance of trust, interestingly enough they always talk about external things. I don’t deny that learning to trust your partner with the external is a great skill to learn; however trusting someone with the internal is a much higher skill and greater gift to give. A lot of people trust others with the external but very few learn to show you their “inner sanctum”. Learn to differentiate who you show your “inner sanctum” to; this is important; you don’t want to share your inner world with someone who isn’t ready for you; that is what I call healthy boundaries.
Learn to be realistic without becoming sarcastic.- We are here to live and play, this doesn’t mean we forget about the density or the reality of the world we live in. We can’t go around letting the right hemisphere of our brain be the only one in charge; that would be unrealistic. It is important to learn to differentiate when we need our right brain and when our left hemisphere; otherwise called our analytical mind; needs to be in control. What this means, is that we need to learn the real meaning of “work hard/play hard” If you want your life to change, it won’t be enough to sit and dream about it and then complain because nothing changes. Every dream worth having requires planning, patience, time, work and energy; it doesn’t happen overnight. We were given our brain to use it not just to grow pretty hair. Everything is energy and energy can be transformed but it needs to be moved, it cannot simply remain stagnant and expect your circumstances to change… Thought + Action= Results
Learn to be a problem a solver.- We all meet those who keep complaining about life but refuse to do anything to change their circumstances. If you don’t like your life, change it. Instead of spending your energy on excuses or on imaginary doomsday scenarios, learn to instead invest all that energy on solutions and possibilities. No one will do the work for you; this is a reality even if you have physical or mental pain, challenge or obstacles to deal with. I am NOT saying “suck it up”; I am simply telling you that none of what is holding you down will go away or improve without you doing the work. You want a better or different job, then learn new skills or educate yourself in the field you want to be in. You want to be a better athlete, spend more time preparing your mind and body. You want to self develop, beat depression, then you need to do the work; keep chipping away at it. Don’t give up because it seems hard or because changes aren’t happening overnight. You have the power to change your life, whether mentally, physically or emotionally. If you don’t want to do anything to better your life, then you don’t have the right to keep complaining to others about how hard your life is; that wouldn’t be fair or healthy. It is not about how fast you go, but at least get going!.
All those we love will eventually die.- Although this truth may sound a bit sinister it is one which needs to be faced head on. The real hard truth is that you and those you love will eventually pass on. Too many people take those who were there for them for granted; we tend to assume they will always be there. I have witness personally how people tend to live with regret when a loved one or someone who had great impact in their lives has passed on, and they were not there to resolve whatever differences there might have been. No one in this life should be encouraged to be unforgiving or to punish another because that person’s choice was different than what they would have done themselves. Only a few people should be encouraged to stay away from others because of the mental or physical damage caused (abuse).
No matter how much you think you know someone, there is no way you would know everything about that person and their circumstances. Although at times we can be impacted by someone else’s choice, part of growth is learning to accept and respect the individuality of the other. Everybody makes mistakes, and sometimes what may seem like a mistake to you, may actually be what the other person needed to feel alive, to develop and to live instead of simply surviving. A lot of these behaviors are usually exhibited towards parents; unless your parents have been cruel, abusive, have tortured you mentally or physically, or neglected you all your life, then there is no rational reason why you should feel you have the right to become the judge and executioner, and to pass sentence simply because your parent’s choices are different than yours.
Parents are human and have every right to live fulfilling lives. The responsability one has as a parent towards a small child is never the same as when that child becomes an adult. The responsability then of parents becomes that of guides while learning to refocus on their own lives; otherwise it is simply choosing to live through your children which then becomes “surviving” and can put undeserving pressure on a young adult who is trying to find his own path.
In order to develop strength in character one has to learn to face things, situations, people head on; accepting that dealing with something isn’t trying to impose your way of living on others. The character of a person can be exposed not by their words nor by how they treat those whom they get along with; the character of a human being is exposed by how a person handles adversity and how one reacts to those who are different or make different choices than us. My advice to you is to take the time to be instrospective about your life. Take a good look at your life and look at those whose lives were full of adversity; chances are you will see those who suffered the most know how to forgive properly and how to respect others because they themselves know what pain really feels like. If you had a relatively “good” “healthy” childhood, then consider yourself blessed, and be thankful to everyone involved who made that possible at its time.
If you have things you need to confront or resolve with someone who was or is a big part of your life, do so; don’t expect that person to always be the one trying; part of growing up is learning to meet someone halfway and learning to listen to your own voice not the voice of everyone else who surrounds you. One day the people who made an impact on your life won’t be here, or maybe you won’t be here (we never know how life will unfold) as such don’t wait around trying to be “right” instead DO what is “right”.
Ultimately the most important thing is to learn to cherish those who do love us and truly have our best interest at heart. Sometimes those who care about us the most are not the ones who tell us what we want to hear, those who make us “comfortable” but those who encourage us to face ourselves and others in a way that is productive to all involved. Ask yourself the question “what if tomorrow that person wasn’t here?”. Do you want to be right or do you want to do what is right?, do you want to be victim or do you want to be strong?, Do you want to please others or do you want to develop character. These are important questions we all should ask ourselves each and every day as they help us see things in perspective. Once someone crosses over, life doesn’t give second chances nor does it care for thoughts of regret; growth is not something you find in death but in life!