​It’s OK To Not Be OK

We are living in a generation that is obsessed with finding happiness. The self-help industry is larger than ever, with people searching for more meaning and a better quality of life. Mindfulness, meditation, and gratitude journals are the new cool.

But it also appears that people are becoming lonelier, sadder, and more depressed. What’s worse is that depression gets such bad press and so much stigma surrounding it.

There is no doubt that sadness or grief can be extremely uncomfortable and intense, but perhaps the idea of sadness that society has created makes it more unbearable to welcome than what it actually is to feel. We have no skills to deal with challenging times other than what we learn over time by experiencing life and gaining wisdom. There is a difference between sadness and depression, but if sadness is not dealt with in a healthy way, it can lead to depression. If you want a healthy self, then you need to heal thyself.

Society has taught us to believe that showing “negative emotions” such as sadness is a sign of weakness. It’s crazy to think how much stigma exists around the idea of being sad or depressed. It drives you to wonder if we all live on the same planet or not. The truth is nobody is exempt from suffering and nobody, no matter how rich or successful, is above depression.

Our world is a hectic place filled with connections, possibilities, ideas, and theories. Our world is also energizing and inspiring, but a lot of times it can be exhausting and confusing. It is our duty to equip ourselves with survival skills and to program our mindsets to complement a healthy way of living, thinking, and acting in order to thrive. We must gain the ability to release our thoughts and embrace stillness and conquer calmness in times of turmoil. This involves learning to recognize self-destructive thoughts and ideas and mentally organize them as to what is true and what is false.

It’s time to accept that it’s OK to not be OK. Sadness serves a purpose. It brings excellent information about your life. It’s a natural response to an event or experience in your life. It’s nothing to fear.
The intention of sadness is to tell you something is not right and you need to make changes in your life or perhaps let someone you love go. The idea is to welcome the emotion like you would with any other feeling, invite it and ask it questions, like “what do I need to learn here” and “can I change something about this situation or not?” Breathe. Exhale. Let go.
Do not make the situation worse by torturing yourself with anger and shame for messing up or feeling not good enough. Under all your loud, crazy, false beliefs you are more than perfect.
We simply cannot control every event in the universe. We cannot control other people’s behavior, but we can control ourselves and how we respond to the situation, and the best way to respond is with compassion. Accept the feeling and forgive yourself for being a human being that feels too much and loves too much. Forgive yourself for not being a robot that can simply ignore undesirable moments and events. Being sad is part of life. Treat your feelings with respect and love yourself enough to not use alcohol, drugs, food, or people as therapy. This will make you feel worse. The yucky feelings will not magically disappear by burying them; they will only fester.
You can choose to share your thoughts and feelings with others but don’t expect others to totally understand, because people are all different and pain is incomparable, every situation is handled differently. The only person that truly understands the depths of your feelings is you, and for this reason you must express yourself as much as you like and don’t feel like you need to fight it, this will start a huge inner conflict.
The idea is to acknowledge sadness as a normal emotion just like happiness. Do the inner work and let it go. All of our emotions lead us to knowing understanding ourselves better.
Also, just like our emotions have a valuable purpose, crying also serves us. The emotional tears we shed help the body recover from stressful events by excreting excess hormones such as the old stress hormone and help you to detoxify emotionally. So crying makes you feel better. Now you have every reason to cry it out.

I hope this helped many of you.

The Opposite of Fear…….

Everything you want is on the other side of fear.”Jack Canfield

Let me tell you about fear. It’s poison. It’s poison for your mind. It makes you lose control, it makes you freeze, it makes you take the wrong decision. When you let fear take over, you’re just an echo of your former self. An empty shadow and nothing more.

But we’re all afraid, aren’t we? Even the brave are afraid. There’s no such thing as fearless. There’s always something to be afraid of. What will happen, what might happen, what we might lose, what we might never gain.

So… what is there to be had on the other side of fear?

The awful truth about life is that what doesn’t kill often makes you wish it did. There’s great sadness and pain in this world, and we all get our fair share. But, you see, eventually all those things that don’t kill us either make us stronger or weaker. After a while, when pain becomes but a memory, we have a choice.

We can either decide to become stronger or weaker. We can harden ourselves up or not. The choice is always ours.

But we’re afraid… even when the pain goes away, we’re afraid it might return. Even after heartbreaks heal, we’re afraid someone else will break our hearts again. We might never want to fall in love again. We might want to spend a lifetime behind closed doors, just to be sure.

That’s when we need to fight fear, we need to see what is it that we can find on the other side of fear.

All our dreams and expectations. All our ambitions. All the power and the courage and the determination and the discipline we could ever need. All that lies just on the other side of fear.

I’ve always wanted to go to the United States and forge a better future there. Ever since I was six, actually. I never even traveled there, mostly because I was afraid of the visa requirements. Or the fact that I’d fail. I just wanted to fight a sure battle, but no one could ever guarantee me that. No one ever will.

And I’ve filled the ocean that lies between Romania and the US with excuses, endless scenarios, and fear. I’ve thought about it, over and over again, and decided that it would be best to wait. Living in a foreign country, all by myself, seemed like too much. Just the thought that I’d need to go through a lot of trouble just to arrive at my destination seemed impossible.

I’ve never even been on a plane.

But…

There’s one thing about me that I never lost, one thing that I didn’t learn or mimic from others. I want things so badly that I’d be willing to do anything to get them. When I decide that it’s time to do so, I don’t let anything stand in my way.

I did the same for writing. I wrote on and off for 8 years before finally deciding that I’d better man up and write more and more stuff. And finish stuff. And get stuff published.

There are no impossible journeys in life. Only journeys we’re too afraid to even start.

Now I know that life’s all about being afraid and doing it anyways. In fact, fear should motivate me. It should drive me to act, to try my best, to try to solve problems.

I don’t want to spend a lifetime dreaming about an ideal future. I don’t want to wish for it to happen. I want to make it happen. Because no one else will do it for me.

And that makes all the difference.

The world is never against you. The world does not hate you.

You’re just alone. You and your dreams. And it’s entirely up to you to make them happen, one at a time, before it’s too late.

Because the most tragic thing that could ever happen to you is to realize that it’s too late.

The Difference Between Dreaming, And Actually Living Your Dreams

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.  Live the life you have imagined.”
— Henry David Thoreau

I’ve been pondering this quote from Henry David Thoreau for some time. Time spent exploring the Tuscan hillsides, religion, love, writing my thoughts… time pondering my dreams. It’s as if each single word in this quote carries such huge weight. Two short sentences, the ultimate philosophy on life.

“Go”, whether literally or figuratively, implies movement. Moving forward, moving on, moving to a new place. “Go” is a command to never remain static.

“Confidently” is a big word, too. After all, when chasing a dream or changing a situation, how many of us actually do it with confidence? And, to that end, how many of us lacking confidence actually succeed? The act of holding your head high and believing in your goals (and the actions leading you to them) is the key to whether you achieve the things you desire.

“In the direction”. Wouldn’t it be impossible to “go” anywhere without having a direction in which to go? Knowing whether to go forward or back, up or down, east or west, in order to remain dynamic, one must always have a direction in mind.  Which relates to the next couple of words in this quote.

“Your dreams”. Those two words are particularly loaded. I’m not sure which of the two carries the most importance. As human beings, we all have dreams. Some may be outlandish and difficult to attain. Some may be small and based on day to day life.  Either way, when we cease to dream, we cease to exist. And everyone’s dreams are different. Everyone’s existence is special.

“Dreams” imply ultimate desire- whether it be for a promotion, for love, for anything in life that makes you happy.
“Your” (as in “your dreams”) is really the key to this sentence. Throughout life, people will always try to force their own dreams upon you. People will want things for you or from you that perhaps you never dreamed for yourself. What would be the point in living if you lived the dreams of others? Identifying “your” dreams and aiming to “go” in their “direction” is vital in finding happiness.

“Live the life” really strikes me as a powerful statement. It implies action. Life could so easily pass you by if you allow it to go on without you. Living, doing, pursuing– not being afraid to take control of your life or grab onto your dreams.

“You have imagined”. What have you imagined? What dreams linger in your mind, often unheard? Have you taken the time to nourish your imagination, encourage that childlike tendency to dream? So often, we get caught up in the mundane, the stale situations created by putting our dreams on hold. Your imagination is like your star map… a navigational guide to a happy life.

In the end, we only have one life. We were all put here with the intention that we chase our dreams and fulfill our potential as unique individuals. Henry David Thoreau really got me thinking.

What is the answer to the really big question here? What am I doing to “go”, “dream” and “imagine”?

SHOW THEN YOUR DREAM

“And imagining that future keeps you going, but you never do it. You just use the future to escape the present.” ― John Green
Truth be told, hope is a two edged sword. If is not accompanied by action, if it’s not the thing that keeps you moving forward, in spite of pain and fear, then it’s the most painful thing in the world.
To hope but not act on that hope…
The world doesn’t want you to be happy. The world doesn’t want you to fulfill your dreams. The world wants you to believe that the life you want is impossibly out of reach.
Why?
Because no one is going to take the time to tell you that it can be done. That you can get what you want. You tell people all about your dreams, but they won’t help you achieve them, because they’re not listening. They’re busy dreaming about how they wished their lives would look like.
But trust me, the life you want can be obtained.
Simple as that.
But you’ve got to stop dreaming. You have to act. Wishful thinking has never propelled anyone forward.
Life is all about action.
Life is all about planning.
About courage.
About taking risks.
About being strong enough to endure failure, humiliation, hunger, and solitude.
If you really want it, you’ll find a way. If not, you’ll spend the rest of your life dreaming about it and blaming others because it didn’t happen.
It’s just that simple.
But it’s easy.
It’s hard, to get out of bed and work on something that seems to be impossible. When everyone is telling you to quit. When you want to quit. But that’s how you win. If you don’t fight the urge to give up, you’re just not good enough to get what you want.
Life’s not only about how much you want something, but also about how much you’re willing to sacrifice in order to have it.
Keep that in mind next time you want to give up because you tried writing something and you just didn’t feel like it and quit after staring at an empty screen for five minutes…