The Paradox of Change

“The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.” – Carl Rogers

Most of us struggle with the issue of identity. We struggle with gaining enough self-confidence and self-esteem in order to properly navigate through life.

And we struggle because we somehow feel inadequate. There’s a voice inside our heads that constantly tells us about flaws and quirks that we’d better keep hidden from others, should we want to be accepted. The negative traits that we try to hide, repress, or change are the ones that end up harming us a lot more than others. Continue reading

Kill Them With Kindness

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” —  Martin Luther King Jr.

Being mean to someone else, particularly when dealing with situations in which the other person is displaying incompetence, is effortless and often quite effective. The result is that you’ve probably ruined their day. It can be difficult to keep cool in such situations, especially when you feel your precious time being wasted, but that’s the thing about being kind: it’s not supposed to be easy.

There’s often a choice to be made: efficient reproach, or less effective, patient kindness.

By choosing the latter, you’ve made the world a slightly better place.

After all, one cannot be kind unless is kind towards those who least deserve it. Continue reading

You’re Not Broken. You’re Human.

“You say you’re ‘depressed’ – all I see is resilience. You are allowed to feel messed up and inside out. It doesn’t mean you’re defective – it just means you’re human.”David Mitchel

Loneliness. It’s painful. It’s a disease. It’s as if there’s a wall between you and everyone else. It’s just you and the silence. Just you and yourself. It forces you to think. To remember. To feel. To remember what you’d never want to feel again.

Depression. Feels like drowning. With the added difference that you see everyone else breathing. It’s standing at edge of an abyss, staring down at the void, contemplating the idea of oblivion.

We often feel broken beyond repair. Hopeless. We see ourselves as unworthy of redemption.

I want to tell you that we are here to feel.

That is all.

Everything that makes you feel alive is worth experiencing at least once. Sometimes even twice.

It’s all so we develop a certain perspective. It’s so that we grow and become what we’re supposed to become.

So feel. Just feel. Just let it be. Just accept what is.

Let go. Continue reading

How Belief Influences Your Life

There are these two guys sitting together in a bar in the remote Alaskan wilderness. One of the guys is religious, the other is an atheist, and the two are arguing about the existence of God with that special intensity that comes after about the fourth beer.

And the atheist says, “Look, it’s not like I don’t have actual reasons for not believing in God. It’s not like I haven’t ever experimented with the whole God and prayer thing. Just last month I got caught away from the camp in that terrible blizzard, and I was totally lost and I couldn’t see a thing, and it was fifty below, and so I tried it: I fell to my knees in the snow and cried out ‘Oh, God, if there is a God, I’m lost in this blizzard, and I’m gonna die if you don’t help me.’”

The religious guy looks at the atheist all puzzled. “Well then you must believe now,” he says, “After all, here you are, alive.”

The atheist just rolls his eyes. “No, man, all that was was a couple Eskimos happened to come wandering by and showed me the way back to camp.”

David Foster Wallace told this anecdote in his commencement speech at Kenyon College, which in turn went viral, and now a lot of people are using bits and pieces from his speech to add weight to their own beliefs and ideas.

What I mean by this is that I am not the first person who writes about the power of belief, and how our beliefs shape our reality. After all, even though few bother to look behind the curtains, you can notice kind of the same things.

Or do you? Continue reading

Do This and It Will Change Your Life

The Stanford marshmallow experiment was a series of studies conducted by psychologist Walter Mischel in the late 1960s and early 1970s. In these studies, a child had to choose between receiving a small reward immediately or two small rewards if they waited for a short period, during which the tester left the room and then returned.

Pretty much a study on delayed gratification.

Do you want it now, or are you willing to suffer and wait for it? Continue reading

Who are YOU?

wp-quoteWho are you?

Most difficult question one could possibly ask.

Who are you?

Where do you even begin to answer such a question? What defines you as a person? The things you own? Or the things you do? What about the people you love? Or the ones you hate?

The thing is that we are not easily defined, we are not finished products, but works in progress.
Continue reading

Depression. Suicide. Courage.

The so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person who tries to kill herself doesn’t do so out of quote ‘hopelessness’ or any abstract conviction that life’s assets and debits do not square. And surely not because death seems suddenly appealing. The person in whom Its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise. Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows. Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view; i.e. the fear of falling remains a constant. The variable here is the other terror, the fire’s flames: when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors. It’s not desiring the fall; it’s terror of the flames. And yet nobody down on the sidewalk, looking up and yelling ‘Don’t!’ and ‘Hang on!’, can understand the jump. Not really. You’d have to have personally been trapped and felt flames to really understand a terror way beyond falling. – David Foster Wallace

Written by someone who ended up hanging himself, I think he knew what he was talking about.

Deciding to end one’s life needs quite a lot of contemplating on the subject. And, truth of the matter, we could debate the accuracy of such a description and all aspects of depression and suicide until the end of time, without arriving at a certain conclusion.

Maybe it’s got to do with emotional resilience. Maybe it’s got to do with neurological damage, with hormones and stuff. Continue reading