Something to prove

September 7, 2012

Sometimes, it feels like life is just a struggle to prove something or to impress someone. Think about it. We dress up, work hard, put on a smile, play hard, try to better ourselves and it’s not for no reason that we put in so much effort.

There is always someone to impress or to make an impression on. God, your parents, your boss, your friends, that pretty girl you have a crush on, and even those strangers on the bus that you may never ever talk to in your life.   

Sometimes, it doesn’t even matter if the impression you make is good or bad. This is probably because the only thing that is worse than being remembered badly by someone is to not be remembered at all. At the end of the day, that’s what it boils down to.

The reason we try to impress someone is because we want something from them. It doesn’t really matter what it is, whether you want sex, a promotion, recognition, fame, power, or acceptance – it comes down to a need to be acknowledged and to feel some worth.

Modern society reflects this need. This is what our economies are built on, the need to prove that we’re good enough. Make-up, clothes, music, even the food we eat and the wine we drink all serve to boost our sense of ego and self.  Facebook, twitter, blogs (yes, even this one) and all other forms of social media have proven so successful because they’ve captured this essence, this need to be heard, recognised and accepted.

What are we trying to prove? What are scared of?  I suppose all this struggling is to prove that I’m good enough. Prove that I’m good enough to exist, prove that I’m good enough to be loved, prove that my existence means something. I think that maybe, this is what the search for love really is.

Finding that one person who will cherish you no matter the circumstances and who will accept you as a big and important part of their lives. That special person that supports you no matter what choices you make, who feels that you’re as important to them as they are to you. Love is that mutual recognition and appreciation of two people’s special worth and value to each other. If you find that then count your blessings.

You can talk about independence or living for yourself and loving yourself all you want, but I think there’s a need that is impossible to satisfy by yourself. Even the most famous star with a million Facebook friends will feel alone coming back to an empty house at the end of the day.

I don’t know, you may agree or disagree with what I say. I don’t think that our need to prove ourselves is right or wrong. It’s just the way things are. For me personally, it helps me to understand what my motivations are and what’s important to me. It helps to remind me that even a little encouragement or praise of what someone means to me can go a long way. If you agree or not, it still has meaning for you. I wonder what that is? I’d love to know. J


The line between confidence and arrogance

August 24, 2012

I’ve been thinking a lot about confidence and pride. Self-confidence is something I struggle with sometimes (especially when it comes to girls and relationships) and I sometimes wonder where people get their confidence from. Is it something we are born with? Or a skill we can learn or acquire over time? From where and what place do people draw their confidence from?

I wouldn’t call myself a very confident person. I feel that I have done some things of which I can be proud but at times I struggle to genuinely feel confident enough to over come my insecurities and for example, go talk to a stranger on the bus or compliment a random girl at the bar. It’s a little absurd that I have no problems getting lost in a random african village but cannot find the courage to ask a girl out on a date or rather feel confident enough to pull it off. I sometimes think that so much of my personal growth and soul searching is an attempt to find some kind of self confidence and feel worthy enough to be with a girl I like, or to be able to speak out when I want to, or act when I should.

I guess I’ve always been wary about the fine line between confidence and arrogance. There are few traits more irritating to me than that of arrogance. We all know people like that (though perhaps we wish we didn’t :P), that guy or girl who always has an opinion and carries that air of superiority that belittles and alienates people. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with bein proud of your past achievements but when you think that it makes you better than anyone else then there’s a problem. I hope that if I ever get like that and ‘act’ superior then you will give me a good whack on the head to bring me back down to earth. It’s what a good friend would do right? 🙂

I have to admit, I had a bit of a superior mentality when I went to Africa. The usual saviour complex that most volunteers have and the exclamations of praise certainly does inflate the ego. Thankfully, I was lucky enough to have met some amazing people who put things into perspective and had the time to reflect on my own thoughts and actions. I realised that I was never any better than those I was there to help, I was simply luckier to have had the opportunities that I had and I reminded myself that whatever I might have done in he past didn’t really matter, no matter how awesome or how much I gave up. It was what I didnow that made me a good person. It’s good to have these reminders now and again to keep me grounded.

So I think that confidence and pride is like the difference between genius and insanity. To me, it seems that confidence is how we see ourselves with respect to other people, pride is how we see other people with respect to ourselves. There is a vey subtle difference but one that’s revealing nonetheless if you think about it. Pride is ego-centric and like insanity, the world is only seen from one person’s perspective and only what we believe is truth. Confidence on the other hand is not just about ‘me’ but also about the where I fit into the world around me, and like true genius, it sees the world from many perspectives. Thats an interesting thought don’t you think? Unfortunately it doesn’t help me with feeling more confident as a person but I thought you might find it interesting 🙂

When two rivers meet

July 19, 2012

A soul is like a river.
It rises and falls with the seasons. It flows and gives life to those around it.
Sometimes it is calm and placid, overcoming obstacles with graceful ease.
Other times it is turbulent and violent, trying to carve it’s own path.
A river is fed by other rivers and in turn it feeds others.

A soul is like river.
There is more than what you see on the surface
Who knows what treasures you might find if you look.
Who knows what stories you may hear if you just listen.
Who knows what adventures you might have if you just dive in.

Where two rivers meet, whirlpools are formed and it gets confused.
But further downstream, they flow together as one.
When two rivers meet, they can never be the same again.
My soul is like a river.
I’m glad my river met yours.

The 3 mes: who I think I am

July 19, 2012

We are such fragile creatures with delicate souls. In order to cope with our existence we wrap ourselves in illusions and lies. It’s a sad state of affairs but one can hardly be blamed for doing it and I’m just as guilty as anyone else.

I like to believe that I am reasonably intelligent, fairly athletic and great at understanding people. I tell myself that I am a good person, that I have done many things to be proud, and that I’m capable and dependable. I fool myself with little deceptions to bolster my self-confidence to fool myself into believing that I don’t need to compare myself with others, that I am fine just the way I am.

In this world where appearances matter so much, where we are constantly bombarded with images, ideas and concepts that tell us who we should be – is it any wonder that we wrap ourselves in illusions just to fit in?

It’s hard to peel back the layers and recognise what is true and what is false. It’s scary to let go of the illusions that sustain us because then we might be forced to realise how inadequate we might be. It’s even scarier to think that maybe we are capable of so much more and that we lie to ourselves because we are afraid of failing.

I’ve become more and more aware of the illusions that I build around me to keep me going and it seems to be even harder to break those down since I’ve been back. So much harder to see through the deceptions and be honest with myself. Nevertheless, It’s so important to peel back who I think I am to find out who I really am.. only then can I go on to become who I want to be.




Growing our hearts..

May 30, 2012

So as I was driving to work this morning, I heard two things on the radio:

1. Exercise strengthens not just your body but your brain.
2. Bic Runga’s newest song – “tiny little piece of my heart’” (which I really like, it’s such a cute song – if a song could be called cute)

How are these two related? Well, they aren’t really. Except in my head that is. For those of you who may be curious as to the way my mind works, here’s a little insight for you. Smile

It’s fairly well established that exercise is good for your mind and sharpens the senses, and we know that like our bodies, if we don’t train/exercise our brains, we start to get lazy and slow.. our minds and bodies go blunt if we don’t use them regularly. To get stronger, fitter, faster, we need to do more than just regular exercise, we need to push it past it’s current limitations and of course it goes the same for our brains. You don’t grow doing the same thing over and over again. You need to be challenged.

Following this line of thought, the same must also be true of those less tangible things that we have – what about our spirit, our souls, our hearts? It’s kind of scary if you think about it. It’s not just if we let negativity and hate strange our souls and our hearts, if we close up our hearts to the love that comes our way and our souls to the possibilities around us, then it’s just as bad.

The good news is that the opposite is also true. If we stay open and learn to give more love than we’re capable of, then surely, at some point, our hearts and souls are going to grow to accommodate that. Doesn’t that sound good?

So when we’re down and when we’ve been hurt, it’s easy to close up and withdraw to avoid the pain that’s been caused to our hearts and our souls. But maybe, just maybe there’s a better way. If instead, you exercise your spirit, you could increase your capacity to love so much, that suddenly you have more to offer than you thought.. what seemed like a big heartbreak is only a tiny little piece of your heart. It’s worth thinking about isn’t it?

The power to change worlds

April 28, 2012

You  may have noticed that some of the things I think and write about could be categorised into themes, and that these themes tend to reoccur from time to time. I’ve noticed it too, and I’ve wondered why some things seem to be emphasised at different points in my life. I’ve wondered why I have the same revelations today that I had two years ago, perhaps it’s because I need the reminders.

When I came back from Tanzania almost 9 months ago, circumstances screamed at me to take it slow and emphasised personal space, despite the allure of trying  to quickly re-assimilate back into the way of things here, hit the ground running per-se. When I was unemployed and receiving rejection letters galore, I had every reason to feel down and dejected, yet I was constantly being reminded to live a life of gratitude. A lesson we always need reminding of here in the developed world.

Since I’ve started working, the theme of empowerment has been on my mind alot, as you may have noticed from my previous posts. This week, I’ve been thinking about how interconnected we all are. Cause and effect. How the smallest action can have far reaching consequences (even if we never know). How a single yes or no could make or break a person’s world. How a simple laugh could put someone at ease or just make them more self-conscious.

Think about that and what it means.

It means that we all have the power to change a person’s world with our words and actions. It means that even if we carelessly say or do something, it may have unforeseen consequences, though we may think nothing of it. It also means that as we have have then power to speak into someone else’s life, so others have the power to speak into our lives.

For me personally, this revelation reminds me to carefully consider how I interact with the world, understanding the power I have to influence things and my responsibility to be accountable for that. It warns me that the environment I choose to live in – the work I do, the friends I have, and the things I read and watch also have power to influence me. Good water and soil bears good fruit. Bad water and soil can only bear bad fruit.

You may think that you don’t care what other people think, but we all know it’s not true. The extent of influence is only limited by the closeness of the connection, those closest to us can influence us the most and vice versa. The nature of the influence is up to the individual, up to you. Are you going to be a positive or negative influence? Next time you interact with someone, maybe pause and think about it a little and choose for yourself instead of going on instinct or habit.

Power and Purpose

April 14, 2012

In my last post, I talked about taking personal responsibility for our own lives and by doing so, taking back control of how we think, act and live. I think it’s a insightful revelation in itself, and one that is quite relevant in our everyday lives. Try it. Next time something gets to you, think about whether you’re reacting or ‘pro-acting.’

Realising how much power we have over our own fates can be very liberating, but it’s not the whole story. All this talk about taking control of your own life means nothing if you have neither the motivation to empower yourself or the direction to channel that power. This is where purpose comes into it.

Having a purpose or a dream serves two very important functions: it gives us hope (which is so very important) and it gives us meaning. Viktor Frankl loves to quote Nietzsche in his book “Man’s search for meaning” by stating that anyone who has a why can bear any how.

Unfortunately finding that purpose is much easier said than done. Circumstances, people, and our environment can drain us of our hopes and dreams. Hardship, bad luck, disillusionment can rob us of our dreams while comfort and security can lead us to forget them.

I have many dreams, and I think that if we sat down and compared notes you’d find similar themes. I dream of falling madly in love, experiencing the world, finding a job I love. I dream of being the best I can be in every way and seeing people grow into their potential. I dream of sharing stories and connecting people so that minds are opened, and we can all respect our diversity while sharing common values.

It’s a daunting process trying to figure out what you want.. finding your purpose. I’ve been pondering that question for years now and I’ve only really got a vague idea even now. There’s nothing wrong with that. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know what your life’s purpose is or what you really want. I’m willing to bet that most people don’t really know either.

What is important, is that you realise how valuable it is to have dreams, even if they seem impossible. So I’ve told you what my dreams are, why don’t you tell me what yours are. I’d honestly love to hear about it.