Love and labeling don’t go hand in hand. As tempted as we may be to label feelings, reactions, people or things happening into our life, we have the power to set them free from patterns that harm us. We have the power to free ourselves from emotions that don’t serve us. Criticism of others or ourselves can only be useful when it brings actionable thoughts. On your walks or talks today, keep an open mind about whatever might come your way. Nothing can touch you unless you let it.
We sometimes fail to recognize that what’s immediately in front of us is not what our whole life is about. We have the ability to shift focus and give importance to aspects of life that can bring joy rather than sadness. Or we can indulge in our own misery, find some good company in people who have similar interests and forget that life is an opportunity. And just like any opportunity, we can take it or put it on hold until ‘someday’.
Time off in lieu is a concept that can trick us into thinking that when we invest our time into something, we can then back time. This might be doable as part of the workweek convention, but let us not be fooled that time can be claimed back. Time is the only universal currency that we trade at any given time and it’s the one area in which we are all equal.
We created a category of time unaccounted for called leisure time or free time. ‘Free’ time is as valuable as we make it. If we use it to up the quality of our lives by bringing value and growing, every minute of our life can add to a positive balance. When we give our time to consuming the hyperrealities portrayed by Netflix, television, social media, celebrity personas and so on, we trade our time and even then, it’s not free. We pay money to spend time and the effect that these activities have on us and our evolution is negative. Good night sleep versus going out drinking? One good deal over a bad deal.
All time is accounted for in the grand scheme of things, even though we might not always keep track of it. So whenever we look at people making more money than us or pursuing their dreams, we must remember that they are simply making a better time trade. They choose to create, rather than consume. And once you add value, you not only get rewarded financially, but the impact on your on growth will be positive.
Broadening our skills helps us live a fuller life. We can laugh wholeheartedly, control our impulses, limit self-pity and focus on creating a positive impact. When it comes to social skills, we all have basic abilities that are glued to our identity. We show love and care instinctively. We also express anger and disappointment. This might be beneficial when we first ‘learn’ the feelings, but isolating them as unfriendly companions is key.
How do we treat an unfriendly companion? We try tempering them down and take away their power in different ways – by not responding on a tone that matches their own, limiting the time we spend with them and spinning their attention to the underlying cause of the issue or to the solution. Having spent too much time ranting, being angry and aggressive, here are some practice that helped:
- reading books that focus on understanding human behaviors and our own actions
- spend time being intentionally happy
Nothing new here, but change doesn’t happen overnight. It takes understanding the tools, making them our own and learning when to apply them through lived experience. What tools do you need to succeed?
We sometimes run scenarios in our mind of what we could have said differently and beat ourselves up about what we added to a conversation. It might come as a relief saying that how you express things, what emotions you convey, the tone of voice, facial expression, matter more than the choice of words.
The difference between ‘What did you say?’ and ‘WHAT DID YOU SAY?’ is quite obvious, and yet when trying to get a certain reaction we forget that working against people rather than with people cannot enable collaboration. Many relationships are damaged because of our people skills. It’s not our knowledge or our identity hurting people, but how we treat them, our attitude towards them, how we make them feel.
If you come from a place of sincerity, care and loyal interest, your words will be better received even when they’re criticism. Being calm and positive will not leave residue of guilt and pain as the opposite would.
What do we hear when someone tells us that we need to work more on something or that we didn’t get it just right on this occasion? If our blood starts boiling, if we get angry or we feel belittled, it might be the case that what we hear is that we are not good enough.
Being good enough is not a feeling that someone can give us, not forever. It takes self-work and it has nothing to do with what people project on us. When we receive criticism meant to help us grow but instead we let it land in the wrong place, provoking pain, we narrow the limitations within which we exist.
Feedback can only serve us if we allow it. In order to outgrow it, we need to consider it at an intellectual level. Feelings aside, what can we do to improve? Then regardless of the place of love or negativity where it came from, we shine and sprint forward into expansion. Life is growth, but sometimes the flat learning curve needs a bit of a push. It’s up to us to move upwards.