Temptations

We don’t need anything that we don’t know. A person who’s never heard about money will not seek it. A child that has never seen a phone, won’t ask for one.  We only need things- and people- we have experienced. In that same way, we can’t be tempted by anything we haven’t had.

No one likes to be reminded of how much time they spend on their phones. We all know it’s bad and we all know it’s a waste of time and we know we’re not missing anything if we don’t use it for a few hours, or let me dare say, days. But we’re tempted to look at it, because it’s accessible. It’s right there in our pocket or bag, ready to be used. But I’m not writing another post about how much time is wasted on phones. They are part of our lives. End of story.

I’m trying to figure out how to use this knowledge to learn how to resist temptations in general. I can say for myself that I’m really good at making resolutions. Be it on New Years Eve or any other day, I tend to set high challenges that I really think I will be able to achieve. In that moment, I’m composed and strong-willed. Even when the goals I’m setting a really demanding, I feel a certain confidence and a responsibility towards myself to not disappoint myself.

Despite the strength of mind I feel when I set these milestones, I have yet to achieve most of them. And I’m pretty sure that is the case for many people. Because we let ourselves be tempted. Because on some days, the temptations are too strong and too accessible. Because the strength of our mind is neither consistent nor reliable. Obviously- you can train your mind. Just like you can train your body. But just like you can get sick physically even when you’re working out, eating healthily and dressing appropriately, a mind that is well treated can have weak moments too. I have yet to meet someone who’s on 100% mentally 365/365.

These moments, when the temptations become too strong, are the moments during which we have to support and help ourselves. We might not be able to keep up the strength of mind at all times, but we can avert risk. Say you’ve been trying to quit smoking. You wake up in the morning and you’re feeling really confident not to give in to temptation during the day. That’s when you’ll have to remind yourself that you might not be able to keep up these thoughts all day. Don’t pack your cigarettes or throw them away on the way to school, uni, job or whatever your destination might be. During the day, maybe don’t join cigarette breaks, even if you’re convinced you’ll be able to say no if someone offers you a cig. Because chances are you won’t.

We’re not as strong mentally as we think we are. We love to give in to temptations and we love to give ourselves little breaks to indulge in things that’ll ultimately hurt us. Don’t let yourself be fooled into thinking that your mental strength is dependable at all times. Don’t overestimate yourself. Take account of weak moments.

Invent yourself, CK

(I’ve been trying to figure out a way to adjust this strategy to be of use with tempting feelings. Say you’re in the process of trying to get over someone who was special to you. Say you’re thinking you’re not doing so bad. Say you’ve not seen them in a while and you assume you’ll finally be able to cope with seeing them. You expect yourself to resist the temptation of letting old feelings come up again. And then you do see them at some event. And the wall you’ve built in your head-despite all the efforts you’ve put into overcoming this person- is shattered in no time. You realize that the wall might have been fit to repress thoughts, but not feelings. And they flood your head and take with them every piece of progress you had so thoroughly fixed.

Feelings ultimately run the show and ignoring them will only lead to a more painful collapse. Not confronting yourself with a person, to be able to distance yourself mentally unfortunately does not seem to do the trick in the way it does with bad habits. Sorry about the blow…)

audentes fortuna iuvat

The reasons that keep me from writing, from creating anything that might or might not be of artistic worth are numerous, or so I keep telling myself. Keeping up with university work, Sports, Netflix, meeting friends to have 27 drinks too many, the thereof resulting hangovers, the endless and mindless scrolling through the same 3 apps a 100 times a day. All these things, I tell myself, are the reasons that delay my writing. But honestly, I know that they are not the true reasons, I know that I could easily find time to do what I really like to do. Here’s why I really keep myself from sitting in front of my desk, open WordPress and my notes on my phone (consisting of random small ideas and single words that no longer make any sense to me at all, but at the time of writing them down seemed to be brilliant ideas for new posts) and why I prefer to lie in bed to rewatch Friends over and over again.

I’m afraid to fail. Always have. I’ve always had the stupid idea in my head that failing at anything would put me in a dangerous place in terms of mental health. As in, I thought of myself as being unable to deal with failing. As in, I forbid myself to fail to preserve my strength. As in, me failing at anything would make a failure out of me. I grew up in an extremely fortunate environment: teachers that really cared about my grades and well-being, parents who would drop everything to help with anything school-related. I am thankful everyday and I know that the people around me tried to protect me from everything to spare me any trouble.

But every coin has two sides. While, up to now, I never had any major trouble in terms of my academic path, it prevented me from ever having to deal with failure. I never had to endure the pain of knowing that I would probably fail my year or even just a class and therefore never developed the consciousness of my own strength, of the possibility to get myself out of difficult situations. I know I have it in me, I know I’m much more resistent than I tend to think of myself and I know every single person on this planet has it in them. Some people, like me, just never have dared to look for it, because they’re afraid that they would be looking for something only to find out that it doesn’t exist.

That is why I refrain from starting new projects, because I know I will not immediately be good at it (crazy concept…) and why I refrain from starting to write. I’m aware of the possibility of failure at any time and I’m worried that I wouldn’t be able to deal with not succeeding in my endeavors, that it would hinder my development as a writer. A thought process, which from this new perspective I recently adopted, is non-sense. The only thing that can really keep me from progressing in my projects is if I do not engage with them at all. The only real obstacle any of us have to face is fear.

Life has a plan for everyone. Even when we think that we’re going in circles, that we’re going backwards or that we’ve have lost sight of the path we once took, it’s still there. What I’ve been trying to teach myself is that mistakes, wrong decisions and failures do not blur our vision of the path we’re walking. Every situation in which we accept the possibility of defeat, of failure, of hurting ourselves, is like a lens that improves our sight of the track that’s under our feet. With every risky decision that might come back at us, that might hunt us for a while, that keeps us awake at night, we start to see clearer until one day our perception of the path will be so crystal clear that we’ll wonder how we could ever doubt its existence.

Failure does not make us weak. We should always see it as a result of courage, of daring to take blind steps into the unknown. If we dare to fail, we set up success. audentes fortuna iuvat. Fortune favours the bold. Be bold enough to fail.

Invent yourself, CK

“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default. -J.K. Rowling

Neglected Qualities

 

Many people give up on goals, on diets, on careers, on ideas and ideals. Why? They don’t allow for instant results.

A big problem we have today is that many people do no longer feel the need to learn the trait of patience. Things have to be accessible at once. If they aren’t, they are forgotten about. Sadly, most things that are instantly accessible, are not worth it. Patience and consistency however are crucial for anyone to reach something of worth. But in today’s world, we’re no longer taught to fight for what we want. We want to be rewarded for everything we do, we don’t like to wait and would rather not have something at all than having it later. We seek instant gratification. We’re growing up with the feeling that we do not have enough time and anything that doesn’t show results right away, never will. Yet the many things that are worth achieving; those goals you would be proud to have reached demand steadiness and discipline. But these are qualities you have to master on your own, no one can and no one will do it for you.

Another problem is that we seem to have adapted a mentality that prevents us from being appreciative of what we have. Rather, we’re always looking out for more, for bigger, for better. We don’t allow ourselves to just be happy with what we have. It always has to be more. No doubt, this way of living can be a way of reaching more. A way of finding out how far you can go.

But it also rules out self-appreciation, gratitude and recognition. It rules out the possibility of having a good life. Because as I see it, there is no definition of a good life that suits everyone. It is whatever you want it to be. Yet there are people who think of themselves as worthy of defining what a good life is, thereby presenting a certain image of what it is supposed to be. People, who have yet to figure out what a good life is to them, who have yet to realize that they are the only ones who are worthy of assessing their lives, will follow this path, striving for a life they do not want. And eventually, they’ll realize just how much time they wasted going through life with their eyes closed to the things that genuinely matter to them.

You can obviously live your life trying to have more and be more. Or you stop and take a breath. Think about how much you have reached, how many bad days you’ve gone through, how many true friends you’ve found, how much love you’ve felt.

Being grateful is hard for many people, but as I see it, you either learn this trait or you go through life blinded by the sparkling world of the more, the bigger, the better  and never see how much you already have. And one day you will die and you’ll not look back to all the good you have had but wish for just one more day on earth.

 

CK

2019 We Shine Bright

Lesson nr 1

You’ll trip and fall and it’ll hurt like shit. And it’ll feel like you’ve fallen into the deepest of holes. It’ll feel like you’re dying. Except you’re not.

2019, give it your all, give it all you’ve got. Be kind to one another. Set goals. Have fun. Call people when you miss them. Spend time with those who matter. Find out who and what makes you happy- rely on these things. Remind yourself that nothing is worth losing your self-respect. Remind yourself that belief is all it takes.

2019, allow feelings, allow yourself to be down. You already know suppression is the wrong way. Don’t hide in darkness, talk to people. Let yourself be helped.

2019, don’t think of yourself too much and don’t take yourself too seriously, no one likes egocentrics. Think of and help others. Be interested in what they have to say. You never learn something new when you’re talking, only when you listen. Try to understand. Judge and gossip less. Let people be. They’ll find out for themselves if they’re in the wrong.

2019, don’t look away. Intervene and react when you see something that’s wrong. Fight for what is right. Never allow yourself to accept something just because it has always been this way. Respect and tolerance are the only way. You have rights, but so do others. You don’t stand above anyone. Don’t ever feel entitled.

Don’t live in the past, it’s not coming back. New things happen and there’s a reason for that. 2019 find out what that reason is. Try to make sense of it. Try to find purpose. Wake up everyday and work towards a future that works for you, not against you. You decide where you’re going. Every decision you take shapes your path. Be conscient when you’re taking decisions, but do not turn away from risks. Risks are to life what seasoning is to cooking. Without them, both would be boring.

Trust your body, it will know what’s best for you. Eat and rest well. It’s nice to have some cash but don’t let it define you. You’re much more than your bank account. Don’t focus on what others have. Don’t judge people based on how much money they have. Spend your money as you wish. Treat yourself. Worry more about how you spend your time than your money. Money comes and goes- time just goes.

2019 can be a good year but we’ve all got work to do. We have to work on our attitudes, on our habitudes and on the way we treat one another. We shine bright not by killing the light of others but by merging theirs with ours.

Happy New Year

CK

Something Special About Us

I’m not sure if that’s what every generation says about themselves but I have a feeling that we’re doing much better than is expected from us.

When I look around I see young women not tolerating any bullshit from any man anymore. I see activists, people who want to be part of the country’s politics to be able to change something. To fix what others messed up. I see artists. Singers. Songwriters. DJs. Producers. Dancers.

I see young people having startups before they’ve finished high school. People who refuse nine-to-five jobs. People finding ways to make money with what they love. People learning from their mistakes and those of others. I see people no longer caring about what others think about them. People daring to be who they are. I see more uniqueness. More openness towards individuality.

But most importantly, I see a generation in which people have become aware of how important it is to take care of themselves and the people around them. We have started to reach out for one another. Started to accept mistakes. Started to accept that perfection isn’t an option. We have made ourselves a priority.

Now, how does that make us any better than any generation before us? I believe that the support and love I see around me is real. I see honest and critical minds. Less followers and more pioneers. I see refusal. Refusal to accept bad things. Refusal to accept that bad things must remain because “that’s the way it has always been”.

I see people who are no longer afraid of change. People who seek change. People who understand the necessity of change. And the necessity of faith and courage. The necessity to stand up for their rights. To stand up for those who can’t.

One of the truest tests of integrity is its blunt refusal to be compromised.

-Chinua Achebe

Be proud of who you are!! Please let us not be compromised when we can be so much more…

Invent yourself, CK

Forgiveness

Should you forgive people who have wronged you?

I believe that, while forgiving others can be both a gesture of your own greatness and stupidity (fool me once…), more thought should be attributed to the forgiveness of yourself. We all walk down our own path of life and sooner or later you are going to take decisions that will change your life for the better or the worse. Let’s focus on these decisions that’ll turn out to be bad. You’re going to look back one day and realize that what you did was wrong.

And you’ll realize that you can’t take back words you said, nor can you undo the things you did. You don’t get to press restart. Maybe you’ve hurt somebody. And you feel regret and you’d do anything to go back to that particular day. Because it’s all you think about and you want to show that what you did was a mistake, you want to show the world and yourself that this mistake is not who you are, prove that you’re not a bad person.

But as appealing as it is, that’s not how things work. You ruin your inner peace because you won’t stop thinking about that one mistake and you start judging yourself. Because you don’t let go of the past. Because you don’t forgive yourself. Because you do not accept that you’re flawed. You do not want to accept that mistakes are part of life.

But a mistake is a mistake and it will still be a mistake in 20 years. You can spend the rest of your life looking back at that moment, accusing yourself. Or you choose to forgive yourself and let the past be in the past. Let yourself be human. Because forgiving yourself does not mean that you ignore what you did. It does not mean that you choose to delete part of your past. It merely means you’re ready to accept imperfection.

Make the mistakes work for you, let them teach you to become a better you.


“The past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it or learn from it.” -Rafiki (The Lion King)

Invent yourself, CK

Choice

(Another 3 months have passed but there’s a lot I have learned living on my own, so you might forgive me for being inactive again.)

Everyone has them. Bad days that make you feel like nothing is worth fighting for, that life is just an infinite repetition of the same boring days. Bad days that make you forget all the good in your life. They cloud your mind, and have you thinking about nothing but the negative stuff you had to endure.

But these days, while they might be horrible live through, seem necessary to me. We need to feel terrible from time to time, to realize how lucky we are. To realize that we have been given a gift that we should cherish much more often than we tend to do. Because that is exactly what we do. We take everything for granted until it’s gone, then mourn about it and feel betrayed by life.

Truth is, we blame life for being heartless and unfair. We try to impose our rules in a game against an opponent who can’t lose. You can’t win a a game against life but you can learn to play by the rules, accept them and make them work in your favor. There is nothing you can do about being taken away things or people you love, you cannot get it back. But you still have a choice. You either choose to regret, live a life full of mourning that will only get worse and put yourself in a vicious circle, because whenever something will be taken away from you, that feeling of having wasted the good times will become stronger.

Or you choose not to deliberately destroy your own life. You come to terms with the transience of everything. You realize that while all the good times have an end, bad times aren’t everlasting either.

There is good in all bad and bad in all good.  Don’t bring yourself down by ignoring the good.

Some days are just bad days, that’s all. You have to experience sadness to know happiness, and I remind myself that not every day is going to be a good day, that’s just the way it is.     

Invent yourself, CK

 

 

 

Structure

12th February. My last post. It’s been 6 months since I last published, and I swear this has by far been the messiest time I’ve ever been through. I meant to take a small break from writing, to be able to focus on studying for my finals. Yet when exams were over, I somehow missed out on getting back to what I know best. There have been more ups and downs during these last months than ever before, and I feel like I should have never stopped writing to. And yet.. maybe it was necessary for me to find out that I need it. After all, we all need something to let off steam, some outlet that brings back balance to our life.

Anyway, I’m back now. And I mean to stay this time.

One thing I’ve learnt recently is that we all need some sort of structure in our lives. We need organization, something to rely on, because at times, when nothing seems to go our way, we still have something that makes us feel like we have at least some control over our lives. Structure is basically a precondition for one’s sanity. A mind that has no reference points whatsoever, eventually goes mad. These holidays, especially after finishing high school, being a main event in most people’s life, are wicked. For a lot of you, as for me, this is a time of major change and I can tell you that I am afraid of what is to come. I worry a lot, and at times feel unable to accept any kind of change in my life.

And yet, we can’t stop time, nor can we know what the future holds for us. All that’s left for us to do, is to stay positive, keeping both eyes on our goals and follow the flow of our life.

We have to be prepared for change, accept it, embrace it.

If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.- Maya Angelou

Invent yourself,CK

Recall

I remember how when we started going to high school, it was all about becoming famous and being liked by everyone. Back when Instagram had only but launched and Facebook was still leading the social media empire. It was all about having more likes on your profile pictures than anyone else.

It was so stupid because once you had reached some kind of fame (which is ridiculous in itself because our population consists of about 3 people)  rumors started. We wanted to be who people talked about but we wanted people to have good opinions about us. Rumors, however are not usually positive and when we heard about how other people thought we were, all we wanted was being left alone.

Back then, Formspring was still a thing and for a year or so it was the hotspot for rumors. People answered questions about other people, spreading lies to restore their own image. Acting and reacting. We knew that lies about us were being told, yet when we heard something about someone else, we didn’t think twice, believed and passed it on.

I don’t know why  people feel the need to be known by everyone. It might just be some sort of transition phase, part of growing up. I think that it’s the result of social pressure, that we put on ourselves. We think that we’re good people when others believe we are. We give others too much control over our self-esteem and self-evaluation. We fear to lose our individuality and want to stand out, have something that others want, do something others can’t.

Now, looking back to this period, I feel like I spent too much time comparing myself to others. While I enjoyed growing up in this society( and still do), I think I could’ve been happier if this comparison hadn’t taken place to this extent.

Uniqueness is wealth. Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not other people.

Invent yourself, CK


“How much time he gains who does not look to see what his neighbour says or does or thinks, but only at what he does himself, to make it just and holy.” ― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

nicotine is out

In times of endless possibilities to keep in touch with others, we’ve become more anti-social than ever. We’re slowly becoming a society full of people who live in their phones , rather than using it as a tool. The roles are reversed, phones have started telling their owners what to do. They own people.

The various profiles we created to fake a perfect life, made us so aware of how we’re supposed to present ourselves, to show the best of us in every situation. We’re worried that people will notice that this is not who we are in real life. We’re no longer hiding behind false fronts, we have turned into them.

On the one hand, when we’re in public, we’re looking at our phones, pretending to be really busy, hoping no one looks at us or judges us. As soon as we look up, we see other people avoiding social contact in just the same way, for what?

On the other hand we’re seeking social contact, we’re looking for social interaction. That’s something you can’t find on a phone, yet we replace real, face to face communication with chats. We’re becoming robots, machines, addicted to our phones. While social networks are meant to communicate, we’re losing the ability to actually keep up a real conversation, simply because we’re no longer used to it. An online chat is not an alternative to a real conversation.

We’re bored of reality, we think that we can find real life on the internet and hope to find purpose on our phones, where all we really find are Donald Trump memes. How  do people not realize that phones are keeping them from living? How much more could we do if  we spent this time, looking down at phones, to improve our lives and change the world around us. We’re so keen to find out who we are, who we want to be, yet we waste our time because we’re afraid of real life and would rather be entertained. In my view, exchanging personal growth with entertainment is not too great of a deal.

You’re human, perfection is not an option, accept it. Don’t hide who you are. Put down your phone  and talk to the people you love.

Invent yourself,CK


The more social media we have, the more we think we’re connecting, yet we are really disconnecting from each other. – JR