I was watching the rerun of “Friends” last night. The episode was about the breakup between Ross and Rachel. It started with Ross’s insecurity and ended with their breakup. I know, it was a great show and had a lot of profound life lessons. Kidding aside, what stuck out the most for me was how scared, desperate, and helpless Ross was. He was constantly asking Rachel what she was thinking as if she knows. Even if he understood that feeling, what can Ross do to improve their relationship. I didn’t really understand the Ross’s emotional portrayal the first time I watched long ago. This time around, I saw a needy and clingy guy who was erratic. I can’t help but to feel a sense of sympathy for him because I can see myself in him. Like Ross, many men going through breakups want to do everything to fix the relationship. The reality is that there is nothing a man can do to fix. There is no amount of “heart to heart” talks will change her mind. She already accumulated a list of negative opinions of this relationship for a long time. We men were just too dense to realize. By doing more to fix now, a man will only appear needy, clingy, and weak. That will push her away further. What can a man do?
It seems counter-intuitive. Instead of focusing on her and her feelings, you should be focusing on you. It’s a hard thing to do; I know. Your confidence were shaken; no words can help to ease that pain; no amount of understanding will help to calm the insecurity. This is the right time to be kind to yourself. Shifting your focus to think and to find out who you really are and what do you really believe. We are so comfortable living our life by agreeing to everything that others want. We don’t realize how damaging that can be for our sense of self and soul. It’s time to put your needs and desires first. That doesn’t mean that you will become a inconsiderate jerk all of sudden. It means that your motivations and actions come from a source of value and strength. It should feel authentic and not pretentious. It’s time to get your mojo back. To do so, you need to realize that your happiness and joy should not be depended on anyone else but you. it’s very important to read that last sentence again. You should recite that daily because it’s a process of convincing your inner self or your subconscious mind that you are in control of who you are and what you become. It’s your life’s journey. Here are a few todos as examples to get you started. You have to figure out what works for you.
- De-clutter and organize your life by getting rid of the stuff that no longer serves you. By doing so, you will feel empowered to make more changes in your life.
- You should start exercising. Exercise will not only improve your overall health, but also boost your confidence. The key is to set obtainable but challenging goals.
- Start daily practice of meditation. Meditation helps to calm the mind. You will see results as little as a few weeks with consistent daily practice of 10 to 20 minutes.
- If you are into social media, I would recommend to cut-down on the time spent on those platforms. The study showed that more time someone spends on social media has direct correlation to feeling more isolation and loneliness. It’s strange that with all the technologies of today to connect with each other, we are feeling more isolated then ever before.
- Instead of social media, you should start reading books from great authors about life. These books will provide valuable insight into who we are as people. You will start to see that everyone including ourselves are just human who are imperfect, joyous, sad, silly, compassionate, funny, and worthy.
- You should never going through this life change alone. Finding strength from friends and family who could encourage and motivate you.
- Seeking spiritual guidance will lighten the emotional burden. Only when you realize and believe that there are truth bigger than your life, you can rest your emotional burden with peace and calm. You will never feel alone again.
All these actions take time to see results; don’t rush the process. What you do may or may not save the current relationship. There aren’t sure things in life. You can’t control how she feels about you despite all the changes in you. That’s a bit hard to hear; but trust me in saying that it will no longer matter because with a new and improved version of you has the confidence and joy within to face any life’s challenges from all aspects of your life. You know that you are enough and you can find the true belonging in any meaningful relationship. you will no longer live for someone else but yours.
“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
The universal truth is that we all want to be happy; but why aren’t we? If I can get that car, I will be happy. If I find love, I will be happy. If I get that promotion, I will be happy. The problems with those statements are that we let our happiness dictate by our expectations from the external sources. When the results meet or exceed our expectation, we are happy for a moment. Our state of happiness is depended on the results of chasing the next thing in the future. To stay happy, we will continue to chase one thing after another. The reality is that we don’t get our ways in most of the cases because most things are out of our control. The more we chase happiness the further it gets. We become frustrated and disappointed. Many will give up and thinking that happiness is just an illusion. So then, how can we possibly be happy? What is happiness that keeps fleeting away from us? To get there we need to stop the chase, to stop resist, and to redefine the very meaning of happiness. Once again, we need to change our mind-set.
Instead of chasing happiness, we should feel joyful on a daily basis. Joy comes from within that connects to our inner true self. Joy doesn’t not depend on any external stimulus. We have joy, peace, and calm within all of us. It doesn’t mean that we won’t get upset, angry, or frustrated about the things happening around us or to us. The external world is a stressful place. However, we have the innate ability to return to that joyous inner state whenever we want. Have you seen a child who was upset in one minute, then the next minute she is joyfully playing with others like nothing have ever happened. We all have that inner ability to cultivate that.
Instead of resisting and fearful of life, our joy depends on embracing all the life has to offer; both good and bad. Life will continue to happen whether you resist it or not. If you argue against life, you will lose every time. When my relationship started to crack, I resisted. I was in denial and frustrated with unfairness of it all. I became depressed and angry. I won’t let go of that resentment for a long time. I lost. The pain was accumulating until one day that send me to the hospital. The moment we stop resisting and start living, we will have better perspective and the power to adapt, adjust, and appreciate. We can face life from a position of joy within instead of anger or resentment that consumes.
Instead of focusing on the results, let’s enjoy the journey. When we fully enjoy and invest in what we do and embrace who we are, we feel joy. Again we can find inspiration from children. Children can find joy in the simplest things. They can immerse themselves with a cardboard box for hours with imagination, laughter, and focus. One of my favor quotes is “Enjoy the little things in life because one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things.” Let’s celebrate little things in life. The moment we realize that unlimited joy is within us, it helps us to feel our heartbreaks without being broken. It helps us to overcome the hardships without being harden. It helps us to experience loss without being lost. Joy is part of who we are. It’s within us. Joy is ours. Feel it! Believe it!
Do we really know who we are? What we are stand for? Is this the life you meant to live? These are hard questions. With all the pretending we do day in and day out, we forgot who we are. We learned to cope with our environment by being so damn agreeable to people around us. We tried to fit in. It was easy to just be what others want us to be. We changed our behaviors, thoughts, and values to feel that sense of belonging and closeness; real or not. Along the way we lost ourselves. We were hypnotized to believe this is the only self by our deep fear and insecurity of not being good enough. So we hid; but deep in our soul, we were yearning for more. One day we woke up and couldn’t recognize the person standing in front of the mirror. The artificial connections started to crumble. Deep down in our souls started to reject the inauthentic self. It’s time to wake the f* up and to live consciously. Start by rejecting the values we don’t believe in, rejecting the people who don’t believe in us, and rejecting the actions of not serving the best version of ourselves. Most importantly, we reject the notion of we are not enough. We are enough!
I started meditation practice a few weeks ago. It’s natural to wonder if the practice will work. With the consistent practice, I believe everyone can achieve great results; however, we need to let go the illusion of quick results. Don’t expect meditation practice is a quick solution to all your issues. With any expectation, you are already on a path of possible disappointment when things you expect didn’t come true in time. You will more likely to quit before you seeing any tangible benefits. Extending this concept to other aspects of our life, the expectation of certain results for our actions is the source of our anxiety, fear, and insecurity. As I wondered the course of action to take to fix my relationship, I was driven by the expectation of certain outcome. Perhaps if I become more fit, more caring, or help out more around the house, my wife will love me more and our relationship will be fixed. When we did all that; but the outcome didn’t match our expectation, we fear that we haven’t done enough or we weren’t doing things the right way. The fear drives further anxiety and resentment. Instead we should believe that what we have done is to the best of our ability. It doesn’t matter how others perceive our actions or intentions. We cannot control other people’s reactions or behaviors; but we can absolutely control our perception of the outcome; but first we should not have a preconceived notion of certain results or expectations. It’s liberating to know that our emotions are controlled by ourselves and only ourselves. We continue to do what we believe is right based on our value. We create our own happiness and emotional well being by knowing that what we did are enough and we are enough.
A message I got today was too powerful to not share. For many of us that went through pain and heart breaks in our relationships, it is very hard to trust ourselves and others again. We contently doubt our and other’s actions, emotions, and feelings; afraid to get hurt again. I would argue this is the perfect moment that we need to trust more than ever to heal our mind and soul. Trust is essential to our well being. Without it will make us fearful, uncertain, anxious, insecure. Many of our miseries comes from not trusting ourselves and others. The question is how? Trust should not be a verb. Trust is a mindset that everyone can learn. It gets easier with practice. First, we need to center ourselves in something greater. You can call it God, Divine or Universe. The key is to trust that God/Divine/Universe loves you, trust that God/Divine/Universe has purpose for you, and trust that God/Divine/Universe always provide for you. With that mindset, you know everything will be okay; I will be okay. The trust in yourself frees you to do what’s needed for a better life and not carefully planning on every move or every intention. Free you from living the life you have carefully planned; instead to live the life you meant to live. Start to let go of what prevents you from living a better life. It’s easy to let go of the things that you know are not so good for you. It’s the hardest thing to let go of things that make you feel safe and comfortable; but they keep you where you are. Trust to let go to live a greater life. We have to trust ourselves and God/Divine/Universe to make that leap. Trusting ourselves is one thing. How do we trust others again? Hemingway said that “The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.” What if we trust them and it didn’t turn out to be what we expected? That’s okay. Trust that nothing happens by accident. It has its purpose. It teaches us to be who we are and making us better. Because of the trust in ourselves and God/Divine/Universe, we know everything is okay. I will be okay.
For the next two weeks, the anxiety, fear, and pain haunted him. He would try anything to make them go away. The medications not only didn’t work, it made him feel worse. He could not sleep through the night. It was a vicious cycle that he could not break. To heal his physical and emotional pain, he knew he needed help to heal his mind and soul. The moment he made that choice, what happened next is nothing short of miracle of divine intervention. A follow up visit to the doctor’s office turn out to be the turning point. As he was describing his anguish and pain to the doctor, instead of a normal consultation, the doctor asked him if he believes in God. He shook his head with confusion. The doctor asked him if she can pray with him. He agreed. For the next five minutes, they prayed. You can call it placebo; but the result was remarkable. The fog inside his head started to clear. He could see some colors of the world again. The sun was a bit brighter. The most important thing was that he could see hope. Whenever the pain got too much, he prayed. The prayer got him through the worst of pain and anxiety. A couple of days after the doctor visit, his neighbor introduced him to the church that focuses on meditation and prayer. The message on his very first church service was almost tailor made for him. The message was not from the scripture. It was from one of the TED talks about loneliness, belonging, reaching out, and being vulnerable. When the service was about to start, it rained. The Reverend told the congregate that in many cultures including the Native Americans, rain is considered a sign of God. As the sound of the raindrops hitting the roof top, He felt the sense of peace that he hasn’t had for a long time. He knew that it was God’s way of telling him everything will be okay. All the guilt, anguish, pain, and anxiety will be washed away. It was a new beginning…
Seeking Spirituality and/or Mindfulness are the best ways to heal the mind and soul. We cannot depend on things and activities from external sources to heal us. They can only distract us for a short period of time. The true healing comes from within. We have to look inside us to find the true peace and calm. With this sense of inner peace, we can weather any kind of emotional storm with clarity and determination. The story will continue to unfold. There is no ending yet. Perhaps, the journey of self discovery and improvement never ends regardless of the outcome of this one particular relationship. There will continue to be good days and bad days; but I know everything will be okay. I will continue to share with you the practice and journey of spirituality and mindfulness. I will share my stories, insights, and experiences here as well. I hope the information has some value to you. Together, we can change the way and the idea about how we deal with emotional pain without the feeling of judgement and shame. We are all in this together.
The life seemed to be back to “normal” for the next few months. The pain didn’t really go away. Secretly, he was suffering through it alone; afraid to tell anyone because he was scared of the judgements from others. What will others think of him? a failure? weak? His ego won’t allow that. He always thought of himself as a strong person who can handle anything including his emotion. Even if he wanted to talk to someone, who can he confide to? Over the years, family and work have consumed most of his time. The circle of friends gotten smaller and smaller. He always thought that all he needed was his family. He can tell his wife anything. Well, he didn’t expect this to happen. He had no choice but suppressing all his emotions and pretending everything was okay. He kept himself busy to avoid thinking too much. During the moments of quietness like in the middle of night, the negative thoughts would inevitably creep back. He would spend hours thinking through the negative outcomes and consumed by the fear, anger and resentment. How could she do this? The hatred for the other guy continued to grow. The “normal” was temporary. His suspicion came true. He found out that his wife continued to talk to the other guy. The pain felt like it would rip him apart. He was losing it. The confrontation with the wife was a blur. Wife apologized profusely and promise that won’t happen again. He wanted to know every details and wanted to know why. Once again he wanted to get to the bottom of it and to fix it. What could he fix? How could he fix it? Just when he thought that his life had reached the bottom, his body told him otherwise. Out of nowhere one day, he started to feel light headed, headache, increasing heart palpitation, blood pressure shot up, and feeling like passing out. He had no idea what that was. He thought he might be having a heart attack. To spare you the details…a few trips to the hospital later, he was diagnosed with anxiety and panic. For the next two weeks, he was struggling with daily activities and having trouble focusing on anything. The fear, paranoia, and insecurity consumed all of his energy. He was powerless to control these emotions. After a long period of suppressing the negative emotions, his subconscious mind had enough. He thought that he was finally broken beyond repair. The prescribed medications only made him feel worse. The world, his world, was crumbling down. He never felt so alone. In his desperate and darkest moment, there were hope…
I always thought that we can control our emotions. It’s part of our consciousness that can be changed at will and time will heal all. It was so far from the truth. Suppression doesn’t make the negative emotions go away. They accumulate in the dark corners of your mind. When the condition is ripe, a trigger will cause an avalanche. To make matter worse, the society places certain expectations on men. To be a strong and tough man, you have to be able to endure both physical and emotional pain alone. The act of seeking help is a sign of weakness. The truth is we cannot and should not suffer the emotional trauma alone. All it take is a mind-set shift that will change everything. The shift will open up all sorts of possibilities; but you have to willing to seek help from others. Help is everywhere. Churches, neighbors, co-workers, friends, family, support groups, doctors, mentors and even strangers will magically appear. Universe has a funny way to show you exactly what you need if you seek it. Asking for help is not a weakness. In fact, it’s a sign of courage to realize and to accept our own limitations and to seek the support and connection. The easiest thing to do is to hide. A strong man has the courage to share his vulnerabilities. If you don’t know where to turn, drop me a line. Help is only a few clicks away.
Let me tell you a story. It started a few months ago; actually, a year ago; maybe a few years ago. It didn’t really matter. What mattered was that the love of his life, so he thought, was having other thoughts. Her feelings for him has changed. He didn’t notice them at first. Guys are simple creatures, we are oblivious to the subtle changes in our life while thinking everything is perfect. Maybe it was not perfect. There were disagreements or arguments; but nothing was really out of ordinary. It was part of “normal” life. Until one day, the reality hit like a ton of bricks. In this case, the bricks started to fall with discovery of his wife’s “inappropriate” communication with her ex-boyfriend. That caused a meltdown of sort. He still thought this was just a temporary blip in their relationship. It was just talk. Nothing really happened. After the initial shock, he went into the “fix” mode. As a guy of action, there must be something he can do to fix this. He started to examine his life. Maybe their life was too ordinary. She must be looking for more excitements and adventures in her life. It was time to make life more interesting…going to concerts…shows…traveling…showing her more love and affection. Perhaps, he was not as healthy as he once were. It drove him to an exercise routing to loss a few pounds. Surely, these actions will get them back to where they were before. He wanted to look forward and get pass this as soon as possible because the alternative was unimaginable. You might ask if all that worked. In his mind, it was working. These things or activities certainly made him feeling more in control; but behind all that, he was still having that suspicious feeling his wife hasn’t stopped her communication with the other guy. He became hyper sensitive and alert about any of her behavior changes. He continued to suppress his hurt, resentment, and insecurity. On the outside, he appears to be fine; but the inside storm was brewing. He was riding an emotional roller coaster day in and day out. He didn’t know that the situation was about to get much worse…
I am sure the story sounded familiar to a lot of guys out there. Your situation might be different; but the pain is the same. By sharing this story and ongoing journey with you, I hope to provide some comfort in knowing that you are not alone in this. We are all in this together. You will get through this. It may seem impossible; but not only you will get through this, you will become a better person at the end of this journey. Don’t doubt that for a minute. I don’t have all the answers. I will also seek helps from you. At the end of day, we all need help from each other to get through this.