Tag Archives: life lessons

The seduction of the ego…

The other day I said something to a friend about someone thinking something about something I’d done/said. And I didn’t want this person to get the wrong impression. Then I stopped. Wondered if I actually gave a hoot about what they were thinking, or if it was just my ego that cared?

While it’s never nice to have your words, or actions, misunderstood, they will be so until the day you die. You can never completely control how people react to what you do. You can improve people and communication skills and I’m very much pro that, but people have their own stories going round in their heads. When you walk into their lives, they’ll interpret what you do based on the information they have (the stories in their head).

If you truly care about someone, or whatever they think about you is crucial for some reason or another, then by all means take the time to explain. But if it doesn’t matter to you, is it worth spending time feeling antagonized, or clearing up some minor thing?

I made a decision as I caught myself uttering those words to my friend; a decision to divorce my ego. The ego is seductive because it rattles you. It makes you feel uncomfortable when you think of certain things and as a result you feel you need to take action, or you simply walk around feeling miserable. But instead of buying into the misery and start plotting how to save your face (or be the face), have a think if it truly matters to your heart. I know now that whenever I care about something that is of no relevance, it’s time to step away. Just as I decided last week to step away from negative thoughts (or you know, do anything to distract myself – like what I do when the boy I’m raising throws a tantrum: perform a number from a musical…it works! Well, half of the time at least…).

Let yourself be seduced by your heart, not your ego.

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Image Source: https://za.pinterest.com/pin/507780926727114580/

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Filed under Ego, Inspiration, Inspirational, life lessons, Motivation, Thoughts, Uncategorized

Ego: a knight in shining armor…

I’m a writer and director. That means I’ve learned how to entertain an audience and pack a punch. That’s why when I blog I often frame things up. So as to make a regular insight/life lesson more interesting I use humor and (humorous) sexual metaphors to make it entertaining. I get the point across in an entertaining way, basically. The sex and humor are add ons though: they have nothing to do with my life. It just makes it funnier to process my thoughts that way.

I just spent one and half hours listening to my coach yelling at me, telling me off and lecturing me on my poor communication skills. Apparently trying to make things entertaining, giving people a way out, softening a blow, cracking jokes, etc. isn’t a good idea when being vulnerable in real life.

Let me give you an example.

I meet Richard Branson. We chat. We get to know each other over a couple of weeks. I have a business idea I’d love to chat to him about, but I don’t want to make him think I’m only friends with him for the sake of business. So I tell him I’d love to have a chat about a business idea, but I say it in a round about sort of way and also make it clear that whether or not he wants to have a look at my business, it’s OK. In fact, if it would be of any inconvenience to him, then maybe he should’t look at it at all.

Apparently this isn’t clear communication. Instead of being vulnerable and speaking from my heart, sharing that I have this precious idea I’d love to speak to him about, I’ve muddled up the communication and sent a signal to him that he should opt not to speak to me about it. Because my ego couldn’t stand being rejected by Richard Branson.

Also, just as apparently, I do this everywhere in my life, though I’m fairly certain I’d say just that to Richard Branson.

I always say you have to step out of your comfort zone and “break” your ego. Because your ego is trying to shield your heart by acting knight in shining armor, but in actual fact what you want in your life are things that are a reflection of your heart. Your ego’s way of protecting you is only harming you.

Why do I have to be so clever about these things? Because now I have to stick by my own word and go break my ego, instead of punching my coach. Sigh. Double sigh.

So this is your favorite ego maniac. Over and out.

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Image Source: https://za.pinterest.com/pin/507780926727237174/ 

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Fulfilling your needs…

The first step to fulfilling someone’s needs is figuring out what they are. I’m fairly sure most us are pretty keen to do so when we meet someone we like. Why? Becuse we’ve got at least 5,000 hormones telling us that the person in front of us is the answer to our happiness. Getting his/her jeans off is just part of it…

The hilarious thing is, we don’t have 5,000 hormones activated when it comes to fulfilling our own needs. We want to be happy and when we hit on something that makes us happy, we tend to do it again. However, in this maze called life we often get lost and confused and end up utterly miserable from time to time. The things we don’t love tend to have as much hold on us as the things we love; the things which make us happy.

Last week, I went on a happiness mission. I’ve been miserable for three years about the situation I’ve found myself stuck in with my life; the visa-career-adopt kids situation (a long story for a rainy day). As I am Miss Solutions and used to finding a road out, this feeling of being stuck did not suit me. In fact, it did a number on my head, becasue I was stuck feeling stuck and on the brink of a breakdown from exhaustion from the situation with the kids. While I still couldn’t find an immediate road out, I decided this year to take charge of what I can take charge of and enjoy the now as much as possible.

As the story goes I really kicked some butt in the beginning of the year, but when I had visa setback no. 303 all the nightmares, fears, feeling like living life in limbo, etc. came back. I was still doing better than the past two years, but I had ups and downs and after visa setback no. 304 a few weeks ago the demons inside my head were doing a dance.

This week I decided that whenever my thoughts go down the wrong path, I need to stop and do something which takes me away from any slippery slope I’m going down (see this blog). I need my strength, or I’ll never get to the point where I can sign those adoption papers. Happiness is part of that strength. Frankly, I also just need to be happy because I’m a human being who deserves it, like everyone else.

Secondly, I realized that while I can’t overhaul my entire life, because I am stuck in a visa-career-adoption situation, I can still do what I love. Maybe it won’t be my fulltime career, maybe it won’t pay me, but I can do it. No more excuses that I don’t have the funds to do it, I don’t have the time to do it, or I have to travel so much it’s not worth trying to do something because I soon have to leave anyway. No more excuses.

I am currently busy doing an inventory of what I feel I need to be happy, from mental stimulation (intellectual challenges), to spending time in nature. Then I’m finding ways of fulfilling those needs. Every single one of them.

In the past I tried turning every need into a business, or some gigantic thing or another. Like in my teens when I had hell because I couldn’t decide whether to become a doctor or a filmmaker. In between those two I also contemplated at least ten other careers. Today I was making my housemate soup and brewing some herbs as she’s sick. I like looking after people, I enjoy herbal medicine and health in general. That doesn’t mean I have to be a doctor to fulfill this particular need, or interest of mine.

I always used to feel torn between the many things I love in life and, as a result, miserable. I wanted to be a doctor, a filmmaker and an entrepreneur. One without the other seemed unfulfilling, but maybe it doesn’t have to be. Maybe it’s, in fact, quite possible to fulfill our every need…just not in the way we always expect to.

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Image Source: https://za.pinterest.com/pin/507780926725265016/ 

Happiness is…road trips with my best friend!

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Love is a beautiful battle…

A few weeks ago I was having a phone conversation with my best friend. I had flown to Athens to see her and was really looking forward to seeing her, so I was trying to arrange a meeting. She launched into a monologue about what her schedule looked like, that she never came into central Athens during the weekend, or evenings, when I was free, she was so busy and blah, blah, blah.

I had had a shit week, I had PMS and the one thing that kept me going was the idea of alone time, on a beach, or anywhere in nature, with my best friend. As I did have PMS I was struggling with an insane amount of thinking I was unlovable, so by the time I hung up the phone, ready to cry because somehow I had now triggered my best friend into treating me unlovingly as well, I felt like shit.

I knew I had to do two things: I had to tell my best friend she was behaving like a twat and I had to excuse myself for, most likely, trying to provoke her into behaving like a twat. Because if you feel unlovable, you provoke people into doing things to prove you right. And you have to understand, when I have PMS you can tell me I have coffee on my nose and I will think you hate me, or that you are the biggest idiot alive, the world has come to an end and we can all just prepare for doomsday.

So I wrote my best friend a funny message about PMS where I pointed out the above. As it turned out, she had turned around and just yelled at her boyfriend a few hours later and he had calmly picked up the calendar and told her she had PMS.

She had had social demands on her, for a week, so when I told her to come into Athens she lost it, because she had PMS.

I didn’t enjoy messaging my friend to sort out whatever weird “actions” (drama school language for mental as well as physical actions we have towards people) and purposes (drama school language for what our psychological gain is for doing something) we had during that conversation, but my relationship with her is a lot more valuable to me than my discomfort is discomforting.

Which brings me to the next point.

Last night I came home after a long day. I had been rockclimbing the day before (amazing!) and spent all of yesterday out with friends. You see, last week, I decided that it was time for me to do what I love in order to build my spirit and regain my strenght, so as to have strenght to work and get back to the kids after visa hick-up number four. I had an incredbile weekend, but I was physically spent. That’s when I received a message from my baby girl in Cape Town.

As some of you know I help raise a pair of ten-year-old twins and their now one-year-old baby brother in the township and I’ve fought visas and adoption rules for about four years; having known them for five. This journey is the hardest journey I’ve ever had and I’ve been on the brink of emotional collapse more than once.

Last night I got all these messages saying she loves me, the baby has taken his first steps, and then she sent me this crying emoji and I asked her why. She’s like “it’s just the baby ❤ ❤ ❤ ” and I said I wish I was there to hold him and she sent the below picture. Cue me bursting into tears. She even found an image with the right skin tones. I don’t know why that made me more emotional, but it did.

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I had just been thinking of how tired I am. I have spent you don’t want to know how much money setting up a business and going round the world on a visa mission to be with these kids and I’ve messed up my career, my social life and my life in general and I’m beyond exhausted. Sometimes I don’t know how to keep going.

At that moment, all I wanted was a hug. Not from a friend, but from a man. It’s all I’ve wanted since I started helping the kids, because I’ve wanted someone to be there for me. Support me. Not do my job for me, just be there. Just hug me. And it’s the kind of intimacy you’ll never get from a friend, because it feels different. Friends help, but a relationship is intimate on a whole other level.

Yet, a few weeks ago when I was talking to my coach and he was giving me “love goals” I was telling him I didn’t understand how to achieve them, because let’s face it: I might know a gazillion things about relationships, and I might get 800 men swiping right on Tinder in a few weeks (true story, ego hallelujah), but falling in love makes me feel so terribly uncomfortable (unlovable and not good enough) that I spend most of my time trying to become perfect (impossible) and end up giving up on the whole thing because it’s too uncomfortable feeling like I’m not perfect.

This is when my coach told me that he’s seen me with the kids for five years and no matter what life threw me, I didn’t stop. Nothing stopped me.

I remember thinking when gran got senile and I was helping her in the bathroom, that love isn’t pretty, but it is beautiful. Love isn’t easy, but it is worth it. And my childhood didn’t make it easy for me to accept love, instead I strove to be perfect feeling I wasn’t good enough. I’ve often felt my adult life has been a long fight of not giving into the demons of my childhood; a long fight of opening myself up to love and joy and letting go of depression and self-hatred.

The question maybe I should ask myself is this: if my kids and best friend are worth me overcoming my demons, my fears and my discomfort, maybe my own happiness (a.k.a being loved by a man I truly have a connection with) would be worth the same? It’s a question of will.

I’m not perfect. My best friend isn’t perfect. My gran wasn’t perfect. My kids aren’t perfect. But we are all perfectly lovable. And it is perfectly possible to create great relationships. You just wade through the discomfort, is all. Because it is worth it.

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Image Source: https://za.pinterest.com/pin/507780926727114399/

 

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