Happiness Begins in You

In a world where material success is over emphasized, social cracks abound. We continue to buy more and want more to dull the ‘ache’ or cover up our lack of satisfaction. It is akin to chasing the wind. While Adam and Eves have diverse goals that they pursue, there is an almost universal underlying pursuit: the goal to be happy. However, happiness has been difficult to define for a long time, because people  have different view points of what happiness is.Therefore, this will not be an attempt to define it.

Stagnation point is when you reach a certain moment and begin to wonder if you will make it to the next step. Nobody wants to stagnate, we all want an upward curve in all spheres of our lives. This is only natural and human. However,we have been described as the  ‘drive-through generation’ – we want everything instantly, most of us do not understand delayed gratification. We want an instant promotion, wealth, marriage etc.This preoccupation with the pursuit of material things in turn deals a big blow to us and our social environment. In time, there is a tendency to slow down to think about what makes us really happy. I have been there and I guess a lot more people are there but they will not admit it. Life becomes a constant worry; we move from one chore to the next, one project to another and as time goes by, happiness becomes an illusion.

In matters closer to Project 44, Adams and Eves strive for that ‘perfect’ relationship. Although we are the ‘drive-through generation’, we still want someone by our side because the inborn need for companionship cannot be denied nor overemphasized. However the problem with this is that after the pursuit of all those other things that we feel make us happy, often times, the inner well is left dry. So when you meet a worthy Eve or Adam, in time they begin to feel like a therapist- every date may feel like a therapy session about how this and that is not going the way you thought, never stopping to think what the real needs of your significant other are. With time, they start dealing with you the way a bomb squad deals with explosives.

This is where I am convinced that  a beat is missing. I think that one goal that should be passionately championed is the goal to achieve inner happiness and in turn, it will lead to a fulfilled relationship with oneself; which will then be reflected in the relationship that we forge.This cuts deep; it is beyond putting on a smiley face and looking at the bright side of life. I think I would be correct to say that one of the reasons why relationships are difficult (to navigate) is not only unmet expectations but it is also the fact that many people are not at peace from within.  Personal happiness is easily consumed or over shadowed by all other pursuit; yet it is the one thing that should be retained even when stripped of all else.

There are some things that other people can help us achieve and there are other things that we must dig deep within and ‘decipher’ for ourselves. One such thing is knowing what contributes to personal happiness. For some people, it is taking care of their health, for others, it is maintaining strong family bonds, etc. As far as Eves and Adams go, off the top of my head, I  think these are two areas that stand out the most when it comes to relationships:

Communication: Being genuine on opinion, when sharing could save a relationship, a family, heritage. Eves, try talking less to Adams if you want to hear them in good times and at war and by all means, keep it drama free. Please note they are short on vocabulary – it is not that you do not matter.

Conflict: Leave the fights clean and the sex dirty (for those catching some) because dealing with conflict is a large part of a long term relationship; air your differences more productively – it is a mark of maturity. Too often an argument turns into proving you’re right and as I have learnt, being right is overrated.

Happiness isn’t fame, recognition or revolutionary inventions; it is about the inner self  reflecting on the outward.

Be happy and have your say!

By Guest Writer – Naomi

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Simple Truths

Okay, let’s get something straight. Unlike cars, there can never be a singular manual for relationships, probably because relationships are so inherently flawed in their perceived designs that nothing can be trusted to work with any notion of consistency. For human beings, it’s more of a labor of love, for lack of better words, as Adams and Eves enter into relationships with different expectations and needs, irrespective of what any party would claim otherwise. Nevertheless, throughout the continuous struggle that each relationship is, or has been, there are some innate truths that, collectively, can pass off as a manual. Allow me to talk about one.

Whether you cheat on your partner or not, it is always wise to live your life as if you are a cheat. Any other way will turn you around and bite you in the proverbial nether regions. Listen. Adams who cheat on their partners will most likely, not totally, never be caught because they eat, breathe and know how to cover up. However, the innocent Adams ignore certain elements that would, inadvertently, be misconstrued by Eves as irrefutable evidence of ‘he’s cheating on you’ simply because they lack the tact. As dishonesty claims stare at them straight in their eyes, the more innocent they look, they guiltier their eyes will read. I am an Adam and I speak from an Adams’ perspective.

Being honest and not thinking like a cheat does, will continue landing Adams world over in hot soup. Just like a dog with a bone, once an Eve has an iota of thought in her mind that an Adam is cheating on her, more protestations of innocence can only make him look worse. All it needs is to stem from the most innocuous of sources, like a ‘lipstick’ mark on a shirt collar, perhaps.

Picture this true story.

Adam wakes up early one day and goes to work. At around 10am, he visits the washrooms in the office and happens to espy a certain reddish discoloration on the collar of his white shirt. Try as he may, he cannot not place the exact time when the said discoloration happened. He certainly does not think it is lipstick, as he hasn’t interacted with any Eve that morning.

‘The househelp did a dreadful work on laundry this time round,’ he thinks. ‘Maybe I should ask Eve to have a word with her about how my shirts are done, or maybe not. I should admire myself in the mirror every morning before leaving the house.’ Adam then files the issue under the cabinet marked ‘Forgotten’. Evening comes and, on arrival home, he changes into evening wear and into the laundry basket goes the shirt and everything on it, including the discoloration.

The next day in the office, Adam gets a call from Eve and he answers it expecting the usually banter they venture into daily. His pleasantries never make it to the second minute. “I found lipstick on your shirt! Are you cheating on me?” off she goes like a canon. At first he’s confused and tries to decipher what she is on about. Then he remembers seeing the stain in his shirt collar and proceeds to explain how the househelp hadn’t done the laundry well. But it wasn’t such a big deal, he had actually chosen to ignore it. With Eve profusely apologetic, he was sure he had cooled things off.

Ten minutes later, Eve calls Adam again and he picks up the phone expecting a make-up dinner proposal. The only thing he’s served is vitriol. Eve goes on about how the househelp is also puzzled about the source of stain, given that  she ad ironed the shirt and had seen no stain. Both Eve and the maid had come to the conclusion that it definitely was lipstick. Adam is cornered and his next words would definitely serve a nice combo of slaps on his cheek, were it face-to-face.“I don’t use lipstick and there’s nothing red in this house!” she responds hypertensive and hangs up.

Perplexed at the whole scenario, Adam, hours later discovers that the red stain on his shirt collar was caused by a certain red brand ‘Globe’ PVC file that he had touched the previous day. This file had bled the color red onto his fingers that had then found its way onto his shirt collar.

Here was a man who, earlier, had been fully convinced, relaying the same to Eve that the househelp had messed up the laundry. The truth would only lead to affirming Eve’s conclusion. He would be seen as a man having dubious excuses in the face of the ‘irrefutable’ evidence at hand. If only faithful Adam was well versed in the not-so-dark arts of cheating, a lot of pain would have been avoided. I am not sure what he would have done; maybe remove the shirt and wash off the color while still in the office;go to the shop and buy a new shirt and wear it or maybe just go home shirtless and tell her he had decided to start undressing to get the groove on:)?

That’s one Adam who had a lot of making up to do, and to date, that issue has been swept under the carpet. As sure as the sun rises, Eve will for bring this issue up again and she will wield it like a hot rod. Poor Adam, faithful one, never grazing the wrong pasture yet here he was, faced with a defensive issue against circumstantial evidence.

So what is the moral of this story? Well, I guess if we were to have a relationship manual, it would guide Adams to be on the lookout in order to avert such disaster.

Have your say!

By Guest Writer – George

Detox

Detox

I have been reading The Daily Love (TDL) for inspiration and something that keeps popping up is the importance of self-love before true love. This brought me to the realization that I was a living proof of irony. I would stare at couples, especially old ones, who hold each other’s gaze, talk to each other almost in a whisper and would dismiss their intimacy as just an extract from a movie. After running around ‘boys’ in search of true love and getting my heart broken instead, I could not wrap my head around these movie scenes.

I was at a party a few months ago – a random birthday party. I met this guy Eric*at the party and we struck off into some conversation. He was very open and seemed knowledgeable. I admired that about him – being bold and able to express himself. I mingled with other people but he struck me; he was a memorable part of that party.

As the evening wore on, the party goers decided to play a game of truth or dare. The bottle spun my way and someone asked what I treasured most in a relationship – I was thrown somewhat off balance being the cynic that I was but my answer came out and I said communication. The bottle spun to others, some of whom had daring things they’d rather have done than tell the truth ;).

Later on, Eric found his way to wherever I was. He asked me whether I was currently dating. I said no, not in any romantic relationship whatsoever. I was as single as a thirteen year old. He asked me how long my previous relationship had lasted. I told him three months. We talked a little bit more about relationships, my share of them and then he told me something that would later turn out to be a wake-up call for me. He said I was the one sabotaging my relationships. I inhaled. I was wondering why a perfect stranger would be so quick to judge/conclude.

According to Eric, when a guy meets a pretty girl, this marks the beginning of a period of excitement and confusion; it’s like getting a new toy that he doesn’t know how to play with. He wants to show it to his friends, play with it all night and even carry it to school then one day realizes the boy next door has a better toy and his becomes trash and discards it. This led me to sort of go back in time and dissect my previous relationships. I realized that I was trapped in this cycle. I let things to happen too fast. I made it so hard for a guy to think through his actions and soon he was bored and I was heartbroken.

Eric volunteered his ‘consultant therapy’ services on any future relationship – he would be honest with me. Much later, it turned out that he was writing a book on relationships and I was his guinea pig.

It’s been eight gruesome months – I have been reading TDL, in the pursuit of self-love before true love. I am not there yet but I have come a long way. I have learnt about some stepping stones, some from Eric, and some from TDL. I am not saying that all these will lead you to break any cycle that you might be entangled in, or that they will instantly cure all relationship woos, but it is worth thinking about them.

Clear the clutter: This is a body, mind and soul thing. You have to acknowledge and ‘confess’ all your shortcomings in previous relationships – all that stuff that makes guilt creep up your throat and all over you conscience.

Forgiveness: In the search for self-love, depending on how far the search reaches, you may find that past relationships in your life, some of them familial, have affected you and your romantic relationships. When you realize this, you have to start a process of letting go. You have to forgive all the men (or women) in your life. I mean ALL – whether it was your dad for letting you down, or someone close to you for breaking your trust, etc.

Give notice: If you have contacts on your phone that lure you into temptation that is only fleetingly gratifying but doesn’t bring the cows home, then it is time to put them on instant notice. Or better yet, get rid of them. They are taking up space for your self-love plus it will help you with when the temptation comes to dial that number. If you don’t have it, you can’t dial it.

Take care of that body: drink lots of water, eat right and on time, avoid alcohol (in my case drink less). Exercise daily or as frequently as you can. If it means walking, jumping the rope, stretching when you wake up.

Nurture your spirit: At every point, you need a prayer. Pray, pray, pray. Surround yourself with positive energy. In my case, for about two weeks I switched to Radio 316 for inspiration. I sought after positive mantras – this is a GIGO thing. I had to do away with garbage including radio stations that bash relationships from all angles.

The lid on the cookie jar: I know this is a controversial one, but this is one form of exercise you should not partake in. Yes, no ‘sexercise’! It goes hand in hand with giving notice.

Explore your interests: Reawaken a hobby or find some other interest to explore. I actively started blogging and going to church. I visited galleries, went for poetry recitals and even played the violin.

You will need some form of support from close friends or other people you feel you can depend on. Detoxing is not an easy undertaking and many people get derailed easily even when we are simply talking about food. You’ll need to know who you can depend on and tell them about your journey – they will need to be conscious of this. At some point, you will exhale.

Have your say.

By Cynthia – guest writer (Return of Thought Blog)

Blind Dates

Today’s life is filled with Eves and Adams on a quest, a quest to quench the thirst of companionship, love, contentment; call it what you may. Sometimes that quest is obvious, sometimes carried around demurely – whichever way it is veiled, Adams and Eves are programmed to look for that one person who forever will be by their side. (I know there are others who differ, but that’s a topic for another day or another blog ;)). There are a myriad of ways in which the quench may be pursued and frankly speaking, there isn’t a particular way that one is guaranteed a quench. A blind date is one of them and it can be a very interesting venture.

When many of us hear the phrase blind date, it usually elicits thoughts of excitement and adventure gone wrong. Blind dates are a bit like that Chinese dish – they can offer you a sweet and/or sour experience, a cliffhanger of sorts! Out there in the maze, there is always an avenue seeking to make a connection for Eve and Adam that lands people on a blind date. It could be through a friend or a colleague; maybe you have been drawn in by technology’s lure of taking away your loneliness or solitude and replacing it with a soul-mate – you know those services you ‘unwillingly’ subscribe to but now can’t get them to stop! It could be that you met someone online or you called into your local FM station and decided to give lady luck a chance.

Let’s imagine that a mutual friend plays cupid and numbers are exchanged. In most cases it is the hunter’s role to call the hunted…a faint heart never won a fair lady. First conversations can be awkward; even when you may have exchanged small details about each other prior to the first phone call. Of course, the voice can also be a selling point – Adam may be reeled in like a baited fish by the sweet mellow voice of the Eve whilst Eve may be wooed by that baritone at the end of line. As questions are asked and descriptions made, the two parties may start to paint images on their minds of how the other one looks like, triggered by how they sound on the phone – the danger here is that the imagery may go into overdrive and if any of the specifications are met, it is almost like a fat kid eyeing a piece of candy.

Conversation may deviate, but it is mostly focused on “knowing” the other person; there is a mental checklist being ticked off as the conversation goes on – sometimes with questions marks instead of ticks or crosses. Then comes the big question by Adam, “Would you like us to go out for coffee?” The answer from Eve is pegged a lot on the Adam’s “marketing strategy”. And presumably, this is a much more safe question than, “Could I take you out Friday night?” This is the wrong question and no man should go this route if he expects to take things to the next level. Her mind is wired to question his intentions – that Adam will be in and out…of the relationship, I mean!

Assuming that hurdle is crossed and Adam and Eve agree on the blind date, the next hurdle is looking right for the date. Now, a lot of effort is made to look presentable and ‘right’ – some people pull out there best outfits, some their sexiest, others don’t want to look like they tried hard and there are even those who look like they didn’t try at all ;).   A splash of the enchanting cologne/perfume and may be a bit of practice in front of the mirror. At this point, many Eves are tempted to inform a few, if not all, of her friends about the ‘impending’ date, and the buzz elicited from this piece of news contributes a lot to Safaricom’s over-the-top profit margin; tit bits of advice on how to dress, behave and so forth will be offered, solicited or unsolicited.

Before the date, Eve and Adam agree on a venue to meet. The day of the meet finally arrives and it is on this day that Eve and Adam will share details of how they will identify each other. Hopefully it will not be along the lines of ‘I will be the one wearing a big cowboy hat’ or ‘you won’t miss me in my lime green jumpsuit’. (PS It is not uncommon for Eve or Adam to give a different description of what they are wearing just in case they want to abort the mission on first sight!) Whoever arrives last has the “upper hand”, having the decision to run for the hills if the physical is not appealing (sadly so). We may deny it and sermonize about how beauty is on the inside, but truth be told, the outside leads to the beauty within (get your mind out of the gutter gentlemen!). If Eve is “eye-candy”, then Adam adjusts his collar, changes his gait and strolls to the “damsel in distress”…her patience has already been tested this far; if Eve arrives last and all is pleasing, she adjusts her bag, checks that nothing is stuck between her teeth, may be sprays a bit of perfume and walks with a delicate measured gait towards the Adam.

Despite the fact that they talked, conversation can be a bit awkward since is in essence a first – a first conversation face to face.  Also, Eve and Adam will still watch out for clues about each other – character examination and small mannerisms can mean a lot on the first date. Giveaways like smiles and laughter indicate a positivity to this meeting; on the other hand, too much interaction with one’s phones, fidgeting and uneasiness can point to the fact that whilst the beauty without was impressive, the connection is getting loose. Now, some people are very good in masking their feelings so it can be difficult to read them; others may be just be too excited about the other person that they may not even be conscious of them yawning ;).

If there are long moments of silence, then this is like a huge bell tolling with the sounds of doom. If the situation is getting uneasy, there is no end to the number of excuses that one may give in order to make an escape.

In all fairness, character examination done over coffee on the first date is unlikely to give the whole picture. There is bound to be some misjudgment and misreading.  A lot more dates will be needed and interaction with Eve or Adam in their circle will give away a lot about them. But we are still on the blind date, right? It is good to remember that both Eve and Adam are sitting across each other for the same reason – so it is important to give things a chance and see what the opportunity has to offer. If it turns out to be just another evening not spent in front of the TV, so be it. If it turns out to be an avenue to something meaningful, then you’ll be glad you tried.

Have your say!

By Victor – Guest Writer