It has been approximately a year since I have last written something, be it for leisure or work. Writing is home to me; it is my special way of expressing myself to the world.
Firstly, I need to apologize for being out of sight. I know, every year, I start strong; commit myself to a ridiculous writing schedule and never get anywhere. However, I hope that 2018 will be different. As we bid farewell to this year, I’d like to take the opportunity to reflect and share my thoughts with you. This post will revolve around three words: heartache, contentment, and purpose.
To me, the past couple of months have been revolutionary in terms of both, personal and professional growth (more towards the former though). What makes this year particularly special is that I have lost as much as I have gained. Which made me come to realize that success and failure are very subjective. Consequently, leading me to question my beliefs and priorities in life.
The life of every human being revolves around five aspects: personal, familial, social, professional, and spiritual. Each aspect requires a certain amount of work and can be interpreted in various ways depending on one’s views.
Here’s what I think:
- Personal: one’s relationship with one’s self.
- Familial: one’s relationship with one’s immediate family: parents, siblings, spouse, and kids.
- Social: one’s relationship with one’s extended family, friends, colleagues, and community.
- Professional: one’s relationship with one’s career and professional progress.
- Spiritual: one’s relationship with God. The creator of all things.
Now, as you are reading this, you are like DUH YASMIN, HOW ORIGINAL?!?
But bear with me. You see, despite me stating the obvious, we all end up making the classical mistake of only focusing on two aspects instead of all five. And that is not all, some people are even worse off than others when they choose the wrong two aspects to focus on at a given time.
I’m no shrink and I don’t need to be one to tell you that balance is the key to contentment. I have been living on my own for 8 years now; but it was only when my heart shattered, did I realize that all along, I have been living life the wrong way. Before I get into the three themes of this post, let us agree on one thing:
“Our thoughts, control our emotions”
It is what or whom you give your heart to that causes you the most pain. Notice that I used the word: what and not just who, because it isn’t just “who” we constantly think of that we love, but it is also “what”. For example, if you find yourself spending 80% of your time everyday thinking about your career then it is safe to say that you love your career. Let’s say, you don’t get the promotion you have worked so hard for. What happens next? Well, you are going to go through several stages of grief (but I’m not going to get to that in this post) and then, question yourself… hopefully as follows:
- What is this aching hole in my gut? Pain.
- How severe will that pain get? That pain will be as severe as the amount of love you have allocated for it.
- How can that love be measured? That love can be measured through the amount of time you have invested in it.
- What comes after pain? Heartache.
- How can that heartache be cured? Either by achieving a balance between the five aspects of your life or by filling your heart with God’s love, for it is ever lasting. (The latter option is more for the spiritually inclined individual, to say the least.)
I will only be covering option 1: Balancing the FIVE ASPECTS of life
Imagine that you got an antique oak 5 legged farmhouse harvest dining table from the late 1800s. Without a doubt, that table is fancy as it is and will continue to be so even with just 4 legs.
But what would happen to that table if it only had 3 or 2 legs?
Let us rewind a bit and think about the features of any table. Normally, we choose a table based on how attractive it is, the amount of load it can handle, and its effectiveness. With that in mind, let us proceed to answering the question.
- Appearance: not as attractive as before (with 4 or 5 legs).
- Stability: not stable, it can’t even stand on its own without shaking.
- Efficiency: not effective as it can’t handle any kind of load without falling.
Now, apply that concept to yourself; do you think you will be as emotionally stable a person while just addressing 2 or 3 out of the five aspects of your life?
From my experience, it was only when I found my balance, did I find my peace. I got over my heartache, a stronger person. And honestly, I believe that my life will only get better from now onwards, because no matter what happens, I have the skills to pick myself up after falling…
Let me begin by defining contentment as being happy and satisfied with one’s life. Remember when I told you that, it is our thoughts that control our emotions. Well, I believe this statement to be true to my core and I genuinely believe that a person becomes his/her thoughts. As humans, we become sad and depressed when we believe the negative thoughts in our heads to be true.
Imagine a scenario, where your faith in yourself and your life’s direction is being tested. Let’s say, you just got out of a relationship or you lost your job. How your thoughts come into play in either scenario is crucial. And really there is only two ways to look at it:
“I am not good enough”
This thought attacks your self worth and if you believe that thought to be true, I guarantee you a life full of depression and anti-depressants (and boy, can they be expensive ££).
“Damn, I just got thrown under the bus but I’M SURE I WILL MAKE IT OUT ALIVE”
This thought doesn’t attack your self worth but rather implies that you are aware of how difficult your current situation is and that you believe you will overcome it. This, ultimately leads you to attack that unfortunate circumstance rather than harm yourself (by overindulging in comfort food, for example).
Now, that we have covered how positive and negative thoughts can influence our emotions; let us talk about how we can become happier individuals…
“What you focus on, GROWS…”
– Yasmin Mogahed
When I first heard that statement, something in me changed. I realized that I have spent so much time focusing on the things I didn’t have rather than on the blessings I actually have. This isn’t all, I realized that I was in a state of indifference when really, I should be in a state of gratitude. And it was only with that shift in focus, did I start to feel a difference in my emotional well being.
Lastly, remember this: you don’t drown by falling into the water, you drown, by staying there. Life will always test you and that is out of your control. However, what is in your control, is how you react and handle difficult times…
I can’t get into this topic without going spiritual on you and I don’t want to do that in this particular post; so I’m going to keep this real short…
Look into your heart and find what you love. You see, all of our actions are driven by love. And it is when you combine love/passion + daily action that you find your purpose.