Don’t Force It

How do you react when things don’t go your way? When the inevitable setback occurs and you have to readjust your course? Yesterday I had a rough day. Thing’s didn’t turn out how I wanted them to, and in turn I became frustrated and lost sight of things that are important. Lately I’ve been trying to force things in my favor instead of letting things just fall into place. When you try to hard you’re bound to make mistakes. On the other hand when things happen naturally it’s effortless. In my past few posts I talked about a girl I liked and how I’m constantly trying to win her favor. She’s leaving for Scotland next month and will be gone for a whole year. In a perfect world, I would have made her mine before she left and make the whole long distance relationship work. In reality, things didn’t plan out how I had wanted and in the end I was left feeling a bit disappointed. I talked with my mom about it, she always gives me great advice. She made it clear that the girl was leaving and that trying to make it work wouldn’t be worth it. Of course, she didn’t tell me what I wanted to hear which made me even more frustrated. However, looking back on the conversation, my mother just had my best interest in mind. There are plenty of women out there, but it sucks when it’s one you really want and things just don’t play out like it does in your imagination. It’s not like I ended on bad terms with the girl either. The conversation is good, but the added layer of complexity makes me question is it even worth it anymore. To be honest, who knows if I’ll even be in Japan for another year when she gets back. There are too many factors I didn’t take into consideration, and I’m the type of person to wear my heart on my sleeve. In the end the big lesson I took away from this is to let things just happen. Instead of investing all my time and energy planning on how to win her over, I could have been doing a million other things. Maybe if she wasn’t leaving things would be different, but I’ll never know. They say love comes when you least expect it, and I think my problem is I have been looking to hard to find it. That’s where the problem lies. I need to let things fall into place and come to me, that’s the irony of life. Another piece of advice my mom gave me was to just life a carefree life. I’ve been operating in a rigid mindset and not opening my mind up to the vast opportunities that lie out there. If you love something let it go, and if it comes back it was meant to be, right? Even if things don’t pan out how I want them to, I need to learn to let the frustration go and be grateful for small things. Like having the chance to even meet and talk with her. At the end of the day it’s nothing personal, just unfortunate circumstances. I hope this new year for me is filled with growth. I appreciate the lesson I learned from all of this and hopefully can learn to let things happen without my own volition. I wish her the best of luck in Scotland!

 

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26

Today I turn 26. It’s a blessing to make it another year, but to be honest there’s nothing happy about today. I’m stuck at home with no plans and no friends to call up. My mood as of late has been pretty depressing as well. Things didn’t work out with the girl I liked, which has been the biggest factor on why I’m so depressed. I just feel that things haven’t been going my way and in turn I’ve been experiencing a lot more losses than wins. I’m trying to focus on the positive like having a job, being able to walk, having ten toes and fingers, you know the little things. I just feel like the biggest loser right now. The thought of me losing out on this girl and knowing that some other guy is going to get her kills me. I also haven’t made any close friends here in Japan yet. I was able to talk with my grandmother on the phone and she gave me some good advice and perspective on how to handle this all. She told me to believe that things will get better, but right now it’s just so hard for me. I’m usually upbeat and optimistic, but right now I’m a whole different person. My faith is what usually carries me through the hard times, and as of now it’s no existent. It’s hard to believe in the good when things aren’t happening like you expect. I honestly just feel like throwing in the towel and quitting. No amount of complaining will fix my problems, but it’s good to let it out. I need to realize that people are seasons in your life. Maybe this girl I met was for a reason and to teach me a particular lesson. Not to approach things to hasty and let things just fall into place. I feel like I’ve been trying too hard, and that’s usually not how love is supposed to happen. It should be natural and effortless. Our conversations are good, but if I’m being honest, I don’t think she feels the same way as I do. I love the saying that “this too shall pass” and right now I’m really hoping this does, because I’m stuck in a rut and feel like this is one of the lowest points of my life. It’s my birthday, I should be out celebrating! Instead I’m stuck in my apartment with not a single thing to do. The moment is here to cherish and enjoy. In a few days I hope that this will all blow over and I can focus on things that are most important to me. I talked a lot about self-love in my other post, and that’s something I’m going to work on more. I think the lesson I’ve learned from this is that you don’t always get what you want. Maybe she’s not good for me and I’m looking through rose colored lenses. If everything really does happen for a reason, I hope that I can look back on this and laugh. Maybe my life isn’t as bad as I make it out to be. Happy birthday, champ.

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Self-Validation

Why is it that we look to people for self validation? Why do we compare ourselves with others? We often think other people are better than us and refuse to love ourselves. The truth is, your important. This coming Monday I’m turning 26. 25 came and went, yet at the same time has been a whirlwind for me. I got the teaching job I wanted and I couldn’t be happier. My only problem has been relying on other people too much to make me happy instead of appreciating my own gifts and unique talents. I stated in my earlier posts about a girl I like and have been talking to. However, she hasn’t been replying to my messages for at least a day or two. That shows me that my time to her isn’t valuable or respected. I don’t think she should respond with urgency, but common courtesy is accounted for. Also, she isn’t obligated to respond to me. The problem is, that when she doesn’t respond my mind tends to think the worst and in turn affects my mood. I shouldn’t ‘t be relying on her messages to make me happy. Instead I should be focused on how blessed my life really is. The negative thoughts creep into my mind, and I really beat myself up. Did I come on too strong? Was my message boring? At the end of the day, life is bigger than a girl not responding to your message. Since moving to Japan I haven’t made too many new friends. I’ve met people, but nothing great has come of it. I think the biggest lesson I learned this year was to not depend on people as a source of happiness. They often tend to disappoint us if they don’t meet our expectations. Last week I invited my co-worker to a local hookah bar. Something to do to pass the time off of work. We went and it was good talking outside of working hours. At the end of this week, I asked if he wanted to go again and he said he was busy with some other plans. I ended up going today, and it turns out he went yesterday without me! The owner of the shop mentioned that another English teacher from my school came, so I put two and two together. Now I’m not upset at him, I’m an adult and can accept things gracefully. I’m also not anyone’s number one priority. Just like the girl not messaging me back, this was another blow. To make matters worse, I had plans to go drinking with a friend over the weekend to celebrate my upcoming birthday but he bailed as well. As you can imagine taking these losses back to back isn’t the easiest thing to do. It would be easy for me to curse the universe and complain that things never go away, but I refuse to cower to a victim mentality. I believe that everything happens for a reason. I could be blowing things out of proportion, but my mindset is that there is something better around the corner. The girl didn’t like me? Oh well, I respect myself and know that someone out there is a better match for me. My friends bailed on me? Too bad, I enjoy my own company. Thoughts of victory are what pull us forward. When people disappoint us, we always put the blame on ourselves as if we did something wrong. The truth is, you’re loved and appreciated. If you don’t respect yourself, how can you expect anyone else to treat you the same way? Every closed door is leading me to my open ones. Things might not go how I planned, but I believe in divine connections and that the right people will show up in my life when the time is right. I need to learn not to be a victim to my circumstances and instead be more grateful for the little things. Going into 26, I plan on respecting my time and self more. I’m going to put a bigger emphasis on my wants and needs and not search for outside approval. Life is full of lessons, and I’m constantly learning. I’m grateful for every light and shadow in my life. Every wrong turn is a chance to get back on the right one. Every fake friend is a chance to make a better one. I hope that you can learn to trust yourself more, and depend on yourself as a source of happiness. Love yourself, and that love will come back to you in ways you never imagined.

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Time Management

I read in a book the other day, “manage your time, or someone else will do it for you.” This statement hit me like a ton of bricks. During the pursuit of achieving goals, it’s way too easy to become lazy and stagnant. We put it off for another day and procrastinate like no other. I’ve noticed the biggest issue for me is just getting started. It takes an enormous amount of effort and energy for me to begin on the task that needs to get done. However, when I complete it, I feel invigorated, I notice a boost in my self-esteem, and most importantly a sense of accomplishment. If you’re setting out to do something big, you need to manage your time wisely. How come we can hack away at someone else’s tree, but refuse to cut our own? My first job was a courtesy clerk at a local grocery store. It taught me a lot of life lessons I still carry on to this day. During my time at work, I would spend hours bagging groceries, stocking shelves, cleaning the restrooms, and worst of all cleaning the meat department. I would have to dress myself in a clear water proof jacket, jump into a pair of rubber boots and soak all the meat drenched equipment with a machine that would dispense soap. It came to make me hate the job. I enjoyed the other aspects of working at a grocery store. I’m a people person and bagging groceries isn’t too much of a difficult task, despite being a bit mundane. Now in hindsight, this job was a prime example of someone managing my time for me. If I could exercise free will on the job, there would be no way in hell I would agree to clean the meat department! Nevertheless, I was on the clock getting paid by the hour under the whim of upper management. After getting home from a long day I would be too exhausted to pursue anything worthy. I was attending community college at the time, so balancing schoolwork into the equation was another aspect of my lack of energy and free time. Now I’m working a job that I like. Teaching English in Japan is something I’m grateful to be doing. I have more free time on the job and most of all I’m happy when I teach and am around students. Nowadays after work I have an excess of free time. The problem is I struggle when it comes to direction and managing my time. I usually get home around 4:30 in the afternoon. For the past week or so I’ve been diligently practicing the piano for 30 minutes and also learning new English vocabulary words. At least five new words a day. As I stated earlier, the biggest problem for me is taking the initiative to get started. I’ll mope around for minutes on end until I finally muster up enough energy to get around to doing it. I internally complain that it’s no fun, or I tell myself that I can do it tomorrow. Growth is uncomfortable. When we’re pushing ourselves to new heights, we have to get out of our comfort zone. I find it amusing that after playing the piano and studying these new words that I feel totally rejuvenated. That’s the power of setting small goals and managing your time effectively. When we set goals that are too big, we are intimidated and never get around to doing them. Even small goals, such as practicing the piano for 30 minutes a day has been challenging for me, but I feel great afterwards. There are a lot of books and products that teach you how to manage your time wisely, but my best advice is to put things into perspective. Imagine that you were your own boss, and every second that you waste is a dollar lost. I’m sure like most people when you wake up in the morning you don’t want to go to work, but you do it anyway because you have to. Or any other obligation you’re supposed to fulfill. Our goals should be treated with the same urgency and respect. You don’t want to go to the gym today, it’s okay I’ll go tomorrow. That’s managing your time unwisely. If you want to be productive, you need to start treating yourself like your own boss and using your time to further your goals. I’m not claiming to be perfect, because it’s all a learning process to me. There are some days I miss, but I just get right back on track the next day. I use the grocery store as a reminder that I don’t want to go back to bagging groceries and cleaning smelly meat. Like the book told me, manage your time wisely, or someone along the way is going to come do it for you. At the end of the day, you’ll have to do it anyway, right?

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Limited Perspective

Today something magical happened. I don’t know what it is, but it feels as if there has been a whole shift in my perspective. Lately I’ve been viewing things through a limited scope. I’m currently living in Japan and my means of transportation is my 300-dollar bicycle. I miss the freedom of being back home in the states. I had a car, and if I needed to go somewhere I would drive. In Japan it’s a whole different story. Since I’m not fluent in the language, I’m a bit intimidated by using the buses. I don’t want to end up getting lost. However, if I were to go to a big city like Tokyo, using the bullet trains wouldn’t be a problem. The stations at times can seem somewhat like a maze, but there are signs in English that help quite a bit. Lately my perspective has been a bit skewed. On weekends, I haven’t been exploring the city like I wanted to. The reason being is that the summer hear in Japan is horrible to ride your bike in. By the time I would arrive to the place of my choice, I would be drenched in sweat begging for a glass of water. The problem is that staying in my house on the weekends has limited my perspective on all of the amazing places around me. Today my school had a baseball game. Instead of being in the office, all the teachers and students were required to meet at the park bright and early this morning to watch the game. Since the park is more than a few kilometers away from my apartment, a co-worker was kind enough to give me a ride in his car. While travelling in the car we passed all of these stores I’ve never seen, restaurants, and other little hole in the walls. I had an “ah ha” moment. There are plenty of places for me to see, but I’ve just been viewing life through a small scope. The weekend to me is staying at home, wishing I knew how to speak the language so I could go about my day. Often, we wait for the perfect time to start something. Circumstances have to be just right or else we’ll never get around to it. For me, I’ve been using the excuse that since my Japanese is bad, that I won’t be able to get around the city. That’s a bold face lie, and the sad part is I actually believed it. As simple as it was, riding in the car today reminded me to view life through a bigger scope instead of the glass half full. There are amazing places to see, and people to meet if I just open my eyes a bit more. This one little shift in my perspective has trickled into other facets of my life such as having a girlfriend. Yeah it would be nice, but at the end of the day even if I don’t have one I can’t complain about too much. Only being happy if I had a girlfriend is another limited perspective. It was nice not having to work today. I was able to be a part of something bigger as the students cheered for our team today. Even though I came back with a sun burn, I also took a big life lesson away from it. See what amazing things are waiting for you.  All you need to do is open your eyes a bit and watch the magic unfold.

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Being Present

If you read my post from the other day, I discussed how I set a goal of writing 500 words a day for my blog. Unfortunately, yesterday I didn’t get around to writing, and in turn leaving me with a goal unmet. I expected this to happen along the way, and usually when I fail to meet a goal I get down on myself. To be quite honest, yesterday I just didn’t have it in me. It was a rough day. I felt like crap, and to be completely transparent, a little depressed. Today is a different story though. The first few hours of my morning included the brooding sense of having to wake up early for work, and then when finally getting to work, fighting tooth and nail not to fall asleep at my desk. I’m an English teacher, and after finishing my first class of the day I felt great. Being around the students makes me happy. This morning I also felt like packing all my things, going back to the states and just quitting. I think going through those wave of emotions were beneficial for me. We all need to feel like shit sometimes just to realize how blessed our lives really are. I don’t know what hit me, but I feel like instead of shrinking away from the day to day, I can now face my challenges head on. Sure, I didn’t meet my goal yesterday, but today is brand new and gives me a fresh opportunity to get right back on track. We all have heard the saying that life is a journey, not a destination. I think that holds true. I’m always thinking one step ahead. Planning for my future, but in the end that leaves me stressed out and not fully engaged in the present moment. I’ve been reading a lot of books about mindfulness, and I think that being grateful for the moment you have now is very helpful. For me, it helped put things into perspective instead of focusing on the negative. To be quite honest my life is good. My birthday is next week, I’m living in a foreign country teaching my native language, and I have a job! Small things add up. I know talking about being mindful can come off as preachy or weird, but being grateful really does help. Instead of aiming for perfect, I’m now going to aim for good enough. If I fail to reach a certain goal, instead of getting mad at myself I can look back at how far I’ve come and how I can improve and do better for the next time. Success isn’t linear. I suffered from the belief that if I do the right things like going to college, then graduate school that I would find a sense of fulfillment. Although these things are nice to have, I still am missing a sense of peace. If I’m always looking how to get ahead how can I be content in the now? Life isn’t perfect. It’s full of ups and downs, disappointments and victories that make it worthwhile. I’m still on my journey. It’s going to be a long road, and when I feel like quitting I just need a subtle reminder that life isn’t that bad after all. 99

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Letting Things Happen

When it comes to relationships, more often than not the best ones that happen are effortless. You’re not forcing it whether it is a new friend, a crush, or just someone you want to get closer to. Right now there is this girl I like, and when I say like I mean really like! She’s drop dead gorgeous, intelligent, funny, and kind. We’ve been going back and forth about two months now and the conversations are great. In all honesty, I want her to be my girlfriend. She recently broke up with her now ex, which was perfect timing for me. I had already built up some rapport and expressed my interest in her. It’s probably not the best for her to jump into a new relationship right away, and I’m not trying to manipulate her or the circumstances to be with me. In the end if it happens, it happens. This is where letting things happen organically come into play. Most of my greatest relationships have been where conversation flows easily. However, she is leaving for Scotland next month, which is awesome. She’s young and should do as much travelling as she can. Who am I to say that she should stay here to be with me! In every relationship each person needs their own sense of freedom and autonomy. You can’t be overbearing wondering what the other person is doing every single minute of the day. That’s a recipe for disaster. I read the book You Are A Badass, by Jen Sincero, and a section of the book stood out to me. To summarize she says that when we want something so badly and are working tirelessly to get it, we end up pushing it away. When we try and force circumstances to play in our favor instead of, as she says, surrendering to the universe and trusting that if it’s meant to be, it will be. I’m turning 26 next week and as I get older I realize how awesome it would be to have a significant other. Just like with this girl I’m head over hills with, I’m so focused on ways to win her over instead of taking the backseat and letting things unravel themselves. The thoughts in my head tell me, “Chris, if you’re not talking to her 24/7 she’s going to lose interest” or “she’s leaving to Scotland, there’s no way she is interested in dating you.” After rereading the passage from Jen Sincero it gave me more clarity on how important organic relationships are. I’m a firm believer that if you love something let it go, and if it comes back it was yours to begin with. Even if things don’t work out between I can’t get upset, because deep down I know I did my best. In my humble opinion I think I’m a great guy. I’m smart, handsome, and have a good personality. What’s not to like, right? This is a lesson I’m currently learning. Let things happen on their own or come to you. Focus on your self worth and how special you are. I think our lives would be much more simple if instead of always trying to win peoples favor, we celebrated ourselves and let our blessings chase us down instead of trying to fix what isn’t broken in the first place.download