lauantai 29. kesäkuuta 2013

Courage rocks!

What does the word courage mean to you? What is a courageous person like in your opinion? Definitions for these two can probably be found just as many as there are people in this world. It's amazing sometimes, how different people can see the same thing in such different ways. Courage can be a very positive and empowering word for one, whereas it can cause negative emotions, fear and anxiety for another person.

The word courage is very close to my heart. Nowadays it's one of my top four values and something that I couldn't imagine living without. 
But it wasn't always like this. In my past I had more fears than anyone could ever imagine, I was afraid of nearly everything possible. Now that I look back, I see how all those fears have shaped my life. The list of things I didn't do and experiences I missed just because of fear, is longer than I'd like to admit. I was in bad relationships and uncomfortable situations only because I didn't have the courage to be completely honest with myself and move on. I kept other people in uncomfortable situations as I didn't have the guts to be honest with them.  
Now it's hard to believe I ever was that fearful as these days I consider myself quite courageous.

What happened in between then and now?
Well, at some point I decided to move abroad to live with my foreign boyfriend. All the details were well considered and starting a new life in the new country with my boyfriend seemed like a dream come true. But in the end things turned out a little different than I had expected. 
After a couple of months in the new country, I ended up being a victim of domestic violence. A bit further from there, I had to escape from our home.
So, within a short period of time from the so called dream come true, I had ended up in the miserable situation of being in a new country without work, home or proper language skills. Plus I had an ex boyfriend who was constantly threatening me over the phone.
I made one of the most courageous decisions of my life and decided to stay in that small town instead of going back to my home country. It was almost miraculous, the way I managed to build up my new life bit by bit, a life that may even have seemed ideal to many people. 
However, the first year I was still very frightened and I was keeping a low profile as my ex still kept on threatening me. I was so afraid. I hardly had the courage to walk outside on the town, or to make new friends. And because of this I had to look at the so greatly feared loneliness deep in the eyes.

 
I arrived in a turning point. I understood that I could live the rest of my life in fear and do nearly nothing, or I could simply start living. I had already been aware and tried to control everything and still things had gone so wrong. Besides, if I had been beaten up in my own home, what worse could happen outside my home?  And so I changed the direction of my life with the simple decision of not being afraid anymore.

So, nowadays  courage  is one of my most important values that holds a variety of different things. Naturally courage means to have the guts to do all kinds of outrageous things that make the adrenalin run through my veins, but it also means many other things.
It takes courage to get back on one's feet and move on after a failure. It shows courage to be yourself and hold on to your opinions also when everyone else seems to think differently. You need courage in the making of your choices especially when the people from the outside think your choices are totally irrational or crazy. It shows courage when you manage to trust and believe that things will work out. Even when the situation feels hopeless.  Courage is to put yourself on the line with things and in situations you believe in. It takes courage to let life carry you. Courageous people show their feelings in good and in bad. It shows courage when you can admit you're afraid. 

For me, courage is also time management.  I may for example save lots of time spent on thinking from people if I have the courage to honestly tell them how things are. This goes for work just as well as for private life. I also save my own time if I have the guts to leave situations and relationships at the point where I understand it simply doesn't work. 
 
I appreciate and admire courageous people. They inspire me to try and be even more courageous myself. And every time I find the courage to do something I never thought I could do, I  get an incredible energy rush and feel more empowered to continue towards new courageous adventures. Courage rocks! 

torstai 13. kesäkuuta 2013

Lessons of love from grandfathers

I've got two extraordinary grandfathers, Mauri and Heimo. Mauri passed away already many years ago but he lives in my memories and in my way of living every single day.

Both of these great men have tought me important lessons about a beautiful, true and lasting love. Mauri stayed with his woman, my grandmother Martta, for over sixty years. And Heimo stayed with his spouse, Mirjam, for over 30 years. These two couples shared a love that lasted until they were separated by death.

Mauri and Martta's love story began during the war with Mauri's self made gifts for Martta and the two of them secretly going to dance together. Their relationship faced many ups and downs, children and grandchildren along the way. The ultimate test for the love and bond between them was when at the age of 75 Martta had a stroke and was in hospital for months never being able to speak or move properly again.

Mauri was used to Martta taking care of everything at home; he had never cooked in his life, or done any other domestic work for that matter, so he found himself in a challenging situation. After a couple of months of microwave meals, Mauri took a cookbook in his hands and started learning. Over the next months I was proud to see how well he was learning to take care of their home and produce delicious meals for himself and his beloved wife. And all this at the age of 75! This man showed me it's never too late if a man sets himself to learn something and take action.

Mauri took care of  Martta for about seven years. She had the stroke a couple more times and was on and off in hospital. Mauri went to see her every day bringing her food and helping her to eat and every time he left the hospital he kissed her.

The fourth time Martta had a stroke, she died. She literally fell asleep in Mauri's arms at their home one evening. I think that's the most beautiful way any woman could die; in the arms of her loving man. Mauri was grief-stricken and lost his will to go on the moment he lost his dear wife after over sixty years of being together. In a month or so he had a heart attack and at the hospital he told me he had felt like Martta had come to get him. I smiled and said she probably did. Mauri died a few days later. It was sad but at the same time I was happy for my dear grandparents who were finally back together.

Their story has taught me so much about great love and true commitment; how you stand by your loved one in good and in bad, in sickness and in health. They were not the "perfect couple", of course they had their problems and arguments. But the extraordinary thing they had was the great love and strong commitment.

Also my other grandfather, Heimo, had strong commitment and an incredible amount of love for his spouse Mirjam.  The two met when they were already middle aged, both of them had experienced marriages and had children. They fell in love and kind of started living again after the disappointments of the past. Their love story lasted for over thirty years, until Mirjam passed away some time ago.

This couple had the extraordinary skill of making each other feel special and loved. Now that I think about the secret of their long lasting relationship, this skill must have been one of the key elements. Actually this goes for all kinds of relationships; a person is more likely to stay in a relationship where he/she feels special, significant and loved.

The last few years were not easy for them as Mirjam was sick. Heimo had given his word that he would never leave her and would take care of her until the very end. And he did keep his promise. Especially the last months of Mirjam's life, Heimo was in quite a weak condition himself, but he did all he could to take care of her at home and be by her side day and night. I still get tears in my eyes when I think of the stories he told me about how he had cared for her, and when I think of the empty look in his eyes now that she's no longer there.

Words are not enough to describe how much I admire my two grandfathers who had so much love and commitment for their women. These two men had courage and strength. They have taught me what true love is. True love that lasts a lifetime. The kind of love that in today's world probably only a few people will experience. Thank you Mauri and Heimo, you are my heroes.


torstai 3. tammikuuta 2013

Ideas of time


Time is what we want most,but what we use worst.”  
                                                                       
                                                                       -William Penn



”I'd love to meet up but I just don't have the time right now."
”I wish I could add a couple of extra hours in a day!"
”Feels like there just isn't enough time for anything  nowadays."

Does this sound familiar? Probably the most common subject regarding time is the lack of it. Or more precicely; the current lack of time. "I used to have so much more time to do all kinds of things, but nowadays it's completely different."  We follow other people's time management and easily think everyone else has more time in their hands than we do.

However, the universal fact is that in this world everyone, no matter what their age, gender, marital status or nationality is, has the same 24 hours in a day. It's up to us how we decide to use our time.

We usually get stressed when our time management doesn't meet our values. Time seems to slip away while we're doing meaningless things and the things that really matter to us, are left with a smaller share of our time. The good thing is that we can choose ourselves how and on what kind of things we spend our time. If we view our typical days, it's fairly easy to notice where the time goes, and take action by make changes if needed.


Time = Life. Therefore, waste your time and waste your life, or master your time and master your life." 
                                                                            -Adam Lakein



During the past years I've made some decisions regarding my time management. Years ago my mother died suddenly.  I was very sad because I had always had a bad relationship with her and then realized it was too late to make amends and get along better. From that moment on I've tried to solve things and clear the air with people as soon as possible. I want to do my best to live my life being honest to myself and others, do things I like and spend time with people that are important to me. I want to say good things to the people around me as much as I can while we're still here.

Time is precious to me and I don't want to spend my time thinking about sad things or being on a bad mood.
Frankly, I don't have time to be on a bad mood or to argue with people!

For me, the best way to spend my time is to make myself, and hopefully also other people, happier. 

How do you like to spend your time? 

sunnuntai 2. joulukuuta 2012

Choices, choices

I’ve wanted to write about choices ever since I  saw  ”A narcissist destroyed my life” among  the headlines of a tabloid some time ago. I didn’t buy the tabloid and never read the article,  but seeing that statement gave me a lot to think about.  Another bitter story about how someone destroyed someone else’s life.

How come it’s always so easy to blame something or someone else  for our own misery or situation? You often hear people mentioning how alcohol or drugs, violent boyfriend, narcissist or even a difficult ex wife have destroyed the person’s life.  Rarely do you hear talk about how the person himself/herself started drinking too much or using drugs, or started seeing a person who turned out to be violent or narcissist and he/she decided to continue seeing this person anyway, or how he proposed to and married the woman who was difficult. If you think about it with common sense, you notice that all these kind of things are based on our own choices. Hardly ever does someone force us to drink alcohol or take drugs, to be in a relationship or to get married. So how can we blame anyone else but ourselves?

A girl I know once complained about her weight problem to me and told me it was all her boyfriend’s fault. She said it was very difficult getting rid of the extra weight as she had to eat a lot of chocolate and cookies because her boyfriend was so mean to her. I tried to express myself in the most diplomatic way I could and said that unless the man force fed her with the chocolate and cookies, he could not be blamed for her weight problems. It is herself who buys the chocolates and cookies from the store, brings them home and eats them. The boyfriend can be blamed for his mean behavior and that’s all. But in the end it was the girl who chose to go out with him and carry on the relationship. All of these have been her choices so how could she blame the boyfriend?

The great thing in life is we have the freedom to choose.
Every single day we make many choices; some of them are small and less meaningful, some are big and important. Whereas we choose what to wear in the morning, we can choose the mood we’re in and how we want to feel about the people and things that come across. We choose our friends and the people we have intimate relationships with. Of course there are things we can’t choose, like our parents or siblings, but we can choose how we feel about them. And the more positive we manage to feel about the people and things in our lives, the happier we are and the easier our life is.  

I’m sure everyone has made some bad choices along the way, and probable will do so also in the future, that’s only human. But luckily most of the times we have the possibility to make a new choice, change direction when we notice we’ve taken the wrong path. 
If you continuously do the same thing you’ve always done, you will have the same kind of experiences and people in your life over and over again.
If you want to change your life and experience something new, try choosing something that is different from your old pattern.

While making a choice you can always think “if I choose this, the instant consequences are… and the consequences in the long run are…”.  You can also think  about the effect of the possible choice on the people around yourself or even on a larger perspective. For example; if I quit smoking today, among the instant consequences will be that I will save money, my breath or clothes won’t smell like smoke anymore, bit by bit I will feel better and breathe more freely.  In the long run I will be more likely to avoid lung cancer. At work my boss and my colleagues will be happy as I won’t take cigarette breaks anymore…etc. 

The more positive meanings you can find for a certain choice, the more likely you are making the right choice. Making good choices will make you feel better and the quality of your life will improve. The more positive you decide to feel about different things and people, the better and more pleasant your days will be. You choose.

I wish you a great day and good choices! 

  

tiistai 13. marraskuuta 2012

Spellbound by fantastic feedback

About a week ago a dear friend of mine said something really beautiful to me. It must have been one of the most beautiful things anyone had ever said to me. I was totally speechless, I would never have expected such a feedback, let alone coming from another woman! I thanked her and the rest of the evening passed by feeling those words in my head.

The next day I was in a fantastic mood. At work I felt happier than usual, it’s amazing how a good feedback can carry you a long way! I felt phenomenal the whole day and my work proceeded with very little effort. I started thinking what if this week I would try to be extra friendly to the people who come my way, smile more than usual and say nice things.

That little experiment turned out to be quite effortless as I was in such a good mood all week that the smiles and friendly words came out naturally. The consequence was that also I received an incredible amount of good feedback and smiles from people and I was feeling better and better. By the end of the week I was thinking I have to make a new way of living out of this.

With a sincere good feedback you can catch people’s attention and you might also start a chain reaction; if you make someone happy by giving this person good feedback, he/she might then be nicer towards other people etc. So in the best case scenario, if I say something nice to one person, my action may have a positive effect on many people’s day. Just as if I treated someone badly, I might start a chain reaction that could have a miserable effect on various people’s day. Just like the law of attraction says; in life you get more of the exact things that you focus on, whether they are good or bad.

After this fantastic week it was easy for me to decide I want to concentrate more on saying positive things to people who come my way. It would be wonderful also to start gossiping good things about people, what do you think?