I’m Losing It!


I follow Dr Kelly Flanagan’s blog Untangled. Good stuff. Apart from sharing the same career interests, he speaks with frankness. And honesty. I read Marriage Is For Losers with avid interest. Divorcées will recognize past mistakes. Married? Take mental notes. Single? Ponder habits and behaviors. After reading his post twice, I reflected on how we can lose in other situations. And still end up winning. More on that later.

We live in a viciously competitive world. Hundreds compete for the same job. Neighbors are trying desperately to keep up with the Jones’s. Before they refinance. In neighborhoods across America, people spend thousands trying to outshine each other with holiday decorations. Parents are entering toddlers (under 3) in beauty pageants. In the workplace the best and brightest (in most cases) get promoted. Sports injuries escalate during national championship games. Why? No one remembers second place. Or so we are led to believe. We live in a culture with an insatiable appetite for the best and brightest.  Helpless to satisfy this hunger for success, society literally chews up and spits out the weakest among us.

Marriage is for Losers made sense. Too much, TBH. Personally, I want to lose in a marriage. I also want someone who puts my needs first. And vice versa. Think about it. If two people stop caring about winning. And place their spouse/partner’s happiness above their own, can you imagine the outcome? Can you even begin to fathom the level of happiness, fulfillment, and joy the couple will experience? Let’s expand this to other close relationships. And to a lesser extent, to other people, and situations.

Back to losing it. The media is notorious for sensationalizing acts of kindness. Honesty. Pure human decency. Often with good reason. We care less and less about others, and more and more about ourselves. About winning. Being first. We can change this. We can be winners, while losing. How so? Simple acts of kindness when we have nothing to gain. Swallowing our pride. Admitting fault, no matter how painful. Stop caring so much about how we appear to others. Apologize even when we are right. Forgive quickly. Putting another person first. For once. But wait, these are “loser” scenarios! That’s just my point. Losing to win.

Yes, we will lose. Time. Resources. And energies needed improve our own lives. Pride. Or the last vestiges of it. Selfish tendencies and desires. The temptation to look the other way. The need to win all the time. On the flip side, in losing these things, we will gain a lot more. A greater sense of self. Inner peace and fulfillment. The satisfaction of knowing we put someone else first. Often, it’s in the process of losing ourselves, where we find ourselves.

Pay no attention to snickering wet blankets who tease us for “losing all the time”. Heck, we might even be accused of being a “goody two shoes”!When we sacrifice to enable the growth of another, we don’t lose, we win. When we forgive readily and easily. We win. When we stop caring about looking foolish in the presence of others. We don’t lose, we win. When we compete and lose, yet cheer the winners. We win. When you and I rebel against the notion that winning is everything. We don’t lose. We win. That no one remembers second place. We win. In our selfless efforts to make the world a better place. We don’t lose. We win.

I know this post will not resonate with everyone. We’re all on different levels of spiritual growth and maturity. What’s natural for one,is painful for others. Be patient. Take small steps. Sometimes the destination is more important than the journey. Imagine for a minute, how the small corner of our universe would change if we lost more than we gained. But we ended up winning anyway.

Until the next post, what are we ready to lose today?

Best,

Juan

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!Un Hito!


On Friday 13th, (go figure) Chindeepinlife reached a milestone! Views to the blog have surpassed the 1,000+ mark. While dedicated readers is the main goal of every blogger, just about everyone celebrates this milestone. Today’s post commemorates and recognizes this achievement. This number of views is peanuts compared to others. However, I would choose 1,000+ over a couple hundred any day. At the risk of repeating myself, I am grateful for the support. Encouragement. Comments. Votes. Visits. Followers. Dedicated readers. Messages. And of course friends, like Paul and Antje who have shared links to my blog (and increased traffic). I look forward to the blogging years ahead. To reflect. Ponder. Connect with you. Share thoughts. Help the one. And all good things. Which come about, because of something I love to do. Write.

Until the next post,

Best,

Juan

“Today Is The Yesterday You Worried About”


Worrywart. Neurotic. Anxious. OAD. Hypochondriac. Apprehensive. Uneasy. A bundle of nerves. Nebbish. Mess. Fusspot. Basket case. Chances are you and I have worn one or more of these labels. With the utmost familiarity. Helpless to ditch any, some of us still wear them. They hang like an albatross around our necks. Slowly cutting off our air supply. It’s a way of life really. We don’t know how to let things go. We have never known a life without worry. And have driven family and friends to distraction. Yes, this is a long-winded way of describing the art of worrying. Yep. An art. Because we are so good at it. What do we worry about? Everything. Whether our children will turn out alright. Money. How we appear to others. Achieving our goals. The works. Each label might not apply. At least one does.

How our kids will turn out. I don’t have kids. My limited experience with kids involves taking care of a black doll I owned as a child. And that ended badly. Well, not really. I was eight years old when my sister made her entrance. A working mother meant I was in charge of her care; changing diapers, cooking, cleaning, and babysitting. I have also dabbled in babysitting other people’s children. Does that count? I have offered a shoulder to cry on. Sat and listened as parents shared their worries and fears for their children. Will my “wayward” child attend college? Resist the cycle of drugs and violence? Hold a job? Overcome mental illness? They plead daily for miracles. And rightfully so. Any type of counsel goes unheeded. Feelings of helplessness turn into despair. And ulcers. Many interpret a child’s failure as a reflection of their parenting skills. I love this quote by Robert Fulghum, and hope parents will remember it: “Don’t worry that your children never listen to you, worry that they are always watching you”

Meeting your financial obligations. There is never enough is there? For single parents with no support, it’s a double whammy. You constantly chase one bill after another. You shudder to think of the consequences of losing your job. The nights are sleepless. Peter gets robbed monthly. Otherwise Paul would not get paid. People often say you are doing the best you can. Alas, it falls on deaf ears. Think for a moment; if circumstances dictated we live on $10,000 per year, instead of the usual $30,000, wouldn’t we find way?.  Yep, we would make sacrifices. Adjust. Do without. Find ways to cut cost. And survive. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: “Can anybody remember when the times were not hard and money not scarce?”

Being alone. For years we have lived life on our terms.Had our share of relationships. Broken a few hearts. Had the favor returned. One day, we look around. The golden years are slowly making their way up hill. They have you in their sights.Well maybe that is a stretch. You’ve done it all. But you are alone. Absolutely nothing wrong with that. Being single has immense benefits. However, can you ignore the pink elephant in the room?.

You work hard. Play harder. At the end of the day, you arrive home  to an empty house. And it’s ever present reminders. There are no weak-in-the-knees kisses. Passionate embraces. No companion to share your hopes and dreams, and passion for living. No physical, intimate, soulful connections shared by two people in love. Carry on. It’s difficult not to think about the ones who got away. Missed chances at happiness. Time will decide the wisdom behind those decisions. It might take an act of congress/parliament for us to find the person who compliments us. Not to complete us, because we already have that covered.

I have witnessed friends and family members settle. Because they don’t want to be alone. They are afraid in the twinkling of an eye; they will be the woman with more than 2 cats. Or the reformed player/bad boy, whose dose of karma, is being married to a woman who makes his life miserable. A word of caution, don’t settle. I have settled in the past. The result was torment. And years of misery. I honestly believe this quote:“What’s meant to be will always find its way.”

What others think about you. The social disease called people pleasing. We’ve all had it. No one is immune. The diagnosis is simple. Medicine will not cure it. Prognosis can be good. Depending on the severity of the symptoms. And willingness to get better. This particular disease can be touch and go. However, if it stays for the long-term, all bets are off. Especially, if it holds us hostage. And transforms us into something or someone else. Some of us worry incessantly about pleasing others. Saying and doing the right thing. At the right time. How we appear to them. We out do ourselves trying to bring happiness. So, they will like us. They have to.

We spend squander money, time, and precious resources trying to win approval and acceptance. It took me a long time to understand I will not get along with everyone. Not everyone will like me. Regardless of what I do, someone will be unhappy. There are situations where you are damned if you do, and damned if you don’t. This is a worry you can be free of. People will either accept you, or they can move on. At the end of the day:”Be yourself, everyone else is taken” Oscar Wilde.

Mistakes of the past. No one can change the past. However, we have the power to influence the future. With the decisions we make. Or the ones we avoid making. I am sure you and I have repeatedly “opened mouth, and inserted foot”. Changed our behaviors to suit a spouse. Love interest. Friend. Situation. Gotten into the same pattern with relationships. Hurt someone. Intentionally or unintentionally. Looked the other way instead of helping. We’ve made mistakes. Rather than letting it go and learning from the past, we let the past continue to haunt us. We simmer and stew. We have not forgiven ourselves. Stop it. Really. Stop letting blunders ruin special moments. Experience and mistakes teach us. Molds character. And refines personalities. Provided amends have been made, attempt now to move on, because “mistakes are the portals of discovery” Unknown.

In closing, sometimes we are powerless to stop the worry. We are humans after all. Emotions signify we are alive. We care. About ourselves and others. The trick is to maintain a healthy balance. To know when worrying about something will not improve the situation. To know when to let go. We might never be completely free of every worry. However, we can choose not to worry about the things we have no control over. Death. The actions of others. Disease. Etc. We can learn to simply accept things as they are.

Worry is an incapacitating emotion. It drains our mental and emotional resources. Precious emotional capital often needed, in other areas of our lives. Some of them in disrepair. Areas which have suffered neglect, because we are busy cultivating another worry. We have to know when to draw the line. To change only the things we can. Sometimes that means our responses to people and situations. Here is a list of things to Beat Stress. If you are worried you might need more, here is another Fifty Ways to Calm Your Anxiety

Enjoy this song by a true legend. One I grew up with. Danced to. And simply loved. Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds. Cheeky, but fitting.

Until the next post, ” today is the yesterday you worried about”

Best,

Juan

#growingupwithoutafatherwhynow.


I grew up without a father.Yes.There I said it.What a monumental relief.Question is:why now? Why after more than three decades I would choose to reveal something so private. And utterly personal about myself.Why the intense need to keep it a secret to begin with. Millions have shared the same fate. Some incredibly famous.Barack Obama. Halle Berry. Alicia Keys .Mary J Blige. Pierce Brosnan.What makes my story different? Nothing. Actually. It is unique. In my experiences. And the personal struggles I had to overcome. The resulting attitudes and behaviors. No situation affects two people the same.

This information will come as a surprise to many. Especially to those who have known me for an eternity + 1 day. I’ve never talked about my father’s absence in my life.When conversations did center on fathers, I made one of three choices. Changed the subject. Remained quiet. Or removed myself from the group or person. For a long, long time, I was ashamed. To talk about it. I believed I was not good enough. For him to want me. Watch me grow up. Be a part of my life. Ashamed I did not have a father to brag about. While others raved. Ashamed I did not know who he was.

Details surrounding why I never knew him will not be shared in this forum. I have other people’s privacy to consider. People get hurt. My only wish is to finally lay this matter to rest. I don’t want to carry this secret anymore. Let alone guard it like a watchdog. More than anything, I want to discard this inexplicably heavy emotional baggage, I have carried my entire life. I have fought with myself about sharing this. There is rarely a good time to discuss uncomfortable issues. In the end, I realized putting it off any longer would stifle the growth I desperately need.

Opening up become a battle of wills.On one shoulder, the little red guy seductively whispered: “Think of how you will be perceived now. Do you really want to spill these beans? Let sleeping dogs lie. Now everyone will know. Some things should stay private. You are opening yourself to scrutiny. And hushed whispers. Don’t give people weapons to use against you. This changes everything. You know that, don’t you?”. On the other shoulder, stood an angel, jumping up and down vigorously. Arms flapping.He practically shouts: “You will be liberated. You have carried this baggage for decades. It has enslaved you. From place to place. Country to country. Relationship to relationship. Aren’t you tired of dragging it around? The time is now. Deal with this. Get it out. Heal. Move on. You have to do this. For yourself”. Well, the red fella has moved onto greener pastures. Or so he thinks!

Recently, Paul, a friend of mine, shared his personal struggle with depression. It was open. Honest. And raw. Not an easy thing to do. By any means. Yet he found his voice.Undoubtedly, readers were encouraged to look inside. Shortly after reading his post, the wheels started turning. Seeds were sown. They flourished. Took root. And bore fruit. And here I am. So thank you Paul, for setting the example.

The older I get, the more freedom I crave. I want to be unfettered. Unrestrained. To live my best life. Words fail to express the level of relief I feel, by letting this go. To let everyone know what holding onto this burden has done to me. I no longer feel like a fraud.  This blog provided the best medium for me. It’s not as if I could call up my friends and say “Guess what? For as long as you have known me, you don’t know I grew up without a father. I met him for the first time about a year ago”. Writing offers me a better, richer perspective. It’s cathartic. I also can’t shake the feeling something extraordinary is about to happen in my life. Time will tell.

I know by doing this, I am subjecting myself to judgment. Scrutiny. Tongue wagging. Second looks. Hushed whispers. Back tracking. A collection of held breaths releasing “Oohs”. TBH, I am not worried. If you have worn my shoes. You will understand. If only you could taste the salty tears of freedom, which flowed the moment I made the decision to unburden. To finally begin to make peace with the regrets. Over bad decisions. Harsh words. And hurtful actions. To face the world as a newer version of myself.

Future posts will revisit some of my childhood and adolescent experiences. How I dealt with the fact I might never be able to put a face to the name. Our first meeting. The way things are today. And my hope for the future. Some readers will relate to this and later posts. Others will not. Others will follow out of mere curiosity. Hopefully, my reflections on this issue will help someone. We all have dragons to slay. Battles to fight. May each of us dig deeper. Search our souls. And find ways to be happier. To be free of the invisible chains holding us captive. Once. And. For. All.

Until the next post,

Best,

Juan