Valuable life lessons from the movie “Tuesday’s with Morrie”

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(FOREWORD: I was recently tagged in a “7 Day Book Challenge” by a good friend on Facebook wherein the participants get to post and share their all time favorite books (1 per day in 7 days) and subsequently nominate somebody for the challenge. The challenge was then, sort of, passed along to the named nominee to take in the next 7 days hence.

The book posted by my friend seemingly appealed to my interest. And so, having no time to spare to run to a bookstore to immediately grab a copy of it, I, instead tried to download and watch its movie adaptation. And it did not fail me. The movie was superb! And I was advised later on by my friend that to her the book is way far better. Although I was also able to listen to its audiobook (or the most part of it) via Youtube, I will still get a copy of the book soon, for sure.

And so, listed hereunder are the lessons I’ve learned from watching the movie. If you happen to watch the movie or read the book, I’d be glad to read your comments below.)

In the movie, Mitch Albom, the author of the best selling book “Tuesday’s with Morrie“, records the lessons he received from his former teacher, Morrie Schwartz. Morrie gave these life lessons while struggling with a life-threatening disease — ALS, commonly known as the Lou Gehrig’s disease (a chronic, progressive, almost always fatal neurological disease. It is marked by slow but steady death of the nerve cells in the central nervous system that control voluntary muscle movement. That is, people can no longer move, but their heart still beats.) Mitch has compiled every lesson he received from his teacher purposely (although it was not expressly stated in the movie and that were just later on known through the series of interviews with Mitch conducted after Morrie’s death and the release of the said book) to write into a book  which aimed to pay for the research on the cure for the disease and to augment the medication and other needs of Morrie as he battles through it. Unfortunately, Morrie did not lived long enough to read even just a single word from the book dedicated for his recovery.

In the movie, Morrie tells Mitch, “Study me in my slow and patient demise. Watch what happens to me. Learn with me.” When someone is on their deathbed, their view towards life can change; they can realize what is important and what is not. As Mitch would say, “Morrie would walk that final bridge between life and death, and narrate the trip.”

Besides these 2 moving quotes about life and relationship: “There is no such thing as ‘too late’ in life” and “Death ends a life, not a relationship.” Here are the most powerful lessons I learned from the book.

  1. Live every day as if it were your last

Morrie is happy that he has time to say goodbye to his loved ones thanks to his disease, which is slowly moving him closer to death. Morrie calls himself lucky; I am not sure if, under the circumstances he was in, I would call myself that. When I heard his explanation to using this word, I understand what he means. He suggests doing what some others do, metaphorically speaking, which is: “Every day, have a little bird on your shoulder that asks, ‘Is today the day? Am I ready? Am I doing all I need to do? Am I being the person I want to be?'”

These simple words have a pool of information for each one of us. We must be ready to say goodbye to the world, any given day. How many of us can say that they are ready to die today? Of course, we may never be ready for death, but we must try to show our loved ones how much we care about them. We should not wait for a special occasion to express our love; we should make a habit of it. We should give our best to the world. Starting today, we should have a little bird on our shoulders too.

  1. Remember to spend quality time with the family

Most of us have a tendency of taking our family for granted. If it is a Friday night, we start planning our outing with the friends. Sometimes, we have to be forced to spend time with our parents on holidays. Life is fun with friends and parties with them; however, the bond of love, which we share with our parents and loved ones, is the ultimate one. Instead of keeping them at the bottom of our priority list, we must cherish and appreciate them whenever we get a chance.

  1. Enjoy your emotions to the fullest

One should not hide from any emotion, rather one must experience each emotion entirely. If you love someone, love them with all you have; if you are sad, cry until you cannot cry anymore; so that when the same emotion hits you again, you know exactly what is going to happen. We hide ourselves from emotions because we are afraid to get hurt.

  1. Money can never buy real happiness

Typically, people are pursuers of luxurious things. However, I agree with the explanation of Morrie. According to him: “If you’re trying to show off for people at the top, forget it. They will look down at you anyhow. And if you’re trying to show off for people at the bottom, forget it. They will only envy you. Status will get you nowhere. Only an open heart will allow you to float equally between everyone.” We are blindly running behind money; we forget our kids, parents, relationships, and friends.

We are busy. We are always busy. Busy has become a word that is being used as an excuse all over the world. At the end of the day, money will only get us a good hospital bed to die in — and a good headstone. Is that what we are aiming for? Of course, money is important, but it is not more important than our family. One may argue that to take care of our family, we need money. That is true. However, if we do not have time to spare for our loving family, then I believe there is a problem with our plan.

  1. Pay attention to the person you talk to

I wonder how many of us really listen while we talk! According to Morrie, it is really important to pay our utmost attention to the person you are conversing with. Imagine if this is the last conversation with your loved one, would you wish to let it go unheard?

  1. Marry the person with the same values as you — and treat them well

As per Morrie, people should get to know about other people’s values and beliefs; marry the person who shares your values and beliefs. A life partner is a very important part of our life. In our time of need, friends may come and go, but our life partner will be with us. During sickness, they are the ones who take care of us. Therefore, they should be treated with love, care and respect. As Morrie quotes a famous saying: “Love each other or perish.”

  1. Decide your own rules; do not let society steer your life

Morrie says that people are running behind things that do not — necessarily — matter to them. He says that we must believe in each other and ourselves. According to him: “Invest in the human family. Invest in people. Build a little community of those you love and who love you.” He mentions we should rely on our own instincts to decide our thought process and actions — and not society. In his own words: “I don’t mean you disregard every rule of your community… The little things, I can obey. But the big things — how we think, what we value — that you must choose yourself. You can’t let anyone — or any society — determine those for you.”

  1. Forgive others, as well as yourself

We tend to hold grudges in life. Even if somebody apologizes, how many of us — truly — forgive the person? We may smile and accept, but there is a huge possibility that we do not forgive them. Forgiving another person not only releases a burden of one’s own heart, but also makes us a better person.

Happy Saturday everyone!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You Love Someone? Do something about it!

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(FOREWORD: This post is inspired by a conversation I had with my wife last night about why some people choose to “wait” for the love of their life or why some even allow their significant others to “wait” on a rather long stretch down the road towards a committed life of love with them)

There’s no denying that there’s something significant about telling your significant other you love them.

Those in love agonize over the questions of when to say it or when to say it back. Tell them too soon and you might spoil it; wait too long, you might never get the chance. But to even begin to answer the question of when, you must first answer the bigger question: What does “I love you” even mean?

I hope it is already understood that it’s a great honor to be told by someone that they love you. When we hear another couple utter those three words, we assume that they share a unique bond, experience a strong physical attraction, feel a certain tenderness, etc. But when we hear it spoken to us—especially for the first time—yes, all those feeling are there, but we typically hear more than that. We hear “I love you” as an implied promise of things to come. Love, expressed truly, is full of expectation. When you tell someone that you love them, what you’re really saying is: I think so highly of you that I intend to stick with you even when I don’t feel as strongly. And not just stick around, of course, but to love all the while. There’s something necessarily exclusive and enduring about it. This is often why a breakup after “I love you” has been said feels like a betrayal and a broken promise.

That’s because there’s a difference between telling somebody you love them and actually intending to love them. That is, telling somebody you love them is just lip service and actually loving someone is work.

The feeling of love is a fleeting thing. If you didn’t know that already, you will soon enough—researchers have found that the “in love” feeling lasts about two years. But real love doesn’t have an expiration date, it’s a choice you intend to keep making even when you’ve lost that loving feeling. For this reason, I have an aversion to anyone saying that they “fell out of love” with someone or “fell in love” with them, as if they’re completely helpless in the matter.

All of this deeper meaning, however, gets muddled when people throw around “I love you”s like they’re going out of style. In fact, some studies claim that my fellow gentlemen tend to say it to a girl by the end of the first month of dating. If you are reading this and thinking “simma down now,” I’m right there with you.

Is it likely that a man is truly ready to love you—in the action sense that the word implies—after just one month? Maybe, but it gives me cause to proceed with caution. My theory as to why some men are so quick to drop the “love” bomb is not because it’s without effect, but in fact the opposite: We men know what sort of meaning it carries, and we like the reaction we get. This alone is reason enough to be, shall we say, more discerning with our declarations of love. Personally, it has taken me months of exclusively dating my ex-girlfriend (now my wife) to even start considering the idea of loving her to taking it to the next level and keeping her for life. That might be because I’m a bit selfish, but it’s also because I want to be sure I don’t make promises that I might not be ready to keep.

So when should you say “ I love you” or when should you say it back?

In short, when you are ready to do the work. When you say those three little words, you better be prepared to do something about it. And then continue to do so because that’s what we expect from people who tell us they love us. This readiness often takes time and always takes seeing that person with eyes wide open. I would also say that if you can’t express to someone by the one-year mark that you love them (and actually mean it), then it’s probably time to move on. It might mean you are with the wrong person. But it might also mean that you’re just not ready to take on the commitment and effort that love requires.

Finally, ladies, if you feel a man is telling you those magic words a bit prematurely, feel very free to say something like, “That’s great. Now prove it.” Because that’s where the rubber hits the road, eh? If you truly love someone, you’re going to do something about it.

Photo credits: Google photos

 

Thank You. Do you say and hear it enough?

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Thank you.

I would like to share to you about the importance of praise, admiration and thank you, and having it be specific and genuine. And as brief as the opening line, so shall this post  also be  like. 

And the way I got interested in this was, I noticed in myself, when I was growing up, and until about a few years ago, that I would want to say thank you to someone, I would want to praise them, I would want to take in their praise of me and I’d just stop it. And I asked myself, why? I felt shy, I felt embarrassed, the least awkward. And then my question became, am I the only one who does this?  

 It has been a recurring theme in so many movies and reality tv shows that discuss the thing that causes stress, anxiety, depression and even addiction to people is the issue that comes down to something as simple as, their core wound is their father died without ever saying he’s proud of them. But then, they hear from all the family and friends that the father told everybody else that he was proud of him, but he never told the son. It’s because he didn’t know that his son needed to hear it. 

So my question is, why don’t we ask for the things that we need? I know a gentleman, married for 30 years, who’s longing to hear his wife say, “Thank you for being the breadwinner, so I can stay home with the kids,” but won’t ask. I know a woman who’s good at this. She, once a week, meets with her husband and says, “I’d really like you to thank me for all these things I did in the house and with the family.” And he goes, “Oh, this is great, this is great.” And praise really does have to be genuine, but she takes responsibility for that.

So, the question is, why was I blocking it? Why were other people blocking it? Why can I say, “I’ll have my burger with some fries and sundae on the side, I need size nine shoes, etc.” but I won’t say, “Would you appreciate or praise me this way?” 

So, I’m going to challenge us all. Like my wife has been to me the past years of our married life by being vocal and direct in saying what she truly needed to hear from me — I want you to be honest about the praise that you need to hear. What do you need to hear? Go home to your wife — go ask her, what does she need? Go home to your husband — what does he need? Go home to those special people in your life — what do they need. Go home and ask those questions, and then help the people around you. 

I think it’s simple. And why should we care about this? We talk about world peace. How can we have world peace with different cultures, different languages? I think it starts household by household, under the same roof. So, let’s make it right in our own backyard. 

To all of you who happen to read this simple post — I want to say Thank You. And maybe somebody’s never said that to you, by being a father, mother, husband, wife, brother, sister, friends to your loved ones in the purest sense of those words,  you’ve already done a really, really good job. 

And for that, Thank you.

Photo credits: Google photos

Rest if you must, but don’t quit.

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Life can be challenging at times. Dr. Scott Peck, the famous Psychiatrist once said, “Life is hard and then you die.” That statement seems so pessimistic. His point was, however, that if we expect life to be anything else, we will be sorely disappointed.

And, even though I know Dr. Peck’s statement is true, I do not believe we can live our lives based solely on that premise. It is my belief that our personal attitude towards life’s situations is really the only thing that makes any difference. If we look at situations with a defeated, negative attitude, we will eventually give up and quit. However, if we focus on treating life like a marathon rather than a sprint and we keep a positive outlook in the process, we will be victorious in the end.

Recently, I came across a poem that sums up what I am trying to say. I believe these words will make a difference in your work and relationships if you put them into practice.

Don’t Quit!
(author unknown)

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When the care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.

Life is weird with its twists and its turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about
When he might have won, had he stuck it out.
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow,
You may succeed with another blow.

The distant goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victor’s cup;
And he learned too late when the night came down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out;
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt;
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far;
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit,
It’s when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit!

Why not put the truth found in this poem into practice? Your biggest success may be just around the next corner. But, you will never know if you throw in the towel.

Learn to let your challenges bring you to a whole new level. Anything great in life always comes with a high price tag. With that in mind, get back to your next project and see it through to the end!

Photo credits: Google.com

Someday you’ll be on your own

Right now my wife and I are in total awe and wonder of our precious 5 months old daughter. Our daily life is filled with rainbows and colors. I love it when I see my wife’s doing her very best to attend to her needs – despite the ongoing sleepless nights, diaper blowouts, and spit up messes – it was utterly amazing seeing the two most important people in my life so close to each other. I just wonder what the crawling and teething days would be like! Nonetheless, I’m excited to see our child’s growth progress.

Yet, for all of the craziness, this stage is pretty great. I love when my baby girl snuggles her little warm body so close to mine. I love the endless cuddles, in which she feels safe in my arms. I feel as if I can protect her from everything wrong in the world simply by picking her up and wrapping my arms around her.

She’s at a stage where she gives grins out for everything and everyone. She doesn’t know hate. I love that innocence and that her smile can light up a room. I want to hold onto that innocence and love for as long as possible. It isn’t just the grins that get me. Right now she has the best belly laughs when I tickle her or play peek-a-boo. She squeals with such delight when I raise her over my head and we play “airplane” or “wonder girl.” She hangs on my every word and wiggles excitedly when I sing a song or just talking to her. She is discovering so much and I love seeing her little mind work things out. I love when her eyes light up in excitement and she looks at me to celebrate her victory of figuring out something new, like when she did her first “roll over.” For now, we are her world and she is ours. There are often times she reaches her arms out for me and my wife is convinced her inner monologue is saying, “papa, papa, papa, papa!” Until I pick her up and hold her.

Yet, I know there is a day when the incessant papa or mama will morph to daddy or mommy and then dad or mom and then “ugh, daaaad/moooom.” There will be a day when my songs and stories and games won’t elicit the same giggles and shouts of glee. In fact, some of my jokes and stories will likely elicit groans and eye rolls during the teenage years (I know). There will come a day when the endless cuddles will only come every so often and then maybe not at all. There will come a day when I will no longer be her world. When someone else will become her world in a completely different way. And that’s okay. That’s what she’s supposed to do. She’s supposed to go out into the world and explore and learn and grow and love. But, it doesn’t mean it will be easy. Along the way she will learn things like hate and prejudice. She will learn that not all people are good. She won’t give out her smiles so readily. And at that point, I can’t fix everything so easily for her. I won’t be able to shield her away from the bad, just help her overcome it.

Someday, I’ll stop picking her up because she’ll be too big. Someday she won’t need me like she needs me (us) now. Someday she will keep discovering the world without us alongside her. Someday I won’t know everything about her inside and out because someday we may not be able to see or talk to each other every single day. But, even though that someday is inevitable. Even though that someday is hard to imagine for us, there is something about that someday that will always be true. Something I want to tell my baby, so she doesn’t forget it – ever. 

My Dearest Sophie,

Someday, I may not physically pick you up, but I’ll always be there to emotionally pick you up. To support you, love you, encourage you. Even on the days when you may not think you need me, I’ll be here, in case you decide you do. I’ll always have a hand to hold or arms to hug you. Just in case you decide you need me to be that source of comfort and love. I can always give you that, even when you’re all grown up and on your own. Because, no matter how old, no matter how big, no matter where you are – you’ll never stop being my baby.

                                                                                                          – Daddy

We really don’t need that much in life to be happy

 

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We really don’t need that much in life to be happy.

This may be counter to what we are sold by the advertising masses. However, the truth is there are literally millions around the world that are living pretty happy and contented lives with little in the way of physical possessions.

Many of these people may have enforced constraints. These could include a lack of well-paid employment options or families abroad they themselves work and send money to.

However, some have also identified their own version of enough and live contentedly within self-made constraints. Working just enough to cover their needs and then making time for family, friends and adventures.

Whatever the case, these people live a life filled with less stuff. It can be done.

The Problem with Chasing More
The danger in chasing more and more is that it’s never enough. Just a little more money and we’ll be happy we tell ourselves. A new car on loan will make us more complete we kid ourselves. Keeping up with keeping up is a path to ruin.

More stuff can mean our lives become cluttered. We lose freedom, we lose agility. We can start to feel stifled and even trapped by all this stuff.

Packing Lightly
Beyond our most basic needs of food, water, shelter, health, family and friends, how much more do we really need to be happy?

There are plenty of other things that can add value to our lives. Books, music, a creative outlet and so on. None of this needs to turn into large houses full of stuff we rarely use. None of this needs to turn into large debt that we never escape.

We can decide to pack lightly for life’s journey instead.

Just enough of our most cherished possessions can outweigh an abundance of stuff we collect but never really get much value from.

Having one TV in a home can be enough, rather than one in each room.

Having a closet with 30 items in that we constantly wear and use, rather than 100s of items that take up space but rarely see the light of day.

Instead of chasing more stuff we can make space for more living. We can make space for passion projects and hobbies that are important to us. We can make room for more quality time with our loved ones. This is the sort of more we should be chasing.

We can decide to live lightly. Making the most of what we have, not focused on what we don’t have. As we journey through life, we can decide that travelling with enough is all we really need and live accordingly. 

Photo credits: Google photos

Leave your non-apology at the door

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A genuine, heartfelt apology is a powerful step toward mending hurt feelings and finding a resolution. A half-assed apology, on the other hand, can be worse than none at all.

I’m awfully terrible when it comes to asking for apologies. It’s not that I’m hardhearted, cold-blooded person but I just can’t seem to get it right most of the times and I often regret the outcome, worse than remaining in the status quo. Which leads me to ask myself, “How am I doing it wrong?” Maybe you have that same question in mind too. Which led me further to research about the “dos” and “don’ts” when trying to apologize.

Experts would say that the difference between a sincere apology and cheap one has a lot to do with how it’s phrased. Word to the wise: If you say “sorry” and then immediately follow it with a conditional word like “but” or “if,” you’re headed in the wrong direction.

Studying about the subject of  asking for apology the right way, there seem to be phrases one should avoid when trying to apologize to a friend, family member, significant other or pretty much anyone, for that matter. Here’s what some psychotherapists had to say. 

1. “I’m sorry you feel that way.”

“Even though this phrase begins with the words, ‘I’m sorry,’ it is not a real apology. It does not take ownership of any wrongdoing. It does not communicate remorse for your actions, and it does not express any empathy towards the other person’s feelings. Instead, it may imply that you think the other person is being irrational or overly sensitive. Try to understand and take responsibility for how your actions or words hurt the other person, saying something like, ‘I’m sorry that I canceled our plans at the last minute. It was inconsiderate of your time and I understand why you are angry at me.’” ―  Gina Delucca, clinical psychologist at Wellspace SF

2. “I’m sorry I said that, but I never would have if you hadn’t behaved the way you did.”

“Again, we are hearing blame. ‘Look what you made me do.’ This is not an apology for one’s behavior but actually a maneuver to hold the other person responsible for one’s behavior. In other words, ‘You caused me to say this to you.’ We are all responsible for our behavior, no matter what the other person says or does. A heartfelt apology is to recognize the pain we cause and own our behavior: ‘I’m sorry that I reacted the way I did and upset you.’” ― Carol A. Lambert, psychotherapist and author of  Women with Controlling Partners

3. “I was stressed out!” (or tired…or hungry…)

“This makes a recurrence of the offense almost inevitable. Always connect the apology to the future. For example, ‘The next time I feel that way (whatever triggered the offense), I will remember that I love you and that our bond is so important to me,’ or, ‘I’ll make sure I get centered in my values so I don’t act on impulse.’ The subtext should always be: ‘I’m sorry that I hurt you and harmed the bond between us.’” ― Steven Stosny, psychologist and author of Love Without Hurt

4. “I said I’m sorry already, why can’t you just let it go?”

I have to admit that this has become my favorite phrase resolving a bump or a quarrel with my wife.

“Blaming your partner for not immediately accepting your apology, forgiving you and moving on is unrealistic and unfair. For an apology to be effective, it must be clear that: 1) You accept full responsibility for your actions and inactions; 2) You are sincerely sorry for anything you’ve done to cause pain and 3) That you want to remedy the situation by giving your partner what they need to feel safe in order to move on and forgive you. Not all apologies lead to immediate forgiveness. It may take time. And it may take apologizing more than once. Start by asking what your partner needs in order to trust you and feel safe and then do it.” ― Sheri Meyers, marriage and family therapist and author of Chatting or Cheating: How to Detect Infidelity, Rebuild Love and Affair-proof Your Relationship 

5. “I was reacting to…”

“This is an excuse, not an apology.” ― Stosny

6. “I’m sorry if I offended you.”

“This is an example of a conditional apology that doesn’t truly acknowledge any remorse or personal responsibility. By using the word ‘if,’ you are communicating that the problem isn’t really about what you did, but is about how the person reacted to what you did instead. Essentially, this type of ‘non-apology’ places the blame back onto the person it’s directed at. Simply remove the word ‘if,’ and your apology can take on a whole new meaning: ‘I’m sorry I offended you. I will make sure to be more considerate and careful with my words in the future.’” ― Tara Griffith, marriage and family therapist and the founder of Wellspace SF

7. “I may have done this, but you did that!”

“Try to avoid keeping score and bringing up times when the other person was in the wrong. An apology is about you acknowledging the wrongfulness of your own actions and making amends; it is not about pointing fingers at other people as a way to justify your actions.” ― Delucca

Here is what I’ve learned from the many bumps my wife and I had in our married life: Guilty or otherwise, whenever we hurt the other person’s feelings, ego or being by overstepping our boundaries, even in the presence of a valid reason, it is just fitting and proper that an apology be expressed right then and there — no “buts” and “ifs”. That way we can preserve the beauty and sanctity of the relationship.

How about you? What are your opinion on the subject? Which phrase strongly resonates with you?

Photo credits: Google photos