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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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

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

“Whatever anybody says or does, assume positive intent. You will be amazed at how your whole approach to a person or problem becomes very different.” – Indra Nooyi

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It’s easy to get hooked in our modern world. Meaning many times each day we feel resistance when conversations, outcomes, projects and meetings don’t go the way we hoped they would go or as we had planned. Perhaps someone who works for you delivered an underwhelming performance, or you disagree on strategy with your boss or manager, or a friend/family member holds views that are very different from yours – regardless of the scenario, the feeling we experience is similar.

Some common emotional responses when things don’t go our way are we feel wronged, invalidated, frustrated or at times angry, and likely our responses (conversations and actions) reflect that. This only compounds the feelings we are experiencing and creates a mirror reaction in the person or people with which we are engaged.

At times, we may feel as if the person or people who triggered us did it intentionally or on purpose -which rarely ends up being the case. Most people wake up each day with a desire to do good and be good in this world.

We live in a world composed of 7 plus billion unique people each with his/her own idea of what “do good” and “be good” means – none of which are more right or more wrong than the other – just different. It is true that at times we harm each other with words and actions, disappoint each other, miss expectations or plainly act as a jerk. And it’s also true that most times these choices are not premeditated – the intent of the action is not to harm, disrupt or divide.

There is a different choice each one of us has when we feel hooked or triggered and that choice is to assume positive intent. This doesn’t mean ignore your feelings of displeasure. Rather, address them from a different place – one that starts with assuming the others involved started with a positive intent that just didn’t land. Extend the benefit of the doubt.

Next time you feel hooked or triggered experiment with making a choice to acknowledge that it was positive intent that created the situation and can get you out of it as well. The choice is yours.

Photo credits: Google photos

 

CONTRARY TO POPULAR NOTIONS: My Personal Views on Widely-accepted Relationship “TRUTHS”

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FOREWORD: This is the second installment of my aim to share my personal views on some areas pertaining to Love. Should you happen to like this post after reading it, you may also would want to read later on about my initial post published here seven days ago entitled, “Love Isn’t Always the Answer”.  Further, the views and opinions expressed here are all personal and non-assertive or indicative in any way. Furthermore, I tried to keep my views simple as possible despite the complexities of the “relationship truths” presented herein. Be that as it may, I wish you good and happy reading!

Let’s begin…

Love conquers all.

To put it simply, love does NOT conquer all. All is a lot. It’s literally everything. To say that love conquers all is hyperbolic and misleading. It’s also a dangerous belief to hold onto because it engenders a kind of hopeful laziness. People who cling to the notion that everything will work out as long as they love their significant other tend to overlook the reality that maintaining a strong, loving relationship takes a lot of hard work. You can’t just count on your love to shield you from all the ups and downs you’ll face as a couple.

To say that love conquers all is hyperbolic and misleading.

All you need is love.

To state the obvious, you definitely need food, shelter, oxygen and water — all requirements of living and breathing that are not love. Beyond that, you also probably need some sense of personal fulfillment outside of your romantic relationship. Maybe your career brings you happiness, or you’re passionate about a certain hobby. Whatever the case, it’s wise not to rely entirely on love to reach inner peace. You’re way too complex to need just one thing.

True love is unconditional.

Nope. Sorry. Some couples fall madly in love and then, unexpectedly, fall out of love. When people separate, it isn’t because the love that once existed between them wasn’t true. A breakup doesn’t render a former love suddenly meaningless, but it does signify that it was conditional on some factors that happened to shift — a phenomenon we’re all susceptible to simply because so many things are beyond our control. True love is definitely conditional — on timing, careers, health, desires, sudden changes and so much more.

When it’s right, you’ll know it.

You actually might have no idea you’ve hit the romantic jackpot on your first, second, third or one-hundredth date. Yes, some couples fall in love at first sight. But others aren’t as quick to figure things out, and that’s okay. Love that grows over time isn’t any less real or worthy of note than the kind that sprouts between two people within seconds of meeting. Don’t expect to know in your gut that something’s right from the start. If you rule out every person you don’t feel a spark with automatically, you’ll end up dismissing some good candidates. Sometimes, you have to give things time. Love can blossom when you least expect it to and you might not know it when you see it.

With the right person, everything will be easy.

It’s never easy. Actually, it’s pretty easy in the way beginning, when you’re so love drunk that you let things slide and all you want to do is stare at each other with your googly eyes and make passionate love. But let’s get real. That lustful stage doesn’t last for anyone. There are many wonderful things to look forward to once the passion-blindness fades — comfort, for instance, and a bottomless reserve of inside jokes and treasured memories — but staying together isn’t easy. The right relationship will be worth the effort you have to put into it. Just don’t expect it to be a breeze, no matter how obsessed with each other you are.

The right relationship will be worth the effort you have to put into it.

Never settle for anyone other than “the one.”

Especially for the ladies, please, I beg of you: settle! Fate isn’t a matchmaker, so don’t count on it to guide you towards that one special person. There are a lot of people you’re capable of building a life with. You just have to find one of those people. But don’t expect any of them to be perfectly suited to you. Plan to settle in some ways — for someone slightly less wealthy or handsome or flexible or handy around the house than you’d hoped for. There’s nothing shameful about adjusting your expectations to align with reality, but there is something kind of sad about a person who waits around for a fairytale ending that isn’t scripted.

Timing is everything.

Timing is definitely something, but it isn’t everything. Because when it comes to love, nothing is everything. The path each couple takes is informed by countless competing factors. Every togetherness is a complex narrative and while some might be marked by a major theme, such as timing, there are always critical subplots and unprecedented twists to consider too.

People don’t change.

They do! They definitely do! This can work out for the better of your relationship, or it can be your relationship’s undoing. Regardless, people definitely change over the years, and if you can’t find a way to evolve together, it’s probably advisable to go your separate ways.

True love is all that matters.

Let’s not be ridiculous. There is so much else in life that matters. So many world issues have absolutely nothing to do with love. However much you hate politics or sports or mathematics, those things matter. The drudgery of day-to-day domestic life matters, too. Basically, everything matters, including love.

P.S.: That would be all for now. If you have any thoughts about the notions presented, please feel free to express them in the comments below.

Photo credits: Google photos/teamsquatchinusa.com