The Paradox of Choice

I just finished watching this TED talk by Barry Schwartz, American Psychologist, author of the book “The Paradox of Choice, Why more is Less”.

What Barry is trying to say is that the more choices we have, the more expectations we have, the more hesitated we become, the more frustrated we feel, especially when we start to think that our choice was not the best one.

As an aggressive believer in Freedom of Choice, my paradigm shifted a little bit when I opened my eyes to this hypothesis, although it seems to be much more of a fact.

And what is more mysterious is that even when you have a clear set of criteria of what your choice shall be, you still feel uncomfortable when faced with various ones. The battle of choosing what is “perfect” turns into an intrinsic war and ends up with feelings of blame and guilt. “I could have done better” kind of statements pop up in your mind, you start wining and complaining…So, instead of embracing the choice, believing in it and turning it into a promising opportunity, you give it up. You lose it the moment you started the re-thinking process of the other choices…

This will lead us to a conclusion: Limit your choices, Eliminate the unnecessary. In other words Live Simply. A very challenging conclusion when it comes to practice in a world that believes “More” is equivalent to “Better”…


Give it a Meaning

I’ve come  to a conclusion that may help us change our behavior towards what we are unhappy about in our lives.

The Rational goes like this:

We keep doing things in  our lives  (job, studies, diet, exercising, general lifestyle..etc) that make us unhappy, whether it is because we are not convinced of doing them, or because we think we have no other options. Whatever the motive is, the result is whenever we do them , we find ourselves walking through the path of sadness and we unconsciously  empower the destructive negative emotions of victimization, lack of power, lack of influence, hopelessness…

Let’s assume that we still have to keep doing these stuff since we are not yet able to see other alternatives. What we ought to do then is to find a way to live in harmony with them. And actually we are generally very good at making this camouflage, pretending to embrace our life realities. Yet, soon the masks go down and the struggle remains.

So what if we try to fix this by diving deeper than the surface. What if we try to give a MEANING for whatever that we do in our lives.  I noticed that when we give a meaning to any action we take, it adds a sense of purpose, a signification. It adds another dimension, a value…Exploring the meaning behind our actions will truly help  us accept what we were not able to accept so far, and  it might eventually grant us the power to dare and make a change. It will put straight Why we do what we do and how long we want to carry this luggage with us.

And one final note, Getting the meaning out is a process that I believe needs Mind Flexibility. We must be willing to let go of our own paradigms, contemplate the situation from different perspectives, and finally link the dots.

Try it, you have nothing to lose anyway! and I will try it myself and report the results that I believe will make a difference…


Awaken


The Questions Are Mine

These are not questions. Call them interrogative statements of wonder, inspection, puzzlement..

– Why do we struggle to see the picture clear?

– Why can’t we clearly listen to the truth echoing in our hearts?

– Why don’t we trust the voices of our instincts?

– Why don’t we act upon our true beliefs?

– Why do we choose our own stagnation while we strive for real change?

– Why do we hold on to our griefs while all we want is to be happy?

– Why don’t we change what we keep condemning and criticizing?

– Why don’t we get out of our own buble and envy those who do?

– Why do we ignore the heart when it cries out to be heard?

– Why do we ignore the soul when it burns to be freely expressed?

– Why do we ignore the body when it keeps sending us signals of exhaustion?

The Answers are yours…


The Battles Within

If you are tired of fighting the problems that keep showing up in your life, struggling with people or circumstances..if you feel like everything you wanted is taking a different path than yours and you became stuck in a place you don’t like..if you think you’re trying your best to do the right thing and do things right yet you still hit the wall..if you started to believe that everything got out of control and that life is a bitch.. You have just fallen in the deep down hole made by your worst enemy: YOURSELF

Of course you are wondering how come? you cannot be fighting against yourself? it doesn’t make sense..it’s easier and simpler to believe that people are fighting against you, circumstances as well, or any other external factor whatever it might be. But the hard truth is: We create the battles in our minds, we distribute the roles of the play, we act accordingly until we get so drained by the play’s events that we forget it was of our own mind creation..

The game stars within..here..in our minds. By nature, we tend to be happy and joyful..but with fear showing up on the surface, we become defensive and tend to protect this nature .Unconsciously, by this act of protection, we allowed fear to penetrate our hearts. It’s this fear that creates all the battles, all the fights, all the struggles. We are afraid to lose ourselves, our hopes, our dreams, our happiness. And the more we let the fear take over the steering wheel, the more our battles get bigger, stronger, harder, and tougher.

So start by admitting that YOU are your first and single battle. Then work on yourself by aligning your nature with your desires. In other words, decide upon what you want to do with your life and believe you can do it. When you believe, it becomes easy to create the habits, the tasks, and the life style that will lead you there. A burning desire and a strong belief will keep you up there defeating your inner battles against Fear and freeing yourself from its chains.

In life, you don’t get the chance to play again . It’s a one time shot! and you know within yourself that it’s not worth all these struggles.

Life is actually simple and always calls for us to enjoy its company..So don’t be fool and reject the invitation!


When Death told me a Secret

Today while driving, I suddenly was haunted by the thought of death…and for the first time in my life it didn’t creep me out! Actually I found myself in ease with it, accepting it, with no regrets: I can die right here right now!

Honestly I used to have a bad relationship with the idea of Death but with time I learned to manage it. And by managing I only mean eliminating the fear…However I still had the conviction that it’d be cooler if I had the chance to live more coz I just didn’t fulfill my dharma yet! (Which is something I know a little about) but anyway that was my reason and maybe it was nothing more than a pretext…

Today I didn’t reject the idea of death or felt like it’d be better to postpone it. Today I thought “well it’s ok to die now”. I simply knew I’ll be in a better place!!  (guess what? I never used to like this specific statement which we always repeat to console others on death occasions, since I wasn’t able to perceive it and believe in it)

What is more ambiguous is that I know I was not an angel and I did what I consider as bad stuff, yet that didn’t stop me from fully embracing death… The thought of meeting God, the creator, the one who took care of me during all this time, who gave me things, who felt my pain and helped me move forward during hard times, the one who created this universe for me, the sun, the moon, the sky, the trees.. the one who offered me everything I had, I have and will ever have.

The question is: How come I was afraid of such an idea? How come I’ve been rejecting it?

Nonsense!

I realized this: Only with death, I will belong. Death will provide me with all what I’ve been hungry for:  Peace. In this place where we’re supposed to go after dying, I will be on top of everything. I will be detached from everything yet happy and serene. I will be free of my egoistic self. I will be me, the real me, with no masks, and no efforts to become someone else for the sake of others. Death will give my soul what it has been longing for since day one on Earth.  And looking forward to it makes complete sense. Not by committing suicide of course! I’m not talking here about conscience, values, dos and don’ts..I’m just reflecting about the only TRUE and REAL thing in our existence.

And just like a bride who gets ready for the most important day of her life,  we shall get ready to welcome Death too. Yes! It’s another phase in our lives that we shall prepare ourselves for. And just like the pre-wedding phase, we will experience moments of sadness, happiness, fear, serenity,frustration, satisfaction, losses, and gains… But on the d-day we will realize how much it was worth getting ready for it 🙂


Do we Speak the Same Language?

Obviously we need to speak one common language for us to understand each other. This “same” language is not only about grammatical syntactic comprehensive words.It also includes all non-verbal communication through the eyes, the face, the body.

Yet, Emotions seem to be the most challenging language we struggle to decode. Maybe because it doesn’t have rules, and it is not a standard language with clear definitions illustrated in a dictionary.

In Love, there are languages too. They say there are five languages of love. Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch.

What usually happens that cause partners to drift apart is their inability to understand each others’ languages, since each one of us expresses love in a certain way and at the same time expects this love to return back in the same form. And that is far from being real…

Everyone of us, men and women, speak from two to three languages of love. You might not realize it but if you start paying attention to the way you express your emotions, you will find a dominant one, followed by one or 2 others. A woman can express her love to her man by preparing a nice romantic dinner. While he prefers to be close to her physically. And a man needs from his woman to affirm her love using kind gentle words, yet she prefers he’d help her more in the house chores.

The thing is in any couple, there might be different dominant love languages. And that is not a disaster! because still there can be other secondary common languages. But if in a relationship, there are NO common languages at all, then the result is predictable and unavoidable…

The key here for the spouse is to start by discovering his/her own language,  and noticing his/her partner’s. What comes after is making the decision and choosing to speak your partner’s language. This is considered as one the biggest deposits you can make in a couple’s emotional bank account. The more you communicate with the right mean, the more you increase your account balance. The less you do, the more you make huge emotional withdrawals.

Sometimes it happens to see your partner having difficulties understanding your language. Don’t get frustrated and start losing hope, you just need to simply tell him/her how you like it..no need to feel awkward in clearly communicating it.  After all, we cannot expect a long-lasting healthy relationship without open communication..

In other words, treat others as you wish to be treated. Make an effort to listen and understand before seeking to be understood. What you give you get back…

For more info on the topic of the Five languages of love, check this link and take the assessment:

http://www.5lovelanguages.com/