We often measure our progress by others’ appraisal. We perceive by their elation or low tabulation of likes what works. Thus, we add to life a distress of our own making by placing our sense of well-being in others’ hands.

The following is one of my favorite stories. It shows how even a remarkable figure can be overlooked. One day a young man drew near to a mighty prophet in the gate, and said, “Please tell me, where is the seer’s house?” And the mighty prophet answered the young man and said, “I am the seer.”

The way this story unfolds flies counter-intuitively to what anyone would expect. The prophet displays no striking aura or impressive Hollywood attributes to impress the young man. The seer could have been a gardener or a lowly shepherd. A commoner. Unlike the TV evangelist of today, there was technical wizardry to distinguish him from the rest of humanity. Nevertheless, the prophet was a monumental Biblical figure named Samuel who left an undeniable legacy like few men in history.

Edith Nesbit, a British children book author, expressed how little we count for in the world. However, she places one disclaimer — the exception being those who love us. To paraphrase her words, the consideration we receive as adults is no longer the same as the consideration of childhood, free, ungrudging and invariable, but rather conditioned by the services we render and the extent to which we are pleasant or useful.

Unfortunately, this utilitarian mindset shapes how we see ourselves. Approval is measured out not by merit, but external attributes. We try to reach an unattainable celebrity status, by dressing in certain ways, following the self-help gurus of the day, getting plastic surgery or bodybuilding. These strategies, however do nothing to alleviate our sense of love and belonging.

In other times, people had to write out their thoughts in private notebooks with no immediate responses. They relied upon the inner motivation that came from attaining personal development. There was never any concern for how many likes or comments each entry might gain.

For this reason, creativity is and has been a redeeming kind of therapy. We need to express ourselves even when no one is out there to cheer us on. It allows us to look at ordinary life through the extraordinary lens of love, truth and beauty. It starts off with a rough draft. We go back to it until new insights appear while learning to express ourselves in more engaging ways. All this allows us to transcend the daily demands and pettiness through the higher self.

As long as we inhabit this common body, people will overlook our innermost qualities. It is up to us to believe in those extraordinary qualities no matter how often they are overlooked. Those qualities are like invisible friends. Few have the ability to see or appreciate them.

~ vincenzo ©

We add to life a distress of our own making when we place our sense of wellbeing in others’ hands. ~ vincenzo ©

Although a new friendship can die for lack of spice, the number one killer is giving too much, too soon. According to life coach Rhonda Britten giving too much, too soon is the biggest error committed by both genders. She says,

“The worst part about giving too much is the other person probably won’t just drop you. At least then you’d be free to start over. Instead, they will keep you on a string and not take you seriously, and you find yourself in ‘crazy love’ relationship. ”

It is easy to crush a promising relationship by following natural impulses, so what should you look out for? Here are some thoughtful questions cited by the above author:

Is your sense of contentment consumed in making the other person happy?
Do you over-identify, pouring your self into his or her problems to the point of ignoring your own?
Is he or she pulling away while you keep looking desperately for more ways to engage or connect?
Are you so wrapped up with the euphoria of this new relationship that you’ve forgotten your friends and family?
Are you lacking motivation to pursue interests on your own?
Here is my favorite:
Have you confused the sensations of uncertainty for love?

Britten says watching your pace is crucial from the start. She recommends two easy-to-follow ideas: 1. Maintain a slow pace enough for both persons to consider the compatibility factor, communicating as friends. This pace conveys an essential message of having a life of your own. (and) 2. Think of at least three interests in your life unrelated to your new friend, where you are proactively cultivating your own garden.

Another counsellor, Tracy Cabot says a relationship that starts on too high of a romantic pitch has nowhere to go but down: “If you give too much of your time too soon, the other person takes you for granted. You’ll know whether you’ve given too much too soon because you’ll feel cheated: The best way to give is intermittently. Give just enough of yourself to let the other person see how wonderful you can be, then back off a little to see if the other person is responding, then give a little more.”

~ vincenzo ©

Although it is hard, seek to look at each dark episode with as far-sighted a perspective as possible. What seems desolation in the moment, isn’t indicative of the whole story. ~ vincenzo ©

Motivation withers when it is externally focused.
~ vincenzo ©

My aspiration is to approach soul connections from a position of healing and strength, rather than emotional dependency emanating from the wounded self. Some refer to it as self possession. What I’m learning is to build friendships not through coaxing, manipulation or subtle coercion, but sensitivity, calmness and listening.

I come from an emotionally void childhood and therefore susceptible to making excuses for others. I will move mountains in order to hold on to someone even when there may be no foundation, but something conjured up.

Perhaps building friendships is more about being still, than following the impulses of the erratic heart. It’s easy for me to find excuses to delay my stay in the name of helping the object of my attention rather than accepting the reality that this or that person may not be the match I imagined.

~ vincenzo ©

“To love or have loved, that is enough. Ask nothing further. There is no other pearl to be found in the dark folds of life.” ~ Victor Hugo, Les Miserables

One year ago at this time, a friendship began that never got off the ground. It left me feeling perplexed and relieved at once. For someone who likes to know what they’re getting into before diving in, colliding with Inconsistency is never a great feeling. It’s a vicious pattern where each time you arrange something, something else comes along. You don’t want to admit defeat too soon, so you listen and observe. Until finally, you stop second-guessing yourself and quietly back out.

It is impossible to see the end from the beginning. You fill your heart with anticipation then chastise yourself for being so gullible. Some experiences are like snake skin waiting to be shed. You enter only to realize you are outside again. Nevertheless, there is no gain without some risk taking. As Mari Ruti wrote, “Life is about showing generosity even in the face of uncertainty”. It is never in vain to show attentiveness even when it is not reciprocated, for love avoidance doesn’t make caring expressions any less valuable.

~ vincenzo ©