Keep reading till the answers come to you
If you feel blasé and think nothing new is coming your way, that means you’re in desperate need of learning. From its holiness Dalai Lama’s perspective, nurturing perpetual curiosity using a child-like mind is the key to happiness. Reading is one of the best ways to embrace new ideas, only if you keep an open mind. If you're criticizing the author in your mind as you go and press your opinions against theirs’s, you're reinforcing your current sense of reality, which will defeat the purpose. Approaching the information coming to you with wonderment is essential to preserve a youthful mindset.
I’m not saying that every book carries equal weight in its transformational power, and some could straight up be harmful if they perpetrate destructive and/or inaccurate ideologies. Practicing your curiosity muscles needs to be paired with sound judgement in your choice of study. With that being said, a universe of options lays before you, and it could be paralyzing at first since there’s so much to learn. Rest assured that you will find your way; the most important part is to start and figure out what you need as you go.
Stepping away from your favoured topics is also a fast-forward method to expand your horizons. In my case, I’ll be scratching my head reviewing my high school maths in two weeks, and nervosity is building up—my coping mechanism: binge-reading on personal growth and psychology through audio, online or printed books. As I’m taming my fears by blasting emotional health content in my brain, a profound epiphany moved me this morning, opening a whole new way to love myself and accept others.
Thanks to Neil Pasricha's book, “You Are Awesome,” I now can tell myself a different story. If you read my post yesterday, I revealed that I’d had a lot, a lot, of dating experience. The last part of page 112, where he gives examples of reframing negative self-criticism, shifted everything for me. In his writing, I could feel deep in my bones that he really loves his wife and mother of his child. Then, I could also see he was profoundly non-judgmental. This combination of qualities showed me that there are outstanding men in this world; I just have to keep looking. His words moved me, and something in me healed instantly.
As the random dots of my consciousness were connecting at lightning speed, a clear sense of how my dad loved my mother deeply but didn’t know how to express it as he was fighting the vulnerability it left him in, flashed through my mind's eye. There it was, years of witnessing arguments between my parents unfolded from a brand new perspective. This man simply never learned how to love, starting with himself. Rehumanizing my dad is essential in my quest to find more harmonious relationships. I’m glad I didn’t turn down the suggestion of the bookstore lady as I was frowning at the fact it was a male author. I was on a feminist streak and didn't feel like reading Neil’s book, but I’m so grateful I forced myself out of my comfort zone. I was given a beautiful gift hidden between the lines — Witnessing a man’s true love for the feminine and his transcending acceptance of humanity.
Let me share the two examples the author gave that shifted my world:
“Do you hate your stretch marks? Can you try to see them differently? Can they be timeless tattoos commemorating how you brought your beautiful children into the world?”
Neil did not create this allegory, and he’s not the first man to think that way, but for having gone through the entirety of his book, I could tell he meant what he wrote. It’s the fact that he truly believes those words that created the magic for me. It opened a possibility: what if certain men do love women that much? Then, my thought process led me to my realization about my dad. With the persistent push towards liberating men from toxic masculinity, I have hope this view of women’s bodies will become the norm one day.
The second example of telling yourself a different story I wish to share is:
“Are you ashamed of your dozens of one-night stands? What if they helped you understand your own sexual chemistry enough that you knew what you wanted in a partner?”
I’m not ashamed of my liberated sexuality, but he makes a point here. The wide variety of my experiences has helped me narrow down that I’m a polyamorous pansexual sapiophile — I’m attracted to intellect and emotional depth no matter one's gender identity without imposing the entirety of my relationship needs onto one partner. Also, my dating life contributed to my self-esteem in knowing that successful, smart, attractive people found me to be their equal.
To sum it up, on the one hand, I restored a positive view of men, and on the other, a positive view of myself. That’s some serious highspeed growth in the spent of a few seconds, which led to a day of unfolding realizations. Seeking to expand beyond our perceived reality is a capacity that needs to be trained just like our bodies. I call counselling my weekly emotional gym. Even if I work on my mental health every day, those are my supervised by a coach works out. I walk, stretch and nourish my body meticulously, and I read to stay sharp. To preserve what we enjoy, we need to take care of it. It can be monotonous and tiresome, but the return, especially if the investment is in yourself, will outweigh the difficulties.
Bonus quote from the book. Here’s the third reframing example:
“Do you curse yourself over the extra ten pounds on your gut? Can you instead love the fact that you have weekly pizza and wings night with your friends?”
Carry on and be awesome!