Criticism dampens spirits and discourages future efforts. Notice how your spirit tends to shrivel when you are criticized and to blossom when you are offered encouragement or praise. We look forward to spending time with people who are appreciative of our efforts, and we tend to avoid people who are critical of us.
I want to be the one who makes you blossom.
I want to see you open, bright eyes and overflowing
like a sunflower in summer
I want to be the breeze that cools your face,
airing out inadequacies
I want to be that soft whisper in your ear
that tells you you’re worth it.
i hope wherever you are,
you find the sun
kissing you with 10,000 rays radiating warmth
easing your nerves.
and whether its 12 weeks or a year,
i want to be that tip on the arrow of your compass
when your gaze permanently sets to the east,
i want to be the soil to your seed
i want to be that sunshine you need.
that blissful moment when you just dont give a fuck anymore >
There is a Taoist story of an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically. “May be,” the farmer replied. The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed. “May be,” replied the old man. The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune. “May be,” answered the farmer. The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out. “Maybe” said the farmer.
I heard this story my first semester at Cal and haven’t forgotten it since. I like to think of my life as a story. I wonder what kind of character I am, what kind of story my life tells. I hope its a good one. I hope I’m the kinda character that people like. that is honest and ambitious, that accepts the plot and pursues her goals. the kind of character that remains resilient in the face of adversity and never sacrifices morals for men.
Just like the farmer, we need to understand that when life doesn’t turn out how we expected, do not grow weary, bitter, or disappointed. But understand, conflict is what causes our character to grow. We may not always understand why we are going through a particular season or what good could possibly come out of it, but thats not what matters. What matters is our perspective on the situation. A positive outlook is the defining characteristic of an optimist. That element of hope and of believing setbacks are temporary hurdles, not permanent curses. It is the ability to direct our thoughts that is as priceless as gold and as necessary as water. As one wise man puts it…
In order for any of this to make sense, you have to learn a hard, but important lesson about life: you aren’t the center of the universe. This is so counterintuitive to a capitalistic culture it may be a hard pill to swallow for some.
In other words, you’re not the main character. You are living in a deeper narrative than The Book of Me. And you have a role to play, an important one, but it has to do with more than just you.
This is why we invented the word “vocation” (which in Latin means “calling”). It represents this idea that your life is part of something bigger than what you want, that there is work that you don’t simply choose, but are called to. Yes, we have choices, but the story we’ve been given to live isn’t completely up to us.
What this means is that life doesn’t always look like we expected or even wanted. And our response to that? “Thank God.”
If Grace is an ocean
we’re all sinking
“Amid the chaos of that day, when all I could hear was the thunder of gunshots, and all I could smell was the violence in the air, I look back and am amazed that my thoughts were so clear and true, that three words went through my mind endlessly, repeating themselves like a broken record: you’re so cool, you’re so cool, you’re so cool. And sometimes Clarence asks me what I would have done if he had died, if that bullet had been two inches more to the left. To this, I always smile, as if I’m not going to satisfy him with a response. But I always do. I tell him of how I would want to die, but that the anguish and the want of death would fade like the stars at dawn, and that things would be much as they are now. Perhaps. Except maybe I wouldn’t have named our son Elvis”