Hard times

A couple of friends are going through a hard time. As I love them more than I’ve ever shown, and I’ve received from them more than they probably think, I dared to share my thoughts, just in case they help. This may be obscure for the rest, or perhaps not.

Everything that is wrong and bad in this world has its root cause in fear. If you feel you’ve done something wrong, or you feel someone has harmed you, look for fear. We were born to fear, hence we were born to protect ourselves and in the process, perhaps, harm others. You will not understand what’s going on until you’ve been honest to yourself and others about what you fear. Knowing is the first step. Taming it is a different league. But being aware of it is necessary.

Right there on the second place of awful feelings is guilt. If you feel you’ve done something wrong, you feel guilty. If you feel someone did wrong to you, you want that person to feel guilty. Guilt is a terrible thing because you feel you need it to settle things, to make it even, to do justice. This is terrible when you are the one feeling guilty, and believe you deserve some punishment. The whole concept of justice is flawed in the first place, and guilt will not settle anything, guilt will not balance anything internally. Guilt doesn´t bring any peace, will never do, no matter how much you instinctively think it does.

Things are not what we expected. They never are. What you do with that gap is what matters. Some people will push it until life aligns with their vision. Some people will reset expectations, come up with a new target, and try again. Some others will embrace life as it is and be grateful for what they have. It is one of life’s most fundamental questions, so fundamental most of us don’t have an answer. We actually tend to admire people that have a clear answer, no matter if it is A, B or C.

In order to move on, no matter your direction, you will need compassion. Not compassion towards the other but towards yourself. It is yourself that matters first. The only way to hold a conversation with someone that will contribute is to do it without fear, without guilt and free of expectations. If you don’t have that mindset, you’re building on sand, not rock. Don’t get me wrong, you need to talk because you need it. But it will only be meaningful when there’s not a trace of fear, guilt or expectations in you and the other. Typically there’s a lot of work to do with ourselves first. That work is compassion, to realize that we are as perfect as we can be, and certainly as privileged as we can be.

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Invisible constraints

I want to give my children the best education possible. I mean it in its broadest sense possible: knowledge, values, behavior. I want them to have as many opportunities as they can. I want them to be good people that contribute to improve this world. And live happily ever after.

No matter how hard I try, I know I will also create an invisible handicap on them. My teachings, as much as all of their surroundings, will impose invisible constraints. They will take those constraints for granted because they are not aware of them, just as I am not aware of mine.

We try to educate as good as we can, but do so within those invisible constraints. As important as it is to make our best effort in educating, perhaps even more so is to allow them to identify those constraints and break free from them.

If you want your children (or yourself!) to find constraints, the best way is to get them to know people, the more diverse the better. As an adult, I’ve found nothing more enlightening than to develop a friendship with someone from another context (different education, country, culture, ...) Just by exposing yourself to a new set of preconceived ideas of how life should be lived, your mind immediately opens and blossoms. You question things that you have never thought about. Whether you change or not is not as relevant as the fact that you have unlearned that something had to be done in a certain way.

We live in a world of immense opportunities. When I look at my children, that is what I wish for them. I’ll try hard to teach my best values to them... only to let them question all those things I took for granted by exposing them to different ways to live life.

See you next week!

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