Posts Tagged With: happiness

A friend indeed!

 

Let’s face it, we all need friends. Even with the hardships brought on by the pandemic, we still need to interact with our friends somehow. But it is important to recognize the good and bad friends in our lives, and how to deal with the bad ones. I have had several “bad” friends in my life. And sadly, I’ve had no choice but to hit the ejector switch on them. It was never easy. I had known some of these individuals for a long time, but ultimately, they weren’t what I originally thought (sigh). Still, I have some great friends in my life, and I’m very grateful to have them in my social circle.

There are certain things that friends should and should not do, and I want to share some of the good qualities of a friend that I’ve learned over the years.

  1. Support – very crucial for any friendship. They say that a true friend is there when we’ve hit rock bottom. We don’t have to reach out to them; they already know we need them. Even if we do have to reach out, they are quick to lend us their unconditional support. They will even drop whatever it is they may be doing at the time and come to your aid. Friends who don’t respond need to be seriously re-evaluated. Be especially aware of friends that try to make you feel like your rough situation is your fault. And yes, there are people out there who do this! Friends also support you when you want to make some changes in your life such as try a new hobby or take a new job far away. They should be happy about your new endeavors.
  2. Acceptance – friends should accept you for who you are. They should accept your flaws and not let them obstruct your friendship unless said flaws are hurting the friendship itself. No one is perfect. I have Asperger’s Syndrome, and I once confided this in a friend at the time. At first, this friend accepted it, but later we had a falling out, and they referred to me as one with “severe mental problems”. The real reason for our falling out is that this person could not accept me for being different from them. True friendship means accepting those that are different from you. It also means accepting one who has had certain advantages in life: e.g. money and freedom.
  3. Reciprocity – Everything is a two-way street in friendship. You call them once in a while, and they do the same. Conversely, you do this when you make plans. Are you always the one reaching out this person? If so, something is not right. There has to be some reciprocal communication between you. After all, you have enough to juggle in life without having to reach out to a friend that doesn’t return the favor.
  4. Gratitude – a true friend will tell you that they value your friendship. They will often say ‘thanks’ for the miniscule and the monumental. Likewise, you should be grateful for their friendship. And if a friend does not reciprocate your ‘thank you’, beware! I had one who didn’t reciprocate any of my gestures of gratitude, and thankfully that person is now “somebody that I used to know” (I think I owe Gotye props for quoting this).

 

Now for the things that a friend should not be. You may think I’ve already pointed these out, but there’s more. I cannot stress the importance of recognizing a toxic friend. I recently listened to a podcast by a former NFL wide receiver by the name of Trent Shelton. In this podcast, he discusses how to let go of negative people in our lives. He says, “it’s crushing to know that the people you want the best for don’t always want the best for you.” The more you tolerate toxic pals in your lives, the more damage they will do. So, what are the signs of a not-so-true-friend?

  1. Jealousy – while it is normal to envy the things a friend has that you don’t, jealousy is 100% unhealthy. This person resents you for the advantages you have and makes you feel that you don’t deserve them, whether they show it explicitly or subtly. I had one friend who was jealous of my wealth, my freedom to travel, and my relationship with my family. In fact, it reached the point of said person often pointing out that “I have money coming out of my ass” and “your parents treat you like a baby”. This person completely overlooked the “chains” I’ve had to carry in life (and we all have them). A jealous friend is a de facto toxic friend. If they cannot accept your ‘advantages’, it’s best to move on.
  2. Constant Put-Downs – these are the people who question your actions and decisions. They feel like you are doing the wrong thing when in fact it’s the opposite. They are not happy for you, and what is the point of having a friend like that? You will ultimately start believing these put-downs, subsequently lowering your self-esteem. And you don’t want that.

It is also critical to be aware of friends that are self-centered, pessimistic, and have no accountability whatsoever for their actions. We all have our days where we’re down in the dumps or forget the occasional birthday, but when it’s polarized it is a different story altogether. Their negativity will eventually rub onto you.

It is very hard to have to cut out a friend, and it should be the last resort. But if you have a toxic friend that refuses to change, then…sayonara! You should be re-evaluating certain friends regularly, and you should be grateful for the good ones in your life. It’s difficult enough dealing with all the bad people in this world. And in these times, we are living in, we need to have a healthy and supportive social circle.

Sadly, I tolerated certain toxic chums for too long for the sake of having friends. I thought I could change them but later realized that you can’t change anyone; they have to change themselves. The key is to recognize the symptoms of a potentially bad friend early, and take action before they become worse: stop small problems from becoming bigger ones.

 

“A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.”

– Walter Winchell

Categories: Life | Tags: , , , , ,

Farewell Ottawa!

For some of you this may come as a surprise: for the past 11 months, I was living in the Canadian capital. But now in less than a week, I will be leaving her for my new life in Poland. But I guess you’re wondering what brought me here in the first place. Why didn’t I blog about my experiences here? The truth is…I just didn’t have the time.

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I came to Ottawa to pursue a second masters degree in Applied Linguistics. It seemed like a good idea, and that it would open more doors for me. I had a full scholarship, including a TA position.

However, this seemingly good idea turned out to be a sour one. I soon discovered that I had gotten myself into something way over my head. The workload was very demanding, where I would be holed up either at home or at the library working on research papers and endless readings. Classmates were too busy to socialize, exacerbating the situation. As a result of this time consumption, my WIP got put on hold, my posts stopped appearing, and ultimately I witnessed an attrition of followers – both on social media and my blog. My TA deal wasn’t any better. The professor I was assigned to mistreated me to the point where I had to consult my union.

I began to realize that this quest for a second masters was doomed to failure. I had been in school long enough, and needed to return to the working world. And while I was at least enjoying Ottawa, my next adventure could not include her.

Despite the hardship of my university experience, I managed enjoy all that Ottawa had to offer. It’s truly a unique experience to spend an extended stay in the capital of one’s country. In Ottawa, it’s a big city with a small town feel, where outdoor activities are plentiful all year long! As I prepare to depart my nation’s capital, I reflect on some of the highlights of my time here:

  1. Skating on the Rideau – dubbed the longest outdoor skating rink in the world. I think every visitor to Ottawa should try it. Just remember it’s not like skating on a regular rink (pretty bumpy).
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  2. Attending Remembrance Day ceremony at National War Memorial – the best part is when I saw the prime minister’s wife from afar!
  3. Curling – I actually learned to curl last January, and glad I took lessons. Much harder than it seems!
  4. Bike trails – these I will miss the most! The best one is along the Rideau Canal, where you can bike downtown. I definitely recommend investing in a bike to those planning to live here for an extended period of time.

 

Many apologies for not sharing my Ottawa experiences with you. It was just burdensome to share something, which for awhile was causing great pain. However, I am definitely looking forward to Poland as I have dreamed of working abroad for many years now.

Until next time!

Categories: Life | Tags: , ,

Saying Goodbye to 2015

 

Now that Christmas is done with, it’s time to look to welcoming 2016. Put on those party hats, bring out the bubbly and make New Year’s Resolutions – again! But before you get excited about watching the ball drop on Times Square, be sure to take the time to bid adieu to 2015.

Remember this time last year when you were making resolutions for 2015? Did you succeed in accomplishing them? Don’t worry if you didn’t; many of us fall off the boat before Valentine’s Day. But how was 2015 for you? Think about all that has happened for you this year. What went well? What didn’t? Was 2015 better or worse than 2014? For some of you, 2015 hasn’t been exactly happy. What with the growth of ISIS, and the terrorist attacks in Paris. Try not to let the global woes cloud your judgement as you reflect on 2015. It’s OK to think about yourself in this context. So how was 2015 for you?

Make a list of all the good and bad things that happened to you this year. What happened this year that you would like to have continue in 2016? What could be improved in the new year?

A number of good and bad things happened to me this year, but for the sake maintaining a happy mood I shall highlight the goods: I visited four new American states (Louisiana, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Mexico). I rode in a hot-air balloon, officially earned my master’s degree in Education, and I finally finished my soon-to-be debut novel, The Burning Night. I have to say that 2015 has been a progressive year for me. I’ve taken risks, tried new things, and my life has been moving forward.

It’s important to reflect on 2015 before she bids us farewell. A way to stop and look around so you don’t….miss it. Where have I heard that expression before? You’ll probably be surprised at what you discover as you reflect on 2015.

Categories: Life | Tags: , , , ,

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