Today, I’m going to share with you a secret of mine that made me find one of the ways to happiness. It’s more intuitive than you might think and I hope it works for you as well 🙂
I’ve went through several transformations in my life and by far the most critical of them was learning to love myself. I’m not talking about being conceited and self centered, that is way too far from what I mean; it’s actually about learning to look in the mirror and really appreciating and loving the person you see.
So what I want you to do after reading this article is to go to the nearest mirror and ask yourself if you love the person you are seeing. Do you appreciate all what this person has been through and what this person became as a result of those experiences? But always remember to be extremely honest to yourself while answering all those questions to be able to identify the way you see yourself.
If your answer is yes, then learn to appreciate yourself more by recognizing and loving that person. This is crucial, simply because the more you love yourself, the easier it would be to really love others and hence open the door for others to love you back.
In my childhood, when I used to look in that mirror, I didn’t really love the person I used to see. I wanted to be different and even completely someone else. I felt like things were missing in me, but as I matured and as things changed in my life, that perception for the person in the mirror changed. All the changes that happened taught me to love myself and love my life.
It’s that moment, that point in time where you start your journey of happiness because happiness is not a destination but rather the journey itself.
You’ll be surprised how your self-perception projects itself on your feelings, actions, attitude and hence your life as a whole. In return, this will influence the way people see you. So, take my brotherly advice and figure out what it takes you to start loving yourself. Only then, life will love you back and you will enjoy your journey full of happiness 🙂
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The more I interact with people from around the world, the more I travel, the more I work with different cultures, nationalities and what not I become prouder and prouder of being Lebanese.
I’ve realized that as Lebanese, we become hard wired to be resilient, adaptable, expansive and global.
I’m yet to see a country where you don’t find a Lebanese community in it, and you somehow always find them adapting to that community, learning its ways, spreading their wings and flying high among the community members.
If you were born to a Lebanese origin, you automatically entered a network of individuals spread all around the globe. You automatically grow to understand your role in this ever changing world, you get to consider wider perspectives and ambitions than many other nationalities I’ve seen…you get the mindset that the world is just a small village, and no matter where you go…you’ll manage, not because you got some super powers, but rather because we grow up engaged with the globe…studying in one country, working in another, having relatives and friends around the globe…and that’s not only because of the political or economic situation in Lebanon, even ages ago when things were all better in Lebanon…Lebanese still were wide spread.
So in a nutshell, being Lebanese, you got that added value of being, by default, a global citizen!
To all my fellow Lebanese around the globe, I’m proud of you…shine on!
My dear reader…I’d like to share with you a fresh story from my day…
So I was in an office…in a specific building somewhere very specific in Khartoum (I don’t even know the address of the office I’m working in…I guess you’ve figured that by now). In the afternoon, I felt like having my usual afternoon coffee and cigarillo. But I didn’t want to smoke in the office (though I had the whole room for myself). So I found the nearest balcony..had my cigarillo ready, my aromatic black cup of coffee (which I prepared 30 min earlier) in my hand and opened the balcony door.
What came next was what I’d like to call a wake up slap…it was a sudden rush of oven-hot, sun-dried scorching winds that drilled their way to my skin as if my whole suit wasn’t there. It was that sensation of standing in the midst of a BIG OVEN with a big shiny projector in your face!
Nevertheless, I embraced nature, embraced what it was telling me in those warm breaths of the Sudanese desert…I listened and smoked…for what seamed like eternity..but was actually less than 2 minutes. I looked at my cigarillo, which usually takes me around 5~6 minutes to smoke, and it wasn’t even half way done. But I just couldn’t get along anymore with the heat, so we decided to part, I turned off my smoke and went back in.
Now the first thing that came to my mind was: Thank God for ACs!…but the second thing I realized is that my coffee…yes that same 30min-old-barely-warm cup of coffee is HOT it was actually steamy again like I first made it!
Now many of you would ask why did I even bother and smoke…well it’s more like a ritual for me after lunch and a busy day, especially if there is a lot more to be done. It’s a means of self pampering and a moment of reflection. Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not a heavy smoker nor am I a promoter of smoking, I just know how to enjoy my cigarillos and cigars, they got their own moods and times…let’s just say we get along.
So the lesson for the day is: If you think you know what nature is and believe you can defy it or play along with it…think again!
Thank you Khartoum!
Believe it or not, volunteer work changed my life. The first time I volunteered I was 11 years old! Yes that young. In fact I’m glad my school (ISC) had something called Student Life Organization (SLO) which engages students in their school life to run this student led organization that acts something like a Student Affairs in a typical school.
Starting at that young age helped me overcome some personal weak points, from shyness to knowing how to interact and deal with people and responsibilities. Yet the seed it planted in me…didn’t stop there, it grew multiple folds to flourish in my university life and beyond.
From the first year of university, I just had that drive to give back to community, to serve, to grow, to meet people and so I ended up joining student societies and clubs at my university (AUB) as well as cofounding an NGO called Aie Serve among my involvement with many others that I am still involved in till this day whether as founder or Board Member or Advisor or simply as a member.
So here are some of the things I believe volunteer work gave me:
- Opened my mind to new ways of thinking about life.
- Gave me a purpose beyond my own self and my day to day life.
- Got me to meet the most inspiring people I would have never dreamed of knowing.
- Made me more friends that I could have possibly done in 50 years.
- Gave me life changing experiences and challenges that made me mature way faster than many of my colleagues and friends that were not involved in volunteer work.
- Made me feel proud about the achievements I was able to accomplish with the teams I worked with to make Lebanon a better place to live in. From improving the life of underserved children to giving back to nature through tree planting and beach cleanups to mentoring youth to training and sharing knowledge with aspiring young leaders to many many maaany more.
- Gave me opportunities to learn how to manage projects, lead teams, do strategic planning, explore my training skills, brainstorm for ideas that will make the world a better place…just to mention a few.
- Lead me to having a career in consultancy and training that I wouldn’t have if I didn’t do all the volunteer work I did, simply because a typical university life and a 8-5 job wouldn’t have given me half as much opportunities to learn, grow and meet new people.
So my recommendation to you, no matter how old you are or what your social/economic/academic/marital status is, if you’re not engaged in some volunteer work already, then get to it! You can never do too much volunteer work, the more the merrier, and trust me it just gets better with time, just make sure you join the organizations or causes that you feel passionate about or at least interested in, the rest will follow!
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