Once Upon a Time
Books, cheap toys, and imagination. Known for being independent since kindergarten (my teacher awarded me Most Independent at the end of the school year), those three things helped me survive my childhood.
I had friends, hanged out and played (and also fought) with them. But my adventures on a beautiful drawing of a mystical island on a book remained more memorable to me than the plenty of times I played hide and seek at night with my friends.
Yes, I was that kid. I was that teenager. However, growing up forces you to "let go" of some things in order to "grow".
In one college summer, I picked up a Harry Potter book, my sister borrowed from a neighbor, laying around in the house. Immersing in the book's Wizarding World felt like those wonderful childhood years. I dreamt of giving life to my "islands", my own worlds, the way Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone did to its own.
But I grew up. I "let go".
The Plot Thickens
Instead of writing my worlds to life, I wrote computer codes. It appeared that the war between "letting go" and "holding on" had concluded.
After health issues that sent me to the hospital that forced me to change my lifestyle that made me use my unused gym membership that got my heart broken that pushed me to depression that lured me into writing to deal with the sorrow I learned that I never really let go.
Writing filled that hollow part of my life which I had grown accustomed to ignoring. It helped with the pain, gave me light, and showed me life. I thought I let go of my dream but I was wrong. All these years, I held on to my dream, tucked it under for safekeeping, and waited for the time of awakening.
I am awake.
(3 Tips on How to Deal With Family and Friends Not Supporting Your Dreams)
Nothing is more disappointing than offering blood of commitment and tears of sacrifice to the fruition of your dreams only for it to be met with the sound of crickets and an army of tumbleweeds from your family and friends when you finally achieve it. The release of my book Walden and Hyde (and Other Short Stories) gave me that exact experience.
It was no secret, the signs had been all over the place. Chasing my dream of penning a fiction book was a road that I had been traveling for two years. I often talked about it in my blog. I frequently posted about it on social media. It possessed my life for months, weeks, days, hours, and minutes. The past two years was spent toiling away in solitude to move words from chaos to order. By virtue of action, it was plain to see that I passionately wanted it.
Sometimes, the fire inside us burns so strong we yearn for someone to share the flame with. And because that fire is special to us, we look no further than our family and friends, people we care for dearly, to share with us the burning.
But what if they don't? What if we can't count on them to feel some of the flames for us? What if, for any reason, they ignore our accomplishments, not even offering a short "Good job!" or even a casual "Well done"? It's disheartening to watch the people we care for take no notice of the fruits of our labor. How do we deal with such silent yet cruel indirect rejection? Here are three tips to deal with this type of event:
REMIND YOURSELF THAT YOU CHASED YOUR DREAMS FOR YOURSELF.
You made it happen. You did it. The only person you have an obligation to achieving your dream is yourself. Anyone can stop giving a damn about your dream but yourself. The only person who will always want to see you obtain your dream is the one staring right back at you everyday in the mirror. Never seek validation of your dreams from other people. It's nice if they acknowledge it. It's still nice even if they don't.
Each of us have different paths to take in our lives. The only pair of feet who will walk with you all throughout is yours. You chased your dream for yourself and you will chase more for yourself again.
MOVE ON TO YOUR NEXT PROJECT OR GOAL.
You accomplished your dream so why not accomplish more? You have earned the right to celebrate your achievement but you haven't earned the right to retire to rest on your laurels for good and start living in your just achieved (and will someday be past) glory.
The accomplishment of one goal or dream isn't reason to stop pursuing another. We're all meant to make the best of our lives, to keep on achieving. It's why I'm writing this on a MacBook instead of paper. Society didn't settle for an object made from the pulp of wood. Society wanted something better, something more.
If you focus on your next mission and put more emphasis on action, you'll have less to no time mulling over disappointment.
CELEBRATE THE PEOPLE WHO APPRECIATE YOU AND YOUR DREAM INSTEAD.
Some of my family and friends didn't utter a kind word to recognise my achievement. That's sad. But other people who didn't know me personally congratulated me. There's nothing, let me emphasise it, there's NOTHING sad about that.
The great thing about people, who don't know you that much, recognising your work is that it's guaranteed to be genuine. They have no emotional investment on you. When they give you praise and compliments, you can bet they're doing that because they see the value in you and what you have done.
For every five or ten family member or friend who do not support you, there are millions of people out there who may. It's your job to keep doing great work that will resonate with them. It's your obligation to stay positive and keep having faith because who else will they celebrate if you let temporary disappointment get you down and stop you from moving?
I remember someone telling me before "I'll support you". Yet in the end I got crickets and tumbleweeds, promising words amounting to nothing. I believe we should start holding people accountable not just for what they do but for what they say as well. After all, integrity is the matching of both. We can't just value one while undermining the other. We need a society that does as it says and says as it does.
But that's a discussion for another day. Yes, I have disappointments. Yes, I cannot help but feel let down. But I guzzled a tall cup of black coffee this evening while pounding the keys of my computer. I pursue my dream for me. I'm working on my upcoming novel. I remember the people who gave their precious time in reading my work and telling me they appreciate it. I can never let them down.
You will also never let them down.
Some crickets may continue singing. Some tumbleweeds may continue rolling. But you will keep working, moving, and achieving your goals and dreams. You will never stop.
(3 Aspects of Your Life You Need to Stop Apologising For)
Are you an apologetic bitch?
Do you find yourself feeling worried when someone's about to force you to do something you don't want to? Do you find yourself scared of saying "no"? Do you find yourself guilty of explaining and justifying your actions to others? If you said yes to all these questions, then you are (gasp!) an apologetic bitch.
I knew exactly what it felt like to be that bitch. I was in my mid-20s. I knew how to be the life of a party, the one that would hug a toilet bowl to puke his guts out in the end. But I am an introvert. It was tiring to do that every night. I could be an energetic and a good social animal for a few days but my batteries would run out sooner and I would yearn for the zen life next. Some days I loved the company of my friends. Some days I wanted to smash empty liquor bottles on their faces (of course I'm exaggerating). I wanted time to be away from them like an independent bird that just realised he's dating a needy and desperate lover. Because I was an apologetic bitch, that caused me so much stress.
I made up stories on why I couldn't make it to the next party instead of just stating the truth. I worried about the looming decision I had to make for an entire day or more. I felt guilt for saying "no" and thought myself a bad person. I was the introvert who knew he was an introvert but couldn't feel secure in his introversion. Gasp! Yes, that sucked.
And here's the bomb. We can't live our lives as apologetic bitches.
We can't be happy or achieve our goals or fulfil our dreams if we keep apologising for things we shouldn't be apologising for. Even if we don't outright say "I'm sorry", we're still apologetic bitches if we feel bad for our decisions and guilty for our existence.
The completion of my self-published book Walden and Hyde (and Other Short Stories) taught me the importance of not being an apologetic bitch. In order to achieve that, I did a 180. I stopped doing things that didn't bring me closer to finishing the book and opted for the activities that would take me there. Scanning the final version of the e-book on my iPad, I thought, "This is what being an UNAPOLOGETIC bitch gets you."
From that point onwards, I made a vow to never be an apologetic bitch again. My novel I Killed My Friends and It Thrilled Me is waiting for me down the road but I will never get there if I keep being one.
What aspects of our lives do we need to stop apologising for?
1. HOW YOU USE YOUR TIME
Each of us has 24 hours per day, no more and no less. How you use those hours determines what you achieve in life. Who owns your hours? Is it you or other people? Do you plan on working on a personal project of yours on your afterwork hours but choose to hang out with your friends to gossip in the last minute instead?
People who make things happen don't let their precious time go to waste. Athletes train while everybody is sitting on the couch. Writers write while everyone goes on vacation. Entrepreneurs work late night hours while wantpreneurs post Instagram pictures.
If you want to achieve your goals and dreams, then spend your time on activities that will get you closer to your objective. Screw what others say about it. Avoid anybody who disrespects it. You don't need to apologise for how you use your time.
2. THE COMPANY OF PEOPLE YOU KEEP IN YOUR LIFE
You may be aware or not but the people you keep in your life have a direct influence in your mindset. You are the average of the five people you hang out with. Are you surrounded by people who always play it safe and are afraid to take risks and pursue their passion in life? Or are you surrounded by people who are keen to learning, growing, and achieving their full potential? What if you are the former but you want to grow beyond that circle?
Of course you can and you don't have to be afraid of doing so! There's absolutely nothing wrong with wanting and acting to improve one's state in life, and that includes the circle of people you belong in.
During those years I felt afraid of pursuing my writing dream, I was surrounded by apathetic people, who preferred going with the flow, squatting inside their comfort zones, and choosing fear in many aspects of life. A few years later, I met people from different parts of the world who are unlike them, people who take life by the horns, seek adventures, and choose action in spite of their fears.
Guess what I learned after that? I don't want to come back to my old circle. Moving on from negative people to positive people is a breath of fresh air. Positivity brings you energy. It helps you accomplish things which negativity does not. The realisation that we don't have to be stuck with the same shitty people throughout life is liberating.
The people you'll leave behind will get angry at you. The people who don't like your new company will get upset too. But you don't have to apologise for the company of people you want to keep.
3. YOUR CHOSEN PATH OF MASTERY
Some people have careers pre-chosen for them by their family or by society. It takes some kind of beautiful awakening for them to realise that they've been chasing the wrong pot of gold. It also takes some kind of heartbreaking gloom for them to keep pursuing the fraudful chase, if only they mustered the courage to give up the wrong for the right.
What is your chosen path of mastery? Do you want to start a business? Do you want to be a best-selling author? Do you want to form a band and sell out Wembley Stadium? Or do you want to sell vegetable-flavoured ice cream in Hawaii while donning a pair of bright, ice-cream-printed pants?
Whatever you choose, make sure you choose it for you. We don't need anymore people heeding other's suggestions on how they should live their lives. We need confident and courageous people lighting their path of mastery one bulb at a time, because you know, confidence and courage are contagious.
Do you want to wake up in your deathbed one day and be filled with regret that you didn't choose the kind of life you wanted? Of course not. Pick the direction you want to go to and never apologise for your chosen path of mastery.
It's time you take full ownership of your life and make no apologies about it. You owe nobody an explanation. Shine with confidence. Only insecure people hate on those who do not gift them with apologies and explanations for their life choices. Fellow confident people know what true confidence looks like and expects no explanation for it.
Are you still an apologetic bitch? No.
Are you an unapologetic bitch? From here on out, yes.