Hooray, I failed!

Being brought up in an Eastern European country means, for most people, a series of events and happenings of keeping up appearances. Your path in life has to be successful and it is, for the most part, already determined before you are even born. The decisions you make, have to be very similar to the ones everyone else makes, you need to stick to the rules and patterns of the natural flow of things, and you can’t possibly desire to have a lifestyle that is way out of the path set by social pressure.

FailedThe most important part is however, to no not let anyone know that you failed. Shame is kept behind locked doors and it is to never be mentioned to anyone ever again. No one wants to be the one who failed or have a child which failed. Failing is not socially accepted and once it becomes obvious that you failed, the stigma you carry is quite heavy and follows you around for the longest time.

Finding a new hobby, starting a new career path, studying for a new degree, learning a new skill or language, and you have to do it perfectly, in one go. You can’t be slow, bad at it or fail. Failing is not part of the normal life cycle of a human being. We all have to be perfect, fast and efficient.

Making your relatives happy with all your amazing accomplishments, keeping the neighbors in the constant illusion that your life is dreamy and without any flaws, assuring everyone around you that your kids are prodigies and overachievers and that you are leaving the dream of having a perfect house, partner and career can become quite exhausting. You sacrifice your own peace of mind and happiness in order to satisfy people who don’t even matter that much to begin with.

The possible career options in the European Eastern cultures are quite limited, mostly by social pressure which sees success in money and valuable assets. This is how it all comes down to 4 major categories: doctor, lawyer, engineer or disgrace to your family.  Most of us are in the 4th category though, and this is for most people unacceptable. You will never be happy with yourself, hear your family being proud of you, or someone congratulating you on becoming something less than an influential person. No one will applaud your decision of maybe not wanting to follow that path to what they believe is successful for you. They are happy about you earning less than you could and everybody knows better than you do what’s good for you and what makes you happy long term. Having just an ordinary job, following your hobbies and passions, or not fighting to achieve more than you might ever need in life, makes you a failure.

You will meet people that you might look up to for various reasons: it can be career path, education, lifestyle, popularity, wealth. They have the perfect (you might think) house, partner, kids, animals, they are living the dream, traveling, throwing parties, spending money, driving the cars that you could only dream of, while you are just you, … who failed. You are even more disappointed with yourself because you convince yourself that you might never reach the standards that society set for all of us. But … is success really measured by the number of assets we posses or the career choices that we make? How many of us do actually have such a life? And are they really even as successful and as perfect as you might think they are?

The more people you meet, the deeper the connections become, the more you get to realize that no one has such a perfect picture life. The perfect picket white fences are made to keep the illusions in the eyes of the people who are easily fooled by appearances and look up to the idea of being admired because of those achievements. No one has perfect relationships, kids, households. We all struggle but in a different way. And most of us keep the failure locked somewhere in a closet, next to all the other skeletons.


The inspiration for this post: a simple tshirt, a night at an impro show and a wonderful friendship

After leaving already for a few years in western Europe and making friends from all over the world, I came to realize a lot about how different the mentality is around the quite small European continent. The social standards from my homeland are closer to what’s socially accepted in most Eastern countries, than they are to the ones in the west.

In the west it is actually possible to meet people who are not afraid to say that they failed at something, that they went for a different career path that they originally intended to, that they are 40 and still don’t have it all figured out, that they have a regular job, that they don’t do anything out of the ordinary and yet, they are wonderful. People who are not afraid of screaming as loud as they can: ‘Hooray, I failed‘ and be proud of it. Who said failure is a negative thing? They didn’t fail, on the contrary, they succeeded. They didn’t achieve what other see as the standard to success and that’s perfectly fine.

Our lives might not be magazine cover approved but this doesn’t makes up any less beautiful. Who said that society has it all right? So what if they judge you? What makes them know better than you do what your soul needs? Who sets the definition to ultimate success and failure?

You failed? Congratulations! Most of us do. You didn’t fail at being a human being, you just failed at reaching the ridiculous standards set by society on what’s successful and what’s not. Don’t let illusions ruin your image of self worth. Only you know what actually makes you happy in life. Only you set your own standards for success. Go out there, make mistakes, struggle, smile, shine in your own way and celebrate your failure!

Dedicated to all of us who don’t have it all figured out

Learning a new language in 1 year – From nothing to fluent

I started learning Dutch a year ago and I never looked at being able to speak fluently, after only 12 months, as a big accomplishment, but after talking to more and more people about my experience with learning a new language, I came to realize it’s actually quite a big deal.

Every time I meet a new Dutch person and tell them: ‘I only started with Dutch about a year ago’ they are quite shocked and complement me on my language skills. Even better is when people can’t actually tell if I’m Dutch or not!

Their reactions inspired me to inspire other people who are struggling with learning a new language, by sharing all the things I did in the past year, which make me come this far. According to everyone, a year it’s quite a short time for someone to reach the level when they actually read books in Dutch, interact with other people and be able to keep up with conversations or explanations in Dutch.

How did I do it? By pushing myself with every step of the way. I went, every few days, for a year, from think I can do it, to crying, to feeling hopeless, to feeling down, to feeling like quitting, to starting to take joy in the little steps I took, until all paid off and I stated seeing more visible progress. And no, it doesn’t happen overnight, but you do get there eventually, if you keep at it.

In the beginning I started home, alone, with books from the internet or from the library. I learned a few basic words, not always with the right pronunciation but enough to get a beginner though the day. After not having much interaction with Dutch people, I thought about finding a way to practice a bit with locals, so at least I can know how Dutch is supposed to sound like. After doing a bit of research, I ended up at the library, for a language cafe, where other people like me, struggling with Dutch, gather, and helped by Dutch volunteers, practice the language once per week.

In the first 3 weeks I felt completely embarrassed with myself. I was good at reading in Dutch, because the books kept me company, but I couldn’t say any word at all. Being a perfectionist, I also didn’t wanted to sound like an idiot by saying bad things, so I decided to just go through it, by listening to others talk, and say as little as possible.

After figuring out which type of questions you usually get when meeting a new person, I went home and wrote a silly little list, which sounded a bit like: ‘Hello, my name is … and I come from … and I am here for … long, and I studied this …  and my job used to be this …  and I want to stay in the Netherlands and do this …‘. I rehearsed it I don’t know how many times, before I actually remembered all the words, and when I decided I was good enough, I started talking for the first time, after around the 3rd meeting.

After a few more meetings, I caught up on the fact that some of the words are used in other contexts as well, so I managed to learn more words, by always discussing about the same things, like my house, my dream job, my friends, my travels, my hobbies. Making quick progress, I started looking into other options as well, which included studying a bit of grammar at home, and learning more vocabulary by practicing the few phrases I could speak, with as many other students as possible.

Now when it comes to practicing outside the language cafe, it was pretty much an uphill battle. Learning Dutch, in an environment where everyone speaks perfect English it’s quite hard if not close to impossible in the beginning. When you try to practice the only few words you know, and it sounds horrible, people simply switch to English, and you take it, because it’s the easier way out of it, especially when you really need to get your message across, like in a store.

The worse for me is the phrase: ‘Sorry, wat?’. These words brought me down a few times, especially when I practiced in my head all the way to the store/restaurant/cafe and to me it sounded so good, and when I finally opened my mouth they replied with those magic words, which used to erase Dutch from my brain. Sure, it’s not ideal, and it’s annoying because you can’t just get your message across, even if in your head it sounds perfect, but I learned in time to repeat once again, in Dutch, even if they reply in English, and if that also doesn’t do the trick, simply ask them to speak Dutch or say I don’t speak English, which forces them to speak Dutch to you 🙂 Not nice but effective for the sake of practicing.

Besides practicing with people, I took a challenge to read a few children’s books. Now this was no easy tasks, because what I was doing was called anything else but reading. It was more like translating every second word and writing it down, in the hope that it will actually stick. They rarely did, but it did expose me to a large range of vocabulary, which I couldn’t get access to in other way.


Reading children’s books, spending time around Dutch people by doing volunteer work in the area, just to listen to them speaking, watching cartoons in Dutch and going to the language cafe, did the trick, but not at a level at which I could say: ‘I will achieve this eventually’.

Even if I still had all the doubts in the world, I went to the language practice once a week or twice per week, for a few months and I eventually grew out of it, because I was making quicker progress than others. This is how I ended up being referred to a teacher in the area. I didn’t actually go to classes at first, but I did go for walks and talks, for playing games in Dutch with other students, for cooking while following a recipe in Dutch, for learning a new sport while listening to instructions in Dutch, for watching movies in Dutch, for doing shopping at a store, and simply getting myself exposed to the language, in a funny, happy, cheerful way, which made words stick to me, without them actually being shoved in my brain by force.

After a few months, I gave it a go, with reading my first book for young adults, in Dutch. And … success! I managed to read a book of over 100 pages, not understanding everything, but enough for me to follow the story.

After a while, I got help from my lovely teacher (which became also one of my closest friends) also with grammar and correcting my ‘learned from books’ pronunciation, which was totally off, regarding some sounds, which I still find difficult in Dutch up to today.

I went for my first class at a school, just to fix some grammar problems, when I was already at level B1. I was completely shocked that I managed to achieve it, without actually going to school, like most people do.

My first big accomplishment was to actually go to fix my glasses, which I dropped while reading a book in Dutch, of course. I was shocked to be able to talk to an optician only in Dutch, for the first time ever. I left home saying that I can do it, and I did do it! And it did work, and I did got my own glasses back, with the proper repairs being done. Silly accomplishment, but enough to get me through the down moments.

Not that long ago, I got to an amazing level, in which I managed to make one of my dreams come true. It was SO hard for me to start alone and fight with my quitting instinct, so I wanted, once my Dutch gets better, to help others as well, which go though the same battles I did. Because I know how hard it is, I wanted to give something back, to thank the amazing persons who helped me so much in the beginning. So I started assisting other students from lower levels than myself, and I was amazed to be ale to help them with their vocabulary issues and to guide them through a simple conversation.

Besides helping them, I saw a lot of unhealthy attitudes towards learning a new language. Some of them include: ‘I don’t want to go there because It’s frustrating to listen to something I don’t understand’, ‘It’s annoying to spend time with his/her family because they try to teach me stuff in Dutch and it’s overwhelming’, ‘ I don’t understand anything anyway, so why would I try to read or listen to this?’ and so on.

All I can say it’s: exposure DOES work. You can’t see it at first, but simply listening to stuff or reading stuff in the language you want to learn, even if you don’t understand them, does some good. Your brain hears, even if you don’t. Your brain understand, even if you don’t. Look at it as at a toddler learning to speak for the first time. They don’t get what you say at all. They just listen and listen and one day they start associating small words like ‘mom’ and ‘dad’ to persons, until whole phrases make sense and speaking becomes possible.

Of course, learning a language later in life, is different, but we need about the same amount of time to get our brains and ears used to the new sounds and accents. It comes in time, but not without effort.

If you were hoping to read about a shortcut of some sort, or to hear that it was so easy, I’m very sorry to disappoint. It’s was very very hard and it still is. You have to constantly, on a daily basis, practice, expose yourself to the language, and try to stick to speaking the language. If you can practice in a way which makes it fun, always choose fun over boring school. Fun makes your brain learn while you focus on the pleasant aspects. Like that, you learn without realizing it.

A year later, I have a few friends I only speak in Dutch to, I talk to neighbors in Dutch, I meet people on the street and I can understand small talk! For me simply these, are a huge accomplishment. Do I write all perfectly and make no mistakes? Of course I don’t. I will stick to making mistakes most likely for the longest time, but lately I started working on level C1, and I am improving my grammar one baby step at a time. It will take a few more years to get it where I want to, but it’s getting there and I’m proud of it!

I hope my story inspired you to push forward every time you want to quit. It all comes from your own mindset. You have to turn the ‘I can’t do this’, into ‘I CAN do this but it will take me a while’. Once you understand that it will take a while, you stop being so hard on yourself, and you give yourself the time you need in order to get there.


Letter To Your Soul Mate

“A true soul mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then leave. A soul mates purpose is to shake you up, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light can get in, make you so desperate and out of control that you have to transform your life, then introduce you to your spiritual master…” ―Elizabeth Gilbert

When we say soul mate, most people instantly think about a life partner, when in fact, it can be anyone. Your soul mate might be your best friend, a relative, a person just passing through your life, or even a non-human being. When you meet that special one, you just know it. You feel it with all your spirit, and your heart finds new reasons to beat for.

Your soul mate will show you who you really are and what you are made out of. Like in front of a mirror, you’ll be facing your strengths, weaknesses, and you’ll get stripped of all the layers and walls you built around you. The touch of your soul mate will bring your true self to surface.

Like the moon, you can’t help but gravitate around. Losing all your physical aspects, your souls connect at a new level, where you learn more about yourself than you ever though it’s possible.

Your soul mate will challenge you. It won’t be easy. You will fight it, your ego will get hurt, you’ll be unhappy with the image in front of you, you’ll make things more difficult than needed. You get challenged, and you challenge back. You reassure, encourage and inspire each other.

Even with all the right sparks, sometimes you just can’t work out your differences.  No matter how much this hurts, the truth is that our soul mate doesn’t always stay…

Love doesn’t fix everything. Love isn’t all that matter, no matter how much we try to convince ourselves about this. Love is important, but circumstances and timing are crucial. Sometimes, the right moment isn’t right, and no matter what you do, you just can’t fix it. No amount of love can fix a late or early arrival in your life. No amount of love can fix past mistakes and a complicated situation. Sometimes, you are just not ready for this once in a lifetime moment. And once it’s gone … there’s nothing you can do to put it back together.

Even so, you don’t just love only the good parts of this person, but you love all of them. All the perfect imperfections. They all make sense to be right there.

The thing with soul mates is that our hearts make it more complicated. They touch our heart in such a way, you just can’t get them out of there no matter how much you try. When they’re gone, you just can’t get closure. Closure doesn’t come when someone comes into your life, brings the light which you needed in order to get rid of darkness, changes your entire life, and then continues on a separate path. When your heart is being touched in such a way, there’s no getting that special feeling out of there.

You think you can’t breath or live without them. You suffer and die inside, but all the pain makes you see eventually, that your soul mate opened your eyes to a new life. A better life, and a better you. Maybe you are not meant to stop loving them, but maybe you are meant to love yourself more.

Even if your image of how it should have been was totally different, life has sometimes other plans in store. Sometimes, not getting a fairy tale ending is a better teacher than a positive outcome. A part of you will always love your soul mate, and that’s ok. Don’t regret a single second of it!

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The Power Games

Love is the most beautiful feeling a person is able to experience. It takes us on the highest metaphorical mountain and makes us feel like we can take over the world. It puts a smile on our face, and it makes us happy for no reason at all. Love makes us feel complete, and like we finally belong somewhere and next to someone.

Not that long ago I wrote an article about the right type of love, and how’s it’s supposed to feel when the person you love is the right one for you. (Read the full post here) However, the more people I meet and the more couples I observe, the more I realize that in life is good to also know how is NOT supposed to feel, and when the right person, just isn’t that right for you.

Relationships are hard. I’d like to say I’ve found that secret recipe for choosing the right one or making it work perfectly, so I can share it with you, but the truth is that there is not such a thing. Every individual is different, and  every one of us interacts totally different with others. What works for one, might not work for the other. We all have to just try and see what works for ourselves. However, the signs which you tell us something is terribly wrong, are pretty much the same ones, regardless of the type of person you are or are dating.

What I’m talking about are what I call: the power games, in which one person decides to control every aspect of their partner’s life. Controlling life partners are never easy to deal with, but it can start with making you believe that’s the dream person for you, while in time, everything changes, and the perfect person turns into the perfect nightmare. I’ve seen relationships start like this and end terrible, and I just feel sorry to know anyone goes through such a thing. When things change, is good to step back, look at the facts, and reconsider if that person is the one to spend the rest of your life with.

The signs – evolution of a relationship with a controlling person

Controlling partners can give you a very a good feeling at start and make you believe they can be that someone who loves you, more than anyone before them ever did. It sounds like a dream, but most dreams which sound too good to be true, are most of the times, too good to be true.

It starts with instant jealousy and possessiveness. They are afraid if you keep in touch with your previous partners, you might decide to leave them or cheat on them, so they will get into your previous private life, and look for any reasons to amplify the jealousy. As the past can’t be deleted, you might be ask to delete any remainder of it from the present. Usually, this is the first step into pulling you away from your friends and family, as the possessiveness won’t stop at previous dates. Soon enough, seeing or chatting with your friends or family, will also become a problem, and you will be convinced slowly into giving up on that lifestyle, only to spend more time together, so you make your partner happy.

As soon as your loved ones are out of the way, you will feel the need to have someone to talk to, to be interested in your life, your dreams and aspirations, but soon enough you’ll find out that your partner isn’t that person. Controlling people want you to take interest in everything related to them, and in return, they will just not be there for you, as their lifestyle keeps them too busy. They will become angry when asked to do something for you, or get annoyed with every question you might ask. Asking questions or asking for help is just not an option with a controlling person, however, they will always expect to be helped, nurtured and cared for, even if their behavior might make you want to do the opposite.

In a relationship, is impossible to not come across moments in which you fight, or disagree on things, things break or don’t work as plan, or simply don’t work at all. In this case, your partner will decide that the one to blame is always you. No matter how obvious it is that you are not the one to break stuff or start a fight, you can’t just get a simple: ‘You are right’. And even more, after such a terrible argument, don’t expect an apology, because well … it will simply not come. You have to learn how to forgive without ever being asked for forgiveness, and because you value your relationship more than your ego, you will most of the time, do it.

I never knew how strong I was until I had to forgive someone who wasn’t sorry and accept the apology I never received

Next on the list is taking the information you give, and bring you down. You will be made to believe that you are not good enough to fulfill your dreams, to get where you want in life, or even to have a job, for various reasons. All because your partner ‘cares’ so much about you, and is ‘concerned’ about you, he/she will want the best for you, which won’t always be the path that you would choose for yourself in life. And that’s how you end up on a road you never wanted, but which seems like the only option for you, even if that option soon becomes being without a job.

For a controlling person, such a financial twist is the best way to keep you close by, as you’ll become fully dependent, and there’s no way in which you can run away anymore, not even if you want to. As soon as you realize in what a situation you are, you might want to run away, but as all your friends and family were pushed away long ago, you might realize you are all alone, and have no one to turn to. And so you end up staying in your ‘safe’ heaven, reliving every mistake from your past, everyday, affecting indirectly your health and emotional state.

The rules of the game become the following: there’s a set of rules, things that your partner doesn’t want you to do or say. And these things are very important for the peace level and comfort of your home. And you agree to them, even if this means changing your behavior, only to have peace. However, soon is easy to see that even the anger or bad temper that is directed towards you, is not allowed to come from you. The rules apply only to you, and you get boxed in, with walls of emotions and soon fear, for both your safety and inner calm.

Only to make it even worse, soon the rules turn into doing everything as and when your partner says so. You are never right about things, and you never do anything right as it is, so following the guidance is the only way in which you can make the significant other happy. And as soon as you do some things their way, they’re even more unhappy with other things… and is still not good, and you still have to do more. No meeting you halfway. If you wait halfway, nobody will be there to greet you…

The absolute worse part of such a relationship is physical abuse, which most of the time, doesn’t delay showing up, turning your best dream into a living nightmare.


If you made it this far, you probably really love or used to love that person very much. It all started with pleasing the life partner who loves you so much, and ended up with you wondering if this is actually love or not.

As soon as you start wondering, consider a few things.

  • Have you eve had to apologize for the person you love, in front of others? Or maybe make excuses for their behavior?

Most of the time, a controlling person won’t enjoy the company of your friends or family, and their behavior will make you feel embarrassed and upset, and you’ll try to hide all the problems in any possible way. Being tired, sick, upset with work, worried with our finances, might be only a few of the excuses you used through the time, keeping a brave face on, hoping no one will figure out the real root of the problem.

  • Did your friends ever pointed out things you don’t want to see?

At first, we might suffer from self inflicted blindness. We simply don’t want to see or believe certain things. We are still afraid to open our eyes and see the reality. We make excuses for our partner, and we want to believe in those excuses. We’re afraid to lose our perfect relationship, when actually, there’s nothing perfect to save.

Friends and family can provide very good feedback, when it comes to seeing things from the outside. If they are afraid that you might not be as happy as you claim you are, maybe you should wonder how happy are you?

  • Are you still on the right path in life for yourself?

How many things did you gave up on for the person you love? How many people got cut off? How many friends did you lose and how many family members still talk to you?

Are you still following your dreams and aspirations? Do you still have that career you love, or working to obtain that dream job?

Most of the times, controlling partners will crush your dreams, in an effort to make you stay with them. They will also push away every person you used to love, and cut all your connections with the real world.

In case you are in such a situation, ask yourself what is it that you really want now? If the answer is not the life you currently have, then is time for some changes.

  • Have you ever felt trapped?

Believe it or not, there are cases in which partners are asked to give up their career for love’s sake. Also, there are people who do it, with the feeling that’s the best option for everyone. Spending more time with your life partner and maybe kids sounds like the dream, but is it always that way?

If you are financially dependent, maybe even if you considered leaving the situation you are currently in, you might find it impossible. If you don’t have the financial power or health state to visit your friends, family, you might get the feeling like you’re trapped in a place you don’t want to be in first place. If this happens, is good to think about what brought you there in first place, and figure out what are your options. Never be afraid to ask for help!

  • Is the relationship bringing out the best in you?

Even if at first it did, now is just not the same anymore, and you feel like you’re turning into a monster, every now and then, without ever wanting to be that person, in first place.

When frustration takes over, you have to ask yourself if being under someone’s domination is what’s best for you. Even those who want someone to be in charge of things for them, need those moments in which they can take attitude and decide for themselves. If you need this, but you don’t have the chance to do it, maybe reconsidering the relationship is a good idea.

Control, manipulation, emotional abuse are never good assets to have in a relationship. Actually, they shouldn’t be there at all. The love between two people shouldn’t make one of the partners feel suffocated, unhappy or mistreated. If that’s the case, then what you have is not called love, but possession.

Love is not about holding on to someone with your teeth, but about setting them free and watch them come back to you over and over again. The right person will never want to change you, or keep you isolated from the persons which mean so much to you. Your happiness will always be their happiness.

Love is not about having it your way, but is about finding the middle ground, a solution which works for both partners, equally the same. Having things your way, proves you don’t value your partner enough, to put the time into finding that happy medium.

Love is kind and love brings out the best in us, not the worse. If our partner doesn’t bring out the best in us, then we are in the wrong type of relationship.

Even from the start, we should always follow our instincts and pay attention to the subtle signs which tell us something wrong is going on. You have to always keep in mind that your happiness, sanity and health are more important than anything else in this world. A stressful life will only end up destroying your health, passions, dreams and your true self.

Even if you think that your partner is a good person, if you are not 100% happy, consider that he might be a good person, but not the right person for you.

Always stay on your path in life, and follow your dreams. Don’t ever let anyone crush the vision you have of your future. The right person is waiting for you somewhere down that road, and a life full of mistreatment and misery, will never get you there. Holding on to the wrong person, will never give you the chance to meet the right one. So, as hard as it might be, pick yourself up, and do what’s right for you! Breath in, turn the page and start a new beautiful chapter!

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Ups and Downs – Inner Demons And Home

Life is like the weather. Sometimes is sunny and gives you a warm feeling inside, while some other times it’s cold and stormy. One thing is for sure though, neither state is permanent. No matter how stormy is outside, the true sunshine comes from inside us. The best way to deal with a storm, is not to wait for it to pass, but to learn how to dance in the rain, and keep the light shining inside you.

demotivation-us_if-there-are-no-ups-and-downs-in-your-life-it-means-you-are-dead_14117184278After every storm there’s always sunshine and a rainbow. Nobody is always happy or always miserable. Life’s roller coaster is taking us from one island to the other, from the top of the mountain to the bottom of the sea and back. We just have to breath in and enjoy the ride, no matter how scary it might look. Every ‘down’ is a step forward and every ‘up’ is guided by our own reaction to the problem.  Seeing every low moment as a lesson learned and progress from where you used to be a while ago, will definitely improve the way in which you see the’ups’ in your life. It always gets better, as long as you don’t lose hope.

Home is not a place, but a feeling. Home is located deep inside us, and is created by ourselves, and like a fire, kept alive with a lot of dedication and care. Read more on my article about The Feeling Of Home.

During such ups and downs, we sometimes lose our feeling of home, and feel lost, like we don’t belong to any place anymore. We’re not sure what we’re missing, but the emptiness and sadness needs to be replaced with a warm cozy feeling. What we really need during the storm, is to feel at home, and we desperately search for ways in which to bring that feeling back into our lives.

Even if building walls around us during such moments seems like the natural way to deal with being hurt, what we really need is not to push everyone and everything away, but to find ourselves, and the missing puzzle part which is keeping us away from home.

the_problem_is_not_the_problemThat feeling can be brought back in so many ways, but most of the time we’re the ones keeping it from happening. Our mental state during a low point in our life is very important and determines the amount of time in which we wait to go home. Sometimes, our own feelings and reaction to the current problems push home further away from ourselves.

Even in darkness, there’s always something positive. We just have to put the effort into finding it, and don’t get overwhelmed by the lack of light. Darkness also has its own beauty, and most of the times, darkness and loneliness are the moments in which we get to know who we really are.

Loneliness is scary. Loneliness is like a mirror for our true self. Loneliness strips us down of any clothes, meat and bones, and all we’re left with is who we truly are. You can hide from others, but you can’t run away from yourself. All your thoughts and feelings are boxed in the same room with us, and we have nowhere to hide from our inner demons. Once we face the demons and we realize both ourselves and them are on the same side, we make peace with ourselves, and allow ourselves to go back home.

Such moments, teach us a lot about who we really are. Such moments bring out either the best in us or the worse. Is up to us to control which way we want to go.

What we really need to do is to stop pitying ourselves and channel our attention on something positive. Most of the time helping others the best cure for our own problems. Getting in touch with people or animals who are in situations much worse than we are or caring for the environment, is a good wake up call and a nice reflection on where our lives are heading.

Home always comes from the most unexpected places and experiences. When you feel like you need to hind behind a wall, push down the wall, set yourself free, spend time doing what you love, be active and keep your body and mind healthy. Remember who you truly are, and let that inner person take over. Spend time volunteering, focusing on your hobbies and passions, and on getting to know yourself better.

Every tomorrow is a new beginning and it’s your choice only if tomorrow will be better than today or worse. Look inside you, and you’ll find the power to guide your life towards that perfect feeling of home. It’s inside you, so keep it in your mind as the ultimate destination in life.

Be thankful for every ‘down’, feeling of loneliness and dark time in your life. In the end, those are the moments in which you learn more about yourself than you ever do when you’re happy.

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Who am I?

You are confronted with this question no matter where you go, who you meet or which website you visit. You are asked to describe yourself, say who you are in order for people to get to know you better.

For most of us, this is the most difficult question anyone can ever ask. The answer is never easy so we need time to think, and the answer we come up with, is almost always a reply to the question: ‘What we do’, not ‘Who we are’. The more you look at the answers of others to this question, the more variety you see, and the more you realize the problems we have, trying to find an answer to what seems as a very easy question.

youre-a-ghost-driving-a-meat-coated-skeleton-made-from-stardustWe identify ourselves with our religion, educational history, marital status, career, passions, birthplace, nationality, relation with our family members, looks and many others similar to this. You will hear answers similar to: ‘I am a Christian’ or ‘I am a writer’ or ‘I am a mother of … many children’. But are these a reflection of who we really are as individuals or a reflection of what do we do in life and how we interact with others?

Who really are you, at the deepest of your existence, without relating to anything and anyone else? Who are you, as identity, without association? Is our brain even capable of coming up with an answer, which doesn’t use other elements to describe ourselves or without replying instead, with ‘what do we do’?

Whenever we talk about an object, animal, person or nature, we use other elements common to us, to relate to, and describe it. We need to compare it with someone/something else, in order to find a spot for it, in the natural order. If something isn’t easy to add to a specific category, it’s a misfit, and we’re not sure how to deal with it. Describing it becomes much harder, and accepting its existence even harder.

When we describe something or someone, in order to make it stick better in our memory, we’ll think: ‘ it looks similar to… it’s bigger or smaller / taller or shorter thank I am, the hair is darker or lighter’.  Most of the times, remembering only the color or shape isn’t enough. When we try to remember the location of something, we first have to remember the location of something close by, in order to give a precise reply about the  location of the object we’re interested in. Our brains can’t help it but to make connections with other familiar elements.

“The human body is 90% water. We are basically cucumbers with anxiety.” 

cucumbers with aniety

We apply the same principles when it comes to telling someone about ourselves. When we think about who we are, we can’t help it but think about our passions, job, likes and dislikes, environment. Because we can’t really describe something so complex without turning to familiarity, we have troubles not telling someone what do we do, when we’re actually trying to tell them who we really are.

It seems like our minds are limited when it comes to giving such a complex answer, especially when we put a daily effort into guiding who we are, towards an idealistic self, which we want to reach. We try to change who we are through clothes, possessions, media, without realizing we can’t really change the core of our being.

In this huge Universe, the right chemical components came together during just the right chemical reaction, forming life, which eventually evolved into you. Our true identity is much more than our minds can conceive.

Our first contact with ourselves, happens when we’re born, and we learn how to work with our bodies. For the first time, we identify ourselves with a body. Even from a very young age, when we know nothing about DNA, we know that every person is unique, and we start to recognize our family members by the way they look or sound.

Even if, from a molecular point of view, we’re all built in the same way, those few small differences makes every single one of us unique. From a molecular point of view, we’re all a small individual Universe!

More exposure, experiences and more contact takes us from ‘I am a body’ to  ‘I am a multitude of bodies’, into one. We become more individuals under the same self, all from a different stage of our lives, each and every single ones of them, with their own passions and needs. We are a variety of ideas and elements, united under the same person. And still, all we can think of when we’re being asked ‘who we are’ is … what we do.

So, who are you, if you remove religion, race, nationality, marital status,  passions, career and any similar elements from your thoughts?

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First Year Anniversary!

Time flies by, that’s for sure! It feels like only yesterday I wrote the first few words on AllRightChoices.com, and today I realized it’s been a full year!

It all started a year ago, on September 3rd, when I quit my job, and I wanted to find an original way to say goodbye to my team and also inspire others to make the right choices about the best career path possible.

This is how AllRightChoices came to life, and it slowly became an inspirational life story, with the ultimate goal of motivating everyone around me, and putting a smile on their faces. Gradually, more and more people told me I inspired them to make the right changes in their lives, and all their beautiful stories made me keep going.

Now, a year and 145 blog posts later, with more than 800 followers from 3 different social networks, I would say AllRightChoices.com is doing a pretty good job.

I would like to thank all of you for your support, friendship and kind words! It’s been a pleasure to have you on board on this amazing trip and I look forward to a new year full of adventures!

First Beautiful Year Of Blogging In Pictures

The Curse of Everything

Human mind is a beautiful place. Complex, busy, influenced by the environment and experiences.

We constantly evolve, ever since the moment we’re born. With every new sound, color, word, picture in our mind, something changes inside us. We begin learning to like and dislike things around us, at a very young age. The more exposure, the more we alter our path in life, our likes and dislikes, and dreams and aspirations. Most of the time, we don’t know what we want, but our experiences taught us what we don’t want.

As children, ever since we can remember, we’re asked by many people the same question: ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?‘. That question sets our minds free. The answer has no limitations, the only limitation is human mind. So we think about it, and we come up with ambitious dreams. We want to be astronauts, firefighters, superheros, princesses, scientists, doctors, police officers, and many others. Our innocent souls, dictate our path in life, and ration doesn’t have much to say in it. Influenced by animations, love, and goodwill, we seek to be happy, regardless of the form it takes.

“Passion is the difference between having a job or having a career.”

With age, we’re slowly guided towards the slot in society we should occupy. Exposure makes us forget or ignore what our previous goal was: to be happy. Once school becomes a major part of our lives, things complicate, we become more job focused, getting lost in the illusion that what builds a career aren’t actually dreams and passion, but solid knowledge.

The more people we meet, the meanness of the persons around us, the cruel society, the situations we’re confronted with, alter the way we see the world around us, our dreams and desires. And our worldview changes. Our ambitious dreams are replaced by heavy thinking and struggling to occupy that position dictated by society. We go back and forward between choosing the right career path. And most of us find it. Influenced by the school subjects, material gain, people around us, we feel like we finally fit in that slot, and we work towards making our dream come true.

Hard work pays off and we become good at something. Our entire lives are shaped around us becoming something when we grow up. And for most of us, it works.

It’s really easy to choose to ‘become something’, if you know you’re good at one thing, and you feel like you can only do that, at a level which makes you happy and turns you into a skilled professional. It’s easy when you know you will get a job.

But what if you still don’t know the answer to ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?‘. What if you are passionate by many things? What if you just can’t choose? What if you’re that ‘annoying’ type of person which can do pretty much anything the mind is set to do, and can’t settle for a job? What if you change your mind every few months, and your heart defines ‘career’ in a totally different way? What if you just have no plan to ‘become something’ once you’re done with your education, in comparison with all your other colleagues?

Being multi-talented, training your mind easily to switch from one field to the other, might seem like a blessing. However, you realize soon enough that you are not like others around you, you don’t know how to do just one thing, but you can be anything you set your mind to. Even if we are trained to believe we need to find that ‘job’, and fill in that empty slot in society, for a person like you, it’s almost impossible.

Doing almost anything, can become a curse. It’s never easy to mix different skills from art, writing, technology, love for animals and environment, people, to a personal life, into ONE career path. You can’t be everything but you can’t be without everything. And then you face the curse of everything, with makes it almost impossible to choose.

So, what do you do? How do you find out the right path for you? Is there such a thing? Can you focus on one thing only? Can we be happy with being less than we want to be?

In the crazy race for a career, money and a future, we must not leave our heart behind. Once we try to remove a part of us, from our future, we soon realize we lose our happiness. For people with so many passions and interests, the only way to live a happy life is to not leave any passion un-nurtured. Our artistic side is always waiting to come to surface, our compassionate side is present in all our actions, and all our skills combine and become a lifestyle. We can’t just NOT do what makes us happy, unless we amputate a part of our soul.

“Doing what you like is freedom.

Liking what you do is happiness.”

When it comes to a career path, we tend to choose from our passions and skills, the ones which have the potential to bring the most income. However, long term, income is not enough. Think about removing all monetary benefits, setting all career options right in front of you, and picture what would you do, if you could choose from anything, and all would pay the same. Would it still be the career you had in mind before? Making a career from your passion, feels like you never go to work, not even for one day. Wouldn’t that be beautiful, to be so free? That’s true happiness!

When life gets busy and complicated, we immediately remove the time allocated for what really feeds our soul. However, the crazier life becomes and the less time we have, the more time we should invest in our true passions. We should never forget that nurturing our heart is as important as feeding our body. Losing ourselves in the process of building a future, takes us to an empty space, where sunshine can’t reach. Can fortunes feed an empty soul?

“In Order to Succeed, Your Desire for Success Should Be Greater than Your Fear of Failure.”

– Bill Cosby

Passions … there is no right and wrong. The right choice is the one which makes us happy, and we shouldn’t settle for anything less. Our hearts and minds need peace, and once we take the time to listen, we’ll choose our true path in life. We’ll just know it, as we’ll give 110% in anything we do, and it won’t ever feel like a job, but it will feel like freedom. It will feel like happiness.

Remember we’re not meant to fit in that slot society created for us. Taking the time to find out what really makes us happy, nurturing our passions even in the busiest times, our desire to succeed, and a positive attitude, will put us on the right track to a career and fulfillment, and keep us away from getting stuck with an unsatisfying and time consuming job.

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Tick – Tock

As humans, it’s found deep inside us: the need of possession. We need stuff, a lot of them, to make us happy, and we want the stuff to be ours, now, if possible.

We first want toys, later better clothes, gadgets, a car, a house, money to gives us freedom to do what makes us happy, travel. We believe material goods will gives us the freedom, and we are willing to do whatever it takes to get just the right amount of money.

But when do we reach the right amount? The more we have, the more we spend, the more money we need. It’s a vicious circle, in which we get stuck at a very early age, and which doesn’t leave us that easily. We invest every little time we have, and energy, to get the money to push us forward in this circle.

“People were created to be loved, things were created to be used; the reason why the world is in chaos right now is because things are being loved, and people are being used.”

We constantly dream about what would life look like if we had just one more thing. We put our happiness into that material good which is still missing. We work to have it, and when we finally do, we move on to the next one. Basically, we’re never done. We’re never happy with what we have, but we’re always thinking about what we’re missing.

Ever since we get our first job, our view of possessions changes. We dream bigger, and we constantly want more possessions, more expensive, to show off with, and to prove to the world that we’re doing great, and we have a perfect life.

We get into a competition with everyone around us, for the title of: “perfect life“. That perfect life is judged by the type of phone you have, the clothing store you shop at, the size of your car and the brand, the type of house you own, and how many, the type of furniture you have, and so on. We become a walking price tag, in a crazy society, and we must be better than the others.

Possessions give us a certain status. By a crazy thinking process, we become better humans. We’re better than the others, because we have more money, which can buy us more stuff. We feel superior, because we have access to things others don’t. And we love our things. We love our things so much that we end up judging people on what they own, and choose our friends depending on the financial aspect of their lives.

Life turns slowly into a race to the finish line. We race into making more money, buying more stuff, and we end up with a full house, and an empty home. We fight to “be better than others”, not realizing that the only person we should be better than, is the person we were yesterday.

Money doesn’t makes us better than others. Money can buy us more things, but it will never buy us the most important ones. No amount of money will change a darkened soul and a bad attitude towards others. And still, we believe money does that. We believe money makes us stronger and immortal. Well, that’s just not true.

We waste our lives making more money so we have have more stuff, just to realize time flied by us, we’re old, we missed on actually living, just to win the race against others. But did we win anything? We gained materially, while we lost spiritually. We lost our more important possession ever: TIME. Tick-Tock!

“The trouble is, you think you have time.” – Buddha

What does having a job actually means? We get paid, for our work right? Wrong. We get paid for the time we give away. We receive money, for the number of hours per month, we lose. They’re gone, and you can never get them back, no matter how many possessions you gather on the way.

The older we get, the more we realize the value of time, and the more we regret on wasting it on the wrong things. Life is too short to be stuck in any situation which doesn’t make you happy. We believe money gives us freedom, when actually, it just takes it away. We want to work now, save some money, so we can enjoy life later. What if later doesn’t come?

I recently found out about a tragic story of a person who worked his entire life, and retired 2 weeks ago, with the wild dream of finally cycling, travelling and enjoying life, as he didn’t had the time to do so, while he had a job. Later didn’t happen. Later was taken away from him, when a heart attack put an end to all the dreams…

Trading time for money, might leave you with no more time to spend the money. We weren’t born just to work, earn money, and die.

Even if it might look like time is free, time is actually priceless. There’s probably one of the only things in life, we just can’t get back, regardless of how much money we have and what we own. Time is constant. Time doesn’t go slower for anyone. Time is unmerciful. Time doesn’t care. You either value it, or you will learn its value when it’s too late.

“If you don’t master your time, it is of much higher probability that you will become an unconscious slave to people who have mastered theirs.” – Brandon A.

Time is the best teacher, but we’re very bad students, and sometimes learn the lesson when we run out of time. We waste time on living in the past or worrying about tomorrow, while forgetting to live today. Today is all we have. Yesterday is gone, and tomorrow is never promised.

Life is all about finding that perfect balance. Life is about learning that we pay with our time for everything. Money is just a human invention, time is the real currency, and you can never alter the account in your favor.

Remember, you were born for great things. Don’t let your time be taken away from you. You’re never really busy, it’s all a matter of choice. Choose wisely when you give your time away! Tick-Tock!

“One day you will hear the sound of time rustling as it slips through your fingers like sand.” ― Sergei Lukyanenko

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The Feeling of Home

We’re born in one location, we grow up, we start our journey in life, but we have no idea about where we’ll end up. Life is not meant to be lived in one place, so we search the world for happiness, and we look for that special place, to make us feel at peace.

Regardless of how our lives change from one year, to the other, one thing will always stay the same: we need a home. Our story starts home, and it ends home.

When we think of home, what first comes in our minds is the place of residence someone has. We associate home with a building, where we grew up, or currently live in. We associate it with a city, an area, a country.

However, home is not a place. Houses are built with bricks and wood, homes are built with love and peace. Hands can build a house, but only hearts can build a home. Home can’t be materialized. Home is a feeling. Home is always that place we go back to, when our heart and mind look for peace.

Our needs, change in time, and so is our view of the world, and our definition of peace. The more we travel, the more we see, the more we understand about ourselves and the world around us. Seeing more, learning more, means the way we look at things changes.

Life takes you to unexpected places. Love brings you home.

We travel, we search for happiness, we move where our heart takes us, and after a while, we go back to the place we used to call home. We think that’s where our home is, but it just doesn’t feel quite right. It doesn’t make us feel comfortable anymore, we can’t find our spot, and we definitely don’t find inner peace.

 It’s a funny thing about comin’ home. Looks the same, smells the same, feels the same. You’ll realize what’s changed is you. ~  Benjamin Button

The place doesn’t change, or not at much, but still, even if it looks the same, it doesn’t feel like home anymore. Places don’t change, we do. Our experiences make us richer, changes our worldview and redefines the way we look at our surroundings. We slowly find out that home is made out of the people we love. Our friends, family, spouse.


Home begins when we find ourselves, is located deep into our hearts, and as long as we’re at peace, home is anywhere we want it to be.

We should never tie home to a place or fill our home with furniture or other material possessions. We should fill our home with love, memories, people. Our homes are always carried insides us, and when we achieve true happiness, it gives us the wings to fly.

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