love

Jude: Love Knows No Bounds – Pride Month

Jude: Love Knows No Bounds – Pride Month

With June being pride month I wanted to talk a little about love and how it really doesn’t matter what your sex is. By now in our lives we’ve all said the word, most of us have experienced the different types. Hell, we’ve even asked why. We’ve been hurt because of it, and we’ve been the happiest in our lives because of it. The word affects us all so much in so many different ways.

-LOVE-

Sure, you can be one of those people who use science to determine the reason behind the feelings of love. However, for so many of us it is so much more than just science. We love with our minds, sure, but with our hearts and souls as well. I  am one who believes that once we love someone we will always love them; it may fade with time, but it will never truly go away. To love someone is to give a part of yourself to that person. I believe that’s why it hurts us so much when we can’t be with them. We are losing a piece of ourselves and that’s always a painful experience. We take the time and mend and move on but you can only heal so much.  The “falling” stages of love is when we really begin to think about the specifics. What is that makes us fall in love with someone? Many of us tend to look for the same qualities in a person and those qualities often lead to love. There will always be one that means more than the others, but they all play a special role. See, the qualities vary from, “they are so kind,” “to they have this way with others,” to “I like how I feel when I’m with them.” Maybe you love them for being inspirational to you. Maybe, just maybe, you don’t actually have any one reason why you love them, and that is okay too. The phrase I love the most about love is “you can’t help who you love, you’re not supposed to.” Sure that may be more relying on fate, but even if you don’t believe in that you still can’t deny that frequently, when asked why you love someone, your reply is “I don’t know, or I just do.”

The overall truth  is that the reasons you love a certain person is for the type of person they are. It has nothing to do with if they have brown or blonde hair, brown or blue eyes, or even if they are male or female. Something that I have always believed is that true love exists when we love the person for their soul and mind, not for their physical appearance. If you are lucky enough to find someone in this crazy chaotic world of ours and you happen to fall in love, why should it matter or be considered “wrong” if they happen to be of the same sex? I believe the answer is that it shouldn’t.

Unfortunately, we live in a world that appears to always be looking for a reason to hate. People believe their ways to be absolutely right and they tend to be the ones who hate the most. And it’s all towards other individuals who are only trying to love and be loved. Who are they to decide who gets to experience such a gift as that? We have a divide in so many aspects of our lives and world, why are we adding more fuel to the fire?  It is usually not until it affects them personally that they will change their mind, or even become open to the idea. I was very lucky to be raised by an open hearted, and understanding mother. She taught me that all people are just that, people. All life is to be valued and no one person is better than the other. I have seen the struggle that some people go through to come out to their parents, friends, or other family members. It has always baffled and infuriated me. We live in a world that shows so much fear and prejudice toward people because of who they love. How is that okay?

If you are someone who is afraid of coming out, I say don’t be.

Embrace who you are, and maybe just start by telling one person. Or practice in front of a mirror, telling yourself who you are and, most importantly, that you’re PROUD to be that person. Don’t be afraid! I do caution to be tactful; the society we live in today is not always welcoming. People will always try to tell you that you are right or wrong. Sometimes I think we just get bored and are trying to think of new ways to entertain ourselves, and oftentimes that entertainment is has negative consequences.

Now, I know that some people just simply won’t agree and refuse to change their opinions, and that’s okay. I personally wish they would change, but it is not my place to try and force someone to change. My only suggestion to those people is if you happen to not appreciate the love that two people are sharing, then just ignore it. It’s not your life and it is not affecting you, so why let your anger get in the way? There are billions of people on this Earth and it is so easy to distract yourself and let people love who they want. We all want less hate in the world, so why are we trying to stop the love from spreading?

Posted by Jude in Hey Jude, 0 comments
Mission: the Intersection of What You Love and What the World Needs

Mission: the Intersection of What You Love and What the World Needs

The word mission can hold a variety of different meanings depending on its context. It can have personal, political, or business connotations, to name a few. Within the context of Ikigai, however, it means the intersection of what you love and what the world needs. Keep in mind that mission is only the second of the four elements that make up one’s Ikigai—one’s reason for being. And this element is what I will explore here.

Source: https://www.thestar.com/life/relationships/2016/09/06/why-north-americans-should-consider-dumping-age-old-retirement-pasricha.html

Source: Toronto Star

One part of the Ikigai meaning of mission is “love.” The things we love say a lot about us as individuals. Personally, I revel in process, good stories, and various types of improvement. If left to my own devices, I can be found working on finding a better way to do something, reading a good fantasy book, or playing a game with a good storyline. Obviously, there are other things I enjoy, but for the sake of this post we will keep it simple! The activities and experiences that we love give us energy and fulfill us. They help make life on this spinning rock more enjoyable and worthwhile, regardless of whether they better the rest of the world or not. In and of themselves, they are good.

Now, how does love factor into mission? Love provides fuel for the other half of mission: “what the world needs.” Before you feel tempted to get all up in arms about service and “but what has the world done for me lately?” let’s take a look at the meaning behind the idea. What the world needs can be just about anything: a product, a service, or even a simple kindness. It doesn’t have to be servitude or the grand things we always hear about on the news. A phrase comes to mind: “to the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world.” When we talk about what the world needs, it does not need to be earth-shattering; it can be as simple as helping a single person.

Combining love and “what the world needs” to create a mission is an important facet to the jewel of Ikigai. In the diagram and article linked above, the intersection of mission and passion is noted with the phrase “delight and fullness, but no wealth.” Obviously, wealth plays a big part in most people’s happiness and fulfillment because it allows us to afford to do more, with less effort. We will cover the monetary piece in later posts, along with the other half of the diagram. As you may realize, each of these parts have their own balance of elements that in turn balance the other pieces of the Ikigai puzzle.

What do you love? What do you think the world needs? What thoughts do you have on the concept of mission? We here at Protagonist would love to hear your thoughts. Drop us a line at hello@protagonist.life!

Posted by Curious in Reflections, 0 comments
Jude: To Love Others, We Must First Love Ourselves

Jude: To Love Others, We Must First Love Ourselves

Hey, everyone!

It’s that season again; you may have already seen the ads on TV and radio. It’s engagement season! This might come as a shocker, but I loathe those ads. Yes, I am happily engaged at the moment, but that is not why I dislike these ads. To me, they put the focus on the wrong kind of love.

Back in the day, I was not always the happiest of people. I had just been dumped by my boyfriend, with whom I’d had a very serious relationship, and the only other person I cared about lived across the country. I wanted more than anything to be with the guy across the country; he was my best friend, and we talked all day, every day. He meant the world to me. But after a while, the distance became too much and he shut me out.

Around the same time, my parents began to put more and more pressure on me about what I should do with my future. With no plans to attend college and no summer plans, I began to doubt myself. I often felt that I could never live up to my parents’ standards. I also was trying to forget about the boy back home by trying to date. To little surprise to me, it just didn’t work. I constantly felt like the backup plan or the one who came in second.

Between not meeting my parents’ expectations and the constant rejections I received, my self-worth became basically non-existent. I truly believed I would never be good enough for anyone, not even on a miniscule level. These emotions and poisoning thoughts led to a much deeper part of my depression.  Granted, I feel it is important to say that I obviously worked through all of these issues and am much better now. However, I won’t lie—it took me until about two years ago to truly accept myself and to love myself.

I want to express the importance of really loving yourself, and to help you understand and feel that you’re not alone in feeling like it may take you a while. The best, most honest way I can advise on how to reach that level is by starting small. Keep a journal and remind yourself of one thing you do love about yourself, or even just like. Today we live in such a crazy world where everyone is constantly judged and being judged, and it is hard to find and reflect on the positive. Every time I found myself thinking or saying anything negative about myself I would try and be like; “But I guess I do like this.” It began there.

After years of doing this, I finally was able to start sticking up for myself and accepting that I am not perfect, but I am imperfectly perfect in my own way, as we all are. I often draw on the fact that I have survived the darkest of my days and sure, a day might seem bad and get me down, but not only have I been through worse, but tomorrow is another day. Every morning is a re-do for a bad day.

I finally arrived at my peak love for myself a few years ago while doing some personal reflection in the desert. I realized that if I’m not happy with a situation, I have the power to change it. Not only do I have that power—I deserve the change! It was a moment of epiphany for me. I was filled with such a wave of relief. I could suddenly see my future for the first time, and I was happy with whatever was in store. I truly knew that I deserved to be happy, and I actually felt that I loved myself.

Because of these new feelings, I was able to change so much in my life. Because I am able to encourage myself, I have more confidence. When I finally got through to this stage in my life, I felt like everything changed for the better. Loving yourself is often hard; we are our own worst critics. However, once you accept and learn to love yourself, your entire perspective on things changes for the better.  

I like to tell people to take a day and just do some reflection on yourself and your life—really take the time to think and process. Sometimes I feel like we don’t allow ourselves to do that, and that is a roadblock on the path to loving ourselves. As cliché as it may sound, it really is true that to love others, we must first love ourselves; personally, I used to hate that expression, but I can now see the truth in it. No one wants to be around someone who constantly turns down compliments, even the little ones, and who always has a negative outlook. They carry a sort of dark cloud around them and no one wants to be engulfed in that darkness. You may not notice your cloud because you’re so accustomed to it, but it affects the other person any relationship, and at times can make them doubt themselves. You can apologize and tell them, “It’s not you, it’s me,” but that still doesn’t eliminate the problem. Eventually the two people lose interest in pursuing the relationship. Or the one trying gives up because they simply grow tired of putting all the energy towards what they might call a lost cause. It’s a heartbreaking experience for each party involved and doesn’t help either person’s well-being.

All this is to say that no matter what the engagement ads tell us, loving yourself is the most important thing you can do. Take the time to practice self-love. The chain reaction that follows is a blessing we all deserve to experience!

Posted by Jude in Hey Jude, Reflections, 0 comments