3 Skills You Need for Good Life

I recently wrote a post 3 questions to ask yourself and it was so well received that I decided to expand the self-help category to 3 skills you need to create a good life. A person needs many more skills, but I narrowed them down to three for reading comfort.

Learn to control your emotions.

I once got to know a girl who was funny, sweet, and gorgeous. We talked a lot on the phone, but we had only been on one date, so I didn’t know her that well. Our date had been great; we had laughed and flirted the night away, and even though we didn’t kiss goodnight as we parted, it wasn’t for the lack of want on either of our parts. Two days after our first date, she asked to meet up, and I politely declined, explaining that I was super busy with house renovation that day. I accompanied my message with smiling heart emojis and was super sweet about it. Her reaction to my message was cold, to put it mildly. She basically turned ice queen to the extent that I wasn’t even sure I would hear from her again.

My first thought was to ask her if she was okay and why she was upset or even to further explain why that day didn’t work for me and that I would like to see her some other day. If I had done any of those things, I would have been reacting to her and not acting according to my best interest. You see, she was trying to make me feel bad about not meeting with her and if I had folded, it would have been a direct REaction to her manipulation. But I chose to be in control of my emotions, and so I did nothing. I decided just to let it be and see what happens next.

In a few days, I had put her out of my mind and did not expect to hear from her again. A week and a half later, I got a text message from her, completely out of the blue. She cheerfully asked if I wanted to hang out that day as if nothing had happened. I knew at this point that one of two things had happened;

  1. She was bored, or her scheduled plans with someone had fallen through, and I was a convenient backup. She was reaching out to me not because I was her first choice but because she had no others.
  2. The second possibility is that she had been playing a manipulation game with me, trying to gain a mental upper hand by playing cold and then presenting herself warm after a time of silence (punishment for my disobeying her before).

Either way, I wasn’t interested in her anymore. In fact, I found her behaviour disgusting and wanted to give her a piece of my mind, but again that would have been me reacting, so I didn’t. I simply replied (very politely) that I wasn’t interested in meeting her anymore without explanations because I realized I didn’t owe her any. It was the wisest course of action to just remove this person from my life as fast and cleanly as possible. She got upset about my message again. She didn’t stoop as low as to call me names but pretty much called me a weirdo and wished me all the best in a very sarcastic way. I replied that I wished her the best as well, and before she could go on another rant I blocked her from my phone…and proceeded to forget about her.

Now the lesson of this story is that even when people push you, it is imperative for you to always be in control of your emotions. If you find yourself reacting to what people say or do, you are no longer in control of yourself. If I would have reacted to her cold shoulder by pushing aside my own wants to do the renovation and just met with her I might have had a fun night, but eventually, at some point, she would have shown more of her nasty sides, and I would have suffered. By cutting contact immediately, I got my renovation done (which is what I wanted to do in the first place) and got rid of a toxic person before she could get any kind of footing in my life.

Apply the same to all situations in life, not just when other people are involved, and you will be happier for it. Start by getting control of how you wake up and how you go to sleep. If you can make your mornings pleasant, it will empower you and set the mood for the rest of the day. It is like building up a protective shell around you first thing in the morning so that when things go wrong during the day, you are mentally better equipped to keep your emotions in check. When you make your evenings relaxing and calming, you will get a better night’s sleep, and that will give you clarity of mind to stay strong and not fall into the trap of reacting when things happen to you.

Just keep your gaze focused on what you need and want to be done in life, and realize that all the rest is just background noise.

Learn to be alone….and like it!

When I was living in Beverly Hills and wanted to see Puccini’s Madama Butterfly one weekend, I couldn’t get anyone to accompany me. It wasn’t the lack of friends or not being liked by people that resulted in no one wanting to go with me; to the contrary. Everyone urged me to not waste my time with Opera and join them instead on different red carpet events they were headed to.

As a person who is extremely comfortable doing things alone, I decided to go to the Opera alone. So I put on a beautiful evening gown, ordered a car and arrived at the Opera house alone. everyone else there was accompanied by one or more people, and I was the only one going at it solo. I got a glass of champagne, walked around admiring the chandeliers and found my assigned seat. I enjoyed the art, and by the intermission, I was already mingling and talking to a group of young professionals who invited me to an afterparty.

I enjoyed the rest of the opera alone in my seat and joined the group afterwards. I ended up having the loveliest evening.

The moral of the story is that when I found myself facing a decision of whether or not I was going to do what I wanted to do (see Puccini at the opera house) or bend under peer pressure (go to a red carpet event), I chose to enjoy myself alone…and I loved it! Would I have had more fun at the Opera if a friend had accompanied me? Probably. But I felt like I still wanted to see the Opera more than I wanted company.

Life is full of decisions like this, sometimes on daily bases. Maybe you want to read a book while having your lunch, but if you do, that means you need to reject a lunch invitation from colleagues. Or maybe you really want to see a new movie running in theatres, but everyone is busy that night. You can then stay at home out of fear of going alone and missing the movie, or just go for it and have fun. Most of us don’t even realize how much social constructs dictate our everyday lives.

The bottom line is that if you allow other people’s presence or absence to dictate what you do in your life, you have essentially given away your power. You have raised your hands and said I am dependent on other people to the extent that I can’t enjoy myself if someone does not accompany me. And what a sad existence that is. Instead, teach yourself to do things alone, things that you usually do with other people, and a whole world will open up for you. It doesn’t mean you will enjoy your time with others any less than you already do; it will just give you more freedom and options. So next time you feel like doing something, and everyone is busy, just do it alone, relax, ease into it, and learn to love it.

Learn to let go of things.

Have you ever noticed how when you obsess about having something, it is hard to get it, and when you let things go, they seem to come to you magically? As far as I have observed, this happens for two reasons:

  1. When you let things go, you release positive energy, and things gravitate towards positive energy. Holding on to things by force creates negative energies such as fear and anger, like black holes; everyone tries to avoid them.
  2. Letting go makes you attractive.

This is not to say that you should never hold on to things, not at all. In fact, if you have a good thing going for you, then do invest in it and hold on to it. What I mean is that it’s an invaluable life skill to learn to see not only the value of things and situations but also learn timing. It is imperative to learn when it’s time to let go. And when you do let go, let go for good. People and situations are funny in that they keep coming back periodically and present themselves to you just to see if you are still stupid or weak enough to let them back into your life. Don’t!

When people or situations show you through actions and events that they are not of high value, believe them. And don’t be one of those fools who recognize low value but think it can be transformed into high value. It can’t! Some people have a helping syndrome that manifests in a way that they are always trying to fix other people. Unfortunately, the brutal truth is that all change happens only through self-realization and self-motivation. We cannot change people if the change doesn’t spark within them if they don’t push themselves to change.

On the other hand, sometimes, we encounter toxic people who hang on to us, torment us, and try to latch on to us like leeches. It is best to cut ties with such people immediately and permanently. No explanations or soft approaches are recommended for these types of people.

And if you encounter the worst type, the manipulator, run. He or she is that person who will use every trick in the book to try and make you stay. They won’t do it openly by begging or throwing a fit. They will most likely try to make you feel guilty about something you have or haven’t done. If this doesn’t work, they might fake injury, physical or emotional. Another old trick is to try to make you jealous. Whatever form the manipulation takes, once you recognize it, just let go. Such a person is beyond recovery.

As for things and situations, it’s also important to be able to let go. If something is out of your control, it’s advisable not to hold on to it; this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t seek alternative solutions, just that you are not getting stuck.

Letting go of the need for other people’s validation (opinion, company, perception of you) not only gives you unlimited freedom but also makes you attractive. It’s attractive because you are your light and energy source. You are not merely reflecting what others see in you; you are not merely reacting to what situations have presented to you. Instead, you have pulled yourself out of that state of need, and now you are a stand-alone self, truly a self. There is nothing more liberating than letting go, and if you ever feel hesitant about it just remember this; human experience is short, and at the end of it, very little actually even matters, so let go of stressors and leave the rest to the Gods.

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