“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” I’ve always considered myself to be a die-hard optimist, and having gone through a rougher patch proved just how true that is. Between the months of August and December, I found myself back home, with my family, heartbroken, unemployed, waiting for some kind of opportunity to materialise.
Furthermore, my baby sister, a beautiful, talented dancer, underwent severe ankle surgery and a lengthy recovery, peppered with doubt, fear, hesitation and above all, hope.
And while all that was rather stressful, throwing me over the edge of extreme emotions, I discovered the true meaning of “home”, by taking this time to connect with my family on a deeply personal, emotional and spiritual level, by sharing new experiences, by sharing memories, getting to know each-other better, arguing and coming to peace with each-other, getting to understand each-other’s motives and feelings, comforting each-other, advising and guiding each-other, being there, being present, being grateful for the growing bond.
Rediscovering this fresh sense of purpose, this new meaning of what family is to us, has been extremely reassuring, as each of us are, individually, taking on new adventures, new roles, new paths, for which having a clear idea of the concept of “home” is essential, in that we always know where the source is, where we can confidently return to, to replenish our batteries, without having to face shame, self-doubt or judgement.
I couldn’t help but wonder what the recipe for success was, in order to be able to replicate it, in other interactions with the people around me. According to the concept of the “5 languages of love”, we all have different ways of perceiving and understanding the love which is given to us, whether it may come from words of affirmation, acts of service, gifts, quality time or physical touch. My personal love barometer is undoubtedly measuring the investment of time, the active effort of being there for another human being, being consistently and whole-heartedly involved in offering to another person that which they may need.
Yet the one thing that all of these languages of love have in common is, in fact, time. Time spent to be of service, time spent choosing the right gift, time spent cuddling, time spent finding the right words to say, time spent together. And this has become apparent in the way me and my family interacted over the past few months. We made the extra effort to listen more carefully, to actually go to another room so that we may see each other’s face, to give a helping hand when necessary, to comfort when things were difficult, to laugh, eat, dance and share joy together.
A beautiful man once taught me a song titled “God’s second name is Time”. And since His first name is Love, it only makes sense that these two dimensions should flow together, hand in hand, in order to manifest themselves in full potential. Unconditional love is about offering to another person the only non-renewable resource we dispose of, which is our time. Unconditional love is about deciding to grow alongside another human being, independently, yet connectedly. Unconditional love is about allowing the other person enough time to grow on their own, to go through their own lessons and struggles, without pushing or pulling, without expectations.
Therefore, I ask you all to take a moment and realise who are the people in your life you want to invest in, what are the relationships that make you feel safe, loved, wanted, proud to grow and evolve, what are the relationships that challenge you to move ahead on your path of self-fulfilment, and start investing in them. Invest your time, invest your love, invest your trust, invest your energy. Because the more you give to these relationships, the more you will get, the better the return on investment will be.
Find the people who make your soul feel at ease, find the people who make your heart sing, find the people who make your mind burn with new ideas, and give yourself to them, for they will give themselves to you, so that you may become a better version of yourself.
This being said, my fellow friend, make sure to invest time in yourself. Watch a movie, drink a cup of tea, pamper yourself, listen to a nice song, read a good book, allow yourself to exist in a state of “hygge”, because the best way to learn about something is to experience it first-hand. Practice self-love, invest time in your well-being, allow yourself the privilege of saying “no” to situations which trap you and exhaust you, and of saying “yes” to time alone, to healing and to self-discovery.
Make the best of this time of the week, make the best of yourself and make the best of the people around you.