a better life, anger, authenticness, awareness, balance, beauty, care empathy, Energy, forgiveness, game of life, genuineness, God, happiness, self-respect, spirituality, truths, Vitality, you

A Happiness KEY: Be naked, exposed and vulnerable.

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In the heat of battle at the World Natural Bodybuilding Championships, NY, USA. Me (4th ranked) and competitor (3rd placed) striking a “Triceps Pose”.

A wise friend told me once a long time ago that if you love life, life will love you back.

I have seen them, so perhaps have you – people who seem to have been freshly scrubbed or newly minted. They have taut skins and great smiles. How do they do it?

They do it partly through increased respect for their body, spirit/soul, heart and mind.

If you see one of these people, ask them their secret and then … get in touch with me and we can tell it to the world. Their secret would be worth more than a pot of gold!

Well, after twenty five years of helping people, help themselves work towards a better version of themselves, I believe a key factor is in better energy management and also that these lucky people have better experience of happiness, daily.

Managing energy better does not only refer to raw materials taken in and outputs expanded from the human machine that is the human body, it also refers to our state of mind and state of heart and spirit.

It seems that many people are of the belief that constantly ‘being happy’ is desired and so they spend all of their day choosing and stressing about being happy. I believe that striving to constantly be in a state of happiness takes you further and further away from the elusive happiness. They do so to such an extent that the drive to be constantly happy leads to unhappiness and an empty feeling.

Why is that so, I ask?

Well, it is because, a human being is also an emotional and spiritual being. I believe that to be truly human, one needs to be able to feel ALL emotions, not just being happy all the time. A human being needs to feel emotions including those that are unpleasant – like anger, hatred or sadness amongst others. One needs to FEEL the whole gamut of emotions in one’s life to be truly closer to happiness.

So, in essence you have to experience UNHAPPINESS to experiencing growth towards happiness in your life. There is no other way. This is a key to happiness.

There is a catch though, as (like anything worthwhile getting), it isn’t as easy as it sounds. To get closer to genuine happiness in your life, you need to strip bare (be honest and brave to oneself); be naked, expose oneself to the world and allow oneself to be vulnerable.

This is a difficult task and for some people, impossible.

Being vulnerable is liberating, it is a genuine taste of freedom. Being vulnerable is truth … it is peace. Being vulnerable is harmony and symmetry … being vulnerable is beauty.

I believe part of the reason people don’t allow themselves to feel the full range of emotions, particularly the unpleasant ones is that we’re all sort of brainwashed to some extent, that ‘getting in touch’ with your inner negative feelings is not recommended and frowned upon.

There is a high need and practise in modern day society to reason and provide an objective and logical explanation to everything, without any feeling. That is the key phrase – “without any feeling’. It seems that people think that they must express everything like this – giving well thought out, logical, step by step reasons for a situation without any empathy and feeling.

You see it everywhere, where people frown upon or look at you with surprise when you voice your disagreement, disgust, anger, frustration and so forth because you actually allowed yourself to experience that emotion.

Oh no, that’s not civilized, not good behaviour … you need ‘anger management’ help. A load of c%ap!

And why is this so?

Well, I have told my wife this many times over the years – that the lack of ‘feeling’ is increasingly a sure sign that peoples’ spiritual lives being poverty-stricken.

Basically, one cannot give and share what one does not have in the first place. In other words, we cannot mirror, cannot radiate the tenderness (of God/positive energy) because people have not experienced it themselves. Sad, but true.

If you believe in God, in a God, please understand one thing: I believe that God expects us to show all of our feelings to him – happy and unhappy feelings, everything. Nothing is off-limits!

However, I believe that before a man or a woman can really FEEL his or her own feelings and be able to express them fully, you have to go back to your past and deal with any hurt or anger. Ask for forgiveness and ask God (and your God) for your forgiveness.

There are few certainties in life – death and taxes are two of them. A third one and one that is relevant to my message in this blog is that God does not change, God is a certainty.

He is the same yesterday, today and forever.

Because of this, if you believe in him and you believe in his healing power, you can let go. You can forgive and be forgiven for your past, because it can be UNDONE and off-loaded on to God forever, releasing the shackels you’ve put yourself in.

This is what is meant by being naked.

Allowing you to feel empowered again in your own skin – to be unarmoured … to come out from the wall of invulnerability on those deeply sensitive spots that hold you back from truly feeling the whole spectrum of feelings.

So, being naked, being totally exposed, ironically, provides you with the ultimate armour: increased spiritual connectedness.

A man or woman who has embraced this heightened spirituality, invites wonderful healing of painful memories formed in his or her past. This healing, in turn is the key to be more caring, more empathetic outward expressions (including unpleasant ones too).

Increased awareness of your spiritual part to your whole being allows you to let down the walls of invulnerability, allows you to drop the façade’. It allows the TRUE SELF to be set free, the TRUE YOU.

A great thinker once said that the most difficult thing for a person to do in his or her lifetime is to BE HIM or HERSELF, in a world that is constantly trying to make you somebody else.

So, building your spiritual self allows you to be more of who you really are, not somebody else, not a fake you. You get to love yourself more which ultimately shows in how you show love to others (outwardly), because you are now naked and exposed and vulnerable.

This vulnerability allows you to experience not only the happy feelings but also the unhappy feelings or the undesirable feelings and be more complete.

You see, to me happiness is more than simply feeling pleasure and avoiding pain. Happiness is about having experiences that are meaningful and valuable, including emotions that you think are the right ones to have (others may not think so). All emotions can be positive in some contexts and negative in others, regardless of whether they are pleasant or unpleasant.

Happiness is also about being content, a sub-set of happiness.

So, if your goal is to be more happy (and almost every human being has this goal) then to be more happy, learn to feel more. Learn to be unhappy occasionally (when appropriate), don’t be afraid to. It is human to feel these less-than-desired emotions.

To get closer to the elusive happiness – be naked (and honest with your spiritual self). Be real and authentic. Be You. No one else in the world can play that role better than you can …. The role of YOU.

Here’s to your happiness (and unhappiness)!

 

Until next time,

 

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anger, anger management, care empathy, hulk

When to unleash your “HULK”.

The "Most Muscular" (HULK) pose in the sport of Body-building. Roaarrr!!!

The “Most Muscular” (HULK) pose in the sport of Body-building.
Roaarrr!!!

We all get angry now and then.

That’s something everyone reading this blog and every citizen of the world have in common. I have always been fascinated with the Marvel Universe characters, one of which is the “Hulk”. To a little extent, I like to imagine that every person has a super-hero in them. That we all have some superhero power.

In this blog, I would argue that there is a Hulk in every one of us.

What’s important is not that we all have that Hulk that could awaken at a moment’s notice but that we get better at managing that Hulk – that anger. Knowing when to unleash your Hulk.

You see, in dealing with thousands of people of all ages in all walks of life in more than two decades in the gym environment, one of the observations I have made is that different people use anger to hide different feelings. The interesting thing is that a lot of times a lot of people don’t know the real reason they are angry.

Think about you when you get angry. Do you use anger to cover different emotions at different times?

Having children brings out the best in every parent and I think many, if not all parents reading this would agree. This includes the best of ‘anger’ too. Having children teaches you many things, one of which is patience and your tolerance for it. “Zachary, can you stop kicking the car seat please!” and then a few minutes later … “For the hundredth time, Zachary, stop kicking the car seat please!”.

Your patience is constantly tested by your children as you do your best to control that lever that releases the Hulk or anger. It is a daily constant battle at times.

Two principles of building muscle: 1) Simplicity and 2} Continuity. Become aware; Apply action: Adapt accordingly.

Two principles of building muscle: 1) Simplicity and 2} Continuity.
Become aware; Apply action: Adapt accordingly.

In this phase of his life, my son’s curiosity encourages him to push limits – push beyond his own physical, mental and emotional limits and also push us – my wife and I, beyond our limits too. An interesting phase in our lives to say the least.

I have learned that, as parents, we MUST be permissive to our children’s feelings while setting limits to their action, when appropriate. One of the problems most, if not, all parents face is: when to use discipline and when to GIVE IN; when to be firm and when to be easy; when to give TOUGH LOVE and when to show CARE AND EMPATHY.

At one point or another, we all find ourselves asking ourselves the question: “Is this the moment to be accepting and empathise so that my child will not be afraid of his feelings?” or “should I put my foot down so he understands that he cannot get away with this?”

What I have found is that there are NO SET RULES TO FOLLOW.

Each situation must be handled separately but this is not as difficult as it sounds.

As an owner of a gym for 7 years, I found myself constantly resolving conflicts – conflicts between members, conflicts between members and their family members, internal conflicts of members and conflicts in general. What I found was that the first response I chose to a situation SET THE TONE for how traumatically an event will be taken. I have also found that this is a very good approach to keep in mind when dealing with children too.

It seems to work with my ability to manage conflicts with my two kids.

When one of my children is hurting, I have found that compounding it by reacting with angry words or action (and letting the HULK out) does not add to the solution. Instead, responding with initial softness and empathy, helps more. I think it allows the child to see that if me or my wife (Dad or mum) aren’t panicking, maybe, just maybe, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

The philosophy you follow heavily influences whether you achieve your goals in life or not.

The philosophy you follow heavily influences whether you achieve your goals in life or not.

Where does this ability to be permissive and initiate softness and keep from panicking come from? It comes from WITHIN. The same place the HULK lies dormant. It is a choice. It is a choice that is made by you, the parent, in the good times – the quiet times. That is the best time. The best time to decide on how you respond to a child’s mis-behaviour.

Because if you didn’t decide on such an approach/response or similar, then chaos would prevail and anger or the Hulk will be default system you will react on. There isn’t time to think about ways to prevent a fire, in the MIDDLE OF A FIRE!

If you’re religious, you will believe that GOD works all things unto good.

So, when difficulty first happens, don’t lecture your children, panic or commence scolding. Allowing them to feel the hurt, the anger and initially responding to their behaviour with calm comforting lays an important foundation. A foundation that will allow them to find value in their experience.

Yes, it is much easier to just release the HULK, but it takes a lot of strength to keep it at bay. Calmness comes from within. For you Christians or members of other religious denominations reading this, calmness comes from God’s word. For those of you not so religiously inclined, think of this calmness as being already a part of you. Part of your “inner-self”.

THERE IS A TIME AND PLACE FOR GENUINE, APPROPRIATE ANGER. There is a time and place to let the HULK out. For instance, most of us would respond to injustice and cruelty with anger. Healthy anger can be channelled towards constructively making our world a better place to live in. Healthy anger can be transmuted when one trains with weights. This is one of the un-sung benefits of weight-training with moderate to heavy weights. When executed properly, negative energy (anger) is transmuted through the iron and replaced with a charge of positive energy and vitality.

Anger or the HULK, when released with the appropriate intensity and direction is very positive and a good thing. This is partly because painful trials or conflicts that challenge the threat of the release of our anger/the HULK, produces something encouraging. It produces maturity and growth. 

This maturity and growth ultimately leads to LOVE.

Your challenge: become better at controlling the Hulk within. Don’t be afraid to let it out and work on becoming increasingly aware of when to unleash your Hulk. But, only release your Hulk – when appropriate, and with a proportional response.

Roaarrrrr!!!

Until next time,

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~~Life COACH~~

~~Life COACH~~

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