Monday, June 6, 2011

Saving Fred the fish

What does this have to do with the quest for oneself, and happiness? Just having saved a life, that gives a special feeling, at least being sensitive to life, that is a change from sitting at the restaurant and ordering a grilled fish. Yes, I do eat fish sometimes, but this one had to be saved.

Fred the fish was panting when we saw it, half of its body was out of the water. We decided to try to save it.

As I went to pick up the camera, Pierre-Louis had begun to dig a pool to give more water to Fred.

The pool, getting deeper.

Fred's body was completely tangled in the fishing web and I thought I'd break its fragile fins.

Fred the fish is now free.

It began to swim, and it was actually a very elegant fish.

A local seeing us around a net came, curious, and asked what we were doing, and whether the fish was mine. I just said yes. "How much did you pay for it", he asked. "I forgot, few thousands maybe". He said the fish was good to eat, that I could raise it in an aquarium. I said "it will go back to the sea".

(Fred swimming in his pool)

Which is what we did, I took the fish in my hand, ran to the sea and we let it swim. Here is the video:

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Change and respect

I make the assumption that we are rarely fully ourselves when facing others. We act, we react according to what the others say, do, or according to what we imagine they think, will think or will say. By projecting ourselves onto the others, by being according to how they are, we are not really ourselves. We are defined by the others, we define ourselves (at the beginning rarely consciously) through the others. In what follows, changing means becoming oneself.

Then, is there a more beautiful mark of respect -and love- for a partner than to be willing to change for the good of the relationship and the benefit of the partner? And to really begin to change! Changing is not changing to be someone I am not and I can not be. It is not changing my character. It is not changing to force me to be a nice person. As Jacque Salomé puts it, "Changing doesn't mean becoming someone else, it is becoming oneself, and accepting it".

Changing, to be oneself, is first of all a personal process, even though in some cases it is triggered by an event or a third person. But changing - to be oneself -, when it is done in the framework of a loving relationship, is in my opinion, the sign of a great respect for both the relationship itself, and the partner. Simply because changing, to meet oneself, is more difficult than breaking up, and way more difficult than making the other guilty of different problems.

Changing to be oneself means accepting one's mistakes. And by this, it leads to stopping exercising some pressure on the partner, even simple words, statements or questions can exert some pressure on the partner. And on the long term it can be destructive for both the partner and oneself. Changing allows to break this vicious circle.

The terror for someone who is changing is to face others' denial: the partner, the family, the friends, have trapped the changing one into how they have always known him/her, and this is a serious break to the change. Also some could say "you change because you are the one who have a problem, you are the one who causes troubles". This all makes the change even more difficult. And that makes the change an even stronger mark of respect, because changing (in order to be and to find oneself), even if it is a personal adventure, is almost always for the good of someone else. It can be to improve a relationship, a neighborhood, a working environment: a boss who is unreasonably strict with his employees and was seeing them leaving one by one decides to change, and the change can only be initiated by understanding why he is strict, not at all by forcing himself not to be strict.

A great help to the changing person, on the contrary, is to accompany him/her and to believe in his/her change. Then the change is fueled, encouraged and it can be done for the harmony of the couple, the office, the family. In case of a relationship, it leads to a long lasting and flourishing relationship: because each one has been respected: me in my change, and you through my change.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Note to the reader

This is the english version of my one day old blog. There is a french version, for french being my mother tongue. If the will to share sticks to me, I will try to translate it in mandarin for my friends in Taiwan (seems to be a way too ambitious task), any help is more than welcome. I decided to write this blog, about self understanding -with one goal being to better welcome the other's difference- , about love too, about an attempt to built more durable and enjoyable relationships (be it personal, or at work or in a family), because some time ago I parted from a person who meant a lot for me, as I couldn't conceive any durable relationship in the conditions we were living in. These writings and reflections, some inspired or directly borrowed from great people, are the result of what I have learned and realized during about one year of a struggle to find peace and happiness.
I hope this blog helps you, dear reader, to evolve for the good of your entourage, your loved ones and of course for yourself. I personally don't see any dire situation as being unsolvable, or frozen in a permanent state of crisis. I believe in change, and I believe that we all can change if we have the courage to accept ourselves. Accepting the unacceptable, our dark side, the side we reject, the side people would judge unacceptable, this is always the toughest, and this is where courage is required. This is through this that we grow the most. Tough, but possible.

So if your relationship, your job, your life seem to be in a mess, read on, don't despair, you may find some elements of reflection, maybe some embryos of solutions.

why is it so difficult to be happy?

This first post is about being happy, or rather why is it so difficult to be happy, and some elements to be happy.

Why is it so difficult to be happy? From an interview with J. Salomé

"Because I think that the quest for happiness is a true paradox. It is the most sought after thing but at the same time it is the one which is most maltreated. Because of self-saboteurs. Self-saboteurs are completely irrational behaviors, more or less conscious, that we will emit, produce. It can be a sentence, a word, a gesture, an attitude, that will go precisely against the result we wanted to obtain.
An example of self-saboteur: I love a woman, I want to spend time with her. But I am afraid she leaves me. So I will get closer to her, I will invade her, I will make her suffocate, I will try to possess her, which will make that precisely she will leave me. I have then triggered what I was afraid of.

If we take some distance, we will realize that there is a profound desire and appetite to be happy, but at the same time there are some deviations, some traps in which we fall. Then very easily we fall into the victimization [considering oneself as a victim], into the complaints, the accusations: it is the other one who doesn't understand, who doesn't like me, who doesn't know who I really am. This victimization is dominant in our modern society, and it makes us irresponsible [makes us feel not responsible for being self-saboteurs of our own happiness, because the other one is felt responsible].

I am often asked what is it to be happy. Well, it is first and foremost the capacity that one have to renounce to unhappiness. [this simple sentence: being happy is being able to renounce to unhappiness seems to be pure common sense. It is not. For that it is not as easy to achieve: "renouncing to unhappiness", especially when one thinks unhappiness is caused by others]. This is the first anchorage: to renounce to be unhappy. Everyone will oppose to this idea by saying unhappiness is someone else's fault. But we all have an incredible creativity when it comes to be unhappy [the self-saboteurs].

What are the roots of happiness?
First, to learn to love oneself. Not the narcissist and egocentric kind of love, but a love of kindness, a love of respect and a love of tolerance toward oneself. And this is not easy. So, first anchorage, to learn to love oneself.
Second, to learn to respect oneself is to learn to say no, and especially to learn not to let the other define oneself, such as when the other says applies a sticker on our person, and says "you are like this". The 4 accusations that can be found in all relations are: "you said ...", "you didn't say...", "you did..." and "you didn't do". So, second, to learn to respect oneself.
Third, learn to be self responsible. I am not necessarily responsible for what the others do to me, but I am responsible for what I do about it [this statement is so rich]. We should learn this as soon as kindergarten. This would better position our children in life, this would provide them with a better anchorage. Because foundations and anchorages are necessary in our existences. [and childhood is the best time to create them, an adult without strong foundations can precisely lack this self-responsibility (I am responsible for what I do with what the other do to me), and become a threat to him/herself, his/her partner or the relationship he/she is in or just anyone else; I will come back to this theme in another post to come].

And finally, fourth, be true to oneself. We are always in a conflict of fidelity. Fidelity to the other, to my company, to my love... and fidelity to myself. These 2 fidelity [to the other and to me] must learn to live together. When they are in harmony [I am true to myself and true to the other], the relationship is alive, can last and flourish. But if at a given time, taking the example of a love relationship, I become untrue to myself, while at the same time I want to remain true to the other, then I am no more responsible, I am no more responsible for myself, I submit myself, or I make concession, and making concession is sometimes close to compromising [compromising myself, in the sense that I make a concession which is detrimental to me].

What is being true to myself? It is discovering the relational need.

This is an adaptation, my translation (from french) and few comments (in square brackets: []) of an interview with Jacques Salomé.