it’s time to take control of YOUR life

If you make a habit of looking to other people for validation, you have a problem.

Healthy self-awareness means that you are doing what is right for you without the need for an external cheer-leader.

If you get upset when other people don’t ‘clap’ for you, you have a problem.

You shouldn’t need an audience to treat other people right or to do the right thing. You shouldn’t be doing things to gain approval from other people. You should be able to stand for what you believe with or without someone watching.

If not getting approval from that one person whose smile you crave spoils your day, you have a problem.

Yes, everyone has people whose opinions matter. But those opinions should not weigh more than your own. Once you became an adult, you gave up the luxury of relying on parents to guide you. Your path shold be mapped out by you and  you only. Other people are there to provide support and encouragement where needed, not to tell you how you should be living your life.

If, just if, your entire mood changes because one person said something that hurt your feelings, well then, you really have a problem.

You will be offended and you will be hurt by other people. You will be angry and insulted. Those are things that come with social interaction and you cannot avoid them. However, you should be aware of those times when it’s merely your ego that is wounded, and act accordingly. You should be complete in yourself, nobody else should have the power to make or break you.Examine your relationships – who is controlling you?

Well-adjusted people know that they are worthy of being treated well, and they treat other people well because they don’t get off on making other people feel small.

People who are balanced know that sometimes off-handed remarks can sting, sometimes quite badly, but they don’t curl up into little balls of depression – they shrug it off and move on. They know that these things happen, and that when they do, it’s not a reflection on them or their relationship with the other person. People with good self-esteem do not think that an unanswered email or phone-call is the pre-cursor to a lifetime of loneliness.


I’m not saying that’s you, I’m just saying.

Take a step back – how do you want to live YOUR life?

–          Seeking approval from everybody and letting everyone walk all over you?  Is this what you want?

–          To feel unimportant and unvalued? Needy and whiny? How is this good for you?

No. No.

Dust yourself off –  that’s right, shake it off.

Start changing things, beginning with yourself. Seek only that which will add value to your life, not take away meaning.


Keep your head up. You can do this. Take back the power and assume responsibility for your own behavior.



this is friendship 101

These days I find myself thinking a lot about how much people worry about other people’s perceptions of them. In one sense I’m lucky to be living in a new country where no one knows anyone I know, so I can re-invent myself into the person I want to be without fear of being labelled a poseur or anything like that. That’s a good thing, right? Every time I’m out with the few friends I’ve made, I find myself analyzing what they say and do, wondering if they are deliberately trying to create an impression or if they’re just being themselves. I know, skeptic is my middle name. Well, not really, but you know what I mean.

I met this one guy who went on and on about how much money he used to make dealing drugs, and how he has now totally changed and doesn’t do anything except drink beer and smoke weed…you’d be touched, right? I wasn’t. I was sitting there listening to him – well actually I was listening for a pause so I could excuse myself – and I was thinking, he’s meeting me for the first time why does he think I want to know, or that I even care? How could this, the life and mistakes of someone I’d just met, be of any interest to me? When I meet people for the first time I usually don’t give them a re-hash of all the times I messed up. I’ve done it when occasion called for it – like when I met the 20year-old girl who’d been dumped after having sex for the first time – I felt obliged to tell her SOME of my past, in an effort to bond so I could then tell her how to handle herself. There was a method to the apparent madness, I promise. She became like a sister to me – possibly because she wanted to be like me – all carefree and in control, you know *insert hair-flick*. But back to the once-rich boy – I still don’t know why he told me what he told me…I blame it on the Budweiser he was drinking. Which leads me back to my original question: is everything we do and say calculated, whether sub-consciously or not, to produce a particular reaction from the people around us? I think sometimes it is.

As I make new friends in this place – without the benefit of attending school, or working together, or mutual friends, or any of the factors that usually draw people together, I realize afresh how difficult it is to actually make new friends without those connections. How do you just start randomly talking to someone – and when you do, how do you parlay that into a friendship without any common ground to launch from? This is when you find out who you really are. Whoever you’re meeting is meeting you – not their colleague that they’re drawn to because you both have a teenage-like crush on your boss, not someone who knows people you know – this is friendship 101 – we have absolutely NOTHING in common to start with, apart from the obvious – being female and foreign in this country. Even then, as females and as foreigners our experiences are hugely different – black African in Asia vs white American in Asia? Please.

So, when you meet someone, you have nothing to hide behind – no ‘we both know so&so’ background to get the conversational ball rolling. If you’re boring, it becomes obvious pretty quickly. It gets tedious sometimes – where are you from, why are you here, how long will you be here – because when you’ve just met someone and don’t know anything about them what else can you talk about? You’re trying to find some common ground and it can get pretty awkward when you can’t. The uncomfortable silences that are always broken with ‘so…’.

so….how old did you say your little boy is?
so…how long did you say you’ve been here?
so…what kind of work are you planning to get into?
so….where do your kids go to school?

It’s painful, it’s awkward, I hate it.

Why cant making friends be as easy as flirting? When you’re flirting you know almost immediately whether there’s a spark or not and can act accordingly. But what if this stilted ‘so’ conversation is the budding of a beautiful friendship??? The first real conversation I had with the girl I see most often -whom I can now call a friend- (after the ‘where are you froms’ and the ‘what are you doing heres’), was about politics. And sex. We’d bumped into each other several times (she’s my neighbor) and had exchanged pleasantries but never really talked at length. One day she asked me to lunch and I went; we sat for four hours talking politics. Anyone who knows me knows that that’s just not me. But we talked politics, the kind of politics I like, the personal kind. You know, what does it mean to leave your country of birth and start a new life somewhere else? I did that (twice!) so I can talk about that. She did the same so even though our backgrounds differ vastly, we swopped stories about the politics in our birth nations and how we’ve been affected as individuals. Then the conversation moved to sex – what it means in the different cultures, and then to what it means to us as individuals …And a friendship was born. If she hadn’t asked me to lunch we probably never would have moved past the ‘hies’ and the ‘ it’s really hot todays’

…I’m glad she took the first step. Really glad.