Thursday, January 28, 2010

Half Time

In the first half of life, there is barely enough time to beyond second base. We are hunter-gatherers, doing our best to provide for our families, to advance to our children. In addition, for most men, and certainly a growing number of women, the first half finds us in our warrior mode. We need to prove ourselves and others that we can accomplish something big, and the best way to do that is to become increasingly focused and intense.

The second half, when the pressure lets up, seems to be more the time when most people round second base and begin to do something about the faith they’ve developed.

The first half of life has to do with getting and gaining, learning and earning. Most do this in the most ordinary ways. Some chase the prize in a more spectacular, aggressive fashion. Either way, few leave time in the first half for listening to God.

The second half is more risky because it has to do with living beyond the immediate. It is about releasing the seed of creativity and energy that have been implanted within us, watering and cultivating it so that we may be abundantly fruitful. It involves investing our gifts in service to others – and receiving the personal joy that comes as a result of that spending. This is the kind of risk for which entrepreneurs earn excellent returns much of the time.

There is a risk in this decision: In tossing aside the security blanket that keeps you safe and warm in your cautiously controlled zone of comfort, you may have to set aside familiar markers and reference points. You may feel, at least at first that you are losing control of your life.

Realize that not everyone can afford to devote only 20 percent of his time to his career. But don’t let the fact that you have to work for living limit the grace God has in store for you during your second half. Don’t allow the second half of your life to be characterized by decline, boredom, and increasing ineffectiveness for the kingdom.

Listen carefully to that still, small voice, and then do some honest soul-searching. What’s in your box? Is it money? Career? Family? Freedom?

Remember, you can only have one thing in the box. Regardless of your position in life, once you have identified what’s in your box, you will be able to see the cluster of activities that put into play your “one thing” and keep you growing.

But be careful. Growth is not always easy.

Remember, the second half is only part of the game. We all have to play the whole game.

Thomas Merton wrote that all you really need is in your life already. He called it the “hidden wholeness.” What he meant was that you do not need to chase after things outside of you to find fulfilment. Even though that’s what most of us do in the first half, we eventually learn that money, fame, material possessions, and experiences will never fill us. What we become in the second half has already been invested during the first; it is not going to come from out of the blue.

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Friday, January 22, 2010

Are You Hungry for Love?

If you are too hungry for love, it ends up putting people off. They will quickly come to the conclusion that, no matter what they do, they can never make you happy. If you ask too much, people will avoid you.



If you are someone who’s hungry for love, the affection you crave has the same effect as food does for a bulimic person, or drugs for an addict. It gives you a temporary lift, but it doesn’t satisfy you. You are prepared to do anything to feel loved. Of course, it’s natural to want to be loved. Everyone needs love, especially when things are going badly. Some people undoubtedly need it more than others, for example those who were deprived of affection – or, conversely, overindulged – in their childhood.

It is possible to avoid an unhealthy craving for love and affection by developing your own emotional intelligence, and improving your relationships with other people. If you suspect you are too hungry for love, you have to identify first of all, the ‘illness’, the form it takes. Then, you need to strengthen your immune system to limit any damage during ‘a crisis’.

So how badly affected are you?

Tally your responses, and then refer to the score panel and the assessments:

1. You constantly seek reassurance and approval from other people at work and in your private life.

2. You feel angry, ashamed or humiliated if someone criticizes you (even slightly).
3. You are incapable of choosing a new dress without someone to help you.

4. You desperately want people to admire your appearance.

5. You would burst into tears if you heard that your best friend’s dog had died.

6. You often overestimate your abilities or the value of your achievements.

7. You tend to agree too often with people, even when you think they are wrong.
8. At parties, you don’t feel happy unless you are the center of attention.

9. You think that only exceptional people can really understand your problems.
10. You would not feel capable of organizing a solo holiday trip.

11. Your emotional reactions are not predictable.

12. You would really like being one of the world’s top models.

13. If there’s a horrible job to be done at work or at home, you always volunteer to do it.
14. You often jump queues.

15. You fish for compliments a lot.

16. You feel devastated when a close relationship is broken off.

17. You don’t take it well when a friend cancels on you even if it is not her fault.
18. You worry about the thought of someone leaving you.

19. You frequently feel jealous or envious of your friends’ lives.

20. You are easily hurt by criticism from your partner.

21. You often wear miniskirts and figure-hugging tops to the office.

If your score so far shows that you ARE hungry for love, you will fall into one of three categories: histrionics, egocentrics, and ‘orphans’, who are afraid of being abandoned.

THE HISTRIONIC
The term histrionic derives from the Latin histrio, meaning a comedian, boaster, or even a cheat. When you deprived of love, you tend to become hysterical. You burst into tears for nothing, or you fly into a rage. You always trust people too quickly and too soon. You will fall under the spell of anyone with a strong personality. You think that they can offer magic solutions to all your problems. As a result, all your relationships are generally stormy and insincere.

Your problem is first of all that you are over-emotional, you suffer from overwhelming feelings. You are obsessed with strong emotions and get carried away with them. You are soon bored by routine (no challenge) and tenderness (no passion). You make a drama out of every insignificant event.

Get a grip on your emotions. Good or bad, they are always excessive and this stops you from seeing people and events in a realistic light. You must learn moderation.

Play everything down. You won’t find love by behaving like a tease or an easy lay. Stop hugging every casual acquaintance as if he was the love of your life and don’t be tempted to wrap yourself all round a man just because he’s bought you lunch – even if it was delicious.

THE EGOCENTRIC
If you are an Egocentric, when you are let down in love, you become terribly narcissistic. You spend all your money on clothes, cosmetics and beauty treatments… and yet, despite all the care you take of your body and the time you put into your appearance, you are never satisfied with what you see in the mirror. When people are acutely narcissistic, the real problem is that they are being passive. They behave as if they were objects (sexual or otherwise), desirable goods, rather than people. That’s why other people’s opinions assume such importance.

Set yourself objectives and role-models that are realistic for you. Remember, it isn’t necessary in life to accomplish great things or achieve perfection.

Don’t try to read into things all the time. Don’t imagine love or desire where there isn’t any.

Stop trying to look at yourself from other people’s point of view. You have always tended to center everything on how people regard you.

THE ORPHAN
You are so hungry for love, it makes you submissive – you become a real doormat. You no longer have tastes, ideas, or preferences of your own. Clothes, work, home, holidays, you let other people decide on everything.

Sometimes it works out quite well, especially if your partner likes the same things as you do. Fine if he’s crazy about sailing and you adore anything to do with being out in the fresh air. Not so good, though, if he turns out to be mad about white-water rafting and your idea of heaven is an afternoon in a museum.

Stop volunteering for all the dirty work. Only in fairy tales are princes charming to Cinderellas. So bite your tongue before offering your services.

Learn to manage your time for yourself. People who are overdependent on others can never organize anything in advance because they are so afraid of either missing something better or upsetting someone by having to refuse a last-minute invitation.

Train yourself to do things on your own (even if you are in a relationship).

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