Off The Grid: Update 1: Nurture Your Relationships

I hope your New Year is off to a good start! Mine was looking like it would be, then I had one bad day after Christmas and threw a week-long pity-party. If you didn’t hear about it, it’s because you weren’t invited!

I did learn a lot about the process of falling into bad moods though, and how to respond better when I feel them creeping in. I’ll be writing more about that in the coming weeks.

This year let’s be intentional about filling our head with positive things. Late last year I made the decision to force-feed myself positive and practical insight that will help me move forward in life, rather than continuing to feast on politics, internet memes, and even religious insight that often doesn’t apply anywhere besides a church setting.

I’m not knocking church, I’m only saying that I’ve had to rethink most of my Christianity because when I tried to apply it to life outside of a church setting the same way I applied it to life in a church setting, I got my ass kicked over and over. There’s a reason Apostle Paul had to “become all things to all people,” rather than stubbornly insisting on being the same thing to all people. The gospel is designed to be dynamic, but a dead religion forces it to be static, because it needs to remain predictable.

Love is a flowing river that adapts to it’s environment. It’s why if you look, you’ll find hints of the gospel message in Buddhism, Hinduism, Humanism, and many other things that I used to reject because they weren’t blatantly “Christian.” I know it might sound too new-age-y to someone, but I am teaching myself to see light and life in all things. Or in plainer terms, to have a positive perspective of life so I can be productive, instead of being overwhelmed by all the stupid stuff going on in the world, which has been going on for thousands of years before I even got here.

That’s one of the main reasons I decided to shut down my social media pages this year and stay out of that environment through 2017. My feed is either polluted with politics, or Facebook constantly telling me how many people are reading my posts, which puts me under a pressure to pursue numbers instead of focusing on creating helpful content.

Speaking of which, if you’re looking for new reading material, I’ve really been enjoying Tim Ferris’ new book, Tools of Titans. It’s 700 pages of small chapters, with **practical** advice and insight from some of the most productive and successful people in the world. They talk about their habits and daily routines, how they think and approach problems, and so on. Because the chapters are small, it’s easy to digest and put into practice. Hands-down, the best $17.00 I’ve spent in years!

Here is advice for this year that I’ve ignored for too long: Surround yourself with people who will talk you down when you’re angry, and do your best to stay open to their wisdom.

Forewarning: you’re not always going to feel like listening. Sometimes you’ll just want them to shut up and go away, and you’ll feel like their being condescending and not supportive because they’re seemingly ignoring your wounds by not outright licking them (See Proverbs 27:6). But train yourself to trust them, to know that they have your best interest in mind, even when it feels like they don’t understand. They might not understand your exact situation, but the insight they have might still apply to it, so be open and honest.

That trust comes by gaining value for them that goes beyond feelings. If it’s based on feelings, it will come and go with feelings. It’s a house built on sand. I’ve started doing this by forcing myself to be around people I know care about me, even when I don’t want to be (even when my feelings are begging me to sulk alone under the blankets). Even when my head is filled with other things I’d rather be doing, I make myself make time for them so we can continue to grow together.

When you’re upset and frustrated and you just want to have a rage fit, it can be hard to hear anything besides that which gives you permission to continue feeling bad. Responding that way feels right because it confirms what we’re already feeling, but in the end it doesn’t benefit us in any way. I learned that after losing 2 more weeks of my life to that urge to sit and stew in my anger and frustration. I wanted to write and get this year started with you sooner, but I was too busy being angry. What do I have to show for it? A blog post and some insight about how negative emotions work, which I’m not complaining about! But I also lost 2 weeks to inactivity and a heavy heart because I was too upset about one bad day to do anything productive.

Let this be the year we stop losing time to negativity and inactivity!

Be happy and have peace of mind.

Talk to you soon,
Daniel

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