We never thought that it would happen. Now it is official. We have to go on, work on.

The moment Trump took over the social media platforms as a president, the pages on the White House website concerned with Climate Change and the LGBTQ+ community were shut down. Today a lot more things happened that frighten me. This is the world we will live in now.

As a student, as an environmentalist, a feminist, a human being, I fear for the world. But fear is the wrong incentive here. We always have to fight to make something better out of this world, to make it a safer, more equal and loving place for everyone. I still believe in people, I still believe in change.

We live in times where facts are less significant than feelings. You can state something which you deny the next day. We can make instant comments on every subject. This is due to social media and the presence of news all around us. You can offer an opinion seconds after you have read about something. The thought process, the critical analysis is lost. False news lead to international diplomatic conflicts. This has to stop.

Let’s put these points back on our agenda:

These are the grounding principles of interaction between humans. We need to make these the principles of our societies! They need to be the guiding ideas of our every action. We need to consider other people as complex. We need to step back and analyse the situation from a different point of view.

Why did we lose these qualities in our communities when they are so essential in our relationships? Why did we move back from communication to just shouting at each other? Why are we trying to prove others wrong when we are never faultless ourselves?

It’s important to distinguish between feelings and thoughts. Find the source of your feelings and analyse how you drew conclusions. Often we make rash decisions because we are lead by unclear assumptions. Break them down into pieces and identify which of the facts coincide with your personal values and your goals.

We are bombarded by horror news and hateful comments. It’s our choice to change that system. You can either not be part of it or do something against it.

A friend and I talked about the book “How to win friends and influence people” which I really want to read. There are some important messages in there which I liked:
Give people credit for their work.
Be interested in their lives and consider their point of view.
Build a good reputation in your mind for a person to live up to.

Yesterday, I handed the application for my semester abroad in and I came to the office of the tutor with a big smile on my face. I thanked her for all the support she gave us in this process and told her that she does a great job. She asked me what she could improve for the students next year. She told me she has a lot of trouble with some of the universities. She talked about the difficulties she faced and confided in me.

Every time I had gone to her office before, she had been stressed out, busy, annoyed. She didn’t even want to answer my questions. This time, I gave her credit because she had helped me a lot. I was kind and open and genuinely interested in her work. She asked me for advice. She gave something back – trust.

We all have the capacity to improve the relationships with people who are important to us. Even with those we just met. By being kind and open. We must not be divided because in our union lies our power.

Everything feels like it’s falling apart. The world crumbles. We seek places to hide and grieve. What we really need to do is stand up tall. Stronger than ever. Growing with the task before us. We need to lay out a foundation of love and companionship to save this earth. This will help us with all the challenges we are facing. We are all in this together, we are all humans. Love is a verb, go practise it!


New Year, New Page

Happy New Year!!!

The start of a new year always feels quite special to me. It’s a fresh start, the possibility to improve, to become better, to reflect. In the fading days of 2016 I read “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. It changed my perception a lot. Until this point I have always been quite a reactive person who never really knew what to do, where to go with life. Those habits taught me this: I need to manage my life all by myself but I can rely on other people to help me. I am the responsible and it is my choice to live the life I want to. I need to set up principles and a mission for myself to always have a goal in mind. It gives life a structure and it makes it a lot easier to prioritise. The book gave me a lot, it also taught me about human interactions. How we need to listen to others, how we should respond.

Here are some of the resolutions I have set up for myself:

More books, less social media. I deleted all social media apps from my phone and suddenly, I’m not scrolling away my time anymore. I have already finished reading one book this year (Home by Toni Morrison). Every time I feel the urge to check my social media, I read instead. It’s wonderful having that much time. (I will still be posting here, though. Just like last year, at least once a week on Friday.)

As I am implementing those principles I also get a lot better at time management. I distinguish important and urgent, leave the unimportant stuff out and instead focus on what is important but not urgent. Those are the ones we benefit from long-term. Which leads us to goal 2:

Writing every day. When I set up my mission statement, it became clear to me that writing is an essential part of my life and I really want it to be. Nanowrimo last year also taught me that. What do writers do? Read and write. Every single day. I have a lot of drafts sitting on my computer and every night I will sit down for an hour and write a bit, put some words on the paper, create a habit. It leaves me relaxed, inspired, hopeful and happy. I don’t need to write towards a specific goal, I just love the process itself.

Learn to love yourself. That’s a difficult one. I am so good at self-doubt. It’s the one discipline I could go to the olympics with. By acting on my principles, by being proactive and choosing my own path, I will probably achieve some kind of self-love in the end. Because I learned that true happiness can only come out of myself and that nobody else is responsible for my wellbeing.

Get out more, laugh more. My favourite memory of 2016 was a road trip with my girls. It was fantastic, even though everything went wrong. It was an adventure. With a lot of laughter. That’s what I should go for this year. Say yes to opportunities.

Listen more attentively. Be a better person. Now, that sounds cheesy, doesn’t it? When I wrote down what is important to me, I listed Honesty and Empathy first. I need to work a lot on this. I want to be a better friend, a better human. “Seek first to understand, then to be understood”. Habit 5.

Eat healthier, eat consciously. I’ve been a vegan for 3 months now. I still have a lot to learn. A lot of new things to try. I’m excited to be cooking more, exploring more.

Learn how to meditate and how to do nothing. I can’t do these things. I’m so bad at just sitting around. I constantly need to make something, say something, think something. I have to stop, give myself some rest.

Take good care of myself, accept help. We don’t need to beat through life alone. There are lovely people along the way who will offer a helping hand. The trick is to accept it.

What about you? Which goals have you set for 2017? Do you believe in resolutions? What has influenced you last year?