12 Rules For My Life: My Antidote To This Century

Rule 1 Be kind and expect nothing in return. Be the eternal optimist.

Rule 2 Have no expectations because that will literally kill your self-esteem.

Rule 3 Be a seeker and you will find truth and beauty, suffering and malevolence on your journey.

Rule 4 Read and you will write intelligently and express yourself with mastery.

Rule 5 Why would you want to establish and find an exit to paradise?

Rule 6 Don’t offer your criticism to the elderly. No good will come of it.

Rule 7 Everybody hurts. Even the richest man in the world and even the eternal comic.

Rule 8 Find meaningful things in your life whenever you feel bored and depressed.

Rule 9 You’re alive. Get to the business of living your life for the betterment of society.

Rule 10 Don’t tolerate arrogance or negativity in anyone.

Rule 11 Build a library in your home. It will keep you company and sane.

Rule 12 Wars don’t end. There is only recovering, healing and the eternal revolution from within.

You’re in charge of your life. This life is so many things. Upheaval and mayhem, war, identity politics, pride, gay pride, pride and prejudice and the question then evolves. The question then becomes how do we combat feelings of utter panic, anxiety, fear on a daily basis? How do I achieve self-love, personal freedom, success, and how do I develop my skills and expertise in my chosen field and outperform and compete healthfully with my colleagues, peers, rivals or nemesis and not stress out about the glass ceiling of the administration, the bureaucratic bungling of the day? How do I set the pace, set an example to up and comers, be a mentor, understand that if I am going to live my truth and be the very best version of myself that I can’t justify the clouds of negativity in my energy field.

I need to get myself to operate at a frequency where I am empathetic to the needs of others, and reach out to others with kindness and humanity. Broken people’s souls are shattered and they find it tremendously difficult to pick up the pieces. I have been in ongoing (on and off) therapy for decades and have realised this.

Change comes exponentially in every facet of your life once you make a strategic decision that you want personal growth, you want to achieve those goals you’ve been journaling about, you want to be happy and you search for self-love and not a romantic entanglement that will wear down your soul. That’s a death that. Losing someone when they are still very much alive. They tell you in so many ways that you are not the person they want any longer, that they are not in love with you and then they detach themselves from your life and it feels as if you are ripping off a band-aid and they walk away. When people cannot love you, or they fail to love you completely understand that the relationship was a season that has now come to end and yes, it’s over and they’re not coming back to you but no amount of self-hate is going to bring your ex, (perhaps you were even going to get married) back to you. You are not a fixer, you’re a being in charge of your own life. Two broken people do not make a commitment to each other and then walk down the aisle. The mysteries of love language can be found in a book but it takes a divine meeting to bring two people together. After all this is the rest of your life. In the days to come it will hurt. The hurt will come in waves, in vibrations until finally there will be a surrender, a recovery and a healing will be able to take place.

You must for your sanity and understanding realise that what that person brought to the table when he made you happy or comforted you when you felt troubled, emotional, wounded, unhappy, uneasy, or when you felt hurt by a remark that somebody made, when he made you laugh it was sincere, and that your relationship even though now it is over there were elements of his personality that kept you awake at night but when it comes to the dimensions of the relationship leave them intact is what I say. Every relationship that comes to an end brings with it insecurity about securing another partner for the future. If you are used to being independent, on your own and are happy to live without the quest for another soulmate, make that abundantly clear to the universe.

Look after yourself, remain mindful, practice self-care, immerse yourself in activities that make you happy and bring out the best in you. Life begins again. Everybody hurts. We are beings who experience elation, manic highs and crushing lows. Our euphoria turns us into the consummate animal. We are all consumers and marketers and we decide on a daily basis what we advertise to the world about ourselves. We have all experienced an incident of adverse experience in childhood and we have all experienced the existence of having a fractured identity at times, a psyche that is fragmented when your self-worth and body image becomes emotionally damaged.

I am charged as a writer to pen all the experience I have had in my life in such a way as to help other people make powerful changes in their lives for good and to help others see their trauma and I want to help them remain sane and efficient in their everyday lives and emotionally stable which speaks to the stability being accountable for all round mental wellness. Have we lost the capacity to care in this covid era? The pandemic made us realise just how vulnerable we are. Our mental health was affected, depression increased, the risk of suicide increased and our loneliness, isolation and futility reached us in lockdown where we coped as best we could with the dire situation.

Poverty of the mind is more debilitating than acute physical hunger. Psychology textbooks say that in order to be our best self, live our best life we need other people, we need to relate to them on a daily basis. In war, that is all you do. Your neighbour’s life becomes your life and that is how we cling to humanity. That is how we survive by psychologically setting our mind at ease with stringent markers that comfort us and set our mind at ease. You see a flower and it transports you to a memory that focuses you deeply for a few minutes, for example. Then in a few minutes you are not thinking of the grain deal or that there are cities in ruin and winter is approaching, and has the world forgotten about the Ukrainian people. Most of them now have to make new lives with their children in another country.

The mothers, children, the disabled, the elderly, the mentally ill, and the lonely. What happens to the schizophrenic, the manic depressive, the anorexic binging and purging herself, the individual who has a mood disorder, the person who has to take medication on a daily basis to save their life in war.  Another example to think about when you’re faced with a negative external environment is this one. To release yourself from feelings of anxiety you close your eyes and think of taking a walk to a nearby park. It is cold out so you have to put a jacket on. You go outside your front door, shout “I’ll be back in a few,” and you begin to walk briskly. As if you have somewhere to go. The citizens that have remained in the Ukraine might have nowhere to go. It’s a sad reality. They’re homeless but most of all they are broken people. Broken people do not just exist in the scenario of war, they are everywhere. Life can be problematic. You can become very fearful about the future. After the divorce, after the romantic affair ends, after your heart breaks with the onslaught of grief you need consolation. You only need to read the newspaper headlines to find yourself there staring back at you on the page.

Sometimes I use tools like meditation and prayer to steady myself in this rough world. I do this particularly when I don’t feel tough enough to face the day, ready for conflict, or when I have to cope with adversity. It can’t give you another childhood or parents that didn’t have maladjusted personalities. Fathers make mistakes. Mothers make mistakes.

I sit and close my eyes. In seconds I am in nature. There are trees and birdsong that rise out of the shadows of the day. It stirs my soul and so I experience an inexplicable amount of joy that I have every unexplainable reason for. I am completely alone. This is how you heal and recover. You pay close attention to what your body tells you and anything that it says is wrong you have it checked out by a doctor. If you need a second, third or fourth opinion do just that.

Abigail George
Abigail George
Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominated shortlisted and longlisted poet Abigail George is a recipient of four writing grants from the National Arts Council, the Centre for Book and ECPACC. She briefly studied film, writes for The Poet, is an editor at MMAP and Contributing Writer at African Writer. She is a blogger, essayist, writer of several short stories, novellas and has ventured out to write for film with two projects in development . She was recently interviewed for Sentinel, and the BBC.