I didn't know him very well. He was my neighbor and didn't have a close relationship with anyone I knew of. No friends, no contacts. I respected that. To my surprise, he approached me the other day, directly and openly.
"I want to confess," he said.
"I am sorry, I am not a priest and this is not an appropriate place for confession," was my answer.
"I know who you are. In one way you are a priest, for me."
"I appreciate that, but could you clarify your statement, please?"
"I have been reading your articles. Most of the time you write articles on spirituality, the soul, the minds, and self- improvement; probably with the intention of helping people. From my point of view, this is a kind of preaching. Am I right?"
"I am not sure. My intention is not to preach or to teach; what I am doing is trying to give a little help to people who want to improve themselves, a kind of self-help support. I like to inspire people to take control of their lives."
"Would you mind being patient for a while, and listening to my story? I must say what I am feeling inside. Call it whatever you want, but please listen! Is that okay with you?
"I have no problem listening to your story."
"I know why I am telling my story to you. I am asking you to write an article after you hear my story. This is my way to help people."
"Go ahead, neighbor."
"My whole life, I am now seventy five, I persuaded myself to love my career, but I never liked it. Because I wasn't satisfied at work, I suffered a lot. I was always unhappy, angry, arrogant, and depressed. I chose safety over adventure, and avoided changing my career and direction in life. I always made poor choices and did not distinguish between events that are really beyond my control and events that are not. I was not aware of one simple fact: we cannot create an absolutely and completely safe life. I was very hard on myself, as well on other people."
"Your self-assessment, even now, is very rough," I commented.
"I know, therefore I am telling my story as a bad example. I hope people will learn something from my bad experience. To continue, I was scared to death of everything I had to do. I had no courage, no initiative, and no desire to change anything."
"Do not be so hard on yourself, neighbor. It was not your choice to act like a coward. Something scared you in your childhood, you didn't choose it."
"I know, but nobody was there for me to teach me how to think properly and how to land on my feet. My negative internal world determined my destiny.
I realized from experience that life is always a reflection of our way of thinking, for a good or bad. Obviously, our thoughts about ourselves will not change our problems, but it can change how we respond to problems. Back then, I was not able to understand the simple meaning of that statement.
I created a negative cycle in my life, instead of creating a positive one. I complained all the time. Complaining is senseless and it's never a good choice for anything in life.
I must say to everyone: mentally convince yourself to be positive and for a change and your brain will do the rest."
"Do you believe in a chemical/electrical/mind connection in our brains?" I asked him.
"Yes, nowadays. Our mental state creates physiological responses in our entire bodies, not just the brain. And reverse is also true; better health leads to better thinking processes. You should teach your children that having a good frame of mind is crucial for a good and healthy life.
Motivation! Without motivation, there is no path to success and a happy life. Every achiever is self-motivated and I wish I had known that I could learn how to motivate myself. Action is the only tool one needs. I didn't want to listen when someone told me many years ago that in each person there is a huge amount of potential.
Don't sleep your life away.
Attitude! I was arrogant; I didn't listen to the motivational teacher who told me,' your attitude will determine the attitudes you will have about everything around you.' No, I was lofty and ..."
"Please, stop your self-destructive talk!" I interrupted.
"Say what you want to say, but please do not harm yourself talking like this. You deserve better treatment."
"You think so?"
"I am positive, one hundred percent."
"I told you, you sound like priest."
"No, I sound like person who understands how negativity and negative self- talk can be harmful."
"May I continue?"
"I was trying to change people's attitude around me with punishments and complaints. It didn't work. Attitudes don't work that way. Everything that I was against, worked against me.
"Neighbor, can I interrupt you for a second?"
"I am asking you to see my point: when you focus on what you dislike about your work, or life, or whatever, your center of interest is on your negativity, and it works against you.
Jobs don't contain anything negative or depressing, only people do. If you accept this idea, you will change your life upside down, and for the better.
You are here, today, in this state of mind because of your negative thoughts, like "I hate my job," or"it's so boring and depressing," and so on. Can you accept that sometimes circumstances are irrelevant? A person with a different attitude will react in a totally opposite if given this same situation."
He was still there listening carefully, but was not saying anything.
"I feel better now," said my neighbor as he left.
"Thank you for your story, sir. I hope our readers will feel the same way."
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