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This Is What Will Happen When You Start Practicing Chinese Calligraphy

This Is What Will Happen When You Start Practicing Chinese Calligraphy

Confucius regarded calligraphy as one of the six arts that any real gentlemen should possess.

Moreover, some people now disregard the importance of calligraphy as an integral part of the modern Chinese language. Others say it is merely a practice for old men. But this is unfair and unwise. Calligraphy, although considered to be dated in some circles, is about much more than simply passing the time.

There is no doubt that calligraphy is not easy. Non-native Chinese speakers will undoubtedly find it particularly challenging. After all, it is not just about the writing. The ink, the paper, the brushes and the mood all play an important role. Rather than being a simple exercise in ancient writing, practicing calligraphy today is, as Confucius says, an art form.

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Here are three things that will happen to you when you begin practicing Chinese calligraphy.

You Will Learn Patience

If you think that you know what it means to be patient then you have never tried to write in Chinese calligraphy.

Patience and perseverance are two of the most important aspects of learning calligraphy. This is because Chinese calligraphy is incredibly detail oriented. Even a stroke that moves in only slightly the wrong way can ruin an entire piece of work.

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Thus, when you are practicing calligraphy, you must be patient. Calligraphy is not an art to be rushed. In fact, it is one of the most relaxing things that you can practice. But in order for it to be relaxing, you have to be patient. When drawing calligraphy, mistakes are not an error. Mistakes are part of the journey.

You Will Become More Focused

Calligraphy requires a huge amount of focus. It is a very detail oriented practice. It requires all of your mind to engage with your drawings.

But this focus does not just require concentration on the task at hand. This is only half of the battle. Your focus must be restrained yet positive. It must be free of any negative thoughts in order for you to create a beautiful character.

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Your focus is your intention in Chinese calligraphy. If you go into it focused on mastering it for any reason other than to improve your body and mind, you will often find that you will lose your concentration, become frustrated and ultimately fail at the task.

You Will Understand the Beauty of Subtlety

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Many modern people only find things to be beautiful which are obviously attractive. Supermodels, the clean lines of modern design and exuberant sunsets all fit this description for most people. This is why many animators looking for a college for animators, seek out calligraphy as a way of supplementing their drawing skills.

But beauty is not just in the overall picture. In Chinese calligraphy, beauty can be found in only the tiniest details of the character. It might be the smallest brush stroke in one part of the character that makes it completely unique and beautiful.

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When you practice calligraphy, you will learn how to recognize beauty in not only the big things but the tiniest details as well. This outlook will change the way you view yourself and the world around you. Chinese calligraphy can transform your world into a beautiful place without you ever having to leave your home.

Chinese calligraphy is not a hobby. It is also not a practice only for sages or old men. Everyone can benefit from learning and practicing Chinese calligraphy, even if you don’t know Chinese.

Some people say that Chinese calligraphists enjoy the gift of a long life. But in order to enjoy a long life, you need to understand patience, focus and beauty. Without these things, life is ordinary and boring. But with Chinese calligraphy, your entire world can change.

Featured photo credit: Axel Rouvin via flickr.com

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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