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Languages of Love Around the World

Languages of Love Around the World

We celebrate love all over the world; love is the only true universal language.

As Erich Fromm, a German social psychologist said, “Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence.”

Though not all countries celebrate Valentine’s Day, all over the world people show their love in different ways throughout the year.

Here are nine ways cultures around the world express love, and how you can learn to express your love in different ways, inspired by languages of love around the world.

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Send a love letter made out of beads like Zulu lovers in South Africa

In Zulu culture, colorful beads are used to communicate between young men and women, with different colored beads representing different feelings. For example red means anger and blue surrounded by yellow represents pining.

If a girl likes a boy, she can send him a love letter in beads, called ‘ucu’. After the two have been dating for a while, the boy can then ask the true meaning of the beads. To express your love through Zulu cultural traditions, make your loved one a beaded bracelet or necklace, and let them guess the meaning of the beads.

Have a month-long Valentine’s Day like the Japanese

In Japan, Valentine’s Day is spread out for a month. On February 14th, women will give homemade chocolates to the men in their lives, but will create a special ‘honmei-choco’ (prospective winner chocolate) for the object of their affection. One month later, the chosen man should give the woman his own chocolate gift in return, expressing his love.

Celebrate like the Japanese by spreading out the love for a whole month; you could make a batch of chocolates and give one to your lover every day, until the day he returns the favor.

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Celebrate Love Day with the birds in Romania

In Romania, Dragobete, or ‘Love Day’ is celebrated on February 24th, and is thought to be the day that birds get engaged, birds being the messengers of God. The name Dragonbete comes from a Romanian mythological character similar to that of Cupid, a celebrator of love. In nature, this date is around the time that birds begin to mate and build nests, so boys and girls celebrate this by exchanging gifts and chocolates.

Celebrate your love with the birds by swapping February 14th for February 24th.

Love your community as they do in Mexico

In Mexico, Valentine’s Day is more about celebrating love as a community, rather than the traditional one-on-one love. On February 14th, Mexicans have a holiday called El Dia del Amor y Amistad, where women bake for friends and neighbors, and men bring balloons and sweets.

Instead of having a one-on-one date, or being alone this Valentine’s Day, why don’t you invite your friends, family and neighbors around and hold a party to celebrate all of the people who are important in your life.

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Go after the first one you see like the Scottish

Some singletons in Scotland spend the day searching for their Valentine’s day date. How does this work? Well, the first man or woman spotted on the street by the person looking for a date becomes their Valentine for the day. Whether or not the unsuspecting object of affection wants to be their Valentine is up for question.

If you want to incorporate the Scottish tradition into your Valentine’s Day, you could use it as inspiration to meet someone special. Go up to the first person who takes your fancy and offer to buy them a drink; you never know where it could end!

Take part in China’s Qixi Festival

In China, they have their own version of Valentine’s Day, the Qixi Festival, which comes on the seventh day of the seventh month on the lunar calendar. It is a day in which the sense of union through working as a couple is celebrated, and it is an important day for weddings. In China, they are more likely to celebrate strong family ties rather than showing physical of verbal affection and the day praises the women’s roles as homemakers and wives.

Celebrate like the Chinese by spending the day doing an experience that you both enjoy and that strengthens your relationship, like a day trip or something adventurous, rather than spending money on gifts or chocolates.

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Celebrate Man’s Day and Woman’s Day with Iceland

Icelanders are more likely to celebrate Man’s Day and Woman’s Day, which falls on certain dates according to the old Icelandic calendar. On those days, food, gifts and displays of affection are exchanged on those days, similar to our Valentine’s Day.

On February 12th, the capital city of Iceland, Reykjavik celebrates ‘Museum Night’ where all the museums and music venues stay open until midnight.

Celebrate love like an Icelander with special days for each partner, and enjoy some culture by visiting a museum or seeing a live band together.

Decorate a spoon to signify unrequited love like the Welsh

In Wales, St. Dwynwen’s Day falls on January 25th. On this day Welsh men carve lovely, touching designs on wooden spoons and give them as gifts to the object of their affection as a sign of unrequited love. The idea harks back to ancient Welsh lore, celebrating love and affection. The story goes that Princess Dwynwen fell in love with Maelon, but they were not able to be together. Angry, the Princess fled to the woods and received a potion from faeries that turned Maelon into an eternal block of ice. That is a serious metaphor.

Give your loved one a decorated spoon this year, or, if you don’t fancy a spoon, use this Welsh tradition as an excuse to make your Valentine a homemade gift.

America and England

In the USA and England, Valentine’s Day is celebrated on February 14th and lovers and secret lovers give romantic gifts to the objects of their affection. Valentine’s Day gifts such as chocolates, jewelry, roses and teddy bears are the traditional gifts, though many people use this day to go on a date to a fancy restaurant. Children are encouraged to make Valentine’s cards and send them in secret.

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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