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5 Things That Changed My Way of Thinking From Traveling Across Europe

5 Things That Changed My Way of Thinking  From Traveling Across Europe

I had the amazing opportunity to travel through Europe this summer. It wasn’t the typical destinations either. It was in the Balkans where some countries are barely touched by tourism. I got a glimpse into how life should be embraced. People that dealt with the rise and fall of communism, then lived through a war and still live with landmines just off main roads. The atmosphere of the past only revealed itself from bombed buildings and abandoned homes with bullet holes. The people reflected something much more inspiring.

1. The Past Shouldn’t Dictate Your Right Now

In Bosnia, we drove for two hours and didn’t see a soul. The houses had seen bombs and bullets. They were being devoured by nature. However, when we arrived in a village, city or campsite, people were warm to me. They were full of life and laughter. Initially, they were always a bit reserved at first but became playful and open pretty quickly. They were very community oriented and laughed with each other. At night in the cities, they gathered in squares and socialized. Despite their tumultuous past of post-communism, war and now poverty, it was amazing to see that their spirit was so alive. Many of us are so much more fortunate. Live life with laughter and warmth.in your heart no matter what is happening.

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2. It’s Not What You Have But How You Feel

In some of the poorest countries in Europe, it seems even more important to have a Mercedes. I’ve never seen so many of them in my life while going through Albania, Bulgaria and Romania. Some people have to live in their car because they can’t afford anything else. The smiles I got usually came from the guy driving an old Trabant or a horse and buggy. Every culture is guilty of wanting things. It’s letting them define you where the problem lies. I witnessed the incredible power of being content with what you have. I saw unwavering happiness for life in those kind of people. Being grateful for whatever you have takes away the feeling of not having enough. You likely have much more than many.

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3. Being Self Sustainable

In the high hills and deep valleys of Montenegro, people still live off what they can grow or farm. While it may be hard work, the families were connected and the food, unbelievable. Fresh goat cheese, vegetables and farm fresh eggs. These hearty people of the villages knew how to treat ailments with natural plants in the area and didn’t rely on society. They were happy, healthy people. While it’s not possible for all of us to own goats and have a garden, supporting local farmers by purchasing their produce is a good option. You support sustainable practise while enjoying farm fresh goods.

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4. Keeping A Sense of Community

The Balkans showed me a side of humanity that melted my heart. The togetherness of families and friends lit up all surroundings. Their uninhibited laughter and how they adored one another was deeply touching. They welcomed me into their lives as though I was family. Having a community of people around you gives a sense of security and belonging in the world. Make the effort to stay close to your loved ones. Help each other and have get-togethers. This is truly a secret.to fulfillment.

5. Honouring Your Roots

Horse drawn buggies and shepherds tending their sheep is still a way of life in the Balkans. They were proud people that were excited.to tell you about the best parts of their country. They value their past and keep on with family tradition. Knowing your roots allows you to have an identity of yourself. This allows for greater conviction in your life. Decisions are easier and you’re secure. You also have a rich family history. Be proud of where you came from and carry on a small tradition. Something as small as using your grandma’s pie recipe can make you feel like you’re a larger part of something.

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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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