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Love and Gifts
A few years ago, Christmas used to be a time of suffering for me. As soon as the festive music started to be played, my stomach would become uncomfortable and my whole body felt uneasy.

After carefully reviewing the possible causes, I found the act of buying gifts to be the main reason. The whole thing was a heavy load in terms of energy, time and especially money.

When Christmas started, I was still paying the credit card expenses for the previous one. I noted how the kids would condition their happiness by the amount and type of presents they got. I noticed how excited they were with one gift, which they set aside after a few seconds of joy, to wait anxiously for the next one.

I thought it was teaching them to be always unsatisfied. I could not help but compare that with what we do as grown-ups; we’re always waiting for something else that will make us happy. We involuntarily harm our kids by conditioning their happiness with receiving presents.

I also noted the disappointment when someone showed up at a celebration without a present. (That was usually me.) I made the firm decision not to buy a gift when it was expected. I sent the family a message explaining my decision and asking them not to invite me to any event if a present was expected.

Here is the message:

My Declaration of Independence

Starting today, I declare myself free from the slavery of buying presents!

I will not buy gifts anymore under certain circumstances and will not accept them either. Last week, I had to throw out (or donate) a box full of presents that were given to me by friends and family and felt horribly. I know they were bought with love and good intentions in mind because that is the way we were raised (misguided?), but the truth is, the same will most likely happen to the majority of presents we buy. At the same time, we are acquiring debt and wasting our money to satisfy a “need” that was created to make a few rich.

Therefore, starting today, please don’t invite me to any event if you expect me to bring a present. If you want to share an special moment, I would feel honoured and wouldn’t miss it, but not with presents!!! I will bring wine and food to share, but not gifts. (I will not buy food for a 250-guest wedding either.)

For a few years, I have been doing it already while trying to convince you to do the same, but today it is official.

I will not attend weddings if I am asked for money or given a gift registry. Same applies to baby showers, bachelor’s parties, births, birthdays, promotions, graduations. I will attend housewarming parties to warm up places with love and affection, not to equip them with material possessions.

I will not buy presents for Christmas, birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Secretary’s Day or to celebrate the tall women or short men or farewells or nothing. I say no to presents as an obligation.

I suggest you think about doing the same. If any of you genuinely has extra money and/or feels compelled to spend it, give to a charity in the name of the celebrated person. It is sad to see so many in need while we are in this compulsive race to spend.

We have all been inducted into the habit of spending hours shopping for material things to show our love/appreciation in dozens of “celebrations.” This is a manipulative action created to keep us feeding the big commercial monster and making the banks and merchants more money.

This is not to promote cheapness or lack of affection demonstrations; it is simply an invitation to expend our money with a clear mind. It is a game too stressing and expensive to which we should put a stop; at least I did already.

Let’s have coffee, lunch or dinner, go on vacation, let’s have fun … instead of keep wasting our well-earned money while making a few richer.

A big hug (free)
Guillermo

It must be clarified that I often buy things for people I love, but I don’t put them in fancy packaging; nor do I give them as presents. And it is only when I feel like it spontaneously. My problem is not with the gifts; it is with the obligation they have become—not to mention the harm to the planet with the always increasing amount of garbage.

Next, I include a letter I sent a cousin of mine for her wedding, which may explain better some of the concepts.

Dear Cousin,
[Here I could have said, “Dear Robert” and stated that it is a fictitious name, as good writers do, but I am not that good of a writer, and my cousin is a girl.]

Now that you are getting married, there is something you may be interested in knowing: after getting married at 24, profoundly in love, having had a beautiful family with two daughters and having remained married for 24 years,

After believing marriage was for a lifetime and finding out it was not,
After having been through significant changes in my opinions, taste of life and standpoints,
After having decided not to live permanently with anybody else anymore, and after two years finding myself living with a beautiful, loving and sweet younger woman whom I met by accident,
After having sworn not to be married again (who can do that twice?) and ending up marrying this sweet woman four years ago,
After having firmly decided not to have more kids (had enough) … and now about to be a father again at 53!
After having been through all possible life crises, the “too-young husband,” “too-young father,” “the divorcé,” “the 20-year, 30-year, 40-year, 50-year itch” and now heading to the itchiness of the sixties,
After believing I knew all the answers and finding out I had no clue,
After starting, in my fifties, to finally understand things I never realized!
After living all this, I am going to tell you what I have learned about life, which knowledge has brought me to have a happy and plentiful life today.
• You are the most important person in your life. You cannot make anybody happy if you are not. It is impossible to satisfy anyone if we are not. We cannot help anybody grow as a person if we are not in the process ourselves.
• Human beings are individual entities in essence and should preserve that, even while living in harmony with others. The potential and richness of the self are marvelous and endless.
• Life as a couple is more pleasant if individuality is preserved.
• Sharing with our spouse every thought that crosses our minds is a big mistake.
• If we are able to enjoy our alone time as much or more than we do time in the company of our beloved people, we are on the right path.
• Everything we have in life is temporary. Everything changes inevitably. We expend our lives suffering, trying to attain things (material possessions, relationships, work, stability, acknowledgment, health, etc.). After getting them, we suffer trying to keep them. If we do not get them, we keep suffering. And all this suffering is in vain because we will lose them sooner or later. When we understand this and enjoy the present moment immensely without worrying about the future, life can be permanently splendid and rewarding.
• The “better half” does not exist; good couples are not “made for each other”; no one completes anybody (each one of us is born complete). The differences with your significant other are your best opportunity to grow. Some people come into our lives to enrich it; with them, we share some goals, and at some point in our lives, we see them as ideal. When we change (because we all do), sometimes we mutually adjust, and the relationship grows along with us. In some cases, we grow in opposite directions. Sometimes, we are directly responsible; sometimes, we can have some influence; and other times, it is entirely beyond our control. That is the nature of life. The “negative “experiences in life are a failure only if we do not learn anything from them.
• Passion (in all aspects of life) is misguiding. It clouds our judgment and causes pain, jealousy, doubts, disappointment and anxiety. Passion makes us see things that are not real and blinds us to others that are important. True love is calm, quiet and generous.
• If a relationship is causing pain and anxiety, it must change or end—and soon.
• Healthy love is only possible in complete freedom. Happiness is only possible in total freedom.
• Your decisions are more satisfying and useful if, at the moment of deciding, you were entirely free to make a different choice (opposite). What is the point of your significant other staying with you only because he has no other options?
• Your relationship gets stronger when your beloved faces temptation and decides not to succumb to it and stay with you because of love—and vice versa.
• Our future depends mostly on the decisions of today.
• Each act has a consequence, good or bad, depending on how accurate our choices are.
• No one pushes us to do anything; nobody forces us to do anything. When we act in one way or another, it is our individual decision. And there is always a choice!
• When our acts produce bad results and we use someone else’s actions as justification, that is an excuse. Of course, there are also valid explanations for events. The difference between an excuse and an explanation is that we use excuses after reprehensible acts, when we break a promise or fail a commitment. Explanations can only be used when our decisions are taken in freedom and respecting the rights of all people involved.
• Avoid people who are whiny, negative, manipulative, gossipy, scheming, aggressive … They pose a threat to your happiness. Sometimes these people are part of our family and are difficult to avoid. It is essential to identify the nature and origin of these attitudes so that they do not harm us. It is also important to let them know how we feel about their acts; more important, do not retaliate or use the same actions with others. In some cases, they are not aware of their wrongdoing and will deny it fervently. They are merely repeating behaviour they learned when little.
• Simple things produce a longer-lasting pleasure; it is calmer and without significant commitments.
• Our goal should be to lead a simple life. Simple people are happy and kind. Do you know a simple and humble person who is bad? (I am not talking about poverty but simplicity.)
• The more material possessions we have, the less we can move around, be objective and—paradoxically—be grateful for it. Some of the biggest pleasures of life are free and don’t demand a significant effort. (The explanation to this last sentence was deleted by censorship)
• Our romLove and Gifts
A few years ago, Christmas used to be a time of suffering for me. As soon as the festive music started to be played, my stomach would become uncomfortable and my whole body felt uneasy.

After carefully reviewing the possible causes, I found the act of buying gifts to be the main reason. The whole thing was a heavy load in terms of energy, time and especially money.

When Christmas started, I was still paying the credit card expenses for the previous one. I noted how the kids would condition their happiness by the amount and type of presents they got. I noticed how excited they were with one gift, which they set aside after a few seconds of joy, to wait anxiously for the next one.

I thought it was teaching them to be always unsatisfied. I could not help but compare that with what we do as grown-ups; we’re always waiting for something else that will make us happy. We involuntarily harm our kids by conditioning their happiness with receiving presents.

I also noted the disappointment when someone showed up at a celebration without a present. (That was usually me.) I made the firm decision not to buy a gift when it was expected. I sent the family a message explaining my decision and asking them not to invite me to any event if a present was expected.

Here is the message:

My Declaration of Independence

Starting today, I declare myself free from the slavery of buying presents!

I will not buy gifts anymore under certain circumstances and will not accept them either. Last week, I had to throw out (or donate) a box full of presents that were given to me by friends and family and felt horribly. I know they were bought with love and good intentions in mind because that is the way we were raised (misguided?), but the truth is, the same will most likely happen to the majority of presents we buy. At the same time, we are acquiring debt and wasting our money to satisfy a “need” that was created to make a few rich.

Therefore, starting today, please don’t invite me to any event if you expect me to bring a present. If you want to share an special moment, I would feel honoured and wouldn’t miss it, but not with presents!!! I will bring wine and food to share, but not gifts. (I will not buy food for a 250-guest wedding either.)

For a few years, I have been doing it already while trying to convince you to do the same, but today it is official.

I will not attend weddings if I am asked for money or given a gift registry. Same applies to baby showers, bachelor’s parties, births, birthdays, promotions, graduations. I will attend housewarming parties to warm up places with love and affection, not to equip them with material possessions.

I will not buy presents for Christmas, birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Secretary’s Day or to celebrate the tall women or short men or farewells or nothing. I say no to presents as an obligation.

I suggest you think about doing the same. If any of you genuinely has extra money and/or feels compelled to spend it, give to a charity in the name of the celebrated person. It is sad to see so many in need while we are in this compulsive race to spend.

We have all been inducted into the habit of spending hours shopping for material things to show our love/appreciation in dozens of “celebrations.” This is a manipulative action created to keep us feeding the big commercial monster and making the banks and merchants more money.

This is not to promote cheapness or lack of affection demonstrations; it is simply an invitation to expend our money with a clear mind. It is a game too stressing and expensive to which we should put a stop; at least I did already.

Let’s have coffee, lunch or dinner, go on vacation, let’s have fun … instead of keep wasting our well-earned money while making a few richer.

A big hug (free)
Guillermo

It must be clarified that I often buy things for people I love, but I don’t put them in fancy packaging; nor do I give them as presents. And it is only when I feel like it spontaneously. My problem is not with the gifts; it is with the obligation they have become—not to mention the harm to the planet with the always increasing amount of garbage.

Next, I include a letter I sent a cousin of mine for her wedding, which may explain better some of the concepts.

Dear Cousin,
[Here I could have said, “Dear Robert” and stated that it is a fictitious name, as good writers do, but I am not that good of a writer, and my cousin is a girl.]

Now that you are getting married, there is something you may be interested in knowing: after getting married at 24, profoundly in love, having had a beautiful family with two daughters and having remained married for 24 years,

After believing marriage was for a lifetime and finding out it was not,
After having been through significant changes in my opinions, taste of life and standpoints,
After having decided not to live permanently with anybody else anymore, and after two years finding myself living with a beautiful, loving and sweet younger woman whom I met by accident,
After having sworn not to be married again (who can do that twice?) and ending up marrying this sweet woman four years ago,
After having firmly decided not to have more kids (had enough) … and now about to be a father again at 53!
After having been through all possible life crises, the “too-young husband,” “too-young father,” “the divorcé,” “the 20-year, 30-year, 40-year, 50-year itch” and now heading to the itchiness of the sixties,
After believing I knew all the answers and finding out I had no clue,
After starting, in my fifties, to finally understand things I never realized!
After living all this, I am going to tell you what I have learned about life, which knowledge has brought me to have a happy and plentiful life today.
• You are the most important person in your life. You cannot make anybody happy if you are not. It is impossible to satisfy anyone if we are not. We cannot help anybody grow as a person if we are not in the process ourselves.
• Human beings are individual entities in essence and should preserve that, even while living in harmony with others. The potential and richness of the self are marvelous and endless.
• Life as a couple is more pleasant if individuality is preserved.
• Sharing with our spouse every thought that crosses our minds is a big mistake.
• If we are able to enjoy our alone time as much or more than we do time in the company of our beloved people, we are on the right path.
• Everything we have in life is temporary. Everything changes inevitably. We expend our lives suffering, trying to attain things (material possessions, relationships, work, stability, acknowledgment, health, etc.). After getting them, we suffer trying to keep them. If we do not get them, we keep suffering. And all this suffering is in vain because we will lose them sooner or later. When we understand this and enjoy the present moment immensely without worrying about the future, life can be permanently splendid and rewarding.
• The “better half” does not exist; good couples are not “made for each other”; no one completes anybody (each one of us is born complete). The differences with your significant other are your best opportunity to grow. Some people come into our lives to enrich it; with them, we share some goals, and at some point in our lives, we see them as ideal. When we change (because we all do), sometimes we mutually adjust, and the relationship grows along with us. In some cases, we grow in opposite directions. Sometimes, we are directly responsible; sometimes, we can have some influence; and other times, it is entirely beyond our control. That is the nature of life. The “negative “experiences in life are a failure only if we do not learn anything from them.
• Passion (in all aspects of life) is misguiding. It clouds our judgment and causes pain, jealousy, doubts, disappointment and anxiety. Passion makes us see things that are not real and blinds us to others that are important. True love is calm, quiet and generous.
• If a relationship is causing pain and anxiety, it must change or end—and soon.
• Healthy love is only possible in complete freedom. Happiness is only possible in total freedom.
• Your decisions are more satisfying and useful if, at the moment of deciding, you were entirely free to make a different choice (opposite). What is the point of your significant other staying with you only because he has no other options?
• Your relationship gets stronger when your beloved faces temptation and decides not to succumb to it and stay with you because of love—and vice versa.
• Our future depends mostly on the decisions of today.
• Each act has a consequence, good or bad, depending on how accurate our choices are.
• No one pushes us to do anything; nobody forces us to do anything. When we act in one way or another, it is our individual decision. And there is always a choice!
• When our acts produce bad results and we use someone else’s actions as justification, that is an excuse. Of course, there are also valid explanations for events. The difference between an excuse and an explanation is that we use excuses after reprehensible acts, when we break a promise or fail a commitment. Explanations can only be used when our decisions are taken in freedom and respecting the rights of all people involved.
• Avoid people who are whiny, negative, manipulative, gossipy, scheming, aggressive … They pose a threat to your happiness. Sometimes these people are part of our family and are difficult to avoid. It is essential to identify the nature and origin of these attitudes so that they do not harm us. It is also important to let them know how we feel about their acts; more important, do not retaliate or use the same actions with others. In some cases, they are not aware of their wrongdoing and will deny it fervently. They are merely repeating behaviour they learned when little.
• Simple things produce a longer-lasting pleasure; it is calmer and without significant commitments.
• Our goal should be to lead a simple life. Simple people are happy and kind. Do you know a simple and humble person who is bad? (I am not talking about poverty but simplicity.)
• The more material possessions we have, the less we can move around, be objective and—paradoxically—be grateful for it. Some of the biggest pleasures of life are free and don’t demand a significant effort. (The explanation to this last sentence was deleted by censorship)
• Our romantic relationship must be calm and serene. We should feel pleasure when looking at the person we love (this is not always possible, like when having a fight, but it could be our goal). When fighting, people truly show what they are. In the middle of an anger burst, your acts prove how far you can really go and what there is deep inside.
• If we smile and feel tenderness while thinking on the person we love, we are on the right path. This is not easy to maintain; it requires patience, perseverance and practice. It is like keeping a good posture. It is relatively easy to stand straight at the beginning of an event, but after a few hours, we can tell who is in good shape, slept well, exercises regularly and lives a healthy life.

A few years ago, as part of a new “philosophy” of life, I decided not to show my love with material gifts anymore. We have been manipulated with this practice for too long, and I refuse to perpetuate it. Going to a store and buying an appliance, a jewel, or a shirt is undoubtedly a fast and easy way of getting out of the commitment; at the same time, we are making a few wealthy and spending our well-earned money.

Plus, we all have several items we do not use. They were given to us as presents, and because of that, we keep them even though they are useless.

The compulsive and forced gift giving has become a heavy burden. I personally feel more satisfied with the time spent thinking of you and writing this note than if I had bought you yet another blender!

Please do not show this note to those who gave you blenders.
I wish that you two grow together and are very happy!
relationship must be calm and serene. We should feel pleasure when looking at the person we love (this is not always possible, like when having a fight, but it could be our goal). When fighting, people truly show what they are. In the middle of an anger burst, your acts prove how far you can really goLove and Gifts
A few years ago, Christmas used to be a time of suffering for me. As soon as the festive music started to be played, my stomach would become uncomfortable and my whole body felt uneasy.

After carefully reviewing the possible causes, I found the act of buying gifts to be the main reason. The whole thing was a heavy load in terms of energy, time and especially money.

When Christmas started, I was still paying the credit card expenses for the previous one. I noted how the kids would condition their happiness by the amount and type of presents they got. I noticed how excited they were with one gift, which they set aside after a few seconds of joy, to wait anxiously for the next one.

I thought it was teaching them to be always unsatisfied. I could not help but compare that with what we do as grown-ups; we’re always waiting for something else that will make us happy. We involuntarily harm our kids by conditioning their happiness with receiving presents.

I also noted the disappointment when someone showed up at a celebration without a present. (That was usually me.) I made the firm decision not to buy a gift when it was expected. I sent the family a message explaining my decision and asking them not to invite me to any event if a present was expected.

Here is the message:

My Declaration of Independence

Starting today, I declare myself free from the slavery of buying presents!

I will not buy gifts anymore under certain circumstances and will not accept them either. Last week, I had to throw out (or donate) a box full of presents that were given to me by friends and family and felt horribly. I know they were bought with love and good intentions in mind because that is the way we were raised (misguided?), but the truth is, the same will most likely happen to the majority of presents we buy. At the same time, we are acquiring debt and wasting our money to satisfy a “need” that was created to make a few rich.

Therefore, starting today, please don’t invite me to any event if you expect me to bring a present. If you want to share an special moment, I would feel honoured and wouldn’t miss it, but not with presents!!! I will bring wine and food to share, but not gifts. (I will not buy food for a 250-guest wedding either.)

For a few years, I have been doing it already while trying to convince you to do the same, but today it is official.

I will not attend weddings if I am asked for money or given a gift registry. Same applies to baby showers, bachelor’s parties, births, birthdays, promotions, graduations. I will attend housewarming parties to warm up places with love and affection, not to equip them with material possessions.

I will not buy presents for Christmas, birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Secretary’s Day or to celebrate the tall women or short men or farewells or nothing. I say no to presents as an obligation.

I suggest you think about doing the same. If any of you genuinely has extra money and/or feels compelled to spend it, give to a charity in the name of the celebrated person. It is sad to see so many in need while we are in this compulsive race to spend.

We have all been inducted into the habit of spending hours shopping for material things to show our love/appreciation in dozens of “celebrations.” This is a manipulative action created to keep us feeding the big commercial monster and making the banks and merchants more money.

This is not to promote cheapness or lack of affection demonstrations; it is simply an invitation to expend our money with a clear mind. It is a game too stressing and expensive to which we should put a stop; at least I did already.

Let’s have coffee, lunch or dinner, go on vacation, let’s have fun … instead of keep wasting our well-earned money while making a few richer.

A big hug (free)
Guillermo

It must be clarified that I often buy things for people I love, but I don’t put them in fancy packaging; nor do I give them as presents. And it is only when I feel like it spontaneously. My problem is not with the gifts; it is with the obligation they have become—not to mention the harm to the planet with the always increasing amount of garbage.

Next, I include a letter I sent a cousin of mine for her wedding, which may explain better some of the concepts.

Dear Cousin,
[Here I could have said, “Dear Robert” and stated that it is a fictitious name, as good writers do, but I am not that good of a writer, and my cousin is a girl.]

Now that you are getting married, there is something you may be interested in knowing: after getting married at 24, profoundly in love, having had a beautiful family with two daughters and having remained married for 24 years,

After believing marriage was for a lifetime and finding out it was not,
After having been through significant changes in my opinions, taste of life and standpoints,
After having decided not to live permanently with anybody else anymore, and after two years finding myself living with a beautiful, loving and sweet younger woman whom I met by accident,
After having sworn not to be married again (who can do that twice?) and ending up marrying this sweet woman four years ago,
After having firmly decided not to have more kids (had enough) … and now about to be a father again at 53!
After having been through all possible life crises, the “too-young husband,” “too-young father,” “the divorcé,” “the 20-year, 30-year, 40-year, 50-year itch” and now heading to the itchiness of the sixties,
After believing I knew all the answers and finding out I had no clue,
After starting, in my fifties, to finally understand things I never realized!
After living all this, I am going to tell you what I have learned about life, which knowledge has brought me to have a happy and plentiful life today.
• You are the most important person in your life. You cannot make anybody happy if you are not. It is impossible to satisfy anyone if we are not. We cannot help anybody grow as a person if we are not in the process ourselves.
• Human beings are individual entities in essence and should preserve that, even while living in harmony with others. The potential and richness of the self are marvelous and endless.
• Life as a couple is more pleasant if individuality is preserved.
• Sharing with our spouse every thought that crosses our minds is a big mistake.
• If we are able to enjoy our alone time as much or more than we do time in the company of our beloved people, we are on the right path.
• Everything we have in life is temporary. Everything changes inevitably. We expend our lives suffering, trying to attain things (material possessions, relationships, work, stability, acknowledgment, health, etc.). After getting them, we suffer trying to keep them. If we do not get them, we keep suffering. And all this suffering is in vain because we will lose them sooner or later. When we understand this and enjoy the present moment immensely without worrying about the future, life can be permanently splendid and rewarding.
• The “better half” does not exist; good couples are not “made for each other”; no one completes anybody (each one of us is born complete). The differences with your significant other are your best opportunity to grow. Some people come into our lives to enrich it; with them, we share some goals, and at some point in our lives, we see them as ideal. When we change (because we all do), sometimes we mutually adjust, and the relationship grows along with us. In some cases, we grow in opposite directions. Sometimes, we are directly responsible; sometimes, we can have some influence; and other times, it is entirely beyond our control. That is the nature of life. The “negative “experiences in life are a failure only if we do not learn anything from them.
• Passion (in all aspects of life) is misguiding. It clouds our judgment and causes pain, jealousy, doubts, disappointment and anxiety. Passion makes us see things that are not real and blinds us to others that are important. True love is calm, quiet and generous.
• If a relationship is causing pain and anxiety, it must change or end—and soon.
• Healthy love is only possible in complete freedom. Happiness is only possible in total freedom.
• Your decisions are more satisfying and useful if, at the moment of deciding, you were entirely free to make a different choice (opposite). What is the point of your significant other staying with you only because he has no other options?
• Your relationship gets stronger when your beloved faces temptation and decides not to succumb to it and stay with you because of love—and vice versa.
• Our future depends mostly on the decisions of today.
• Each act has a consequence, good or bad, depending on how accurate our choices are.
• No one pushes us to do anything; nobody forces us to do anything. When we act in one way or another, it is our individual decision. And there is always a choice!
• When our acts produce bad results and we use someone else’s actions as justification, that is an excuse. Of course, there are also valid explanations for events. The difference between an excuse and an explanation is that we use excuses after reprehensible acts, when we break a promise or fail a commitment. Explanations can only be used when our decisions are taken in freedom and respecting the rights of all people involved.
• Avoid people who are whiny, negative, manipulative, gossipy, scheming, aggressive … They pose a threat to your happiness. Sometimes these people are part of our family and are difficult to avoid. It is essential to identify the nature and origin of these attitudes so that they do not harm us. It is also important to let them know how we feel about their acts; more important, do not retaliate or use the same actions with others. In some cases, they are not aware of their wrongdoing and will deny it fervently. They are merely repeating behaviour they learned when little.
• Simple things produce a longer-lasting pleasure; it is calmer and without significant commitments.
• Our goal should be to lead a simple life. Simple people are happy and kind. Do you know a simple and humble person who is bad? (I am not talking about poverty but simplicity.)
• The more material possessions we have, the less we can move around, be objective and—paradoxically—be grateful for it. Some of the biggest pleasures of life are free and don’t demand a significant effort. (The explanation to this last sentence was deleted by censorship)
• Our romantic relationship must be calm and serene. We should feel pleasure when looking at the person we love (this is not always possible, like when having a fight, but it could be our goal). When fighting, people truly show what they are. In the middle of an anger burst, your acts prove how far you can really go and what there is deep inside.
• If we smile and feel tenderness while thinking on the person we love, we are on the right path. This is not easy to maintain; it requires patience, perseverance and practice. It is like keeping a good posture. It is relatively easy to stand straight at the beginning of an event, but after a few hours, we can tell who is in good shape, slept well, exercises regularly and lives a healthy life.

A few years ago, as part of a new “philosophy” of life, I decided not to show my love with material gifts anymore. We have been manipulated with this practice for too long, and I refuse to perpetuate it. Going to a store and buying an appliance, a jewel, or a shirt is undoubtedly a fast and easy way of getting out of the commitment; at the same time, we are making a few wealthy and spending our well-earned money.

Plus, we all have several items we do not use. They were given to us as presents, and because of that, we keep them even though they are useless.

The compulsive and forced gift giving has become a heavy burden. I personally feel more satisfied with the time spent thinking of you and writing this note than if I had bought you yet another blender!

Please do not show this note to those who gave you blenders.
I wish that you two grow together and are very happy!Love and Gifts
A few years ago, Christmas used to be a time of suffering for me. As soon as the festive music started to be played, my stomach would become uncomfortable and my whole body felt uneasy.

After carefully reviewing the possible causes, I found the act of buying gifts to be the main reason. The whole thing was a heavy load in terms of energy, time and especially money.

When Christmas started, I was still paying the credit card expenses for the previous one. I noted how the kids would condition their happiness by the amount and type of presents they got. I noticed how excited they were with one gift, which they set aside after a few seconds of joy, to wait anxiously for the next one.

I thought it was teaching them to be always unsatisfied. I could not help but compare that with what we do as grown-ups; we’re always waiting for something else that will make us happy. We involuntarily harm our kids by conditioning their happiness with receiving presents.

I also noted the disappointment when someone showed up at a celebration without a present. (That was usually me.) I made the firm decision not to buy a gift when it was expected. I sent the family a message explaining my decision and asking them not to invite me to any event if a present was expected.

Here is the message:

My Declaration of Independence

Starting today, I declare myself free from the slavery of buying presents!

I will not buy gifts anymore under certain circumstances and will not accept them either. Last week, I had to throw out (or donate) a box full of presents that were given to me by friends and family and felt horribly. I know they were bought with love and good intentions in mind because that is the way we were raised (misguided?), but the truth is, the same will most likely happen to the majority of presents we buy. At the same time, we are acquiring debt and wasting our money to satisfy a “need” that was created to make a few rich.

Therefore, starting today, please don’t invite me to any event if you expect me to bring a present. If you want to share an special moment, I would feel honoured and wouldn’t miss it, but not with presents!!! I will bring wine and food to share, but not gifts. (I will not buy food for a 250-guest wedding either.)

For a few years, I have been doing it already while trying to convince you to do the same, but today it is official.

I will not attend weddings if I am asked for money or given a gift registry. Same applies to baby showers, bachelor’s parties, births, birthdays, promotions, graduations. I will attend housewarming parties to warm up places with love and affection, not to equip them with material possessions.

I will not buy presents for Christmas, birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Secretary’s Day or to celebrate the tall women or short men or farewells or nothing. I say no to presents as an obligation.

I suggest you think about doing the same. If any of you genuinely has extra money and/or feels compelled to spend it, give to a charity in the name of the celebrated person. It is sad to see so many in need while we are in this compulsive race to spend.

We have all been inducted into the habit of spending hours shopping for material things to show our love/appreciation in dozens of “celebrations.” This is a manipulative action created to keep us feeding the big commercial monster and making the banks and merchants more money.

This is not to promote cheapness or lack of affection demonstrations; it is simply an invitation to expend our money with a clear mind. It is a game too stressing and expensive to which we should put a stop; at least I did already.

Let’s have coffee, lunch or dinner, go on vacation, let’s have fun … instead of keep wasting our well-earned money while making a few richer.

A big hug (free)
Guillermo

It must be clarified that I often buy things for people I love, but I don’t put them in fancy packaging; nor do I give them as presents. And it is only when I feel like it spontaneously. My problem is not with the gifts; it is with the obligation they have become—not to mention the harm to the planet with the always increasing amount of garbage.

Next, I include a letter I sent a cousin of mine for her wedding, which may explain better some of the concepts.

Dear Cousin,
[Here I could have said, “Dear Robert” and stated that it is a fictitious name, as good writers do, but I am not that good of a writer, and my cousin is a girl.]

Now that you are getting married, there is something you may be interested in knowing: after getting married at 24, profoundly in love, having had a beautiful family with two daughters and having remained married for 24 years,

After believing marriage was for a lifetime and finding out it was not,
After having been through significant changes in my opinions, taste of life and standpoints,
After having decided not to live permanently with anybody else anymore, and after two years finding myself living with a beautiful, loving and sweet younger woman whom I met by accident,
After having sworn not to be married again (who can do that twice?) and ending up marrying this sweet woman four years ago,
After having firmly decided not to have more kids (had enough) … and now about to be a father again at 53!
After having been through all possible life crises, the “too-young husband,” “too-young father,” “the divorcé,” “the 20-year, 30-year, 40-year, 50-year itch” and now heading to the itchiness of the sixties,
After believing I knew all the answers and finding out I had no clue,
After starting, in my fifties, to finally understand things I never realized!
After living all this, I am going to tell you what I have learned about life, which knowledge has brought me to have a happy and plentiful life today.
• You are the most important person in your life. You cannot make anybody happy if you are not. It is impossible to satisfy anyone if we are not. We cannot help anybody grow as a person if we are not in the process ourselves.
• Human beings are individual entities in essence and should preserve that, even while living in harmony with others. The potential and richness of the self are marvelous and endless.
• Life as a couple is more pleasant if individuality is preserved.
• Sharing with our spouse every thought that crosses our minds is a big mistake.
• If we are able to enjoy our alone time as much or more than we do time in the company of our beloved people, we are on the right path.
• Everything we have in life is temporary. Everything changes inevitably. We expend our lives suffering, trying to attain things (material possessions, relationships, work, stability, acknowledgment, health, etc.). After getting them, we suffer trying to keep them. If we do not get them, we keep suffering. And all this suffering is in vain because we will lose them sooner or later. When we understand this and enjoy the present moment immensely without worrying about the future, life can be permanently splendid and rewarding.
• The “better half” does not exist; good couples are not “made for each other”; no one completes anybody (each one of us is born complete). The differences with your significant other are your best opportunity to grow. Some people come into our lives to enrich it; with them, we share some goals, and at some point in our lives, we see them as ideal. When we change (because we all do), sometimes we mutually adjust, and the relationship grows along with us. In some cases, we grow in opposite directions. Sometimes, we are directly responsible; sometimes, we can have some influence; and other times, it is entirely beyond our control. That is the nature of life. The “negative “experiences in life are a failure only if we do not learn anything from them.
• Passion (in all aspects of life) is misguiding. It clouds our judgment and causes pain, jealousy, doubts, disappointment and anxiety. Passion makes us see things that are not real and blinds us to others that are important. True love is calm, quiet and generous.
• If a relationship is causing pain and anxiety, it must change or end—and soon.
• Healthy love is only possible in complete freedom. Happiness is only possible in total freedom.
• Your decisions are more satisfying and useful if, at the moment of deciding, you were entirely free to make a different choice (opposite). What is the point of your significant other staying with you only because he has no other options?
• Your relationship gets stronger when your beloved faces temptation and decides not to succumb to it and stay with you because of love—and vice versa.
• Our future depends mostly on the decisions of today.
• Each act has a consequence, good or bad, depending on how accurate our choices are.
• No one pushes us to do anything; nobody forces us to do anything. When we act in one way or another, it is our individual decision. And there is always a choice!
• When our acts produce bad results and we use someone else’s actions as justification, that is an excuse. Of course, there are also valid explanations for events. The difference between an excuse and an explanation is that we use excuses after reprehensible acts, when we break a promise or fail a commitment. Explanations can only be used when our decisions are taken in freedom and respecting the rights of all people involved.
• Avoid people who are whiny, negative, manipulative, gossipy, scheming, aggressive … They pose a threat to your happiness. Sometimes these people are part of our family and are difficult to avoid. It is essential to identify the nature and origin of these attitudes so that they do not harm us. It is also important to let them know how we feel about their acts; more important, do not retaliate or use the same actions with others. In some cases, they are not aware of their wrongdoing and will deny it fervently. They are merely repeating behaviour they learned when little.
• Simple things produce a longer-lasting pleasure; it is calmer and without significant commitments.
• Our goal should be to lead a simple life. Simple people are happy and kind. Do you know a simple and humble person who is bad? (I am not talking about poverty but simplicity.)
• The more material possessions we have, the less we can move around, be objective and—paradoxically—be grateful for it. Some of the biggest pleasures of life are free and don’t demand a significant effort. (The explanation to this last sentence was deleted by censorship)
• Our romantic relationship must be calm and serene. We should feel pleasure when looking at the person we love (this is not always possible, like when having a fight, but it could be our goal). When fighting, people truly show what they are. In the middle of an anger burst, your acts prove how far you can really go and what there is deep inside.
• If we smile and feel tenderness while thinking on the person we love, we are on the right path. This is not easy to maintain; it requires patience, perseverance and practice. It is like keeping a good posture. It is relatively easy to stand straight at the beginning of an event, but after a few hours, we can tell who is in good shape, slept well, exercises regularly and lives a healthy life.

A few years ago, as part of a new “philosophy” of life, I decided not to show my love with material gifts anymore. We have been manipulated with this practice for too long, and I refuse to perpetuate it. Going to a store and buying an appliance, a jewel, or a shirt is undoubtedly a fast and easy way of getting out of the commitment; at the same time, we are making a few wealthy and spending our well-earned money.

Plus, we all have several items we do not use. They were given to us as presents, and because of that, we keep them even though they are useless.

The compulsive and forced gift giving has become a heavy burden. I personally feel more satisfied with the time spent thinking of you and writing this note than if I had bought you yet another blender!

Please do not show this note to those who gave you blenders.
I wish that you two grow together and are very happy!
Love and Gifts
A few years ago, Christmas used to be a time of suffering for me. As soon as the festive music started to be played, my stomach would become uncomfortable and my whole body felt uneasy.

After carefully reviewing the possible causes, I found the act of buying gifts to be the main reason. The whole thing was a heavy load in terms of energy, time and especially money.

When Christmas started, I was still paying the credit card expenses for the previous one. I noted how the kids would condition their happiness by the amount and type of presents they got. I noticed how excited they were with one gift, which they set aside after a few seconds of joy, to wait anxiously for the next one.

I thought it was teaching them to be always unsatisfied. I could not help but compare that with what we do as grown-ups; we’re always waiting for something else that will make us happy. We involuntarily harm our kids by conditioning their happiness with receiving presents.

I also noted the disappointment when someone showed up at a celebration without a present. (That was usually me.) I made the firm decision not to buy a gift when it was expected. I sent the family a message explaining my decision and asking them not to invite me to any event if a present was expected.

Here is the message:

My Declaration of Independence

Starting today, I declare myself free from the slavery of buying presents!

I will not buy gifts anymore under certain circumstances and will not accept them either. Last week, I had to throw out (or donate) a box full of presents that were given to me by friends and family and felt horribly. I know they were bought with love and good intentions in mind because that is the way we were raised (misguided?), but the truth is, the same will most likely happen to the majority of presents we buy. At the same time, we are acquiring debt and wasting our money to satisfy a “need” that was created to make a few rich.

Therefore, starting today, please don’t invite me to any event if you expect me to bring a present. If you want to share an special moment, I would feel honoured and wouldn’t miss it, but not with presents!!! I will bring wine and food to share, but not gifts. (I will not buy food for a 250-guest wedding either.)

For a few years, I have been doing it already while trying to convince you to do the same, but today it is official.

I will not attend weddings if I am asked for money or given a gift registry. Same applies to baby showers, bachelor’s parties, births, birthdays, promotions, graduations. I will attend housewarming parties to warm up places with love and affection, not to equip them with material possessions.

I will not buy presents for Christmas, birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Secretary’s Day or to celebrate the tall women or short men or farewells or nothing. I say no to presents as an obligation.

I suggest you think about doing the same. If any of you genuinely has extra money and/or feels compelled to spend it, give to a charity in the name of the celebrated person. It is sad to see so many in need while we are in this compulsive race to spend.

We have all been inducted into the habit of spending hours shopping for material things to show our love/appreciation in dozens of “celebrations.” This is a manipulative action created to keep us feeding the big commercial monster and making the banks and merchants more money.

This is not to promote cheapness or lack of affection demonstrations; it is simply an invitation to expend our money with a clear mind. It is a game too stressing and expensive to which we should put a stop; at least I did already.

Let’s have coffee, lunch or dinner, go on vacation, let’s have fun … instead of keep wasting our well-earned money while making a few richer.

A big hug (free)
Guillermo

It must be clarified that I often buy things for people I love, but I don’t put them in fancy packaging; nor do I give them as presents. And it is only when I feel like it spontaneously. My problem is not with the gifts; it is with the obligation they have become—not to mention the harm to the planet with the always increasing amount of garbage.

Next, I include a letter I sent a cousin of mine for her wedding, which may explain better some of the concepts.

Dear Cousin,
[Here I could have said, “Dear Robert” and stated that it is a fictitious name, as good writers do, but I am not that good of a writer, and my cousin is a girl.]

Now that you are getting married, there is something you may be interested in knowing: after getting married at 24, profoundly in love, having had a beautiful family with two daughters and having remained married for 24 years,

After believing marriage was for a lifetime and finding out it was not,
After having been through significant changes in my opinions, taste of life and standpoints,
After having decided not to live permanently with anybody else anymore, and after two years finding myself living with a beautiful, loving and sweet younger woman whom I met by accident,
After having sworn not to be married again (who can do that twice?) and ending up marrying this sweet woman four years ago,
After having firmly decided not to have more kids (had enough) … and now about to be a father again at 53!
After having been through all possible life crises, the “too-young husband,” “too-young father,” “the divorcé,” “the 20-year, 30-year, 40-year, 50-year itch” and now heading to the itchiness of the sixties,
After believing I knew all the answers and finding out I had no clue,
After starting, in my fifties, to finally understand things I never realized!
After living all this, I am going to tell you what I have learned about life, which knowledge has brought me to have a happy and plentiful life today.
• You are the most important person in your life. You cannot make anybody happy if you are not. It is impossible to satisfy anyone if we are not. We cannot help anybody grow as a person if we are not in the process ourselves.
• Human beings are individual entities in essence and should preserve that, even while living in harmony with others. The potential and richness of the self are marvelous and endless.
• Life as a couple is more pleasant if individuality is preserved.
• Sharing with our spouse every thought that crosses our minds is a big mistake.
• If we are able to enjoy our alone time as much or more than we do time in the company of our beloved people, we are on the right path.
• Everything we have in life is temporary. Everything changes inevitably. We expend our lives suffering, trying to attain things (material possessions, relationships, work, stability, acknowledgment, health, etc.). After getting them, we suffer trying to keep them. If we do not get them, we keep suffering. And all this suffering is in vain because we will lose them sooner or later. When we understand this and enjoy the present moment immensely without worrying about the future, life can be permanently splendid and rewarding.
• The “better half” does not exist; good couples are not “made for each other”; no one completes anybody (each one of us is born complete). The differences with your significant other are your best opportunity to grow. Some people come into our lives to enrich it; with them, we share some goals, and at some point in our lives, we see them as ideal. When we change (because we all do), sometimes we mutually adjust, and the relationship grows along with us. In some cases, we grow in opposite directions. Sometimes, we are directly responsible; sometimes, we can have some influence; and other times, it is entirely beyond our control. That is the nature of life. The “negative “experiences in life are a failure only if we do not learn anything from them.
• Passion (in all aspects of life) is misguiding. It clouds our judgment and causes pain, jealousy, doubts, disappointment and anxiety. Passion makes us see things that are not real and blinds us to others that are important. True love is calm, quiet and generous.
• If a relationship is causing pain and anxiety, it must change or end—and soon.
• Healthy love is only possible in complete freedom. Happiness is only possible in total freedom.
• Your decisions are more satisfying and useful if, at the moment of deciding, you were entirely free to make a different choice (opposite). What is the point of your significant other staying with you only because he has no other options?
• Your relationship gets stronger when your beloved faces temptation and decides not to succumb to it and stay with you because of love—and vice versa.
• Our future depends mostly on the decisions of today.
• Each act has a consequence, good or bad, depending on how accurate our choices are.
• No one pushes us to do anything; nobody forces us to do anything. When we act in one way or another, it is our individual decision. And there is always a choice!
• When our acts produce bad results and we use someone else’s actions as justification, that is an excuse. Of course, there are also valid explanations for events. The difference between an excuse and an explanation is that we use excuses after reprehensible acts, when we break a promise or fail a commitment. Explanations can only be used when our decisions are taken in freedom and respecting the rights of all people involved.
• Avoid people who are whiny, negative, manipulative, gossipy, scheming, aggressive … They pose a threat to your happiness. Sometimes these people are part of our family and are difficult to avoid. It is essential to identify the nature and origin of these attitudes so that they do not harm us. It is also important to let them know how we feel about their acts; more important, do not retaliate or use the same actions with others. In some cases, they are not aware of their wrongdoing and will deny it fervently. They are merely repeating behaviour they learned when little.
• Simple things produce a longer-lasting pleasure; it is calmer and without significant commitments.
• Our goal should be to lead a simple life. Simple people are happy and kind. Do you know a simple and humble person who is bad? (I am not talking about poverty but simplicity.)
• The more material possessions we have, the less we can move around, be objective and—paradoxically—be grateful for it. Some of the biggest pleasures of life are free and don’t demand a significant effort. (The explanation to this last sentence was deleted by censorship)
• Our romantic relationship must be calm and serene. We should feel pleasure when looking at the person we love (this is not always possible, like when having a fight, but it could be our goal). When fighting, people truly show what they are. In the middle of an anger burst, your acts prove how far you can really go and what there is deep inside.
• If we smile and feel tenderness while thinking on the person we love, we are on the right path. This is not easy to maintain; it requires patience, perseverance and practice. It is like keeping a good posture. It is relatively easy to stand straight at the beginning of an event, but after a few hours, we can tell who is in good shape, slept well, exercises regularly and lives a healthy life.

A few years ago, as part of a new “philosophy” of life, I decided not to show my love with material gifts anymore. We have been manipulated with this practice for too long, and I refuse to perpetuate it. Going to a store and buying an appliance, a jewel, or a shirt is undoubtedly a fast and easy way of getting out of the commitment; at the same time, we are making a few wealthy and spending our well-earned money.

Plus, we all have several items we do not use. They were given to us as presents, and because of that, we keep them even though they are useless.

The compulsive and forced gift giving has become a heavy burden. I personally feel more satisfied with the time spent thinking of you and writing this note than if I had bought you yet another blender!

Please do not show this note to those who gave you blenders.
I wish that you two grow together and are very happy!
and what there is deep inside. Love and Gifts
A few years ago, Christmas used to be a time of suffering for me. As soon as the festive music started to be played, my stomach would become uncomfortable and my whole body felt uneasy.

After carefully reviewing the possible causes, I found the act of buying gifts to be the main reason. The whole thing was a heavy load in terms of energy, time and especially money.

When Christmas started, I was still paying the credit card expenses for the previous one. I noted how the kids would condition their happiness by the amount and type of presents they got. I noticed how excited they were with one gift, which they set aside after a few seconds of joy, to wait anxiously for the next one.

I thought it was teaching them to be always unsatisfied. I could not help but compare that with what we do as grown-ups; we’re always waiting for something else that will make us happy. We involuntarily harm our kids by conditioning their happiness with receiving presents.

I also noted the disappointment when someone showed up at a celebration without a present. (That was usually me.) I made the firm decision not to buy a gift when it was expected. I sent the family a message explaining my decision and asking them not to invite me to any event if a present was expected.

Here is the message:

My Declaration of Independence

Starting today, I declare myself free from the slavery of buying presents!

I will not buy gifts anymore under certain circumstances and will not accept them either. Last week, I had to throw out (or donate) a box full of presents that were given to me by friends and family and felt horribly. I know they were bought with love and good intentions in mind because that is the way we were raised (misguided?), but the truth is, the same will most likely happen to the majority of presents we buy. At the same time, we are acquiring debt and wasting our money to satisfy a “need” that was created to make a few rich.

Therefore, starting today, please don’t invite me to any event if you expect me to bring a present. If you want to share an special moment, I would feel honoured and wouldn’t miss it, but not with presents!!! I will bring wine and food to share, but not gifts. (I will not buy food for a 250-guest wedding either.)

For a few years, I have been doing it already while trying to convince you to do the same, but today it is official.

I will not attend weddings if I am asked for money or given a gift registry. Same applies to baby showers, bachelor’s parties, births, birthdays, promotions, graduations. I will attend housewarming parties to warm up places with love and affection, not to equip them with material possessions.

I will not buy presents for Christmas, birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Secretary’s Day or to celebrate the tall women or short men or farewells or nothing. I say no to presents as an obligation.

I suggest you think about doing the same. If any of you genuinely has extra money and/or feels compelled to spend it, give to a charity in the name of the celebrated person. It is sad to see so many in need while we are in this compulsive race to spend.

We have all been inducted into the habit of spending hours shopping for material things to show our love/appreciation in dozens of “celebrations.” This is a manipulative action created to keep us feeding the big commercial monster and making the banks and merchants more money.

This is not to promote cheapness or lack of affection demonstrations; it is simply an invitation to expend our money with a clear mind. It is a game too stressing and expensive to which we should put a stop; at least I did already.

Let’s have coffee, lunch or dinner, go on vacation, let’s have fun … instead of keep wasting our well-earned money while making a few richer.

A big hug (free)
Guillermo

It must be clarified that I often buy things for people I love, but I don’t put them in fancy packaging; nor do I give them as presents. And it is only when I feel like it spontaneously. My problem is not with the gifts; it is with the obligation they have become—not to mention the harm to the planet with the always increasing amount of garbage.

Next, I include a letter I sent a cousin of mine for her wedding, which may explain better some of the concepts.

Dear Cousin,
[Here I could have said, “Dear Robert” and stated that it is a fictitious name, as good writers do, but I am not that good of a writer, and my cousin is a girl.]

Now that you are getting married, there is something you may be interested in knowing: after getting married at 24, profoundly in love, having had a beautiful family with two daughters and having remained married for 24 years,

After believing marriage was for a lifetime and finding out it was not,
After having been through significant changes in my opinions, taste of life and standpoints,
After having decided not to live permanently with anybody else anymore, and after two years finding myself living with a beautiful, loving and sweet younger woman whom I met by accident,
After having sworn not to be married again (who can do that twice?) and ending up marrying this sweet woman four years ago,
After having firmly decided not to have more kids (had enough) … and now about to be a father again at 53!
After having been through all possible life crises, the “too-young husband,” “too-young father,” “the divorcé,” “the 20-year, 30-year, 40-year, 50-year itch” and now heading to the itchiness of the sixties,
After believing I knew all the answers and finding out I had no clue,
After starting, in my fifties, to finally understand things I never realized!
After living all this, I am going to tell you what I have learned about life, which knowledge has brought me to have a happy and plentiful life today.
• You are the most important person in your life. You cannot make anybody happy if you are not. It is impossible to satisfy anyone if we are not. We cannot help anybody grow as a person if we are not in the process ourselves.
• Human beings are individual entities in essence and should preserve that, even while living in harmony with others. The potential and richness of the self are marvelous and endless.
• Life as a couple is more pleasant if individuality is preserved.
• Sharing with our spouse every thought that crosses our minds is a big mistake.
• If we are able to enjoy our alone time as much or more than we do time in the company of our beloved people, we are on the right path.
• Everything we have in life is temporary. Everything changes inevitably. We expend our lives suffering, trying to attain things (material possessions, relationships, work, stability, acknowledgment, health, etc.). After getting them, we suffer trying to keep them. If we do not get them, we keep suffering. And all this suffering is in vain because we will lose them sooner or later. When we understand this and enjoy the present moment immensely without worrying about the future, life can be permanently splendid and rewarding.
• The “better half” does not exist; good couples are not “made for each other”; no one completes anybody (each one of us is born complete). The differences with your significant other are your best opportunity to grow. Some people come into our lives to enrich it; with them, we share some goals, and at some point in our lives, we see them as ideal. When we change (because we all do), sometimes we mutually adjust, and the relationship grows along with us. In some cases, we grow in opposite directions. Sometimes, we are directly responsible; sometimes, we can have some influence; and other times, it is entirely beyond our control. That is the nature of life. The “negative “experiences in life are a failure only if we do not learn anything from them.
• Passion (in all aspects of life) is misguiding. It clouds our judgment and causes pain, jealousy, doubts, disappointment and anxiety. Passion makes us see things that are not real and blinds us to others that are important. True love is calm, quiet and generous.
• If a relationship is causing pain and anxiety, it must change or end—and soon.
• Healthy love is only possible in complete freedom. Happiness is only possible in total freedom.
• Your decisions are more satisfying and useful if, at the moment of deciding, you were entirely free to make a different choice (opposite). What is the point of your significant other staying with you only because he has no other options?
• Your relationship gets stronger when your beloved faces temptation and decides not to succumb to it and stay with you because of love—and vice versa.
• Our future depends mostly on the decisions of today.
• Each act has a consequence, good or bad, depending on how accurate our choices are.
• No one pushes us to do anything; nobody forces us to do anything. When we act in one way or another, it is our individual decision. And there is always a choice!
• When our acts produce bad results and we use someone else’s actions as justification, that is an excuse. Of course, there are also valid explanations for events. The difference between an excuse and an explanation is that we use excuses after reprehensible acts, when we break a promise or fail a commitment. Explanations can only be used when our decisions are taken in freedom and respecting the rights of all people involved.
• Avoid people who are whiny, negative, manipulative, gossipy, scheming, aggressive … They pose a threat to your happiness. Sometimes these people are part of our family and are difficult to avoid. It is essential to identify the nature and origin of these attitudes so that they do not harm us. It is also important to let them know how we feel about their acts; more important, do not retaliate or use the same actions with others. In some cases, they are not aware of their wrongdoing and will deny it fervently. They are merely repeating behaviour they learned when little.
• Simple things produce a longer-lasting pleasure; it is calmer and without significant commitments.
• Our goal should be to lead a simple life. Simple people are happy and kind. Do you know a simple and humble person who is bad? (I am not talking about poverty but simplicity.)
• The more material possessions we have, the less we can move around, be objective and—paradoxically—be grateful for it. Some of the biggest pleasures of life are free and don’t demand a significant effort. (The explanation to this last sentence was deleted by censorship)
• Our romantic relationship must be calm and serene. We should feel pleasure when looking at the person we love (this is not always possible, like when having a fight, but it could be our goal). When fighting, people truly show what they are. In the middle of an anger burst, your acts prove how far you can really go and what there is deep inside.
• If we smile and feel tenderness while thinking on the person we love, we are on the right path. This is not easy to maintain; it requires patience, perseverance and practice. It is like keeping a good posture. It is relatively easy to stand straight at the beginning of an event, but after a few hours, we can tell who is in good shape, slept well, exercises regularly and lives a healthy life.

A few years ago, as part of a new “philosophy” of life, I decided not to show my love with material gifts anymore. We have been manipulated with this practice for too long, and I refuse to perpetuate it. Going to a store and buying an appliance, a jewel, or a shirt is undoubtedly a fast and easy way of getting out of the commitment; at the same time, we are making a few wealthy and spending our well-earned money.

Plus, we all have several items we do not use. They were given to us as presents, and because of that, we keep them even though they are useless.

The compulsive and forced gift giving has become a heavy burden. I personally feel more satisfied with the time spent thinking of you and writing this note than if I had bought you yet another blender!

Please do not show this note to those who gave you blenders.
I wish that you two grow together and are very happy!

• If we smile and feel tenderness while thinking on the person we love, we are on the right path. This is not easy to maintain; it requires patience, perseverance and practice. It is like keeping a good posture. It is relatively easy to stand straight at the beginning of an event, but after a few hours, we can tell who is in good shape, slept well, exercises regularly and lives a healthy life.

A few years ago, as part of a new “philosophy” of life, I decided not to show my love with material gifts anymore. We have been manipulated with this practice for too long, and I refuse to perpetuate it. Going to a store and buying an appliance, a jewel, or a shirt is undoubtedly a fast and easy way of getting out of the commitment; at the same time, we are making a few wealthy and spending our well-earned money.

Plus, we all have several items we do not use. They were given to us as presents, and because of that, we keep them even though they are useless.

The compulsive and forced gift giving has become a heavy burden. I personally feel more satisfied with the time spent thinking of you and writing this note than if I had bought you yet another blender!

Please do not show this note to those who gave you blenders.
I wish that you two grow together and are very happy!