The Limits of Material Happiness: A Christian Reflection

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It has been said that happiness is a state of mind and a relative term. Our views on happiness are determined by our mental frames which are reflections of our own cultural orientation as members of a particular community. For Christians, happiness is not only limited to material happiness. The Christian concept of happiness goes beyond the material world and satisfaction of our sensual needs. In fact, the Church's teaching on the 7 deadly or cardinal sins includes gluttony. The word "gluttony" comes from the Latin word gula which is derived from gluttire which means "to gulp down or swallow". Gluttony is the inordinate, over-indulgence, and over-consumption of food, drink, or material things that provide much pleasure to the body.

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The Church does not discourage people to enjoy consumer goods that provide pleasure and material happiness to people. But consumption must be done in moderation. As embodied beings, we are entitled to the enjoyment of God's creation and human goods and services. But we must avoid inordinate attachment, i.e., our life is not tied up with material goods, we don't crave for things that are unnecessary in life and detrimental to our spiritual life with God.

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In Church teaching, happiness is, above, spiritual in nature. True happiness is spiritual joy of being in the state of grace and of knowing that one is following God's will. The happiness of parents of seeing their children praying or doing their duties in school is spiritual joy that last in their memories even after death. The consolation we experience when we pray to God is spiritual joy that can propel us to be with the divine in the afterlife. In other words, spiritual happiness is lasting, while material happiness is fleeting.

THE LIMITS OF MATERIAL JOY

Material happiness has limits. We may have achieved our personal goals. We may have acquired much wealth and fame, but the end of the day we still remain mortal and moving towards our own death. The great Steve Jobs may have reached the pinnacle of success in business and innovation for co-founding the tech giant Apple. But when he was stricken with cancer and was dying, he acknowledged what that lingers in people’s memory are not achievements, pleasures, and material success in life, but the loving memories of the things we care about that make our loved ones and other people happy. In other words, he is referring to our spiritual joys which are indeed lasting!

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Material happiness is like eating our favorite cuisine. After we have savored it and satisfied our craving, the sense of pleasure immediately vanishes. And it is only a matter of minutes that we crave again for another type to continue the pleasure of eating. Some Roman gluttons were said to intentional vomit the food they just ate in order to feel hungry again and to continue to feel the pleasure of tasting their sumptuous meal.

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The fleeting moment of material satisfaction can also be illustrated in buying a new luxury car. After using it a couple of days or would probably after a week, the excitement and pleasure of driving our dream car would immediately subside. And the desire of acquiring a new car which is better than the previous model would probably surface in our dreams. We enter into an endless cycle of craving and pleasure to satisfy our insatiable material desires. This also the case of people who find happiness in sex, drugs, and other forms of material pleasure. The material happiness is indeed very temporary.

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Contrast this material pleasure with spiritual joy and happiness of helping and loving our loved one and people who are in need. Our loving memories of the good we do to others do not just fade away in our consciousness but can linger even up to our last breath. That’s why people capture memorable moments in selfies, groupies, posts, videos, digital photos and pictures to remind them of their treasured happy memories. This is not say that we should disregard our material desires and suppressed them altogether, but we have to be conscious of their limits and not be imprisoned by our inordinate attachment to material pleasures, thereby losing sight of our spiritual journey in life.

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Seeing life from the point of view of death has been recommended by great saints and thinkers. St. Ignatius of Loyola, for instance, recommended a meditation on death to make us more humble and see the limitations of our being or what the great philosopher Martin Heidegger calls a human person as a “being-towards-death”, and to feel our vulnerability on the face of death and remove the last vintages of pride within us.

Again, Steve Jobs is one of the most innovative and charismatic leader in the American business world and has been idolized by millions of his fans worldwide for his technological innovation and vision and for co-founding Apple and its innovative products. And yet, he has acknowledged the limits of success and accumulation of wealth. In the face of death, everything fades except our loving memories of people. In our dying bed we recall these memories and thank our God for giving us the spiritual grace of genuinely loving other people, especially our family and friends or whoever that touched our life deeply.

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Praise God for reading this post. If you feel that this post can help others, press click share! I pray that God will always guide you in your daily activities. God bless!

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4 Ways to Handle Marital Conflict and Stress

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1. Manage Your Marital Conflict. 

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Marriage is an ongoing negotiation. It formally begins during the wedding day when the bride and the groom say “I Do” to signal their lifetime commitment to stay together. But this agreement does not stop there. Right after the wedding ceremony the art of marital negotiation commences.

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Everyday, the couple has to agree and compromise to stay together. When there is a disagreement, especially on serious things, such as handling conjugal property or educating the children, the couple must manage and resolve the issues as soon as possible. If they need some professional help from a lawyer or counselor, by all means they must agree to such a move. If couple will not resolve one issue at a time, things and tensions could pile up and partners would find the issues become complex to handle that could eventually lead to their separation or divorce. Remember: Always nip a problem from the bud and not allow it to ruin a lifetime marital commitment.

2. Forgive Your Spouse.

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Forgiving your’s partner’s fault is not a sign of weakness but of strength. Giving mercy is an acknowledgement that your partner is, after all, a human being with frailties and weakness as a person. Many marriages fail because couples failed to forgive one another. Marriage is a union of two unique people. Thus, expect the spouses to clash in many personal issues, since each partner has a different personality, social upbringing, and cultural orientation.

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To be able to forgive requires some form of spirituality based on your religious beliefs. Forgiveness is actually going beyond your self. You let go of your partner’s fault because you also know that you have your own faults and weaknesses too as a human being and you believe in God. So forgive and forget is a great key to make marriages work!

3. Sacrifice in the Name of Love.

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The type love in marriage is different from romantic relationship, although romantic love is a preparation for marital love. Marital love is a self-giving love. This means that when you say “I Do” during the wedding ceremony, you promise to sacrifice for the other because of love. Sacrificing for the sake of your spouse is an expression of marital love. A willingness “to forgo self-interest and desired activities for the good of a partner or relationship is an important aspect of maintaining relationships.

4. Alleviate Each Other’s Stress.

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Sustaining and maintaining a family can be a very difficult task, especially for poor couples who are pressured by poverty. Also, troubles at work, financial crises or family drama can all push spouses apart. Couples who can respond to each other’s stress in a way that is soothing rather than exacerbating can weather the tenser times. That’s why constant communication and mutual affirmation are very important to maintain a marital commitment. Many married couples divorced because they no longer mutually support each other. The marital vows that mention the phrase”for better or for worse, ’til death do us part” implies that the couple’s mutual support in times of need and stress! Going out together on a date or special vacation during times of severe stress in family affairs is a great opportunity for couples to talk, support each other, and create new strategies on how to deal with their serious marital problems.

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7 Reliable Tips on How to Heal a Broken Heart!

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Introduction

Rejection or separation from people we love is a fact of life. There are lots of romantics  and separated couples out there who are nursing a broken heart because they cannot forget the past and move on with their lives. To be rejected by somebody we love in a romantic or marital relationship can indeed be painful. Since people’s minds are conditioned by society that to fall in love is natural, the bodily and psychological effects of a breakup or divorce can be devastating. But people are historical beings. The pain of a broken heart is not forever. It can heal depending on how we deal with the past experience and how we change our social environment. Here are some reliable and practical tips on how to expedite the healing of a broken heart:

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1. Avoid all things that can remind you of the past relationship. Avoid people, places, and things that can remind you of your former lover. The more you hold on to the past, the longer the healing process  to end. Always remember, that this person is only one of the many millions of people you can associate yourself with in the future.

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This relationship has ended and there is no reason to hold on to it. Probably, it is the happy memories of the past that keep you clinging to the failed romance. But it is only a matter of time that you can meet your next lover, depending on your attitude and openness to begin  a new relationship.

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2. Change something in your Self and environment to mark a new beginning of  your life. You can change your looks, hair, or fashion which can make you feel good about  yourself. Some people would cut their hair or have a new hairstyle to forget the past.

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If possible, you can change your job or activities that would remind you of your former lover and past experience. You can engage in new sports, hobbies, or enhance your talents to heal the wound and repair your broken ego. Achieving something for yourself and others can improve your self-confidence and help you forget the past.

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3. Evaluate your past mistakes and try to avoid them in your next relationship. Learn from your mistakes. Do your homework before you decide to enter a new relationship. Do some background check first before saying “yes” to your next lover! A simple research whether the person is already married, a womanizer, or a drug dependent, etc. can avoid a lot of future headaches!

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Also, check whether you can manage the cultural difference with your next love. Marrying a foreigner or a person with a different cultural background can also cause a lot of headaches in personal compatibility and adjustment.

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4. Look for a friend or person who is patient enough to hear your frustrations and lamentations. In the stage of your breakup, the negative emotions you feel could be heavy. If you decide not to see a psychologist or therapist to listen to you, find a true friend who is patient enough to journey with you in your depressions and frustrations. Someone who can objective enough to assess your problem and give you an honest feedback on what’s going on with you.

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The trick is to release all those pent-up emotions and hidden anger within you, to unload all your mental baggage or negative emotions against the person who rejected you and move on with your life. Repressing emotions can have a negative consequence to you physical and mental health.

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5. Consult a professional psychologist if the trauma and depression are serious. If you feel that the trauma is serious, you can consult a professional psychologist to assist you in overcoming the emotional pain caused by the breakup or divorce.

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6. Don’t lock yourself in the room, go out and meet new people!

Retreating from public life or from your circles of friends and relatives just because you’re nursing a broken would not be helpful in overcoming a painful breakup. You should, instead, strengthen your bonding with your family and old friends and open yourself to new people and friends. To forget the past, you should encounter new and exciting people, events, and places. Taking an exciting vacation, joining organizations, or participating in wholesome parties and charitable activities can be an effective means to heal a broken heart!

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7. Be patient. Only time can heal a broken heart. There is no medicine or pain reliever that you can take to remove the romantic pain immediately. Just don’t panic. All romantics undergo the painful experience of nursing a broken heart. The good news is that this pain will be more bearable  as you grow in experience, maturity, and wisdom in romantic relationship. To mend a broken heart is more painful for first-timers but less for experienced lovers and repeaters.

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Final Advice

Don’t forget to pray and ask God to guide you. Based on research, religious people are likely to hurdle difficult problems in life than non-religious. Romance is only temporary but faith in God is eternal. Join religious groups and organizations for mutual support. What matters is your ultimate goal in life. Don’t lose sight of it. One failed experience should not define you life. Rise and see the beauty of life!

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Thank you for reading this post. Feel free to like, comment, or share it to help those in distress. Cheers and best wishes!

 

 

Women Take Note: 5 Top Attitudes that Turn Off Guys

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Many women may not be aware that there are things that turn off men. Of course, this can be cultural. It depends on the type of social expectations and gender roles between sexes in a particular culture. But those who reside in urban centers with middle-class orientation, the following attitudes and behaviors can generally turn off men:

1. Nagging

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One of the top-most turn-offs for guys is the distressing and nagging attitude of women. Generally, what guys don’t like is the on-going complaints and issues raised by them. When you start finding faults in your guy and rise issues in everything he does, he will eventually get frustrated by you and the relationship (slism.com).

2. Bad Hygiene

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Bad hygiene is among the top turn-offs for guys. Guys dislike bad hygiene. They avoid the company of women with a bad aroma. If you don’t clean your body, hair, and skin properly, then for sure you are turning your guy off with your unbearable odor. Always remember that guys crave for fresh breath and a sweet smell of skin and clear hair (slism.com).

3. Too Much Talking

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An excessive and never-ending talking also turn a guy off. No doubt, guys love to listen, but they hate when all they have to do is to listen all the time. This creates an imbalance in conversation when a guy is not given enough time to make his talking. A talkative lady is considered egoistic by her guy. And if she keeps on repeating this kind of conversational attitude, her guy will surely draw away sooner (slism.com).

4. Excessive Obsession

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Infatuation is another feminine trait that is found to be as critical as above mentioned turn-offs. Normally, girls think that what turns men off is the hesitation of women in moving ahead with them. However, they do not realize that men also hate when girls get obsessed with them and demand for suddenly living together under the same roof and getting married. Every guy likes attention and progress in the relationship, but with a gradual pace. But when girls are infatuated beyond the limit, the guys get eventually frightened away (slism).

5. Discussing Ex-Boyfriends

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One of the biggest turn-offs for guys is undoubtedly discussing your ex-boyfriend stories and personality with your present guy. It totally shocks him when he finds you still discussing your past relationships in front of him. This will make him think that either your current relationship has got flaws, or you are unable to get the ex-guy out of your mind. This will totally deteriorate your relation with your guy (slism.com).

Reference

Slism.com (n.d.). 12 Surprising turn Offs for guys That Most Girls Know Nothing About. Retrieved from https://slism.com/girlstalk/12-surprising-turn-offs-for-guys-that-most-girls-know-nothing-about.html

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8 Biggest Turn Offs for Women in a Date

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The following are some of the biggest turn offs for women in a date. Men must avoid these actions and traits when having a formal or informal date with a lady. A turned off girl would probably tell her partner the following observations:

1.You Lack  Confidence, Boy! Your Body Language will Show it.

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Insecure personality as shown in the guy’s body language is a big turn off for women in a date.  If you’re not confident about yourself or are feeling nervous during your dinner-date, your female partner will notice it. This is one of the biggest reasons why guys get spurned on a date. Women usually look for guys who are confident, secure, and ready to protect them. How can a nervous guy assure a woman that he can be dependable and reliable if he himself lacks self-confidence?

2. Oh, Boy! You look Cheap in Your Own Date When You Don’t Have To Be!

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First impression counts in your first date. Prepare for it, including your budget. Make sure you have enough money to bring your girl to an expensive dinner-date! Your date will result in a big turn off if she noticed that you trying to save money and thus look cheap! The following actions are some of the biggest turn offs for women:

“#1: Order the cheapest thing on the menu, and make a joke if his date orders something more expensive. Even if you’re kidding, this makes her feel hugely unappreciated.

#2: Ask to split the bill, when he’s the one who asked her out. Look, ‘don’t go Dutch’ is a  a core rule of manliness. If you ask her out, you pay. It’s just polite.

#3: Bring a bottle of wine to a party, and take the leftover wine home. I’m not even going to explain this one…”(Sutherns).

3. You Have a Bad (Or Overpowering) Scent, Boy!

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Some advice to avoid a bad or overpowering smell:

Step #1: Use antiperspirant, instead of just deodorant. Deodorant only attempts to block bad odors… while antiperspirant stops sweating altogether.

Step #2: Brush your teeth well every day, instead of just intensely brushing right before a date. Bad breath germs can live in your mouth/throat and can even grow … so wipe them out regularly by brushing on a schedule.

Step #3: Choose the right cologne (and use a max of two sprays). Some cologne are more powerful than others, so get one that’s long-lasting, and tone down the amount of sprays (one spray on both your chest and neck are ideal).

4. You Accidentally Make Yourself the Focus of Your Date!

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“There’s a distinct line (a timeline, actually) between being expressive (what girls want)and being too informative (what they don’t want). Being expressive means telling her that you like her, being honest when something’s bothering you, etc.…but being too informative means talking about things that are way too personal/serious too soon (when she’s not ready to hear them…)” (Sutherns).

5. You are a Boring Guy!

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A boring guy is another big turn off for women. Women  like dating partners who are entertaining with a strong sense of humor, making the date worthwhile. All girls and guys have experienced this at some point in their lives. Try to sit next to a guy, and his conversations were so boring that you would rather jump off a cliff.

6. You’re a Narcissist Dating Partner!

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A self-centered guy who cares more about himself than his date is a big turn off for women. Any guy who spends more time in front of the mirror than his own girlfriend is a huge turn off. Also, if you’re having dinner with your date, and the waiter accidentally spills a bit of juice on your silk shirt, wipe it away like a man. Don’t whine about how your silk shirt is ruined and behave like a drama queen.

7. You Act Like You Know it all, Boy!

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Don’t talk as if you know all the answers to all the questions of your female partner. Nothing is worse than you acting like a dude who’s too self-absorbed with your own self and forget to notice that you partner exists. Talk less and listen more to your date. Make her feel that she is important and special during your date.

 8. You’re not Following Her Through, Boy!

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Women like persistent men. After the date, women expect their men to make a follow after the first encounter. They like men who pursue them. An inconsistent guy is a biggest loser and turn off for women.

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References

Patterson, E. (n.d.). The 10 Biggest Dating Turn Offs for Women. Retrieved from https://www.lovepanky.com/men/understanding-women/10-dating-turn-offs-for-women.

Sutherns, R. (n.d.). “7 Big Things that Turn Women Off [From Her]”. Retrieved from https://www.mantelligence.com/surprising-things-that-turn-women-off/.

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