By Lillian Gray, Photographer
I have made many mistakes, some big, some small. Figuring life out is hard task without a clear focus of what I want to accomplish. I started doing research on relationships–and not just love-related relationships, I mean everyday relationships. Relationships with employers, money, food, friends, you name it. I discovered I have a relationship with everything around me. Some of my relationships are good and some are bad, but I learned that I can change the bad ones and improve the good ones with a little bit of juju.
You can, too.
You can turn it around. The negative things said about you and the mindless things you have done are in the past. You can gain good juju one step at a time. A good reputation doesn’t just appear overnight, you create it over time. Start today by first getting to know yourself, establishing your moral framework and building a relationship with others inside of that framework.
To grow a strong relationship with another person, you first need to build a relationship with yourself. I’m not saying to go on a vision quest in the desert for a week, but there are simple steps you can take to increase your self awareness and build confidence, not only in your abilities, but in your character.
Even the busiest of schedules need to allow some “me time.” Set aside quality time with yourself each day to ponder life, write in a journal, read, start a project or accomplish a goal. Really ask yourself what you think about certain situations you experience, hear or read about.
Much of getting to know yourself involves studying your conscious decisions and understanding why you did what you did, what your motivations for your actions were and if you would have done something differently in a similar situation the next time. Another part of getting to know yourself involves studying the philosophy of others and relating it to today’s world.
Look around you. There are many people in this world displaying qualities that are worthy of praising and emulating.
“Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination,” filmmaker Jim Jarmusch wrote in Movie Maker magazine. “Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery–celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: ‘It’s not where you take things from–it’s where you take them to.’”
You can apply this idea to your life. Of course, for journalists you need to cite your sources when writing. But for people just trying to sort their life out, this may bring you solace in knowing that it’s OK to pick and choose what you like about others to become the person you want to be.
Once you learn about yourself and who you want to be, the people will start to fill in around you. Your supporters will appreciate you for who you are. Being surrounded by people with principally the same ideals can be stimulating, and generally juju-riffic.
So smile, and keep the juju juices flowing.