Our minds are prone to finding meaning when there is none.

Photo by Jens Johnsson from Pexels

It is not uncommon to come across unusual coincidences and infer that they carry a meaning deeper than mere randomness. Many of us believe we get signs from the universe to guide our thoughts and decisions. But there are reasons we should tread those paths lightly, according to psychological research.

Imagine this scenario: You broke up with someone many years ago. This morning, you were deleting old texts to clear the clutter on your phone, and you found some from your ex. Incidentally, you are single and have been thinking about giving that relationship a second chance. Later that day…

These unlikely sources had a blueprint for me

Photo: Nikhil Manan // Pexels

I’ll never be this good — the feeling stayed with me for weeks.

Back in 2015, I decided to turn my passion for photography into a profession. I didn’t lack ambition and enthusiasm, but looking at Instagram profiles of photographers all over Sweden made me realize I lacked everything else.

My skills were intermediate, my equipment hobbyist. As a first-year international student, I barely spoke the local language. And so, I lacked confidence. But none of that would eventually matter — only I didn’t know.

Fast forward to 2021. I’ve photographed hundreds of people from 34 countries. Traveled across Sweden…

And how to avoid becoming one.

Photo by Ba Tik from Pexels

“This is the hardest of all: to close the open hand out of love, and keep modest as a giver.” — Nietzsche

A few years ago, someone I loved began to show behavior that I wouldn’t accept in anyone else. They were things no partner should be complacent about. Yet, against my best judgment, I chose a path of lenience.

I believed I was healing and empowering. Turned out, I was enabling. And our story ended a lot worse than it would otherwise.

In the aftermath, it became clear how common it is for couples to find themselves in the…

And why practical love is a whole lot richer

Photo: cottonbro on Pexels

My first breakup was my worst. I thought my life was over.

I was a teenager. I used to think love was all about constant infatuation and a happily ever after. By then, my idea of love came from books, films, and TV shows. From Backstreet Boys and Westlife.

They sold an idea of love far from reality — where the heart does all the thinking, the mind goes into hibernation, and feelings remain superlative.

It was romanticism. Not love.

It took me a lot of growing up and a few more heartbreaks to descend from that delusional high. …

How these 7 ‘departments’ are controlled will reveal the answer

A couple dressed in royal attire standing facing each other in a candlelit room
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Controlled, dominated, manipulated, neglected — these are not feelings we expect to come across when we decide to share our lives with someone. Yet, too many of us have untold stories of being emotionally suffocated by someone we consider our closest.

From experience and observation, I know how easy it is for a chain of compromises to establish a new normal — where we deludedly accept unfairness as an inevitable (and even essential) component of a romantic partnership.

It doesn’t have to be so. It shouldn’t be so.

This is for those in need of an awakening, to snap out…

But the solutions are easy to adopt.

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

We keep telling ourselves that we are maturing with age, that we are learning to do better as we read advice pieces and go through life. We go on looking at other people’s business and think too highly of ourselves when solutions to all their problems stand staring at our faces.

The way we deal with our own problems often says otherwise.

Why else do we find ourselves frequently in the same bitter spot — opposing, bickering with, and scoffing at someone we claim to love?

As inevitable as they seem, trivial fights with our loved ones — where we…

You can only avoid them if you see them coming

Photo by Anderson Rian on Unsplash

One of our soul’s most profound desires is to find a stranger to one day call our closest, and keep them for life. Yet, tentacles of toxicity creep into our most prized connections, leveraging our feeble grasp on emotions, our oversight, and myopia, to cause us incalculable harm.

Whatever our strategy — prevention or cure — we need to know the diseases first. The trick often comes down to how problems do not appear as problems until it is too late. This is to help you to detect them early enough.

If our relationships were religion, these would be the…

Sometimes you say it best when you say nothing at all

Photo by Guilherme Caetano on Unsplash

Communication is key. It isn’t all words, though. A lot of times we can communicate more, and better, without using words at all. Words, more often than we think, can hinder rather than help a thought from getting across.

I am not taking a radical route like Depeche Mode who sang, “Words are very unnecessary. They can only do harm.” Instead, I’m picking from memories, both pleasant and prickly, to make a case for why in some situations silence is indeed a superpower.

Superpower may sound too hyperbolic, but it is no easy feat to conjure the attention, patience, kindness…

Turn the lockdown into a rekindling opportunity.

Photo by Guilherme Caetano on Unsplash

When life feels stagnant, fresh can easily turn stale. Bound within the same four walls, robbed of the familiar indoor-outdoor balance, lines blurred between work and leisure, keeping our lives interesting has become increasingly difficult.

The same is true for romance.

Even couples who never experienced a heightened interest in chocolate, red and roses on V-Days years past may be due for a rekindling of their fire. Shut out from the world out there — with restaurants, theaters, and airports off-limits — it’s the perfect opportunity to redefine this celebration of love within your familiar confines.

Here are 17 steps…

Thank you, Corporate Sweden.

Photo by Thomas Franke on Unsplash

First, let’s get the “huh?” out of the way.

Recently, my favorite Swedish coffeehouse chain announced an offer. For a 149 SEK/month subscription, you can have any amount of coffee or tea you can practically drink at any of their 400+ locations all over Sweden. The only caveat — no more than a cup an hour, controlled through the app linked to your user account.

“Okay. So?”

Since the pandemic began, this place became a no-go for me. A big cup of melted Belgian dark chocolate every once in a while was not worth the risk.

Luckily, I found a…

Mutasim Billah

Educator-entrepreneur • MSc in Economics • Personal growth, relationships, creativity, and society • INFJ-A + HSP • Connect with me: MutasimBillah.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store