A sizzling ray of sunlight on your skin, a laughing child, the pleasant taste of chocolate, a conversation with a loved one. Happiness is in the little things. All we have to do is pay attention to them.

Pure, unfiltered happiness is everywhere. All we have to do is be aware of it. But that’s just it: in our busy society, it’s not as simple as it seems. Just think about it: when were you focused for hours without being distracted? You probably need a minute to think of something – if you can find an example. Attention and time are scarce these days. Smartphones and social media enable us to be in touch with others all day long. We hurry from one place to another to do all the tasks we have, but we forget to reflect on the things that really matter.

You probably know the expression “Energy flows where attention goes”. Let’s focus on little moments of happiness, meaningful relationships, and gratitude. It isn’t all that hard if we spend 20 minutes a day on it. Besides: training our attention is like training our muscles. The more you do it, the better you get at guiding your mind in the right direction and positive thinking.

Awake in Loving Awareness (2 minutes)

Many people wake up immediately thinking of the thousand things on their to-do lists. An important meeting, the kids’ gym bags that need to be packed. Make a choice to wait a moment: don’t switch yourself on immediately, but start the day consciously. Close your eyes for a moment and focus your attention on your body. Flex and relax your muscles and take a deep breath in and out. Make sure the first thoughts of the day are positive ones. Think about the things that are going well in your life, or think about the people you love and the ways in which you are valuable to them. Hold onto this positive focus when you get up. Feel the cold floor underneath your bare feet, the taste of toothpaste, and the water flowing past your body in the shower.

Go Outside (5 minutes)

A green environment has a positive effect on the mind. There’s a scientific study that proves that patients heal quicker if they have a nice view of nature instead of a brick wall. Most people work in surroundings with lots of screens and buildings. That’s why it feels so good to go outside for a minute and pay attention to nature. It doesn’t have to take hours, five minutes are enough to gain fresh positive energy. A small walk in the park after lunch gives a real serotonin boost. Feel the wind in your hair, absorb the colors of the plants and flowers, and listen to how the birds tweet.

Be Surprised Each Day (1 minute)

Most of us lead a relatively predictable life. We commute between home and office, see the same people each day and if we have dinner in town, we pick a restaurant we know. That’s fine: grownups benefit from routine and regularity. However, they also benefit from surprise. Resolve to notice at least one new detail in your environment, each day. Attention for the details – like an unexpected inspiring quote on a bathroom door at the station – makes us handle our environment more carefully and attentively. Besides, it triggers the child in us, that’s much better at wondering and being astonished than the grown-up mind.

Be Generous with Friendliness (3 minutes)

There’s more than enough bad news, criticism, and complaining in the world. What if we made it a priority to give at least one compliment to a person you love a day? Or to tell a hard-working colleague that they’re doing great? It would make the world a sunnier place. Turn it into a habit to take three minutes a day to focus on what people around you are doing well. Or think about at least one highlight of the day and just reflect on it.

Take the Time to “Come Home” (10 minutes)

For many of us, coming home from a busy working day means being absorbed by a busy family life. There’s hardly any time to let go of the stress from the office or traffic, and thus, we tend to be cranky towards the people that are dear to us – simply because they are around us. It makes sense: our brain is more focused on negative things. Therefore, it’s a good idea to make it your mission to ‘come home’ mindfully each day. How to do that? Take a seat, and just absorb everything around you. Appreciate your own place in the world. Talk to your family members, share stories about the day, or hug your pet. Allow yourself to just be, instead of doing something right away.

Text: Joanne Wienen

Simply standing in front of a horse and gently stroking his nose can suddenly make you feel peaceful. How is it possible that horses have such a calming effect on us? 

Rupert Isaacson knows all about it: at his horse ranch in Texas, he experiences the influence of horses on children with autism every day. He wrote the bestselling books “The Horse Boy” and “The Long Ride Home” about the journeys he made on horseback with his son Rowan.

How Come Horses Calm Us?

There’s an old English saying: “There’s nowt [nothing] so good for the inside of a man as the outside of a horse.” Why is this?

Even if you’re not a rider, it’s almost impossible not to respond emotionally to the sheer beauty of horses – as Maya Angelou famously wrote: “Horses make a landscape more beautiful”.

But there is more. Not only are horses physically and sensorily very pleasing  – they don’t just look good, their smooth coats and warm muscles feel good, and they even smell good – but their presence is almost always calming.

The Heart/Math Institute in California has been addressing itself to why this might be. It turns out that all hearts radiate a magnetic field. The bigger the heart, the bigger the field. Horses have huge hearts. Being within a few feet of the magnetic field resonating from that center seems to fill us with empathy. And horses, being social animals with a drive to connect, tend to follow up that empathy with a connection.

So far so good – but there’s more. If you sit on a horse in motion, your hips rock in rhythm, especially if the horse is well trained. Anything that rocks your hips in rhythm for a long period of time feels good. Very good. The reason – this movement makes your body produce the happiness hormone oxytocin, which in turn calms your nervous system, tones your vital organs via the vagal nerve, and switches off the cell danger response (or amygdala) in the brain.

Not bad.

Horses Carry Us Into Adventure

Of course, a badly trained, or badly treated horse, can have the opposite effect… but in general if you just let the horse be a horse, without asking too much from him, and then stand in his magnetic field, let alone sit on his broad and wonderful back, happiness will result.

And horses carry us. Into adventure. Into dream. They make us superhuman – faster, bigger, more powerful, more beautiful when we ride them. Horses are freedom. To the Tibetans and the Mongolians, the horse represents your highest self. Your ‘Wind Horse’ is your mojo, your luck.

So, if life is largely about the pursuit of happiness, we know this – money can’t buy happiness.

But it can buy horses. Which is pretty much the same thing.

And you don’t even need to own them. you just have to be near them.

Who said magic isn’t real?

Text: Rupert Isaacson – Photo: Fabian Burghardt

A colorful layer of light around us: That’s the aura. But does it exist, and what is it? Are we able to see it? Journalist Lisette Thooft looks into the fascinating phenomenon and comes to a remarkable conclusion. 

Of Course We Have an Aura

Everybody has one. Sometimes you can see someones aura, even if you’re not an aura reader. It doesn’t mean that you see a colourful cloud around people, like in an aura photo. But you feel your friend is down, even if she tries to hide it. Or you just know that there’s anger around your partner, even if you can only see his back. Or you approach a spiritual person and experience the peace and serenity they radiate. There is something we can’t really describe, something that is called aura in spiritual circles.

It’s Been There For Ages

Many ancient traditions and philosophies make mention of the layer of light around us. Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism all state that, apart from a ‘normal’ body, we all have an energetic body, invisible for the non-spiritual eye. The Buddhist flag contains the colors that, according to rumour, were visible in Buddha’s aura when he was enlightened. In old paintings, the main Christian figures – Jesus, Mary, the saints – were surrounded by an aureole or at least a halo, a circle of light above their heads.

What’s a “Good” Aura?

In anthroposophy, there are four body layers. The ether body supplies the physical body with spirit and growth. In the astral body, your feelings, preferences and aversions emerge. The spirit body organizes your ego – it’s home to your self awareness, it enables you to use words and to reflect on yourself.

In new age, aura is a common concept. It has up to seven layers and sticks out at least 30 centimeters on all sides of your body. The better these layers are adjusted to one another, the happier and healthier you are. With some practice, you can enlarge or reduce your aura.

You can also cleanse your aura, for instance by stroking your body from head to toe, as if you’re removing imaginary fluff and creases from a wide coat. Or by visualizing lightening up your aura in bright colors. A lengthy walk on the beach blows your aura clean. You can feel it.

How to Read Auras

Is it possible for people to see auras? To predict which sicknesses are coming up, to perceive hidden feelings or to tell you what your true mission in life is? Aura readers and many of their clients say so. But the question is whether you can speak of ‘seeing’. Because our auras don’t consist of natural light.

What about aura photography, then? You pose in front of a camera with your hand on a sensitive sheet, and a minute later you see your picture surrounded by clouds of colour, on a real photograph that you can take home with you.

According to the inventor of the aura camera, Guy Coggins, these colors are projected by a computer program. The machine uses a galvanometer (comparable to a lie detector) to measure something in your hand, and translates this to color.

What it is the computer measures, and how this translation to color takes place? Coggins says the meter measures electrical vibrations in the acupuncture points in your hand. With the help of experienced aura readers, Coggins has translated these vibrations to colors and made a program of it. An aura photographer told me: the higher the frequency of your vibrations, the lighter the colors.

Someone else said: it depends on the spot in the picture. But all aura readers agree that only good aura readers are able to interpret the colors. Red symbolizes anger for person A, but passion or sensuality for person B. Green stands for healing, but also for jealousy or the love of nature. Yellow is intellect, or cheer. Etcetera.

But if colors can have so many meanings, how come so many people have their aura read and are impressed by the results? Apparently, the best aura readers are sensitive enough to observe what’s going on inside our minds. But whether this relates to the colors, or whether they find this information another way, is no foregone conclusion.

Science and the Aura

There have been some scientific tests with aura readers, but all of them are disappointing. In one experiment there were four screens in a room, a man sat behind one of them– close to the rim, so that his aura would have to stick out past the screen. The (renowned) aura readers were asked behind which screen the man was sitting – they didn’t score higher than 26 percent.

Nonetheless, according to other tests, the light that people radiate is measurable. This light supposedly comes from photons, a very weak radiation that forms the shape of a person if you amplify it a million times – the strongest around the head. Every test person that was photographed shows the same pattern, but the intensity of the light differs.

Is this the aura? Hm. A remarkable result of the research was that experienced meditators radiate less light than people who aren’t spiritual. And when a test person started meditating, his radiation weakened. As if normal people let the light ‘leak out’ and people who meditate keep it ‘in’.

Do We Need Hard Evidence?

Strong, hard evidence for the existence of the aura doesn’t exist. But do we really need it? Perhaps the light of auras just isn’t visible or natural. Perhaps there are two kinds of light – an ‘invisible’ spiritual light, and the regular daylight that we’re able to see? If you’re sensitive to the wisdom of myths, this suggestion might appeal to you. Because in the first book of the Bible, Genesis 1, the Creator exclaims: ‘Let there be light!’, and there was light. This is while He didn’t create the sun, moon and stars until the fourth day. Sunlight is what makes us able to see each other, with our normal eyes. And perhaps all this information we mysteriously get about each other, comes from that other light, the light that existed before the universe – the spiritual light that permeates everything, even the deepest darkness.

Text: Lisette Thooft

Smile at each other more often, surprise them with a present or put away the phone for a few hours. Big gestures and declarations of love are very romantic, but true intimacy in a relationship is in the little things you do for each other. 

Intimacy is the cornerstone of a strong relationship. It’s not just the physical kind, but also the spiritual and mental kind. In the early stages of a relationship, intimacy comes naturally, but this might change over time. The genuine interest for the other disappears, what is there to discover about them after all those years? Lots, marriage counselor Sharon Pope says. She thinks of curiosity as an important condition for true intimacy. It doesn’t mean you need to have deep conversations night after night – who has time for that? No, creating intimacy is much more subtle. Trying the following 17 things (more often) could be helpful.

Surprise Your Partner

Get them a small gift, clean the house, or surprise them with a night out. Not to get something done, or because it’s their birthday, but just because you can.

Let Them Know You’re Thinking of Them

Even if it’s a busy day and there are thirteen more chores you have to do, a sweet message only takes a few seconds to send.

Share What’s Going On in Your Mind

Be open about what you’ve been through in life, what scares you, what you long for, and what you look forward to.

Listen to Them

Make sure you don’t get distracted when they tell you something, and really listen to them. Ask questions and try to imagine what it’s like to be in their shoes.

Give Compliments

Everyone likes to get a compliment. It’s a way of showing them you appreciate them.

Talk About Memories

Think about the nice times you’ve shared and talk about the memory with them.

Say “Thank You” More Often

Thank them for something at least once a day. It doesn’t matter what for, whether it’s them taking out the garbage, or simply being there for you.

Be Forgiving

Allow them to be imperfect. Sometimes it’s better to compromise.

Do Something for Them

Clean the shower, take the empty wine bottles to the bottle bank, or pick up clothes at the dry cleaner’s. Help them with a chore they hate to do every once in a while.

Look Each Other in the Eyes

Eyes are the mirror of the soul, use that to find out which page they are on.

Smile at Them

Just stop what you’re doing when they walk into the room and smile.

Go On an Adventure

It’s nice and easy to watch a TV show every night, but make sure you schedule new activities together, too. It doesn’t have to be something fancy: Take the time to cook a nice meal, or plan a vacation together.

Give Them Fifteen Minutes

No matter how tired you are, make sure you take at least fifteen minutes to talk about the day before you go to sleep. Especially in busy times, it can be a really powerful way to stay connected.

Be Present

Deliberately turn off the phone, iPad, or TV and focus on each other.

Start a Mini Book Club

Read the same book simultaneously and talk about it afterward. Even better: read to each other every night.

Plan a Staycation

Block a whole weekend (really block it) and be a tourist in your own city.

Go for a Picnic

Fresh air and a nice meal with a loved one never hurt anyone before!

Text: Joanne Wienen 

Do you feel a strong connection to horses? Or do you often dream about a lion? In your daily life, you might long for the animalistic power they stand for. These are the qualities behind six dream animals.

Long ago, contact with animals was an obvious source of help and power. Nature people still know the concept of the spirit animal, one that has a personal meaning for you. Many animals have their own general symbolic meaning. In our busy lives, these meanings have become less known, while they can be very meaningful to you: If you know the symbolic meaning of an animal you dream about, it tells you what you might need.

Animals in our dreams often represent certain primal forces and qualities that we need in our “conscious” life. In his (Dutch) book, dream expert and life-coach, Bas Klinkhamer describes the general symbolic of dream animals. The funny thing is that some proverbs in the English language already reveal the connections that are made in the subconscious.

This is the Meaning of Your Dream Animal

Monkeys: “Monkey business” – in our language, we link monkeys to playful, silly or mischievous behaviour. In the dream world, monkeys represent the free, unrestrained side of the dreamer.

Dogs

“As loyal as a dog”, is a common saying. People who love dogs know exactly what this means. Dogs are loyal, they guard boundaries, offer comfort and they are pack animals.

Horses

When it comes to horses, there are several possibilities. Originally, the horse means the restraint of primal urges. For people who have a strong connection to horses, however, the meaning is much deeper. Horses often reflect a part of their own intuitive and sensitive wisdom for them.

Birds

“As free as a bird”: this animal symbolises the higher self. In our minds, it is connected to freedom. If you dream of a very specific bird, it usually has a different meaning. The owl represents wisdom, the nightingale stands for song and the pigeon symbolizes peace and reconciliation.

Lions

The impressive looks of the lion gave it the title “king of the animals”. Lions represent power and pride. A dream lion can also refer to the cat-like, supple, and powerful qualities of a predator inside you.

Insects

Humming animals in our dreams symbolize the ongoing buzzing of our ability to think. In daily life, few people are fond of the animals, and in dreams, their meaning is not a positive one either. Dream insects stand for worrying, and even for being bothered by others.

Caterpillars & Butterflies

If you dream about caterpillars or butterflies, you are probably in a transitional phase (or they are ready for one, without knowing it). They represent transformation: transforming from one situation into another, more developed situation. Besides, butterflies symbolize the soul and the connection to the spiritual world.

Text: Joanne Wienen 

An introvert is –in a really tiny nutshell – someone who gets energy out of being alone. Because society is mainly focused on extroverts, it’s really important that introverts’ boundaries and needs are respected. Of course all people are different, but in general, introverts do really need these seven things.

1. Time to Recover After a Busy Day

No, there’s nothing selfish or theatrical about wanting some me-time during, or after, a busy day. Introverts process stimuli and information on a very deep level. Because extroverts process it in a more superficial way, they can handle much more stimuli. For introverts, it’s really important to have enough time to recover.

2. Meaningful Conversations

Of course, it’s nice sometimes to simply talk about what the day was like, but because introverts are often deep thinkers, they need conversations that go beyond that every once in a while. Introverts are conscientious and think a lot, about themselves and the world. That’s why, more than extroverts, they need conversations about these topics.

3. Just Being Silent Together

Introverts’ batteries are charged in silence. That’s why they need to have people around them who are just as good at being silent as they are. Not because they don’t have anything to say, but because it can be really comfortable to embrace a good silence. By being quiet together, you allow thoughts and ideas to really get through to you. Silence is not something that needs to be eliminated, it can be beautiful.

4. A Peaceful Place of Their Own

A room or a spot where they can retreat, surrounded by their own stuff, even if it’s just for a minute. That’s where introverts find the space to recharge their batteries. It’s an essential part of a happy life. Being able to spend time alone is very healthy for an introvert.

5. The Chance to Think Before They Reply

For an introvert, an impatient partner or colleague can be extremely stressful. Whereas extroverts lean on their short-term memory, introverts turn inside. That’s why they need more time to find the right words. If people don’t pay them any mind, they miss out on beautiful ideas.

6. Friends Who Understand Their Absence

Introverts need friends who understand they can’t always be around. It’s not because they don’t like to spend time together, or hate parties, but it’s all about balance for them. When they get too busy, they get very tired. It’s nothing personal when they decide to stay in. They simply need it.

7. Personal Attention

For extroverts, it can be hard to imagine what it’s like to be introvert (and vice versa, by the way). They think: who doesn’t like to go to a party? Introverts need social events, too, they just prefer to spend it one on one.

Text: Joanne Wienen 

It happens: some people meet for the first time and immediately know they’re meant for each other. How many stars do you give the relationships in your life? 

Type 1: Five Star Soulmates

What’s the most important thing between two soulmates in love? “The essence is about recognizing each other’s ideas and life mission,” writer Geert Kimpen says. “It’s the feeling that you’ve known each other for years, and that you could talk for the rest of your lives. If you have the same big goal in life, the same ideals and values and you know where you want to go, and you recognize that in each other, you know you guys are soulmates.”

The relationship between soulmates always has a higher purpose. “When you’re in love, you see the other one in their ultimate realized form, in all the greatness they might become, and they see it in you. The famous cloud nine. In fact, at that moment you see each other much more detailed than later on in your relationship. You meet each other in order to motivate one another to reach the ideal shape. That’s a lifelong path that never gets boring, it keeps on challenging you in new ways, together you grow towards the shared ideal.”

Indian philosopher Osho said you can only have one of these exceptional encounters. According to him, it’s about completely coinciding at each chakra level: “When all seven chakra centers of the man resonate in the same frequency as all seven chakra centers of the woman, you’ve found your soulmate,” he said. “Two persons function like they’re one: two bodies, one soul. It’s absolute harmony, love in its ultimate shape.” He says it happens very seldom.

Type 2: Four Star Soulmates

There are also soulmates with fewer stars. Friends, siblings, or other duos who feel so connected, it’s like they were born in the same star. “We are twin souls, made from the same stardust,” a woman says about her friend. What is that like?

The notion “twin souls” roots from the idea that our actual soul is something big and radiant, like a spiritual sun in an immaterial world. From this soul, two or three drops fall down on the earth to experience new things and learn new lessons. Whoever you are, there’s a drop of that golden soul fire within you; somewhere on the planet, there’s at least one other person with a drop of the same soul.

You can meet this other person, but (according to the theory) it will only happen once you’ve reached a certain level of development. If, for instance, you can see clearly what you’ve learned in previous lives and if you know what you’re here for. And if you’re able to recognize the same life mission in someone else.

The twin soul can be your partner, but not necessarily. It can also be your sibling or a good friend. Whoever it is, they give you a feeling of safety and freedom. The two of you motivate each other to give the best you can give, to grow and blossom. Together, you’ll learn important life lessons. They are not always fun or easy, you may experience a great loss or go through a severe crisis. Most importantly, you respect each other deeply, you enrich each other’s lives, and they make you feel heard and understood.

Type 3: Three Star Soulmates

According to another story from the spiritual world, we all share the same spiritual family or we’re all members from a group of souls that once was one single soul, at the very first start of creation. It was split in two, that ‘s the story of Adam and Eve. But it proceeded, according to this theory: with every new phase of creation, there was another separation.

Since we’re in the fourth phase or round of creation, every soul exists out of sixteen people who belong to the same group of souls. It means you could meet fifteen soulmates in your life. They can be partners, parents, children, family members, or friends. It is said that only five out of sixteen have to reach a certain level of development in order to make sure that all sixteen will meet in a lifetime. Then the group of souls is complete and the members enforce each other.

This kind of soulmate has three stars. For them, the same thing goes: you have a strong connection, and sometimes you feel like you’ve known each other from earlier incarnations, but there can also be frictions and even severe conflicts.

A Starry Sky Full of Soulmates

Buddhism offers another perspective. According to Buddha, people don’t have separate souls at all: we’re just waves in an ocean, we’re water: Our Buddha-nature. Essentially, all is one, and once you get in touch with that, you’ll experience a feeling of love.

When you look at it like this, everyone is your soulmate – all seven billion people on the earth and all the zillions who have lived here or will live here in the future. You’re a soulmate to all life, everything in creation, all the stars, and planets. One day we will know, feel, experience it. Then we’re complete in ourselves, we’ll have united everything that’s male and female in our own souls and we’ll have become whole people. At that moment, our relationships will have just as many stars as the sky.

 

If you’re the eldest child, you’re probably a responsible person. You like taking care of others, stick to the rules, and strive for perfection. Your perfect partner might well be the youngest child – because opposites attract. 

The Upside of Being the Eldest Child

Looking at the pictures in your photo album, you probably see two radiant young people with their little prince or princess. You were the first child, so your parents didn’t have any parenting experience yet. There are probably more pictures in your album than in your siblings’ albums. During the first years of your life, your parents focused completely on you, and they probably conversed the most with you: simply because there was no competition of other children. You were cherished.

The Downside of Being the Eldest Child

The fact that your parents were inexperienced, has its downside, too. According to Linda Blair, British psychologist and author of “Birth Order”, says the eldest child often feels their parents’ nervousness. In their first years –depending on how old you were when your sibling was born- you were probably mainly around older people. You compared yourself to them, causing you to set high standards for yourself and longing for other people’s approval.

Who’s Your Perfect Partner?

Of course, your ideal match depends on several factors. However, according to Linda Blair, psychology can tell us some things about it. Opposites often attract, so chances are you fall for a youngest child. Other eldest children, or only children, are too much like you, especially if both of you like to take the lead.

Typical eldest child features:

You Respect Authority and Stick to the Rules

As a young child, you were used to having adults around you. That’s why you tend to look up to people who are older than you, or who are in a powerful position.

You Like to Take the Lead

According to research, the eldest children often have a leading position in their jobs. That’s probably because they learned to be responsible at a very young age: they were the eldest, so they had to be the wisest (and you could act bossy with your younger siblings).

You Worked Hard at School

As an eldest child, you probably did your best to please your parents and teacher. Perhaps you even let them decide what to study for you. As an adult, you might be focused on pleasing your boss, too. Do you have a good sense of language? According to Linda Blair, that might also be due to your place in the birth order. You started developing language very soon, because your parents talked to you a lot.

You’re Caring

Parents don’t do it on purpose, but they tend to give their eldest children a lot of responsibility, more than their youngest children. This taught you to take care of others at a young age, and you’re probably still very caring.

You’re Self-critical

If you were very young when you had a brother or sister, you are probably highly self-critical. According to Linda Blair, when a sibling is born, young children draw a conclusion: mommy and daddy don’t like them as much as they used to, so they wanted a new baby. As an adult, you may still feel like you’re not enough sometimes.

Want to read more?

Linda Blair, “Birth Order. What Your Position In The Family Really Tells You About Your Character.” Little Brown UK, 2013.

Text: Dorien Vrieling 

If you’re the youngest child in your family, you’re probably the life of the party. You’re fun to be around, and you use your sense of humor and charm to get attention.

The Upside of Being the Youngest

As the youngest child, you were probably cherished and cuddled longer than your siblings. Your parents knew you were the last ‘baby’, so they wanted to enjoy having a young child around as long as they could. They probably were less strict with you than they were with your siblings. Your brother or sister must have told you sometimes: ‘I didn’t get away with that!’ But, just like your parents, they grant you a lot.

The Downside of Being the Youngest

Perhaps your siblings still tell you you were spoiled sometimes. While it’s not like you could help being the youngest – and it’s not all glitter and gold. You always had older siblings around you and the other members of your family –both parents and siblings- probably helped you with lots of things, making it more difficult to get on your own two feet. If you’re the youngest, you probably find it harder to be independent, according to Linda Blair. She’s a psychologist and author of ‘Birth Order’.

Who’s Your Perfect Partner?

Usually, the eldest child is a great match with the youngest child, according to Blair. The eldest offers stability likes to take care of their partner and likes the youngest’s quirkiness and rebelling. Being the youngest, you probably like being taken care of – although your partner can’t be too meddlesome. A middle child can be a good match, too, because they are often easygoing and they offer you the space you need. The youngest child with the youngest child is a dynamic combination, according to Blair, but it can also bring a lot of chaos.

Character traits that are typical for youngest children:

You’re a Charmer

As the youngest child, you’ve probably grown up to be the clown in the family. You’ve been surrounded by people older than you, and knew how to charm them with your sense of humor. Even in your adult life, you might still take on that role. Your need for attention sometimes makes your charm change into manipulative behavior (not the nicest trait, but hey, the oldest and middle child aren’t perfect either).

You’re Messy

Growing up, your siblings and parents probably helped you with lots of things, simply because you were the youngest. This got you used to other people doing stuff for you, and that’s why you’re probably not much of organizational talent. Planning isn’t your strong suit.

You’re a Daredevil

Youngest children, according to Blair, have less respect for authority than eldest children. They are less flexible than middle children. Breaking rules was less scary for you because your parents had grown more indulgent and less strict when your older siblings grew up.

You’re Insecure

There’s a bit of a paradox here. On the one hand, youngest children are used to being cherished and complimented, and you might say that’s good for their self-confidence. On the other hand, according to Blair, the youngest children have looked up to their elder siblings from the start. That’s why they might feel like they’re not good enough, and this feeling will last during adulthood.

You Tend to Get Disappointed in Others

Your parents probably cherished your ‘childish’ side, because you were the last child. That’s why they pampered you more than your older siblings. Unconsciously, this may cause high expectations of other people. Possibly, you still get disappointed in others because you expect a lot of them (and find it hard to take responsibility for the relationship or friendship sometimes).

Text: Dorien Vrieling 

Waking up from an erotic dream can be very awkward. Especially if the other person is not your partner, but a colleague or a friend. Don’t worry: making love in your dreams often symbolizes something entirely different.

Dreams about sex can be exciting, but also awkward and confusing. If you dreamt about having sex with your best friend, you can’t help but think about it the next time you meet them. The same goes for when you dreamt about colleagues, acquaintances, or –even worse – your boss. What does a dream like that mean? Do you secretly have feelings for them? Are you dissatisfied with your own relationship? No worries. Usually, sex in dreams is not about the act itself, but about something else. It’s our subconscious telling us about slumbering desires, wishes, or blockages regarding intimacy and attention. Did you dream about sex recently? Ask yourself whether it might symbolize one of these needs.

Meaning 1: You Would Like Them to Reach Out (Again)

Suppose you dream about having sex with a colleague while, at the office, you guys quarrel all the time. It sounds contradictory, but actually, it expresses your need in the situation very clearly. It doesn’t mean you want to have sex with them, but simply that you would like the contact to improve. Unconsciously, you long for finding a solution together. Sexual dreams are often about people who are at a distance in daily life. The sex in the dream symbolizes your wish for (better) contact. Perhaps it’s time to reach out.

Meaning 2: There are Hidden Desires

Sometimes, the need behind the dream is less clear. It’s possible that the sex dream symbolizes a wish you wouldn’t immediately recognize in daily life. In the Dutch book ‘Dreams and nightmares’, Bas Klinkhamer describes the story of a 37-year old woman and her recurring dream. In her dream, the woman is tied up and stroked by a group of strangers. It feels nice, while in daily life, she is in a lesbian relationship. It’s confusing to her, but talking to her coach, she discovers the meaning behind it. What was so pleasant about the dream? After a while, she realizes: ‘That I didn’t have to do anything, and all the men were there for me, to please me.’ It turned out that in her relationship, in daily life, she was always the one taking initiative. The dream made her discover a hidden desire: that she would be able to lean back every once in a while, and that her partner would take initiative.

Meaning 3: Your Sensual, Erotic Self Asks for Attention

Without eroticism and sensuality, we would live like robots. Our erotic, sensual side makes us the hot-blooded beings that we are, who are able to let life touch us. Passion and lust for life are two expressions of our erotic energy. It makes us go for things head first, makes us flirt in the streets, fall in love, and enjoy little things, like the sun tickling our skin. Perhaps, you’re suppressing your erotic, sensual side in daily life. If so, a sexual dream is a good reminder to live life to the fullest.

Meaning 4: It’s Time for You to Accept Yourself

Do you know the person, with whom you were having sex, well? Try the following exercise. Think of three things that describe their personality. Perhaps, the person is dominant or the opposite: submissive? Powerful? Friendly? Caring? Possibly, these are qualities you feel you lack. The dream is your subconscious telling you it’s time to accept who you are.

Text: Joanne Wienen