I train myself to speak my mind freely, to express what I really feel. I daily hit the emotional gym. And even in the emotional gym you could say: No pain, no gain. It’s always a little scary to truly disclose yourself, but 99 percent of the time I like the results.

Over the past couple of days:

I liked hugging a certain woman, so I let her know.

I liked how several women looked, so I told them. Though I never worked up the courage to tell one friend she has really beautiful legs and a great figure.

Why I get such a kick out of complimenting women is not the subject of this particular blog post, by the way. All I can say is that it gives me joy, and since I mean every word I say, I tend to notice the women don’t mind.

I made no secret of the fact that I think my sister-in-law’s boyfriend is a great guy, she couldn’t have picked a better one.

I’m glad I told a friend he looks great, but comes across as emotionally distant, whereas I know this is just an impression he makes, on the inside he’s very alive.

I told my mum I loved her, even though the tough guy rules I grew up with, make me feel a little embarrassed about that. But what the hell for? My mum is the sweetest woman in the world! No contest! My mother in law comes is as a close second. No, I’m not exaggerating.

I told a friend I really appreciated her being part of our wedding celebration, which made her cry. I thought: score!, but I meant what I said, and am glad she knows and that she had such a great time.

Someone I hold in high esteem has recently published a book which includes six cartoons that Dieter Walckiers and I made. We were paid for this, and I told the author how much I appreciated this and how special it felt. It really does feel special to be paid for creative work. And to be honest, I feel like any euro or dollar I get for creative work feels like getting 100 euros or dollars. Is there a better feeling than receiving some financial reward for bringing something into this world that you really poured your heart and soul into? It makes the top three of great feelings, for sure.

I got into a conversation about Chinese with a certain lady, and I really felt connected to her all of a sudden. Even though I’d met her before and hadn’t felt this connection earlier. I also noticed once again, how much more attractive people become when you establish some emotional connection with them. And that it almost never takes more than 10 minutes of open conversation to connect with someone.

How many nurturing connections do we lose out on in life, because we don’t work up the courage to have a ten minute ‘asking questions we want to ask’ conversation with a stranger that catches our eye?

I stumbled upon a review of a book that I found far outdid my own review of the same book, and I said as much.

When I bumped into a really good blog post about how to blog, I complimented the author, even though I always feel a little silly when someone younger than me clearly outperforms me. Do all guys have this? Maybe.

Have we been so negatively influenced that we find it so hard to be just spontaneous and genuine? It’s a daily exercise and you’re never finished. It’s not always appropriate to do so. For instance, there was a waitress I felt like having a cup of tea with, but I didn’t ask her. There was a friend I could have said more to, but didn’t, thinking the timing was wrong and also just because for some neurotic reason I’ve decided on an entirely arbitrary deadline to say more. The quirks of the human mind never cease to amaze me.

Forgive the self-flattery tone of this post, but I sometimes manage to feel pretty good about life as well, which is hard for me to admit, because I grew up feeling like the only appropriate attitude about life and the world and people was to denounce it all and to love only the taste of all things bitter and sour…

I must admit I love and crave the sweet stuff a whole lot more.

Live an authentic day!