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Archive for February, 2014

7 Stressful Things to Start Ignoring

7 Stressful Things to Start Ignoring

As we journey through life, so many of us let stress get the best of us.  Don’t let this happen to you.  Don’t let your mind stir up and put up with unnecessary drama.  Do your best, take small steps forward, keep things in perspective, and ignore the following…

1.  Blatant negativity.

Keep calm and think positively.  Evolve your being and inspire yourself and others.  Say it out loud, “I am sorry negativity, I have no time for you.  I have far too many positive things to do.”  Take the next 24 hours and every time you start to complain, realize it, admit it and stop it.  How often do you complain and harp on negative thoughts?  It may be more often than you think.  Know that bringing awareness to this unproductive habit is the first step to overcoming it.  You are not allowed to complain about something unless you’re going to do something about it.

It’s better to be a lion for a day than a sheep all your life.  Instead of complaining about your circumstances, get busy creating new ones.  Remember that stumbling blocks become stepping stones when you look for the positive in a situation, even if you have to look a little harder than usual.  Be thankful for the little struggles you go through today.  They make you stronger and wiser.  Don’t let them break you; let them make you.

And when it comes to your interactions with negative people…  Smile, even if you have to force it.  Laugh, even if it hurts.  Don’t let them get to you.  You are amazing and life is good, regardless of what others say.  Those who talk down to you are just trying to walk tall by making you feel small.  Rise up.  If someone has nothing nice to say, ignore them.

2.  The people who try to dump on everything you do.

When you follow your heart and intuition, someone will try to discredit you for it.  When you finally find something that makes you happy, not everyone will be happy for you.  When you show unwavering kindness to others, some people will question your motives.  When you are honest to the core, some folks will attempt to use your honesty against you.  When you look for the best in everyone you meet, a few of them will take advantage of it.

Don’t let any of these people stop you from doing these things.  These people don’t matter.  In the end, what does matter is how you feel about yourself and the life you have led.  You will ask yourself one question: “Am I proud of how I lived?”  Make the answer: “Yes!”  

3.  Other people’s opinions of what’s best for you.

You can’t always be agreeable; that’s how people take advantage of you.  You have to set boundaries.  Don’t ever change just to impress someone.  Change because it makes you a better person and leads you to a better future.  Being your true self is the most effective formula for happiness and success there is.

Truth be told, one of the greatest freedoms is simply not caring what everyone else thinks of you.  Take risks.  Follow your intuition.  Don’t just accept the safe and easy choices because you’re afraid of what others might think or say.  Sometimes you need to step outside, get some fresh air, and remind yourself of who you are and what you want to be.  You have to take a stand and do your own thing your own way, no matter what anyone else thinks or says about you.  Don’t let small minds convince you that your dreams are too big.  They aren’t.

4.  That lingering idea of perfection.

The quest for perfection always ends in devastation.  Thinking you have to do things perfectly is like strapping an extra 500 pounds to your back – it absolutely crushes you.  According to research professor, Brené Brown, “Perfection is correlated with depression, anxiety, addiction, and life paralysis or missed opportunities.  The fear of failing, making mistakes, not meeting people’s expectations, and being criticized keeps us outside the arena where healthy competition and striving unfolds.”

You might not be the most beautiful, the strongest, or the most talented person in the world, and that’s OK.  Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not.  You’re great at being YOU.  You might not be proud of all the things you’ve done in the past, but that’s okay too.  The past is not today.  Be proud of who you are, how you’ve grown, and what you’ve learned along the way.

Ultimately, you need to realize that perfect is the enemy of great.  And the real world doesn’t reward perfection; it rewards people who get great things done.  And the only way to get great things done is to be imperfect 99.9% of the time.

5.  Ungrateful, materialistic thinking.

When life is good, enjoy it.  Don’t go looking for something better.  Happiness never comes to those who don’t appreciate what they have.  A psychology study (Nickerson et al.) conducted in 2003 is proof of this.  The study examined the attitudes of 12,000 college freshmen when they were eighteen, and then measured their life-satisfaction at age 37.  Those who had expressed heightened materialistic aspirations as freshmen – always wanting something they didn’t have – were far less satisfied with their lives two decades later.

To be happy doesn’t mean you don’t desire more, it means you are thankful for what you have now and patient for everything yet to come.  Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want or need, to impress folks they don’t even know.  Don’t be one of them.  Sometimes it’s easy to get so caught up in trying to attain something new and big, that you fail to notice all the little things that give life its magic.  As Epicurus once said, “Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”

6.  The idea that everything should be easy.

Not everything that’s faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it’s faced.  Many people never achieve what they want in life because when opportunity knocks, they’re still sleeping and dreaming and waiting for a miracle.  Remember, problems are not stop signs, they’re guidelines.  Losing is a learning experience.  Strength does not come from winning at everything.  Your greatest struggles develop your greatest strengths.

In the end, you are not what you have done, but what you have overcome.  All the hardships.  All the mistakes.  All the rejections.  All the pain.  All the times you questioned why.  All of these things have given birth to the wisdom and strength that will help you shine your light on the world, even in the darkest of hours.

7.  An inner resistance to change.

We all have a story.  We’ve all gone through something that has changed us in a way that we could never go back to who we once were.  In life, this kind of change is inevitable.  Everything around you is impermanent – your body, your possessions, your relationships, etc.  You don’t have control over every little thing that happens to you, but you do have control over how you decide to internalize it.

Pay as much attention to the changes that are working positively in your life as you do to those changes that are giving you trouble.  Appreciate how the unexpected is sometimes better than what you expected.  And above all, stop stressing over what’s behind you.  The end of something good is always the beginning of something great.  Say to yourself: “Dear Past, thank you for all the life lessons you have taught me.  Dear Present, I am ready now!”  Because a priceless new beginning always occurs at the point you thought would be the end of everything.

Bottom line:  Don’t sweat the small stuff.  Live simply.  Love generously.  Speak truthfully.  Work diligently.  Then let go and let what’s meant to be, be.

Your turn…

Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, “Too many people die with their music still in them.”  I believe this is due in part to our tolerance of the wrong things – needless sources of stress that can be ignored.  So what do you think?  What would you add to this list?  What sources of stress do you need to ignore more often?  Please leave us a comment below and share your thoughts.

7 Things You Should Stop Expecting from Others

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The biggest disappointments in our lives are often the result of misplaced expectations.  This is especially true when it comes to our relationships and interactions with others.

Tempering your expectations of other people will greatly reduce unnecessary frustration and suffering, in both your life and theirs, and help you refocus on the things that truly matter.

Which means it’s time to…

1.  Stop expecting them to agree with you.

You deserve to be happy.  You deserve to live a life you are excited about.  Don’t let the opinions of others make you forget that.  You are not in this world to live up to the expectations of others, nor should you feel that others are here to live up to yours.  In fact, the more you approve of your own decisions in life, the less approval you need from everyone else.

You have to dare to be yourself, and follow you own intuition, however frightening or strange that may feel or prove to be.  Don’t compare yourself to others.  Don’t get discouraged by their progress or success.  Follow your own path and stay true to your own purpose.  Success is ultimately about spending your life happily in your own way.

2.  Stop expecting them to respect you more than you respect yourself.

True strength is in the soul and spirit, not in muscles.  It’s about having faith and trust in who you are, and a willingness to act upon it.  Decide this minute to never again beg anyone for the love, respect, and attention that you should be showing yourself.

Today, look at yourself in the mirror and say, “I love you, and from now on I’m going to act like it.”  It’s important to be nice to others, but it’s even more important to be nice to yourself.  When you practice self-love and self-respect, you give yourself the opportunity to be happy.  When you are happy, you become a better friend, a better family member, and a better YOU.

3.  Stop expecting (and needing) them to like you.

You might feel unwanted and unworthy to one person, but you are priceless to another.  Don’t ever forget your worth.  Spend time with those who value you.  No matter how good you are to people, there will always be one negative person who criticizes you.  Smile, ignore them, and carry on.

In this crazy world that’s trying to make you like everyone else, the toughest battle you’ll ever have to fight is the battle to be yourself.  And as you’re fighting back, not everyone will like you.  Sometimes people will call you names because you’re “different.”  But that’s perfectly OK.  The things that make you different are the things that make YOU, and the right people will love you for it.

4.  Stop expecting them to fit your idea of who they are.

Loving and respecting others means allowing them to be themselves.  When you stop expecting people to be a certain way, you can begin to appreciate THEM.

Pay close attention, and respect people for who they are and not for who you want them to be.  We don’t know most people half as well as we believe we do; and truly knowing someone is a big part of what makes them wonderful.  Every human being is remarkable and beautiful; it just takes a patient set of eyes to see it.  The more you get to know someone, the more you will be able to look beyond their appearance and see the beauty of who they truly are.  

5.  Stop expecting them to know what you’re thinking.

People can’t read minds.  They will never know how you feel unless you tell them.  Your boss?  Yeah, he doesn’t know you’re hoping for a promotion because you haven’t told him yet.  That cute guy you haven’t talked to because you’re too shy?  Yeah, you guessed it, he hasn’t given you the time of day simply because you haven’t given him the time of day either.

In life, you have to communicate with others regularly and effectively.  And often, you have to open your vocal cords and speak the first words.  You have to tell people what you’re thinking.  It’s as simple as that.

6.  Stop expecting them to suddenly change.

If there’s a specific behavior someone you care about has that you’re hoping disappears over time, it probably won’t.  If you really need them to change something, be honest and put all the cards on the table so this person knows how you feel and what you need them to do.

For the most part though, you can’t change people and you shouldn’t try.  Either you accept who they are or you choose to live without them.  It’s might sound harsh, but it’s not.  When you try to change people, they often remain the same, but when you don’t try to change them – when you support them and allow them the freedom to be as they are – they gradually change in the most beautiful way.  Because what really changes is the way you see them.  

7.  Stop expecting them to be “OK.”

Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle, just like you.  Every smile or sign of strength hides an inner struggle every bit as complex and extraordinary as your own.

Remember that embracing your light doesn’t mean ignoring your dark.  We are measured by our ability to overcome adversities and insecurities, not avoid them.  Supporting, sharing and making contributions to other people is one of life’s greatest rewards.  This happens naturally if we allow it, because we all share very similar dreams, needs and struggles.  Once we accept this, the world then is a place where we can look someone else in the eye and say, “I’m lost and struggling at the moment,” and they can nod and say, “Me too,” and that’s OK.  Because not being “OK” all the time, is perfectly OK.

Afterthoughts

People rarely behave exactly the way you want them to.  Hope for the best, but expect less.  And remember, the magnitude of your happiness will be directly proportional to your thoughts and how you choose to think about things.  Even if a situation or relationship doesn’t work out at all, it’s still worth it if it made you feel something new, and if it taught you something new.

Your turn…

What would you add to this post?  What do you need to stop expecting from others?  Leave a comment below and share your thoughts with the community.

9 Things Happy People Do to Stress Less

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People’s lives become chaotic the minute they decide to be.

People’s lives become happier the minute they decide to be.

Be the latter.  For fast-acting stress relief, slow down and consider the following:

1.  Know what you’re trying to achieve and why.

Lack of direction creates stress.  And it’s lack of direction, not lack of time, that’s the problem when it comes to personal achievement.  Everyone has the same 24-hour days and 7-day weeks.

Whenever you want to achieve something keep your conscious clear.  Focus and make sure you know exactly what it is you want and why.  No one can hit their target if they don’t know what their target is.

2.  Do less by focusing exclusively on what’s important.

The essence of personal productivity is to do the important things rather than the urgent things.

In other words, put first things first.  Focus on the essential and eliminate the rest.

3.  Think progress, not perfection.

Don’t worry about perfection; you’ll never achieve it.  Instead, focus on the progress you’ve made and the progress you intend to make today.

Progression is not automatic or inevitable.  Every step of personal growth requires sacrifice and work.  Every step is part of an ever-improving, ever-ascending life path.  Every step is an accomplishment that should be celebrated.  You know you will never get to the absolute peak (perfection), but when you celebrate the journey this truth only adds to the joy and glory of the climb.

4.  Cleanse your heart every night.

Just as your body needs regular washing because it gets dirty every day, so does your heart.

Because every day, people hurt you, offend you, forget you, snub you, step on you, or reject you.  But if you choose to forgive these people and let these things go at the end of each day, you cleanse your heart.  You wake up the next morning refreshed and free of negativity.  Refuse to carry old regrets, mindsets, and distractions into each new day. .

5.  Purge untrue thoughts.

You must learn a new way to think before you can master a new way to be.

Behind every stressful feeling is an untrue thought.  Before the thought you weren’t suffering, but after the thought you began to suffer.  When you recognize that the thought isn’t true, once again there is no suffering.  When you change your thoughts, you change your life.

6.  Expect some stress, accept it, and let go of it.

The most important journeys that lead to the most wonderful places are usually the challenging ones you must endure the hard way.

Stress is but a wall between two peaceful gardens – the garden where you are and garden where you want to be.  You must scale the wall that’s in your way, gathering lessons as you climb, before letting go as you descend to the other side.  You will only lose if you never climb or you never let go.

7.  Be kind to your body.

A good workout is the best stress reducer, and a fit, healthy body is the best fashion statement.

The pursuit of optimal fitness is a journey, a constant struggle, a lifestyle.  It’s a gradual process where intensity during each exercise session, what you eat every single day, and patience over years is what’s required.

But as you know, the longest journey always begins with a single step.  It’s all about taking that step and then stepping one day at a time, committing yourself to a daily intake of 30 to 60 minutes of uninterrupted exercise and a reasonably healthy diet.  

8.  Do one nice thing for yourself every day.

Put yourself at the top of your priority list.  There is no person on Earth who deserves your kindness and attention more than you.  When you love yourself first, everything else falls into place.

So treat yourself every day.  Give yourself something special – like laughter, good conversation, meditation, quiet reading, an hour to work on a passion, a long walk, etc.

You are worth it.

9.  Simplify.

Organize, don’t agonize.  Keep your space ordered and your schedule under-booked.  Create a foundation with a soft place to land, a wide margin of error, and room to think and breathe…

So you have the flexibility to explore the possibilities for happiness in each and every day.

The floor is yours…

What would you add to the list?  What do you do to make yourself smile when life gets stressful?  Please leave a comment below.

50 Things to Let Go of Before Your Next Birthday

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Truth be told, today is the oldest you’ve ever been and the youngest you will ever be again.  It’s kind of scary, but it’s true.  If there was ever a perfect day to start letting go of the needless drama and stress that’s been holding you back, that day is today.  And since we often use our birthdays as mile markers to track our personal growth and accomplishments, I challenge you to this:

Before your next birthday…

  1. Let go of what isn’t helping your soul smile and grow. – Life is to be enjoyed, not endured.  Follow a path that moves you.  You are always free to do something that makes you smile.
  2. Let go of the baggage you know you need to leave behind. – As we grow older and wiser, we begin to realize what we need and what we need to leave behind.  Sometimes walking away is a step forward.
  3. Let go of feeling like you aren’t making progress fast enough. – No matter how many mistakes you make or how slow you progress, you are still way ahead of everyone who isn’t trying.
  4. Let go of the idea that you have too much to lose. – In the end, you won’t regret the things you’ve done nearly as much as the things you didn’t do when you had the chance.  I’d rather have a life of “OH WELLS” than a life of “WHAT IFS.”  Wouldn’t you agree?
  5. Let go of worrying about everyone else’s opinions of your life. – When writing the story of your life, don’t let someone else hold the pen.
  6. Let go of your tendency to avoid problems. – You cannot change what you refuse to confront.
  7. Let go of all your empty complaints. – If you don’t like something, change it.  If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.
  8. Let go of the excuses. – If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way.  If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.
  9. Let go of lazy attitudes and routines. – You can’t underestimate a person who always works hard.  Be that person.  In life, you don’t get what you wish for; you get what you work for.  
  10. Let go of making the same mistakes over and over. – You can’t make the same mistake twice.  The second time you make it, it’s no longer a mistake, it’s a choice.
  11. Let go of the fantasy of perfection. – If you want to get really good at something, let go of the notion of perfection and replace it with the notion of endless playful exploration.
  12. Let go of believing the best is behind you. – Your life isn’t behind you; your memories are behind you.  Your life is always right here, right now.  Seize it!  Choose to let each of your experiences today be a gateway to an even brighter tomorrow.
  13. Let go of thinking you should always get what you want. – Not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.
  14. Let go of the notion that life is fair. – If you expect the world to be fair with you because you are fair, you’re fooling yourself.  That’s like expecting the lion not to eat you because you didn’t eat him.
  15. Let go of thinking others have it better than you. – Truthfully, nobody has it easy; everybody has issues.  If everybody threw their problems in a pile for you to see, you would likely grab yours back in a heartbeat.
  16. Let go of the expectations that are holding you back. – The quality of your life is always 10% of what happens to you and 90% of how you respond to it.
  17. Let go of thinking there is a perfect time. – You can’t keep waiting for the perfect moment – it doesn’t exist.  You must dare to do it today because life is too short to wonder what could have been.
  18. Let go of the need to always feel comfortable. – If you want to make an impact, big or small, get comfortable with being uncomfortable.  All growth begins at the end of your comfort zone.
  19. Let go of thinking you have to know everything first. – You don’t have to have it all figured out to move forward.  Just do the best you can until you know better.  Once you know better, do better.
  20. Let go of the “all or nothing” mentality regarding success. – Appreciate the grey area between the extremes of success and failure – the journey, the experiences, etc.  And above all, never let success get to your head or failure get to your heart.
  21. Let go of your mistakes. – Don’t carry your mistakes around with you.  Instead, place them under your feet and use them as stepping stones.
  22. Let go of letting your daily struggles get the best of you. –  Keep the faith.  It will be worth it in the end.  The beginnings to great things are always the hardest.
  23. Let go of excessive worrying. – Worrying doesn’t take away tomorrow’s troubles, it takes away today’s peace and potential.  Stop over-thinking everything.  Life is too short.
  24. Let go of wanting stuff you don’t need. – Don’t think of cost.  Think of value.  And remember, it’s always easier to find wealth by needing less, instead of making more.
  25. Let go of your ungrateful thoughts. – Happiness never comes to those who don’t appreciate what they have.  So be thankful today.  Life isn’t perfect, it’s just pretty darn good.
  26. Let go of all your reasons to be unhappy. – Stop looking for reasons to be unhappy.  Focus on the things you do have and the reasons you should be happy.  Positivity changes everything.
  27. Let go of any hypocrisy. – For instance, don’t pray when it rains if you don’t pray when the sun shines.
  28. Let go of assuming other people are more “normal” than you. – The only normal people you know are the ones you don’t know very well.  Period.
  29. Let go of the emotions that often get the best of you. – Stay strong.  Even when it feels like things are falling apart, they’re not.  Take control of your emotions before they take control of you.
  30. Let go of your temper. – Never do something permanently foolish just because you are temporarily upset.
  31. Let go of ugly words. – Saying someone is ugly doesn’t make you any prettier.
  32. Let go of your superficial judgments. – We meet no ordinary people in our lives.  If you give them a chance, everyone has something amazing to offer.
  33. Let go of trying to change others. – For the most part, you can’t change people and you shouldn’t try.  Either you accept who they are or you choose to live without them.
  34. Let go of thinking you’re too cool to be kind. – It takes a great deal of strength to be gentle and kind.  And you are much stronger than you think.
  35. Let go of being “too busy” to SHOW your love. – Loyalty is hard to find.  Trust is easy to lose.  Actions speak louder than words.  Tell your loved ones you love them every day, and prove it.
  36. Let go of one-sided relationships. – If someone truly cares about you, they won’t make you feel like you need to constantly fight for their attention.
  37. Let go of those who have never been there for you. – Remember, it’s during the toughest times of your life that you’ll get to see the true colors of the people who say they care about you.
  38. Let go of negative influences. – You can’t expect to feel good if you surround yourself with negativity.  Be with those who bring out the best in you, not the stress in you.
  39. Let go of all self-hate. – Love yourself!  Forgive yourself!  Accept yourself!
  40. Let go of any lies you’ve heard that you aren’t attractive enough. – More women worldwide are suffering from anorexia and bulimia than are fighting breast cancer.  Love yourself the way you are.  You are already beautiful.
  41. Let go of trying to be someone else. – Someone will always be prettier.  Someone will always be smarter.  Someone will always be younger.  But they will never be YOU.  And that makes you powerful.
  42. Let go of the things people say about you. – Try not to take things other people say about you too personally.  What they think and say is a reflection of them, not you.
  43. Let go of the petty arguments. – You can’t change how people treat you or what they say about you.  All you can do is change how you react and who you choose to be around.
  44. Let go of putting everyone else’s needs in front of your own. – Give as much as you can, but don’t allow yourself to be used.  Listen to others closely, but don’t lose your own voice.  
  45. Let go of needing everyone to like you. – Everyone doesn’t need to like you.  But remember, just because some people don’t seem to care for you, doesn’t mean you should forget about everyone else who does.
  46. Let go of changing just to impress people. – Don’t ever change just to impress someone else.  Change because it makes you a better person and leads you to a brighter future.
  47. Let go of life’s little annoyances. – Don’t let dumb little things break your happiness.  True wealth is the ability to experience and appreciate each moment for what it’s worth.
  48. Let go of yesterday. – Don’t let yesterday steal your present.  Don’t judge yourself by your past; you don’t live there anymore.  Let go, grow, and move forward.
  49. Let go of thinking that giving up means failure. – Giving up and moving on are two very different things.
  50. Let go of the idea that it’s too late to start over. – Remember, it’s always better to be at the bottom of the ladder you want to climb than the top of the one you don’t.
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