You’re only a stranger once

Archive for May, 2020

It’s Not Too Late To Do This

YOU are NOT too late to make the best of things!

You’re exactly where you need to be right now.

Which means . . .

1. It’s not too late to start doing the hard things you need to do to be happier.

All great achievements require time and hard work. Good things don’t come easy. And consistent practice is the only way you can endure the gray periods.

When we want things to be easy, and expect them to be, we are inevitably disappointed. Our disappointment then motivates us to give up too soon. And the thing with giving up too soon is you never know. You never know whether you could have put in the effort and done something incredible with your life. I’ve personally pushed myself pretty hard over the years, because I was sick of the same old problems. What about you?

Find the courage to do the hard things in life. The things no one else is doing. The things that frighten you. The things others can’t do for you. The things that make you question how much longer you can hold on and push forward. Because those are the things that define you. Those are the things that make the difference between existing and living—between knowing the path and walking the path… between a life of mediocrity and a life filled with happiness and success.

Yes, find the courage!

And remember, courage doesn’t always roar out loud. Sometimes courage is simply the quiet voice at the very end of the evening, whispering, “I will try again tomorrow.”

2. It’s not too late to be a beginner.

We are products of what we know, but we don’t have to be prisoners of it. When you stop learning you stop living a meaningful life. Life’s richness does not come from always residing within familiar and comfortable territory. It’s when you venture out away from the familiar that you grow stronger and more capable.

You must hold tightly to your core values while at the same time opening your heart and mind to new ideas, feelings and experiences. Your own perspective will become clearer when you look at things from different angles. Find ways to provide a healthy challenge to your current understanding of life, and you will discover and experience far more of life’s magic in the days ahead.

Bottom line: As long as you are breathing, you are only just beginning.

3. It’s not too late to stop comparing yourself to everyone else.

Let go of the foolish need to compare, and you’ll free yourself to accomplish what matters most to you. Sometimes you have to remind yourself that you don’t have to always be and do what everyone else is being and doing.

If you compete with others, you will become bitter. If you compete with a previous version of yourself, you will become better. It’s as simple as that. You are not in competition with anybody except yourself—plan to outdo your past, not other people.

And keep in mind that when you’re not competing against others, you can instead work with them on a common goal. You can use your combined insights and talents to achieve what none of you can alone. Incredible personal growth and learning occurs through relationships when the competitive spirit is replaced with a collaborative one.

4. It’s not too late to give yourself a loving stamp of approval.

I don’t need anyone’s affection or approval in order to be good enough in my own eyes.

Repeat that to yourself and let it sink in.

Your worth isn’t contingent upon other people’s acceptance of you—it’s something inherent. You are alive, and therefore you matter. You’re allowed to think things and feel things. You’re allowed to assert your needs and take up space. You’re allowed to hold on to the truth that who you are is worthy. And you’re allowed to create some healthy distance from anyone who insists on making you feel otherwise.

5. It’s not too late to stop taking little daily annoyances personally.

Another driver cut you off in traffic. Your friend never texted you back. Your coworker went to lunch without you. Everyone can find a reason to be offended on a daily basis. But what caused you to be offended? You took things personally and dramatically. You made it all about YOU by assigning negative intent to these otherwise arbitrary actions. And you let your temper roar.

Don’t do this to yourself. Don’t pretend like everyone’s daily actions are about YOU. They aren’t. People’s actions are about THEM. So let it GO!

How would your life be different if you walked away from drama, gossip and nonconstructive assumptions?

Let today be the day you find out.

6. It’s not too late to make yourself a daily priority.

Life gets a lot easier when you are your own best friend. So don’t forget about YOU out there, and don’t be too hard on yourself either. There are plenty of others that will do both of these things for you.

Remember, there’s absolutely nothing selfish about self-care. If you don’t take good care of yourself, then you can’t take good care of anyone else. Because we can’t give what we don’t have. Treat yourself right and you’ll be life-giving to others.

7. It’s not too late to feel the warmth and joy of lifting others up.

Once your own self-care is in order, there is no exercise better for your heart and mind than reaching down and lifting people up.

Truly, generosity isn’t just to help others, it’s also to liberate you. It’s what keeps the things you own from owning you. Which is why you cannot live abundantly until you have done something nice for someone who can never repay you. Meditate on this and live graciously today.

8. It’s not too late to stop thinking and thinking, and OVER-thinking EVERYTHING.

Sometimes your mind unnecessarily wrestles with events that aren’t even remotely likely. Your sore throat is life threatening. Your lost driver’s license fell into the hands of a miscreant looking to steal your identity. Negativity like this only breeds more negativity. It’s a happiness riptide. It will carry you away from the shore and, if you don’t swim away, it will pull you under.

Stop over-thinking every dilemma. Answers come to a relaxed mind. Space allows things to fall into place.

When your fears and anxieties have you looking too deeply into things, it creates problems—it doesn’t fix them. If you think and you think and you think, you’ll think yourself right out of happiness a dozen times, and never once into it.

9. It’s not too late to sincerely embrace the life you’re presently living.

Before you can truly LIVE today, a part of you has to die first. You have to let go and bury what could have been, how you should have responded and what you wish you would have done differently. You have to accept that you can’t change a past experience, opinions of others at that moment in time, or outcomes from their choices or yours. When you finally accept this truth, then you will finally understand the true meaning of forgiving yourself and others. From this point you will finally be present and free.

Remember, you’ve been through a lot, but you’ve grown a lot too. Give yourself credit for your resilience, and step forward again today with grace.

Time To Clean Your Closets

 

Walk-in-Closets-Chandelier

Most of us have spent so much time, energy and money on what we wear and how we look that the last thing anyone needs is more fashion advice.

I will however tell you what not to wear if you want more peace and ease in your life.

1. You never again have to wear the guilt of your past.

Guilt and regret about the past aren’t serving your present. In fact, because of that guilt, you aren’t fully enjoying your current life. Whether it is guilt about letting go of something in your closet that you spent too much on, or guilt about a past relationship or anything in between, you have paid enough. You’ve paid with your money, time, attention and emotion. You can stop paying now. Let go, apologize, forgive and choose to live free of guilt and regret.

2. You never again have to wear your pain.

How many times have you tried to shop away your pain? Retail therapy is an expensive way to relieve the pain of boredom, frustration and heart ache and it only delivers temporary relief. You can’t shop your way out of of pain. I tried and it didn’t work. I did learn though that you can shop yourself into a tremendous amount of debt which leads to more pain, and then more shopping.

Instead of wearing your pain, trade shopping for self care. When you are in pain your heart isn’t saying, “Let’s go shopping.” It’s saying, “Please, take care of me.”

3. You never again have to wear the pressure to prove yourself.

I rarely bought clothes because I actually needed more clothes. I had plenty. Instead I purchased clothing to feel a certain way and to be perceived a certain way … to prove myself. I wanted to feel smart, beautiful and loved. I wanted other people to think I was those things too.

I tried to prove who I was by what I wore and by what I accomplished. The problem was that there was always more to prove and eventually I forgot who I was in the process.

If you have to prove yourself to people you love, that isn’t love. If you struggle to prove yourself at work, maybe you aren’t doing the right work. If you don’t believe me, just stop for a while. Stop pushing and proving and wishing that people would see you the way you think you need to be seen to succeed. Instead, let them see you for you. It’s then that you can finally really be you.

4. You never again have to wear your failures.

Failure gets such a bad rap but it’s nothing more than a stepping stone to success. It’s through the failures that we learn new approaches and ways of doing things. You don’t have to feel sad or bad for failing because if you are failing, that means you are trying. If you must wear your failures, wear them with a smile. You earned them and now you are using them to better your life.

5. You never again have to wear goals you’ve outgrown.

Letting go of goals and dreams can be the most challenging of all. As our lives change, we change, and things that seemed so important years ago may slowly fade away. Instead of beating yourself up for not achieving your old goals, focus on your new dreams and develop goals or bucket lists that reflect who you are right now.

Additionally, make sure your goals are your goals. Are they yours or are they goals that you think other people have for you or expect from you. Let go of any that aren’t yours. The difference you will make in the world when you start chasing YOUR dreams and goals will be extraordinary.

6. You never again have to wear everything you think.

Often, our thoughts can weigh us down but thoughts are just thoughts. Some are true and real and some aren’t. When we cling too tightly to believing everything we think, we distance ourselves from the truth. Questioning the truth of my thoughts has prevented me from over reacting in some situations and helped me let go of other things more easily. Once you realize that all of your thoughts aren’t true, they will be much lighter.

7. You never again have to wear other people’s expectations.

Giving myself permission to let go of my need to meet other people’s expectations or to feel any kind of way based on judgements (good or bad) helps me to trust myself and allows me to love my life regardless of outside feedback. I’m not good or bad or right or wrong because of what anyone else thinks. I can’t control what they think and I’m not going to change myself trying.

When you stop wearing the weight of other people’s expectations and judgements, you’ll be more connected to who you are and to what matters to you. When you let go of what other people think, you’ll gain clarity and freedom to enjoy your life.

Now, it’s YOUR turn…

I would love to hear from YOU in the comments section.

Painfully Obvious Truths We Forget in Tough Times

an-obvious-truth

You know how you can read or hear something dozens of times in dozens of different ways before it finally sinks in? The little truths listed below fall firmly into that category — timeless life lessons that many of us likely learned years ago, and have been reminded of ever since, yet for whatever reason we tend to forget in the heat of the moment.

This, my friends, is my attempt at helping all of us, myself included, “get it” and “remember it” once and for all, especially as we collectively cope with the evolving reality of COVID-19…

1. Life is short, and nothing is guaranteed.

We know deep down that life is short, and that death will happen to all of us eventually, and yet we are infinitely surprised when it happens to someone we know. It’s like walking up a flight of stairs with a distracted mind, and misjudging the final step. You expected there to be one more stair than there is, and so you find yourself off balance for a moment, before your mind shifts back to the present moment and how the world really is.

LIVE your life TODAY! Don’t ignore death — or the imminent dangers of COVID-19 — but don’t be afraid of life either. Be afraid of a life you never lived because you were too afraid to take positive action today. Death is not the greatest loss in life, neither is illness. The greatest loss is what dies inside you while you’re still alive and well. Even in these difficult times, be bold, be courageous, be a scared to death, and then take the next step anyway. Just change the way you do it.

Invest your heart and soul into whatever you have right in front of you. Bring passion into otherwise ordinary moments. You don’t have to be surrounded by lots of people. You don’t have to be going anyplace new. You can distance yourself from COVID-19, and still passionately engage in each moment.

2. Everything will change again soon.

Embrace change and realize in many ways it’s necessary. It won’t always be obvious at first, but in the end most forms of change are worthwhile because they force us to grow. So keep yourself in check right now.

What you have today may become what you had by tomorrow. You never know. Things change, often spontaneously. People and circumstances come and go. Life doesn’t stop for anybody. It moves rapidly and rushes from calm to chaos in a matter of seconds, and happens like this to people every day. It’s likely happening to someone nearby right now.

Sometimes the shortest split second in time changes the direction of our lives. A seemingly innocuous decision rattles our whole world like a meteorite striking Earth. Entire lives have been swiveled and flipped upside down, for better or worse, on the strength of an unpredictable event. And these events are always happening — like the COVID-19 epidemic right now.

So just remember, however good or bad a situation is now, it will change. That’s the one thing you can count on. Accept it. Breathe. Be where you are. You’re where you need to be right now. There’s a time and place for everything, and every hard step is necessary. Just keep doing your best, and don’t force what’s not yet supposed to fit into your life. When it’s meant to be, it will be.

3. Changing your response is what puts you back in control.

Have patience with everything that remains unresolved in your head and heart. And realize that patience is not about waiting, but the ability to keep a good attitude while working hard to stay true to your intuition and values. This is your life, and it is governed by your choices. May your actions speak louder than your words. May your daily choices preach louder than your lips. May your inner sense of satisfaction be your noise in the end.

And if your present life only teaches you one thing, let it be that taking a passionate leap is always worth it. Even if you have no idea where you’re going to land — even when there are so many unknowns — be brave enough to stand up and listen to your heart. Remember that the most powerful moments in life happen when you find the courage to let go of what can’t be changed. Because when you are no longer able to change a situation, you are challenged to change yourself — to grow beyond the unchangeable. And that changes everything!

4. Life’s storms can be a great source of strength.

Hard times are like strong storms that blow against you. And it’s not just that these storms hold you back from places you might otherwise go. They also tear away from you all but the essential parts of your ego that cannot be torn, so that afterward you see yourself as you really are, and not merely as you might like to be.

Ultimately, you realize you are here to endure these storms, to sacrifice your time and risk your heart. You are here to be bruised by life. And when it happens that you are hurt, or betrayed, or rejected, let yourself sit quietly with your eyes closed and remember all the good times you had, and all the sweetness you tasted, and everything you learned. Tell yourself how amazing it was to live, and then open your eyes and live some more.

Because to never struggle would be to never grow. You must let go of who you were so you can become who you are. Again, it is within the depths of the strongest and darkest storms that you discover within you an inextinguishable light, and it is this light that illuminates the path forward.

5. You don’t need all the answers right now.

Accept the feeling of not knowing exactly where you are going, and train yourself to love and appreciate this sensation of freedom. Because it is only when you are suspended in the air, with no destination in sight, that you force your wings to open fully so you can fly. And as you soar around you still may not know where you’re traveling to. But that’s not what’s important. What’s important is the opening of your wings. You may not know where you’re going, but you know that so long as your wings are spread, the winds will carry you forward.

Truth be told, some of the greatest outcomes that transpire in your life will be the ones you never even knew you wanted. As long as you keep your mind open to new perspectives and yourself moving forward, there really are no wrong turns in life, only paths you didn’t know you were meant to travel. And you never can be certain what’s around the corner.  It could be everything, or it could be nothing. You keep gliding steadily forward, and then one day you realize you’ve come a long way from where you started.

All details aside, someday all the pieces will come together. Unimaginably good outcomes will likely transpire in your life, even if everything doesn’t turn out exactly the way you had anticipated. And you will look back at the hard times that have passed, smile, and ask yourself…

“How in the world did I get through all of that?”

Now, it’s your turn…

What else would you add to this list?

Which point above resonates the most right now?

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