You’re only a stranger once

The list below is a highlight of some advices I’ve ever been given. Some hard things I remind myself of often … some hard things we all need to hear sometimes.

  1. When you hear only what you want to hear, you’re not really listening.  Listen to what you don’t want to hear too.  That’s how you grow.
  2. Fantasizing about other times and places can be dangerous.  Don’t cling so tightly to the past, or dream so fervently about the future, that you miss out on the real value and beauty that is here and now.  Don’t live entirely in your head.  Don’t miss your life!
  3. You often waste your time waiting for the ideal path to appear.  But it never does.  Because you forget that paths are made by walking, not waiting.
  4. You will never feel as confident as you want to feel.  Stop believing that you should feel more confident before you take the next step.  Taking the next step is what builds your confidence.
  5. Distractions will get the best of you if you let them.  Study your routines, figure out where your time goes, and remove distractions.  You become a true master of your life when you learn how to master your focus—where your attention goes.
  6. There’s a big difference between empty fatigue and gratifying exhaustion.  Know the difference.  Life is too short.  Invest in the activities (and relationships) you deeply care about.  Value what you give your energy to.  Focus on what matters and let go of what does not.
  7. Self-neglect is super common.  Realize this!  Your needs matter.  Do NOT ignore them.  At times you have to do what’s best for you and your life, not just what’s best for everyone else.  There’s absolutely nothing selfish about self-care and self-love.  We can’t give what we don’t have.  Enrich your life and you’ll be life-giving to others, too.
  8. You don’t give yourself enough credit sometimes.  Remember that time you thought you couldn’t make it through?  You did, and you’ll do it again.  Don’t let your challenges get the best of you.  Appreciate how far you’ve come. You’ve been through a lot, but you’ve grown a lot too.  Give yourself credit for your resilience.
  9. Your response is always more powerful than your circumstance.  A tiny part of your life is decided by completely uncontrollable circumstances, while the vast majority of your life is decided by your responses.  Where you ultimately end up is heavily dependent on how you play the hands you’ve been dealt.
  10. Everything gets a bit uncomfortable when it’s time to change.  That’s just a part of the growth process.  Things will get better.  Be patient.
  11. Patience is not about waiting.  Patience is the ability to keep a positive, focused attitude while working hard to move your life forward.
  12. New, good habits don’t form overnight.  It takes roughly 66 days to form a habit.  So for the next nine weeks, look at the bright side of your life, and you will rewire your brain.  Then apply this same principle to other areas of your life. 
  13. Mental strength is incredibly important, and easily overlooked.  Go to environments that expand your mind.  Spend time with people who truly inspire you.  Read books.  Learn.  Grow.  Get better.  Your life is your choice.
  14. Old patterns are hard to break.  Be aware.  Act consciously and consistently.  Don’t fall back into your old patterns.  Toxic habits and behaviors always try to sneak back in when you’re doing better.  Stay focused.
  15. Sometimes it’s better to let go without closure.  Actions and behavior speak volumes.  Trust the signs you were given and gracefully press on.
  16. If you always play the victim, you will always be treated like one.  Life isn’t fair.  But you don’t have to let the past define your future.  Try to take life day by day and be grateful for the little things.  Don’t get caught up in what you can’t control.
  17. Life doesn’t always give you the circumstances you want.  Life gives you the circumstances you need … to learn, to grow, and to fall in love.
  18. When you really pay attention, everyone and everything is your teacher.  Take time to observe and listen.  Take time to learn something new.
  19. No one wins at chess by only moving forward.  Sometimes you have to move backward to put yourself in a position to win.  This is a perfect metaphor for life.
  20. Your hardest challenges will teach you your best lessons.  There is an opportunity in every difficult situation to understand yourself more deeply, and also to improve your life.  Take one small step at a time.
  21. The vast majority of your stress is self-inflicted.  And the most powerful weapon you have against stress is your ability to choose one thought over another.  Learn to manage your thoughts, before your thoughts manage you.
  22. Your mind will forever produce negative thoughts.  So the goal isn’t to get rid of all your negative thoughts.  That’s impossible.  The goal is to change your response to them.  In fact, the strongest sign of your inner growth is realizing you’re no longer worried, stressed or pained by the things that once used to drain you.
  23. Calmness is a superpower.  The ability to not overreact or take things personally keeps your mind clear and your heart at peace.  Once you begin to value your inner peace over your need to react and be right, you will in fact experience more inner peace, and happiness.
  24. You are holding on to things that hold you back.  When things aren’t adding up in your life, begin subtracting.  Life gets a lot simpler when you clear the clutter that makes it complicated.  Not everything and everyone you lose is a loss.
  25. “Busy” is mostly just an excuse.  In a world with so much noise and clutter, you must make room to hear yourself and others.  Embrace silence and space.  Breathe and listen.  Be where you are.  You’re where you’re supposed to be at this very moment.  Every step and experience is necessary, and can be enhanced with your presence.
  26. You ignore your inner voice too often.  Give yourself the space to listen to your own voice—your own soul.  Too many of us listen to the noise of the world and get lost in the crowd.
  27. You often seek validation from the wrong sources.  You will never find your worth in another human being—you will find it in yourself, and then you will attract those who are worthy of your energy.  So stop waiting for others to tell you how impressive you are.  Impress yourself.  Show yourself that you can grow and get better.  It’s never about competing with others.  In the end, it’s just you vs. you.
  28. Popularity is irrelevant.  Forget popularity.  Just do your thing with passion, humility, and honesty.  Do what you do, not for an applause, but because it’s what’s right.  Many of the kindest gestures you’ll ever make, and the most important things you’ll ever do, will never be seen publicly.  Do them anyway.
  29. You have been impressed with some people for the wrong reasons.  Be less impressed by money, titles, degrees, and looks.  Be more impressed by generosity, integrity, humility, and kindness.
  30. People will not always tell you how they feel about you.  But they will always show you.  Pay close attention.
  31. Your expectations of others cause you unnecessary pain.  Don’t lower your standards, but do remember that removing your expectations of others is the best way to avoid being disappointed by them.
  32. You will end up heartbroken if you expect people will always do for you as you do for them.  Not everyone has the same heart as you.
  33. Life is too short to argue and fight.  Remember to be selective in your battles.  Peace can feel better than being right.  You don’t need to attend every argument you’re invited to.  Count your blessings, value the people who matter, and move on from the drama with your head held high.
  34. You will gradually attract people that think and behave like you.  If you want to be surrounded by positive people, you need to be positive too.  And the opposite is also true.  So do your best to surround yourself with people who push you to be your best.  Less drama—less mess.  Just higher vibrations and intentions.
  35. You need to learn to be more human again (we all do).  Don’t avoid eye contact.  Don’t hide behind gadgets.  Smile today.  Ask about people’s stories.  Listen. 
  36. Sometimes you subconsciously dehumanize people you disagree with.  Be careful.  In our self-righteousness, we can easily become the very things we dislike in others.  Ultimately, the way we treat people we disagree with is a report card on what we’ve learned about love and compassion.  Every single person you meet is afraid of something, loves something, and has lost something.  Know this.  Respect this.  And be extra kind.
  37. “Bad” people can change for the better.  If somebody is working on themselves and changing for the better, it’s unnecessary to keep bringing up their past.  People can change and grow.
  38. Forgiveness is necessary for personal peace.  Forgive others, not because they absolutely deserve forgiveness, but because you absolutely deserve peace.  Free yourself of the burden of being an eternal victim.
  39. Life will take things from you, and give things to you, gradually and continuously.  It’s funny how we outgrow what we once thought we couldn’t live without, and then we fall in love with what we didn’t even know we wanted.  Do your best to embrace life’s uncertainties.  Some of the best chapters in your life won’t have a title you feel fully comfortable with until later.
  40. Everything you have right now is in the process of changing again.  Look around, and be thankful for your life right now.  For your health, your family, your friends, and your home.  Nothing lasts forever.

Which point above resonates the most with you right now?

Regardless of your age or where you are in life right now, perhaps you will generally resonate with my thoughts here – some things I don’t want to regret down the road…


Spending too little time with the right people. – Sooner or later, you just want to be around the people who make you smile. So today, spend time with those who help you love yourself more. And remember, the people you take for granted today may be the only ones you need tomorrow. Never be too busy to make time for those who matter most (even if it’s just a quick phone call or a text).

Not making your loved ones smile more often. – The most beautiful thing is to see a person you love smile, and even more beautiful is knowing that you are the reason behind it.

Not saying what you need to say. – Speak up. Don’t hide your thoughts and feelings, especially when you can make a difference. Be brave. Say what needs to be said. If you care about someone, tell them. Hearts are sometimes broken by the words we leave unspoken.


Constantly comparing yourself to everyone else. – Don’t compare your progress in life with that of others. We all need our own time to travel our own distance. It’s perfectly OK to be different. Today, the only person you should try to be better than, is the person you were yesterday. Prove yourself to yourself, not others.


Ignoring your intuition for too long. – Sometimes your mind needs more time to accept what your heart already knows. Breathe. Be a witness, not a judge. Listen to your intuition.


Not taking action on meaningful goals. – Instead of complaining about your circumstances, get busy creating new ones. You either suffer the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. Most of the time, the only difference between who you are and who you want to be, is what you do.


Letting others talk you out of your dreams. – Can you remember who you were before the world told you who you should be? Stop living for other people and their opinions. Be true to YOU.


Vivid memories of wasted time. – There is good reason why you should wake each morning and mindfully consider what and who you will give your day to. Because unlike other things in life – love, money, respect, good health, hope, opportunities, and many more – time is the one thing you can never get back once it’s gone.


Collecting more excuses than you can count. – If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.


Waiting, and waiting, and waiting until you’re ready. – Sometimes life seems hard, but we often make it harder than it is. All you ever have to decide is what to do next. It really is this simple. 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.


Not putting in enough effort. – In life you are either a passenger or a pilot, it’s your choice. If you want something, work for it. Do what it takes, not what is easy. It will hurt. It will take time. It will require dedication. It will require willpower. You will need to make healthy decisions. It requires sacrifice. You will need to push your body to its max. There will be temptation. But, I promise you, when you reach your goal, it will be worth it.


Letting solvable problems stop you. – Not everything that’s faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it’s faced. Problems are not stop signs, they’re guidelines. If you want it, work for it. It’s that simple. Strength doesn’t come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you couldn’t.


Not taking on enough risk. – Wouldn’t you rather have a life of “OH WELLs” than a life of “WHAT IFs”? Do what you can while you can. Don’t be afraid to move out of your comfort zone. Some of your best life experiences and opportunities will come to you only after you dare to lose.


Settling for less than you are capable of. – Remember, growth and change may be painful sometimes, but nothing in life is as painful as staying stuck where you don’t belong.


Putting your own needs and happiness on the back burner. – All jokes aside, your life only comes around once. This is IT. So do what makes you happy and be with whoever makes you laugh, often.


Letting impatience govern your decisions and actions. – Patience is not about waiting; it’s the ability to keep a good attitude while working hard for what you believe in.


Giving up too soon. – Forget how many times you’ve broken down. It’s about how you stand up and move on. You may have to go through the worst, to get to the best. Good things take time. Stay patient and stay positive. Everything is going to come together; maybe not immediately, but eventually.


Letting someone walk all over you. – Never allow someone to be your priority while allowing yourself to be their option. And walk away from anyone who continually robs you of peace and joy. Life is too short to waste your time with people who abuse and bully you.


Not helping others when you were able. – If you have a lot, give your wealth. If you have a little, give your heart. Just give what you can. No one has ever become poor by giving.


Ignoring your roots and those who have supported you. – Never forget where you’ve been. Never lose sight of where you’re going. And never take for granted the people who travel the journey with you.


Not appreciating what you have when you have it. – We often forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but of deeply appreciating what we do have. No, you won’t always get exactly what you want. But remember this: There are lots of people who will never have what you have right now.


Letting your health go. – Your body is the only place you will truly ever live. If you’re lucky enough to have a body that’s in good health, be wise enough to keep it that way.


Years of struggling to find happiness outside yourself. – Happiness is not determined by what’s happening around you, but rather what’s happening inside you. Too many people depend on others, or outside sources, to gain happiness, but the truth is it always comes from within.


Letting too many plans blind you from the beauty of now. – 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. You must be willing to loosen your grip on the life you have planned so you can enjoy the life that is waiting for you now.


Being too narrow-minded to see the opportunities given to you. – Sometimes life doesn’t give you what you WANT because you NEED something else. And what you need often comes when you’re not looking for it.


The limitations you put on yourself.
– It’s often our own thinking that hurts us. There’s no reason to imprison yourself. Don’t think outside the box. Think like there is no box.


Letting negativity get the best of you. – Remember, true strength is when you have so much to cry and complain about, but you prefer to smile and appreciate your life instead.


Never admitting and growing beyond your mistakes. – You can learn great things from your mistakes when you aren’t busy denying them.


Not accepting responsibility for life changes you need to make. – If you’ve been asking the same questions for a long time, yet are still stuck, it’s probably not that you haven’t been given the answers, but that you don’t like the answers you were given. Remember, it takes a great deal of courage to admit that something needs to change, and a lot more courage still, to accept the responsibility for making the change happen.


Seeking too much validation from others.
– You are GOOD enough, SMART enough, FINE enough, and STRONG enough. You don’t need other people to validate you; you’re already valuable. You are YOU and that’s the beginning and the end – no apologies, no regrets.


Impressing the wrong people. – Not everyone will appreciate what you do for them. You have to figure out who’s worth your attention and who’s just taking advantage of you. Spend more time with those who make you smile and less time with those who you constantly feel pressured to impress.


Time spent on drama and needless arguments. – Life is too short to argue and fight. Count your blessings, value the people who matter and move on from the drama with your head held high.


Letting a grudge hurt your happiness. – Let it go. Grudges are a waste of perfect happiness. Holding one is like letting unwanted company live rent free in your head.


Endlessly worrying about things. – Move on. Stop letting it bother you. If a problem can be solved, there’s nothing to worry about. If it can’t be solved, worrying is useless.


Forcing what’s not meant to be. – Never force anything. Do your best, then let it be. If it’s meant to be, it will be. Don’t hold yourself down with things you can’t control. Sometimes you have to stop worrying, wondering, and doubting. Have faith that things will work out, maybe not how you planned, but just how it’s meant to be.


Getting stuck in the trap of consumerism. – Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t need, to impress folks they don’t even know. Don’t be one of them.


Never traveling when you had the chance. – Once a year, go somewhere you’ve never been before.


Not choosing to laugh at life more often. – Life is way better when you’re laughing. Being positive in a negative situation is not naive, it’s a sign of leadership and strength.


Resisting change instead of rolling with it. – You’re not the same person you were a year ago, a month ago, or a week ago. You’re always growing. Experiences don’t stop. That’s life.


Talking the talk, but never walking the walk. – When it’s all said and done, be sure you haven’t said more than you’ve done. In the end, actions always speak louder than words. So work hard in silence, and let your success be your noise.

After thoughts. 💭

The bottom line is that it’s never too late to take a step in the right direction.  It’s never too late to become the person you are capable of being.  Things can change if you want them to, at any age.

Right now, regardless of your circumstances, you have an opportunity to write yourself a present and future with more peace of mind, free of needless regrets.

Like you, I’m only human, and I sometimes still take things personally when I’m in the heat of the moment.  So, I’ve implemented a simple strategy to support the practice of watching my response.  In a nutshell, I proactively remind myself NOT to take things personally.  Anytime I catch myself doing so, I pause and read a few of the following mantras to myself.  Then I take some fresh deep breaths…

  1. You can’t take things too personally, even if it seems personal.  Rarely do people do things because of you.  They do things because of them.
  2. You may not be able control all the things people say and do to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.
  3. There is a huge amount of freedom that comes to you when you detach from other people’s beliefs and behaviors.  The way people treat you is their problem, how you react is yours. 
  4. Take constructive criticism seriously, but not personally.  Listen, and then operate with your own intuition and wisdom as your guide.
  5. You are GOOD enough, SMART enough, FINE enough, and STRONG enough.  You don’t need other people to validate you – you’re already valuable.
  6. If you truly wish to improve your self-confidence, self-esteem and self-worth, stop allowing other people to be responsible for them.  Stop allowing other people to dominate your emotions. 
  7. All the hardest, coldest people you meet were once as soft as a baby.  And that’s the tragedy of living.  So when people are rude, be kind, be mindful, be your best.  Give those around you the “break” that you hope the world will give you on your own “bad day” and you will never, ever regret it.

Afterthoughts

Finishing up this post, I am reminded of all the senseless hatred and violence we see in our world today.

Please don’t attach yourself to it.

Do your best NOT to take it personally.

Do your best to let it go – to rise above the hate and drama.

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.

 

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.

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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“Put your ear down close to your soul and listen hard.”
―Anne Sexton

Our soul is timeless, eternal and infinitely wise, and it needs to be listened to. Our “intuition” is really just our soul whispering prudent insight into our ears, especially in busy, stressful or confusing times.

Here are some encouraging things your soul wants you to know:

1.Some people talk with you in their free time, and some free their time to talk with you. Today, and every day, you can be the latter to the people you love.

2.The smallest act of kindness is always worth more than the grandest intention.

3.Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.

4.Sometimes you have to be kind to others, not because they’re nice, but because you are.

5.If you want others to be happy, you can practice compassion. If you want to be happy, you can practice compassion.

6.When you find peace within yourself, you become the kind of person who can live at peace with others .

7.It usually isn’t what you have or where you are or what you’re doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It’s how you think about it all.

8.Happiness is not a reaction or a result. It is a choice made in the moment. Let it be yours. Much of what holds you back is the fact that you keep negative experiences of the past alive in your mind. Let them GO!You may be tired, or disappointed, or annoyed, or uncomfortable. No matter what, your best option right now is to move positively forward.

9.It costs nothing to be positive. And it changes things for the better.

10.No matter how much time you feel you have waste or lost, it’s never too late to make the very best of the moment you’re in right now.

11.On particularly hard days when you feel that you can’t endure, remind yourself that your track record for getting through bad days is 100% so far.

12.Your “I CAN” is more important than your IQ.

13.Just focus on the step you’re taking now. Honestly, that’s all life is – small steps that you take every day, and then one day when you look back down the road it all adds up and you know you covered some serious distance.

14.You will not fail. Either you get the result you desire, or you learn what works and what doesn’t for next time.

15.Look at your problems as problems, and they will continue to hold you back. See them instead as opportunities in disguise, and they will be.

16.Consider the possibility that the little obstacles in your life are not obstacles at all, but stepping-stones.

17.Success is not the absence of failure. Success is what happens when you choose to take the next step and move on, beyond failure.

18.It’s easy for people on the sidelines to doubt and judge you when they aren’t taking any risks themselves. Don’t let them get to you. They may call you crazy when you’re just getting started but they’ll label you a genius once you’ve succeeded.

19.Don’t be afraid to provoke the status quo Maybe some of your ideas are crazy. But crazy ideas are what shake the world.

20.You can’t always wait for the ideal moment. Sometimes you must dare to do it because life’s too short to regret and wonder what could’ve been.

21.Fear doesn’t exist anywhere except in your mind. It’s difficult to follow your heart, but it’s a tragedy to let the lies of fear stop you.

22.The minute you understand that you can be weird and mold life your own way, you allow yourself to shake off the erroneous notion that life is just there, and that you’re just going to exist in it, rather than embrace it, change it, improve it, and truly live it.

23.Decide this minute to never again beg anyone for the love, respect and attention that you should be showing yourself.

24.Open yourself up. Allow yourself to feel, to be mindful and authentic. Tear down any emotional brick walls you have built around yourself and experience every exquisite emotion, both good and bad. This is real life.

25.Eat like you love yourself. Move like you love yourself. Speak like you love yourself. Live like you love yourself. Today!The curious paradox of life is that when you accept yourself just as you are, right where you are, only then can you change and grow.

26.Don’t let the idea of being rejected stop you from affirming what’s important to you. The right people will respect you more and hold you in higher regard if you’re honest and rigorous about your principles and values.

27.What you allow is what will continue. It’s better to be lonely for a while than allow negative people and their opinions derail you from your destiny.

28.Let people take you as you are, or not at all. By being yourself, you put something beautiful into the world that was not there before. And this helps everyone who’s worth helping (including YOU).One of the very hardest parts of loving someone: You have to give things up for them. And sometimes, you even have to give them up.

29.Never force anything. Give it your best shot, and then let it be. If it’s meant to be, it will be. Don’t hold yourself down with things you can’t control.

30.Consider the fact that being wrong is OK, and then admit that you are wrong when you are. Yes, it’s hard. Yes, it takes strength to admit it, but it makes you more humble and commendable. And even more importantly, realize that when you’re wrong, you’re meant to be wrong so that you may outgrow the things you need to outgrow.

31.Old worries are down payments on problems you may never have. Let them go. Today is always a new beginning; take a deep breath and begin again.

32.There comes a time when you have to stop thinking about your mistakes and move on. No regrets in life – just lessons that show you the way.

33.Remember the good times ,BE strong during tough times , love always, laugh often, live honestly, and be thankful for each new day.

34.If you are diligent and patient, everything you truly need in your life will come to you at the right time.

35.Look at how far you’ve come. You have made progress. And now, imagine how far you can go.

36.Everything will fall into place eventually. Until then, learn what you can, laugh often, live for the moments, and know it’s all worthwhile.

Your turn…

Please share this post with others who you think may benefit from it

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Here are twelve tough truths about great relationships:

A soul mate is really just a loving partner who’s willing to work with you. – To say that one waits a lifetime for their soul mate to come around is a bit of a paradox.  People eventually get tired of waiting, so they take a chance on someone, and by the powers of love and commitment they become soul mates, which takes a lifetime to perfect.

True love is often the most inconvenient kind. – Again, it takes two people who truly, TRULY want to work together, every day, compromises and all, to build something special.  That’s what great relationships are all about – daily teamwork.

There will be lots of little issues. – When we face pain in relationships our first response is often to sever ties rather than to maintain commitment, but the extent to which two people in a relationship can bring up and resolve issues  is a significant sign of the soundness of their relationship.

There will be lots of tough conversations.– The right words won’t always come easy, but when you don’t talk it out there’s a lot of important stuff that ends up not getting said.  Every great couple needs to argue (consciously and mindfully) now and then, just to prove that the relationship is strong enough to survive.  Long-term relationships – the ones that truly matter – are all about weathering the peaks and the valleys.

Conscious, mindful communication is necessary, but takes practice. – You can measure the happiness of an intimate relationship by the number of scars that each partner carries on their tongues, earned from years of biting back angry, unhelpful words.

There will be more honest misunderstandings than you’d like. – When it comes to understanding your partner, deal with them as they are, not how you’d like them to be.

There will be lots of apologies and necessary forgiveness. – Love is living your own life, but sharing it.  It’s forgiveness.  It’s making a million little mistakes with each other and turning them into learning experiences.  Love is patience, optimism, and sometimes it’s a simple kiss when there’s nothing left to say.

Partners can’t force changes in each other.  Instead of trying to change your partner, give them your support and lead by example.  If there’s a specific behavior they have that you’re hoping fades over time, it probably won’t.  If you really need them to change something specific, be honest and put all the cards on the table so your partner knows how you feel and why.  But keep in mind that the best way to love someone is not to change them, but instead to help them reveal the greatest version of themselves.

A great relationship isn’t needy. – In a great relationship, you love each other more than you need each other.

Even the greatest relationship won’t completely fix YOU. – If you’re not happy with yourself, or comfortable with your own truth when entering a relationship, there’s a good chance you’re not ready for that relationship.  Work on loving yourself first.

Some people won’t support your relationship, no matter how great it is. – Great relationships don’t always make sense, especially from the outside.

No relationship lasts forever. – People don’t live forever.  Appreciate what you have with your partner – the loving moments and all the little things.  You’ll never know how much they mean to you until the day they are no longer beside you.  And remember, just because something doesn’t last forever, doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth your while.

Afterthoughts

The bottom line is that all relationships, including the greatest of them all, require patience and effort.  And no relationship will work flawlessly all the time.

painAt some point, you will come to realize that living the good life involves some amount of necessary pain, and that there are more flavors of pain than ice cream and coffee combined…

There’s the little empty pain of leaving something behind ‒ graduating, taking the next step, walking out of a familiar, safe situation and into the excitement of the unknown.  There’s the giant, whirling pain of life upsetting all of your big plans and expectations.  There’s the little sharp pains of making a mistake, and the more obscure aches of success, when it doesn’t make you feel as good as you thought it would.  There are the vicious, backstabbing pains of betrayal.  The sweet little pains of finding others who are worthy of your time, giving them your love, and taking joy in their life as they grow and learn.  There’s the steady pain of empathy that you shrug off so you can stand beside a wounded friend or lover and help them face their problems.

And on the best of days, there are the subtle, tingling pains you feel throughout your body when you realize that you’re standing in a moment of sweet perfection, an instant of great achievement, or happiness, or laughter, which at the same time cannot possibly last ‒ and yet will remain with you for the rest of your life.

Everyone is down on pain, and when we experience it we usually say we’re having a bad day, because we forget something important about what we’re going through: Pain is for the living – for those of us who still have the chance of a lifetime.  Only the dead don’t feel it, because their time is already up.

So with this in mind, here are twelve smart ways to turn all your daily wounds into wisdom and strength:

  1. Admit to your emotional pain, so you can deal with it and heal. – Emotional pain is less dramatic than physical pain, at least from the outside looking in, but it is more common and also more difficult to bear than broken bones.  The frequent attempt to conceal emotional pain increases the burden.  Don’t do this to yourself.  Sure, it is easier to say, “My leg is aching” than to say, “My heart is broken,” but that doesn’t mean your heart needs less self-care then your leg.  If fact, the exact opposite is true.
  2. Let go of what used to be and no longer is. – When you realize that none of it is yours – that you don’t get to claim or even keep any of it in the end – and when you’re willing to let go of attaching to anything you consider “mine,” you’re suddenly free.  There’s no need to grip or grasp.  Yet, one of the hardest lessons in life is letting go – whether it’s possessions, obsessions, anger, love or loss.  Change is never easy – you fight to hold on and you fight to let go.  But letting go is always the healthiest path forward.  It clears out toxic attachments and thoughts from the past.  You’ve got to emotionally free yourself from the things that once meant a lot to you, so you can move beyond the past and the pain it brings you.  Again, it takes hard work to let go and refocus your thoughts, but it’s worth every bit of effort you can muster.
  3. Emotionally detach yourself from your problems. – You are a living, breathing human being who is infinitely more complex than all of your individual problems added up together.  And that means you’re more powerful than them – you have the ability to change them, and to change the way you feel about them.
  4. View every challenge as an educational assignment. – Ask yourself:  “What is this situation meant to teach me?”  Every situation in our lives has a lesson to teach us.  Some of these lessons include:  To become stronger.  To communicate more clearly.  To trust your instincts.  To express your love.  To forgive.  To know when to let go.  To try something new, learn something new, and never look back.
  5. Ask yourself more positive questions. – If you ask negative questions, you will get negative answers.  There are no positive answers to, “Why me?” “Why didn’t I?” “What if?” etc.  Would you allow someone else to ask you the demoralizing questions you sometimes ask yourself?  I doubt it.  So stop and swap them for questions that push you in a positive direction.  For instance, “What can I do right now to move forward?”
  6. Make small adjustments as you figure out what works and what doesn’t. – A big part of your life is a result of the choices you make.  If you don’t like some part of your life, then it is time to start making changes and better choices.  This change may not be easy, but it is possible.  Habits that keep us stuck in life are made in each moment, day by day.  Undoing these habits takes the same exact path.  Focus on the small things you can do right now, not the big things you can’t.  These small daily changes add up to huge results in the end.
  7. Keep putting one foot in front of the other. – Winston S. Churchill once said, “If you are going through hell, keep going.”  In other words, never, never, never give in!  The brick walls in life are there for a reason.  They are not there to keep you out.  They are there to give you a chance to show how badly you want something.  Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it as badly as you do.  They are there to stop the other people.
  8. Keep calm and focus on the positive. – The realist sees reality as concrete.  The OPTIMIST sees reality as clay.  Be the optimist and mold the clay your way.  Take what you’ve learned and build something new.  In other words, don’t see the difficulties in today’s opportunities, see the opportunities in today’s difficulties.  Write it on your heart that today is a chance of a lifetime.  And remember that there is always a reason to celebrate.  Slowing down long enough to celebrate the small victories creates momentum and inspiration to keep on keepin’ on.
  9. Consciously nurture your inner hope. – There’s a saying in Tibetan, “Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength.”  No matter what sort of difficulties, or how painful an experience is, if you lose your hope, that’s your real tragedy.  So remember, a loss, a worry, an illness, a dream crushed – no matter how deep your hurt or how high your aspirations, do yourself a favor and pause at least once a day, place your hands over your heart and say aloud, “Hope lives here.”
  10. Remind yourself that you are not alone. – To lose sleep worrying about a friend.  To have trouble picking yourself up after someone lets you down.  To feel like less because someone didn’t love you enough to stay.  To be afraid to try something new for fear that you will fail.  None of this means you’re dysfunctional or crazy.  It just means you’re human, and that you need a little time to right yourself.  You are not alone.  No matter how embarrassed or pathetic you feel about your own situation, there are others out there experiencing the same emotions.  When you hear yourself say, “I am all alone,” it is your mind trying to sell you a lie.
  11. Pay less attention to other people’s opinions of you. – The truth is that what people say and do to you is much more about them, than you.  People’s reactions to you are about their perspectives, wounds and experiences.  Whether someone thinks you’re amazing, or believes you’re terrible, again, is more about them.  I am not suggesting we should be narcissists and ignore all feedback, but I am saying that too much hurt, disappointment and sadness in our lives comes from taking things personally.  In most cases it’s far more productive and healthy to let go of other people’s good or bad opinions of you, and to operate with your own intuition and wisdom as your guide.
  12. Embrace the new, stronger version of YOU. – You are not who you used to be, and that’s okay.  You’ve been hurt; you’ve gone through numerous ups and downs that have made you who you are today.  Over the years, so many things have happened – things that have changed your perspective, taught you lessons, and forced your spirit to grow.  As time passes, nobody stays the same, but some people will still tell you that you have changed.  Respond to them by saying, “Of course I’ve changed.  That’s what life is all about.  I’m still the same human being, just a little stronger now than I ever was before.”

Afterthoughts

Remember, strength doesn’t come from comfort; it comes from stretching your comfort zone and overcoming all the things you once thought you couldn’t handle.  When you find yourself at your most painful points in life, you are open to the greatest positive change.

In the end, the strongest people are the ones who feel pain, accept it, learn from it, and fight through it.

They turn their wounds into wisdom and strength.

Cute-Couples

It’s important to understand that love is not just about finding the right person; it’s about working with them to create the right relationship.

Do you struggle in your relationship with your significant other from time to time?  Do you wonder if there’s a way to live together more harmoniously?

I’ve been there.

Here are 10 things happy, healthy couples do every day:

1.  They cherish their differences.

Have you noticed a happy couple together?  They aren’t fiercely independent or pathologically dependent.  They’ve struck a healthy medium.

I think of it as interdependence.  They can agree to disagree on the little things.

Sure, they’re aligned on the big things like life goals.  But they don’t feel that they have to like the same music and share a favorite color.  They don’t expect their partner to approve of all their choices.  Each partner stands in his or her own power and respects the other’s opinion.

Each partner is a happy and successful person in his or her own right.

2.  They keep their assumptions in check.

We go into most situations with certain assumptions —based on our life experiences.

Let’s say one partner grew up in a touchy-feely family and the other didn’t.  The one who did grow up in a touchy-feely family is likely to interpret the other’s behavior as distant or indifferent.

The incorrect assumption?  To express affection, we must be touchy-feely.  That assumption right there can wreak havoc in a relationship!

The solution? Be mindful of your underlying assumptions that sabotage your relationship.

So how do you actually do this?  The next time you’re upset with your partner, check in with yourself first.  Ask yourself: “What are the facts and what are my opinions (based on my assumptions) about this situation?”

Fact: He’s not very physically expressive.

Opinion (based on your assumptions): He doesn’t love me as much as I love him.

Now that you’ve separated the facts from your opinion, question your opinion.  Does that opinion help or hurt your relationship?  I find this kind of self-inquiry to be surprisingly powerful.  Try it.

3.  They don’t confuse their spouse with a carnival psychic.

It’s quite common to think of our partner as an extension of ourselves.  It just happens.  We often assume they know what we’re thinking… almost as if he or she lives in our head.

Here’s an example: John loves his wife Alice.  They’ve been married for 8 years.  Alice comes back from an awful day at work and John greets her enthusiastically.

Alice somehow expects John to know she’s had a bad day.  She wants space and finds his enthusiasm annoying.  Meanwhile, John has no idea what’s going through Alice’s mind, and is trying to work out why she’s so cold and distant.

See the problem here?

We often assume our partners live in our heads and then expect them to respond to our un-communicated frustrations.

Not. Going. To. Happen.

Happy, healthy couples have worked this out.  They make a conscious effort to communicate their needs to each other — even if it seems obvious.

Especially when it seems obvious.

4.  They do their best to step into each other’s shoes.

In other words, they are mindful of each other’s unique perspective.

Imagine this: You know your partner had very little sleep last night.  If you are mindful of this, you’ll interpret their abruptness through their lens (not yours): “I’m tired and I’m not myself right now.”

You won’t take things as personally as you otherwise would have.  You’ll realize it has nothing to do with you and won’t feel hurt.  You won’t react with anger.

Conflict averted.

Even better, you’re more likely to be considerate and offer to give them a back rub to take the edge off.  A little empathy driven shift in perspective goes a really long way.

5.  They recognize the value of personal growth.

You know how to tell if something is alive and well?  You look for evidence of growth.

Great relationships usually have partners committed to lifelong learning and growth.  They’re curious about things.  They are keen to learn from the world and from each other.

Because of their love for learning they afford each other the freedom to develop as individuals within the relationship.

I’ve seen quite a lot of unhappiness in relationships caused by one or both partners being clingy.  They don’t want their significant other to change so they don’t have to change themselves.

But here’s the simple truth: Change is a part of the universe and humans are no exception.

If you want to have a successful relationship you’ve got to embrace learning and personal growth with open arms.

6.  They assume the best of intentions.

Life throws a lot of challenges in every couple’s way.  Happy, healthy couples have figured out the solution lies in consciously adopting an optimistic attitude towards each other and the world in general.

In practice, this means they choose to look for good intentions behind each other’s actions rather than assuming the worst.  They build their relationship on this platform of faith in each other.

The result?  Their approach engenders trust and respect — two key cornerstones of a successful relationship.

Cultivating learned optimism gives you an opportunity to ‘set the tone’ in the relationship.  You feed off each other’s energy and can create a bond where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

7.  They seek rapport even in moments of conflict.

Smart couples know the importance of mirroring their partner’s feelings by repeating their partner’s words.

“What I heard you say was that you’re very angry and hurt about my having forgotten your birthday.  I’m sorry that I forgot your birthday and I understand that you’re angry and hurt.  I’d feel the same way if I were you.”

By repeating their partner’s exact words and phrases it forces them to empathize deeply.

Honoring each other’s feelings reinforces mutual trust and respect and builds deep understanding.

8.  They figure out a way to reconnect.

They don’t let their daily resentments eat away at the relationship.

Sure, they give each other space when necessary, but then they figure out a way to reconnect with each other — usually via acts of good will and kindness.

A bunch of flowers picked from the garden.  A bit of humor to lighten the mood.  A hug.  Heck, even a smile.  It doesn’t really matter what.  They do something to reconnect and they do it as soon as possible.

9.  They make time to nurture their relationship. (Especially if they have kids!)

Ever seen a couple with kids at the grocery store.  See that look on their faces?  Like they’re about to explode.  That’s cause they are!

Kids can obliterate essential ‘couple time’ — critical to any happy relationship.

Happy, healthy couples know this and they make time to spend exclusively with each other.  Whether this means getting a babysitter and having a date night every week or just having a glass of wine together after the kids have gone to bed.  They make sure it happens.

It’s essential to make time!  I can’t stress it enough.  Don’t do this and it could be years before you really connect with each again — if at all!  And if you eventually do you won’t recognize each other.

So, when was the last time you went out for a planned date with your partner?

10.  They are committed to weathering the peaks and valleys.

I’ve saved the best for last, because this is the most crucial point of them all.

Show me any great couple and I’ll show you two people who are committed to making their relationship work.  No.  Matter.  What.  They put in the effort day in and day out.  They’re willing to have the difficult conversations.  They fight, but they admit to their mistakes and apologize.  They argue, but make the effort to understand the other’s perspective.

Because every healthy relationship needs an argument every now and then… just to prove that it is strong enough to survive.  Long-term relationships, the ones that matter, are all about weathering the peaks and the valleys.

Happy, healthy couples know this, and they persevere.  They don’t give up on each other.  They stick it out.

Afterthoughts

A happy, healthy long-term relationship as I’ve described in this post may be one decision away from you.

And that’s the decision to be that ideal partner you’re looking for in your partner.  In most cases, what you bring into the relationship has a direct impact on what you get out of it.

I believe every one of us is capable of making this decision.

I did.  And so can you.

It won’t be easy.  But it’s well worth it in the end.

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