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Archive for the ‘Friendship’ Category

Some Hard Things You Need to Hear

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?

Time To Clean Your Closets

 

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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.

A True Picture Story Of Lion & A Baboon (Good Ending)

Photographer Evan Schiller and Lisa Holzwarth were on a game drive in northern Botswana when they encountered a massive group of thirty to forty chaotic baboons charging by them.

It soon became clear that the baboons were startled by a few lions that were chasing them. The lions were roaring while the baboons were screaming. Everything was in complete disarray.

Amazingly, the two photographers were able to capture a stunning interaction that happened in the midst of the mayhem.
A female baboon tried to make a run for it but unfortunately wasn’t lucky. A lioness grabbed it immediately in her jaws.

Little did she know, a baby baboon, less than 1 month old, soon emerged from next to the mother’s body.

Immediately, the scared baby baboon quickly tried to make an escape but it was too weak to climb far. The lioness was surprised and went over to find out what was happening.

Surprisingly, instead of going for the kill, the lioness began to play with the baby baboon.

The baby was showing signs of physical harm and fatigue from the whole ordeal. The lioness picked the baby up in her mouth

Surprisingly, the baby baboon responded. It soon began to hold on to the lioness’ chest and even attempted to suckle.

Suddenly, two male lions arrived to the scene. The lioness immediately showed signs of aggression towards them. Was she defending the new baby she found?

All the while, the father baboon was watching everything from away and waiting for the right time to come for the save. As he descended from the tree, he would test the interest and responses of the lions each time to not draw sudden attention to himself.

He finally made the move and snatched the baby up at the first moment he could! Father baboon saves the day!

Happy ending indeed.

 

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.

Ways to Meet the Right People

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Positive relationships form the foundation of a happy, rewarding life.

If your time and energy is misspent on the wrong relationships, or on too many activities that force you to neglect your good relationships, you can end up in a tedious cycle of fleeting friendships, superficial romances that are as thrilling as they are meaningless, and a general sense of wondering why you always seem to be running in place, chasing affection.

How do you building healthy, lasting relationships?  How do you find friends that lift you higher?  How do you meet a significant other that belongs at your family reunions?

How do you meet the right people?

1.  Learn to enjoy your own company.

Ironically, the prerequisite to building healthy relationships is being comfortable when you’re all by yourself.  If you’re starting fresh, with a minimal number of friends in your immediate vicinity, the reason for this is obvious: spending time alone is your only option.  Likewise, if you have friends that have been dragging you down and negatively impacting your life, withdrawing from them and starting anew will likely require a bit more alone time.

Appreciating solitude starts with the conscious awareness of the freedom it brings.  When you enjoy your own company you don’t need others around for the sake of having others around.  You can be flexible about who you choose to spend time with, instead of letting your fear of being alone suck you into social situations and relationships that aren’t right for you.

It’s also important to note that being desperate for the company of others will hinder your ability to authentically interact and communicate.  You’ll be more worried about achieving external validation instead of just letting your truth flow and being open to establishing honest human connections.

Try to spend some time alone every day on a solo project that interests you – reading, writing, painting, coding, etc.  The goals is to get to the point where you are just as happy staying in as going out, as long as you keep a healthy balance between the two.

2.  Get in touch.

A big part of meeting the right people is reacquainting yourself with the good people you already know.  It’s all about initiating friendly interactions, instead of waiting for others to make the first move.  I bet you can think of several people that you have been terrible at keeping in touch with.  These might be extended family members, old college friends, previous coworkers who you enjoyed spending time with, or even current friends whom you rarely talk to.

Dig back into your past and make a list of people you wish you had stayed in better touch with.  Then contact them.  An email or text message might work best to break the ice if you’re contacting someone you haven’t talked to in a while.  If you have lost a person’s contact information, Google them, or look them up on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn,  etc.  Or perhaps you have a mutual friend or acquaintance who can put you in touch.

This practice might sound overly simple, or even a bit silly, but taking the initiative and reaching out to relationships is almost always appreciated.  The return on investment for the short amount of time it takes you to send some emails and texts, and hopefully make a few phone calls and lunch dates, is huge: HEALTHIER RELATIONSHIPS.  You’ll be left asking yourself: “Why didn’t I do this sooner?”

3.  Be generous and help others.

You have two hands, one to help yourself and the second to help those around you.

It’s one thing to take the initiative with people you already know, but what about all the people around you whom you barely know?

Be friendly and introduce yourself to someone nearby.  When you’re connecting with someone new always start with generosity.  Focus on how you can help the other person.  Do you have information that could benefit them?  Do you have a skill that could assist them through their current situation?  Do you know someone who they should meet?

One of the best investments you can make in yourself is to take a genuine interest in other people.  The more you help others, the more they will want to help you.  Love and kindness begets love and kindness.  And so on and so forth…

4.  Join an active community of likeminded people.

The best places to plant new seeds of friendship are at local, organized meet-ups on a particular topic that interests you.  A meet-up might be a professional association, a community focus group, a fitness class, a weekly group meditation hour, or any other gathering of people who share a common passion.

Finding the right group of people that share your passions and interests may require some dedicated research, but it’s worth it.  A shared passion is the most effective component in building positive, lasting relationships.

5.  Reach out to leaders and mentors.

10 Things I Love About YOU

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YOU are amazing!  You may forget sometimes, but someone always sees the amazing things about you that make you so loveable.

So let me remind you of how truly amazing you are, just because you’re YOU:

1.  Your smile.

I don’t care if your teeth aren’t perfectly straight and bright white.  When you smile, it lights up your eyes with a twinkle of honest delight that gives me a glimpse into the beauty of your soul.  It’s as though you really see me and you’re offering me a little parcel of your heart.

So please remember, you can never change the past nor control the future, but you can change the mood of this moment by touching someone’s heart with your smile, in the same way you have already touched mine.

2.  Your self-respect.

I love the way you accept who you are completely, the good and the bad, and make changes in your life as YOU see fit – not because you think anyone else wants you to be different, but because you know it’s the right thing to do, for YOU.

The way you don’t rely on your significant other, or anyone else, for your happiness and self-worth moves me at my core.  You have taught me that our first and last love is self-love, and that if you can’t love and respect yourself, no one else will be able to either.

3.  Your courage.

You say you’re afraid sometimes, and that the world seems too vast.  You say it can be a struggle just to get out of bed in the morning, to put on your smile and face reality, yet every day you somehow find the strength to carry-on and face life with courage and poise.

Your courage is my encouragement!

I love the way you prove day in and day out that courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the decision that other things are more important than fear.  You take little, conscious steps every day to love those around you, to care for yourself, and to find joy in the smallest moments – all these little steps add up to greatness.

4.  Your passion.

While I see others waiting around for love, you inspire me with the way you happily pursue your lusts.  The way you express yourself and what you hold dear in your heart through your actions and words, and the way you use your whole mind and body to feel and interact with the world around you is truly something to be seen.

You have taught me that it’s not always about loving the struggles in front of you, but loving the ideas, dreams, passions and people behind you and within you.  It gives me great joy to see you ignited with an inner passion for living and pursuing the ideas that move you.

5.  Your creativity.

When you speak, write or create, you act like it’s your job to make mind-blowing, passionate love to whatever idea it is that drives the project you’re working on at the time.

What astounds me is the way you manage to communicate how you feel and who you are in so many wondrous ways, sometimes even without speaking a word.  The way you look at a situation where others are asking, “Why?” and instead ask,  “Why not?”  The way you continually jump from great heights and develop your wings on your way…

All I can say is: “Wow!”

6.  Your positivity.

The way you dwell on the beauty of life…

The way you laugh, even when there’s no pressing reason to do so…

You always turn a negative situation into a positive opportunity.  When you hear negative thoughts, you think about the positive side of things.  When you see a glass with water in it, you aren’t concerned whether it’s half empty or half full; you’re just grateful to have a glass with something in it.

Thank you.  You have made a difference in my life by being so positive.

7.  Your kindness and compassion.

No matter how strong a person is, they have weak points and sometimes all they really need is a listening ear from a compassionate friend.  Thank you for being that friend.

Even when you’ve been busy working hard and dealing with your own issues, somehow when I least expect it, you reach out to help another person who is in need.  You consider their circumstances with love rather than judgment.  You move into the “right here, right now” with an open heart and a willingness to be supportive, unconditionally.

8.  Your unconditional acceptance.

You take people and their situations for what they are, you appreciate them, and you don’t try to label them or change them.

I realize now that that your unconditional acceptance doesn’t mean you’re giving up your freewill to have an opinion – that’s quitting.  It simply means you’re willing to let go of the fantasies of who you think people should be and how you think things are supposed to be, so you can fall in love with who they truly are and how life really is.

9.  Your sense of humor.

You are always able to see the funny side of life through its ups and downs.  You manage to make light of situations that could easily drive a person crazy.  Negative things happen in your life, but somehow you shake them off and still mange to see the humor in it all.  Your laughter and sense of humor is infectious and lifts the mood of those around you, so the rest of us don’t take ourselves so seriously all the time.

Thank you for helping me see the beauty and comedy in the absurdity of life.

10.  Your love and loyalty.

Even though you have felt pain and heartbreak, and although you sometimes try your hardest to hide it, you just can’t stop loving.  It’s who you are on the inside.  Even though you sometimes require alone time for rest and healing, you always return to wanting to share love in your life.

You have helped me understand that relationships are about two people being true to each other even when times are tough, and that when it comes to relationships, remaining faithful is never an option, but a priority.  Prolonged love and loyalty mean the world… and yes… your love and loyalty mean the world to me.

Your turn…

What do you love most about yourself?  What qualities do you love most about your closest friends and family?  Share your thoughts with us by leaving a comment below.

Things to Stop Doing to Others

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There is one key factor that can either damage your relationships or deepen them.  That factor is your attitude.  If you’re hoping to grow and maintain positive relationships in your life, read on.  Below you will find a 20 step attitude adjustment guaranteed to help you do just that.

  1. Stop holding grudges. – Grudges are a waste of perfect happiness.
  2. Stop complaining. – Instead, use your time and energy to do something about it.
  3. Stop meaning what you don’t say. – People can’t read minds.  Communicate regularly and effectively.
  4. Stop making it all about you. – The world revolves around the sun, not you. Take a moment to acknowledge this truth on a regular basis.
  5. Stop lying. – In the long-run the truth always reveals itself.  Either you own up to your actions or your actions will ultimately own you.
  6. Stop blaming.  – Blaming others accomplishes nothing.  Either you own your problems, or they will own you.  Your choice.  When you blame others for what you’re going through, you deny responsibility – you give-up your power over that part of your life, and you annoy everyone around you in the process.
  7. Stop doubting. – If you think that you can’t achieve something, I have some news for you, you’re probably right.  But don’t let your self-doubt interfere with other people’s dreams.  Remember, the one who says it can’t be done should never interrupt the one doing it.  
  8. Stop interrupting. – Correcting someone when they’re blatantly wrong is one thing, but always interjecting your opinions out of turn gets old fast.
  9. Stop being selfish. – You get what you put into a relationship.  Nothing less, nothing more.
  10. Stop judging. – Everyone is fighting their own unique war. You have no clue what they are going through, just like they have no clue what you’re going through.
  11. Stop gossiping. – Gossiping about others is a lose/lose situation.  It hurts them, and then it hurts your reputation.
  12. Stop making promises you can’t keep. – Don’t over-promise.  Over-deliver on everything you do.
  13. Stop being defensive. – Just because someone sees something differently than you doesn’t mean either one of you is wrong.  Keep an open mind.  Open minds discover great things.
  14. Stop comparing people to others. – No two people are alike.  Everyone has their own strengths.  We are only competing against our own selves.
  15. Stop expecting people to be perfect. – ‘Perfect’ is the enemy of ‘good.’  And genuine ‘goodness’ is hard to find in this world.  Don’t overlook it.
  16. Stop trying to be everything to everyone. – It’s impossible.  But making one person smile can change the world.  Maybe not the whole world, but their world.  So narrow your focus.
  17. Stop screwing people over just because you can get away with it. – Just because you can get away with something doesn’t mean you should do it.  Think bigger.  Do what you know in your heart is right.
  18. Stop making mountains out of molehills. – People make mistakes.  Crap happens.  There’s no reason to stress out yourself and everyone around you because of it.  One way to check if something is worth mulling over is to ask yourself this question: “Will this matter in one year’s time?”  If not, then it’s not worth worrying about.
  19. Stop being dramatic. – Stay out of other people’s drama and don’t needlessly create your own.
  20. Stop giving out advice, and just listen. – Less advice is often the best advice.  People don’t need lots of advice, they need a listening ear and some positive reinforcement.  What they want to know is already somewhere inside of them.  They just need time to think, be and breathe, and continue to explore the undirected journeys that will eventually help them find their direction.

And remember, your relationship with yourself is the closest and most important relationship you will ever have.  So pay attention to it, develop it, nurture it, and never, ever stop.

Signs Your Friend is Toxic

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Toxic friends complicate your life.  These people are more than a nuisance, they’re parasitic.  Precious time slips away as you deal with their negativity; and you’re left wondering why you feel so despondent.  If you’re ready to simplify your life, you can’t condone these toxic friendships any longer.

What Toxic Friends Do

  1. They drain you. – You feel psychologically and emotionally depleted after spending time with them, instead of uplifted.
  2. They are unsupportive. – You’re afraid to tell them about new, important aspects of your life because they’ve been unsupportive or downright rude about your ideas in the past.
  3. They are up to no good. – They regularly partake in activities that are morally unjust.
  4. Their values and interests are opposite to your own. – Dissimilar value systems often mix like oil and water.  This doesn’t necessarily mean the other person is wrong, it just means they aren’t right for you.
  5. They are unreliable. – They always break their promises.
  6. They only contact you when they need something. – Otherwise you never hear from them.
  7. They aren’t meeting you halfway. – If you are always the one calling your friend to make plans and going out of your way to be with them, but they never return the favor and attempt to go out of her way for you, there’s a problem.
  8. They are jealous of you. – Jealousy is:  “I want what you have and I want to take it away from you.”
  9. They have zero ambition. – Beware; a lack of ambition can be contagious.  As the saying goes, “You can’t soar like an eagle when you hang out with turkeys.”
  10. They constantly drive you to moments of insanity. – You catch yourself daydreaming about how good it would feel to throw a banana cream pie in their face.

How to End a Toxic Friendship

In my experience there are two ways to end a toxic friendship:  quickly and painfully or slowly and awkwardly.  Neither is fun, neither is neat, and neither is easy.

If you still want to keep this person in your life, just to a lesser degree:

  1. Stop responding to fake crisis calls. – If you don’t drop everything to take their “I’m so devastated!  My boss gave me a look that I think means he secretly hates me and that jerk from marketing wore the same shirt as me” calls, they’ll find someone else who will.  Or they’ll deal with it.  Either way, it’s okay to step back and get off the first alert calling list for non-emergencies.
  2. Take positive control of negative conversations. – It’s okay to change the topic, talk about you, or steer conversations away from pity parties and self-absorbed sagas.  Be willing to disagree with them and deal with the consequences.
  3. Demonstrate that you won’t be insulted or belittled. – To be honest, I’ve never had much luck trying to call toxic people out when they’ve insulted me.  The best response I’ve gotten is, “I’m sorry you took what I said so personally.”  Much more effective has been ending conversations with sickening sweetness or just plain abruptness.  The message is clear:  There is no reward for subtle digs and no games will be played at your end.
  4. Be brutally honest. – Some people really don’t recognize their own toxic tendencies or their inconsiderate behavior.  You can actually tell a person, “I feel like you ignore me until you need something.”  You can also be honest if their overly negative attitude is what’s driving you away:  “I’m trying to focus on positive things.  What’s something good that we can talk about?”  It may work and it may not, but your honesty will ensure that any friendship that continues forward is built on mutually beneficial ground.

If you just want to completely end your relationship with the person in question:

  1. Stop taking their calls completely. – If you’re stuck seeing them on a regular basis, like a coworker, keep things on a purely professional level.  Find a reason to leave and excuse yourself as needed.  It’s passive aggressive to expect avoidance to handle the problem, but it’s an important component.  You can’t cut ties if you still chat on a regular basis.
  2. Firmly tell them you’ve had enough. – If you’ve decided it’s time to cut a truly toxic influence out of your life, you can let them know honestly (without being cruel).  “I just can’t be friends with you right now” isn’t fun to hear, but it has the benefit of putting everybody on the same page.
  3. Make new friends worth having. – Seriously!  Give your time to friends you connect with and enjoy.  The long shadows of toxic friends shrink considerably when you’ve got better things to do with your time than worry about their negativity.

Finally, Be a Good Friend

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