You’re only a stranger once

Posts tagged ‘friendship’

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

 

Walk-in-Closets-Chandelier

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

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

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

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

2. You never again have to wear your pain.

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. You never again have to wear your failures.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now, it’s YOUR turn…

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

Painfully Obvious Truths We Forget in Tough Times

an-obvious-truth

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

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

1. Life is short, and nothing is guaranteed.

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

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

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

2. Everything will change again soon.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now, it’s your turn…

What else would you add to this list?

Which point above resonates the most right now?

Habits of Happy, Healthy Couples

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.

Reasons to Give Up Trying to Live Up to Everyone’s Expectations

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A life spent ceaselessly trying to please people who are perhaps incapable of ever being pleased, or trying too hard to always be seen as doing “what’s expected of you,” is a sure road to a regretful existence.

If you are in a place where you keep seeking approval from everyone for every little thing you do – please take this post to heart and start making changes today.

  1. First and foremost, you are not obligated to live up to everyone’s expectations. – Life is under no obligation to give us what we expect.  And you are under no obligation to give others what they expect.  Period.  Do things because you care.  Do things because you know it’s right.  Don’t just do things because everyone else expects you to.
  2. Expectations just get in the way of great life experiences. – Don’t let expectations (especially other people’s expectations) get in your way.  Truth be told, the unexpected is often better than the expected.  Our entire lives can be described in one sentence: It didn’t go as planned, and that’s OK.
  3. You don’t need others to hold your hand every step of the way. – Be willing to go alone sometimes.  You don’t need permission to grow.  Not everyone who started with you will finish with you.  And that’s OK.
  4. You get to learn from your mistakes without unnecessary third-party pressure. – You’re going to mess up sometimes.  But the good news is, as long as you’re listening to your intuition, you get to decide how you’re going to mess up.  Which means you get to decide how you’re going to live and what you’re going to learn along the way.
  5. No one knows you better than you know yourself. – How you seem to others and how you actually are, rarely match.  Even if they get the basic gist of who you are, they’re still missing a big piece of the puzzle.  What other people think of you will rarely contain the whole truth, which is fine.  So if someone forms an opinion of you based on superficialities, then it’s up to them, not you, to reform those opinions.  Leave it to them to worry about.  You know who you are and what’s best for you.
  6. Only YOU can define what’s possible for you and your life. – Some people will kill you over time if you let them; and how they’ll kill you is with tiny, harmless phrases like, “Be realistic.”  When this happens, close your ears and listen to your inner voice instead.  Remember that real success in life isn’t what others see, but how you feel.  It’s living your truth and doing what makes you feel alive.
  7. In the end, happiness is simply living your life your own way. – There comes a time when your back is up against the wall and you realize all you can do is say, “Screw it, I’m doing things my way!”  That’s the earth-shattering moment you stop planning for someone else’s expectations, and start making progress on what’s truly important to YOU.  That’s when you begin to live life according to your own morals and values.  That’s when you can finally be at your happiest.
  8. You can best serve yourself and others by giving yourself what YOU need. – Don’t ask yourself what the world needs, ask yourself what makes you come alive, and pursue it at all costs.  That’s what this world needs – people like YOU who come alive.  Which means your needs matter; so don’t ignore them.  Sometimes you have to do what’s best for you and your life, not just what seems best on the surface for everyone else.
  9. Rather than being confined by opinions, you get to create your own reality. – If J.K. Rowling stopped after being rejected by multiple publishers for years, there would be no Harry Potter.  If Howard Schultz gave up after being turned down by banks 200+ times, there would be no Starbucks.  If Walt Disney quit too soon after his theme park concept was trashed by 300+ investors, there would be no Disney World.  One thing is for sure: If you give too much power to the opinions of others, you will become their prisoner.  So never let someone’s opinion define your reality.
  10. You allow yourself the freedom to speak your truth. – Yes, speak your truth even if your voice shakes.  Be cordial and reasonable, of course, but don’t tread carefully on every word you say.  Push your concerns of what others might think aside.  Let the consequences of doing so unravel naturally.  What you’ll find is that most of the time no one will be offended or irritated at all.  And if they do get upset, it’s likely only because you’ve started behaving in a way that makes them feel they have less power over you.  Think about it.  Why lie?
  11. The wrong people won’t be able to tamper with your standards. – Remember, failed relationships aren’t designed to encourage you to lower your standards, but to raise them and keep them up.  So while you’re out there making decisions instead of excuses, learning new things, and getting closer and closer to your goals, know that there are others out there, like me, who admire your efforts and are striving for greatness too.   Bottom line: Don’t let the wrong people bring you down.
  12. The haters will have less of an effect on you. – Don’t worry about the haters, ever.  Don’t let them get to you.  They’re just upset because the truth you know contradicts the lies they live.  Period.
  13. Your individuality can be openly celebrated and enjoyed. – Constantly seeking approval means you’re perpetually worried that others are forming negative judgments of you.  This steals the fun, ingenuity, and spontaneity from your life.  Flip the switch on this habit.  If you’re lucky enough to have something that makes you different from everybody else, don’t be ashamed and don’t change.  Uniqueness is priceless.  In this crazy world that’s trying to make you like everyone else, find the courage to keep being your remarkable self.  It takes a lot of courage to stand alone, but it’s worth it.  Being unapologetically YOU is worth it!
  14. There will be less drama to deal with. – Forgo the drama.  Ignore the negativity around you.  Just be sincere and kind, and promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate.
  15. You will have more time to socialize with the right people. – When you’re feeling insecure, you typically don’t notice the hundreds of people around you who accept you just the way you are.  All you notice are the few who don’t.  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 negative minds out there who criticize you.  Smile, ignore them, and carry on.  You might feel unwanted and unworthy to one person, but you are priceless to another.
  16. Great relationships are not governed by one-sided expectations. – When it comes to your relationships, don’t keep everything you need to say to yourself.  Let it out.  Express your point of view.  Communication is not just an important part of a relationship, communication is the relationship.  Communicate even when it’s uncomfortable and uneasy.  One of the best ways to heal and grow a relationship is simply getting everything on the inside out in the open.  Compromise.  That’s how good people make great things happen together.
  17. You get to be YOUR best, without competing with everyone else. – When you are happy to simply do your best and not compare or compete, everyone worth your while will respect you.  Here’s some healthy food for thought:  Always… Be strong, but not rude.  Be kind, but not weak.  Be humble, but not timid.  Be proud, but not arrogant.  Be bold, but not a bully.
  18. You are not obligated to anyone more so than you are to yourself. – Your relationship with yourself is the closest and most important relationship you will ever have.  So don’t forget about YOU out there, and don’t be too hard on yourself either.  There are plenty of others willing to do both for you.  And remember, if you don’t take good care of yourself, then you can’t take good care of others either; which is why taking care of yourself is the best selfish thing you can do.

The floor is yours…

What’s the best reason you can think of to give up trying to live up to everyone else’s expectations?  Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.

40 Amazing Things You Will Never Forget

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Everything happens at exactly the right moment, neither too soon nor too late.  For everything you lose, you gain something else; and for everything you gain, you lose something else.  You don’t have to like it, but it’s just easier if you do.

Every day you can either regret or rejoice; it’s your choice.  When you choose the latter, life opens doors to amazing experiences you will likely remember forever.  Here are 40 such experiences…

 

  1. Flowing and working through life’s great challenges. – No matter what happens, do your best and smile.  You won’t enjoy your life if you don’t enjoy your challenges.  Great challenges make life interesting, and overcoming them makes life meaningful.
  2. The freedom that comes from acceptance. – The secret to happiness and peace is letting every situation be what it is, instead of what you think it should be, and then making the best of it.
  3. Moments of sincere gratitude. – Appreciate life even when it’s not ideal.  Happiness is not the fulfillment of what we wish for, but an appreciation for what we have.  When life gives you every reason to be negative, think of one good reason to be positive.  There’s always something to be grateful for.
  4. The beautiful happenings that made it all worthwhile. – When you can look back on painful events and feel that you were blessed for how you grew, for the love you knew, for the very fact that you did live through those times, then, and only then, can you truly appreciate gratitude’s vital role in the process of letting go.
  5. Walking comfortably in your own shoes. – We are all weird in some way. What sets you apart may seem like a burden, but it’s not.  Most of the time it’s what makes you so incredible.
  6. The moment you start listening to your inner voice, rather than defying it. – Sometimes your mind needs more time to accept what your heart already knows.  Breathe.  Be a witness, not a judge.  Listen to your intuition.
  7. Aligning what you do with who you are. – Make the rest of your life the best of your life.  Create a life that feels good on the inside, not one that just looks good on the outside.
  8. Using your unique ideas, perspectives, and skills to make a difference. – If you desire to make a difference in the world, you must be different from the world, and you must be bold enough to show it.
  9. Designing your own life, your own way. – No matter how you live, someone will be disappointed.  So live a life you are proud of.  Live YOUR truth and be sure YOU aren’t the one who is disappointed in the end.
  10. Working hard on something you love. – Hard work becomes easy when your work becomes your play.  Never underestimate the value of loving what you do.  When we lose ourselves in the things we love, we find ourselves there, too.
  11. Knowing deep down that you gave your dreams a fair chance. – Most of the time the only difference between a dream that came true and one that didn’t, is a person who wouldn’t give up and one who did.
  12. Reflections of your own bravery. – When you’re scared but you take the next step anyway, that’s bravery.
  13. The glory of conquering an old fear. – Fear is a feeling, not a fact.  The best way to gain strength and self-confidence is to do what you are afraid to do.  Dare to stretch yourself.
  14. Being courageous enough to grow and evolve. – It takes courage to grow and become who you really are.  Don’t fear change.  You may lose something good, but you may also gain something great.
  15. The way you feel at the end of highly productive days. – Laziness may appear attractive, but work leads to happiness.  You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.  Good things don’t come to those who wait; they come to those who work on meaningful goals.
  16. When your patience finally pays off. – Patience is not the ability to wait, but how you act and how hard you are willing to work while you’re waiting for your work to pay off.
  17. Making the impossible possible. – In most cases, impossible is not a fact; it’s an opinion.  Almost anything is possible if you’ve got enough time and enough nerve.
  18. When you have a great reason to be impressed with yourself. – Spend less time impressing others and more time impressing yourself.  Climb a mountain so you can see the world, not so the world can see you.
  19. Engaging deeply in your own journey, drama-free. – Let the tasks of refining, improving, and appreciating your own life keep you so busy that you have no need and no time to criticize others, or engage in their drama.
  20. Standing up for yourself. – Sometimes we suffer, not because of the violence others inflict on us, but because of our own silence.  When someone tries to bully you, stand up for yourself and say, “Not so fast, buddy!  Your delusion of superiority is your problem, not mine.
  21. Relationships that make you a better person. – Know that it’s less important to have more friends and more important to have real ones.  Surround yourself with people who make you better, and cherish every moment of your time together.
  22. Knowing deep down that you truly matter to someone else. – Someday you will be just a memory to some people.  Do your best to be a great one.
  23. True intimate love. – True love is not about how many days, months or years you’ve been with someone.  True love is about how much you actually love each other every day.
  24. Appreciating the beautiful imperfections of another person. – Imperfection is real and beautiful.  It’s how two people accept and deal with the imperfections of their relationship, that make it ideal in the end.
  25. Following through with your promises. – Unless a real commitment is made there are only empty promises and hopes, but no real plans or results.  Remember, commitment means staying loyal and keeping a promise long after the mood you made the promise in has left you.
  26. Giving a struggling soul a little extra leeway. – Don’t be so quick to judge.  The strongest people are not those who show strength in front of us, but those who win battles we know nothing about.
  27. Helping someone who desperately needs your kindness. – Those who are hardest to love often need it the most.  So treat everyone with kindness, even those who are rude.  Give them a chance.
  28. Knowing you did the right thing. – True integrity is doing the right thing, no matter what, even when nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not.
  29. Seeing genuine smile you helped create. – Few things are more satisfying than helping someone else smile a little more than before.
  30. Coming to a loving compromise with someone special. – Sometimes we must choose to be wrong, not because we really are wrong, but because we value our relationship more than our pride.
  31. Moments of mindful presence. – If you’re always racing to the next moment, what happens to the one you’re in?  Stop over thinking and worrying.  Life is too short for that.  Worry and rumination are the worst enemies to living happily in the present.  Take a moment here and there to just be and breathe.
  32. The liberation of letting go. – Letting go of the past is your first step toward happiness.  So finish each day before you begin the next, and build a solid foundation of rest between the two.
  33. The process of growing through failure. – Remember, your failure does not define you, your determination does.  Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, smarter than before.
  34. When the sun finally shines through the dark clouds again. – Don’t give up on yourself.  Keep fighting.  Sometimes you’ve got to go through the worst of times to get the best.
  35. Surprising new beginnings. – Every ending is the beginning of something else.  Every exit is an entry somewhere else.  As long as you are breathing, it’s never too late; every day is a new opportunity.
  36. The nimble feeling of being a beginner. – Allow yourself to be a beginner.  No one starts off being great.  Do the best you can until you know better.  When you know better, do better.
  37. The exhilaration of first time experiences. – You can see or do something a million times, but you can only see or do it for the first time once.  And that makes doing so worth it.  Many of the great times you will remember for a lifetime are the ones when you stepped outside of your comfort zone and tried something new.
  38. Becoming a parent. – Being a mother or father is discovering strengths you didn’t know you had and dealing with fears you never knew existed.
  39. The happiness YOU create for yourself and those you love. – In life, you often have to create your own sunshine.  So read something positive every morning when you wake up, and let it inspire you to do something positive before you go back to sleep at night.  That’s how memorable days are made.
  40. Every moment you are busy living through love. – Today is one of the good ol’ days you’re going to miss someday.  So be sooo busy loving your life and those in it that you have no time for hate, regret or fear.

Your turn…

Truth be told, talking about our problems is our greatest addiction.  Let’s break this negative habit and talk about our joys, our loves, and our victories instead.  So tell me this:

What makes life amazing?  What makes a moment worth remembering?

Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.

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.

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