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Posts tagged ‘happiness’

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?

Mantras for NOT Taking Things Personally

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

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

Afterthoughts

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

Please don’t attach yourself to it.

Do your best NOT to take it personally.

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

It’s Not Too Late To Do This

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

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

Which means . . .

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

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

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

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

Yes, find the courage!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Repeat that to yourself and let it sink in.

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

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

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

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

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

Let today be the day you find out.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Time To Clean Your Closets

 

Walk-in-Closets-Chandelier

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

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

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

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

2. You never again have to wear your pain.

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. You never again have to wear your failures.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now, it’s YOUR turn…

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

Painfully Obvious Truths We Forget in Tough Times

an-obvious-truth

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

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

1. Life is short, and nothing is guaranteed.

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

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

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

2. Everything will change again soon.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now, it’s your turn…

What else would you add to this list?

Which point above resonates the most right now?

TOUGH TRUTHS ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS

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Here are twelve tough truths about great relationships:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Afterthoughts

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

Ways to Turn Your Wounds into Wisdom and Strength

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

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

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

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

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

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

Afterthoughts

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

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

They turn their wounds into wisdom and strength.

Habits of Happy, Healthy Couples

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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.

Things Emotionally Strong People Don’t Do

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Here are some things emotionally strong people don’t do:

  1. They don’t let negativity and drama get the best of them. – Your brain is a radio transmitter.  It broadcasts thoughts, directions and vibrations into your life – you get to choose the station it’s tuned to.  Emotionally strong people understand this and tune out negativity to make room for positivity.  Be wise enough to follow in their footsteps.  Walk away from the nonsense around you.  Focus on the positives, and soon the negatives will be harder to see.
  2. They don’t waste time feeling sorry for themselves. – Emotionally strong people don’t sit around feeling sorry about their circumstances or how others have treated them.  Instead, they take responsibility for their role in life, work on changing what can be changed, and keep in mind that life isn’t always easy or fair.  In the end, happiness is not the absence of problems, but simply the ability to deal well with them.  So look at what you have, instead of what you have lost.  Because it’s not what the world takes away from you that counts; it’s what you do with what you have left.
  3. They don’t think they need more to be happy. – Emotionally strong people know that happiness is a mindset of appreciation.  In other words, happiness doesn’t start when “this, that or the other thing” is resolved.  Happiness is what happens now when you appreciate what you have.
  4. They don’t compare their journey to everyone else’s. – Social comparison is the thief of happiness.  Do YOUR best and don’t compare your progress with that of others.  They aren’t YOU.  We all need our own time to travel our own distance.  Emotionally strong people know this is the truth, and they live by it.
  5. They don’t envy and resent other people’s success. – Emotionally strong people can genuinely appreciate and celebrate other people’s success.  They don’t grow envious or feel cheated when others achieve something they are trying to achieve.  Instead, they recognize that success comes with hard work, and they are willing to work hard for their own chance at success.  True confidence has no room for envy and resentment.  When you know you are great, you have no reason to hate.
  6. They don’t expect everything to be easy. – Emotionally strong people don’t view failures and delays as reasons to give up.  Instead, they use failure as an opportunity to grow and improve.  They are willing to keep trying until they get it right.  Whether they are working on improving their health or getting a new business off the ground, emotionally strong people don’t expect immediate results.  Instead, they apply their efforts and skills to the best of their ability and understand that real change takes time.
  7. They don’t say, “I can’t.” – As Henry Ford put it, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you are right.”  Emotionally strong people know this is true.  If you really want to do something, you can and you will find a way.  If you don’t, you will surely find a long list of excuses.  So stop saying “I wish” and start saying “I will.”  Turn your “can’ts” into “cans” and your dreams into plans.
  8. They don’t let fleeting temptations distract them from their dreams. – Don’t let the temptations of today distract you from what you deserve.  Stay emotionally strong.  Do what you have to do now so you can do what you want to do later.
  9. They don’t get impatient and settle. – Good things don’t come to those who wait.  Good things come to those who are patient… while working hard for what they want most in life.  If you know what you want, if you can see it, feel it and move toward it in some small way every single day… it has to happen.  Be patient and keep working.  That’s what emotionally strong people do.
  10. They don’t make the same exact mistakes over and over again. – You can’t make the same mistake twice.  Because the second time you make it, it’s no longer a mistake, it’s a choice.  Emotionally strong people accept responsibility for their behavior and learn from their past mistakes.  As a result, they don’t keep repeating the same mistakes over and over.  Instead, they grow and move on to better decisions and new lessons.
  11. They don’t resist change. – Emotionally strong people don’t try to avoid change.  Instead, they welcome positive change into their life and are willing to be flexible.  They understand that change is inevitable and believe in their abilities to adapt.  Change happens for a reason.  Roll with it!  It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.
  12. They don’t waste time and energy on things they can’t control. – You won’t hear an emotionally strong person complaining over traffic jams and rainy days.  Instead, they focus on what they can control in their lives.  And above all, they recognize that sometimes the only thing they can control is their attitude.  After all, inner peace begins the moment you choose not to allow an uncontrollable event or person to control your emotions.
  13. They don’t hang on every word other people say about them. – Emotionally strong people listen to their own heart and intuition, not the peanut gallery.  So try not to take things other people say about you too personally.  What they think and say is a reflection of them, not you.  Ultimately, you can’t change how people treat you or what they say about you.  All you can do is change how you react and who you choose to be around.
  14. They don’t think everyone is out to get them. – Emotionally strong people choose to see the good in others.  Because the truth is, the world is full of good people.  Whoever says otherwise hasn’t looked around.  So look around.  Appreciate them.  Connect and smile together.  When you choose to see the good in others, you end up finding the good in yourself.
  15. They don’t worry about pleasing everyone. – Emotionally strong people recognize that they don’t need to please everyone all the time.  They’re not afraid to say no or speak up when necessary.  They strive to be compassionate and fair, but can handle other people being disappointed if they didn’t perfectly live up to their unfair expectations.  The bottom line is, pleasing everyone is impossible.  May the bridges you burn light your way.
  16. They don’t think it’s too late to start over. – Let go of the idea that it’s too late to start over.  Remember, it’s always better to be at the bottom of the ladder you want to climb than the top of the one you don’t… even if it means beginning anew.  Just because some things didn’t work out as you had expected, or didn’t happen as fast as you thought they would, is no excuse to give up on yourself.  Time passes one way or the other.  Do what you need to do so that, at the very least, you can look back someday and say, “I gave life my best shot.”

And remember, it only takes one idea, one second in time, one relationship, one dream, one leap of faith, to change everything, forever.  So hang in there.  Keep exercising your emotional strength.

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.

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