You’re only a stranger once

Posts tagged ‘Relationships’

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.

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.

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.

6 Things Couples Should Stop Doing

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If your relationship with your partner doesn’t feel as healthy and happy as it once did, there’s a good chance you both need to STOP…

1.  Being too busy to be present with each other.

The best gift you can give someone you love is the purity of your full presence.  Presence is complete awareness, or paying full attention to “the now.”  If you do not find at least some amount of presence in the moments you share with your partner, it is impossible to listen, speak, compromise, or otherwise connect with them on a meaningful level.

To cultivate your presence, all you need to do is sit quietly for as long as you desire and put your full attention on your breath – thinking only of what each inhale and exhale feels like.  Don’t judge or resist your inner-workings.  Simply accept and breathe.  Practice this a few times a day, and it will start to feel more natural.  This way, when you are in the thick of a deep conversation with your partner, you can access that presence and listen without judgment or impatience, speak with clarity, and learn to fully connect and compromise.

Bottom line:  Be Present.  Give your partner your full attention.  Let them see their own beauty in your eyes.  Let them find their own voice through your listening ears.  Help them discover their own greatness in your presence.

2.  Feeling too comfortable to compliment each other.

The secret to a healthy, lasting relationship is not about how many days, months, or years you’ve been together, it’s about how much you truly love each other every day.  You must directly express this love through your words and actions.  It seems like such a small thing, but in our busy lives we often forget that a kind word, a helping hand, or just a smile and a quick “thank you” can create a bright spot in your partner’s life.

Relationships last a lifetime only when two people make a choice to keep it and work for it.  Tell your partner you love them every night, and prove it every day.  These acts of love don’t need to be extravagant; they just need to be true.

Also, acknowledging and appreciating each other’s daily victories is one of the most loving things two people can do for each other.  So before going to bed every night, take a moment to openly discuss and appreciate three things you each accomplished during the day, no matter how small.  Compliment each other and celebrate together.  What we focus on expands.  What we appreciate, appreciates in value.

3.  Resisting compromise.

Good relationships don’t just happen, and they aren’t built solely on a foundation of convenience.  They take time, patience, effort, and two people who want to be together and are willing to meet in the middle.  When there’s a disagreement, they work out a solution that works for both parties – a compromise, rather than a need for the other person to change or completely give in.

Ultimately, love is when another person’s happiness is equally as important as your own.  It’s not only about romance, candle-lit diners and walking hand in hand; it’s about a lifetime of commitment and cooperation.  Two people don’t stay in love because they sleep in the same bed, but because they share the same foundation of honesty, trust, and respect.  

4.  Wanting to be right.

When it comes to closest relationships, you don’t always have to be right, you just have to not be too worried about being wrong.  Ask yourself, “Does it really matter?”  Oftentimes it’s far better to be kind than to be right.

Express your opinions freely and politely with your partner, remembering that if your purpose is to ridicule or prove them wrong, it will only bring bitterness into your relationship.  Respecting their opinion, without judging or jumping to conclusions, always carries more weight than simply being right.

Bottom line:  Life is so much better when you focus on being happy together, rather than worrying about who is more right as an individual.

5.  Hiding personal flaws and problems from each other.

You attract a person by the qualities you show them, you keep them around based on the qualities you truly possess.  Problems and flaws are a part of everyone’s life.  If you try to hide them, you don’t give the person who loves you a chance to truly know you and love you fully.

As flawed as you might be, as out of place as you sometimes feel, and as lacking as you believe you are, you don’t have to hide the imperfect pieces of yourself from your partner.  They see your flaws as features that make you interesting, and they see your problems simply as a sign that you’re human too.

By hiding things from your partner, you allow small problems to escalate and dominate both your life and your relationship.  If you make a mistake, it might be irritating, but don’t bury it inside you.  Be open about it, address it, and move on.  Our problems are really our blessings if we use them to grow stronger, both as individuals and as couples.

6.  Trying to get even, as a replacement to forgiveness.

Getting even doesn’t help a relationship heal.  If you’re feeling pain, don’t take action that creates even more pain.  Don’t try to cover darkness with darkness.  Find the light.  Act out of love.  Do something that will enable you to move forward towards a more fulfilling reality.

If your partner makes a mistake that hurts you, and you want your relationship grow beyond it, you have to start with forgiveness.  Without it, the potential for long-term happiness in a relationship is impossible.

You don’t forgive your partner because you’re weak; you forgive them because you’re strong enough to know that human beings make mistakes.  Forgiveness is giving up your craving to hurt them for hurting you.  It doesn’t mean you’re erasing the past, or forgetting what happened.  It means you’re letting go of the resentment and pain, and instead choosing to learn from the incident and move forward with your life… and hopefully move forward with your relationship too.

Afterthoughts

The greatest relationships take a great deal of work.  They don’t just happen, or maintain themselves.  They thrive only when two people make an effort and take the risk of sharing what it is that’s going on in their heads and hearts.

Keep in mind that every couple has ups and downs, every couple argues, and that’s the way it should be – you’re a partnership, and partnerships can’t function without regular communication and compromise.  When you don’t talk it out, there’s a lot of important stuff that ends up not getting said.

And, above all, remember that it’s not all about you.  There is greatness in doing something you dislike for the sake of someone you love.

Your turn…

What relationship mistakes would you add to this post?  What should every couple stop doing to each other?  Leave a comment below and share your thoughts with us.

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