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30 Things To Start Doing For Yourself

Marc and Angel are the authors of 1000 Little Things Happy Successful People Do Differently. Here’s their amazing list of 30 things to start doing for yourself. If you enjoy this, be sure to visit their website for more inspirational advice and tips for life. 

#1. Start spending time with the right people. – These are the people you enjoy, who love and appreciate you, and who encourage you to improve in healthy and exciting ways. They are the ones who make you feel more alive, and not only embrace who you are now, but also embrace and embody who you want to be, unconditionally.

#2. Start facing your problems head on. – It isn’t your problems that define you, but how you react to them and recover from them. Problems will not disappear unless you take action. Do what you can, when you can, and acknowledge what you’ve done. It’s all about taking baby steps in the right direction, inch by inch. These inches count, they add up to yards and miles in the long run.

#3. Start being honest with yourself about everything. – Be honest about what’s right, as well as what needs to be changed. Be honest about what you want to achieve and who you want to become. Be honest with every aspect of your life, always. Because you are the one person you can forever count on. Search your soul, for the truth, so that you truly know who you are. Once you do, you’ll have a better understanding of where you are now and how you got here, and you’ll be better equipped to identify where you want to go and how to get there. Read The Road Less Traveled.

#4. Start making your own happiness a priority. – Your needs matter. If you don’t value yourself, look out for yourself, and stick up for yourself, you’re sabotaging yourself. Remember, it IS possible to take care of your own needs while simultaneously caring for those around you. And once your needs are met, you will likely be far more capable of helping those who need you most.

#5. Start being yourself, genuinely and proudly. – Trying to be anyone else is a waste of the person you are. Be yourself. Embrace that individual inside you that has ideas, strengths and beauty like no one else. Be the person you know yourself to be – the best version of you – on your terms. Above all, be true to YOU, and if you cannot put your heart in it, take yourself out of it.

#6. Start noticing and living in the present. – Right now is a miracle. Right now is the only moment guaranteed to you. Right now is life. So stop thinking about how great things will be in the future. Stop dwelling on what did or didn’t happen in the past. Learn to be in the ‘here and now’ and experience life as it’s happening. Appreciate the world for the beauty that it holds, right now.

#7. Start valuing the lessons your mistakes teach you. – Mistakes are okay; they’re the stepping stones of progress. If you’re not failing from time to time, you’re not trying hard enough and you’re not learning. Take risks, stumble, fall, and then get up and try again. Appreciate that you are pushing yourself, learning, growing and improving. Significant achievements are almost invariably realized at the end of a long road of failures. One of the ‘mistakes’ you fear might just be the link to your greatest achievement yet.

#8. Start being more polite to yourself. – If you had a friend who spoke to you in the same way that you sometimes speak to yourself, how long would you allow that person to be your friend? The way you treat yourself sets the standard for others. You must love who you are or no one else will.

#9. Start enjoying the things you already have. – The problem with many of us is that we think we’ll be happy when we reach a certain level in life – a level we see others operating at – your boss with her corner office, that friend of a friend who owns a mansion on the beach, etc. Unfortunately, it takes awhile before you get there, and when you get there you’ll likely have a new destination in mind. You’ll end up spending your whole life working toward something new without ever stopping to enjoy the things you have now. So take a quiet moment every morning when you first awake to appreciate where you are and what you already have.

#10. Start creating your own happiness. – If you are waiting for someone else to make you happy, you’re missing out. Smile because you can. Choose happiness. Be the change you want to see in the world. Be happy with who you are now, and let your positivity inspire your journey into tomorrow. Happiness is often found when and where you decide to seek it. If you look for happiness within the opportunities you have, you will eventually find it. But if you constantly look for something else, unfortunately, you’ll find that too. Read Stumbling on Happiness.

#11. Start giving your ideas and dreams a chance. – In life, it’s rarely about getting a chance; it’s about taking a chance. You’ll never be 100% sure it will work, but you can always be 100% sure doing nothing won’t work. Most of the time you just have to go for it! And no matter how it turns out, it always ends up just the way it should be. Either you succeed or you learn something. Win-Win.

#12. Start believing that you’re ready for the next step. – You are ready! Think about it. You have everything you need right now to take the next small, realistic step forward. So embrace the opportunities that come your way, and accept the challenges – they’re gifts that will help you to grow.

#13. Start entering new relationships for the right reasons. – Enter new relationships with dependable, honest people who reflect the person you are and the person you want to be. Choose friends you are proud to know, people you admire, who show you love and respect – people who reciprocate your kindness and commitment. And pay attention to what people do, because a person’s actions are much more important than their words or how others represent them.

#14. Start giving new people you meet a chance. – It sounds harsh, but you cannot keep every friend you’ve ever made. People and priorities change. As some relationships fade others will grow. Appreciate the possibility of new relationships as you naturally let go of old ones that no longer work. Trust your judgment. Embrace new relationships, knowing that you are entering into unfamiliar territory. Be ready to learn, be ready for a challenge, and be ready to meet someone that might just change your life forever.

#15. Start competing against an earlier version of yourself. – Be inspired by others, appreciate others, learn from others, but know that competing against them is a waste of time. You are in competition with one person and one person only – yourself. You are competing to be the best you can be. Aim to break your own personal records.

#16. Start cheering for other people’s victories. – Start noticing what you like about others and tell them. Having an appreciation for how amazing the people around you are leads to good places – productive, fulfilling, peaceful places. So be happy for those who are making progress. Cheer for their victories. Be thankful for their blessings, openly. What goes around comes around, and sooner or later the people you’re cheering for will start cheering for you.

 

stay positive

#17. Start looking for the silver lining in tough situations. – When things are hard, and you feel down, take a few deep breaths and look for the silver lining – the small glimmers of hope. Remind yourself that you can and will grow stronger from these hard times. And remain conscious of your blessings and victories – all the things in your life that are right. Focus on what you have, not on what you haven’t.

#18. Start forgiving yourself and others. – We’ve all been hurt by our own decisions and by others. And while the pain of these experiences is normal, sometimes it lingers for too long. We relive the pain over and over and have a hard time letting go. Forgiveness is the remedy. 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 on with your life.

#19. Start helping those around you. – Care about people. Guide them if you know a better way. The more you help others, the more they will want to help you. Love and kindness begets love and kindness. And so on and so forth.

#20. Start listening to your own inner voice. – If it helps, discuss your ideas with those closest to you, but give yourself enough room to follow your own intuition. Be true to yourself. Say what you need to say. Do what you know in your heart is right.

#21. Start being attentive to your stress level and take short breaks. – Slow down. Breathe. Give yourself permission to pause, regroup and move forward with clarity and purpose. When you’re at your busiest, a brief recess can rejuvenate your mind and increase your productivity. These short breaks will help you regain your sanity and reflect on your recent actions so you can be sure they’re in line with your goals.

#22. Start noticing the beauty of small moments. – Instead of waiting for the big things to happen – marriage, kids, big promotion, winning the lottery – find happiness in the small things that happen every day. Little things like having a quiet cup of coffee in the early morning, or the delicious taste and smell of a homemade meal, or the pleasure of sharing something you enjoy with someone else, or holding hands with your partner. Noticing these small pleasures on a daily basis makes a big difference in the quality of your life.

#23. Start accepting things when they are less than perfect. – Remember, ‘perfect’ is the enemy of ‘good.’ One of the biggest challenges for people who want to improve themselves and improve the world is learning to accept things as they are. Sometimes it’s better to accept and appreciate the world as it is, and people as they are, rather than to trying to make everything and everyone conform to an impossible ideal. No, you shouldn’t accept a life of mediocrity, but learn to love and value things when they are less than perfect.

#24. Start working toward your goals every single day. – Remember, the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Whatever it is you dream about, start taking small, logical steps every day to make it happen. Get out there and DO something! The harder you work the luckier you will become. While many of us decide at some point during the course of our lives that we want to answer our calling, only an astute few of us actually work on it. By ‘working on it,’ I mean consistently devoting oneself to the end result. Read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

#25. Start being more open about how you feel. – If you’re hurting, give yourself the necessary space and time to hurt, but be open about it. Talk to those closest to you. Tell them the truth about how you feel. Let them listen. The simple act of getting things off your chest and into the open is your first step toward feeling good again.

#26. Start taking full accountability for your own life. – Own your choices and mistakes, and be willing to take the necessary steps to improve upon them. Either you take accountability for your life or someone else will. And when they do, you’ll become a slave to their ideas and dreams instead of a pioneer of your own. You are the only one who can directly control the outcome of your life. And no, it won’t always be easy. Every person has a stack of obstacles in front of them. But you must take accountability for your situation and overcome these obstacles. Choosing not to is choosing a lifetime of mere existence.

#27. Start actively nurturing your most important relationships. – Bring real, honest joy into your life and the lives of those you love by simply telling them how much they mean to you on a regular basis. You can’t be everything to everyone, but you can be everything to a few people. Decide who these people are in your life and treat them like royalty. Remember, you don’t need a certain number of friends, just a number of friends you can be certain of.

#28. Start concentrating on the things you can control. – You can’t change everything, but you can always change something. Wasting your time, talent and emotional energy on things that are beyond your control is a recipe for frustration, misery and stagnation. Invest your energy in the things you can control, and act on them now.

#29. Start focusing on the possibility of positive outcomes. – The mind must believe it CAN do something before it is capable of actually doing it. The way to overcome negative thoughts and destructive emotions is to develop opposing, positive emotions that are stronger and more powerful. Listen to your self-talk and replace negative thoughts with positive ones. Regardless of how a situation seems, focus on what you DO WANT to happen, and then take the next positive step forward. No, you can’t control everything that happens to you, but you can control how you react to things. Everyone’s life has positive and negative aspects – whether or not you’re happy and successful in the long run depends greatly on which aspects you focus on. Read The How of Happiness.

#30. Start noticing how wealthy you are right now. – Henry David Thoreau once said, “Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.” Even when times are tough, it’s always important to keep things in perspective. You didn’t go to sleep hungry last night. You didn’t go to sleep outside. You had a choice of what clothes to wear this morning. You hardly broke a sweat today. You didn’t spend a minute in fear. You have access to clean drinking water. You have access to medical care. You have access to the Internet. You can read. Some might say you are incredibly wealthy, so remember to be grateful for all the things you do have.

This is such a wonderful list. If we take little steps every day and practice these things, we can make great improvements in our lives. Share this post with your friends and loved ones. |

SATURDAY, JUNE 28, 2014 


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12 Tips That Can Rebuild Your Life And Make It Amazing

“Our real blessings often appear to us in the shape of pains, losses and disappointments; but let us have patience and we soon shall see them in their proper figures.” ~ Joseph Addison

What if one day you woke up and decided that you were tired of feeling tired and that you had enough of everything? Enough of stress and anxiety, enough of anger and resentment, enough of struggle, lack, pain and poverty, enough of tears, heartbreaks, self destructive thoughts, behaviors and relationships and enough of all that is negative and toxic? What if you decided that you wanted to change yourself and your life but didn’t know where exactly to start, what then?

There are many things you can do to begin rebuilding your life and make it ridiculously amazing and today I will share with you 12 things that are meant to help you do just that. Are you ready? Let’s begin:

1. Make A Commitment To Yourself

I (name),
Make a commitment to myself,
To spend so much time improving myself and my life that I have no time for worry, judgement, criticism, whining and complaining;
To forgive, release and let go of my attachment to any past struggles and allow every challenge life sends my way to make me better not bitter.
Starting now, I make a commitment to let go of what’s behind me and start appreciating what’s in front of me;
To let go of all the pointless drama, all the toxic relationships, thoughts and behaviors that are present in my life and to constantly shift my focus from the bad on to the good;
To make room in my heart for love, happiness, peace and tranquility and to create my life from a place of infinite choices and possibilities – the present moment, and no longer from a place of limitations – the past.
I commit to staying true to myself at all times and to never betray myself just so I can please other people.
I commit myself to give up on toxic thought, behaviors and relationships but never on myself and my dreams.
Starting now and starting today, I will begin rebuilding my life and to make it ridiculously amazing.
Sincerely,
(name)

Once you truly commit to rebuilding your life and making it ridiculously amazing, nothing and no one will be able to stand in your way.

2. Forgive, Release And Let Go Of Past Hurts And Resentments

Fill your heart with love. Forgive, release and let go. Not necessary because those who mistreated you deserve it, but because you do. Let forgiveness liberate you from your past. Allow it to take away all the resentment you kept in heart for all this time and allow yourself to fill in that empty space with love, inner peace and compassion.

If others mistreated you in the past it doesn’t mean you have to continue their work. Look how beautiful Mark Twain talks about this: “Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”

Release and let go of all the negativity from your life. Start small and trust that as you work on letting go of all the extra baggage that is weighting you down, you will begin to feel lighter and you will gain a lot more clarity over your life. You will feel happier and more at peace with yourself and the world around you.

3. Embrace With Grace All That You Face

Shift your focus from the bad on to the good, from the pain on to the gain, from resentment on to the forgiveness, gratitude and appreciation. Learn to embrace with grace all that you face.

Appreciate everything life sends your way, whether good or bad and know that “Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” ~ Melody Beattie

4. Visualize Your Achievements And Create Your Destiny

Ask yourself the same question I asked myself a few years ago when I decided to let go of my attachment to my past and begin rebuild my whole life: “If there were no limits to what I can do, be and have, how would my life look like?”

Let your imagination run wild. Dare to dream big. Don’t settle for less than you are worth.

The richer your imagination, the more beautiful your life will be.

“The power of imagination is incredible. Often we see athletes achieving unbelievable results and wonder how they did it. One of the tools they use is visualization or mental imagery… they made the choice to create their destinies and visualized their achievements before they ultimately succeeded.” ~ George Kohlrieser

See in your mind’s eye the life you would love to live, the person you would love to become and the relationships you would want to have. Live your life from the end and act as if all of the things you need and desire are already present in your life. Feel the feelings that come from having all those wonderful things happen to you and allow those feelings to be with you at all times.

5. Work Hard, Dream Big.

Act upon your heart’s desire. Do the things you need to do in order to get where you want to get. Read the books you need to read, contact the people you need to contact, build the skills you need to build.

Find a mentor. Dare to ask questions. Do whatever it takes to move yourself closer to making your dreams come true.

Trust that with every step you take, your life situation will improve and you will become even more happier than you already are.

6. Take One Step At A Time

Because of the many years of past conditioning and the intense training you have in holding on to toxic thoughts, behaviors and unhealthy relationships, giving up on all that is toxic in your life won’t be easy and it won’t happen overnight. Chances are that you won’t see major improvements in your life immediately, and that’s okay. Be patient and gentle with yourself while working on rebuilding your life and remember to enjoy the journey.

“Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.” ~ Greg

Take one step at a time and keep in mind that a journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step.

change

7. Develop A Deep Trust In Life

You have to have faith. You have to have trust… Trust in yourself, trust in the people you interact with and trust in life.

Put your fears aside. Allow yourself to be vulnerable. Develop a deep trust in the wisdom of life. “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” ~ Matthew 17:20

8. Give Yourself Permission To “Fail”

Give yourself permission to “fail” and make “mistakes”.

Trust me when I tell you that in every “mistake” there is a lesson to learn, lesson that will be very beneficial to you as you continue walking on your life’s chosen path.

“There are no mistakes. The events we bring upon ourselves, no matter how unpleasant, are necessary in order to learn what we need to learn; whatever steps we take, they’re necessary to reach the places we’ve chosen to go.” ~ Richard Bach

9. Be Good To Yourself

Love yourself and be good to yourself because if you do, the world around you will start mirroring your behavior. Take good care of your mind, body, heart and soul. Exercise, drink plenty of water, eat healthy and delicious food.

Nurture good thoughts. Act in compassionate and loving ways, towards yourself and the world around you. Spend time alone, spending at least 5 to 10 minutes per day in silence would make you help make you feel refreshed, rejuvenated and renewed.

Go outside. Spend some time in nature. Look at the plants, the sky, the stars, the moon and the trees. Celebrate the miracle of life.

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” ~ Albert Einstein

10. Give Up Living Your Life To Other People’s Expectations

Way too many people are living a life that is not theirs to live. They live their lives according to what others think is best for them, they live their lives according to what their parents think is best for them, to what their friends, their enemies and their teachers, their government and the media think is best for them. They ignore their inner voice, that inner calling. They are so busy with pleasing everybody, with living up to other people’s expectations, that they lose control over their lives. They forget what makes them happy, what they want, what they need….and eventually they forget about themselves.

Never get your sense of worth from outside yourself. Your worth comes from inside yourself and not from forces outside yourself – people, events, material possessions. Don’t ever let other people tell you how much you’re worth, decide for yourself. It’s called self worth not others worth.

You have one life – this one right now – you must live it, own it, and especially don’t let other people’s opinions distract you from your path.

11. Discipline Your Mind To Stay Present In The Now

Learn to be present and engaged in the present moment. Be happy with what you have, what you know and who you are right now. Don’t allow your mind to trick you into thinking that you won’t be happy until you get where you want to get.

Appreciate what’s in front of you. If you learn how to be present and engaged in the NOW, you will live a very happy and content life and no matter how many challenges life will send your way, you will become a better not bitter person.

“As soon as you honor the present moment, all unhappiness and struggle dissolve, and life begins to flow with joy and ease. When you act out the present-moment awareness, whatever you do becomes imbued with a sense of quality, care, and love – even the most simple action.” ~ Eckhart Tolle,

12. Surround Yourself With Loving And Supportive People

Surround yourself with positive, cheerful, supportive and loving people. People who can lift you up when you are feeling down; people who will turn on the light for you when you are in the dark; people who can see you for what you truly are and who you can truly become. Take the advice of Mark Twain and “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”

You need positive and loving friends who will support you in your new way of life…

Commit yourself to making the best of everything life sends your way. Be soft and flexible. Go with the flow of life and no longer against it.

Enjoy the ride and no matter what happens to you and no matter how many challenges and difficult people life might send your way, know that they are all there to help you grow and evolve into the beautiful being you so much want and deserve to be.

You only have one life to live. Make it a memorable one.

Give up on all the toxicity present in your life but never on yourself and your dreams, ok?

“The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same. Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination.” ~ Don Williams Jr.

Luminita D. Saviuc


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6 Ways to Increase Your Emotional Intelligence

What makes someone successful? Is it book smarts, street smarts or a combination of the two? Maybe it is someone who is naturally gifted in their field? You might be surprised to learn that the most successful people are those that know how to manage their emotions.

Knowing how to remain calm in the face of adversity and collected and focused despite external challenges is known as emotional intelligence, and it is the quality that makes people happy and successful.

That is good news because unlike being naturally-gifted, emotional intelligence is a skill that can be learned, practiced and improved.

In a study on emotional intelligence, a group of participants given emotional intelligence training were better able to handle difficult situations and manage their emotions than the group that received no training at all. The study also showed that the one-time training lasted well beyond the experiment. This means the work you do now will benefit you well into the future.

Here are 6 ways to develop your emotional intelligence:

Be Self-Aware

The first step to increasing your emotional intelligence is to understand your emotions by becoming aware of them. We are often told to hide our feelings but to tap into your emotional intelligence you need to feel.

Start by observing what you are feeling during one given day. Stop yourself and let yourself feel whatever it is you’re feeling.

Feel it and then describe it. When you describe it, you are becoming more aware and will begin to understand your emotional triggers and patterns.

Adapt Your Emotions

Now that you are becoming more aware of your emotions start looking for patterns and triggers. Look back at a situation where your emotions got the best of you and think of what you would do differently, if you had remained calm and collected.

This mental exercise isn’t about beating yourself up; it is about learning from your past experiences to better prepare you for the future. The best place to be when reacting to a situation is in a place of calm. Once you begin to recognize the patterns, you can talk yourself out of overreacting and begin to react with more intention.

Forgive

Forgiveness is often misinterpreted as letting someone off the hook. The reality is forgiveness is about taking back emotional control over your feelings and releasing the control someone else has over you. Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself.

Forgiveness is acknowledging that the action happened and how it made you feel. There is nothing there that can be changed. You can choose to reside in the feelings of the past or choose to move through them. Moving through it and letting it go is the one the healthiest and most beneficial things you can do for yourself.

Girl on swing at sunset

 

Be Empathetic

Understanding your feelings is only half the equation, the other half is understanding and being able to imagine how others feel. Empathy connects you to another person through shared feelings.

By nature we are selfish beings; we want what we want. And that works just fine until you have to interact with another selfish person. It is through shared feelings that we begin to find our true, authentic self. Our ability to empathize with people gives us the courage to live outside of ourselves.

Manage Criticism

We are critical beings, and one of the best and easiest ways to increase emotional intelligence is stop taking everything so seriously. In other words, lighten up.

How you manage criticism you receive, can impact every area of your life. If you are holding onto critical statements and carrying them with you throughout the day, that negativity is infecting everything you touch.

It’s important to realize that most criticism that evokes negative feelings in us is usually designed for that purpose by the other person. When we react negatively to criticism, whether constructive or not, we are reacting out of our fears and insecurities.

Go back to becoming more self-aware and adapt your emotions to the situation. When you begin to react to criticism from a place of calm rather than anger, you begin to see the criticism as a valuable tool for improving your performance and showing someone’s true colors.

Stand Up for What Is Right

When you begin to develop your emotional intelligence, you are just trying to get better acquainted with your feelings and how to adapt them to serve you better. Every interaction comes with emotions from everyone involved, and now it’s time to take your emotional intelligence to a new level by standing up for what is right.

Gossiping is a prime example. When you are in a conversation that includes gossip, you might not have the most positive feelings yet you let the gossip go on. There are a million reasons why you do: you don’t want to offend anyone, you want to be part of the crowd, or you don’t know how to take a stand.

By not doing what is right, which is speaking from your experience, you are not adapting your emotions to the situation, you are giving in to them. Do what’s right and take a stand for your truth. It is not always easy swimming upstream, but the effort always pays off in the end.

Developing and growing your emotional intelligence is something that anyone can do. It doesn’t require a high IQ or access to higher education, it simply requires you to become vulnerable enough to listen and learn from your feelings.


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Forgiveness: Letting go of grudges and bitterness

When someone you care about hurts you, you can hold on to anger, resentment and thoughts of revenge — or embrace forgiveness and move forward.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Nearly everyone has been hurt by the actions or words of another. Perhaps your mother criticized your parenting skills, your colleague sabotaged a project or your partner had an affair. These wounds can leave you with lasting feelings of anger, bitterness or even vengeance.

But if you don’t practice forgiveness, you might be the one who pays most dearly. By embracing forgiveness, you can also embrace peace, hope, gratitude and joy. Consider how forgiveness can lead you down the path of physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.

What is forgiveness?

Generally, forgiveness is a decision to let go of resentment and thoughts of revenge. The act that hurt or offended you might always remain a part of your life, but forgiveness can lessen its grip on you and help you focus on other, more positive parts of your life. Forgiveness can even lead to feelings of understanding, empathy and compassion for the one who hurt you.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you deny the other person’s responsibility for hurting you, and it doesn’t minimize or justify the wrong. You can forgive the person without excusing the act. Forgiveness brings a kind of peace that helps you go on with life.

What are the benefits of forgiving someone?

Letting go of grudges and bitterness can make way for happiness, health and peace. Forgiveness can lead to:

  • Healthier relationships
  • Greater spiritual and psychological well-being
  • Less anxiety, stress and hostility
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Fewer symptoms of depression
  • Stronger immune system
  • Improved heart health
  • Higher self-esteem

Why is it so easy to hold a grudge?

When you’re hurt by someone you love and trust, you might become angry, sad or confused. If you dwell on hurtful events or situations, grudges filled with resentment, vengeance and hostility can take root. If you allow negative feelings to crowd out positive feelings, you might find yourself swallowed up by your own bitterness or sense of injustice.

What are the effects of holding a grudge?

If you’re unforgiving, you might:

  • Bring anger and bitterness into every relationship and new experience
  • Become so wrapped up in the wrong that you can’t enjoy the present
  • Become depressed or anxious
  • Feel that your life lacks meaning or purpose, or that you’re at odds with your spiritual beliefs
  • Lose valuable and enriching connectedness with others
forgiveness

How do I reach a state of forgiveness?

Forgiveness is a commitment to a process of change. To begin, you might:

  • Consider the value of forgiveness and its importance in your life at a given time
  • Reflect on the facts of the situation, how you’ve reacted, and how this combination has affected your life, health and well-being
  • Actively choose to forgive the person who’s offended you, when you’re ready
  • Move away from your role as victim and release the control and power the offending person and situation have had in your life

As you let go of grudges, you’ll no longer define your life by how you’ve been hurt. You might even find compassion and understanding.

What happens if I can’t forgive someone?

Forgiveness can be challenging, especially if the person who’s hurt you doesn’t admit wrong or doesn’t speak of his or her sorrow. If you find yourself stuck:

  • Consider the situation from the other person’s point of view.
  • Ask yourself why he or she would behave in such a way. Perhaps you would have reacted similarly if you faced the same situation.
  • Reflect on times you’ve hurt others and on those who’ve forgiven you.
  • Write in a journal, pray or use guided meditation — or talk with a person you’ve found to be wise and compassionate, such as a spiritual leader, a mental health provider, or an impartial loved one or friend.
  • Be aware that forgiveness is a process and even small hurts may need to be revisited and forgiven over and over again.

Does forgiveness guarantee reconciliation?

If the hurtful event involved someone whose relationship you otherwise value, forgiveness can lead to reconciliation. This isn’t always the case, however.

Reconciliation might be impossible if the offender has died or is unwilling to communicate with you. In other cases, reconciliation might not be appropriate. Still, forgiveness is possible — even if reconciliation isn’t.

What if I have to interact with the person who hurt me but I don’t want to?

If you haven’t reached a state of forgiveness, being near the person who hurt you might prompt you to be tense and stressful. To handle these situations:

  • Remember that you can choose to attend or avoid specific functions and gatherings. If you choose to attend, don’t be surprised by a certain amount of awkwardness and perhaps even more intense feelings.
  • Respect yourself and do what seems best.
  • Do your best to keep an open heart and mind. You might find that the experience helps you to move forward with forgiveness.

What if the person I’m forgiving doesn’t change?

Getting another person to change his or her actions, behavior or words isn’t the point of forgiveness. Think of forgiveness more about how it can change your life — by bringing you peace, happiness, and emotional and spiritual healing. Forgiveness can take away the power the other person continues to wield in your life.

What if I’m the one who needs forgiveness?

The first step is to honestly assess and acknowledge the wrongs you’ve done and how those wrongs have affected others. At the same time, avoid judging yourself too harshly. You’re human, and you’ll make mistakes.

If you’re truly sorry for something you’ve said or done, consider admitting it to those you’ve harmed. Speak of your sincere sorrow or regret, and specifically ask for forgiveness — without making excuses.

Remember, however, you can’t force someone to forgive you. Others need to move to forgiveness in their own time. Whatever the outcome, commit to treating others with compassion, empathy and respect.


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The Surprising Motivational Power of Self-Compassion

We all have a kind of virtual policeman living inside us. Amongst other things he’s the guy that helps us work towards our goals, whether personal or professional.

When things go wrong and we stray off the straight and narrow, he reminds us what we were supposed to be doing.

But what kind of policeman is he? Is he the kind with a riot shield, a baton and a bad attitude or does he offer a forgiving smile, a friendly word and a helping hand?

People sometimes think of the latter, more relaxed internal policeman, as being weak and ineffectual. The danger, it is thought, with going easy on ourselves, is that it will lead to lower motivation. Surely if we don’t use self-criticism to push ourselves, we’ll never get anywhere?

So, what stance should we adopt towards ourselves?

mirror
We all make mistakes,
but should you beat yourself up
or show a little mercy?

Antitoxin of the soul

Let’s say someone is trying to deal with a recent period of low self-confidence. Here are three ways the inner policeman might deal with it:

  • Self-esteem boost: think about positive aspects of the self to boost confidence.
  • Positive distraction: think back to nice memories to create a distraction from the problem.
  • Self-compassion: think about the self with kindness and compassion, seeing the period of low self-confidence in context, without evaluating or judging it.

When psychological researchers tested these approaches they found that self-compassion was surprisingly powerful (Breines & Chen, 2012). In comparison to self-esteem boosting and distraction, this study found that self-compassion was most likely to help participants:

  • See the possibilities for change,
  • Increase the motivation to change,
  • Take steps towards making a change,
  • Compare themselves with those doing better, to help motivate their change.

So self-compassion did not emerge as the soft-option: in fact, quite the opposite. By being sympathetic and non-judgemental towards the self, people were able to avoid both harsh self-criticism and potentially fragile self-enhancement.

When participants thought back to insecurities in their relationships, their shyness or social anxieties, it was showing compassion towards themselves that helped the most.

This may be because self-compassion builds a more balanced way of reacting to both failures in ourselves and difficult situations we find ourselves in. As the American writer Eric Hoffer said:

“Compassion is the antitoxin of the soul: where there is compassion even the most poisonous impulses remain relatively harmless.”


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11 Ways To Become Your Truest and Greatest Self

BY DR. NAOMI PABST      MARCH 14, 2014

Being precisely who you are, at your highest level, is your ticket to magnetizing the things you want most in your life. This is true for your love life, career, relationships, prosperity, health, and so on. It’s also the magic formula that will enable you to make a more powerful contribution to this world than you ever thought possible.

So here, allow me to present to you my 11 stepping stones toward your truest and greatest self. I hope it’s a helpful reminder of what you already know.

1. Fall madly in love with yourself.

Love is the most powerful energy in existence. Blast yourself with it to full advantage! Beam upon yourself as though you were your own dream lover, ideal mother, precious child, and verrrry best friend. Direct your adoration, light, warmth, healing energy, and nurturing inward, toward Y-O-U. Send yourself the same quality of love you offer to your loved ones. Love yourself actively and you will grow radiant, lighting up the world around you and hence creating a “win-win” for all you encounter.

2. Embark on a journey of self-discovery.

Explore who you are beyond all externally-imposed definitions. Then fully embody, accept, and celebrate who you are. Connect to your wonderfulness: your unique talents, skills, passions, roles, affiliations, personality profile, and one-of-a-kind life experiences. And remember, your soul is a wondrous spark of divinity, connecting you to transcendence, immortality, and dimensions beyond. It’s also the true essence of who you are.

3. Embrace your life’s unique curriculum.

Live in alignment with who you truly are. Be led by the “natural inclination” that’s encoded within your soul. Heed your inner directives. Don’t worry about what other people think. Say no when you need to. Cultivate healthy boundaries everyone in your life, and don’t be afraid to disappoint others when you hold to your intentions and honor your needs. And avoid comparing your life’s unfolding with that of others—we all have our very own train track with our own designated controls, stops, and speed settings.

4. Free yourself through healing and forgiveness.

Healing is the secret to having full access to our life force. Forgiveness means we accept our life’s unique curriculum and the sacred assignment each experience represents. We can even transcend the need to forgive if we proceed instead from radical understanding, compassion, heightened consciousness, and unconditional love. We all have what’s called a “pain-body,” a shadow part of us where all the negativity of a lifetime has built up a residue. When we heal the pain-body, we thrive.

5. Tell your inner critic where to go.

Your inner critic is that voice in your head forever cajoling you to be perfect as opposed to human. As you go to higher levels of who you are, be motivated by love of self as opposed to self-policing. Replace self-criticism with self-compassion. Let inspiration be your fuel rather than self-control. Give yourself a break from your inner judge. Refuse to give power to the bully within.

6. Step into your self-importance.

A healthy version of this much-maligned trait is critical if we are to do anything other than play small. Anyone who has accomplished anything of significance has placed importance upon themselves. It means prioritizing your desires, committing to yourself, and honoring your goals and intentions. It means taking yourself seriously. It means stepping into your full power, splendor, and majesty. It means calmly and humbly being the master of your destiny.

7. Hone your intuition.

Rely upon your sixth sense. It’s your most powerful inner resource. Tap into the divine intelligence and serve ably as your very own psychic. Become a powerful advisor to yourself. Your inner Knowing serves as your high beam headlights. With this additional illumination on life’s road, you can proceed with greater self-assurance, clarity, centeredness, and courage.

8. “Radically Relax” (aka MEDITATE).

“Letting go” on a daily basis is a game-changer. Just 15-minutes is medicine for an entire 24-hour window. A regular practice yields healing along with greater serenity, well-being, and confidence. Your anxiety fades away. Stress is replaced by wherewithal, the capacity to handle life’s demands with grace and aplomb. You grow more patient, less reactionary, and less easily triggered. You deepen your intuition and palpably feel your connection to source.

9. Take care of the temple that is your body.

Treat with awe and wonder the sacred vehicle that is ushering you through this journey called life. Your body is a miracle, without which, you are out of the game of life altogether. Lavish this extraordinary live machine of yours with gratitude for all its amazing functions, every last one of them designed to keep you surviving and thriving. Fuel your body with nutrition, physical movement, replenishing sleep, and pampering. Let your self-care practice be self-love in action.

10. Create a life you adore!

Turn the very life you’re living into a fulfilling, rewarding one you give thanks for every day. From right where you are, create a reality that uplifts and inspires you. Simply do the administration and make the needed tweaks. For when our life supports us at being at our best, we attract the circumstances we are wishing to attract. When we love our lives, we are magnetic for that great relationship, dream job, deep healing, or financial breakthrough.

11. Make the difference only you can make.

The world needs you. Of the billions of people on this planet, only you can offer what only you have to give. Connect to your passions, interests, and to the power of your natural inclination. Make a contribution to those around you accordingly. Moreover, simply being Y-O-U, at your best, will inspire everyone around you and as such serve as a powerful offering to the greater good.


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11 Ways to Live a Happier Life, According to a Psychologist (Hint: These have nothing to do with money!)

THE MIND UNLEASHED     26 July, 2014

Happiness is something that we all strive for, yet many of us find it challenging to grasp and even harder to maintain. Especially during these difficult economic times, happiness can feel like it is hiding just behind next week’s paycheck, a new job, or a distant raise. However, as Dr. Robert Putnam of Harvard University recently pointed out, “money alone can buy you happiness, but not much.”(1) It appears that happiness has less to do with money than we might imagine, and more to do with the people around us, how we live our lives, the way spend our time, and how we perceive ourselves and understand our life experiences.

Based on the latest research in psychology and my experience as both a psychologist trying to understand happiness, and as a human being searching for my own happiness, here are 11 ways to live a happier life…that have nothing to do with money!

1) PRACTICE GRATITUDE

No matter where they are or what they are doing, happy people recognize that they always have something to be grateful for. Research in the field of Positive Psychology has shown that people who practice gratitude are happier, less stressed and less depressed!(2) Happy people can easily find gratitude in the world around them, whether they are looking at the cracks in the pavement in the concrete jungle or the sun setting over the ocean. It is possible to find gratitude even in smallest of things, like a delicious meal, a good book, a challenging yoga class, or a smile from a stranger on the street.

Each of us has a choice on how we focus our attention. Choosing to focus on gratitude for the beauty and uniqueness of life instead the stressors and problems will make you feel happier and more relaxed.

2) FIND A PLACE OF FLOW

In Positive Psychology, the concept of “Flow” is defined as the “complete immersion in activity for it’s own sake.”(3) When we are in flow, such as when we are running a race, writing a song, or reading a great book, our self-awareness dissipates, time seems to stop, and we become focused, peaceful, and attentive to the task at hand.  People who frequently experience flow tend to be happy, productive, creative and focused.

You can reach a state of flow by putting special attention to tasks that you find intrinsically rewarding and enjoyable. In other words, carve out some time to do what you LOVE! For more information about how to find your flow, explore Dr. Mikhal Csíkszentmihályi’s book, Finding Flow.(4)

3) SMILE MORE

If you are feeling down or having a rough day, it is possible to cheer yourself up by simply thinking of a person, place or situation that makes you smile! Indeed, research in psychology has shown that the physical act of smiling will make you feel happier, even if you are just flexing the muscles of your mouth and not intentionally smiling!(5)

While scientists are not yet completely certain why the simple of act of smiling makes you feel happy, it has been suggested that smiling contracts the facial muscles, leading to more blood flow to the brain’s frontal lobes, which in turn triggers release of dopamine, one of the pleasure chemicals in the brain.(6) So bust out the comedies and get your giggle on (or maybe let someone tickle you a little bit)!

4) EMBRACE YOUR MISTAKES

We are all perfectly imperfect in this human form, and it is only natural that we make mistakes (sometimes very often!) Living in denial about your mistakes or getting wrapped up in your ego will only you make you miserable and block you from learning valuable lessons that will help you grow and improve.

By embracing your mistakes, you will be able to forgive yourself, and the bonus is that other people might actually like you more! According to Dr. Eliot Aronson’s “Pratfall effect” in Social Psychology, making mistakes makes competent people seem more attractive, and more human to others.(7) Happy people seem to intuitively know this, embracing mistakes as learning experiences and not judging themselves too harshly.

5) MAINTAIN AN OPTIMISTIC ATTITUDE

Happy people tend to respond to negative events in a more optimistic manner than unhappy people. Positive psychologist Dr. Martin Seligman defines optimism as “reacting to problems with confidence and high personal ability,” specifically, recognizing that negative events are temporary and limited in scope.(2) Research has linked optimism with a plethora of positive outcomes including longevity, recovery from illness, overall physical health, enhanced coping skills and problem solving in difficult situations.

Overall, optimism is a central component of staying happy and healthy, so when in doubt, look on the bright side.

6) SURROUND YOURSELF WITH SUPPORTIVE PEOPLE

Even though this life can sometimes feel like an individual journey, we need other people around us in order to feel happy. In fact, recent research has indicated that social relationships are the strongest predictors of happiness, much stronger than income or wealth.(1) For example, according to Robert Putnam’s groundbreaking study, making a good friend causes an increase of happiness equal to tripling ones salary, belonging to a social club is equivalent to doubling one’s salary, and so on.

The take home message here is that social support is a huge indicator of happiness and wellbeing. People with perceived positive social relationships even live longer!8 So be social, surround yourself with people who make you feel good, and release those who make you feel bad.

7) LEARN WHEN TO SAY “NO”

As psychologist Dr. Thema Davis so beautifully puts it, “saying yes to happiness means learning to say no to things and people that stress you out.”(9) Happy people know that they must say NO to people, ideas, and behaviors that do not serve their highest good. Saying yes to everyone and everything can lead you to feel overwhelmed, increase your stress, and leave you less time and resources to take care of yourself! This is especially true when you agree to do things that do not resonate with you, or allow yourself to be pressured into situations you are uncomfortable with.

The stress that results from feeling overwhelmed can severely dampen one’s happiness and wellbeing. Before you commit to anything or anyone, ask yourself, does this serve my highest good? If the answers is no, then learn to say NO.

park path

8) UNPLUG & SPEND MORE TIME IN NATURE

Although it may feel natural after a lifetime of conditioning, human beings were not designed to spend our day hunched over a desk with electronics plugged into our ears and eyes. No, we are meant to be spending time outside, away from the buzz of technology, the radiation from cell-phones and the blaring of screens. Happy people understand that it is their human birthright to give themselves quiet time to reflect and find serenity. According to the July 2010 Harvard Health Letter, time outdoors in nature has been linked to happiness because light elevates people’s moods, as does vitamin D, a byproduct of spending time outside.(10)

If you really want to maximize the benefits of outdoor time, spend time in green nature – even five minutes of “green exercise” can lead to improvements in mood and self-esteem, according to researchers at the University of Essex.(10) Even better, combine your outside time with meditation, yoga, or other therapeutic movement arts. There is a plethora of research demonstrating that all of these will further enhance your mood and overall wellbeing.

9) PRACTICE FORGIVENESS

This one can be challenging for the many of us who have been wronged and/or who have experienced traumas perpetrated by other people in our lives. But as my life partner, sound healer Jimmy Ohm always says, “forgiveness does not mean that what happened was ok, it just means you no longer want to carry the pain.”(11) When we hold on to anger, resentment and fear towards people, they are actually occupying a space inside of us, blocking us from feeling truly happy and fulfilled.

Dr. Fred Luskin of the Stanford University Forgiveness Project has found that forgiveness is a huge predictor of happiness and wellbeing, explaining how “forgiveness is the experience of peacefulness in the present moment.”(12) For more on his research, visit his website, Forgive For Good.(13)

10) TRY NEW THINGS

Happy people are not afraid to push their boundaries and try new things. Research by psychologist Dr. Rich Walker has shown that people who engage in a variety of experiences are more likely to retain positive emotions than people who have fewer experiences.(14) Sure it might seem scary at first, but what’s the worst that could happen? By going beyond your comfort zone, you might actually surprise yourself and exceed your own expectations for what you are capable of accomplishing. And hey if it doesn’t go as planned, at least you still tried, didn’t you?

As Dr. Alex Lickerman M.D. writes in Happiness in this World, trying something new requires courage, it opens up the possibility for you to enjoy something new, it keeps you from becoming bored, and perhaps most importantly, it forces you to grow.(15) So what have you always wanted to try but you didn’t think you had the guts? What are you waiting for?

11) LOOK IN THE MIRROR EVERY MORNING AND SAY “I LOVE YOU!”

For many of us, self-love is the greatest challenge and blockage to happiness. Years of being told by family, educators and especially the media that we are not good enough, not successful enough, not attractive enough, not capable enough and so on has left many of us feeling beaten down and unworthy. The truth is that no matter who you are and what has happened in your life, YOU ARE WORTHY OF LOVE! Say it out loud to yourself until you believe it.

Psychologists have long known that self-esteem is intrinsically connected to happiness, but how does one build self-esteem? I believe we build self-esteem through practicing self-love and self-acceptance. One of the simplest things you can do is to look in the mirror every morning and say, “I love you!” For some, this may come easy, and for others, it may be extremely challenging. I know that at first I tried and tried to do this and I would break down in tears because I felt so unworthy. Eventually through practicing daily mantras of self-love and self-acceptance, I was able to learn to love myself. And while the path to unconditional self-love is a life-long journey and not a destination, today I feel happier than I have ever felt. ☺ I hope that these happiness tips will help guide you on your journey as much as they have helped me on mine. Namaste.

Author’s Note: This is by no means an exhaustive list of ways to live a happier life, and I would love to hear from The Mind Unleashed community about other ways that they have found to live and breathe happiness! Please comment or email me at DrKellyNeff@Gmail.com. Blessings and Love!  ❤

References:

1. Miller, J. (July 23rd, 2013). Putnam: Strongest Predictors of Happiness are Social Relationships. The Chatauquan Daily. Retrieved July 9th, 2014 from: http://chqdaily.com/2013/07/23/putnam-strongest-predictors-of-happiness-are-social-relationships/

2. The Pursuit of Happiness. Mindfulness and Positive Thinking: Optimism and Gratitude. Retrieved July 10th, 2014 from:http://www.pursuit-of-happiness.org/science-of-happiness/positive-thinking/

3. Cherry, K. (Date Unknown). What is flow? Understanding the Psychology of Flow. About.Com Psychology. Retrived July 10th, 2014 from: http://psychology.about.com/od/PositivePsychology/a/flow.htm

4. Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1997) Finding Flow: The Psychology of Engagement with Everyday Life. Basic Books, New York.

5. Korb, A. (July 31st, 2012). Smile: A Powerful Tool. Psychology Today. Retrieved July 11th, 2014 from: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/prefrontal-nudity/201207/smile-powerful-tool

6. Wenk, G. (December 27th, 2011). Addicted to Smiling: Can the Simple Act of Smiling Bring Pleasure? Psychology Today. Retrieved July 10th, 2014 from: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/your-brain-food/201112/addicted-smiling

7. Manage Train Learn. Likeability: The Pratfall Effect. Retrieved July 11th, 2014 from: http://www.managetrainlearn.com/page/the-pratfall-effect

8. Public Relations Bureau (June, 2009). Social Support, Networks and Happiness. Retrieved July 11th, 2014 from:http://www.prb.org/Publications/Reports/2009/socialnetworks.aspx

9. Dr. Thema Bryant-Davis. http://www.DrThema.Com.

10. Harvard University Health Letter. (July 2010). A Prescription for Better Health: Go Alfresco. Retrieved July 10th, 2014 from:  http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Health_Letter/2010/July/a-prescription-for-better-health-go-alfresco?utm_source=mental&utm_medium=pressrelease&utm_campaign=health0710

11. Jimmy Ohm MccLain. https://www.facebook.com/jameslmcclain

12. Taran, R. (March 7th, 2012). Forgiveness: Making Space for More Happiness. Huffington Post Healthy Living. Retrieved July 12th, 2014, from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/randy-taran/learning-to-forgive_b_1322686.html.

13. Forgive for Good. http://www.LearningToForgive.com

14. Time Magazine. Health and Happiness: Try New Things. Retrieved July 12th, 2014 from: http://content.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1631176_1630611_1630586,00.html

15. Lickerman, A. (April 1st, 2010). Happiness in this world: Trying new things. Psychology Today, retrieved July 12th, 2014 from: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/happiness-in-world/201004/trying-new-things

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. Kelly Neff is a social psychologist, author and educator who has helped thousands of people learn about healthy relationships, love and sexuality. A professor of psychology since 2007, she has become an innovator in the field of online teaching with her book, Teaching Psychology Online and her YouTube lectures. Dr. Neff also offers integrative healing services by combining psychological techniques, empowerment training, Reiki, and other alternative therapies. When she isn’t writing, teaching or doing healing work, Dr. Neff travels the globe in search of transformational festivals, rainbow tribe gatherings, and other adventures. You can find her daily doses of inspiration and positivity on her Facebook page, and twitter. Light and Love!

 


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10 Painfully Obvious Truths

10 Painfully Obvious Truths Everyone Forgets Too Soon

THE MIND UNLEASHED on 14 July, 2014 

“The truth does not cease to exist when it is ignored.”

You know how you can hear something a hundred times in a hundred different ways before it finally gets through to you?  The ten truths listed below fall firmly into that category – life lessons that many of us likely learned years ago, and have been reminded of ever since, but for whatever reason, haven’t fully grasped.

This, my friends, is my attempt at helping all of us, myself included, “get it” and “remember it” once and for all…

1.  THE AVERAGE HUMAN LIFE IS RELATIVELY SHORT.

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, but don’t be afraid of it either.  Be afraid of a life you never lived because you were too afraid to take action.  Death is not the greatest loss in life.  The greatest loss is what dies inside you while you’re still alive.  Be bold.  Be courageous.  Be scared to death, and then take the next step anyway.

2.  YOU WILL ONLY EVER LIVE THE LIFE YOU CREATE FOR YOURSELF.

Your life is yours alone.  Others can try to persuade you, but they can’t decide for you.  They can walk with you, but not in your shoes.  So make sure the path youdecide to walk aligns with your own intuition and desires, and don’t be scared to switch paths or pave a new one when it makes sense.

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.  Be productive and patient.  And realize that patience is not about waiting, but the ability to keep a good attitude while working hard for what you believe in.  This is your life, and it is made up entirely of your choices.  May your actions speak louder than your words.  May your life preach louder than your lips.  May your success be your noise in the end.

And if 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, be brave enough to step up to the edge of the unknown, and listen to your heart.  (Angel and I discuss this in more detail in the “Passion and Growth” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)

3.  BEING BUSY DOES NOT MEAN BEING PRODUCTIVE.

Busyness isn’t a virtue, nor is it something to respect.  Though we all have seasons of crazy schedules, very few of us have a legitimate need to be busy ALL the time.  We simply don’t know how to live within our means, prioritize properly, and say no when we should.

Being busy rarely equates to productivity these days.  Just take a quick look around.  Busy people outnumber productive people by a wide margin.  Busy people are rushing all over the place, and running late half of the time.  They’re heading to work, conferences, meetings, social engagements, etc.  They barely have enough free time for family get-togethers and they rarely get enough sleep.  Yet, emails are shooting out of their smart phones like machine gun bullets, and their day planners are jammed to the brim with obligations.  Their busy schedule gives them an elevated sense of importance.  But it’s all an illusion.  They’re like hamsters running on a wheel.

Though being busy can make us feel more alive than anything else for a moment, the sensation is not sustainable long term.  We will inevitably, whether tomorrow or on our deathbed, come to wish that we spent less time in the buzz of busyness and more time actually living a purposeful life.

4.  SOME KIND OF FAILURE ALWAYS OCCURS BEFORE SUCCESS.

Most mistakes are unavoidable.  Learn to forgive yourself.  It’s not a problem to make them.  It’s only a problem if you never learn from them.

If you’re too afraid of failure, you can’t possibly do what needs to be done to be successful.  The solution to this problem is making friends with failure.  You want to know the difference between a master and a beginner?  The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried.  Behind every great piece of art is a thousand failed attempts to make it, but these attempts are simply never shown to us.

Bottom line:  Just because it’s not happening now, doesn’t mean it never will.  Sometimes things have to go very wrong before they can be right.  (Read The Success Principles.)

5.  THINKING AND DOING ARE TWO VERY DIFFERENT THINGS.

Success never comes to look for you while you wait around thinking about it.

You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.  Knowledge is basically useless without action.  Good things don’t come to those who wait; they come to those who work on meaningful goals.  Ask yourself what’s really important and then have the courage to build your life around your answer.

And remember, if you wait until you feel 100% ready to begin, you’ll likely be waiting the rest of your life.

6.  YOU DON’T HAVE TO WAIT FOR AN APOLOGY TO FORGIVE.

Life gets much easier when you learn to accept all the apologies you never got.  The key is to be thankful for every experience – positive or negative.  It’s taking a step back and saying, “Thank you for the lesson.”  It’s realizing that grudges from the past are a perfect waste of today’s happiness, and that holding one is like letting unwanted company live rent free in your head.

Forgiveness is a promise – one you want to keep.  When you forgive someone you are making a promise not to hold the unchangeable past against your present self.  It has nothing to do with freeing a criminal of his or her crime, and everything to do with freeing yourself of the burden of being an eternal victim.

7.  SOME PEOPLE ARE SIMPLY THE WRONG MATCH FOR YOU.

You will only ever be as great as the people you surround yourself with, so be brave enough to let go of those who keep bringing you down.  You shouldn’t force connections with people who constantly make you feel less than amazing.

If someone makes you feel uncomfortable and insecure every time you’re with them, for whatever reason, they’re probably not close friend material.  If they make you feel like you can’t be yourself, or if they make you “less than” in any way, don’t pursue a connection with them.  If you feel emotionally drained after hanging out with them or get a small hit of anxiety when you are reminded of them, listen to your intuition.  There are so many “right people” for you, who energize you and inspire you to be your best self.  It makes no sense to force it with people who are the wrong match for you.

8.  IT’S NOT OTHER PEOPLE’S JOB TO LOVE YOU; IT’S YOURS.

It’s important to be nice to others, but it’s even more important to be nice to yourself.  You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.  So make sure you don’t start seeing yourself through the eyes of those who don’t value you.  Know your worth, even if they don’t.

Today, let someone love you just the way you are – as flawed as you might be, as unattractive as you sometimes feel, and as incomplete as you think you are.  Yes, let someone love you despite all of this, and let that someone be YOU.  (ReadLove Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It.)

9.  WHAT YOU OWN IS NOT WHO YOU ARE.

Stuff really is just stuff, and it has absolutely no bearing on who you are as a person.  Most of us can make do with much less than we think we need.  That’s a valuable reminder, especially in a hugely consumer-driven culture that focuses more on material things than meaningful connections and experiences.

You have to create your own culture.  Don’t watch TV, don’t read every fashion magazine, and don’t consume too much of the evening news.  Find the strength to fill your time with meaningful experiences.  The space and time you are occupying at this very moment is LIFE, and if you’re worrying about Kim Kardashian or Lebron James or some other famous face, then you are disempowered.  You’re giving your life away to marketing and media trickery, which is created by big companies to ultimately motivate you to want to dress a certain way, look a certain way, and be a certain way.  This is tragic, this kind of thinking.  It’s all just Hollywood brainwashing.  What is real is YOU and your friends and your family, your loves, your highs, your hopes, your plans, your fears, etc.

Too often we’re told that we’re not important, we’re just peripheral to what is.  “Get a degree, get a job, get a car, get a house, and keep on getting.”  And it’s sad, because someday you’ll wake up and realize you’ve been tricked.  And all you’ll want then is to reclaim your mind by getting it out of the hands of the brainwashers who want to turn you into a drone that buys everything that isn’t needed to impress everyone that isn’t important.

10.  EVERYTHING CHANGES, EVERY SECOND.

Embrace change and realize it happens for a reason.  It won’t always be obvious at first, but in the end it will be worth it.

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.

However good or bad a situation is now, it will change.  That’s the one thing you can count on.  So when life is good, enjoy it.  Don’t go looking for something better every second.  Happiness never comes to those who don’t appreciate what they have while they have it.

 


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31 Ways To Be A Better Person Every Day

By Elizabeth McLaughlin    January 29, 2014 

“Did you do something different to this pasta salad?” It seemed like an innocent question … but I knew better. I knew it was my husband’s sneaky way of telling me how much I suck. Here’s what I Read

We’ve all heard the advice to “be the change you wish to see in the world.” But what does it mean to “be the change” in daily life? I’ve pondered this question often in my coaching practice, where I work with folks who struggle to change every day.

In my experience, positive change — whether individual or global — is inevitable when we refuse to perpetuate behavior which harms, and when we refuse to be victims and choose action instead. This breaks down to 31 daily practices that inherently make a difference. Here they are.

1. Own your talents proudly.

Your gifts matter, and the world needs them.

2. Refuse to recreate injurious behavior by those above you.

Mentor those you supervise, recognize their achievements, and treat everyone with respect. “That’s the way it’s always been done” is not an excuse for mistreatment.

3. Know what you don’t know.

Pretending to be something you’re not robs you of your ability to learn more from others who already know the ropes.

4. Acknowledge your part in any office conflict, and work to remedy it.

Honestly owning your role in any working relationship makes you a model for all those you work with.

5. Advocate for positive change.

If your office doesn’t recycle, start a program. If you see too few minorities being hired, work to shift office policies.

6. Compost and recycle.

Most cities now have by-donation public composting programs. Those with backyard space can compost at home. Make sure to recycle everything you can, no excuses. The planet needs your help.

7. Buy local and organic.

Buying local decreases reliance on fossil fuels, and also benefits the environment through fewer carbon emissions. Buying organic preserves biodiversity, supports farmers who are doing the right thing and undermines efforts to genetically modify our food sources without consequence.

8. Know what’s in your cabinets.

Read the labels on everything you eat and every cleaning product you own. If you can’t identify an ingredient without using Google, chances are you shouldn’t be eating it or putting it on your countertops.

9. Conserve resources whenever possible.

Turn off the lights when you’re not in the room. Turn off the tap while you brush your teeth. Unplug your chargers when not in use.

10. Be a responsible pet owner.

That means not only picking up after your pets but also caring for your animal companions as you would for a family member. How you act here affects your entire community.

11. Listen first.

Think about it: when you want support, chances are you don’t turn to the friend who only talks about herself. Listening well is a mandatory skill in healthy relationships.

12. Stop blaming.

Every relationship is a two-way street. Imagine what would happen if, instead of blaming the other party, we each investigated our own part in the dynamic, and took responsibility to shift it? Presto-chango: a stronger, healthier relationship.

13. Be the partner you wish to have.

We each reflect back our best and worst qualities in our romantic relationships. Want more romance? Be more romantic. Want a great lover? Master the art of being one. Want generous communication? Learn to communicate well and model that ideal.

14. Parent with respect and connection.

Our kids are our greatest teachers. Loving them well and parenting with good boundaries, kindness and respect benefits the entire world for generations to come.

15. Nurture and care for others …

… and you’ll get the same in return. Making soup for your sick friend or offering an ear to an acquaintance who recently lost a parent guarantees that the same support will be there for you in turn.

16. Get to know your neighbors.

Particularly in major cities, anonymity leads to loneliness and isolation. Cultivate community events in your apartment building or in your neighborhood, and participate when others do the same. Aim to be a hub of your community. The rewards are endless.

17. Seek out like-minded organizations, and contribute.

Volunteer organizations always need more help. Whatever your gifts, they’re needed.

volunteer

18. Be generous and polite.

Carry your neighbor’s groceries in when she needs a hand. Open doors for others. Say please and thank you. These little niceties make a world of difference, especially to those with whom we interact on a daily basis.

19. Be curious and open.

Got neighbors from another nation of origin? Ask about their holidays and traditions. Got a colleague who has a slightly weird hobby? Ask what makes it so compelling. You’ll gain unprecedented insights into your world and those around you.

20. Surround yourself with positive people.

We become the company we keep. Keep company with those who are optimistic, uplifting and kind, and your world will become more of the same.

21. Treat your body with respect.

It’s the vessel for your experience in this life. Fill it with junk and refuse to move it, and your experience will eventually be a miserable one.

22. Examine and heal your negative self-talk.

If the things you say to yourself in your head aren’t things you would say to your kids, your partner or your best friend, you’ve got work to do.

23. Take responsibility for offloading your own baggage.

No one can fill a void that you haven’t addressed in your own history. And being a responsible partner, friend and parent means taking whatever steps necessary to make sure you don’t perpetuate your negative experiences when you interact with others.

24. Practice self-love.

Got a body part you’re less than thrilled with? Every day for 30 days, look at that body part in the mirror and say out loud that you love it. Look at yourself in totality and say the same. See where that gets you in a month — it’s life altering.

25. Forgive yourself.

We’ve all done things we’d prefer to forget, and made mistakes we’d prefer not to repeat. This is a part of life! Write a letter to yourself in which you forgive yourself for past errors, and burn it. Use your energy for the future instead of the past.

26. Educate yourself.

Don’t understand what’s happening in another part of the world and how it might impact you? Read respected news sources, and opinion pieces in particular. Know how you and your government interact at home and in the world. And always, always consider the source.

27. Eradicate ignorance and fear.

Don’t stand by silently while others make slurs or bully. One intervention can change lives.

28. Trust until you have a reason not to.

Inherent suspicion of others, our government and our world cuts us off from positive experience and connection.

29. Practice patience and compassion.

The driver who cuts you off might not be paying attention because his dad’s in the hospital. The person who bumps you on the subway might be late to pick her kid up from school. Assuming the best rather than the worst of strangers who cross our paths decreases stress levels and makes us better citizens.

30. Operate from a place of inherent value.

The person who delivers your takeout or pours your coffee may be just as smart and talented as you, but their lives have led them in a different direction. Everyone has a purpose, and everyone has a mission, even when it’s not apparent on the surface.

And lastly, in all things:

31. Love.

You need it, those around you need it, and the world needs it. Literally everyone you interact with and anyone you’ll ever meet is looking for it somewhere. How can you be the change, no matter what? Practice love whenever you can. It is the biggest game changer there is.