Sunday, March 30, 2014
Our lives are much too short to just focus on the hurtful times, and instead we should make great attempts to stay on the path towards greatness and reaching our dreams despite how much pain we may be in. Eventually the pain of your present will diminish, and if you waste time by not continuing to move forward you will be set back much further than you would have if you would of just worked through it. So hold on, be strong; keep pushing through the rough patches in life, because eventually pain ends.
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
We have to be willing to appreciate every precious moment of life. Just because things aren't the way that you envisioned them to be for this moment in your life, doesn't mean that you won't develop in ways that you never thought you could, because in fact it most often means the opposite. Life can always be better than you thought it would be, just remember to continue to believe.
Sometimes in our waking lives we are confronted with the decision of either making the best out of a relationship by hoping that the person that we want to really care for us, starts to really care for us, even though making someone love you after a while isn't always the easiest thing to do.
If we really want to be with the people that really deserve our love, we have to be willing to protect our hearts from those who will do nothing but drop it if they are given it. You can't make someone love you, or treat you the way you want to be treated, people either will or they wont.
You have to love yourself first. Until you can love yourself enough to let go of the people in your life that don't really care, you will continue to find people in your life that just don't seem to care the way that you do.
Don't miss out on a great relationship because you want to hold on to a relationship that will never work. Don't miss out on a great opportunity because you are scared to let go of a position that leaves you with nothing more than being stable or secure. Be fearless in your resolve, learn to let go!
"Don't waste a minute not being happy. If one window closes, run to the next window- or break down a door."
Happiness is not a onetime stop, being happy is an attitude that must stay with you in every place that you go in life. Those who are truly happy are happy when they are afraid, because they know that ultimately everything is going to be all right. Those who are truly happy are happy when they fail because they know once they get back up and try again they have a better chance of overcoming whatever obstacle may be in their way. Those who are happy are peaceful in times of stress because they know that keeping a positive upbeat attitude is one of the only ways to make the feelings of stress in their lives subside.
Those who are happy understand that happiness is a commitment, not an achievement. Live your life happily, to the best of your ability, and make sure that you never travel without this uplifting attitude from station to station.
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
It starts with a nagging thought.
That creates another few thoughts.
And before you know it there is a storm brewing in your mind, making you think irrationally and zapping your mental and physical energy.
Your old friend is back, creating chaos within.
I am no stranger to it either and to the powerful negative effects it can have on life and the happiness in it.
I have found several habits that have helped me to greatly decrease my worrying and to more easily handle such thoughts when they pop up.
1. Most of things you worry about have never happened.
I love this quote by Winston Churchill:
“When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened.”
I have found it to be very true in my own life.
So when you feel worries starting to pop up ask yourself this:
How many of the things I feared would happen in my life did actually happen?
If you are anything like me then the answer will be: very few. And the very few ones that actually happened were mostly not as painful or terrible as I had expected.
Worries are most often just monsters you build in your own mind.
I find that asking myself this question regularly and reminding myself of how little of the worries that actually came to life makes easier and easier to stay calm and to stop a worried thought before it becomes a big snowball of negativity.
2. Avoid getting lost in vague fears.
When fears feel vague in your mind, when you lack clarity then it is very easy to get lost in exaggerated worries and disaster scenarios.
So find clarity in a worry-inducing situation by asking yourself:
Honestly and realistically, what is the worst that could happen?
When I have answered that question then I follow it up with spending a bit of time on figuring out what I can do about it if that pretty unlikely thing happens.
In my experience, the worst that could realistically happens is usually not as scary as what my mind could make up when it is running wild with vague fears.
Spending a few minutes on finding clarity in this way can save you whole lot of time, energy and suffering.
3. Don’t try to guess what is on someone’s mind.
Trying to read someone’s mind usually doesn’t work too well at all. Instead, it can very easily lead to creating an exaggerated and even disastrous scenario in your mind.
So choose a way that is less likely to lead to worries and misunderstandings.
Communicate and ask what you want to ask.
By doing so you’ll promote openness in your relationship and it will likely be happier as you avoid many unnecessary conflicts and negativity.
4. Say stop in a situation where you know you cannot think straight.
From time to time when I am hungry or when I am lying in bed and are about to go to sleep I can become mentally vulnerable. And so worries can more easily start buzzing around in my head.
In the past this often lead to many minutes of time that where no fun.
These days I have become better at catching such thoughts quickly and to say to myself:
No, no, we are not going to think about this now.
I then follow that up with saying this to myself:
I will think this situation or issue through at a time when I know that my mind will work much better.
Like when I have eaten. Or in the morning when I have gotten my sleep.
It takes some practice to apply this one consistently and effectively but it also makes a big difference in my life.
5. Remember, people don’t think about you and what you do as much as you may think.
They have their hands full with thinking about what other people think of them. And with thinking about what is closest to their hearts like their children, pets, a partner or the job or school.
So don’t get lost in worries about what people may think or say if you do something. Don’t let such thoughts hold you back in life.
6. Work out.
Few things work so well and consistently as working out to release inner tensions and to move out of a headspace that is extra vulnerable to worries.
I also find that working out – especially with free weights – makes me feel more decisive and focused.
So even though working out helps me to build a stronger body my main motivation to keep doing it is for the wonderful and predictable mental benefits.
7. Let your worry out into the light.
This is one of my favorites. Because it tends to work so well.
By letting your “big” worry out into the light and talking about it with someone close to you it becomes a whole lot easier to see the situation or issue for what it really is.
Just venting for a few minutes can make a big difference and after a while you may start to wonder what you were so worried about in the first place.
Sometimes the other person may only have to listen as you work through the situation yourself out loud.
At other times it can be very helpful to let the other person ground you and help you find a more practical and useful perspective on the situation at hand.
If you do not have anyone to talk to at the moment about the worry bouncing around in your mind then let it out by writing about it. Just getting it out of your head and reasoning about with yourself either on paper or in a journal on your computer can help you to calm down and find clarity.
8. Spend more time in the present moment.
When you spend too much time reliving the past in your mind then it easy to start feeding your worries about the future. When you spend too much time in the future then is also easy to get swept away by disaster scenarios.
So focus on spending more of your time and attention in the present moment.
Two of my favorite ways to reconnect with what is happening right now:
- Slow down. Do whatever you are doing right now but do it slower. Move, talk, eat or ride your bicycle slower. By doing so you’ll become more aware of what is happening all around you right now.
- Disrupt and reconnect. If you feel you are starting to worry then disrupt that thought by shouting this to yourself in your mind: STOP! Then reconnect with the present moment by taking just one or two minutes to focus to 100% on what is going on around you. Take it all in with all your senses. Feel it, see it, smell it, hear it and sense it on your skin.
To move out the worried headspace I find it really, really helpful to just start moving and taking action to start solving or improving whatever I am concerned about.
So I ask myself:
What is one small step I can take right now to start improving this situation I am in?
Then I focus on just taking that small step forward. After that I find another small step and I take that one too.
Hearts do 3 things real well.
1- They pump blood
Sunday, March 23, 2014
What we feel isn't based on what we actually go through, it is based on what we represent in our heads when we think about what we are going through. Our interpretation to each situation means everything. At the end of the day, if we keep receiving negative signals from the people that we are in a relationship with, we shouldn't just avoid these feelings, we have to know that a change is needed.
Deal with the change that is needed. Don't pretend that your relationship is working out when it isn't, if it isn't going great, don't sacrifice your dignity.
Instead of holding on to something that is only deteriorating your heart and mind, it might just be time to move on. Not because there something better out there for you than what you are experiencing in the moment, but also because you deserve to grow, and you deserve to live your life in a campaign for positive growth, in a positive environment.
Don't hold on to something that has already passed away, gather up the strength to let go and just move on.
Saturday, March 22, 2014
33 Lessons I’ve Learned in My 33 Years1. Always swallow your pride to say you’re sorry. Being too proud to apologize is never worth it — your relationship suffers for no good benefit.
2. Slow down. Rushing is rarely worth it. Life is better enjoyed at a leisurely pace.
3. The moment is all there is. All our worries and plans about the future, all our replaying of things that happened in the past — it’s all in our heads, and it just distracts us from fully living right now. Let go of all that, and just focus on what you’re doing, right at this moment. In this way, any activity can be meditation.
4. When your child asks for your attention, always grant it. Give your child your full attention, and instead of being annoyed at the interruption, be grateful for the reminder to spend time with someone you love.
5. Don’t go into debt. That includes credit card debt, student debt, home debt, personal loans, auto loans. We think they’re necessary but they’re not, at all. They cause more headaches than they’re worth, they can ruin lives, and they cost us way more than we get. Spend less than you earn, go without until you have the money.
6. I’m not cool, and I’m cool with that. I wasted a lot of energy when I was younger worrying about being cool. It’s way more fun to forget about that, and just be yourself.
7. Never send an email or message that’s unfit for the eyes of the world. In this digital age, you never know what might slip into public view.
8. You can’t motivate people. The best you can hope for is to inspire them with your actions. People who think they can use behavioral “science” or management techniques have not spent enough time on the receiving end of either.
9. If you find yourself swimming with all the other fish, go the other way. They don’t know where they’re going either.
10. You will miss a ton, but that’s OK. We’re so caught up in trying to do everything, experience all the essential things, not miss out on anything important … that we forget the simple fact that we cannot experience everything. That physical reality dictates we’ll miss most things. We can’t read all the good books, watch all the good films, go to all the best cities in the world, try all the best restaurants, meet all the great people. But the secret is: life is better when we don’t try to do everything. Learn to enjoy the slice of life you experience, and life turns out to be wonderful.
11. Mistakes are the best way to learn. Don’t be afraid to make them. Try not to repeat the same ones too often.
12. Failures are the stepping stones to success. Without failure, we’ll never learn how to succeed. So try to fail, instead of trying to avoid failure through fear.
13. Rest is more important than you think. People work too hard, forget to rest, and then begin to hate their jobs. In fitness, you see it constantly: people training for a marathon getting burned out because they don’t know how to let their straining muscles and joints recover. People who try to do too much because they don’t know that rest is where their body gets stronger, after the stress.
14. There are few joys that equal a good book, a good walk, a good hug, or a good friend. All are free.
15. Fitness doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a long process, a learning process, something that happens in little bits over a long period. I’ve been getting fit for five years now, and I still have more to learn and do. But the progress I’ve made has been amazing, and it’s been a great journey.
16. The destination is just a tiny slice of the journey. We’re so worried about goals, about our future, that we miss all the great things along the way. If you’re fixated on the goal, on the end, you won’t enjoy it when you get there. You’ll be worried about the next goal, the next destination.
17. A good walk cures most problems. Want to lose weight and get fit? Walk. Want to enjoy life but spend less? Walk. Want to cure stress and clear your head? Walk. Want to meditate and live in the moment? Walk. Having trouble with a life or work problem? Walk, and your head gets clear.
18. Let go of expectations. When you have expectations of something — a person, an experience, a vacation, a job, a book — you put it in a predetermined box that has little to do with reality. You set up an idealized version of the thing (or person) and then try to fit the reality into this ideal, and are often disappointed. Instead, try to experience reality as it is, appreciate it for what it is, and be happy that it is.
19. Giving is so much better than getting. Give with no expectation of getting something in return, and it becomes a purer, more beautiful act. Too often we give something and expect to get an equal measure in return — at least get some gratitude or recognition for our efforts. Try to let go of that need, and just give.
20. Gratitude is one of the best ways to find contentment. We are often discontent in our lives, desire more, because we don’t realize how much we have. Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, be grateful for the amazing gifts you’ve been given: of loved ones and simple pleasures, of health and sight and the gift of music and books, of nature and beauty and the ability to create, and everything in between. Be grateful every day.
21. Compassion for other living things is more important than pleasure. Many people scoff at vegetarianism because they love the taste of meat and cheese too much, but they are putting the pleasure of their taste buds ahead of the suffering of other living, feeling beings. You can be perfectly healthy on a vegetarian (even vegan) diet, so killing and torturing animals is absolutely unnecessary. Compassion is a much more fulfilling way to live than closing your eyes to suffering.
22. Get some perspective. Usually when we’re worried or upset, it’s because we’ve lost perspective. In the larger picture, this one problem means almost nothing. This fight we’re having with someone else — it’s over something that matters naught. Let it go, and move on.
23. Don’t sit too much. It kills you. Move, dance, run, play.
24. All we are taught in schools, and all we see in the media (news, films, books, magazines, Internet) has a worldview that we’re meant to conform to. Figure out what that worldview is, and question it. Ask if there are alternatives, and investigate.
25. Learn the art of empathy. Too often we judge people on too little information. We must try to understand what they do instead, put ourselves in their shoes, start with the assumption that what others do has a good reason if we understand what they’re going through. Life becomes much better if you learn this art.
26. Do less. Most people try to do too much. They fill life with checklists, and try to crank out tasks as if they were widget machines. Throw out the checklists and just figure out what’s important. Stop being a machine and focus on what you love. Do it lovingly.
27. Love comes in many flavors. I love my children, completely and more than I can ever fully understand. I love them each in a different way, and know that each is perfect in his or her own way.
28. Life is exceedingly brief. You might feel like there’s a huge mass of time ahead of you, but it passes much faster than you think. Your kids grow up so fast you get whiplash. You get gray hairs before you’re done getting your bearings on life. Appreciate every damn moment.
29. Fear will try to stop you. Doubts will try to stop you. You’ll shy away from doing great things, from going on new adventures, from creating something new and putting it out in the world, because of self-doubt and fear. It will happen in the recesses of your mind, where you don’t even know it’s happening. Become aware of these doubts and fears. Shine some light on them. Beat them with a thousand tiny cuts. Do it anyway, because they are wrong.
30. I've learned that you will not be happy if you live your life trying to satisfy "the crowd". It is when you find that special thing you want to do, and do it regardless of what anyone says, that you can truly be happy. And I se it every day, people taking major choices about their future, based not on their will or interest, but on what "the crowd" (friends, parents, the norm) does.
31. I've learned that quitting something can be just as satisfying as accomplishing something.
32. I have a lot left to learn. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that I know almost nothing, and that I’m often wrong about what I think I know. Life has many lessons left to teach me, and I’m looking forward to them all.
33. Last but not least, I've learned that life is short but sweet for certain.
Friday, March 21, 2014
You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again - A kiss tells A LOT about a person. There’s plenty of different types of kissers but one thing is for sure. A good kiss should have the other person begging for a second one. She should WANT to continue it. And the only way that I know of doing this, is being absolutely – in the moment – while you kiss her.
So what do I mean by – in the moment.
A good kiss, a good FIRST kiss, is a bit like you and her freezing in time while everyone else in the room melts away *instantly*. You know it’s about to get to this moment, when you are kissing her and you have cognitive awareness that there are other people in the room and all of a sudden you just say – “ FUCK IT.” It really should be “f—k them” because everything else is unimportant. During this moment, the two of you are completely engaged. And this is where you have to make it count.
Kisses must flow.
You and this person need to be fighting over positioning. She is pulling you into her as you are pulling her back into you. She is grabbing your lapels, you are physically moving into her, and this embrace can be likened to the embrace of savages. As this is our most base instinct. (I know this is deep right now but deal with it for a second).
If you are growing squeamish at this point, it’s best if you turn back now… In fact, leave your man card at the door, you won’t be needing it…
During each moment of the kiss, be aware of the sensitivity and the amount of pressure exerted on the lips. I say this because you need to be aware of what’s going on in the moment. If she is standing like a stick figure and passively allowing you to kiss her, chances are, she’s not really into it. She doesn’t want to turn away but she’s honored that you are willing to take a chance at rejection.
There is nothing worse than a static kisser.
Your mouth should never just move up and down, up and down, ones(1) and zeroes (0), like a peg on an assembly line. But it should flow into the next iteration of the movement. Think: WAVES. Water. Flowing. Everything should be smooth, graceful, and even. While you should be aware of your mouth, your entire body should be involved. Feel the ground beneath your feet. I’m serious. Are you firm? Leaning in, Leaning out? Get it? A good kiss involves every part of your body from the mouth down to your toes.
Step into her. Grab the small of her back to pull her close. Cup the side of her face in your one hand. Cup the back of her neck. Use BOTH hands to cup her face. Hold it for an instant while you let the moment – sizzle. This is your time. Own it.
A good kiss, should have her reeling back and saying to herself…Wow.
Where did this guy come from?
Now there are a few people who don’t believe in public displays of affection and there is certainly a time or place for this…but if there is one thing you need to take away from this Man Law…it’s the following…
When it comes to PASSION, it’s always the right time…
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Someone who cares will tell you things. They’ll tell you how ridiculous that parking ticket was; they’ll tell you a joke they found hilarious. Some people share more than others, but someone who cares will tell you things that matter to them, no matter how small that thing is.
Someone who cares will listen. Now, there are times when they won’t listen well. We all do that sometimes: we’re distracted, or so excited we talk over each other. But a person who cares will listen to you regularly, because your opinions matter to them. The things you say make some sort of impact on them – your opinions make them think, or make them laugh. But in their way, whatever that way is, they will listen.
Someone who cares wants to see you. They like spending time with you. It’s not hard to read the pleasure on their face in your company. Someone who doesn’t care is ambivalent, or pays attention only when it suits their selfish purposes.
A person who cares about you will take time for you. Even if it’s just a few times a year – that friend from your hometown, the one separated from you by an entire 2000 miles. When you’re home, they will want to see you. They’ll chat with you online, or maybe they’ll call you. Sometimes weeks or months might pass, but when it counts, if in your darkest hour you need them, they will respond, and will do so gladly.
Someone who cares will not make you feel bad for taking up said time. Although they might be busy, so are you. They will want to spend the time on you because that is just what you do when you care for someone. They won’t make you feel bad for asking to hang out, feel guilty that your time is less valuable than whatever else they are doing.
People are never perfect, so you will not always get along with the person who cares about you. Sometimes you will be frustrated, or feel ignored, or accidentally ignore them, or fight. Mistakes will be made, because hey, we’re all human. But then time passes, and if you can, you rectify the situation. Because that’s what you do with people who truly matter.
Sometimes a person who once cared for you stops caring. Maybe they wanted to end your relationship, be it romantic, platonic, or familial. Maybe you did something wrong, or distance separated you, or they changed as a person. Sometimes you bond with someone, or do something for them, or have a heart-to-heart, and they care for you once more. Caring is a fluid thing that can change over time. But there are also some people who never really cared for you, people who you know will never care for you, no matter what you do.
People who don’t care will not text you back. If you make no effort to see them or talk to them, you know, deep down, they won’t try. They will forget you if you stop trying. Because if a person doesn’t care about you, they rarely think about you. They don’t care about your opinions. Because if you care about someone, they exist in your mind. You think about them, you wonder about them, perhaps not all the time, but they are there.
If it’s a boyfriend or girlfriend, someone who doesn’t care about you will not try to make you come. They are so concentrated on their own pleasure that yours means nothing to them. When you’re talking, they will not want to know how you are doing. I once decided to drive up to see an ex fling I hadn’t seen for a year. She did not ask a single question about me, but just talked about herself. If a person doesn’t care about you, they won’t register your facial expressions. They won’t try to smooth things over if things go wrong. They will never consider your feelings, but instead think only of their own.
A person who doesn’t care about you is not necessarily a bad person. It’s just that they are not attached to you. Maybe they have enough people in their life to care about. Maybe there are things about you they don’t like that they have never mentioned. Occasionally, they are just a selfish and uncaring person. Sometimes there is no real reason. But it is important to really think about the people who care about you and the people who don’t. Because when you care for someone, you invest in them. What happens to them affects you, and their lack of care will hurt you. So cherish the people who care about you, and do not invest your time, and your heart, into people who do not.
Monday, March 17, 2014
The reason why we want to remain friends with our exes, even when they have treated us ‘less than’ with an absence of love, care, trust, and respect, is because we want to feel valid. We often spend so long feeling invalid, friendship is like the last chance saloon.
We’ve expended emotions and energy on the other person and are heavily invested and bad enough to feel rejected because they cannot (or refuse to) be and do as we would like them to, but we then convince ourselves that if we do not continue to be a part of their lives after they break up, we’ll feel even more rejected and invalid because we’re not even good enough to be kept around on the periphery zone as a friend.
It’s not just feeling valid though that will have you itching to offer or take the hand of friendship. It’s hoping that they’ll miss you enough to come crawling back on their hands and knees and beg to be taken back. It’s wanting to be there on some terms rather than no terms. It’s trying to be The Good Guy (or The Good Girl) because you don’t want to seem like you’re being immature. It’s a willingness to accept a downgrade because you think you can shag your way back up to being the boyfriend or girlfriend. It’s wanting to keep tabs on them and to have a hand in their lives.
More importantly, remaining friends with your ex, aside from being some sort of validation of your worthiness, the act in itself makes the process of letting go somewhat less painful. Call it putting off the inevitable.
However, when someone has treated you with an absence of love, care, trust, and respect, attempting to remain their friend in any capacity is a grave mistake that those who attempt it learn about all too quickly.
When you choose to remain friends with someone who didn’t treat you well, you actually validate whatever negative ideas that they have about you plus it’s like giving them a Get Out of Assclown Jail Free Card.
You see in life, there are universal societal norms that exist whether you live in a big city, tiny town, little village or a mudhut in the middle of a jungle and it’s this:
When we break up with someone, if we really have treated them badly, they will not want to be our friend. If they do offer or accept the hand of friendship, then it means I’m Not That Bad, after all, I’m good enough to be considered a friend.
In the hands of someone who has at best taken advantage of you and at its worst, abused you, you are screaming with your actions ‘I DON’T RESPECT MYSELF ENOUGH‘.
Whatever deluded ideas they have about their reasons for not treating you decently in the relationship, you just legitimised them. They just got off scot free and should you ever find yourself in the position of telling them all about themselves, some will have no shame in reminding you that you either offered or accepted the hand of friendship.
Life requires consequences and it is the only way that we learn from our actions and get to connect the dots with what results. If more assclowns experienced consequences, they’d feel enough of a negative impact to start addressing their issues.
If the consequence that you create for someone after they have used you up in a relationship, is to not only offer or take the hand of friendship, but to continue to be there for a shag, an ego stroke, or a shoulder to lean on, hanging around, waiting for scraps of attention and behaving like a dutiful friend, the only ‘consequence’ that they are learning is that they can continue to reap the fringe benefits of your misguided affections. There are certainly no negative consequences.
Let me say as I’ve said many times before: If someone didn’t treat you with love, care, trust, and respect in the relationship, you can be damn sure that they will not make a friend of any reasonable level once you’re out. The same person that doesn’t give a damn about your feelings isn’t going to give a hoot when it’s over. They’re not thinking about you; they’re thinking about them.
Have some self-respect because trying to be friends with someone who has little or no respect for you will rob you of your dignity. That’s you robbing you, not them.
Every.Single.Time you play happy clapper friends with an ex that mistreated you, you’re saying I love you more than I love myself and you didn’t actually treat me as badly as you know or I know you did, because if you did, there’s no way in hell I should be giving you the time of day let alone anything else. That doesn’t actually mean that what they did didn’t happen, but it’s you that’s watering it down by trying to massage your ego with friendship. You’re marginalising yourself and you’re also marginalising what you experienced. You want them to have even an iota of an idea of what they have put you through? Cut.Them.Off. Let them miss out on you. Let them go and mess with someone else.
It is not your job to fix/heal/help or teach them a lesson so that you get to be right and validated.
In life, when it comes to breaking up, we all have narcissistic tendencies. We want to feel less rejected or feel like less of an asshole. But it’s best to keep your ego in check because if you let these desires overwhelm and hijack you, you will make friends with the wolf or if you’re the assclown, ‘friendship fake’ to make yourself feel less of a creep.
If you broke up with someone because they couldn’t give you the relationship you want and they treated you without love, care, trust, and respect, your only option is to distance yourself from them so that you can grieve the relationship and move on. Don’t try to be their friend so you can validate yourself and be ‘right’ because you’re doing it at the expense of your self-respect.
Use No Contact for several months and put a complete focus on you, and if after you have genuinely spent 100% of your efforts distancing yourself from the source of your pain and doing everything to let go of the relationship, heal, and move on, you still feel a burning desire to be their friend, go ahead and put your hand in the fire. Trust me when I say it will still burn, but it’ll be a lesson learned.
There is another universal relationship norm that many people believe in which is that you should attempt to be friends with your ex. What is forgotten is that you should only attempt to be friends with an ex that 1) treated you well and 2) when enough time has passed and you have both gotten over the loss of the relationship. Let me assure you, for those of you hankering for friendship with people who didn’t treat you well, this is not you and it would serve you well to remember how poorly you were treated instead of trying to magic up a friendship out of thin air.
~ Bob Ingham
There are several radical ideas that changed my life instantly when I discovered them. One of them was the concept that “thoughts are things.”
Some days are full of anxious emotions like worry and fear, while other days are full of emotions of joy, hope, and satisfaction. It took me a long time to realize how much influence my own thoughts have on those emotions.
It’s only natural to assume our circumstances generate our emotions. It feels as if the things happening to us create good or bad feelings. To a large extent, life events do affect our emotions. But the way they influence our emotions is through the beliefs and perspectives we hold.
The cliché phrase, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” changed my life, but not until I realized that thoughts are things. When I made that cliché phrase my own, and began using it to transform my experience of difficult situations, it caused me to become a more powerful person.
I mean that in the literal sense. I don’t mean it in some kind of metaphorical or poetic way. I literally became more powerful as a human being when I adopted that transformative concept and decided to use it whenever life seemed to be trying to kick my teeth out.
That particular mental reframe helped me because I have a particular vulnerability to worry. Worry is my arch enemy. It tries to stop me from living fully and freely. It tries to stop me from pursuing my dreams. And worst of all, it tries to stop me from enjoying the fruits of my labor anytime I actually do succeed.
I can hear the worry in the background, chanting things like, “Hold on to what you have. Don’t take any risks. You don’t know what it is yet, but something really bad is about to happen so you better not get too comfortable.”
Those thoughts dominated too much of my life. I’m living under a new paradigm now. The new paradigm says…
“I cannot control life, but I can control who I become. I choose to become a person who tries really hard. I choose to be a person who celebrates trying hard… trying hard to do what is right and to pursue the things I love in this life. If I fail, I will fail magnificently while triumphantly looking fear in the eyes and saying, ‘You have only made me stronger.’”
And so, I create. I create as much hope, belief, and motivation as I can with each thought I managed to take captive and bend to my will as a creator. From that foundation of thought I strive to participate in “the real world” as a man who is willing to face hardship in pursuit of the things and people I love.
Do you see how this leaves luck out of it? By embracing my role as a creator, I stop waiting around. I stop hoping and start doing. This is a message I have shared with many of my friends who consult me for advice about dating and relationships, but find it hard to change. Even if you want something very badly, the fear of change can hold you back.
I want you to be a creator. I want you to create your own luck. Creators don’t need to wait around, hoping luck will knock on their door.
Sunday, March 16, 2014
2. Doing things because I "should." I am not motivated by guilt but by my own adult decisions about what is best for me.
3. Delaying solving a problem. I face the situation squarely and handle it as quickly as possible so it doesn't cause me anxiety.
4. Tolerating crap from other people. I no longer hang around with people who diminish me, drain my energy, or treat me poorly.
5. Creating or tolerating drama in my life. Even though it can bring attention and a weird sort of excitement, I know that drama creates negative energy.
6. Setting goals that I should achieve. I set goals that I want to achieve.
7. Trying to change people, especially my spouse or partner. I accept people exactly as they are or I get out. (This doesn't mean you can't ask for something you need from the relationship.)
8. Putting other people's needs before my own. I recognize that unless my cup is mostly full, I can't be available to lovingly give to others.
9. Creating mindless tasks. Life is too precious and beautiful to whittle it away on empty tasks just to feel like you are accomplishing something.
10. Putting work, money, projects, or television before those I love. Relationships are the most important thing in my life, and I act like it.
11. Spending money to fill a void. I seek to find the cause of my emptiness. I don't try to buy my way out of it.
12. Beating a dead horse. If I see something isn't working, I recognize it and move on.
13. Driving aggressively. I don't need to express my power or my urgency through my car. I don't tailgate, cut people off, or run yellow lights.
14. Gossiping. I recognize that gossip is my attempt at having power over others, and I release my need for that.
15. Trying to prove myself. I just am myself and live according to my own values and personal operating system.
16. Owning other people's problems. I will support, listen, and love, but I no longer manage or invest myself in other people's difficulties.
17. Manipulating people. I don't have to go in the back door to get what I need. I ask directly.
18. Defining myself by my achievements or roles. I define myself by the actions and choices I make in every moment.
19. Dwelling on the past. I consciously live in the moment and focus my awareness on what is happening right now.
20. Reacting before thinking. I may not be able to control my feelings in every situation, but I can control my behavior.
21. Pretending I'm too old or it's too late. I recognize this as an excuse for not trying.
22. Saying yes when I mean no. I am becoming a master at saying no even when I know it might upset someone.
23. Compromising my values. I know what my values are, and I completely orient my life around them.
24. Over-promising. I promise only 50% of what I can deliver, leaving myself space for change.
25. Allowing other people to waste my time. I take the necessary steps to educate or avoid them.
26. Accepting anxiety, depression or ill-health. I do everything in my power to restore my mental and physical health because I know good health is the foundation for a happy life.
27. Filling all of my time. I leave some time during the day completely open to just do nothing.
28. Focusing on the future. It's great to set goals, but I enjoy the process as much as the outcome.
29. Believing I'm right. I recognize that their are many ways to perceive things and more than one way to handle situations.
30. Ignoring my intuition. I trust my instincts and listen to my own wisdom.
31. Accepting limitations. I assume I can accomplish or achieve something until it is absolutely proven I cannot.
32. Isolating myself. I know that it takes effort to expand my network of friends, and I see the value in that.
33. Fighting what comes naturally. I no longer try to force my life to be a square peg in a round hole. I go with the flow and strengthen my strengths.
34. Accepting boredom. I either find the beauty in the moment or I take action to create energy and enthusiasm.
35. Feeling guilty. I right any wrongs, I ask for forgiveness, I restore my integrity. Then I let it go.
36. Juggling. I don't fill my plate so full that my life is out of balance.
37. Stuffing my feelings. I express myself fully, ask for what I need, and seek help to resolve pain feelings I can't handle alone.
38. Behaving childishly. I don't have to whine or have a tantrum to get what I need.
39. Having a chip on my shoulder. I have a lighthearted approach to life and don't get my feelings hurt easily.
40. Controlling people or situations. I accept "what is" rather than what I think should be.
41. Waiting for other people to decide. I have the self-confidence to initiate.
42. Living beyond my means. I know that debt is an enormous energy drain and reclaiming that energy is far more important than material things.
43. Eating for emotional comfort. I recognize this when it happens and deal with the issue directly.
44. Taking other people for granted. I regularly express my love and appreciation to those close to me.
45. Fighting. I simply will not fight with anyone any more. I will calmly walk away from arguments until I can resolve conflict peacefully.
46. Over-thinking. I spend a reasonable amount of time contemplating a problem or decision. Then I get out of my head and take action.
47. Living below my standards. I am clear on my standards, and I live up to them.
48. Stagnating. I continue to actively grow and learn.
49. Seeking to fill my ego before my soul. I can distinguish between the two and place my priority squarely on soul-fulfilling actions and choices.
50. Assuming I'm not creative. Life itself is a creative act, and every day I can create myself just the way I want to be.
Saturday, March 15, 2014
We all experience fear in its many forms. Whether it’s the fight or flight fear of someone following us in a dark parking lot or the anger created when we feel that our ego is threatened.
Sometimes it’s anxiety created from a fear of not having enough money, time, freedom or love. Or a frustration over never seeming to have enough. Or sadness from the fear of life no longer being like it was.
We worry incessantly about things for fear that something will or won’t happen.
All this creates a lot of stress. Something we all need a lot less of as we know how stress negatively affects our bodies in many ways (back aches, headaches, digestive issues, immune system deficiencies, chronic diseases).
ControlBasically these fears stem from feeling out of control. There’s something or someone in our environment that we would like to control but can’t.
The first step to eliminating these fears and negative emotions is to sit down and really look at the situation and determine how much of it you can control.
When you really think about it, the only things you can control are your own personal thoughts and actions.
You can’t control the actions of others or how others will react to you.
This does not, by any means, mean that you are a victim of “the way things are.” Quite the contrary.
Sitting around being angry or frustrated because other people and circumstances aren’t changing for you and then blaming them for your unhappiness is the epitome of playing the victim. By blaming others and not taking responsibility to change what you can change, you give others complete control of you.
By focusing on changing yourself instead of trying to change so many things out of your control, you begin to regain control of your life.
By changing how you think about a situation, you change how you act or react. This, in turn, leads others to react differently.
And not taking the reactions of others personally gives you the freedom to continue on a more positive path to your desired outcome. If, as we stated earlier, you can’t control other people, then others can’t control you unless you make the choice to give them that control.
AcceptanceThe next step to eliminating fear is to really accept the things you can’t change. Yes, this is starting to sound like the Serenity Prayer:
"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference."
Accepting people for who and what they are and believe.
Accepting circumstances that you’ve tried your best to change without results.
Accepting yourself, knowing that you’ve done your best.
Acceptance can be hard. We’re taught to push and force until things succumb to our whim. But the world doesn’t work that way.
Do you want to be right or happy?
Acceptance really does lead to a feeling of serenity. It also leaves us the energy to change the things we can change.
If you’re having a hard time accepting someone because of their views or beliefs, ask yourself what purpose your anger and frustration are serving. Will being angry make the other person think and act in a way that you want? Probably not. Anger usually results in defensiveness and more anger. If your anger makes others act differently due to their own fear of your anger, their actions aren’t genuine and heart-felt and will come back to bite you some time later.
In the grand scheme of things, it’s pretty irrelevant whether people agree or disagree with you. Do your best knowing that it’s the best you can do.
Listen to Your BodyI realize that the above ideas sound simple but are not easy. It has taken me years to implement them into my life. And I certainly have times where I slip and try to control something or someone I can’t or don’t accept someone or something after I’ve tried long and hard to change it.
During the tough times, I now know to quiet my mind and emotions for a little bit and listen to my body.
Sit in a quiet place with no distractions. Go into a room away from phones and computers so you won’t be tempted by their little notifications.
Sit and breathe deeply. Start by taking ten deep breaths, counting as you go. Focus on the breath filling your lungs deeply and exhaling slowly out of your nose. Try to clear your mind of its incessant chatter and just focus on your breath and the counting.
If your mind wanders, don’t beat yourself up. Just release the distracting thoughts and start back at one. You may have to repeat this process a few times before you finally reach ten. This will help you to focus and center yourself so that you can listen to your True Self.
When you feel relaxed and at ease, notice what your negative thought or belief is. What is the fear, anger, frustration, sadness or whatever really about? Don’t judge it. Just notice it. Be gentle with yourself.
Don’t try to make it better, rationalize it or stuff it back down. You’re going to make friends with it. Open up and take a good look at it.
Now that you can feel it a little better, ask where you feel your fear-based emotion in your body. Is your neck, face, eyes, shoulders, back, chest or gut holding it? What aches? Go to that place. Notice how it feels in the part of your body holding the feeling.
Don’t try to make it go away. Keep your focus on that place. Go deeply into it. Explore it.
Now ask that part of your body what message it’s trying to tell you. What is the negative emotion trying to protect you from? How is it trying to help you?
Our True Self is always looking out for us and would never seek to cause us harm. While we may be experiencing self-destructive thoughts and behaviors, when we look deeply into this, our True Self is seeking our highest good. We may not be choosing the most productive ways to manifest these goals.
Know that there is good behind these feelings. Ask yourself what the message is and be open to whatever comes up. Listen. You may hear things you don’t want to hear. Listen anyway. Without listening and really hearing, you’ll go back to repeating the negative things you’re trying to resolve.
Each time you receive an answer, ask again to go more deeply. You’ll have to peel off many layers to get to the essence of the feeling.
Once you feel that the answer is about unconditional love, you’ll know that you’ve gotten to the core.
Feel the love throughout your body. Know that this love is always there to be accessed whenever you want.
The next time you start to feel any kind of fear-based feeling, get quiet and still your mind and access that unconditional love that’s always there for you, no matter what.
Thursday, March 13, 2014
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some people move our souls to dance. They awaken us to new understanding with the passing whisper of their wisdom. Some people make the sky more beautiful to gaze upon. They stay in our lives for awhile, leave footprints in our hearts, and We are never, ever the same.
And sometimes things happen to you that may seem horrible, painful, and unfair at first, but in reflection you find that without overcoming those obstacles you would have never realized your potential, strength, willpower, or heart. Everything happens for a reason, nothing happens by chance or by means of luck. Illness, injury, love, lost moments of true greatness, and sheer stupidity all occur to test the limits of your soul. Without these small tests, whatever they may be, life would be like a smoothly paved, straight flat road to nowhere. It would be safe and comfortable, but dull and utterly pointless. The people you meet who affect your life, and the success and downfalls you experience help to create who you become.
Even the bad experiences can be learned from. In fact, they are probably the most poignant and important ones.
If someone hurts you, betrays you, or breaks your heart, forgive them, for they have helped you learn about trust and the importance of being cautious when you open your heart. If someone loves you, love them back unconditionally, not only because they love you, but because in a way, they are teaching you to love and how to open your heart and eyes to things.
Make every day count!! Appreciate every moment and take from those moments everything that you possibly can for you may never be able to experience it again. Talk to people that you have never talked to before, and actually listen. Let yourself fall in love, break free, and set your sights high. Hold your head up because you have every right to. Tell yourself you are a great individual and believe in yourself, for if you don't believe in yourself; it will be hard for others to believe in you.
You can make of your life anything you wish. Create your own life then go out and live it with absolutely no regrets.
Why is it that more and more men and women settle in a relationship when we know for a fact that that person isn't the one we really want? Why are so many of us so unfair to ourselves? Why do we lie to ourselves? I personally think it's out of fear of being alone. You don’t feel as if he or she values you or your opinions, but you deal with it. He or she has habits that make your skin crawl at the mere thought of them. You love him or her but you know that you’re no longer in love with him or her. The connection is gone but you’re still holding on. Why?
Although I never claim to be a relationships guru, I have been in a few relationships. Some have been better than others, and quite frankly some lasted much longer than they probably should have simply because I wasn’t ready to let go. Not only had I grown apart from my significant other, I had almost grown to even detest hearing her voice; still I stayed, at least until I absolutely couldn’t take it anymore. I was being selfish and untrue to myself. Never Again.
At some point in life we all have "Just Settled" but the problem is not whether you settled for less, but more importantly the problem is when you realized your settling for less, do you continue to settle for less??? Eventually, you should get tired and muster up the courage, strength, and self-esteem to leave. There are a million fish in the sea...Don't we owe it to ourselves to be 100% heart and mind happy? I think so. Like it or not this is YOUR life, make the best of it.
Sometimes I am really terrible to myself and relentlessly compare myself to other people, no matter how many times I read or hear about how good enough or lovable I am.
On an almost daily basis, I meticulously look for evidence that I am a nobody, that I don’t deserve to be loved, or that I’m not living up to my full potential.
There is generally a lot of pressure to “stack up” in our culture. We feel as if there is something wrong with us if, for example, we’re still single by a certain age, don’t make a certain amount of income, don’t have a large social circle, or don’t look and act a certain way in the presence of others. The list could truly go on forever.
Sometimes in the midst of all the pressure, I seem to totally forget all the wonderful, unique things about myself.
I get stuck in my head and allow my inner critic to completely tear apart my self-esteem until I hate myself too much to do anything.
The other day, while I was beating myself up over something I can’t even recall at the moment, I read a message from one of my Facebook friends telling me that one of my posts literally got them through the night. Literally. And if that one simple word was used in the intended context, this person was basically telling me that one of my posts saved their life.
I get comments like these on a pretty regular basis, and they always open my eyes to just how much I matter, regardless of my inner critic’s vehement objections.
Lately I’ve been trying harder to catch myself when I feel a non-serving, self-depreciating thought coming on. And I may let these thoughts slip at times, but that’s okay because I’m only human.
While my self-love journey is on-going, here are a few things I try to remember when I’m tempted to be mean to myself:
1. The people you compare yourself to compare themselves to other people too.We all compare ourselves to other people, and I can assure you that the people who seem to have it all do not.
When you look at other people through a lens of compassion and understanding rather than judgment and jealousy, you are better able to see them for what they are—human beings. They are beautifully imperfect human beings going through the same universal challenges that we all go through.
2. Your mind can be a very convincing liar.I saw a quote once that said, “Don’t believe everything you think.” That quote completely altered the way I react when a cruel or discouraging thought goes through my mind. Thoughts are just thoughts, and it’s unhealthy and exhausting to give so much power to the negative ones.
3. There is more right with you than wrong with you.This powerful reminder is inspired by one of my favorite quotes from Jon Kabat-Zinn: “Until you stop breathing, there’s more right with you than wrong with you.”
As someone who sometimes tends to zoom in on all my perceived flaws, it helps to remember that there are lots of things I like about myself too—like the fact that I’m alive and breathing and able to pave new paths whenever I choose.
4. You need love the most when you feel you deserve it the least.This was a recent epiphany of mine, although I’m sure it’s been said many times before.
I find that it is most difficult to accept love and understanding from others when I’m in a state of anger, shame, anxiety, or depression. But adopting the above truth really shifted my perspective and made me realize that love is actually the greatest gift I can receive during such times.
5. You have to fully accept and make peace with the “now” before you can reach and feel satisfied with the “later.”One thing I’ve learned about making changes and reaching for the next rung on the ladder is that you cannot fully feel satisfied with where you’re going until you can accept, acknowledge, and appreciate where you are.
Embrace and make peace with where you are, and your journey toward something new will feel much more peaceful, rewarding, and satisfying.
6. Focus on progress rather than perfection and on how far you’ve come rather than on how far you have left to go.One of the biggest causes of self-loathing is the hell-bent need to “get it right.” We strive for perfection and success, and when we fall short, we feel less than and worthless. What we don’t seem to realize is that striving for success and being willing to put ourselves out there is an accomplishment within itself, regardless of how many times we fail.
Instead of berating yourself for messing up and stumbling backward, give yourself a pat on the back for trying, making progress, and coming as far as you have.
7. You can’t hate your way into loving yourself.Telling yourself what a failure you are won’t make you any more successful. Telling yourself you’re not living up to your full potential won’t help you reach a higher potential. Telling yourself you’re worthless and unlovable won’t make you feel any more worthy or lovable.
I know it sounds almost annoyingly simple, but the only way to achieve self-love is to love yourself—regardless of who you are and where you stand and even if you know you want to change.
You are enough just as you are. And self-love will be a little bit easier every time you remind yourself of that.