Happy 2019!

I love resets, and January 1 represents a nice, fresh restart.  I don’t actually *believe* in New Year’s “resolutions,” though, because – while typically made in earnest and followed by a full-bore (albeit (also typically) short-lived) burst – they are so often abandoned, left to fade into the rush of life…until maybe a year later.  When, of course, the same thing happens again.

What I DO believe in, however, is that we have the opportunity to make life changes at any moment, on ANY day we so choose – you can take January 1 if it’s nice and tidy, or just go for it at any time that best suits you.  (We just need to make sure we PICK a time, not procrastinate).  The decision is generally a great deal easier than the follow-through…but then everybody knows that!  But, if we can find a way to work towards something meaningful and realistic…the rewards are worth the price.

We all have areas in which we’d like to improve – sometimes strictly for our own well-being, and yet in others, for the impact it will have on those around us, and even the world.  One of the most important things we can do for ourselves (and others) is to choose to be “happier.”  Happier is something we all must define on our own – there’s no one size fits all when it comes to what makes each of us “happy” inside.  And, PS, it is an inside job.  But I can guarantee you that whatever the goal posts, if you do make it to “happier” (even if in tiny increments), you will see a marked change in the world around you.

Life is precious.  We don’t know how much time we have, neither can we be certain of that given to those we love, so happiness matters.  We all deserve the blessing of “happiness,” and no matter how different that may look to each of us, it is more than achievable.

Amidst an undoubtedly hefty resolution list, this one is an “overall makeover” that can both help us to reach many of our other goals, as well as be manageable enough that we can have some real success.  It also happens to be a relatively realistic goal because we don’t have to be at the pinnacle of perfection…rather we are aiming for more “happy” in our lives, which can come in smaller increments (the “-ier” suggests it is more than our current state not necessarily a massive jump—> those baby steps are worthy)!

Short-term boosts are great, but I’ve seen too many resolutions fail because they are not appropriately backed by an equally ardent “I really want to make a lifestyle change”…which, let’s be honest, is the only way any achieved result will still with us long-term.  We need to think about how we can incorporate our goals (and the steps we need to get there) into our daily routine withOUT it feeling like torture (torture = not going to do it.  Period).

MAKING CHANGES

Any life change – or the endeavor to make a lifestyle change – requires the following:

  1. We truly want the change ourselves (we honestly want it, we aren’t being coerced, or forced, or guilted into it).
  2. The change is realistic (for example, we can lose weight or be healthier, but we can’t suddenly look like someone who is an entirely different body type than we naturally possess).
  3. The change is one we can maintain over time (we aren’t instituting so rigid a plan that we fail to account for human error and natural, flexible fluctuation).

That’s really it!

Well, then what gets in the way…?!

ROADBLOCKS

  1. Our “resolutions” and hopes for a new way of living are sometimes at the mercy of temporal constraints.
  2. As above…excuses are insidious.  It’s easy to find reasons why “ohhh, I’ll do it tomorrow – I’m just too tired / don’t have time.”  Or, “well, I’m already down hill so may as well keep going!”  That kind of thinking will derail anyone!

Okay…so then how do we DEFEAT the roadblocks?

OVERCOMING ROADBLOCKS

  • Promise yourself that you will make time Time is limited for us all – sometimes I’m amazed how much other people fit into the day, and how much they know!  Well…they’ve got the same 24 hours so that means I need to figure out – if I want to fit something in – how I’m going to do that.
  • Our excuses need to be exposed for what they are.  They need to be acknowledged and nipped in the bud AS SOON AS THEY APPEAR.  Keep tabs on yourself and be honest with you.  If you need to write them down, do it.  If you want to post goal pictures or positive affirmations around the house, do it.  If you need to recruit a partner, do it.  Whatever you need to squash those pesky excuses…DO it.  You are NOT alone.  We all make excuses.  But…
  • Remember that a tiny effort each day WILL get you headed in the right direction.  Baby steps are still progress and it is SUPER important that you notice your efforts and any progress you make (again…little steps are still steps)!

Fortunately…again…

“Happy” is something that we all can make strides towards.  We owe it to ourselves to put it on the top of the priority list not only because we deserve to enjoy life, but also because being “happier” contributes to the overall picture.  When we FEEL happier, so much more falls into place – we feel motivated, we feel invigorated, our mood and attitude improves…and we find more of that self-confidence that we both deserve and need to be successful in life.

  • Make a list of what contributes to YOUR happiness.  Try to incorporate more of THAT into your day.
  • Look for the little improvements…and pat yourself on the back.
  • Force a smile when you don’t feel like it (sometimes – it’s also okay to need time to “feel”).
  • Make a gratitude list…
  • Be yourself, and be proud.  You’re worth it.

Blessed 2019 to all…

 

Afraid Of The Dark

Once upon a time, in the wee stages of life, the darkness felt too vast and terrifying to bear – my heart would shudder at the thought and I needed some external source to light the way.

And yet, as I grew older, I began to realize there was nothing within the inky blackness that had the power to hold sway over me.  For indeed there was a light inside of me that shone brighter than the sun and moon…and it is a light that does not extinguish, no matter what night…neither life…has to say.

Expectation

They sometimes say “expectation is the root of heartache,” which I dare say can be a self-fulfilling truth.

Expecting the best takes a lot of practice.  It takes reminders many multiple times a day… But after a time, it becomes more of a habit than it is not, and that’s when the magic starts to unfold. . .

For posts along this topic:

What If, As If, Even If

AS IF – The Key To Magic And Manifesting (Yes, Really!)

Respect

For a long time I believed that respect was earned – its value is simply too high to just hand out, I thought. But over the years I’ve changed my tune. Why suddenly such a shift? Well…it wasn’t really sudden at all…

I grew up believing that doing unto others is the appropriate way to behave – I certainly have my moments of deviation, but they are – by a long shot – the exception and not the rule. I’ve always, therefore, subscribed to the notion that what we give out comes back to us, multifold – Karmic law, Law of Three, whatever you want to call it…I’ve seen it far too many times to have any doubt at all. Add some painful and challenging experiences – and don’t we all have our stories? – my subscription to the idea that “rising above” is the right way to be has multiplied exponentially.

Hate is a good example. I don’t sincerely “hate” anything – in my mind it is a wasted emotion, and it gives far too much power to something I really don’t like (people, places, OR things.) Hate takes as much – or more! – energy than love. . .so if I’m giving that kind of attention to a “dislike,” I’m wasting precious resources, time included!

It took some time to understand that, though. As children we love to say, “UGH! I HATE HOMEWORK!” or “I hate so-and-so!” “Hate” just falls into the two categories of #1, a word, and #2, a negative. Over the years, however, I learned that it was an extreme expression, that it carried too much of a negative vibe to carry around, and that the act of hating in and of itself reflects poorly in my own conduct.

As with hate, respect is something I am putting out – it is part of my conduct and behavior.  It occurred to me, then, that believing that respect was something other people had to earn was a really narrow-minded view. I can go around being a tyrant but that reflects on me only. I could also go around being a sycophant or victim-worthy subservient…but that too reflects on me (not to mention gets me into trouble.) 

Treating others with respect doesn’t mean I have to give out free passes or put people on pedestals, let’s be clear. What it means – to me – is that I treat others with decency and kindness.

Now…let me also say… I live in a tough city. Even MY buttons are pushed at times, and that says a lot! But I am constantly checking back in with myself when feeling irrational, upset, frustrated etc… If I can’t be respectful (and in certain moments, I don’t feel I can live up to it) I simply do not engage. Easy as that. The only person accountable for what I put out is me, and if I put out something negative…it’s going to get me into trouble in one way or another.

As my behavior is my own, how other people behave is their business.  In the modern world (and in a tough city), people might argue that others “don’t deserve respect.” Conducting myself in as positive a way as I can doesn’t mean I don’t see the poor behavior of others, that I dismiss it, that I allow it, or that I’m saying “go ahead and continue acting that way.” It just means that I am putting a positive energetic spin on myself. 

When dealing with someone I see often, simply rising above allows me to move forward through my day without the burden of taking on his or her attitude, and neither the weight of being a nasty person (which I don’t want to be.)  If, however, it’s someone I’ll likely never see again, I still can move forward knowing that I’ve been upstanding in spite of someone else’s conduct.

Do I do this perfectly? Hell NO!  I’ve learned that I’ve got plenty of limits, and that I’m just as subject to bad moods, grumpiness, and don’t-play-well-with-others as some serious offenders. BUT…I know that, deep down, I don’t want any part of drama or negativity. That fact in and of itself means that I can do a lot to avoid it – namely, work on my on attitude, and approach interactions with respect. How others respond to that is totally on them (and the great news there? TONS of freedom not having to take that on!)

It is always up to us how we want to feel, what we associate with, what we allow… Acting disrespectfully reflects negatively in every possible way, and speaks volumes about one’s character. To show respect even when it doesn’t feel warranted, however, also says rather a ton about a person. I aim to be the latter, if for no other reason than to me it is a noble pursuit energetically, as in terms of self development. I have a ways to go too but you can be sure I try to check myself. Often. 

 

What If, Even If…And AS IF

I loved this quotation, though I confess to adding an extra layer to it – “AS IF.” (See below)

We all get stuck in a “what if?” or should have” cycle from time to time…neither of which is productive or helpful. Our internal dialogue matters, and the thought process of the former two statements resides in a fundamental lack (which I guarantee you, don’t actually have!)

When we can move towards the “even if,” we allow room for growth, and the acknowledgement that we are enough. We begin to actually SEE the possibilities unfold…

When, however, we let go of fear and move towards “AS IF,” then the magic really kicks in! (Read “AS IF – The Key To Magic And Manifesting (Yes, Really!)

 

Know Your Worth

I was taught this lesson many, many moons ago…but I failed to actually learn it until much later. I suppose, though, it doesn’t really matter how long it takes to learn…just that we are willing to do so, and that we move in that direction consistently. 

Any day can be the day we break a cycle or release what no longer serves us – but it is ultimately up to us. This is a powerful bit of wisdom that takes not only a willingness to learn it, but immense courage to take those steps. When we trust ourselves, and that life always finds a way to work out for the better, we can more easily take the leap. It is one that – in the end – is well worth the bravery.

Know your value, recognize your contribution, raise your head high, and claim the life you deserve. We are not bound to any limitations but those our minds contrive.

 

You Don’t Need To Be Perfect

I loved this sentiment because the reality of life is that none of us are, nor ever will be, “perfect.” Bound to countless socially and personally imposed definitions, the word “perfect” encompasses far too much for any one person to attain. And to what end would we wish to achieve the title? To appease our inner critic and absolve ourselves of any future self-deprecation or doubt? To impress someone else in effort to quell the internal need for belonging…or to bathe in the external, social rewards?

It’s a tough path to travel, the one to “perfection.” The word itself is saturated with such infinite criteria – as defined by everyone in a different way – that it would be nigh impossible to satisfy all conditions.

 

We are, as human begins, all flawed and fragile. But, it is in imperfection that the world then becomes so beautifully diverse. Our quirks and eccentricities may in fact be what others can relate to. So too can our personal struggles and challenges be what brings others into our circle, or to look to us for advice. These things allow us to connect to others in the world, and therefore provide us an opportunity to inspire every day.

How do we handle adversity or when things that don’t go our way?

Can we be the bigger person and admit when we are wrong or say we are sorry when appropriate?

Can we treat others with respect and kindness, even when we disagree or are upset?

Do we approach the world – ourselves and others – with an attitude of acceptance and appreciation that we all have our “stuff”? (e.g.: we aren’t perfect, we are learning.)

Our behaviors and actions can inspire others to “rise above,” to find strength in tough times, and to do what they can to see the positives in each day. We don’t have to do those things perfectly ourselves, either – remember that others may be inspired because they see YOU trying your best. They see you struggling but still holding on to hope and working hard… They see you being the bigger person in the face of another’s poor behavior…

Those things might give others the support and strength they need – they see that it doesn’t HAVE to be executed perfectly to work (and that’s the whole point.) 

We will never be able to achieve the grandiose “perfection” because it is a word that has no single, defined definition. Perfection is many things to many people and it – by default – leaves no room for humanness, for growth, or for mistakes. Mistakes, however, are a huge part of life, as is a human vulnerability that we all possess. How we approach life on those terms, however imperfectly, can be even more inspiring than if we were the “ideal individual.” Why? Because if we can do it, in spite of a world that is ever-changing and challenging, then so can others – seeing the effort in the face of difficulty is why those actions ARE so inspiring.

So fear not if you falter, if you have flaws, or don’t make your mark every day. Because you are always working towards your goals in a positive and meaningful way in spite of your missteps, “mess-ups,” other people’s poor behaviors, you are inspiring others to do the same. You are inspiring others by being exactly who you are – unabashedly – and that in and of itself is empowering.

Planting The Seed And Letting Go

There is no contesting that an individual set firmly in his or her ways (and honestly, who isn’t after the age of 2!?), will not embrace change unless he or she chooses to. To change requires a process of self-reflection, of acceptance, and of a willingness to walk a new path – but looking in the mirror and choosing to face the truth of what we see isn’t always so easy. We are likely our harshest critic, and also at times guilty of self-delusion…so facing ourselves head on can be a frightening prospect! In this way, admitting that we even NEED a change can prove a challenge, forget someone else insisting we make one. 

It may be that we want to address something small, such as a relatively benign habit (hitting the snooze button more than we’d like to, leaving dishes around, getting sucked into social media until 2am…) or something more significant (wanting to alter a life habit or behavior that no longer serves us.) Whatever it is, those decisions begin internally – when we are ready, willing, and would like a change, that’s when change becomes possible. It will take work, but opening the door begins within.

All that said…planting a seed ought not be abandoned as an exercise in futility! While we may be resistant at first, there is always room to grow. Criticism is tough to handle for most of us – we have an innate need to belong (refer to Maslow for one theory) and therefore also to impress on some level. Most of us aren’t proud of our quirks or common foibles, and when they are engrained over the duration of our lives, they’re much harder to uproot. But, it can be done…and sometimes the repeated lessons or directions helps.

For example, there are things that I have done much of my life that just aren’t helpful any longer. I know they are habits born of some challenging times in my life – they served, at that time, as a way to cope and survive. So once upon a time, perhaps shutting down served me well – it protected me in that moment. But a deer-in-the-headlights way of operating doesn’t work when communication is required…so, I’ve been working on it. Finding one’s voice is a daunting task, especially when you weren’t really aware you had lost it, when you had lost it, or how the hell to get it back! 

For another thing, I’ve identified with, and hinged my worth on brightening others’ days, diffusing or patching fights between people, and putting others first. For a long time I thought that was a really noble quality – I sincerely wanted to fix people’s hardships and be as little of a burden as possible. But…I’ve learned that there are some not great byproducts of that. It isn’t my right or responsibility to help, fix, or otherwise brighten someone’s existence – maybe they don’t damn well want me to! (That was an immensely tough realization for me, though I’ve learned that not taking this on provides me a great deal of freedom.) And not wanting to be in the way can translate to indecisiveness or a selfless approach that leaves someone else wondering what I feel internally.

If it wasn’t pointed out, I suppose I’d just continue along as always – because why fix what isn’t really “broken?” Learning that perhaps my methods of operating aren’t serving me as well anymore, or those around me, that I don’t need certain defenses, that it’s okay to be selfish and forthright has had a positive impact. That doesn’t mean that I’m suddenly rid of habits – I have to work really hard to overcome conditioning (just as we all do!) But it means I have awareness – the seed was planted a while ago, I’ve allowed it to bloom taking the time it needs, and I’ve reached a point where I am able to see that change is possible. And, that I want it. 

So the point is that maybe a behavior or attitude we carry with us worked in past situations – maybe it was a way that we coped, or got things accomplished, or even the reason we survived in the end. But it’s possible that those methods would do well with a shift – time marches on, life changes, the people and places in our lives change… We don’t always need the same tools. If we are willing and able to take a hard look in the mirror, we may find ourselves opening to change and working for it. In some cases, though, we just aren’t ready. Criticism and constructive commentary may need to take place for some time… Maybe we need to hear the message a million times before we can really make sense of it…and only then are we ready to acknowledge a change would serve us well.

It takes time… We aren’t always open to altering ourselves – we’ve managed well enough as long as we’ve been around, right?! But the positive seeds others plant aren’t in vain because we may yet come to a fork in the road when suddenly those seeds find a way to flourish. 

So remember that it’s hard enough to change oneself – asking that of someone who isn’t ready for the message may well fall on deaf ears. Maybe even rightfully so. But…if it’s a message that might bring about positive change for that person, don’t give up on planting the idea. It may take time for that seed to find the daylight, but in time it may grow into something spectacular.