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  • 12 Hard things to do to help you find Happiness

     

    1.  Exercise your integrity.

    Living with integrity means:  Not settling for less than what you are capable of.  Communicating clearly and asking for what you want and need from people.  Speaking your truth, even when others judge you for it.  Behaving in ways that are in harmony with your morals and values.  Making choices based on what you believe, and not what others believe.  And, of course, always doing the right thing, even when it’s hard, and even when nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not.

     

    2.  Steer clear of drama and those who create it.

    There comes a time in life when you have to let go of all the needless drama and the people who create it.  Staying out of other people’s drama is an incredibly effective way to stress less and smile more.

    A good rule of thumb: If you can’t say it to their face, you shouldn’t say it behind their back.  As Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, and small minds discuss people.”  Life is much too short to waste time talking about people, gossiping, and stirring up drama that has no substance.  If you don’t know, ask.  If you don’t agree, say so.  If you don’t like it, speak up.  But never judge people behind their back.

     

    3.  Replace judgment with encouragement.

    No one truly knows what they will do in a certain situation until they are actually in it.  Yes, it’s very easy to judge someone else’s actions by what you assume your own actions would be if you were in their shoes.  But you only know what you THINK you would do, not what you WOULD do.

    The truth is, we tend to judge others by their actions and ourselves by our ideals.  So do your best to catch yourself when this happens.  Remember that when we judge or criticize another person, it says nothing about that person, and everything about our own need to be critical.

    Bottom line:  We have enough critics in this world.  Be an encourager.  You’ll see why.

     

    4.  Be positive and spend time with positive people.

    Happiness is not the absence of problems, but the ability to deal with them.  Raise your awareness to your own inner strength and positivity.  You are in charge of how you react to the people and events in your life.  You can either give negativity power over your life, or you can choose to be positive instead by focusing on the great things that are truly important.  So talk about your blessings more than you talk about your problems.  Just because you’re struggling doesn’t mean you’re failing.  Every great success requires some kind of worthy struggle to get there.

    In addition, do your best to spend more time with positive people and less time with negative ones.  People that deliberately doubt, judge and disrespect you are not worth your long-term time and attention.

    5.  Make new choices as needed, rather than letting old ones make you.

    You don’t get to decide if or when you might get hurt in this world, but you do have some control over who and what hurts you.  After all, who we ultimately become depends, in part, on who and what we let into our lives.  So don’t just settle for relationships and situations that have proven to be unworthy.  Exercise your right to choose differently.  

    Be the hero of your life, not the victim.  You may not control all the circumstances that happen to you, but you can decide not to be continuously reduced by the same ones.

     

    6.  Simplify whatever you can, whenever you can.

    As E.F. Schumacher once said, “Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent.  It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.”

    Simplifying is not seeing how little you can get by with – that’s poverty – but how efficiently you can put first things first, and use your time accordingly to pursue the things that make a lasting difference in your life.  Less really is more.  Instead of adding, improve your life by subtracting.  Get rid of unnecessary clutter, negative influences and toxic relationships.  There is a big difference between what you want and what you need – between what’s excessive and what’s essential.

    7.  Uphold your truth.

    Too many of us prefer gentle lies to hard truths.  But make no mistake, in the end it’s better to be hurt by the truth than comforted by a lie.  Especially if this lie is tied to your identity in any way.  Because you can pretend for a while, but you can’t get away from yourself.  You can’t decide not to see and feel yourself anymore.  You can’t decide to turn off the noise in your head and be someone else entirely.

    Don’t try to be what “they” like – be who you are.  The people worth spending time with are interested in others who are confident enough to be themselves.  And that works out well, because you won’t be happy being anyone else. 

     

    8.  Express your love without reservations.

    Love is a verb.  Act on it.  Today, be the reason someone feels incredibly loved and needed.  Give your love away like your life depends on it.

    Many moons from now, people won’t remember what clothes you wore, the car you drove, and maybe not even your name.  But they will remember how you made them feel and the positive memories you gave them.  The true impact you make on people will depend on the time and attention you give to teaching those who know less, caring for those who have less, supporting those who are striving, and tolerating those who are different than you.  All of which represent the full expression of your love.

     

    9.  Nurture your relationship with your significant other.

    Intimate love is not just about finding the right person, but working with them to create the right relationship.  It’s not about how much love you have in the beginning, but how much love you build and nurture until the end.  A relationship should be healthy, caring, loving, kind, upbeat and positive.  It should make your smile a little wider and your life a little brighter in the long run.

    A relationship like this sounds great, but it isn’t easy.  It takes time and attention, and two people who are willing to work together every day to build something special.

     

    10.  Loosen your grip on what’s not meant to fit in to your life.

    Things will happen that you will not always understand, but maybe you’re not supposed to understand everything.  Maybe you’re just supposed to have faith, accept it and let it happen.

    So never force anything.  Give it your best shot, and then let it be.

    Most negative circumstances are only a part of your life because you keep thinking about them.  Positive things happen in your life when you emotionally distance yourself from the negative things. So stop holding onto what hurts, and make room for what feels right.  Don’t let what is out of your control interfere with all the things you can control.

     

    11.  Embrace your humanness.

    “Human” is the only real label we are born with.  Yet we forget so easily.

    To become attached to an opinionated label of depressed, divorced, diseased, rejected, or poor, is to be like the rain, that doesn’t know it is also the clouds… or the ice, that forgets it is water.  For we are far more than the shape we’re currently in.  And we, like the wind, water, and sky, will change forms many times in our lives, while forever remaining beautifully human.

     

    12.  Ask yourself the right questions.

    What questions are you asking yourself on a regular basis?  Are they helping you better understand your purpose?  Or do they have your mind spinning in circles?

    Truth be told, the questions you’re regularly exposed to act as guideposts that have a powerful influence on the direction of your life.  And, not surprisingly, the questions you hear most often come directly from YOU.  So instead of looking outside yourself for answers, start asking yourself the right questions.  For instance…

    • “Who am I?”
    • “What do I need?”
    • “How do I function best?”
    • “What do I have to give?”
    • “What’s the next step I can take right now?”

    It’s all about self-inquiries that help you stay true to your principles, pursue your desires, grow through adversity, and add value to the world around you. 

     

     

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  • 25 season to keep your life more simple

     

     

     

    Some lessons I’ve learned about living a simpler life:

     

    1.    A simpler life is about subtracting the obvious and adding the meaningful. Thus, you are wealthy in proportion to the number of unnecessary things you can afford to live without.

     

    2.    Simplifying is not merely seeing how little you can get by with, but how efficiently you can put first things first, and use your time accordingly to pursue the things that make a difference and mean the most to you.

     

    3.    Besides the art of getting things done, there is the often-forgotten art of leaving things undone. The simplicity and efficiency of life relies heavily on the elimination of non-essentials.

     

    4.    Overcommitting is the biggest mistake most people make against living a simpler life. It’s tempting to fill in every waking minute of the day with to-do list tasks or distractions. Don’t do this to yourself. Leave space.

     

    5.    Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. There are so many activities that sound fun and exciting. We check Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat and see what others are doing and immediately want to add these things to our lives. But before you let these new ideas get the best of you, remember that by adding too many things to your life, you are subtracting space. And that space is vital to focusing on what matters most.

     

    6.    Distractions are both more tempting and more damaging than we realize. When we fill our lives with distractions, its often because we’re scared of what life might be like without constant social media, TV, video games, snacks, chats, music, etc. Don’t numb yourself with noise. Don’t let distractions hold you back. Control your distractions before your distractions control you.

     

    7.    You can’t live a simpler life if you’re unwilling to change and let go of what you are used to.

     

    8.    Priorities don’t get done automatically. You have to make time for what’s important to you: time with your significant other, time with your kids, time for creating, time for learning, time for exercise, etc. Push everything else aside to make time. By saying no to more things that sound really exciting, you get to say yes to more of what’s truly important.

     

    9.    Rising earlier helps. A quiet, unrushed morning routine is a gift to treasure. (I awake early so that I have quiet time to read, write, and practice a gratitude meditation.)

     

    10. Letting go of old routines and habits and building new ones can be hard, but it’s easier if you do a 30-day challenge. Let go of something for 30 days and see how it affects your life. (Letting go of sky TV was one of the best decisions I made a few years back...no more continuous, distracting noise in our home, and no more advertisements for stuff we don’t need.)

     

    11. Buying more stuff doesn’t solve our problems. Neither does more snack food or another TV program.

     

    12. Shopping isn’t a hobby, and it certainly isn’t therapy. It’s a waste of time and money, and inevitably leads to a cluttered life.

     

    13. When we travel lightly, we’re freer, less burdened, and less stressed. This applies to traveling through life too, not just traveling through an airport.

     

    14. It’s not how many, or how few, things we own that matters. It’s whether we make those things count. Thus, it’s better to have three good books on your bookshelf that you’re actually going to read rather than 300 you never get around to.

     

    15. Decluttering your physical space can lead to a less cluttered mental space. These visual distractions pull on us and distract us in more ways than we often realize. Overthinking is one of the most rampant sources of stress and mental clutter. The key is to realize that the problem is not the problem. The problem is the incredible amount of overthinking you’re doing with the problem. Let it go and be free.

     

    16. Positivity always pays off in simplifying outcomes. So before you waste it on anger, resentment, spite or envy, think of how precious and irreplaceable your time is.

     

    17. Stay out of other people’s drama. And don’t needlessly create your own.

     

    18. A simpler, more positive mindset can be created anytime and anyplace with a change in thinking. Because frustration and stress come from the way you react, not the way things are. Adjust your attitude, and the frustration and stress evaporates.

     

    19. The simplest secret to happiness and peace in the present is letting every circumstance be what it is, instead of what you think it should be, and making the best of it.

     

    20. Gratitude always makes life easier to deal with. Because happiness comes easier when you stop complaining about your problems and you start being grateful for all the problems you don’t have.

     

    21. Make mistakes, learn from them, laugh about them, and move along. Waste not a minute on outcomes you can’t control.

     

    22. There is a huge amount of freedom that comes to you when you take nothing personally. The truth...your truth....is always the simplest path forward. If you listen closely to your intuition you will always know what is best for you, because what is best for you is what is true for you.

     

    23. The feeling you get from doing something important (and true) is far better and less stressful than the feeling you get from sitting around wishing you were doing it.

     

     

     

     

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  • How to Change the Way You Think.

    How to Change the Way You Think.

    The saying “She who teaches others, teaches herself” is very true, not only because constant repetition helps impress facts indelibly on the mind, but also because the process of teaching itself gives greater insight into the subject taught.

    One of the strategies we teach over and over again is self-inquiry, which is basically the art of asking ourselves the right questions. Why is this strategy so important? Because the questions we ask ourselves become thoughts. Thoughts then become words. Words become actions. Actions become character. And character changes everything.

    Truth be told, when times get tough and big problems arise, as they inevitably will, it is the strength of our character that sees us through.

    And since our character is directly influenced by what we say to (and ask of) ourselves on a daily basis, I want you to think about how you’ve been speaking to yourself lately. Have you been using the empowering, encouraging words you would speak to a friend? Or the belittling remarks you would shout to an enemy if you had no heart? Or the negative remarks about life you might utter if you had no faith?

    All day long you speak silently to yourself, and a part of you believes every word. Which is why it’s important to stay mindful when problems arise, and meditate on the right questions…

    1. What could you be positive and happy about right now, if you really wanted to? – Your greatest weapon against stress and negativity is your ability to choose one thought over another. Happiness escapes from those who refuse to see the good in what they have. When life gives you every reason to be negative, think of one good reason to be positive.
    2. What’s one problem you’re thankful you don’t have right now? – Smile, not because life has been easy, perfect, or exactly as you had anticipated, but because you choose to be happy and thankful for all the good things you do have, and for all the problems you know you don’t have. 
    3. What do you need to stop thinking and saying to yourself? – Stop discrediting yourself for everything you aren’t, and start giving yourself credit for everything you ARE. We have to learn to be our own best friends, because sometimes we fall too easily into the trap of being our own worst enemies.
    4. What are you holding on to that you need to let go of? – One of the hardest lessons in life is letting go—whether it’s guilt, anger, love or loss. Change is never easy. You fight to hold on and you fight to let go, but oftentimes letting go is the healthiest path forward. It clears out toxic thoughts from the past. You’ve got to emotionally free yourself from the things that once meant a lot to you, so you can move beyond the past and the pain it brings you. Again, it takes hard work to let go and refocus your thoughts, but it’s worth every bit of effort you can muster.
    5. Will you blame others and deny responsibility, or will you create an action plan to move forward? – Imagine how much more effective and happy you’d be if, instead of denying, blaming, dreading and fighting against certain situations and tasks, you simply got them handled.
    6. How can you respond from a place of clarity and strength, rather than thoughtlessly reacting to this experience? – Every time you are tempted to react in the same old way, ask yourself if you want to be a prisoner of the past or a pioneer of the future. And remember that our character is often most evident in our highs and lows. Be humble at the mountaintops, be strong in the valleys, and be faithful in between.
    7. How can you be of service to the greater good, so that everyone around you feels elevated, rather than weighed down? – Life is a gift, and it offers us the privilege, opportunity, and responsibility to give something back by becoming more. Thus, the best way to find yourself when times are tough, is to lose yourself in the service of a cause greater than yourself.
    8. How are your expectations serving you, or hurting you? – Don’t lower your standards, but do remember that removing your expectations of everything is the best way to avoid being disappointed.  Because, in a sense, expectations are like fine pottery—the harder you hold on to them, the more likely they are to crack. So just let go a little, and appreciate your life and relationships for what they truly are.
    9. Who, or what, needs your forgiveness? – Forgiveness doesn’t always lead to healed relationships and situations. Some relationships and situations aren’t meant to be. Forgive anyway, and let what’s meant to be, BE. Go ahead and set yourself free. When you hold resentment toward another entity, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and break free.
    10. What do you now know better for next time? – Don’t let your fear of past events affect all the possibilities ahead of you. Live for what today has to offer, not what yesterday has taken away. There will always be obstacles, but we are confined most often by the walls we build ourselves. What we see greatly depends on how we look at it. Forget what you’ve lost and focus on what you’ve learned.

     

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