The Importance of Being Alone

The Importance of Being Alone

In a Cinderella society it is all too common to see people force relationships simply to avoid being alone. Being Alone and Happy

Being alone is often viewed as undesirable. The very idea of it has been frowned upon by society for centuries. In fact, the thought that those who are alone are lonely has been played out in the media time and time again. We are ingrained to believe that if we are alone something is wrong with us, and it is this media driven belief that often causes people to settle for less than they truly deserve; especially when it comes to intimate relationships.

 What a lovely surprise to finally discover how unlonely being alone can be.
- Ellen Burstyn

Yes. Being alone can be difficult, even painful, at times but it can also be liberating, enlightening and lead to a happier and more fulfilling life overall.

Learning to be alone is an important step that everyone who hopes to live a complete and happy life should take. It is a lesson that holds many other lessons within itself and never stops teaching us. You can learn many things about yourself, and others, through being alone and learning to enjoy it. It truly is one of the pathways to a better life.

Being alone has always been depicted as a bad thing. Movies, television and music portray being alone, especially when it comes to single women, as desperate and pathetic. There is this idea that being alone means sitting at home waiting for the phone to ring while we analyze how little people care.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Learning to be alone means that we are free from the chains that bind us. It means that we are more open to exploring ourselves and we are more focused on our specific needs. When we learn to be alone and love ourselves, we often end up opening the doors to being happier with another person when the time comes.

 Being Alone Can Be A Beautiful Thing:
Take a moment to watch this inspiring video on the power of being alone.

If you have recently separated, divorced or broken it, it can be difficult to accept that you are alone, but there is really no better time to enjoy yourself and use the opportunity to get to know yourself. Learning to be alone does not have to be difficult and the benefits that come with it are worth the effort. There are many valuable lessons that being alone can teach…

 

10 Lessons You WIll Learn Through Being Alone:

    •  The past belongs behind you: When we constantly seek the company of others, especially when it comes to romantic relationships, we never truly take the time to release the past. All of this baggage piles up over time and before you know if you are hauling a cart full of regrets through the door of a new relationship. The past belongs behind you, and it is important that you take the time to leave it there. Holding on to past relationships does not mean you still have feelings for your previous mate, in fact it can occur on an unconscious level. When a partnership ends we tend to need time to sort the good from the bad, many people fail to take this time and end up repeating patterns that cause them pain. It is the age-old question we have all heard someone ask, “Why do I always date this ‘type’ of guy?” and the answer is simple; because you did not leave the past in the past and allow the lessons to serve their purpose. Take time alone to assess your past and find the things you loved and those that you hate. Make a plan for the future based on these central ideas and you will be off to the right start.
  • What you truly need is out there somewhere: Everything happens for a reason, it is true. There is a reason that things did not work out and it is your job to accept that. Being alone is an excellent time to determine if what you have been doing up to this point is truly right for you. It is common for people to live with regrets and think that what they need has somehow passed them by, but this is not the case. If what you truly needed was in your life it would have never slipped away. Take the time you have being alone to gauge how happy you past choices made you and accept that what you truly need is headed your way.
    • You are a pretty amazing person: The greatest benefit of being alone is learning about yourself. It can be difficult when you are first alone, especially after the end of a long relationship, to get use to the idea of being alone. It may be awkward at first to go out by yourself, eat by yourself and simply be by yourself. It may be very hard for you to entertain yourself and you may find it difficult to fill your time, but persevere. One of the most wonderful parts of being alone is being in amazing company. Take this time to get to know who you are at this point, because I will guarantee that it is different from the person you think you are. I thought I was an extrovert. I loved to be around people and I was always the life of the party. I was outgoing, outspoken and often outrageous, that is who I was. After my long-term relationship came to an end I stopped and realized how long it had really been since I had been alone. Even before this relationship began I was constantly surrounded by people, I was never truly by myself. This realization was interesting, and I decided to take some time just to be with me. What I discovered was life-changing. I was not necessarily the outgoing, outspoken outrageous person I thought I was. In fact, the more time I spent alone, the more I realized how much I really enjoyed being alone. I discovered that I was a pretty amazing person, a person who was deeper, stronger and more wonderful than I originally thought. Being alone taught me to love myself in ways that I would have never discovered otherwise. It helped to shape me into a person I am proud of and comfortable with. It raised my confidence ten-fold, and allowed me to act on things that fit my true personality.Take your time alone to reflect on how you describe yourself and question if these traits are who you truly are today. Just like situations, people change, you may find you are far more amazing than you originally thought.
    • Love is not always as it seems: There have been millions of different interpretations of what love is over the years, each with its own opinion and view. This is not much different from our own interpretations and our own lives. We often look to define love, and sometimes we are wrong. Being in love may not mean what we think or expect and perhaps because of this we are assuming or forcing it upon a situation. Remember your very first serious boyfriend/girlfriend? For many of us this was long-long ago in a time when life was very different from it is today. When you think about how your first ‘love’ made you feel you may think back and realize that you thought it was 100% real, they were ‘the one’, and you may have thought you would spend your life with them. Unless you are part of the lucky few who found their ‘soul mate’ at a young age, chances are you have come to the realization that this ‘first love’ was not the love of your life.  True love, real-fairytale love, doesn’t fade, it grows stronger with time. It evolves, it changes, but it does not fade. It is important that while you are taking time being alone you consider what important aspects you want in a partner, as well as which you have within yourself and which you can improve. This type of reflection will help when the time comes for you to be with another person and will create a stronger, more meaningful bond.
    • You still have so much to accomplish: Being alone is not the end of the world, in fact it may be the beginning of your life as you know it. Being alone, and learning to enjoy it, can present opportunities that would not have otherwise arose. When you are alone you have no one to answer to but yourself, this means that the only person holding you back from accomplishing anything you desire is you. Life is a series of choices, and we tend to take the easiest route when we are in relationships because our actions affect more than just us. Being alone can be an excuse to take risks, knowing that the only person they are truly affecting is you. Think of the things that you have always wanted to accomplish and look for simple ways to incorporate them into your daily life.  If you had dreams of being a poet in your younger years, take the time to write. If you always wanted to learn to Salsa dance, sign up for lessons. Fill your free time with things that help you accomplish your goals, even if you can not fully reach them, you can get yourself closer or submerge yourself in the culture which will lead you in a new direction and teach you all sorts of new lessons.
    • You still have so much to appreciate: Sometimes it takes losing everything to realize how much you truly have, this is especially true when it comes to being alone. Breakups, divorce and loss can be devastating, but they can also help you appreciate all the wonderful things that you have in your life. Sure, maybe you do not have the physical companion you once did, but you are armed with a great deal more knowledge and you have much to appreciate. Consider starting a gratitude journal as you adjust to being alone at first. Each morning when you wake up take a few minutes to jot down something you are thankful for that day.
    • Being alone does not mean being lonely: Whoever said being alone means being lonely could not have been more wrong. The only thing causing loneliness is your own mind. Being alone can in fact be quite fulfilling. It gives you a chance to assess where you are in you life and what you want for your future. It provides you with the opportunity to get to know yourself and to work towards your goals that may have been pushed aside due to the attention that partnerships require. It allows you to appreciate the amazing person you are, and gives you the chance to work on being comfortable in your skin. Being alone is not lonely, it is a major tool to a happier and more fulfilling life.
    • You deserve so much more: Look to your past and consider all of the times that you settled, again this is especially true when it comes to relationships. Because of the way society portrays being single as unappealing many people fear being alone and instead settle for relationships that are less than they internally desire. You Deserve More Than That! Everyone deserves to have someone who loves them and treats them with respect. Everyone deserves a partner that sees them as an equal and encourages them to better themselves. Stop settling for relationships where you are compromising yourself or your goals. Stop settling for partners that do not compliment who you truly are, simply to ward off a fear of being alone. Being alone is far better than being with the wrong person because all that does is prolong the inevitable.
    • Being alone is inspiring: When you are alone you inspire not only yourself, but others as well. Being alone and learning to be content with it, is a way of inspiring change and encouraging acceptance. When I made the choice to take time for myself I found that others began to ask me how I did it, and in turn followed suit. My act of getting to know myself on a more personal and individual level inspired others to do the same. Through this, I felt even better about myself and worked even harder to become the best person possible.
    • You are never actually alone: The truth is that you are never really alone. There will always be people in your life, whether it is friend and family who love and support you, or intriguing moments spent with strangers. Human beings are designed to connect with other human beings, it is part of our nature. So, even when you feel like you are all alone in this world there are billions of other people right beside you. Take an opportunity while you are spending time being alone to connect with people on a different level. Talk to strangers, give compliments, and share your thoughts. Provide advice to a person in need, make a new friend, volunteer at a retirement home, join a debate team. Find new ways to connect with others and share your ideas, this will help you expand your horizons and make being alone a little less frightening at first.

Being alone may seem frightening, you may worry that you are going to be alone forever, but the truth is you won’t because you are never really alone in the first place. Learning to be alone and enjoy it is one of the greatest gifts that you can give yourself. It will allow you to let go of your regrets, learn to love yourself and lead you in the direction you are meant to go. Being alone will inspire you to take risks, try new things, and will even encourage those around you. Perhaps to some it will be undesirable, but if you are truly doing it as a choice to benefit yourself and live the best life possible, those people won’t matter anyway. I found that those who questioned me being alone, those who discouraged it, were the ones that feared the idea and envied it the most.

Being alone and learning to be content that way holds so many benefits and it is worth the effort…
Besides, what have you got to lose?

 Until Next Time…

Be Alone and Love it!

 

 

10 Things You Should Be Saying ‘YES’ To…

No is the most overused word in the English language, and yet we tend to use it at all the wrong times. When we should be using the word ‘no’ we often apply the word ‘yes’ because we are afraid, insecure, or feel bad; and yet those things that we should be saying ‘yes’ to are often met with a quick ‘no’… Why must it be so confusing?avoid_no_blog

In our fast-paced modern society we are often quick to decline things that may actually be beneficial for various reasons… Now, how often we say ‘yes’ when we should be saying ‘no’ is another post for another time, but for this moment I would like to share a short list of 10 Things You Should Be Saying Yes To…

*The list below is intended to be a starting point, a reminder that it is okay to steer away from your go-to response to so many pleasant things in life. Use it as a guide and try changing your response when offered the opportunity to do these things (or anything that appeals to you) in the future.

10 Things You Should Be Saying YES To:

  1. Help: We all want to pretend, convince ourselves believe that we can handle everything on our own, but it is not always possible. One of the most difficult things to say yes to is an offering of help, especially if it comes from someone you feel you need to prove yourself to… But swallow your pride (or get off your high-horse) and say yes to the help when you need it. It will help you combat stress, and may open doors to more possibilities (like perhaps a friendship?).
  2. Time with an old friend: Whether it is on the phone, having a long (much-needed) chat or time spent in-person, be sure that you say yes to those good old friends that you have not seen in a while, or spent nearly enough time with. Sure, life is busy, but it should never be too busy for those that have been with you along this crazy journey called life.
  3. That one item you have no use for always wanted: Stop humming and hawing over those completely impractical shoes that you love, or that outfit you have no need for but absolutely adore and just buy it already. Life is too short, if you truly want it, get it and wear it… Even if it is just around the house!
  4. New experiences: If your friend asks you to go to dance lessons with her (and secretly you have always wanted to learn to salsa) do it. Join in the fun and learn new things, don’t let ‘time’ stand in your way.. If you truly want to do something you will find the time to do it. Period. New experiences open new doors and new opportunities.
  5. A vacation: Everyone needs ‘me’ time… Even if is not the tropical island of your dreams be sure to say yes to some away time. Take a small trip with friends or on your own and enjoy just being away from the stress of everyday life. Even if your vacation is nothing more than a sick day, or a dinner out, accept it and enjoy every moment with all your heart and soul. Use it as an escape.
  6. A lazy, lay-around doing nothing at all kinda day: Every once in a while it is important to shut yourself down and do nothing at all for an entire day. Lay around in your pajamas and watch a marathon of your favorite t.v. show, order take out, and be completely and utterly lazy. You will feel refreshed afterwards, trust me.
  7. New Friends: The opportunity to make new friends, or meet new people is passed up far too often and yet it can open doors faster than any other means. Next time you are invited to an event and you are worried that you won’t know anyone there accept the invitation and attend. Mingle, meet new people, network and make friends… Some of the most successful connections are made between complete strangers and unexpected times.
  8. Girls Night: Never turn down the opportunity to get together with your girlfriends for a fun-filled girls night (out or in). The power of the ‘girls night’ is like no other in the world. Chat, gossip, share secrets and have a good laugh. Time with your closest girl friends has the ability to cleanse your soul.
  9. Opportunity to do what you enjoy: Accept every single opportunity to do what you enjoy doing, many people are not fortunate enough to have the option. If you love art, accept those invitations to share your work or attend the gallery. If it’s dancing, dance.. Singing.. sing… Whatever your passion, never turn down the chance to incorporate it into your everyday life.
  10. Treating yourself: Eat that double fudge sundae, enjoy that slice of cake, or bake those too sweet sugar cookies you love more than all your favorite shoes… just don’t eat them all in one sitting. If you deprive ourselves of these simple pleasures we deprive ourselves of happiness… Yes, sometimes happiness can be found at the bottom of a bowl of ice cream… Remember it is the simplest things in life!

 

Until Next Time…

Y-E-S Spells Yes!

The Importance of Effective Communication

If there is one lesson in life that will make things easier for you, it is the importance of effective communication.

You must not attempt to read other people’s minds,
and refrain from making them read yours. 

Good communication skills can simplify your life a great deal, improve your current relationships, and encourage new ones. These skills can open doors that appear locked, and can give you a better outlook in general. They affect all areas of your life, and can help you overcome obstacles that would otherwise hinder your success. Effective Communication truly is one of the best skills you can possess in life, and the best part is, these skills are 100% teachable! Anyone can learn how to communicate effectively, it is actually quite easy to do, and it can have a huge impact on your life, and overall happiness.

Effective Communication – How to Gain/Improve Your Skills:

  • Start by understanding what communication is – Communication is the process of transferring information from sender to receiver in order to convey a message or idea.
  • Understand that to effectively communicate requires confidence – This thought may scare you, but it is a fact. If you want to be clear in your communication, you must be confident in what you are saying. This does not mean you have to be an expert, but you need to be confident enough to say what you truly think. *Don’t worry about what people think about you when you are communicating, instead focus on making your message clear. 
  • Use more than one path to clarity – Spoken words are the most direct way to communicate, but this can be frightening for some of us and when we are uncomfortable our communication skills suffer. Body language plays a big role in effective communication, and so using eye contact and gestures while you speak can help you to clarify what you are trying to say. *These things also put the receiver at ease and encourage attention to detail, just be sure that all these things combined match in tone so you are not sending mixed signals. (smiling with your arms crossed sends out a confusing image.)
  • Understand that communication does not always need a resolution – One of the biggest problems that arises in our communication with others, especially our partners, is our need to resolve. When we are focusing on right and wrong we are not truly Effective Communicationcommunicating, we are simply stating our side and failing to consider the big picture. If you are communicating an issue that others disagree with, do not focus on persuading them over to your side, instead communicate to understand their side even if you do not agree. *If you come to a resolution, great; if not, great too… chances are you will at least learn something new about the topic or the person.
  •  Know when to stop – Knowing when to stop and simply listen, or even drop the issue altogether, is a major part of effective communication skills. You can talk about anything, but when you are not listening the conversation will lead you nowhere. *Make your points and listen to the points of others openly, honestly, and respectfully.
  • Be clear. Be clear. Clarify – Never underestimate the power of clarifying what you say and what you hear. Just because you think you were clear does not always mean that the receiver has completely understood, and just because you think you understand does not mean you are clear on what was being said. As a rule of thumb always repeat back what was said to you in your own words, and encourage others to either do the same, or prompt them for their thoughts. This will allow you to find any gray areas that might have gotten confused and clarify immediately. *Think of the game ‘broken telephone’ – ideas can easily get lost in translation.*
  • Practice – You cannot improve your communication if you are not communicating, so get out there and get started. Talk to people, question things, share ideas, and be honest with those around you. Before long you will learn what works and what doesn’t. If you stay aware of your words; what you are saying, why you are saying it , and how it is being said; and you are listening to others, as well as clarifying to fully understand, then you will be well on your way to possessing effective communication skills that will greatly simplify all aspects of your life and encounters.

Until Next Time…

Spread The Word!

An All-American Thanksgiving.

With the American Thanksgiving fast approaching it is only fitting that we talk about all the things in life that we have to be thankful for. Too often we get caught up in the complaints that surround daily life, and sometimes it takes a special holiday like Thanksgiving to remind us of how much we truly have to appreciate in life. Although it is wonderful that thanksgiving is the universal reminder of all that we are blessed with in life, it is important that we remember these things each and every day as well. Today’s post is a list of things that you can be thankful for in your life today, at this moment, right now… and every day there after!

30 Things To Be Thankful For Today:

  1. You are alive.
  2. Family/Friends.
  3. A roof over your head.
  4. Food to eat.
  5. The ability to read this post.
  6. Your ability to see, walk, talk, etc.
  7. Your health.
  8. Music.A Thankful American Thanksgiving
  9. Right to free speech.
  10. Your freedom.
  11. Having choices.
  12. Running water.
  13. Laughter.
  14. Modern Medicine.
  15. Access to education.
  16. Personal growth.
  17. Your accomplishments.
  18. Your goals.
  19. Your independence.
  20. The air you breathe.
  21. The sun, which creates warmth.
  22. The changing seasons.
  23. A healthy mind.
  24. The kindness of strangers.
  25. Technology.
  26. Memories.
  27. Change.
  28. Your personal strengths.
  29. Your weaknesses.
  30. This moment.

I probably could have gone on forever, but you get the idea…
What things are you most thankful for in your life?

Until Next Time…
Be Thankful You’re Alive!

7 Helpful Tips to Reduce Daily Stress

Reduce Daily Stress

Stress is a part of everyday life, and it can have a huge impact on your overall well-being. Stress can, and will, affect your mental and physical health and quickly deteriorate your level of happiness if you do not manage it effectively. Below are some helpful ideas to reduce daily stress and live a more peaceful life.

7 Helpful Tips to Reduce Daily Stress:

  1. Get Organized: If you are working with an organized home/office tasks will be easier and you will find that you accomplish more because you are less distracted and more focused on the task at hand.
  2. Prepare Beforehand: Pack lunches the night before, lay out or gather your clothes, and prep for meetings. When we prepare beforehand we tend to feel more confident and have less stress. This is especially true for parents or anyone that has a stressful morning routine. Being prepared for the day can start you off on a more positive note.
  3. Make Lists: Prioritize your tasks by making lists, but don’t over do it. Make simple daily or weekly goals list and keep track of all the things you need to accomplish; making sure to check them off as they are done. This is a great way to get organized, and helps you monitor your progress so you are able to clearly see your success.
  4. Be Clear: If you are unsure about something, ask. If you are asking something of someone, clarify. Being sure you fully understand what is being asked of you, or that others fully understand what you are asking of them helps reduce stress by lessening the chance for confusion. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if things seem unclear to you, and do not be afraid to clearly express what you need from others. Making a habit of clarifying will save you time and stress in the long-run.
  5. Focus on One Thing at a Time: Multitasking is a norm in the world today, but it can actually be counter productive and cause you even more stress. Instead, try to focus on one thing at a time and proceed only when you have done all that you can on each task. Doing things this way allows you to put more focus on each task, tends to reduce mistakes, and can lower your stress level. Sometimes doing five things at once becomes the source of your stress and overwhelms you to the point that nothing at all gets accomplished.
  6. Keep It Simple: Try to keep your life as simple as possible. Do not overwhelm yourself with commitments, and do not create unnecessary drama. If you have a family or close friends you can count on then try to delegate tasks when you find that you have too much on your plate. Don’t be afraid to say no when someone asks you to do something you don’t think you can handle. Too often we neglect our need to have free time by overworking or over committing to things that we probably should have turned down. Make sure that you have at least a few hours each work week to focus on yourself.
  7. Just Breathe: When all else fails just step back and breathe. It is completely acceptable to feel overwhelmed or stressed out. It is okay to want a break or time to relax. When feelings of stress begin to creep up on you take a few minutes to breathe and look at the issue from a fresh perspective. Take a walk, grab something to eat, or simply sit in silence until the feelings subside and you can once again focus. If you are faced with an overly stressful task then set it aside and complete something a little easier before going back to that specific project. Give yourself a break, and allow your body and mind to be at peace.

You will never be able to completely avoid stress in your daily life, but you can try to manage the effect that it has on you by being aware of your goals, needs, and emotions; and by making the choice to live a less stressful life.

Leave work at work, and home and home, so that your two separate lives affect each other a little less, and focus on simply doing the best you can. Remember, no one is perfect, and you can not do everything all at once. Do what works best for you and focus on what makes you feel good inside. 

Until Next Time…

Just Breathe 

21 Things You Need To Give Up On

There is an old saying, “Nobody likes a quitter” but there are some things in life that are best left behind. Below is a list of 21 Things You Need To Give Up On if you want to be truly happy.

21 Things You Need To Give Up On:

  1. Give up on blaming other people for your own problems – When you are constantly placing blame on others for the events that occur in your life you are not taking responsibility for your own actions. You are giving away the power to choose and create the life you long to be living. We all make mistakes, we all face hardships, accept the lessons they hold and change your actions in the future.
  2. Give up on waiting for the perfect time – Time will pass you by if you are sitting there waiting for the ‘perfect’ time. Accept that it will never be ‘perfect’ and make the choice to act today. The harsh reality is that there are times when the ‘perfect time’ is too late.
  3. Give up on bottling things up inside – People cannot read your mind, and so if you are not willing to tell them how you feel or what you think then you need to stop expecting them to know, and accept their behavior for what it is. Don’t be afraid to open up and tell people what is on your mind.
  4. Give up on putting other people’s needs before your own – You are not going to be able to take care of others if you don’t first take care of yourself. Stopping putting everyone else ahead of you, and give yourself all the things that you need first.
  5. Give up on trying to fit in – Stop pretending to be something that you are not. You are not going to ‘fit in’ for long if the person you are pretending to be is not who you truly are. All this is going to do is make you unhappy, and make others believe you are a fake. When you are being yourself you will fit in with those that you belong with.
  6. Give up on thinking about all the things you don’t have – When you waste time thinking about all the things you don’t have in life you are missing all the wonderful things that are right in front of you. Each time you catch yourself thinking about something you don’t have in life list 3 things you are thankful for.
  7. Give up on what might happen – Sure, the world could end due to some violent and gruesome zombie apocalypse, but if you waste your time thinking about all the things that might happen you are wasting time that could be use making things you want in life happen. Forget about the worst case, the what might, and the what if, and focus on the ‘what if not’ because if you chose to waste your life waiting for what might happen nothing ever will, at all.
  8. Give up on impulsive decisions – Stop making mistakes when you are mad. Impulsive decisions based on emotions are a sure-fire way to make a mistake. If you are faced with a choice when you are angry set it aside until a later time when you can consider it through a clear perspective. Keep Calm and Just Give Up
  9. Give up on people who bring you down – This means friends, family, partners… Everyone and anyone that drags you down or makes you feel bad. Let them go, and get on with doing what makes you feel good. Surround yourself with positive people who encourage your adventures and provide constructive, not destructive, criticism.
  10. Give up on trying to control everything - The only thing that you truly have control over is your own actions. Stop trying to change other people and be the change that you want to see in the world yourself. If you spend your time trying to control anything outside of your own actions you will be wasting your time.
  11. Give up on unrealistic expectations – No one is perfect. Period. So stop trying to be, and stop expecting others to be. Do your best, and accept other people’s best effort as well. When you give up on trying to be perfect you open the door to more realistic opportunities, and far less stress.
  12. Give up on trying to do everything alone – Just because you can do ten different things does not mean that you should attempt to do them all at once. Give up on trying to accomplish everything yourself and start delegating tasks to other competent people. This applies to your life and work, at home, and socially. Do not fill every second of the day with commitments, leave some spare time for yourself.
  13. Give up on always trying to avoid hurting people’s feelings – You are never going to please everyone all the time and it is important that you stop trying. When you are focused on pleasing everyone, you end up unhappy with yourself. There are always going to be people who do not like what you are doing, but if it is what truly makes you happy and they can’t accept it for that reason alone, then give up on them. If they don’t care about your feelings, why should you care about their unrealistic ones?
  14. Give up on unnecessary worry – Whether or not your daughter is going to find the perfect prom dress, what swimsuit to pack for vacation, or whether there is enough mustard in the fridge, are thoughts that should not keep you up at night. Save your worries for the big issues and let the small things go. Have trust that everything will work out exactly as it should, and focus your energy elsewhere in a more positive way. When we worry about small, unnecessary things we tend to turn them into big issues they are not, and we then invite more worry into our lives.
  15. Give up on resisting change – Change is inevitable, so fighting it is going to get you nowhere. It is never going to be easy to simply accept change, but you don’t need to make it any harder on yourself.
  16. Give up on procrastination – Why put off until tomorrow that which can easily be done today? Give up on pushing things aside until the last-minute and start accomplishing small things now. Make lists for each day that hold 5 small tasks you can easily accomplish. Tie these small tasks into a bigger one and you will have completed them in no time at all.
  17. Give up on your pursuit of the perfect person – Sometimes you just need to let go of finding the love of your life and let them find you. The harder you push to find your soulmate, the harder the hunt becomes. It is one of those strange facts of life. When you stop looking so hard and start having fun with the process you will find that it becomes easier and brings more happiness. This is not to say you should buy a bunch of cats and buckle down for single life, you can still look, but look without forcing it. Just have fun, be yourself, and enjoy meeting new people. When true love comes along you will not have to question whether or not it is real, you will know.
  18. Give up on reliving the past – Oh how easy it can be to ride on the train of habit and comfort constantly reliving the past and all the memories it holds. Give up on the past, it holds nothing new for you, and even if it comes to mind as ‘the good old days’ there are days ahead that will be good too. Glance at the past, but focus on the future and all the memories you have yet to make.
  19. Give up on things that you are not passionate about – Okay, so maybe you can’t up and quit your job to pursue your childhood dream to be the next Madonna, but you can find something you are passionate about and incorporate it into your daily life. With that said, if you truly do hate what you do then perhaps looking for something you are a little more passionate about is the answer. Life should not be spent on things that do not make us feel good and if you can’t counteract the drag of the day at the office with a side passion then find a position that allows you both.
  20. Give up on self-pity – The world owes you nothing. Harsh, perhaps, but it is true. We have all struggled to get where we are today, and we will continue to face issue that are difficult in life, but that does not mean that the world owes us more than what we have created for ourselves, because that is just it; we have the power to change it. So, instead of wallowing in self-pity ask yourself how you can make your future better than your past or present.
  21. Give up on lying – Lying does nothing for anyone. It may momentary appear to help a situation, but in the end the only thing it does is cheat you. Be honest as often as you can, if the truth is harsh then seek out a way you can say it with tact. You will feel better in the long-run and people will respect your honesty.

Until Next Time…

Just Give Up and Get On With It! 

 

 

How To Deal With Difficult People.

Dealing with Difficult PeopleWe have all encountered those ‘difficult people’ in our lives that get on our nerves and turn us into monsters that we do not want to be. Those people who seem to enjoy upsetting others, or making things harder than they need to be. Dealing with difficult people on a regular basis can make being positive a real chore, and can often lead us to question ourselves on various levels. This becomes especially true when the difficult person is someone close to us or someone who we must tolerate on a regular basis, such as a spouse or boss.

But, difficult people do not have to make your own journey more difficult. When you are dealing with someone who sets you off it is important that you remember you are in control of how you feel. It is a natural human reaction to fight back and get defensive when someone is attacking you, but it is not always the best option. Although you should stand up for yourself there are tactful ways to engage difficult people who will help you to better cope with the situation and the ultimate outcome.

4 Strategies For Dealing With Difficult People:

  1. Find the basis for the confrontation: If you are being hassled by a difficult person question what it is that they are truly upset about. This will show that you are willing to communicate rather than fight, and when you do this right off the bat  you tend to immediately force rationality into the conversation.
  2.  Agree: This may seem counter productive, but it has a powerful purpose. You do not have to agree with everything that the difficult person is saying, instead looking for a grain of truth within the unreasonable rant they just responded with. There is usually some truth, or truthful idea, hidden within what the difficult person is saying; seek out that truth and agree with them. (for example: Your partner calls you lazy, perhaps you can admit that you have not been doing your fair share lately) The key is to agree to one point, but to correct the over-exaggeration without becoming defensive.
  3. Disarm your defenses: It is far easier to defend yourself when emotions are at bay so try to keep yourself calm when you reply and be sure that your tone is not immediately defensive. This is the goal is agreeing on one truth in the statement the difficult person is making, and because there is some merit to what they are saying chances are you will feel less need to fight back and they will have no choice but to change their approach. At this point you can begin to discuss how they are feeling and what it is that they think. Simply respond to their statements in a calm manner that is focused on the one truth. (In the example above your partner may say again “you’re always so lazy” to which you can reply; “It is true I have been slacking in some areas, I appreciate the feedback and I apologize.”) It is important that you communicate without placing the blame, the moment you start giving excuses or placing blame on outside factors you give the difficult person the fight they were looking for in the first place.
  4. Resist the urge to ‘win’: When it comes to difficult people, there is no winning or losing. The battle you have today will simply happen tomorrow if you give in to the idea that it can be won. Instead question their motives, and explore their emotions. When you listen calmly and ask questions you help lead the difficult person to their own conclusions, and they are generally better suited to the situation.

This approach allows you to remain calm, helps to defuse the situation quickly, enables you to be clear without being defensive, and prevents future attacks; because it is not fun to fight with someone who is not fighting back.  

There will always be difficult people in your life, but you are able to choose whether or not they make your life difficult!

Until Next Time…

Keep Calm and Carry On!

Happiness is… How To Define Your Own State of Mind.

According to the Wikipedia definition; Happiness is a mental or emotional state of well-being characterized by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy.

But what happiness is lies deeper than a simple definition, and explaining it can often be difficult because it is different for each and every person.Happiness Is

Our entire site here at Inspired Every Moment is dedicated to helping you live a happier and more fulfilling lifestyle, so it is only fitting that we provide you with a basic idea of what happiness looks like in order to help you move toward your goal.

As I said above, happiness is different for everyone, and the outline below is my idea of what the basics to happiness looks like. These items are merely a guide, or a starting point, for you to begin your own journey. Again, these listed items are my idea of happiness… Your’s may be slightly different, and that is perfectly okay, in fact it is encouraged.

The point of this post is to help you realize that happiness is not about material things, it is not certain circumstances, or specific people; happiness is a state of mind. It is what you feel is most important to you, those things that make you smile on the inside, those things that pick you up when you are feeling down. Happiness is… Whatever you want it to be.  

That is the beauty of it, happiness isCHOICE!

Once you have read through the list below you should consider taking the time to create a list of your own. You can use this list to help you work towards specific goals in your own life, and for a reminder as you move along your own path to a happier more fulfilling lifestyle. Each of us is headed in the same direction; the road we travel will simply have different sights along the way. In this example I have listed 10 things that I think define my happiness, notice that not one of them is a material item or specific person. Each one of the items on my list is something that can choose or control for myself, that is the key to creating happiness… You must choose it and build it around you!

Happiness Is…

  • Feeling good about yourself
  • Having balance in your life
  • Doing something that you love to do
  • Laughing often
  • Being comfortable
  • Enjoying who you are
  • Knowing what you want
  • Spending time with those you love
  • Being yourself/expressing yourself
  • Doing the best you can

Until Next Time…

Embrace Happiness 

Questioning Yourself for Self-Improvement

Wordle: Self-ImprovementQuestioning ourselves, who we are, what we desire in life, and where we have been, is a big part of the journey of self-improvement. When we ask ourselves questions we discover answers, and by doing this regularly you are able to ensure that you are headed in the right direction, and on the path that best suits your personal needs.

Below are a few questions that you should be asking yourself on a regular basis. These questions will allow you to honestly assess where you are heading, as well as what you have accomplished this far. This process is an important part of the self-improvement journey and will ensure you stay on track with your goals. It also provides you with the opportunity to make changes as required, feel good about the things you have accomplished thus far, and reassess your goals as you grow.

I tend to ask myself these questions on a monthly basis, or whenever I question the direction that my life is heading. It is important that you are being honest with your answers and always remember to do what feels best for you.

10 Questions that will improve your self-improvement journey:

  1. What am I most grateful for over the last  (week, month) period?
    Taking the time to acknowledge what we are grateful for is a great way to open your mind to positive thinking. It helps you to discover opportunities, and assess what is important in your life. 
  2. What is my most important goal within the next year?
    When we are regularly setting and assessing our goals we are more likely to achieve them. Also, by prioritizing what we feel is most our important goal we are able to stay focused on what we most desire. 
  3. What has been my greatest accomplishment (within the last week, month) up to this moment  ?
    Similar to acknowledging what we are thankful for, we should regularly acknowledge those things that we have recently accomplished. These do not have to be ‘big’ tasks or goals in order to be celebrated, they can be as simple as “getting a good mark on a test”, or “Spending more time with my family”. Each little accomplishment brings us that much closer to our big picture. 
  4. What can I do at this moment to make things easier and less stressful?
    Be honest with yourself about what you need in your life in order to make it easier. We tend to be afraid to admit when we are stressed or struggling, but by seeking out help when we need it we actually tend to accomplish more of our goals. 
  5. Have the things that I have been doing recently brought me any closer to my goal(s)?
    Looking back at the things you have been doing in the recent past is a great way to seek out things that are working for you, and those that require change. If you look back and find that some of your actions are holding you back you can change them, if things are working well you can add to them. 
  6. What are the lessons I have learned recently and how can I use them in the future?
    Lessons are always available to us and we can utilize them for self-improvement. Take time to reflect on the struggles and success that you have faced recently and find the lessons that lie within these times. Ask yourself what you can do differently  or what you want more of in the upcoming time period. 
  7. What part of the upcoming future am I most looking forward to and what part am I not?
    Is there something in the near future that you are really excited about? Is there something that you are dreading? Look at both of these things and find ways to improve or change what you need to. If there is something you are dreading that can not be avoided find a way to make it more positive, or remind yourself that although you must do “this” thing you will be rewarded by that “thing” that you enjoy. 
  8. What opportunities have opened up for me since I last assessed my situation?
    Are there new opportunities available to you that you may want to consider? Just because something differs from what we have planned in our minds as being our goal does not mean that it should be dismissed. Take a moment to consider any opportunities that are currently available to you and how they would fit in with, or change the current path you are travelling.. and be sure to ask yourself if changing your direction be a good or bad thing?
  9. Am I happy with where I am currently headed?
    This is probably one of the most important questions on this list, and if you do not ask yourself any of the others at least ask this one. Sometimes people fall into the routine of simply working towards a goal because they chose to a long time ago, but taking the time to really question if the direction you are heading in works for you “now” is important. Our plans, goals, and preferences change over time, as we grow we learn more about ourselves and sometimes those plans or goals we made in the past don’t fit in with our needs of the moment. That is okay! By asking yourself this question regularly you are giving yourself an “out” should you find that your current direction is not what you feel you need/want anymore.  
  10. Who or what have I been neglecting over the past period and how can I improve that?
    Once in a while we get so caught up in life that we forget about other people and other desire we have. Take a moment to consider those people in your life that you could spend more time with (those that you ‘want’ to spend more time with) or those things that you have been pushing aside in life up to this point that you would like to include and find a way to do so. Maybe this means making a monthly ‘girls night’ to revive your friendships, or taking an art class like you have always wanted to. Whatever the case, thinking about those things we have been letting slide is a way to invite them back into our lives if we want to and it can open up new doors that would otherwise have remained closed to us. 

I usually finish off this questioning process with one final thought, “If this were my last ‘week/month’ how would I want to spend it?” I take this honest response and I reflect on what needs to be done in the future, as well as what I have done in the past, before carrying on in the direction I feel I should be headed.

This questioning process will also help you to worry less, because through constantly considering these questions you do not need to worry so much about making mistakes. Should you mess up at all along your personal journey you will figure it out a lot faster, and you will be able to rectify the situation more easily allowing you to get back on track at a quicker rate. Thus, you will be happier and feel more fulfilled with your accomplishments, as well as the lessons learned from any mistakes.

I highly recommend this questioning process as part of your self-improvement journey. You may want to begin with weekly considerations to start you on the right track, and eventually move to larger time frames, reassessing as required. Whatever time period you choose, I assure you that these questions will make you think and they should help you to find your way or get you back on track when you find yourself astray.

Until Next Time… 

Question what you “want” in life. 

The Importance of Critical Thinking.

Critical thinking is an important tool that can affect all aspects of your life. I call it a ‘tool’ because it differs from our regular thought process and requires us to focus how to think instead of what to think. Critical thinking does not always come to us naturally, in fact in most cases many of the skills that surround critical thinking must be taught in order for one to be a truly critical thinker.

Critical thinking is defined as the mental process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating information to reach an answer or conclusion. (dictionary.com) This is only one definition, there are many, but this one encompasses the general idea of what critical thinking is.

Critical thinking is about understanding and learning that decisions and situations are not simply black and white.

Although Logic is a part of critical thinking, it is not what makes someone a good critical thinker. Logic, like critical thinking, requires good analytical skills. This means you are able to analyze and provide logical support for your beliefs rather than simply stating your opinion. Analytical skills also help you to recognize other people’s views and analyze them without being falsely swayed or offended.

The basics of Critical Thinking are instilled in us at a young age, but can not be fully developed until we have made the choice to become critical thinkers ourselves. For the first part of our lives our choices are made by our parents. We do what we are told, without question for the most part, because our parents know what is best for us. We then progress to the point where we being looking at outside sources to enhance our decisions, these come in the form of friends, teachers, authority figures, and the media. At this point we are beginning to form our own opinions, and we even have some beliefs that are based on reasonable facts, but we may still fail to be truly critical of our ideas because they are based on what we have been taught to believe. The idea of critical thinking is to take those ideas and decide for ourselves whether or not we truly believe in them based on facts.Critical Thinking

For example; you may say that you believe in God. Perhaps you have been raised in a catholic household that attended church, or you went to a catholic school throughout your life. You believe in God because you have been taught to. One day you stumble across an article online that claims it can prove there is more than one God, after reading this article you begin to question what you have known your entire life… This puts you in a position to look at your beliefs critically and make decisions using your own skills.

Critical Thinking requires the use of several skills that need to be practiced and developed over time. Analytical skills are the stepping stone of a good critical thinker; but there is also a need for effective communication, research and inquiry, flexibility and tolerance, open-minded skepticism, creative problem solving, attention, mindfulness and curiosity, as well as collaborative learning. I won’t get into details on them all today, but combined they provide everything you need to think critically of any belief, situation or issue you come across in life.

Critical Thinking is about self-improvement because it helps you to be honest with yourself and others about your beliefs, biases, expectations, strengths and limitations.

What does this have to do with living a more positive, happier life?

Critical thinking will help you to live a more positive life by allowing you to closely examine who you truly are, what you truly want, and those things that you truly believe in. It can aid you in making choices and help you to resolve problems when they arise. It truly can affect every aspect of your life at any moment, and even make it easier.

So How Can You Improve Your Critical Thinking Skills?
How Can It Help You Become More Positive?

Well this is a broad question that would take pages and pages to fully explain, instead I will provide you with a few interesting pieces of information and some tips that will help you to begin developing your critical thinking skills.

A) Critical thinking and healthy self-esteem are closely related.
B) In order to become a critical thinker you will need to examine yourself.
C) When you begin to look at your beliefs you may find barriers.

It is true that good self-esteem will help your critical thinking, this is because people who feel confident with themselves tend to be more honest with other about what they think and so they are more open to debate/research on subjects that influence who they are. If you are afraid to share your thoughts and opinions with others, either because you fear being criticized or because you are not sure of yourself, you will never be able to fully develop your beliefs (note collaborative learning in the list above). Critical thinking will require you to look at yourself and your beliefs which is often difficult, especially when you have been raised with strict beliefs or within a narrow-minded environment. This can be stressful and event traumatic for some people. If that is the case it is important that you proceed slowly at a pace that works for you, and it can be helpful to find a mentor to lead you on your journey.  (Please feel free to email inspiredeverymoment@outlook.com for more information on beginning your critical thinking journey)

3 Ways to improve your critical thinking skills:

  1. Clarify – Look below the surface at the whole story. Do research to better understand a topic, and don’t accept anything at face value. This applies to your beliefs, your own thoughts (which you often think are clear but may not be to others or even yourself, and what others are telling you)
    You can clarify what others are saying by listening first then repeating back what you think they mean in your own words. If they are not satisfied with your response they you are not fully understanding one another.
    When it comes to your own thoughts and beliefs it is important that you consider ‘why’ you think what you do and where it stems from. Do you truly believe it? Can you support that belief with facts?
  2. Question Everything – Questions are an important tool when it comes to critical thinking. It is not only the questions you ask that matter, but also the questions you don’t ask. Pay attention to what is being questioned, what is not, how it is being questioned, and who is asking the questions. If you want to be truly critical in your thinking, and open yourself up to new possibilities, you must learn to question everything you come across.
  3. Be Reasonable and Understanding - One of the biggest aspects of being a good critical thinker is an understanding that not everyone has the same opinion or belief on a subject. It is important that we learn to listen to other people’s ideas in a critical way and we accept that their opinions may differ from our own. It is a powerful thing to be able to talk openly about a topic without feeling as if you must be right. Sometimes it is simply about the conversation rather than the outcome. If you come across someone who has a differing opinion or belief than you it is important that you do not get defensive, instead question them and the facts they provide, use this information as a tool to analyze your own ideas.

When we lack critical thinking skills we often get into trouble because we:

  • Jump to conclusions
  • get defensive
  • accept information from figures of authority without question
  • ignore information that does not support our own view
  • base our choices on opinion rather than fact
  • are unaware of our prejudice
  • fear judgement/lack self-esteem

This is why critical thinking is so important, and it is also that reason that it can have a big influence on the level of positivity in our lives. When we are not critically thinking about the issues we face and the beliefs we hold then how do we know if we are being truly honest with ourselves? By opening your mind to broader ideas, questioning things, and sharing your thoughts, you are inviting new ideas into your life. New ideas can lead you in new directions, and new directions will lead you to new places. If you get to those places through critical thinking then chances are they are going to be the ‘right’ places for you, they are going to be ‘good’ places, they are going to be positive places…. You get the idea.

So, practice your critical thinking skills every chance you get, because you never know where the next question will lead you.

Until Next Time…

Live to Learn!

As always questions and submissions can be sent to:
inspiredeverymoment@outlook.com