This weekend I went for a hike with my family and my sweetheart Jeff. As we were hiking down this riverbed filled with beauty, Jeff and I were talking about life. He said something very powerful and profound to me that inspired todays blog.
Jeff is a very confident, quiet and dependable man. He is genuinely content with his life, and is therefore a very pleasant person to be around. So when he speaks about life choices, I LISTEN. Afterall, shouldn’t we take advice from someone who is actually living the life you are trying to achieve.
So here is Jeff’s insight that inspired me today.
He said, “Most of the problems people have in life are created by their obsession with pleasing everyone but themselves.”
So simple, and yet so very very complicated.
I hope that you will take his statement into your heart today and let it ruminate in your mind like I have.
It will open doors in your mind, that if you are brave enough to walk through, will show you the ways in which you are complicating life in your quest to please people.
I have created a list of 14 things, based on Jeff’s statement that can help us all learn to live life pleasing ourselves at least as much as we try to please everyone else.
1. Sure, life can be tough and unfair, but don’t take it all so seriously. Think of life as a big prankster. And learn to laugh at your own expense. Try everyday to find at least 3 things that you do to laugh at. When you start to do this, you will stop being so preoccupied with perfection, and start to be more flexible and fun-loving.
2. Be your own BFF. Treat yourself the way you imagine your best friend would treat you. Especially in things you say to yourself. Before you start yelling at yourself, stop and ask if you would talk this way to your boss. If the answer is NO…then DON’T talk to yourself that way either!
3. Learn to recognize fear (it can be a tricky devil) and nip it in the bud. Monsters, like weeds, are much easier to eradicate when they’re small. Make it a daily practice to remind yourself that you can tackle any problem that arises, be your own super-hero.
4. Believe in choice. It’s always there. And if you feel like you’ve made a bad one, make another one and another one until you get it right. Learn to stop looking for someone to blame your bad choice on. Just learn to accept the responsibility yourself, and kindly reflect on the lesson you learned from that decision. This way, you will decrease the chances of making the same mistake twice. Nobody knows everything all the time. So forgive your errors in judgement quickly!
5. Spend the time to really listen to yourself and realize what your passion is. It may be a traditional profession you can pursue, but it may also be as simple as being a parent, or reading books, or traveling. Whatever it is, if it lights you up inside, find a way to make it your priority. And then stick with it, no matter what. It’s not silly or childish. It’s your calling and you were born to do it. We were not all born to be a super-star. If living a quiet anonymous life makes your soul sing, then enjoy your solitude.
6. Celebrate all your wins, and losses too. Rejection is hard, but remember – you dared to try. You were brave and jumped in. There’s no failure in that. In my life, it has been my rejections and tragedies that have taught me the most, so learn to celebrate your struggles and failures as the learning tools they are, and you will lose the VICTIM mentality that crushes more lives than any other force of nature.
7. If something bothers you or excites you, speak up. People cannot read your mind, much less your emotions. The very worst thing you can ever hear if you ask is…NO. Stop being afraid to hear that word, and start to ask anyway. Life becomes amazing when you ask others for help and advice.
8. When you’re stuck in traffic or crammed on a crowded subway or miss your train when you’re already late, remember that the other cars, other passengers and the train conductor are not out to get you. It is not about you. They probably don’t even realize you exist. They’re standing there, focusing on themselves and how this particular situation is unfair to them. It will be ok. You’ll get where you need to be in the end. Breathe.
9. Some things don’t change much from when we’re babies. If you’re cranky, you’re probably either tired, or hungry, So take a nap, grab a bite, or have a seat. Be your own “parent” and try to sooth the child inside the same way you would your actual child. It’s amazing how satisfying it is to know that you can take care of your own needs.
10. Your reality is what you believe it to be. If you think “I can’t, I won’t”, you can’t and you won’t. And if you think “I can, I will”, you can and you will. There really is only one person with the power to RUIN your life, and that person is YOU! So stop limiting yourself because your afraid of what people will think and just face each day KNOWING that you are a WINNER and everyone will either have to agree… or get out of your way. 😉
11. People die, lovers break your heart, and jobs and money disappear. Take the time to be sad, angry, disappointed and scared, but also remember to let it go when it’s run its course. There is no nobility in angst. Only pain. And it only hurts you in the end. In my opinion this is the number one tip to finding joy. Feelings just are, they are NOT right or wrong. Stop judging your feelings and just FEEL them. By doing this, your mind will naturally heal your heart, and you will once again be free to feel JOY.
12. Your ego is like a toddler: sometimes it cries out because something is wrong and sometimes it’s just throwing a tantrum. Learn to recognize the difference to keep it healthy and unspoiled. This is why meditation and prayer are such an important part of my life. It is during these quiet moments of reflection that I am able to distinguish between a need and a want within my ego.
13. Laugh! As much and as often as possible. Find websites that contain funny videos or jokes and have them delivered into your inbox. Rent funny movies. Watch children play. Do whatever you can to laugh as often as possible. Laughter is my drug of choice!
14. Be kind. To yourself and others. Try not to judge too harshly, for we are all seeking the same thing – love and happiness. What we say, look like, or do as we travel on this journey is much less important than the journey itself. We’re all in it together. Seek commonalities rather than differences. You might be surprised to discover there are many more of those around! It is easy to love your friends, but the challenge, and the ultimate reward in life is when you can learn to love those people who are not your friends, like strangers, or those who have offended you. When you can learn to open your heart and allow them the space to be themselves and not judge that, your life will become a beautiful thing indeed.
I hope that today’s blog that Jeff inspired will also inspire you. Life really is simple. We have just been told for so long that it is HARD…and we have bought into that lie ourselves.
Take these 14 ideas and see if they work to make your life a little more simple.