Read This Before Your Next Birthday

There have been quite a few birthdays lately, which prompted me to write this story. It is interesting how views change over time as we grow.

I had a very different view of my birthday until a few years ago.¬†Growing up, as much as I love being surrounded by people, I didn’t like the idea that everyone was gathering around to celebrate my birthday.

It wasn’t about attention; it was about not wanting people to make a fuss over me.

What I Used to Think

When I was younger, I used to think that it was silly to celebrate my birthday. I really enjoyed celebrating other people’s birthdays, but it felt weird when it came to my own. I didn’t want a gathering just for me. A few people that I know share this feeling.

It wasn’t until a few years ago that my mindset changed about what having a birthday is all about.

Celebrate!

I realize that having a birthday is truly one of life’s greatest gifts. Think about it, a birthday means that you have lived another year and the gift of life is absolutely worth celebrating!

You have experienced one year of trials, growth, lessons, changes, and opportunities. You are still here to tell your story! That is amazing and something worth celebrating.

For those of you that share the same belief that I once did about celebrating your birthday, take note of these things and realize that life is the most precious gift and deserves every bit of acknowledgment. 

Take the day to celebrate the amazing person that you are and don’t forget to make a wish!

One Way to Challenge False Beliefs About Ourselves

If someone were to ask you: “How would you describe yourself?” What would you say? What words would you use? This question can have many answers.

We are good a knowing who we are as an individual. We generally know our strengths and our weaknesses, but did you know that some of the beliefs that you hold about yourself, particularly the negative ones, may be false beliefs?

What Are False Beliefs?

Any belief that you believe to be true about yourself that is actually untrue is called a false belief. Throughout our lives, experiences have shaped us into who we are. Our perceptions of ourselves are a result of these experiences, however, they can be skewed without us even realizing it.

False beliefs can truly negatively impact our lives. We may become self-conscious, lack self-esteem, and our perceived beliefs can hinder our relationships.

Recall a Time

Think of times in your life when you felt a certain way about yourself, yet others have told you otherwise. Maybe you felt unintelligent, that you lacked social skills, felt unorganized, not capable, possibly you felt like you were unable to keep relationships intact, or that the world was out to get you.

As we go through life, we may consciously or even subconsciously look for things in our lives that “prove” our false beliefs to be true. We are extra keen on experiences that validate our false beliefs and sadly this helps keep this belief going.

For Example

Imagine you are having a rough day and your false belief is that “the world is out to get you.” Possibly, you start thinking of the list of things in your head that have happened to you that day and how this truly must mean that the world is against us.

Next, imagine that you have been dating someone and things got off to a pretty good start, however just a few months into the relationship you feel like things are slowly falling apart. You try to make things work, however, sadly the relationship wasn’t meant to be, and it ends. You have a false belief that you are not capable of relationships, so naturally, you feel like this belief continues to be true given what you are experiencing.

How Can We Fix This?

There is one simple way that we can implement in our lives to start melting away the false beliefs that we hold so tightly onto. For every negative belief that you hold onto, challenge it with an experience that proved this belief to be untrue.

If you think that you cannot have a successful relationship, then write down all of the people that you have a good relationship with, this could be your neighbor, friend, or family member. If you feel like the world is out to get you, write down all of the ways that life has blessed you and keep a note of the days when you feel that things went well. You will see that the world, though harsh, is also on your side.

Someone who feels like they lack social skills can write down the times when they had a conversation that meant something to them, or someone else. Think of a time when a casual “hello” was said to someone at the store, that is a success. Some people may think that they are not capable to function in this world. Recall all of the times that you did, possibly without even realizing it. Something as simple as getting out of bed in the morning, going grocery shopping, taking care of family, or completing a project or a goal, you can see that you are capable.

I Challenge You

When you have a moment, grab a pen and paper and divide it into two columns. Write down a list of beliefs in one column that you have about yourself. In the column next to it, write down some experiences that you have that contradict this belief. You may be pleasantly surprised to see that this belief of yours is false!

Our thoughts and beliefs about ourselves tend to be sneaky and it is important to visually see that we may just be perceiving ourselves incorrectly. I hope that you will find this beneficial in regaining confidence in yourself and the world around you!

Do You Have Time to Be Happy?

I think that most of us would agree that happiness is an utmost priority. Life is very complex, and many factors contribute to one’s level of happiness.

For us to be happy, basic life needs have to be met for us to feel comfortable. We need food, water, shelter, ability to pay bills, we need love, support, and respect. Of course, many other things can bring us happiness, some are considered a luxury, while others are a means of survival.

Happiness Is a Priority 

Above all, your happiness and well-being are priceless. No relationship, job, or situation is worth it if it takes away your happiness and zest for life.

There will be sacrifices when making adjustments in life, however, happiness is the ultimate goal! If you can get past the sacrifices and have the strength and determination to make changes along the way, you are on your way to a happier life.

Start Your Day 

What you expose yourself to first thing in the morning when you wake up sets the tone for the rest of your day. Start your day with positive words, inspirational stories, start with looking yourself in the mirror and saying that you love yourself, and mention some qualities that you love about yourself.

You may want to read religious doctrines, play some calming or upbeat music, write, journal, or even meditate. Anything that brings you happiness, even for just a few minutes is worth it!

It Only Takes a Few Minutes

Often people say that they don’t have time, that they are too busy, or too tired to include any sort of routine like this into their day, but it only takes a moment of your time, and the benefits will be worth it. If someone were to ask you if you have a few minutes in your day to feel happier in life, what would you tell them? Oftentimes the solutions to our problems lies in our own hands!

Leave What Cannot Be Undone

How many things are you currently worried about that cannot be changed? For many of us, it is quite a few things. We may be dwelling on a decision that we made, or regret some of our past behaviors. As hard as it is to not worry, analyze, and overthink the past, it is so necessary for our well-being and to be able to move forward.

As much as we may wish, our energy both physically and mentally is not infinite. We must take great care to preserve our energy and save it for things in our lives that truly require every bit of energy that we have left.

When we worry about things that happened in the past, we are using our precious energy on something that truly cannot be changed, it cannot be undone. I’m sure that you can count many times that you have said something like “I wish I didn’t leave my job,” or” I wish that I could go back in time and redo a certain relationship.”

Living in the Past

When we live in the past instead of the present, we are robbing ourselves of energy that we could be taking to solve problems and deal with life in the here and now. The past cannot be changed, what is done is done and I know that is very hard to accept sometimes but accepting that fact and also being able to leave what cannot be undone in the past is so important.

We could spend countless hours of our lives thinking we could have, would have, should have and although it can be a stress-reliever to overthink and analyze these thoughts, it serves us no purpose, it does not keep us from moving forward, it does not allow us to make good decisions now that will shape our more desired future.

Often, I find myself thinking of the past, how I would change certain things about it, and how I would have done things differently, yet if I spend all of my energy focusing on what I cannot change, I am wasting precious moments of my life where I can make a difference. As hard as it is, leave the past in the past. It is a part of you, but it does not define you, nor does it deserve any energy from you.

My Best Advice

Worrying about something that you can’t change is very common human behavior, however, it will get you nowhere. When you find yourself slipping into thinking about things that you are not able to change, then acknowledge that you are feeling a certain way and then let it go. Remind yourself that you are focusing on working towards things in your life that you currently have the power to influence.

Whatever you are worrying about today, know that things tend to happen for a reason, things happen for life to fall into place, and things happen for you to grow as a person, whatever you are worrying about today, know that the past is in the past and the present needs your attention. Though difficult, may this be a gentle reminder to put your thoughts, time, and energy into what you can control. Many blessings to you all!

What I Learned by Going Against Advice

I, like many of us, think that I know what is best for myself. In the majority of cases, we probably do, however, there are times when we think that we know what is best for us and it may not necessarily be.

Many years ago, I had finished college and earned my degree and I stumbled across another program that interested me and was a way to even further my knowledge and my career. I studied hard day after day, passed my prerequisite exams, and applied to the program. It was a long wait to find out if I had been accepted or not.

The day had finally come, and I opened up the letter to find out that I was accepted! I was over the moon excited, and I couldn’t believe it. After a lot of preparations and arrangements, I made it all happen and made it to my first day of this new college program.

The Advice That I Was Given

The professor gave us an overview of the program, expectations, the schedule, and a bit about what we could look forward to and learn. I took it all in, excited as could be, notebook in hand, and then the professor left us with some advice.

She looked around at each of us as if to make her point very clear. The professor let us know that she had been doing this for many years and she told us that the students who succeed are the ones that work together to learn and involve each other every step of the way.

How I Felt

I am all about teamwork, I thrive working with others and I find that it is a great learning experience for everyone involved. The more minds that share, the more knowledge and ways of viewing things can be obtained. Surprisingly, my thoughts did not align with hers.

Despite my tendency to be one of the team, with all of us being in this program together learning new information, I decided that while I would make friends and at some points work with others, I wanted to learn most of this material solo. I wanted to be able to focus without distraction and I was worried that some of the information could be misconstrued if all of us were throwing out ideas.

Big Mistake

I watched the other students meet before and after class, they had regular meetings and hands-on activities to help them learn. I did most of my studying at home and sometimes during breaks on campus.

I thought that since I already had another degree, this one would be easier this time around. I was confident that I could do this alone, even though it might be a struggle. Time went on and I watched my confidence, my grades, and my health decline.

I started becoming so fatigued from pushing myself that I could barely function. My brain was not able to take in any more information, because I was on overload. I wasn’t able to piece the information together as it kept building and building. I felt myself slipping, how could this have happened?

I Wish That I Had Listened to the Advice

I was very upset and looking back I remembered the professor clearly saying that this was the type of program where we all needed to work together. I wished that I had listened, I regretted not following through with her advice.

I felt that I knew myself better than anyone else did, but this situation proved me wrong. I couldn’t believe that this was my reality, but I was determined to make it work.

It Was Too Late

I joined some of the study groups that my friends in the program were in, I started the hands-on practices, stayed late at school to study with my peers and even ate dinner there some nights. I tried my very hardest to follow every instruction that my professor originally asked that we do.

Sadly, despite all of my efforts to turn this around, it was too late. My grades were fine; however, my health was not. Due to the stress of the program, both my mental and physical health declined, and I had no choice but to withdraw myself from the program. I was in good academic standing, so I was told by professors that I was able to come back again if I chose to do so.

Little did I know, many series of events took place after this program that would have made it almost impossible to have done anything with the certificate even if I had reached the end. It was a blessing in disguise. I also walked away with a valuable lesson.

What I Learned

Sometimes we don’t know what is best for ourselves. We should listen to the advice of others carefully, we may choose to take it, or we may not, but we shouldn’t be so quick to brush it off for it may have incredible value.

We are usually better in numbers. As human beings, we are meant to be together, to help each other, support each other, and learn from each other. If I had stuck with a group from the very beginning, then I possibly could have made it through. We need each other, it is as simple as that.