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!

What Lesson Is This Teaching Me?

Life tends to be up and down and all over the place. I am constantly looking for ways to better myself and make my life easier. There’s a little technique that I started using whenever something negative happens to me.

After experiencing something unpleasant, I used to sit and dwell on the fact that it was an annoyance to my day. Sometimes these situations would leave me in a bad mood for hours or even the rest of the day. I knew I wanted to change that. Life is too precious to hold onto bad feelings if we can prevent them at all costs.

Yesterday Was Stressful 

Monday just hadn’t gone my way, life is hard enough, but when there are added challenges in the mix, it is that much more complicated.

There was a huge issue that needed fixing and a very difficult conversation to be had with my best friend. Combine lack of sleep with a bunch of minor problems that all add up to feel like a bigger problem and you’ve got a recipe for a bad mood.

To be honest, I let yesterday’s events get me down. I was marinating in it and then decided that I needed to implement the technique that I’d been practicing.

My Thought Process

I didn’t work through the minor issues too much yesterday because I was too focused on the large ones. After giving myself time to go through the motions, I looked at each situation as a teacher.

The major issue that had to be resolved took over an hour and a half. During the whole time trying to remedy the issue, I felt so much stress and anxiety.

The dreaded conversation with my best friend filled me with sadness as we tried to work through the situation.

Look At It This Way

I am not the kind of person that bounces back from negativity very quickly, it usually takes me a while, but when I finally do get to that place, I feel so strong and empowered. Once I settled down, I examined each situation and what it taught me.

The huge issue that was once looked at as a great burden and waste of time and energy became a teacher of patience. It also became a teacher of trust. I had to be patient and trust that someone was able to help me no matter how long it took.

The conversation with my best friend that once had me feeling such sadness and feeling personally attacked was looked at as a teacher of communication and value. It required good communication from both of us to get through the situation that we had at hand, it also taught me that I truly value my best friend because, without that feeling, the situation could have just been brushed off and I wouldn’t have felt the need to have a conversation with her.

It Worked!

I felt so much better after turning these negative situations into positive ones. I saw these issues as a way to grow instead of something that would harm me.

Our minds are very powerful. If you are dealing with something in life right now, try to see what lesson there is to be learned. What is the situation trying to teach you? Perspective is everything!

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!

Why the Difference?

One of the greatest things in life is the love and support of family and friends. Why do we treat our loved ones so much differently than we treat ourselves? We should make taking care of ourselves mentally and physically our utmost priority. We cannot give much of ourselves to this world if we are not whole.

Most of us are very hard on ourselves, I know that I am. I’m told this over and over again, yet I don’t see it myself.

Imagine that you made a mistake on a project that you are working on at your job. You might tell yourself “I can’t do anything right; I am such a failure.” Flip this situation around. A family member or friend is in the same situation, they just made a huge mistake on a project they were working on. What do you tell them? Would you tell them that they cannot do anything right and that they are a failure? Probably not. Instead, you might tell your friend that they did the best that they could do and that they are only human and it’s natural to make a mistake now and then.

You and your significant other just got into a fight and you start saying to yourself “I am never good at relationships,” you keep telling yourself “I am a terrible communicator.” What if a friend was going through this, what would you tell them? Maybe you would say that they should take some time for themselves to regroup and try to remedy the situation, maybe you would tell your friend that relationships aren’t easy, that constant effort is needed, and this doesn’t make them a bad person.

Do you see the differences in how people typically speak to themselves versus a loved one? One’s internal dialogue is so very important because we start to believe what we tell ourselves. Negative self-talk is very detrimental to us and those that we have a relationship with.

Why is it that we can so easily support the people that we love, but we cannot give that same grace and support to ourselves? Why is it that we can quickly build someone else up, while so easily tearing ourselves apart?

We are so hard on ourselves due to human nature; we know all of our faults and weaknesses and we tend to not have patience with ourselves. We also know about our pasts, and we carry parts of that with us. Whether we like to admit it or not, it does affect our confidence. We like to place other people on a pedestal, while we are the ones that are flawed as we strive to be perfect, something beyond human capability.

The next time that you are dealing with something in life, and you find that you are being hard on yourself remember to stop and ask yourself what you would tell a loved one that was in your exact situation. You give so much kindness, hope, and empathy to others, be kind to yourself…you deserve it.