5 Greatest Life Lessons I’ve Learned

Life is an everyday learning experience and we are constantly evolving and adapting in order to create the best life that we possibly can. I am continuously learning about myself and the world around me, however I have come up with five lessons that I have learned that have helped me tremendously with personal growth.

  1. Take care of yourself mentally and physically. This probably seems obvious, but something that most of us don’t pay enough attention to. We do such a great job of taking care of others, we also need to remember to take care of ourselves both physically and mentally. It’s very difficult to go through life’s demands when we don’t feel sound as a human being. Taking full care of ourselves allows us to live life easier and fuller. Physically, we can eat a balanced diet, make sure that we are drinking enough water, exercise, or keep active in general. We can keep up with selfcare that helps us feel our best. Mentally we can take breaks when we feel overwhelmed, even if it’s a short coffee break, any sort of break lets us recharge. Everyone has a limit and it’s good to recognize when you are getting burned out so that it can be stopped in its tracks. Go for a walk, not only does this help physically, but also helps greatly at clearing our minds. Just being in nature is so refreshing and helps remind us that we are part of an amazing universe. Pamper yourself – take a hot bath, get a massage, take a course, pick up a hobby, etc. When we are mentally and physically whole we can take on anything!
  2. Stop worrying about things that you cannot control. Okay, this is a difficult one, especially for me, but I have learned ways to implement this. It’s so easy for anxiety and worry to take over, then one thought or worry snowballs into another and another. Worrying is a valid human emotion, however we can do ourselves a favor by focusing and putting our energy into things that we do have control over. Worrying about the unknown or uncontrollable aspects of our lives, robs us of the energy that we need to focus on what we can change. I believe in fate and I believe that what’s meant to be will be, this helps me sit back, relax, and breathe. When a worry or situation strikes I ask myself: Do I have control over this? If I do, well I can figure out an action plan and if I don’t, then I try to take the situation day by day and try to give up that control. I also analyze the situation to see what I can do and what my options are.
  3. Share your energy wisely. As much as we sometimes like to think of ourselves as superheroes, we are human beings that have limits and a limited amount of energy reserves. Life alone can be very draining of these reserves, so one tip that I have learned over the years is to be careful who I share my energy with. If you are around negative people, or people that bring you down, this will deplete your energy overtime. On the contrast, surrounding yourself with supportive and uplifting people can do wonders for your wellbeing. It’s human nature to want to care for others, but we should be cautious where we expend our energy.
  4. Don’t take things personally. Not so easy to do right? Someone says or does something that hurts or offends us and we take it to heart. We start to think what’s wrong with me? Does anyone like me? Is this individual acting this way because of me? We may feel like we are at fault and are the root cause of problems. The truth is, most of what people say isn’t about us at all, it’s about the other individual. Lots of times our worry and fear make us extra sensitive and we can view what’s happening incorrectly, making us question ourselves, and lowering our self-esteem. During these times, we must step back, analyze the situation, and try to understand that most likely the reactions and thoughts of others are in fact only fears, projections, and emotions of the other individual that they need to work through.
  5. Follow your instincts. We were born with instinct. We hear phrases like “follow your heart,” and “do what feels right.” Some people have a stronger intuition than others. There are claims that intuition can be built upon and made stronger. Often times, these innate feelings are subconscious and other times it’s like the message is clear as day. These gut feelings are there for a reason: to warn us, inform us, help us, guide us, etc. Most often, that little, or should I say big voice inside of us is accurate.

I really hope that you have found these helpful!

Decisions: You Have the Power

Life is full of choices and the decisions that we make can have a great impact on our lives. We go through life everyday making decisions big and small. We encounter situations that we don’t give much thought to and ones that make us dwell on them for days. We are faced with decisions from the moment we wake up to the time that we go to bed. We have to decide what to have for breakfast, which route to take to work, where we spend our money, how we spend our day, what time we go to bed at night, etc. We are always faced with some sort of choice to make and that choice will ultimately lead us to another situation and possibly another choice!

One can spend hours, days, months, or years debating and contemplating a decision, especially one that has the ability to change our lives forever. I was recently faced with one of the greatest decisions that I have ever had to make in my life and I want to share how I reached that decision. It took months, but after careful analyzing of the situation, I knew I had made the right choice.

Most likely, when you are faced with a certain situation, your mind will be running in all directions and will probably feeling a bit like a hamster running on a wheel. One thought leads to another, that leads to another, and so on. Once we reach the point that we know that we are faced with a situation or decision, and we can calm down after that initial stage of anxiety, panic, sadness, whatever emotion we are feeling, then we can begin to look at the situation more logically without having our emotions rule most of our decision-making.

Step one when I need to make a big decision is a pro/con list. I can think of the positives and negatives in my head, but to write it out on paper gives me a true visual image. Sometimes when you try to name positives and negatives for a particular choice, you feel like each side is pretty equal until you write it all down and realize that there really is no case…there is a clear winner! After looking at the pros/cons of a decision, I then look at each option and think if I chose that option, what possibilities could that lead me to? If I don’t choose that option, what could that mean for me and my future? Of course, we cannot always know how things will play out in life, but we may be able to get an idea of the possibilities and that could help aide us in our decision-making.

We all have different views and opinions about life and circumstances and this is just mine, but I truly do believe that everything happens for a reason. Life seems to fit together so perfectly like pieces of a puzzle and as it unfolds we can often see why a particular event didn’t occur, or why we are no longer with someone that we loved. We have to go through certain events to make us stronger and more knowledgeable, they help us grow as a person. I believe that we all have a life path that was created just for us, we are all on our own unique journey, but we are here to learn, grow, and help each other through it.

Feel free to comment on any recent decisions that you have had to make and I wish you all the best of luck as we navigate through life!

Boundaries

Boundaries mean different things to different people and our personal limits and boundaries vary greatly between us. Most of us don’t even realize that we go through our every day lives setting these invisible boundaries between ourselves and the world around us. These may be expressed by our body language, spoken words, or our instincts that tell us to get closer or back away.

Some individuals have very open boundaries, they are freely themselves, and are open and friendly with many people. Some have what we call “a wall up,” where it’s very difficult to let people in and there are many limits and boundaries in place to prevent one from getting too close. Others are somewhere in-between and this is personally where I aspire to be. For most individuals, I am quite difficult to open up, I don’t trust many people easily, so I subconsciously set limits and boundaries between myself and other individuals. There are some people where I feel instantly comfortable with and it’s with them that my wall is lowered and sometimes I end up getting too close emotionally in a short amount of time. I continuously strive and work for a balance.

There are benefits and downsides to having many boundaries, just as there are benefits having minimal boundaries and being a free spirit. The benefits of having many boundaries is that you can guard your mind and heart a little better, you can choose who you feel is worth your energy and who deserves a place in your heart. The downside is that you may be missing out on getting to know others if you are closing them off, we may be missing out on connections and experiences. The benefit of having minimal boundaries is that you truly enjoy life and experience it to the fullest, the negative is that you may get hurt more by putting your mind and heart on the line. Wanting to put up limits and boundaries can and does protect us, but is also hurting and hindering us.

Having boundaries in place is both beneficial and necessary in all relationships including family, friendships, romantic relationships, coworkers, etc. These boundaries help to keep us happy and to feel respected as a human being. It’s up to us to speak our minds and speak up for ourselves if something doesn’t feel right, it’s up to us to communicate our needs to others, there’s no way for them to know otherwise. In return, we also need to pay attention to the needs and wants of others.

Before I end for now, I must touch on the fact that humans have many emotional and physical needs and will often go about meeting them any way they can because for most of us, not having our needs met is very painful. For example, we may grow very close to a stranger because we are in dire need of friendship and don’t want to feel alone, or we may get into a relationship right after a breakup because we no longer have that individual who was fulfilling our needs. The dynamic between people truly fascinates me and is ever-changing.


Life Talk: True Friends and Toxic People

So much of our lives are spent interacting with other individuals on many different levels. We can have acquaintances, friends, family, significant others, coworkers, etc. Each encounter and individual that we meet has the power to impact us greatly…positively or negatively. I personally believe that certain individuals and situations are brought into our lives to serve a specific purpose.

I used to accept just about everyone into my life when I was younger. I definitely learned the hard way that this was not an ideal way of life, but every relationship and situation that we go through has the power to make us stronger. I’ve been through my fair share of fake friends and toxic people, but I have also been blessed with some true friends along the way. I must say that the older I get, these true friends sure do seem like one in a million, they are such a rare find. I do believe that part of this is because as we age, we have a better idea of the qualities that we look for in people when entering into any sort of relationship.

The older we get, we truly realize how precious our energy is and how much the people in our lives affect us. We start to notice who has been our true friend through good and bad and who has been there only at their convenience. Sometimes we may have a friend that is a true friend, but yet a toxic friend as well, or we may have a definite toxic friend that we should remove from our lives.

There are signs of a true friend and a toxic friend. True friends feel like a 50/50 give and take relationship. Both parties feel cared for and supported, there is no selfish or self-absorbed behavior. True friends should feel like a good balance, they should make you feel comfortable and able to be yourself. You’ll find them around during the good times and the bad. Toxic friends on the other hand usually don’t give you the best feeling. The relationship may appear one-sided, they may expect you to be there for them, but when you need them they can’t be found. Toxic friends will use us, put us down, and drain our energy.

I try not to let the past friendships and relationships affect my current and future ones, but having had many fake and toxic friends over the years, I have slowly built a wall up and it is harder to allow people in. I have to remind myself that new individuals are not part of my past and they deserve a clean slate and to be given a chance, some people are truly good and not out to do harm. Trust your gut instincts when dealing with others and love and cherish the ones that are truly there for you!

Knowing who to remove from your life can make all the difference in the world. Your energy is very precious, preserve it.

The Passage of Time

It hit me the other day…I was pulling into a parking space, just getting home from work. We had gotten a 10″ snowstorm the weekend before and as much as I love snow, finding enough parking after a storm can be quite difficult. I remember shortly after the storm, the snow was piled up all over the roads. As beautiful as it is, it made parking a little tricky for about a week. I remember coming home everyday trying to maneuver my car into a space. I couldn’t wait for the sun to melt some of it away. We had a really warm day the other day, it reached over 60 degrees and the remaining snow had melted away and that’s when it hit me…

A brief moment of sadness rushed over me as I pulled so easily into my parking space. I know this may sound crazy, but this small routine moment made me reach a large realization. I have heard this time and time again, but have always found it difficult to do…that is to live in the moment. As life unfolds, I tend to just go through the motions, or look to the future, sometimes dwell on the past, but hardly ever live for today and in the moment. There can be so much that we are missing when we are not fully paying attention to our present moment. Good or bad, as hard as it is, if we are constantly stuck in the past, or focused on the future, we are missing the here and now.

When we practice living for today, so many opportunities can flow to us, we are more open and focused on our surroundings, our energy and minds are set in the present moment. Easily parking my car, such a simple event, was what I needed to really push myself to try to live in the moment. I was so busy wanting the snow to melt so that I could park my car with ease, that when the snow did finally all melt away I missed it because I did not fully enjoy it while it was there.

Time cannot be taken back, if we focus on today, we can start getting the most out of life. This will definitely not be an easy habit to change, but I am appreciative of my own mini wake-up call. Enjoy each day and each moment, for time keeps pressing on and is soon to become just a memory.

Decoding the Anxious Mind – Tips to Relieve Anxiety

Most of us feel some sort of anxiety in our lives during specific life situations like a new job, moving to a new house, having an argument with a loved one, giving a presentation, etc., however there are individuals like myself that struggle with anxiety on a daily basis. This is the more extreme form, not your typical anxiety here and there. In this blog I will be talking about my personal experience with anxiety and also tips and tricks that I have found to be very helpful along the way.

I have dealt with anxiety since I was a young child. Things often worried and scared me without any particular reason. I remember being so tense about things and I couldn’t relax enough to be a wild and free kid like many children are. I of course had a ton of fun in my childhood and have many great memories that I will never forget, by this I mean I was an overly-cautious child and that hasn’t changed much to this day! As I grew into my teen years, my anxiety became more apparent. I was extremely shy, I hardly spoke to anyone. My hands would sweat and I was afraid of what others thought of me. I was so shy and nervous that it prevented me from even knowing what to say to other people, I had a lot of trouble keeping a conversation going with anyone outside of my family. I believe that anxiety and shyness are in most cases part of being a teenager, however my anxiety was extreme and impacted many areas of my life. Now, as an adult I still suffer from anxiety, but I have made a lot of improvements by submerging myself into situations and forcing interactions with others until they became natural. This took years and years for me to be able to do, but now good luck getting me to stop talking!

I am reminded of my anxiety on a daily basis with varying degrees depending on what’s going on in my life. I have experienced those dreaded panic attacks, moments where you literally cannot get your mind from snowballing from one idea or fear to the next, and times where you feel like you are literally going insane and losing control. I have thankfully found ways to manage and lessen my anxiety and I am happy to share them with you! In some cases, the tips below will not suffice, there are cases where individuals should seek a professional to help them develop a deeper understanding of where the root of their anxiety might be coming from. Here is a list of tips that have helped me:

  1. Be out in nature – it’s so peaceful and relaxing and makes you realize that we are a small part of something so much greater
  2. Go for a walk – the physical aspect is very good at calming anxiety, being exposed to nature is an added bonus if you walk outside
  3. Take a hot shower or bath – heat is so soothing and relaxing and so is the sound of water!
  4. Write or journal – express and relieve emotions. I love to write and blog
  5. Have a hobby and a focus – this keeps your mind busy, an idle mind is not a good thing, there’s too much thinking. A hobby gives you focus and hope as well as something to look forward to, it’s a nice distraction
  6. Talk with like-minded people – this can help you realize that you aren’t alone and you aren’t as different as you feel from society. I know a lot of times I literally have anxiety about having anxiety, so just to know that there are others that have similar fears or experiences, makes me not feel so alienated

I truly hope that you have found these useful!

The Magic that Happens Just by Being You

Be yourself…that sounds easy right? After all, we are living everyday as ourselves, or are we? I am sure that a lot of us can think of a time or times in our life where we didn’t stay true to ourselves whether it be due to stigmas in society, peer pressure, fear, whatever it may be, it prevented us from being our authentic self. I believe that for many of us, we don’t realize how often we “stray” from ourselves. For example, we could hold back on saying something in a meeting, limit sharing our thoughts, feelings, and opinions with friends and family, or not sticking up for what we believe in.

It seems as though many of us have this innate fear of being seen as different, being judged, fear of trusting and opening up, fear of failure, not being loved, so many other reasons that prevent us from being our true selves. One factor that I have noticed especially in myself is that once I let go of my fears, the world opens up to me. This of course, is not always easy to do, but when we start to love ourselves, boost ourselves the way we so easily boost others, say what we feel, and ask questions, that’s when the magic happens!

photo of three women lifting there hands

We can learn to be ourselves by analyzing the way that we approach people and situations that happen to us in life. We can pay more attention to our interactions with family, friends, coworkers, others in general. Are we saying what’s on our mind and in our hearts? Are we asking questions when we are worried about something instead of believing that we already know the answer? Do we stick up for what we believe in? Do we push ourselves to do the best that we can in life? We can be conscious of the moments and situations where fear takes over and use them as opportunities to slowly start putting ourselves out there. Overtime, this can become second nature.

As with a lot of aspects of life, we cannot control what others do and say, only how we handle ourselves in these circumstances. There will be people that judge and form opinions about us, but I personally have felt that the freedom that comes from being your true self far outweighs any backlash or fears. When you allow yourself to be open, vulnerable, fearless, you open up so many windows of opportunity in the areas of life and personal growth. I have found that living my authentic self has decreased my worry and anxiety and has let me grow and develop as an individual. Remember, you are amazing and beautiful just as you are…let it shine!!

man standing beside cliff