10 ways you’re making your life harder than it has to be: reposted (+ 10 ways to turn it around)

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This is it in a nutshell: https://thoughtcatalog.com/tim-hoch/2014/06/10-ways-youre-making-your-life-harder-than-it-has-to-be/. Plus 10 quick tips on how to make life easier (repeat after me):

  • When we continue to rehash (supposed) offenses: Let it go.
  • When we look for affirmation from others: I’m enough.
  • When our worries escalate to panic-attack proportions: It’s temporary.
  • If unrealistic/uncommunicated expectations eclipse our blessings: Be grateful.
  • Sometimes we pray, sometimes we wait but we must always do our homework: Be wise.
  • It’s okay to be picky and/or less bold when taking risks: Failure is better than not trying at all.
  • The truth on comparison shopping: The grass is not greener.
  • We cannot retrieve time we’ve lost or fast forward to the future: Practice mindfulness daily.
  • Let go of [fill in the blank]: Focus on what we can control.
  • About giving back: In the end it’s not the years in your life that count; it’s the life in your years. ~ Abraham Lincoln.

How do you make life easier?

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

How to excel at this one life

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how-to-excel

Many self-help articles share a common theme on how to grow and excel at this one life: stop complaining. This doesn’t mean we can’t vent our frustrations, but how about a new approach? Rather than spew negativity to those around us, let’s try writing it down; i.e., spend a few minutes daily journaling our angst. Maybe your partner behaved inconsiderately or you forgot to fill up your gas tank for the week. Or perhaps the first work email of the day rubbed you the wrong way or your alarm went off much too early this morning (it can’t be Monday already, can it?) and your stomach is in knots—knowing that after an eight-hour day, a 2 ½-hour HOA board meeting follows. Once you’ve written everything down, release these thoughts and mindfully replace them with thankfulness: It’s a new day. You’re breathing. Friday’s coming. Everything is temporary. Most on-point quote (by Heraclitus): There is nothing permanent except change. #truestory

Is your MO to complain or to be grateful?

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Listen up: bridge the communication gap

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Listen up

Several years ago, I wrote about how ‘When only up close and personal will do’ in cases where instant communication doesn’t do the trick. I find myself in that spot again, torn into a million tiny pieces because I cannot be with several loved ones going through their own challenges—health, relationships, financial, employment or otherwise. But I can, at least, carve time into my daily routine each morning to offer up prayers and petitions for these dear people in my life, grateful for every one of them. And I hope this affords them a semblance of peace amidst whatever chaos they struggle with. To be kind in word and deed to those in my little world is a blessing I cherish; yet, when I’m unable to offer a touch, a helping hand, words to make it right or a shoulder to cry on, I can listen—whether I’m in the same room, or halfway across the country. Sometimes that’s enough.

How do you bridge the communication gap?

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A rebirth of sorts: happiness at last

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Re-birth
As the year draws to a close, and as I grasp tightly (kicking and screaming) the vestiges of my forties for a few days longer, I reflect on that for which I’m grateful: Those friends who have come and gone from my life—the ones who bless me daily, and those who served the sole purpose of teaching me (sometimes painful) lessons; the second chances I’ve been gifted, a new path to traverse—a clean slate, if you will. I’m energized by the possibilities, my heart lighter than ever. And as I step into this new season, I can honestly say I’ve discovered what I’ve been searching for all this time. The funny thing is it’s been right under my nose all along. Because when I finally stopped focusing on me—my needs, my expectations, my self—I understood for the first time what it means to be happy. So happy rebirthday to me… a fresh beginning to sparkle where I’m planted.

Where could you use a rebirth?

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A palms-up approach

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A palms-up approach

[Image credit: tungphoto]

It’s true what they say. Time seems to speed up as we get older. We’re already well into the holiday season and next week is December. Pretty soon the New Year will be in full swing and 2014 a distant memory. As I prepare for another Thanksgiving, I find myself pondering those things in my life—people, events, successes—for which I’m grateful, but also looking ahead to 2015. Once again, while in yoga the other day, the instructor advised we live with our palms open, releasing our expectations to avoid disappointment and to better live in the present. Yet my goals are still a work in progress. Without some kind of expectation in place, it would be harder to measure how far we’ve traveled in 365 days and where we need to make [micro]adjustments. This doesn’t mean we can’t keep our palms open—in generosity and thanksgiving—as we await the surprises the New Year has in store for us.

Are you a planner or a seat-of-the-pantser?

Settling for less in life and love

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Escape

[Image credit: Usamedeniz]

I was talking to a friend the other day and mentioned how I keep trying to fill the void in my life. “Writing doesn’t do it for you?” she said. Admittedly, writing is only a temporary fix. And then I ran across an article about the telltale signs you’re settling for less in life and love. Ask yourself these five questions to determine if you are settling: 1) Are you constantly drained? Engaging in activity that contradicts your purpose is exhausting. 2) Do you make dangerous compromises? Settling on preferences is one thing; settling on values violates your core. 3) Do you feel stuck or restless? Being grateful for what you have is wonderful, but doesn’t negate an unmet purpose. 4) Are you secretly envious? Settlers wish they were bold enough to live out their dreams. 5) Do you rationalize playing small? You make excuses for why things don’t turn out. Turns out I need to make some changes of my own.

Are you settling for less than?

The littlest of blessings

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Blessings_Jar_Martys_Musings

At the beginning of 2013, I pulled out a jar from the cupboard and placed it in plain view. The plan was for my family to jot down things we’re grateful for throughout the year and add these slips of paper to the jar. On New Year’s Eve, we’re supposed to read the notes and reflect on all of the blessings we received. Not unlike a clean slate on Jan. 1, an empty jar leaves so much room for possibilities. Glancing at the jar as I write this, I’m disappointed to see only a few pieces of paper scattered across the bottom. Although I know I’ve forgotten to write down some of the “good” things over the past 11 months, overall it’s been a challenging year. Consequently, the few slips of paper we’ll review at the end of December are that much more precious. And it makes me determined to recognize even the littlest of blessings I receive in 2014.

Has it been a “good” year for you?

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