To change your life, you must change.
What does that mean? It means if you are unhappy, you need to figure out what makes you happy and work towards that goal. It is difficult to change existing patterns in your life after spending so many years establishing them. It is challenging for a smoker to give up smoking not only because of the nicotine but because it is difficult to institute new habits to replace old ones. Another good example is someone who has struggled with their weight. Food may have provided comfort or filled some sort of void, now there needs to be a substitute for food. One habit needs to be replaced by another. None of this change happens overnight, just as weight isn’t gained all at once. You gain one pound at a time, one day at a time. You cannot expect to lose weight or establish a new routine without giving yourself or your body time to adjust.
You may ask yourself, why change at all? If you are happy with your life, grateful for what you have and take each day as a blessing, then you are on the right track. However, most people find themselves asking the questions “Why do these things keep happening to me?” “Why is everything so difficult?” or “Why can’t I get a break?”. If this applies to you or you find yourself searching for a better life then take charge and do something! Perhaps you realize that you need to change but you are just trying to keep your head above water and do not have the time or emotional wherewithal to try something new. This is precisely when you must act! Once you have introduced something new, stick to it. The less you feel like doing it, the more important it is to see it through. Each time you defeat your negative tendencies you will feel more empowered. Every action you take to improve your life will demonstrate that you are capable of change.
Making small adjustments is only one way to revitalize your life. The most important step is transforming your way of thinking. It is easy to throw around cliche’s: view the glass as half full or life is what you make it. The fact is that it takes effort and determination to change your life and it really begins with your outlook. Anyone can analyze their life and see where things fall short. The challenge is looking at the same life and choosing to be grateful. As a young woman I recall looking at myself in the mirror and thinking how unhappy I was with my body. When I look at old pictures of myself now I think it is sad that I did not realize how beautiful I was at that time. So whenever I am feeling a little insecure, as we all do on occasion, I am aware of how important it is to appreciate who I am now. It takes dedication to recognize the value of what you have at every turn. When your children are running around and not listening, take a moment to be grateful that they are healthy enough to drive you crazy. If you have been let go at work, maybe it is time for a fresh start and you can finally go after your dream job. Take the opportunity to spend some quality time with your children for whom you would not otherwise have the time. Of course, you need to take action to resolve the problems you are facing but if you take a moment to be grateful, you will be more prepared to find a solution. You will eliminate anger from your circumstances by looking at the benefits of your current situation.
We are faced with challenges to prepare us for life. It is not meant to be a road block to permanently stunt our growth but an obstacle to provide us an opportunity to evolve beyond our comfort zone. Instead of looking at life as one miserable experience after another, find the lessons and take each trial and tribulation as a step closer to attaining your goals. Just like a video game, every stage that you pass makes the next one more difficult in order to test your skills. The closer you get to “saving the princess” the bigger and more dangerous the dragons become!
If you find yourself unhappy and unfulfilled, decide what makes you happy. Visualize the goal and make small changes that bring you closer to achieving it. Trust that any challenges you are faced with are necessary to prepare you for the next step in your path. There has to be a journey. Without the journey, there is no destination!
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by: Patricia Ribeiro
Growing up as a girl, I never played with LEGO. I am not sure if it was because I was not interested in LEGO or if I just did not have any exposure to it. When I was young, girls did not receive LEGOs as gifts. Now that I am the mother of three boys, I build often with LEGO and I really enjoy it. I love that you start with nothing but a bunch of pieces and a map and if you carefully follow each step, which in itself is very easy to do, you can end up building a pretty complex toy.
I was building a LEGO Universe with my 4 1/2 year old son, who was tremendously impatient to get to the finished product so that he could start playing. I was attempting to teach him to follow the directions in order to accomplish each step of the construction process.
It then occurred to me how the principals of building with LEGO are a great metaphor for life.
1 – The picture of the final product is your goal.
2 – Do one step at a time and complete them in order. Do not jump ahead or you may miss something along the way. Do not worry about what happens in step 2 or 3 if you are on step 1. You may not know how each step is going to get you to your goal but they are essential and you have to trust the directions.
3 – Enjoy each small victory. Each step you do correctly takes you one step closer toward achieving your goal.
4 – If you skip a step along the way, you may have to go back and start from the beginning. The good news is that now you have a clearer understanding as to why each step is important. Your tasks will progress with less difficulty the second or third time around.
5 – If you have not experienced success, be patient. You can always try again. Remember to focus on one step at a time and try not to get ahead of yourself.
6 – Just because you have reached your goal does not mean you will be satisfied with your final product. You can always take it apart and build something else with the pieces, not following the directions at all.
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by: Patricia Ribeiro
In the same way that you shouldn’t judge yourself based on anyone else, it is also unfair to judge others based on your own expectations.
Anticipation of a certain outcome or behavior can easily lead to disappointment, especially if it involves other people, mother nature or things we can not control. It is important to have expectations of yourself but it is not fair to place those same demands on anyone else.
Everyone is different. People have diverse cultural and religious backgrounds, family values and moral compasses. What we may see as inappropriate may be standard cultural behavior for someone else. It is not up to us to judge. Our only responsibilities are to conduct ourselves in a manner we are comfortable with and ensure that our family is not being hurt by anyone’s poor choices. Other than that, we should not impose our expectations onto other people. Everyone has their own limitations and if we love them and choose to keep them in our lives we must accept them for who they are unconditionally. If there is someone who repeatedly disappoints you, take a step back and ask yourself if you are transferring your own agenda to this person. Do not assume they are even aware that they are offending you. Explain to them that your feelings are hurt and tell them how you hoped they would behave. You should be clear about what actions are important to you. If you have communicated with them and nothing changes then you must to decide how to proceed. If it is simply a matter of them handling circumstances differently than you, keep in mind that it is their choice to conduct themselves as they see fit and if you choose to continue interacting with them you must accept them without reservation.
If the transgression is unacceptable in that they are physically, emotionally or psychologically abusive, then you must remove yourself or your family from having any exposure to this person. This will not be easy. If it is your spouse, a parent or child you may need to enlist the help of a professional, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist. Anyone else needs to be cut off from your life immediately. Never allow anyone to bully or abuse you in anyway. If you are a parent, it is imperative that your children understand not to tolerate this behavior. Not only will they see that you have self respect, but it is a valuable lesson in self preservation!
Outside of those drastic circumstances, there are plenty of everyday examples of people who do not live up to your expectations and you must decide how to deal with them. You may have a friend who only calls when they need something. They do not call to see how you are doing or to say hello. Whenever they do call it is to ask for a favor or to unload the latest drama. If you are looking to have a reciprocal relationship with this person, you are going to be disappointed. However, you may enjoy their crazy stories and find that once in while it’s nice to focus on someone else. If you decide that you still want to continue this friendship than you must accept them for who they are and all that entails. If not, you should be open about how you feel and give them the opportunity to make amends. Your friend may not have realized how they were hurting you. They may have assumed that you would call when you need them and tell your own stories without any prompting. You would be surprised what is revealed in a sincere conversation about your expectations. Your real friends care about you and will do what is necessary to make the friendship work. Anyone who is unwilling to have an honest conversation about your relationship is probably not the type of friend you want in your life.
Once again, do not accept abuse of any kind from anyone. That is not the same as having high expectations, that is having self respect. Aside from that, do not hold your friends and family to your standards. People have their own reasons for behaving in certain ways and if you choose to associate with them then you need to respect their choices and ask that they do the same for you.
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