A while back, I wrote about the five things that one should start doing every day in hope to create a healthier, happier and more embracing lifestyle. I wrote in light of wanting to improve my own wellbeing, and in belief that reinventing myself could begin by learning to embrace the little things life has to offer, love yourself more, be kind, find balance in all things and have intentions in every daily action.
In the six months since the publishing of that post, I have learned that a happier, healthier and embracing lifestyle does not begin with starting, but rather with ending. It begins with ending the destructive, negative mindset that has been created over time and it begins with ending ineffective habits that create a barrier between being happy with the life we choose to live, and being content.
“Which do you want: the pain of staying where you are, or the pain of growth?” – Judith Hanson Lasater
- Focusing on the Negative
My boyfriend, bless his heart, spends hours listening to me criticize my physical features, doubt my academic achievements or dwell in self-pity when I have an off day; however, over the past few weeks, I have noticed how exhausting it is to have something negative to say about myself or the life I am living. Everyone can agree, school is hard and work is long and life is anything but fair, but if you take a moment and look around at the people you are surrounded by, the places you have been and the place where you are and the obstacles you have overcome thus far, there is an incredible amount to be grateful for. Take a moment to appreciate yourself, your life and those around you, spend a day and do what you consider the little joys in life. Rather than deeming in the negativity of a situation, try and find three positive things that may come out of the situation, say three things you love about yourself or that you are proud of or simply give three compliments to someone you love, or even a complete stranger. What you put into the universe will come back to you, so make sure what you put in is full of love, life and positivity because that is what you deserve.
- Wasting Time
First of all, stop making excuses. Excuses are simply rationalizations that make yourself feel better for not doing something that you need/planned on doing. I am the type of person who plans out my entire day, hour by hour, but will talk myself into erasing tasks such as going to the library, working out or doing laundry because I convince myself I am too tired, or too busy or simply, too unmotivated to do these things. If you want your grades to improve, go to class and take advantage of the unlimited resources your professors, peers and instiute provide for you. If you want to get healthy, wake up earlier, drink water and set goals for yourself. Stop making excuses for things that you should be doing, stop procrastinating your responsibilities and get commit yourself to the person you want to be. Second of all, stop dwelling in the past. There is virtually nothing you can do about that mistake you made last month, about what someone said about you senior year of high school, about why your ex-boyfriend broke up with you or about that five point homework assignment you forgot about last week. No amount of guilt can change the past, if you dwell on these situations you are wasting your time, energy and your inner peace trying to fix the unfixable. Take these experiences in your life and grow from them, let things go and move forward and stop holding grudges towards irrelevant people. Someday you will look back and know exactly why it had to happen, and trust me, you will thank God that it led you to where you ended up. You are a person with infinite potential, obtainable goals and monumental dreams, use your precious time on this Earth taking part in experiences that improve your wellbeing, encourage personal growth and overwhelm your heart with happiness.
- Being Judgmental
If the time we spent judging other people for their actions, beliefs, opinions and values was spent on improving our own behavior, focusing on our own lives and embracing individuals around us in attempt to make this world a better place, our lives would be a hell of a lot more meaningful. I understand that every person has the right to have their own opinion, and should be respected in that manner, and I will respect your opinion as long as it does not disrespect, or cause harm to, another human being’s existence. Quit acting like you are superior to the girl who got too drunk at the party last night, because you were probably in the same boat last weekend. Stop laughing at the guy wearing nail polish in your discussion class, because he could probably teach you a handful of life lessons that you have yet to open your mind up to. You should not hold people to expectations, but instead, go in with an open mind, with an open heart and with open arms. Fully immerse yourself in experiences, adventures and relationships without having preconceived notions of people and situations. Radiate positivity, spread love and be a kind human being. You are doing your best figuring out this unpredictable, crazy life, and so is everyone else.
- Staying in Toxic Relationships
Watching people walk out of your life, or removing someone out of your life, is not an easy task. Whether it is someone you consider a best friend or the boy that you are in love with, removing yourself from a toxic relationship is an emotionally draining process. Over the past year, I have watched several friendships in my life fade and have gone through a remarkably unpleasant breakup, but removing myself from these toxic people has provided me with the most unexpected blessings. Through the comfort of new friendships, unconditional love and unwavering support, I began to develop self-respect, established boundaries and acknowledged true friendships. I have learned that you cannot pause your own life in hope that someone will see the wrong in their actions, put forth the effort or care about you as much as you do them. I have learned you have to begin to love the sound of your feet walking away from things, and people, that are not meant to be in your life. There are much better ways to spend your time and offer your heart than to wait for someone to value you. If you look at the people in your life, you are surrounded by family and friends who love, appreciate and care about you for the individual that you are. Trust me, in time you will look back on these toxic relationships and wonder how you tolerated interacting with such unhealthy people. As Sandra Cisneros once said, “I have put up with too much, and now I am too intelligent, too powerful, too beautiful, too sure of who I am finally to deserve anything less.”
- Doubting Yourself
I once read that if you doubt yourself, walk deep into a forest and look at the hundreds of trees around you. Notice how the trees stand tall, even though they receive no recognition, walk along any stream and the water still flows without praise. As for the sun, it does not care if anyone is watching, it will rise, beautifully, even if no one bothers to look at it. The thing is, humans are made out of the same elements, so why do we base our self worth on others’ recognition, praise and acknowledgement? You do not need validation from another human being for you to embrace the powerful individual, full of promise and beauty, that you are. Look around at what you have accomplished, you have survived all your bad days and you have experienced some of the best days. You are capable of so much, be the greatest person you can possibly be and when you mess up, forgive yourself and re-commit the next morning. You are important, you are loved and once you believe that and stop doubting yourself, you are unstoppable.