Posts Tagged With: life

7 Simple Rules for a Happier Life

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1. Live Deliberately.

Choose to wake up each morning and pursue the day. Live for, not against. Focus on the good things, the blessings, the things you love.

2. Forgive.

Let go of resentment. Don’t judge other people because they sin differently than you. Humans will disappoint other humans. Release them from the pain they caused you, and you will find the one you are really freeing is yourself.

3. Don’t Worry.

No one has ever been able to add one single minute to their lives by worrying. Actually, the opposite is true, as stress can have very negative effects on the body and shorten your lifespan. Worry won’t accomplish anything, push it out of your mind and focus your thoughts on what you CAN do, not what you CAN’T.

4. Focus your Energy.

Focus on productivity and creativity. Focus on the things of value you can bring into this world and into the lives of others. Empower yourself and those around you. Choose to always see the good. If you can do this, you won’t feel like you are constantly fighting the negative things and winding up drained.

5. Accept Responsibility.

Don’t preoccupy yourself with pointing fingers and placing blame elsewhere. There will always be obstacles. Do the best that you can with what you have. Strive to be better today than you were yesterday. That’s all anyone can ever ask of you.

6. Don’t Complain.

We often don’t realize the power of the words we speak. Sometimes things don’t go our way and situations aren’t ideal, but speaking them out loud gives more power to the situation and makes matters worse. Speak life with your words or don’t speak at all. If you don’t have something nice to say, keep it to yourself.

7. Be Grateful.

Count your blessings each day and take time to appreciate the people you do have in your life and the things you’ve accomplished and acquired. Even things that seem more like a curse than a blessing, say, “Thank you” for them anyway. There will always be someone out there that wishes they had it as good as you, that would trade places with you if they could. Once we start counting our blessings and being grateful for what we have, we begin to see treasure everywhere.

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Categories: Self-Improvement | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

follow up on Meaning(less)

I realize how tired and dreary my last post sounded. I haven’t written much for several months now, …just a period here words wouldn’t come when I sat down to type. In general, it’s easier for someone to write from pain than anything else I think. But I want to add to what I had said…

Pain is universal. Sometimes illogically. It is necessary, for without pain there could not truly be joy. We all have a yearning deep inside that the world can’t fill, whether we are aware of it or not, placed there by our Creator as a reminder of who we are, what we were made for, and where our home truly is.

I am very vibrant emotionally and tend to feel things intensely. The beauty is, that it comes on both sides of the spectrum. Life isn’t easy, but it is a beautiful and worthwhile ride. I am grateful for this life, and I am grateful that this life isn’t all there is.

Our lives are immensely meaningful and utterly meaningless. Simultaneously. Let me explain…

Every person who ever lived on Earth is interconnected in a spiderweb spanning farther than we can imagine. Every action has a reaction. One decision creates ripples that affect multitudes of others. One smile can change a person’s entire day. One nasty comment or hurtful word can haunt someone their entire life. Our lives-everything we say and do-are immensely meaningful.

We come through life as a vapor in the wind, a grain of sand held next to eternity. Everything material in this world, all of what most of us go through life striving to attain, will fade. Status, titles, money, shoes, clothes, our earthly bodies… it will all fade to dust. It all is utterly meaningless.

Unless…

We walk through life motivated by faith, hope, and above all else, love. THAT is where meaning lies.

If we seek promotion based on making the best of talents God blessed us with …meaningful. If it is because we want to be better than everyone else …meaningless.  If we get plastic surgery or implants out of vanity, because we can’t accept our body or love ourselves for who we are …meaningless. If we exercise and eat healthfully, and want to look our best, because we want to take care of the one body God blessed us with, and treat it as the temple of the Holy Spirit that we are told it is …meaningful.

It is our choices, our intentions, our attitude in this life that matters.

Essentially it is all up to us…

meaningful or meaningless.

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Surfing the waves of life

It really is quite a beautiful ride isn’t it…?

How often we get caught up in life and forget to see the bigger picture, lose perspective. I would think by now I’d know as well as anyone that attitude is everything, but even I go through days, weeks that I let my experiences and emotions win out over truth, knowledge, and faith.

Contrary to popular belief, happiness is not a result of circumstance. It is not left up to chance. It is a state of the heart that comes by choice. When we’re miserable, it’s hard to hear we’re choosing it. Really hard. I’ve known, intellectually, for years this simple fact, this fact that our attitude controls us. By our attitude, we either fall or fly. Yes, it’s simple. Simple, not easy.

If you have a passion, pursue it. If you have a dream, dare to believe. If you want something, reach out and take it. Marianne Williamson once said, “ Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Fear holds us back in life, a lot actually, doesn’t it? What if we can’t do it? What if we won’t measure up? What if we fail? What if we look stupid? What if we get made fun of? What if we’re misunderstood? My question is, “So what?”

In the movie Soul Surfer, teenage saltwater queen, Bethany Hamilton, doesn’t understand why after blowing it at regionals, her first competition after losing one of her arms to a shark attack, she gets letters from fans who are cheering for her and looking forward to her future competitions. She wonders, “Why?” Bethany’s movie mom, played by Helen Hunt, replies, “You tried.”

Isn’t that really what it’s all about? Isn’t that what we are called to do in this life? Try? Maybe it’s less about succeeding or failing and more about what we learn in the process, the experience we gain, the smarter we get, the stronger we become. As Americans we are so focused on the success, and I think we miss the whole point in between. It’s like having tunnel vision.

I’ve had so many ups and downs over the past few months in my life. It seems like there’s been days where I’m feeling so low and alone and I just don’t see a way out, and yet there’s other days, like tonight while watching this Soul Surfer movie that I just find myself in tears, not only because of the incredible story and example set by Bethany Hamilton, but by the sheer beauty of life. I feel like something is slowly awakening inside. The light shines brighter than ever before, Satan pushes back and I’m miserable for a few days, then the cross shortly wins out over the darkness, and again, and back and forth. But in the end, the cross will always win. Light will always win. Truth. Life.

A smile spreads across my face as I think of the world of possibilities ahead of me. It’s so incredible how there will always be more to learn, more to explore, more to do. And I don’t know anything more exciting than spending every day learning, exploring and doing. Whether it’s riding horses charting unknown trails, running through sprinklers with the dogs, getting a scuba diving license, standing in the small shelter given by a life guard stand on Tybee in the middle of a thunderstorm witnessing the unforgiving beauty and power of mother nature, dancing-especially when you know you look ridiculous, singing even though you can’t carry a tune, smiling at a stranger, seeing a kid make a new discovery about the world, just LIVING.

Life is too precious to waste a single second of it. No matter who you are and where you come from. God doesn’t care where you come from, He only cares where you’re going. Even, as Bethany demonstrates with brilliant grace, if you only have one arm.

http://www.sheilasmartphotography.com.au ; copyright: Sheila Smart

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