I’ve created some word art for my journal.
Grab it, if you’d like, for yours as well.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Free printable (for personal use)!
You can’t live a positive life with a negative mind!
My “aha” moment appeared out of nowhere. I didn’t particularly search for anything when it hit me. But there it was, staring me in the face. The realization that we stand in our own way of happiness.
So I grabbed my art supplies, made this piece and hung it up in the kitchen. It’s become my focal point, a great reminder of how we are responsible for our own lives and the choices we make every day. And it all starts with our thoughts and how we perceive the world around us.
Our thinking creates our happiness.
Since then, I’ve been on a mission to be more mindful, live a more authentic life, let go of the past, focus on the now, and finally learn who I truly am.
It’s been an eye opening journey and I feel like I only scratched the surfaces. Here are some lessons learned.
- Choose your thoughts – All day long, we have the opportunity to choose either helping or hurtful thoughts. Positive thoughts are healing and supportive, and bring more joy into our lives. All negative thoughts do is drain your energy and make you miserable. Choose wisely.
- Be mindful – Mindfulness increases positive emotions while reducing negative emotions and stress. Being mindful of my thoughts and feelings and how they can hijack my brain if I let them allowed me to gain control over the subconscious behavior patterns I was stuck in. It helped me focus on the now and accept things as they are, instead of rehashing the past or worrying about the future.
- Good enough is perfect – We put way too much pressure on ourselves to perfect-perform and it’s exhausting, not to mention impossible to accomplish. I’ve learned to let small things go, be flexible, and above all have realistic expectations.
- Practice self-compassion – Some days are easy and everything falls in place, but sometimes we lose focus, stumble and make mistakes, often hurting others in the process. It’s how we react to those experiences that makes or breaks us. I’ve lived my life thinking that self-criticism and self-bullying was the only way to grow and learn from the experience. Instead, all it accomplished was damage my self-esteem and drive me towards depression. Self-hatred isolates and denies happiness. Self-compassion helps us realize our humanity, and that we are worthy of love, even when we make mistakes.
- Practice gratitude – Focusing on even smallest joys in our lives helps us gain perspective and realize we ARE lucky, we just fail to realize it. I learned to notice the positives more, and I also jot them down at the end of the day, everyday.
- Journal – Pouring your thought out on paper helps you make sense of it all. It’s like a therapy session without the price tag.
- Meditate – It’s as simple as finding few minutes to close our eyes, focus on our breath and relax, all while clearing our scattered minds and restoring our inner peace. I also listen to meditative audio tapes before sleep for a more restful night.
- Practice forgiveness – We all in this together – remember everyone is doing their best. Forgiveness, including self-forgiveness, brings peace.
In the end, there’s only one person that can make you happy, and that’s you!
I’ve been obsessing with this song since summer. Then I saw the video. It’s…heavenly!
I Monster – Heaven
I’ve been keeping a gratitude journal for about a year now, jotting small things down at the end of each day. It certainly helped keep things in perspective through some dark days and reinforced the thought that I have much to be grateful for in my life.
That is just one of few small habits that I’ve developed to refocus my attention on the positive and away from the negative in life. There’s a bunch of other little changes I made last year that I need to share with you, if I can only get off my ass to do it. But I’m still recovering from a 3 week hiatus called “Winter Break”, so bear with me.
Small steps, baby, small steps…
Finding Grace in Every Day
Today I am thankful for:
- Books: I’ve read more books last year than in the previous 5 years combined (which is not surprising, considering my youngest is almost 6).
- Bubble baths: I’m still learning how to pamper myself without feeling guilty about it, but when it comes to relaxing, there’s nothing like a bubble bath (or nap) in the middle of the day!
- Meals not cooked by me: MY HUSBAND COOKS, sometimes, and it’s all edible, for the most part.
- Kids who love martial arts and have orange belts to prove they can kick ass, if needed.
- Meditation: Still learning the basics but totally loving it.
- Teachers who inspire, encourage & cheer for their kiddos.
- Sunny Sundays: From trips to local zoo to family bike rides, we’ve been milking sunny Sundays like pros around here.
- Little feet that I can kiss whenever I want
- Learning to forgive, myself and others
What are you thankful for?
Gabor Maté in his TED talk about addiction & power hits home on so many levels.
He connects the emptiness we feel inside (often due to childhood neglect, abuse & trauma) to destructive behavior of all kinds including addiction, depression, suicide, emotional instability, and a general sense of pain we feel inside, pain we try to dull in various unhealthy ways.
He also talks about how this behavior is perpetuating itself over generations.
Listen to his plead for compassion, for kindness, for love.
This year has brought with it a sea of change I have not expected when I started my acceptance journey. I might write about it when it’s all done and through. Maybe, if I’m brave enough.
For now, all I can say is that it’s been a year marked by internal turmoil, lots of soul searching and self-discovery. It’s been a year of looking for inner peace and love that’s been missing for so long.
I’m on an often dark and bumpy road with demons large and small as my regular companions.
But I’m staying on.