Life is a series of moments. Usually good ones, with the occasional unfortunate one thrown in to keep us on our toes.
The problem is, we often fail to appreciate the positive ones and often dwell on the bad ones. Or worse, focus on ones that haven't even happened yet and convince ourselves they will be of the negative variety. We create battles to fight while living in peaceful times.
That is so joy inhibiting and causes a great deal of the stress we all claim daily in our lives.
A conscious effort is needed to break this damaging cycle.
Here are my suggestions on how to help.
Be True To Yourself
I've said this before, you are the only you there will ever be.
You may have made mistakes, but you are NOT a mistake.
You may have failed, but you are NOT a failure.
You have a purpose. You deserve joy and love.
You also deserve to be true to the person you believe yourself to be. There will be those who wish to guide us; parents, teachers, loved ones. This is a good and healthy process, and we all need help along the way. But at some point, you will begin to understand who you are, your visions, your goals, your aspirations. Be true to those.
Don't allow the manipulation of others re-write your story. They can coach from the sidelines, but you are responsible for taking that ball into the end zone. (Excuse the sports reference, it is football season after all.)
Avoid Judging Yourself
There will be those who cross your path who will judge you. You can't really avoid that. What you can avoid is judging yourself.
Self-criticism and self-deprecating is an easy trap to fall into. I do it myself. We are intimately aware of our short-comings and replay them in a loop far too often in our mind.
It is not vain to believe in yourself. It is not boastful to be proud of your accomplishments. If you work hard on something, whether it is a goal, new job, degree, weight loss, relationship success, self-improvement, whatever it is, own the joy that comes with the achievement.
Another tip is to avoid comparing yourself to others. Your gifts and struggles are unique and your spot on the journey will not look exactly like anyone else. Trust that you will arrive where you need to be at just the exact moment to fully embrace it.
Understand Now Is All We Have
The only way to truly enjoy the only real moment you have; NOW, is to fully understand now is all you have. That doesn't mean you can't make plans or be responsible. Of course you can't live reckless or make no preparations for the future. It does mean that you take the time to engage all of your senses in what is in right in front of you.
I'm not a yoga person. I'm not against it, just never tried it. But I do appreciate one of the biggest benefits is learning breathing techniques. There is nothing that brings you into the present moment like concentrating on your breathing. It makes you focus literally on the here and now.
One yoga teacher offered this technique. Breath in and say, "I am here." Breath out and say, "This is now." It may not always be that simple, but in certain stressful situations, it is certainly worth a try.
Part of living in the moment is to not dwell on the past. (This can be challenging as Facebook reminds us everyday of something that took place before today.) And memories are precious, but as wonderful as they are, we can't recreate them. We must continue to generate new ones.
Past mistakes should continue to dwell right where you left them. We can certainly learn lessons, but no benefit is served in dwelling on defeats.
We should also stop trying to predict the future. Of course, we can track the consequences of certain actions, but none of us have the ability to see beyond today's bend in the road.
Tomorrow will have blessings and struggles. Laughter and tears. Knowing the exact order would not change the outcome.
Up To The Minute Appreciation
My Hopefuls, it is my intent today to encourage each of you to be thankful for this very moment of your life.
Every road you traveled led you to today. Don't despair if you are not where you want to be and don't stress about how to get there. Live in up to the minute appreciation for where you are right now.
I understand these words are easy to say, and not always so easy to live by. I'm writing this, as always, to myself as well. But it is a great reminder to us all.
Be yourself. Enjoy the moment.
Love unconditionally. Forgive freely.
And as always...
Hope With Abandon