You Can Attempt Anything

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You Can Attempt Anything

I have been reading Felicia Day’s memoir “YOU’RE NEVER WEIRD ON THE INTERNET (almost)” and I came across this page. The mantra on that cup really hit home with me. “You can attempt anything.” It is such a simple sentence, yet it has such a profound meaning. She says to “Repeat that motivational cup sentence until it gets in your gut and doesn’t sound like something stupid on a Hallmark card, because it is the basis for anything that will make you happy in this world.” I paused reading and started doing that. At night I say it, in the morning I say it, and throughout the day I say it.  Go ahead and say it now a few times, out loud. Go on, I’ll wait.

 

Okay, after repeating it, it starts to get more meaning doesn’t it? So much in life is kept from us because we are afraid to try. We are afraid to make the attempt. We are afraid of failure. What if the attempt itself was the goal? You wouldn’t fail, as long as you made the attempt. It is like anything in life, take baby steps. Your ultimate goal may be to make a hit web series like Felicia’s was. Or, your ultimate goal may be to lose a bunch of weight, ask that cute guy out, become an actor, master a craft, or making the perfect baked alaska. All of those things can be overwhelming, scary, and intimidating. If your goal is to ATTEMPT it though? Not so scary. As long as you attempt it, then you have reached your goal.

Once you have made the attempt, one step is out of the way. From there you can create further goals, and make those goals to attempt the next step. Next thing you know, you just might have accomplished your ultimate goal. With each step, you will slowly be conquering your fear of failure. Finally, you can be proud of the fact that you tried. Yes, failure may still happen, but you tried. You won’t have that guilt, or that regret from not trying.

The unknown is the scariest thing in life, which is why so many people do not attempt so many things. We cannot know what will happen in the future. There are no guarantees in life. So, we tend to stick with what we know and accept that as our fate. I think that by  using the mantra “You can attempt anything”, it will help alleviate some of that fear.  The outcome and chance of failure is scary, the actual attempt is not.

 

So in short, You can attempt anything.

2013, A Year Of Learning.

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life-lesson

The year 2013 is coming to an end. As it does I have been looking back and thinking about the past year. So much has happened in my life and in the lives of those around me. There have been good times, moments of joy, of silliness, of excitement, happiness, love and laughter. There have also been bad times, moments of heartache, of loss, of sadness, hardships, sorrow and pain. We can hold on to the memories of the good, we can learn from the memories of the bad, and we can hold on to the bonds we have built with each other.

When you experience life with people, it links you to them, it binds you together. To me, family isn’t determined by blood, it is determined by love. I have chosen the friends in my life, and they have chosen me. Again, everything comes down to choice, and this mutual choosing is what I think makes a family. There are so many people in my life, and they all have a reason to be a part of it. Each and every person brings something important with them. Some are more serious and help me see the facts. Some are sarcastic and help me see different views. Some are silly and help keep laughter in my life. Some are caring and help me to care for others. Some are even negative, and they all help me keep a wide variety of views on life. Together all of these people help make me who I am.

Everyone is in your life for a reason. Even those that are no longer in your life. I have lost loved ones, I have lost friends, I have lost people that shouldn’t be in my life anymore. All of these people have taught me lessons. Losing my mother was the hardest thing I have ever been through, but it taught me strength, it helped to motivate me to improve my health, it taught me to appreciate the loved ones I still have, and form tighter bonds with those around me. Losing friends was also hard, but it taught me a lot about who I am as a person, what I want out of life, and again to appreciate those still around me. Losing the people that shouldn’t be in my life was actually a result of those lessons. I have the strength and the knowledge to know what I want and what I need. I now know a bad situation when I see it, and I am strong enough to remove myself from that situation, no matter how much it hurts the heart, or how much I hate hurting others. Sometimes it is simply for the best.

Sometimes it takes a lot of tragedies and negative things to really help us appreciate the world around us. It can be easy to look at the previous year and focus on the bad and say it was a horrible year. As I’ve said in previous posts, I think all these things happen for a purpose and we can learn from them all. So, instead of writing 2013 off as a horrible year, I am declaring it a year of learning. I have learned so much about myself. I have analyzed the things that have happened and milked them for all of the lessons they can teach me. Doing this has made me stronger. My perception has changed so much, and I have grown and improved as a person. I am not taking anything or anyone for granted anymore. I have redefined what family means to me. Simply put, because of everything that has happened, I am happy.

Pictures

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There are people who are picky about photos that are taken of them. When you take their picture, they want to see it, approve of it, and if they don’t like it they want it deleted. They want their hair looking just right, their face angled just, their body positioned just right and other nonsense. Every photo, every documentation of their life, their face, their being, they want to be perfect. They do not want any evidence showing that they were ever anything but a perfect version of themselves. There are even some who refuse to be in a photo because they hate the way they look. 

People need to realize that later on in life, even after their life has passed, its those imperfect photos that would have meant the most. I look at pictures of my mother, and the silly ones of her in her nightgown curling her hair or some other silly photo means the most to me. When I see photos like that I can hear her laugh, hear her telling me not to take another photo. There is so much more personality in those photos. They are so real and so much more full of life than the ones taken at the “perfect” posed moment. There are no memories attached to the traditional posed photographs, except maybe remembering how annoying it was to hold that smile. 

 

I remember being a kid on photo day. We would dress up in our fancy clothes, try not to get dirty at recess, have to make sure our hair was combed right when it came time to take the photo. Those photos did not represent us. I can look back at those pictures, and yes, they may look good, but they don’t show how we were as kids. I never ran around in a plaid vest, I never kept my hair slicked just right (granted as a hairstylist now, I might). I was a kid, I put on comfy clothes, I didn’t care how my hair was, I didn’t if my face was dirty. The photos of me like that? Those are the ones that really show who I was.

I admit that I am guilty of wanting to have the right look in a photo, we all have a bit of vanity to us. However, we need to keep the other pictures as well. They capture us, our life. They can capture what everyone else saw on a daily basis. Our friends, our families, the people who we enjoy being around are not always perfect. It is the imperfect moments that matter most, that have the most character, that represents us. No one is perfect, and that is what makes everyone special and important. That is why we choose to have them in our lives, for those imperfections that make us smile.

Be Grateful For Everyone You Encounter

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Be grateful for everyone you encounter. They say that being grateful is one of the easiest ways to cause happiness. So, its easy to draw up a list of good people in your life that you are grateful for. Your family, your friends, you pets, the coworkers you like. It can grow to be a decent sized list to go over mentally daily and be thankful for. It is important for you to show them your gratitude as well, simply by thanking them out loud increases the affirmation and reminds them the effect they have on your life. This, in turn, would likely increase the bond between you and these people and lead to you being even more grateful.

All of that makes sense, and definitely should be done. I like to dig deeper into the “being grateful causes happiness” concept though. I think we should take it to the next level and literally be grateful for everyone we encounter. Strangers that are nice should be added to the list. We are often caught up in the flow and speed of the day that we do not notice the things that people do. We should slow down and take the time to notice and appreciate all the things that are said or done by people we do not even know.

Now, I would also like to add to the list the people we encounter that we do not like, that do bad things, that just simply add some friction to our lives. That coworker that everyone hates, be grateful for. That driver that cut you off on the highway, be grateful for. That rude person in the store, be grateful for them too. I know it doesn’t sound logical, but I am completely grateful for all of those types out there. It goes back to a previous post I have made. We can take lessons from these people. We see how they act and it helps keep us in check about how we are acting. Their presence slows us down a bit and because of their contradiction to the good things, it helps us appreciate the good and positive people in our lives. If  everything and everyone was pleasant, it would lesson the value we place on the good things and people in our lives. So I am grateful for that coworker that everyone hates, because they can help me appreciate the ones that I enjoy. The rude drivers or people in the store help make the nice ones stand out so much more. Not to mention, it simply feels better to be grateful for them rather than wasting energy on complaining about them.

So, seriously, take the time and be grateful for everyone you encounter.

Focus On the Here and Now

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Focus on the Here and Now.

Too often we get distracted from the present moment and place that we are in and cannot fully appreciate it. 

I have come across many people who are so focused on their past that they cannot appreciate their present. These are people who are constantly telling stories of where they have been, what they have done, what they used to look like, who they used to date, a job they used to have, a skill they used to use and so on. They get so wrapped up in who they used to be, that they take away from who they are. Often this leads to them being depressed about who they are now. Maybe they aren’t as young, or as thin, or they are single, or don’t have a job as good as they used to. They are constantly comparing everything about their current life to where they used to be in life. When they do this, it makes it hard to see all of the good things that they do have and all of the good qualities that they do have. It often leads to bitterness and regret, wishing they still had their old life, and wishing they could go back in time and change things. Sometimes these people are focused on mistakes they have made, or events that they wish went differently. We cannot change the past, we can only learn from it and move on. I am not saying to completely forget about your past, but do not focus on it, do not let it take away from the present, do not compare it to your current life, and do not get stuck living in the past.

Other people (and sometimes the same ones) do the same thing about the future. They get so wrapped up in the future that they cannot appreciate who and where they are now. These are the people who are constantly talking about what they will do when they have enough money, when they lose enough weight, when they get a different place to live, a job they plan to have, the man or woman of their dreams and so on and so forth. They hurry through their day and life trying to get closer to where they want to be. They get stuck living in a dream world that isn’t even here yet, and honestly may not even happen.  They set themselves up for disappointment if it doesn’t happen how they plan. This type of thinking can lead them to really hate their current life because they are not where they want to be. It can discredit all of the good things and qualities they have because they are comparing it to a fantasy world. It is good to dream and it is good to plan for the future. It is not good to get so wrapped up in it that you rush through your daily life trying to get there.

When you focus on the here and now, you can appreciate the life you have. You can notice all of the good things about yourself and your life that you would not notice or give credit to if you were comparing it to the past of future. Focusing on the here and now helps you to notice all of the little things in life that make it worth living. The things about yourself that are good, the people and places in your life that make you happy all pop into view when you are living in the moment.  The past is who you were and helped create who you are today. They future is who you will be, and is created by who you are today. Keeping the future and past in mind can help you make good decisions in your life, and motivate you to do things today. Just do not let them overpower the moment you are living in. You cannot change the past and the future is unpredictable, but the here and now is completely up to you and under your control.

Empathy

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Empathy

In other words, it is the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes.

So often we are quick to judge someone else. They do something, and we immediately jump to conclusions about that person, or we get defensive, or we criticize, get angry, laugh at them, or blow them off. We dismiss the idea that anything else is going on in their world besides that one moment of action. We do not know what is going on in someone else’s life. We do not know what has happened to them that day, that week, that month, or even that year. Humans have emotions, and those emotions can make us act in ways that are not always the best.

A week or two ago a lady was turning into a parking lot. She had to cross two lanes of traffic to do so. I was driving straight in the lane closest to the parking lot and she came shooting over and almost hit my car. I had to swerve into the parking lot and do a u-turn to avoid being hit. Now, I could call the girl a crazy broad, be angry that she almost hit me, yell at her, complain to all of my friends about this b*tch that needs to learn to drive. I didn’t do any of that. I could see the lady was scared, she was obviously upset. First of all, an accident is called an ACCIDENT because it is not done on purpose. I highly doubt she was planning to try to hit my car. Any number of reasons could have been behind her doing what she did. There are millions of possibilities as to why she was in a hurry. She could have been needing to get to the grocery store to get medicine for a sick person, she could have just been dumped by a boyfriend, had a family member or friend die, or any other of a million reasons. It is not my place to assume the worst of her. There was no harm done, and I simply waved saying it was okay, I forgave her and moved on with my day.

I have a friend who can appear not to care when something upsets you. He will laugh and joke about the situation and tease you, tell you to “grow a pair and get over it.” I could easily say that he is a jerk and doesn’t care about my feelings. Or, I could be a little more empathetic. Maybe that is his way of dealing with things? Maybe it is easier to joke about everything because he doesn’t know how to talk to someone in a crisis, or doesn’t understand how you feel. This same person would give you the shirt off his back if it was needed, stand up for you in a fight, protect you physically. We all have ways of expressing our feelings, and sometimes we just have to look at the whole picture instead of just a corner of it.

The ability to be empathetic and to see things from someone else’s point of view is an amazing trait. If it is used I think we can be so much happier and more positive.

Don’t jump to conclusions

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Never Jump to conclusions.

It can be hard not to jump to conclusions in this day and age with all of our previous prejudices and life experiences. We have had so many encounters with other people, and the things that they have done we apply to new situations and new people, despite the fact that they might not be acting based on the same reasons someone else had. Our brains naturally see patterns and puts things in categories. Enough experience with a certain type of person or situation, and our brains will catalog and try to put them in the same group, then apply it to every person similar to those interactions and every event similar to those experiences.

 Think of all the people you make decisions about before you’ve even talked to them. Think about all the times you have judged a business based on someone else’s review, or your own encounter at another location. Think about all the times you have gotten angry because of the way someone was driving. There are a million different examples of the way we jump to conclusions in a single day. From the moment we wake up to the moment we go to sleep we are jumping to conclsions. Sometimes we are jumping to positive conclusions, and sometimes we are jumping to negative conclusions.

What if we didn’t jump to conclusions for just one day? What if we saw everyone we encountered as a new person, with new reasons for doing things? What if we didn’t judge the world based on past experiences? What if we took each moment as it was and got all the facts before making a decision about it?

I think this could open up a world of possibilities. That dirty “creepy” looking guy you avoided in the store could have been a nice person, just getting in town from a crazy long trip and needed some things before going home. That “thuggish” looking guy at the bar could actually be the most caring and generous man in the room. The person of a certain nationality might actually tip you for their haircut. That restaurant could have had better food and better service than the other one you went to, or the review you read online. That person slamming on their breaks could have been trying to avoid an animal.

I’m not saying be completely trusting and invite strangers into your life. Of course, we need to have some common sense. However, by not jumping to conclusions we can find out for sure what that person is all about.  This goes back to what I am always talking about: how does it feel? It doesn’t feel good to think negatively about people or places or things. So, why think negatively without a real reason? Isn’t it better to be open-minded?  If we don’t develop an opinion before the facts then things will work out better. If we judge negatively about something and then find out otherwise, we feel guilty. So, we feel negative about them first, then shocked maybe happy when we find out the truth, then negative because of the guilt. When we pre-judge positively and find out otherwise, we can open ourselves to them hurting us, and anger at ourselves.

For a week now, I have been making the  conscious decision not to jump to conclusions. It is wonderful how many negative emotions and feelings that do not happen when you do this. No flash of road rage, no tensing up in a store near a certain “type” of person, no feeling of dread about certain customers in my salon, no  creeped-out feeling from guys in a bar. Obviously, not jumping to conclusions will not get rid of all the bad in the world, or al the negativity in your life. It will get rid of some though, and open the door to a world of possibilities.

Anything you want is possible.

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Anything you want out of life is possible.

That is a major whammy of a statement, but it is so incredibly true. No matter what your goals are, they are obtainable. The key is truly wanting it. If you truly want it, are willing to work for it, willing to sacrifice for it, willing to change for it, you can get it. A lot of the time we can have goals, but we do not truly want them, so they remain unattainable. If you truly want them, you will find a way to make them happen.

After 27 years of being obese and wanting to be healthy, I finally realized that I wasn’t truly wanting it. I would make attempts, but honestly they were halfhearted. I wasn’t willing to do the work, the research, the sacrifice to get what I wanted. When we are ready and willing to do what it takes to make a change, it will happen. Once I truly wanted it, the excuses went away, the laziness was replaced with dedication, I stopped depending on others and will-power started growing. I have lost over 130 pounds of fat. That is an entire person. It is an enormous change in my body. Weight loss and becoming healthy are some of the hardest challenges in someone’s life. It is possible. I am not where I want to be yet, but I am so very close. I have come a long way, and my goal is in sight. It has been a lot of work, but as I get closer I realize that it is so worth it.

Anything we want is just like my weight loss/health journey. Once we research and accept what needs to be done, set a plan, and work hard at it, everything just falls into place. Whether it is a health goal, a career goal, a spiritual goal, a relationship goal, it is attainable.

Enjoy the little things.

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Enjoy the little things. 

How often have we heard this? How many memes are there about this? Are we just laughing at the picture of a cup of coffee with that saying on it? Lately I have seen this saying everywhere. Do we ever actually stop and think about it though? Do we look for the little things in life, and truly enjoy them? Do we let them make the impact in our lives, in our memories that they should, if we really enjoyed them? 

A little over a week ago, I decided to keep a “Good things Journal.” Not A journal listing every detail about my day, but only 1 good thing a day. I list only the good thing, no strings attached  no “despite BLANK, BLANK happened,” only the good thing.  I did this to keep things in perspective. At the end of each day, I simply write one good thing that happened. Some days it has been big fun moments like going to a baseball game, but some days it has been  something small, something little. 

 

Glancing through my Good Things Journal, I am reminded of all of the good things that have happened. Those little things are in ink. They are forever written down and cannot escape my memory. This has proven to not only end my day on a positive note, but has given me a chance to truly appreciate and enjoy the little things. They were big enough to write down, and I can revisit those moments and enjoy them again any time I wish.  If we were to ask different people what “little things” they enjoy, I am sure there would be a wide variety of answers. The fact that each of us have that little something that we individually enjoy, makes those things even more special and meaningful. 

 

I think it is more than that though. I think we need to examine the little things we take for granted. The things that don’t happen everyday and the things we see and just pass by without notice. I posted on my facebook the other day about watching this women coming into my salon. She got out of her car and headed for our door, but on the way she paused, she turned and looked at the newly blooming lavender flowers outside. She literally stopped to smell the flowers. It took just a moment, but she smiled afterwards then proceeded to come in and get her hair done. Those are the little things I am talking about. It isn’t something we go out of our way to seek out, to buy to enjoy, but the little things all around us that we would normally pass up because we are in a hurry. The look and the smell of those flowers put a smile on her face. When was the last time you have done something like that? I know it had been forever since I have taken the time to do so. Since that day though? I smell every flower I come across, I look into the sky to enjoy the beauty of it, I stand still and take in the feel of the soft breeze, the smell of the air after rain, the warmth of the sun. Those are the little things that I think can help make our day better.

So, in short, enjoy the little things.

Find the good.

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I believe that something good can come out of every single situation.

 

No matter how depressing, devastating, scary, scarring, painful, or horrific the situation, something good can be taken out of it. It may take some extremely deep thinking, it may take years, and it may mean admitting something we do not want to admit. Take something from your own personal life, something that you think could never have a benefit, or an iota of good to it. Examine what happened, how you felt, what happened afterwards. Did you learn a lesson? Did you learn something about yourself you never knew? Did you learn something about someone else? Did it help build you stronger? Did it bring people closer? Really examine every possible aspect.

 

I will use an example from my own life to show what I mean.

 

Three years ago my mother died. At age 25 I lost my mother who was only 55. She was my best friend. She was my rock, my support system, my inspiration, my entire world. After she died, my entire universe crumbled. It has taken me three long years to realize that even losing my mom, my best friend, did indeed cause some good. Losing her caused me to wake up. She was sick for a very long time, and while she was alive I built a mental wall around myself. I felt I had to be strong, had to be responsible, and frankly, I didn’t want to deal with emotions. So, when she passed away, while my universe was falling apart, so was that wall. I faced demons I had hidden away for a very long time, my heart opened up and I could feel. Good god could I feel. Pain, happiness, sorrow, and joy all came rushing in. I admit I went a little..lets say crazy for awhile. Once the aftermath settled down though, I did not put that wall back up. I was stronger, and I felt a change inside me, a change for the better. Also, to my great surprise, I became closer to my immediate family. Besides my mother, I was never really emotionally close to my father, nor my sister. This tragedy bonded us, we became close, we were there for each other. After losing her, and still to this day, I feel closer to them than I have ever felt before. It is a good thing. Yes, I wish these things could have happened without losing her, but I am so very grateful that I was able to learn these things.

 

Sometimes life lessons and lessons about ourselves can only come because of tragedy. It is a sad fact, but still, I think it is a valid one. Pain can give us the opportunity to examine things in ourselves, our life, our point of view. It is up to us to take advantage of these moments. We can choose to either ignore them, focus on the pain, the tragedy, close ourselves off, or we can choose to be strong, work through them, and take what we can from them.