Resounding this famous proverb on my 31st birthday: "Add life to years, not years to life"! As my festive celebrations come to a close and I think fondly of the relaxing and enjoyable birthday weekend that has just passed, my heart fills with gratitude as I smile from ear to ear. I sat myself at my desk to engage in some deep reflections, critically pondering about life, my being, and ways to make a difference. Here is what I've come to learn through my experiences- some insightful reflection that you may find valuable.
Embrace your Imperfections
Coming to terms with your own imperfections and challenges is a rigorous process. But the more we appreciate ourselves for who we are, the more we will be at peace with ourselves. It feels great to be self-confident with an attitude to 'slay'and take on this world. You can only positively influence another if you are at peace with your self, accepting both your positives and challenges together.
I've also come to realize that self-confidence does not come easily to everybody. I like to keep my focus on the positive and I have a hard time being patient with those who are filled with self-doubt and negative speculations about themselves. I am learning every day to take perspective and be kind and encouraging to those who are on their path to self-discovery, while trying to come to terms with their perceived flaws.
Forgive, Forget, and Move On
I know that I am becoming more of a stickler over the years. I remember being more flexible and tolerant with the people around me once upon a time. I have high expectations from myself and likewise from others as well. And as one can predict, when these expectations are not met, it is only natural to get upset and irritable. Like any other human being, there is a tendency to hold grudges and to get stuck on the negative incidents that play on a repeat loop in your head. Some recent incidents have reminded me that there is no room for ego, blame, and grudges, or being stuck in that negative zone! The key to staying happy is 'forgiving', forgetting', and 'moving on' !
Surround Yourself with Positive People
Let's be honest- no one wants to be surrounded by unhappy people who always regret, complain, and engage in self-doubt. Make an active effort to surround yourself with genuine people that 'fill color into your black and white life'; those that will rejuvenate, motivate, and positively influence your soul!
Challenge your Fears and Find a Way to Take Control
As much as we mentally prepare ourselves to face life's unforeseen challenges, when we get to that point and 'it's our turn', the process of embracing our fears can be difficult. The mind goes on a rampage to clutter itself with a million thoughts. The head feels like its about to explode! The uncertainty of everything ahead bogs you down and easily drags you into that negative head space. In moments like this, it is so important to catch a hold of yourself, regroup, and keep your eyes on a solution-focused approach. I have always believed in the silver lining on every cloud and the light at the end of the tunnel. Always remind yourself, "Even this will pass"!
I would frequently insist on the notion that meditation was not for me; that I had too much energy to force myself to sit down in one place to meditate. I have come to realize that there is most definitely a place for mindfulness, deep breathing, and meditation in my life. I'm working towards a few minutes of mindfulness through relaxed breathing. It has become my 'go to' approach when I have trouble clearing my mind's clutter, when I lose patience with people, and when I feel filled with anxiety or worry.
Make Time for Yourself
It's ok to be selfish and engage in some much needed 'me' time- whatever that might look like for you. This is your time to turn off your 'worry' button and do whatever makes you happy. During my 'me' time, I give into my idiosyncratic behaviors such as picking lint off clothes, clearing spider webs around the house (symbolic little much?), lazy browsing the internet, Googling places that I want to travel to, binge watching TV, dancing, working out, or anything else that makes me happy. What do you do in your ME time?
The more I reflect on life, the more I realize how grateful I should be for so many things- for a healthy body and mind, for a loving family and close knit friends, for a job that interests and stimulates me, and for the opportunity to lead a comfortable life. We take a lot of the 'usual' stuff for granted so much in our day to day life. You only realize the value of what you have when you lose it. Sure- the grass is always greener on the other side, but remind yourself to be grateful- ALL THE TIME.
Be Aware of your Triggers
...Cause awareness is the first step to self-control! I know I get so ANNOYED with 'lazy people', 'people with a sense of entitlement', and 'poor customer service'. I am trying to develop more tolerance and carefully choose the battles that are worth fighting. Are you aware of your triggers?
Have faith and believe. Trust in one constant force that you believe will pull you out of misery. Whether you are religious or not, it is important to have such positive faith.
It's OK to Ask for Help
People who are 'type A' personalities like me will agree when I say it is not easy to stretch out a hand and ask for help. Be kind to yourself and identify when you could use a helping hand through a tough time.
Chose your Companion/s Wisely
I feel so blessed to have 'Yang' as my fellow companion in life. Whether it is a life partner or your friends- choose someone that balances you, completes you, and supports you selflessly. Choose someone that believes in your strengths more than you and someone that will never let go of you when the road gets rough. Hold on with full faith and never let go:)