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4 Tips for Being Yourself

Photo by Alba Soler
Let go of who you think you should be and embrace who you are. ~Brené Brown

Do you ever fear that who you are isn’t enough — you put on a mask and become someone you’re not to avoid rejection?

This has been me for most of my life. From a young age I never felt as though I was good enough. Growing up as an introvert surrounded by extroverts was what first got me questioning myself.

Everyone seemed to love the opposite of what I was. I felt unloved, and I became ashamed of myself.

This was the beginning of many years of self-destruction. I so desperately wanted to be accepted and loved by others. I did whatever it took to be what I thought people wanted to see. Even if it wasn’t in line with who I was and what I truly valued.

I hid behind a mask. I pretended to be someone I wasn’t. It was my protection from allowing people to get to know the real me so I could avoid rejection. This is how I lived for 23 years.

Are You Afraid to Let Go of Your Struggle?

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Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow. It only saps today of its joy. ~Leo Buscaglia

My mother, a woman who is steadfastly spiritual and always looking for a way to move into greater understanding of herself and others, recently attended a meeting for our church where she serves as a prayer practitioner.

Each of the participants were recounting the issues they were working through, some rooted in relationships, others in careers.

When it was my mom’s turn to share, she expressed that she felt beaten down by the financial trouble that was on the horizon once again after recent layoffs left both her and my dad without jobs.

One of the women turned to her and simply said, “Are you ready to let go of the struggle?”

Her first instinct was to say, “Yes, of course. Who wants to struggle?” But as she sat with the idea, she noticed the pattern, the strings of attachment and the payoff of being in a constant state of upheaval, worry and uncertainty.

5 Ways to Fail Successfully

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If you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something … Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, do it. Make your mistakes next year and forever. ~Neil Gaiman

There’s a story about a ceramics teacher who, at the beginning of the quarter, divided his class up into two groups. The first group was told that their grade would be based solely on the quantity of their work and the second group, on quality.

At the end of the quarter, contrary to what one would think, it was the first group that received the higher marks. Why? Because every day they churned out pot after pot, trying out new things and quickly learning from their mistakes.

6 Tips to Be More Confident

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Charisma is the fragrance of soul. ~Toba Beta

Have you ever wondered why some people exude charisma while others just seem to be so plain?

We all know people who seem to have that special something that makes them stand out. They walk into the room and you can immediately sense that they operate on a completely different level than most other people.

In case you are wondering, the word charisma comes from the Greek language and it means a gift from the Gods/the Divine.

Based on the definition, you might think that charisma is something that only a select few will be able to possess. However, just as the elusive concept of luck, charisma is a trait that we all can develop.

3 Tips to Get Rid of Anxiety

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The least initial deviation from the truth is multiplied later a thousandfold. ~Aristotle

I must have heard it delivered a thousand different ways: Honesty is the best policy.

Precisely because I heard it a thousand times, I tended to associate the saying with less significance. It’s like hearing your mom tell you, “Put your coat on or you’ll catch a cold!”

Yeah, yeah.

Looking back, it seems I spent a lifetime wasting so much energy putting out fires because I lost sight of what was most important. Being true to myself was a concept — a nice idea for others, but not for me. I didn’t have that luxury. I had way too much on my plate.

At least this is what I told myself.

How to Find Compassion

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Compassion brings us to a stop, and for a moment we rise above ourselves. ~Mason Cooley

I was on my way home after purchasing a lavender-scented candle to help kick start a relaxing atmosphere I desperately needed to wind down from a terrible and emotionally draining week at work. I was rummaging for my keys in my purse for what seemed like forever.

Oh no! Are you kidding me? I didn’t have my keys!

I could see my keys right now in my mind’s eye. There they were, resting on the table by the side of the door. That morning my boyfriend locked the door as we headed off to work, while I unknowingly left my keys at home.

The thing was that he just got on a bus to meet up with a friend on the other side of town.

I couldn’t help but laugh miserably at myself. What a fitting ending to a horrible week.

6 Reasons to Travel Alone

Photo by Chantel Beam
Everything's mine though just on loan, nothing for the memory to hold, though mine as long as I look. ~Wislawa Szymborska

I always had the impression that time was passing too fast, that I was not fulfilling my potential and that I was lost in a world, which I was struggling to get to know even in a small part.

I always wanted to travel, but I didn’t know how to start. I was insecure about my own decisions, but first and foremost I was afraid to do it alone.

One day I just decided to finally leave all these concerns at home and go traveling by myself. I decided to book tickets to places I had never been, pack my backpack and escape to a new part of the world for almost a year.

After visiting 40 countries, I can assure you that being your own captain while crossing into unknown lands is the most self-developing experience it is possible to have. Let me explain to you why.

6 Ways to Let Go of Anger

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Forgiveness is a virtue of the brave. ~Indira Gandhi

I hate to admit it, but I am not good at letting things go. A few days ago I stared getting worked up about a disagreement a good friend and I had. It replayed in my head; the hurt in my heart flared up again.

The worst part? It happened more than a year ago, and it’s been resolved. If she knew I still harbored these feelings, she’d probably be upset. After all, weren’t we past that?

It used to be that I would forgive and forget immediately, but I realized that I wasn’t truly forgiving people; I was simply using the technique of denial.

So instead, I swung to the other end of the pendulum, where I couldn’t seem to let go, even if I’d said I’d forgiven.

The benefits of letting go of a grudge aren’t all just in your head. Forgiveness leads to healthier relationships, less anxiety, lower blood pressure, fewer depression symptoms and less risk of substance abuse.

With all of this in mind, I set out to make an effort to forgive in a healthy way and quit walking around with the weight of all those grudges.

6 Tips to Help Introverts Thrive

Photo by Daniel Zedda
Stay true to your own nature. If you like to do things in a slow and steady way, don’t let others make you feel as if you have to race. If you enjoy depth, don’t force yourself to seek breadth. ~Susan Cain

I’ve been an introvert my whole life — but until recently, I was working against my brain.

That is, I was trying to force myself to be social when I was mentally exhausted, to work in conditions an extrovert would thrive in, to not allow myself some sweet alone time that all introverts love every now and then. No wonder I was always tired!

Here’s the thing: It’s OK to be introverted, just like it’s OK to be extroverted.

Unfortunately, it’s an extroverted world at first glance, and many introverts try to fit themselves into an extrovert’s life, not realizing that they would be so much happier if they simply went with the flow of their body and brain, living a more quiet life.

Here are six tips that I’ve learned as an introvert that have vastly increased my happiness, productivity and overall peace of mind.

5 Ways to Stop Worrying

Photo by Jonathan Kos-Read
Behind all this, some great happiness is hiding. ~Yehuda Amichai

I woke up excited about the day ahead. It was a year after I’d left my job and a promising new way of life was taking shape.

I wrote for an hour at my big wooden desk in the morning light. With rich Castro coffee and a cat curled near my feet, I felt expansive and loved.

The promise of breakfast wafted through the house as I headed for the shower. In the shower, an idea for a fun blog post series came to me, and I found myself singing an ABBA tune.

But then it hit me. 

This is not normal. This can’t be right. Mama mia! I’ve been happy for too long this morning.

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