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4 Easy Tips for Living Light

Photo by Holly Lay
Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can. ~Arthur Ashe

Several years ago, my good friend and I shared an apartment. We both just started our first “real jobs” and weren’t making a ton of money. We took turns cooking dinner, and we came up with a plan to use everything in our fridge before we went grocery shopping.

We didn’t waste food and saved serious cash at a time when we needed to most. It also forced us to be ridiculously creative.

Apples and tofu were the only thing in the fridge? Check out the pantry. We’ve got some walnuts, honey and a lone red onion. Suddenly we went from scrounging to gourmet cooking.

We called this using what you have, and we applied it all over the place. I just used it while shopping yesterday.

Stop Pretending and Start Being You

Photo by Maxi Adrian San Agustin
You’ll never know who you are unless you shed who you pretend to be. ~Vironika Tugaleva

I grew up in the 1970s, and I learned a lot from the experience. Tom Wolfe called the ‘60s and ‘70s “The Purple Decades” because they had such gaudy styles.

Style seemed to be a big deal then, even more so than in other decades. Everyone of a certain age felt free to try new things and express themselves.

Expressing oneself sounds like a good thing, but actually it depends on what you’re trying to express. Is it the real you or just something you borrowed from the people and styles around you?

8 Questions to Feel More Free

Photo by Caroline Sleeper
Maybe the life you’ve always wanted to live is buried underneath everything you own. ~Joshua Becker

As a full-time nanny of four, I typically used the family’s van when picking the kids up. One day, however, I unexpectedly found out that I needed to use my own car.

This wasn’t a problem for me. I just had to put some stuff in the trunk and say my least favorite phrase: “Please excuse the mess.”

As I suspected, the children weren’t thrilled. But at least it gave us something to talk about.

“Wow, your car is, like, rotten!” the six-year-old boy immediately exclaimed.

“Where do I put my feet?” his older sister asked.

I thought surely the next time would be better. They’d be used to it.

How to Succeed Through Acceptance

Photo by Antoine Robiez
Of course there is no formula for success except, perhaps, an unconditional acceptance of life and what it brings. ~Arthur Rubinstein

I’ve spent a great deal of my life trying to figure out what I should do next, determining where I stand in relation to those around me, creating a harsh comparison between where I am and where I should be.

In these moments of contemplation, I’ve always found a way to diminish the beauty of where I stand today. What is out there always seems a little brighter, a little more impressive than what already surrounds me.

And this way of thinking and interacting with the world plants the belief that action is king — action is the only way to change and change is the only way from point A to point B.

But what if you’re supposed to stay at point A for a little while?

9 Tips for Better Self-Esteem

Photo by kris krüg
Low self-esteem is like driving through life with your hand brake on. ~Maxwell Maltz

You know you’re clever and capable and can achieve great things. You have dreams of going places and doing things. Incredible, fulfilling things. But you’re not reaching for those goals. You’re not striving to achieve your dreams.

Something is stopping you.

It’s like you have a hand brake on. No matter how far down on the accelerator you press, you’re not going anywhere.

You want to go. Part of you knows you’re capable of going. But another part is preventing you from taking action.

How to Find Your True Love

Photo by Kris Kesiak
But the most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you find someone to love the you that you love, well, that's just fabulous. ~Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City

Dating was never easy for me. In fact, I didn’t have my first date until my senior year of high school and that was because my brother wanted me to meet the person he had found to take me to prom.

Sad beginnings, I know.

And it really didn’t get much better for me until a long time after that “first date.” My attraction blunders were many.

I’ve sent candy and roses to men I’ve been interested in, begged a elementary school crush to consider me as a third girlfriend (yes, he actually had two others), and even chased away would be interested men because I was so happy to be asked out. I took the reins and tried to speed up the process, which ultimately just halted it all together.

I was completely clueless at what it actually took to attract the man of my dreams.

Find Power in Silence

Photo by Phillipe Put
Silence is a source of great strength. ~Lao Tzu

When I was a kid, my family would take long road trips. We were from the Midwest, so in order to get anywhere the drive was at least six hours. But we were ambitious. Six hours was a weekend trip.

We were more interested in traveling to Detroit (a 13-hour trip) or Seattle (a 22-hour drive). When you pack five people in a car for that long, there are bound to be issues, and one of those was the radio.

Since my father drove most of the time, we were at his mercy when it came to the music. Or more often, I should say, the silence. While we were a musical family, my father would insist on turning off the radio every hour or so, just “to hear myself think,” as he said.

We would whine and complain.

“It’s just so boooooring without anything to listen to,” we’d say.

Fast forward decades later, and I suddenly find myself turning off the stereo at home, while I’m working or driving. This is odd for me — I consider myself an audiophile.

Feeling Misunderstood? These 3 Things Can Help

Photo by Tristan Duplichain Photography & Design
Everyone has a side to them that's kind of unexplained and feels misunderstood. ~Kirk Hammett

I have felt misunderstood, and for a large part of my life.

I am a very social person and I can get along with most people. People, who know me well, would not describe me as an introvert but I do feel I have an introverted side to me.

I find the world incredibly noisy, and I often struggle to understand my part in the grand scheme of life.

I have always questioned things and still spend much of my time thinking about different aspects of life, what everything means and how it all fits together.

I think a lot, and I think logically, so I find myself grappling with the meaning of life daily, which can be extremely frustrating.

How to Overcome Social Anxiety

Photo by Jade
Nothing can be done without hope and confidence. ~Helen Keller

Imagine standing in a fancy ballroom in a hotel. You’re at a networking event, one of a handful of females in a room with investors and self-confident entrepreneurs.

You don’t know anyone, so you’re looking down at your smartphone pretending you have a message, but you don’t. You look around, hoping for someone to approach you … but no one does.

That was me, five years ago. Unsure of myself, scared to approach people and telling myself that I was a fake or a phony.

I had just launched a business, and we needed to raise capital — fast. The key to raising money is relationships: You need to meet the right people, get the right introductions and sell your idea.

Those were all things I did NOT want to do.

4 Ways to See the World Through New Eyes

Photo by Julia Caesar
If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is: Infinite. ~William Blake

Working from home, while convenient, is often times punctuated by bouts of loneliness. To counteract that, I often spend hours working from a local coffee shop frequented by a group of regulars.

Today, sitting in my normal spot, I struck up a conversation with a man working next to me. We spoke in brief detail about our work and the weather and eventually about where we were from.

As a Colorado transplant from New York, he said, in short, that it seemed as if people here tended to be outwardly mean or judgmental without being provoked.

I was slightly surprised by the observation, simply because I had found that there was no way to make such a general statement about a group based solely on their geographical location.

To me, geography determined what hobbies you partake in or even the clothing style you learn toward, but personality traits were determined by something else entirely.

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