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How to Accept Yourself Fully

Photo by Shannon
We accept the love we think we deserve. ~Steven Chbosky

I’ve been going through life feeling like a fraud.

Every time a friend expressed awe over my seemingly perfect life, I gulped a big one and prayed they would never realize what my banal day-to-day existence was really like.

When I was in school, at every exam I hoped that this wouldn’t be the first one I would fail miserably, starting a chain reaction of terrible grades, followed by flunking out of school and ending up on the street … or in jail.

6 Lessons On Letting Go

Photo by Hannes Caspar
Letting go doesn't mean that you don't care about someone anymore. It's just realizing that the only person you really have control over is yourself. ~Deborah Reber

All my life, I have relied on goal-setting to achieve results.

Whether it came to school work, or even just taking time to hang out with my friends, I would plan the entire day out on outlook or use one of many goal setting techniques that I had learned.

For example, I would stick a piece of paper on the ceiling of my bedroom with my goals written on it so it would be the first thing I saw when I woke up.

And while all this helped me achieve great results, I noticed that I was always chasing the next big thing or the next goal I set for myself. I noticed that I never felt genuine contentment in my life.

It wasn’t just with goals. When it came to my social life, I cared too much about being popular and tried too hard to maintain a good social image by pleasing people. And I constantly felt like I didn’t know who I was, and I definitely wasn’t happy.

How to Move Forward and Stop Repeating The Past

Photo by EDUARDO IZQUIERDO
Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start. ~Nido Qubein

We move through our lives based on patterns of the past, replicating the systems and dynamics that we’ve become accustomed to.

Our brains are actually trained to perpetuate these patterns, as we reinforce the neural pathways that have been previously established.

Without consciousness, it continues.

5 Ways to Live in the Moment

Photo by EDUARDO IZQUIERDO
Forever is composed of nows. ~Emily Dickinson

For a long time I believed that living in the moment meant doing what I wanted, when I wanted to.

It has taken me many years to realize that I was wrong.

I felt the need to be free at an early age. I recall packing my bags to leave home at five years of age. My poor parents had a hell of a time with me when I hit my adolescent years. And of course, the teen-age years were even worse.

Basically, I didn’t like rules and regulations.

How I Learned to Meditate

Photo by Yulia
Our way to practice is one step at a time, one breath at a time. ~Shunryu Suzuki

The first time I meditated was about six years ago.

I was drawn to meditation by the same aspiration as many people — the desire to feel calmer and happier. I was a medical student at the time, and my life was just too stressful and hectic.

It seemed there was always more to do, more to worry about and no time to reflect. I felt disconnected and dissatisfied.

And then, I got dumped by a man I was madly in love with. I felt like a total failure. I was shaken and incredulous — how could I have wanted something so badly and still have it taken away from me?

I was not used to failure. I was used to setting a goal, laying out the steps and diligently taking them — one at a time — until I got what I wanted. I was under the illusion that with enough effort, I could achieve any goal and sidestep all feelings of pain and discomfort along the way.

4 Ways to Say What You Want

Photo by Eduardoizq
I now see how owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do. ~Brene Brown

Do you ever fear that voicing your needs and desires —saying what you want — makes you selfish and will cause people to dislike you?

I used to be terrified of taking a stand for myself — saying “no” or “I don’t want to” or “I disagree.” I was so desperate to fit in and please others that I’d completely forgo my own wishes and innermost needs.

This denial of my truest self probably led to the anorexia I developed at the age of 10 — a disorder that I wouldn’t be able to shake off for 14 years.

Even when I got married, I did so despite my inner voice urging me to wait. Again, I listened to someone else’s wants at the expense of my own. So I said ‘I do,’ feeling slightly sick and knowing that I was walking down the wrong path.

5 Steps to Design Your Life

Photo by Hannes Caspar
The soul cannot think without a picture. ~Aristotle

Lately, I have observed that many of us feel we are reacting to life versus creating it.

Perhaps some of us are stuck in a job we feel is not challenging or is not utilizing our potential.  Or, we are constantly feeling behind — the demands from errands, tasks and bills have us constantly playing catch up. Some of us struggle with finding a meaningful balance between our family and career.

Or, simply, we have become the victim; unconsciously, we have decided to be the effect of each day versus the cause.

Recently, as I was faced with a disconnect in varying interests, I realized I had to refocus, quickly, before I went astray.

I found by designing my life through a vision statement, it has been a tool for providing more direction: Instead of becoming reactionary to whatever arises in my day, I have regained the role of creating it.

How to End Your Dependence on Other People

Photo by Eduardo Izquierdo
The best place to find a helping hand is at the end of your own arm. ~Swedish Proverb

A couple of months ago, I made the decision to end my financial dependence on my mother.

I had on eighty-four cents in my bank account, no place to live and the only income I had was from a part time job and a couple of freelance projects.

Though the timing may have been a bit dramatic, there was a sense of urgency in my decision. I was desperate to free myself from the cycle of repeatedly leaving home only to return with my tail between my legs and no money to speak of.

How I Found the Courage to Quit My Job

Photo by Eduardo Izquierdo
Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway. ~John Wayne

I took a bold step last year: I quit my dead-end job to follow my dreams. I’m not going to lie to you and say it was easy. It wasn’t. But over time, it became easier than living through the torture my day-to-day life had become.

Many people would happily follow their passion if they only knew what it was. Others recognize their passion and long to follow it, but don’t have the necessary courage to take that path.

That was me.

By the age of 22, I already knew that an independent freelance lifestyle would suit me best, and I envisioned a future working with animals, and writing. But life led me down a very different path – one that was admittedly easier, but left me feeling like a square peg in a round hole. I took the safe, traditional route and spent years in a series of office jobs that made me desperately unhappy.

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