Growth and change are both painful, uncomfortable and sometimes undesirable. But, nothing is more painful as staying stuck somewhere you don’t belong. So start here and now. Start with fear, with wonder, with reservation or without a clue. It’s a beautiful day to start. Even rock bottom is a beautiful start. Just start making it count.
Go on more adventures, be around good energy and happy people, learn new things, try something different, nurture a grateful heart, look after your body, be gentle with your words and your actions, see your beauty without a compliment or a mirror, begin to tell people what you feel for them, be brave enough to start a conversation that matters, and grow. It doesn’t matter what you do for a living. If you ache to see your heart’s longing and your unrealistic dreams come to life, then just start making it count.
For now, one good sulk a week will have to do. Don’t let a small disappointment, a huge resentment or a really nasty mood define you, confine you, or outshine you. Choose to move on and leave it behind you. Because, from this day on, you need to make your days count.
Everybody’s gotta fight some bad days to earn the best days of their lives and I’d be lying if I said I have not had a fair share of mine. But coping with change of all sorts — moving homes (and cities) often, being a first-time unenthusiastic mother, choosing to be a homemaker, seeing my support system of girlfriends move continents, dealing with body image issues and growing out of it, feeling like I can’t cope with motherhood, feeling anxious and panic-stricken all the freakin’ time, so on and so forth — has made me who I am today, a positively happy human who feels like she’s got it all under control (well, not always, but on most days!).
My progress has been slow and deliberate, and with a lot of setbacks. But, here are some little things that have helped me make a comeback from cuckoo land. The meat of the matter finally lies in your will to change your present. Start with one tiny thing and do it differently every single day.
The right attitude, learning to be kind and humble no matter what, and consciously practicing gratitude made my first steps easier, but the slightly off-beat elements made all the difference in my growth towards a healthy mind and a happier existence.
Empowered women, empower women
It is true that little girls with dreams become women with vision. Don’t we all have that one girlfriend who’s always got our backs? Who makes you feel like a ‘somebody’ even on the days when you feel like a ‘nobody’. Who tells you to step back when you wear your heart on your sleeve or warns you when you fall madly in love for the very first time. Who may not have kids but always says the right things when you feel lonely, forlorn and resentful in your mommy life. She is your intuitive better half. The one who gives you drive, direction and gumption. She empowers you to be the best version of yourself, loves you fiercely and tells you — ‘Don’t be afraid to be smart’. You need to be that girl. Because, someone will always need you to be that girl.
Be a feminist, but not an extremist. Be a die-hard girl’s girl. No man gets a woman like a woman gets a woman. Stand up for your tribe.
“A woman with a voice is by definition a strong woman” ∼ Melinda Gates
Reserve your table for the good ones
The older you get, the more you realize the value of privacy, of cultivating your circle, and not letting everyone in. You understand that maturity of thought and action belong to a place where not everyone has yet arrived. You can be kind, generous, patient. You can be open, honest and real. You can forgive and entrust people with second chances. But finally, you must understand that not everybody deserves a seat on the table of your life. Let go. Liberate and be liberated.
“What you meet in another being is the projection of your own evolution” ∼ Ram Dass
Don’t make a donation, make a difference
It doesn’t matter how much you give, what matters is how much love you put into giving. Every now and then, a small act of kindness, spreading some love to the less fortunate, doing away with a little bit of your precious time to help someone, or simply showing up with a big broad smile and warm open arms is enough to bring so much of that joy back into your life.
Giving is the key word. It also means giving your children basic human values rooted in trust and affection, because they imbibe your words, your actions and even your subtle undercurrents. When you change their values, you change their behaviour. They understand that the whole of mankind is one and only one — one race, one class, one society — and learn to respect it.
Finally, a person who feels appreciated will be and will do better than what is expected of him. So go all out with it — the love, the kindness, the selfless goodwill. Like a boomerang, what you give is what you will get.
“To move forward, you have to give back” ∼ Oprah Winfrey
BE. HERE. NOW.
The condition of alienation, of being awake but asleep, of being out of one’s mind, of being lost in himself, is the condition of every normal man. Being ‘present’ is probably the toughest facet of self-love and self-improvement. To stay present in everyday life, you must be extremely aware and deeply rooted within yourself; otherwise, the mind, which has incredible momentum, will drag you along its wild current.
Cultivating mindfulness in everything you do, whether you are eating, spending time with your dears or simply sitting idle — is such a rewarding way of feeling like you have so much time. When you are present in everything you do, when you experience each moment fully, you look afresh at what you normally take for granted.
No app can teach you to be self-aware and present, but they may help you understand how to begin. Headspace or Calm (Apple’s 2017 App of the Year) are both great places to kickstart your journey.
“The trouble is, you think you have time” ∼ Buddha
Be satisfied with an eight
As wonderful as it is to always earn a perfect ten in everything you do, it’s neither possible, nor healthy to expect such perfection from yourself or from others. Nobody conjures up the perfect dinner spread every evening, nobody (not even me) blow dries their hair and looks fabulous every morning, nobody’s sex life is such that every experience is a ten. You may have to be satisfied with regular eights or sixes and even an occasional three. C’est la vie and that’s the way it goes. Okay?
The good life is sweet and slow and rich and flawed. Forget what the world has told you the good life looks like. This is it. ∼ Emily Ley
Don’t be the ‘pro’ in procrastinate
That voice in your head that keeps nagging you to follow your heart, to do the things that bring you immense joy or to be the person you always wanted to be — listen to it and comply with it. What makes your heartbeat race, what gives you the prickly goosebumps, what makes you want to spring up from your bed, what satisfies your soul’s longing —make that dream a reality. Stop nudging it aside, stop finding excuses, stop fighting the currents, stop deliberating, stop being confused. If nothing else, find a notepad and make a plan. Do it now. Not later, not tomorrow, not when you are ‘free’ — DO IT NOW.
So, here’s to chasing your dreams in the cutest pair of shoes you own!
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams” ∼ Eleanor Roosevelt
It’s pretty obvious that everyone wants to be happy all the bloody time. But that’s not what happens when life happens. Wanting to be happy is not enough to make you happy. Daily affirmations in front of the mirror are not going to make an unhappy person happy, because happiness comes from identifying your problems and then solving them, not from living in denial and ‘practicing happiness’. Don’t let the self-help books fool you. You are either happy or you aren’t. Period. If you need some clarity, some perspective and some shaking up, do yourself a favor and get a copy of ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck’ by the genius blogger Mark Manson. He helps you choose the problems that you enjoy solving, or those that need immediate attention and action, and teaches you in his most crude, profane, hilarious and refreshing style, the subtle art of not giving a fuck. He defines happiness very simply — Don’t try.
“In life, we have a limited amount of fucks to give. So you must choose your fucks wisely” ~ Mark Manson
Believe that your time will come
“If there is ever a day when you feel tired of saying ‘good for them’ and you are wondering when things will be good for you, take heart with great hope, and consider all the things this season of growing will lead into. Like an ocean that awaits many miles away, you may not be there yet, but you are surely on your way. So take your time while you are journeying, travel light, be safe. For there will come a time when you finally arrive on those shores and you will be so glad you did not settle. You will be so glad you did not give up. You will be so glad you did not sync yourself to someone else’s pace and chose instead to anchor yourself in the steady rhythm of grace. And after everything you went through, you arrived where you needed to be on time, and everything will be fine. Not perfect, but fine. For every beautiful thing will happen in its time” — Morgan Harper Nichols.
I’m so grateful for my time.
And today more than ever, I am grateful for my son, for what having a child has taught me, for how far I have come and for the person I have thus become.
My son turned two somewhere between yesterday and today (leap baby 2016). This post is dedicated to him.
Until next time, XOXO