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Discovering The Secrets To Happiness

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Discovering The Secrets To Happiness

There are times when the path to happiness seems difficult and elusive, when in fact it’s often staring you in the face…

It’s often a matter of changing the way you look at the simple things. After all, many of the biggest turning points in our lives stem from the simplest changes. In her wonderful blog post 10 Secrets Happy People Know (But Won’t Tell You), Cate Scolnik experienced such a change when she decided to break away from an abusive relationship. This eventually led her to discover a few important “secrets” to happiness which she realized were hiding in plain sight.

Let’s go over each one, and at the end of this post, be sure to read the original post yourself.

It’s absolutely OK to be sad.

“You don’t have to be happy all the time, or even every day…. The contrast of negative emotions can be beneficial, because they remind us how wonderful happiness is.”

Some people feel the strange need to be happy all of the time. There’s something very wrong about this, as both happiness and sadness are natural aspects that you need in order to keep a healthy balance. Basically, you cannot have one without the other. People who try to reject their sadness unfortunately add to it, as they add the fear of sadness to sadness. It is best to deal with sadness itself, understanding that it too shall pass.

If you want to be happy, you actually have to work on it.

“There are things that we can do to increase our happiness every day, but they take some effort.” 

Cate makes a good point here. You cannot develop a skill without practice. Even the most talented people on earth cannot fully realize their potential without spending countless hours studying or practicing their craft. Being a happy person is practically a discipline. It takes work to create the conditions for you to maintain a sustainable and positive outlook on life.

Accept yourself—it’s an imperative

“Sometimes it’s hard to see our own best qualities. Or if we see them, we don’t always value them.”

We have all heard the advice: just be yourself. It isn’t always comforting advice, especially if you are unhappy with who you are. But just remember that you are always undergoing constant change. You are neither a static nor fixed mechanism that has clearly defined functions or limitations. Rather, you are a multitude of “potential” whose transformation you can influence and direct. Accepting yourself, in other words who you are, is also accepting who you can (or want to) become.

Relationships are critical

“Human beings have always been pack animals – we need to connect with people.”

No person is an island—we’ve heard this so many times it has become something of a cliché. But it’s true. Living your life and doing things solely for yourself has its benefits. But after awhile, it might feel a bit empty if you cannot share it with people who are special to you. Connecting with other people and discovering who they are is also another way for us to discover ourselves.

There is nobody else that can contribute to the world in the way that only “you” were meant to

“Comparing yourself to someone else is always going to end in tears.”

There is always something to admire about other people. But when that admiration becomes envy, then we are simply denying our own special uniqueness. Don’t get sucked into this. There will only be one you. You have your own unique interests, strengths, qualities, and potential. Nobody can contribute to the world in the unique way that you can. Cherish that fact, and don’t envy someone else’s qualities at your own expense. It’s unhealthy, flawed, and unnecessary considering everything that you are.

Accepting who you are also means accepting who you were and everything you have been through

“Your memories are part of you, so carry them with grace.”

If you stay true to yourself and your goals to live as positively as you can, you will eventually learn what it means to be truly happy. Everything you have been through—good experiences and bad—led you to this point. Have gratitude for all of those experiences, because they make up the collective forces that put you on your current path toward self discovery.

Learn to trust your intuition and just let go

“We’re all capable of analyzing a situation to death… When this happens think, Thanks Mind, and move on to other things.”

What Cate is saying here is something we all know: obsessively mulling over things in a logical manner won’t always work, particularly when it comes to emotions. There are times when you have to just let go, trust your gut, and move on. The ability to think intuitively, like happiness, is also a discipline. It takes practice to get it right.

You can’t control everything in life (of course), but you can direct your attitude

“Choosing your attitude is easier said than done. I never used to believe it was possible. But it is.”

Attitude is everything. It determines how you interpret and respond to things. If you come across a situation that most people would consider to be unfortunate, you have the power to turn things around if you so choose. Your attitude may determine how you act and feel, but you have the ultimate capacity to determine your own attitude.

Live in the now

“Happy people live now. They feel now. They love now. This doesn’t mean they don’t have goals, but they appreciate what they have now.”

If you want to live a fulfilling life, don’t put it off until later. Take what you have now and begin enjoying it. Happiness won’t come when you finally make that six figure salary; it won’t come when you accomplish your goals. Happiness is to be cultivated in the journey or process of reaching your goals. Those who think otherwise will be in for a disappointing surprise. Be grateful for what you have now, and your happiness and gratitude will increase as you begin attracting and receiving what you want.

You can create happiness for yourself and others, but you can’t buy it

“Maybe you’re trying to buy yourself some happiness, instead of addressing a major issue in your life.”

We all know people who try to compensate for their emptiness through material pursuits: shopping, eating, drinking, etc. We also know how poorly this works. Once again, the path toward happiness is a discipline—a learned skill—but it is not a consumer product. This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t treat ourselves to things that money can buy. It just means that we should never cheapen happiness by placing monetary value upon it.

“Guess what? Happiness really is a gift you can give yourself.”

 

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6 Signs Of A Strong Friendship

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6 Signs Of A Strong Friendship

There is nothing quite like a strong friendship. Having someone that you can truly count on for anything and everything can completely change the way you think and feel. Unfortunately, far too often in today’s society, we seem to focus more on how many friends we have.

Or, worse, how many acquaintances we can keep in touch with via social media. But, having a true, strong friendship is something that cannot be replaced or replicated with lukewarm substitutes.

Are you already thinking about someone in your life who fits that description? Or, are you wondering if you truly have a strong friendship with one (or more) of the people who are closest to you?

While every friendly relationship is different and unique, there are some common factors associated with a strong bond and true friendship. Let’s take a look at a few of them so you can feel even more confident in your close friendships, and grow even deeper with the people in your life who truly matter.

1. Communication is Always a Priority

It is easy to talk to your friends when everything in your life is on track. Sharing laughs, light conversation, and exchanging stories are all important parts of a healthy friendship.

But, a strong friendship goes deeper. It allows you to communicate with that person, no matter what.  That includes telling them about your struggles or anything you might be going through. It also includes communicating effectively when you are not getting along.

Through proper communication, especially when things are hard, you will build trust within that relationship. Going through difficult things together will make you stronger individuals, and stronger friends.

2. You Know You Are Equals

Almost everyone has known at least one person in their lives who seems to think they’re “better” than everyone else.

Strong friendships need to be based on equality. You and your friend should always be on the same playing field when it comes to who you are and how you are living your life. If you embrace your differences and do not see one as superior, you can take comfort in knowing your friendship is sincere.

3. Respect

Even the best of friends clash from time to time. You might have similar personalities, but no two people are exactly alike.

But, if you can still show your friend respect (and receive it from them) even in times of turmoil, your friendship will be stronger than any disagreement you might have. When someone chooses to respect you even when they are upset with you, it shows that they value your relationship more than their pride.

4. You Can Be Yourself

Do you ever feel like you have to put on a show for other people? Or, are you afraid to let your true personality shine through when you are in certain crowds?

A strong friendship is one that allows you to be yourself. If there is someone in your life who truly likes you for who you are, hold onto that friendship tightly! Most people spend far too much time pretending, whether it’s online or in-person. Someone who loves your quirks and uniqueness is someone who loves you, as a person.

Honesty is also a huge part of being yourself, and a huge part of a strong friendship. Friendships should be based on trust, and that starts with being honest. Telling the truth about how you feel and what you think is important. If your friend actively listens, appreciates, and comments on that truth, you can take comfort in knowing how secure your relationship is.

5. You Experience Joy

While a true friend should be there for you during hard times, the bulk of your relationship should be joyful and fun! Again, think about that person in your life who makes you smile. Is there someone who you are always happy to be around? Does thinking about your friendship cause your heart to race?

Strong friendships should absolutely be joyful. You should find yourself laughing a lot, and being completely at ease with one another. That person may be the first one you think of when you want to experience something new or go somewhere different, just because you know that you will have more fun with them around.

6. You Respect Boundaries

No matter how great your friendship is, no two people can be together 24/7. A great friend will understand that and respect your boundaries. Alternatively, they might be going through something that they are not ready to talk about. If you can respect those boundaries, it shows them how much faith you have in your friendship.

Many people are too quick to think the term “boundaries” as being negative. But, boundaries are completely healthy and necessary in a strong relationship of any kind. Having someone in your life who respects those boundaries understands what it takes to build upon that strength. 

Having a strong friendship – even just one – can add so much to your life. Take a look at your current friendships. Is there one that stands out to you with these characteristics? If so, do what you can to continue to build and grow that strength, and make sure that friend knows how important they are to you on a regular basis.

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6 Things To Remember When You Think That You’re Not Good Enough

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6 Things To Remember When You Think That You’re Not Good Enough

Have you ever had moments where you feel completely inadequate? Maybe a specific situation comes up and you think there is no way that you would ever be good enough to do what is needed. Or, maybe you feel that way all the time and you can’t seem to get past it.

Thinking that you are not good enough and having low self-esteem tend to go hand-in-hand, but they are slightly different.

Thankfully, you can work on both of them by changing your thinking habits and banishing some of that negative self-talk from your mindset. Whether you think you are not good enough in certain situations or you have a hard time believing that you are good enough for almost anything, it doesn’t have to be that way forever.

Let’s look at a few things you should always keep in mind when those thoughts come in, and how you can start to convince yourself of your true worth.

1. You Are Not Alone

Thinking that you are not good enough can cause a lonely existence. You might not want to put your burdens on others, so you don’t talk about it. You might also think that everyone else is perfectly happy with who they are, and are confident in everything that they do.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The reality is, you never know what other people are fully thinking/feeling. What you can count on, though, is that there are so many others who feel just like you, and are constantly wondering if they are “enough”. Knowing that you are not alone can help you to work through your feelings without feeling so isolated.

2. You Have Your Own Skills

A common reason why people tend to think they are not good enough is because they don’t have a specific talent or skill that someone else has. But you probably have something that person doesn’t, too.

Everyone has their own abilities and things that make them unique. Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, keep your mind on your talents and what makes you special.

“If you want to make a permanent change, stop focusing on the size of your problems and start focusing on the size of you!” – T. Harv Eker

3. You Can’t Be Perfect

Perfection is a fruitless thing to chase. Many people who question their self-worth do so because they are perfectionists.

But, if you set such a high standard for yourself, you will always be disappointed. Perfection doesn’t exist, and while you can strive to be your best, it is important to understand human error and limits. That doesn’t mean the things you do are some how “less” than great. But, striving for perfection is something that can make you feel inadequate.

4. You Are Worthy of Loving Yourself

Love tends to be the answer for so many things, including any pain or turmoil that you might be going through. Thinking that you are not good enough is an easy way to cause yourself sadness and pain. Those thoughts can quickly snowball and you might start to think about more negative things about yourself.

Instead of fueling those negative thoughts, choose love. Love is like a permanent band-aid for the pain that you are going through. It is a great way to comfort yourself, provide reassurance, and get a clearer picture of who you really are and all of the wonderful things that you can offer the world. By choosing self-love, you can start to see yourself in a more positive light, and push those negative thoughts away.

“We must fall in love with ourselves. I don’t like myself. I’m crazy about myself.” – Mae West

5. Mistakes Can Be a Good Thing

Do you ever find yourself feeling especially inadequate when you “fail”? While that is not uncommon, that word should really be removed from your vocabulary.

Everyone “fails” at times, because again, perfection is not attainable. When you start to consider anything less than perfection to be a failure, it is easy to beat yourself up and think that you will never amount to the things that you truly want.

But, when you start to view your failures and mistakes as good things and stepping stones, you can completely shift your perspective and realize that not only are you good enough, but you are also resilient and strong. Some of the biggest “failures” in history went on to be the most successful people because they learned from their mistakes. They looked at the things that went wrong and considered how they could change them.

It is important to use your mistakes as a way to learn and grow. When you are able to do that, you will find a greater sense of fulfillment when things finally come together and you get it “right”.

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordon

6. Gratitude Goes a Long Way

It might not always feel easy to accept and be grateful for who you are. But, it is incredibly important. Instead of thinking about the things you don’t have or areas where you are not “good enough”, choose to actively think about and pursue the positive. Focus on what you are grateful for. The more that you do that, the easier it will be to banish those thoughts of doubt and insecurity. I like to start every day by using my journal and begin by writing down three things that I am grateful for.

“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” — Melody Beattie

Once you really start to think about it, you will find that you have more to be grateful for than you may have initially realized, and that way of thinking can help you to establish healthier, more positive thoughts about yourself that will last a lifetime.

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50 Thought Provoking Existential Questions

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50 Thought Provoking Existential Questions

What are existential questions?

Existential questions are usually deep, philosophical questions that question just that — our very existence.

They can be great conversation starters and they can also sometimes make for a passionate discussion. The following existential questions can be a great way to get to know someone better and perhaps even learn new things about yourself.

The word existential comes from the Latin word “existentia”, which means to exist. Existential questions challenge our way of thinking, our beliefs and our perspective.

Is there a right or wrong answer to an existential question? Perhaps not, as each question usually just asks more questions.

I have put together the following list of thought provoking existential questions so that you can perhaps start an internal conversation with yourself or start an interesting debate with your friends.

50 Thought Provoking Existential Questions

 

1. Are there limits to human creativity?

2. What makes something beautiful?

3. How do we know if we’re doing the right thing?

4. Who am I?

5. What is one thing that every human should get to experience in their life?

6. Do you believe in a power greater than humanity?

7. Are we given enough time?

8. Is privacy a right?

9. What is the best way for a person to attain happiness?

10. Are we alone in the universe?

11. What is love?

12. How would you define genius?

13. What do you think your purpose is?

14. If babies are considered innocent, when do people cease to be innocent?

15. Is it better to expand your knowledge or to deepen it?

16. Why do you think we are here?

17. How important is ‘play’ in living a healthy and fulfilling life?

18. Do you have a right to be happy, or should you earn it?

19. What happens when I die?

20. What worries me the most about the future?

21. What is a person? Is it the mind, or the body?

22. Would the world be a better place if all leaders were women? If you answered yes, why?

23. What activity have I done that has made me feel the most alive?

24. Does truth exist without evidence?

25. If I had to instill one piece of advice in a newborn baby’s mind, what advice would I give?

26. Does a person have a soul? If so, where is it?

27. Is intelligence or wisdom more useful?

28. Is it more important to love or be loved?

29. What would make the world a better place?

30. How should we measure our lives? In years? In moments? In accomplishments? Something else?

31. What is the difference between living and simply existing?

32. If you died today, would you be satisfied with the life you’ve lived?

33. What advice would you tell your younger self?

34. Which is worse: failing or never trying?

35. Is a minimum wage a good idea? What about a maximum wage?

36. What is the most important goal every person should have?

37. Can anything ever really be considered ‘true’ or is everything subjective?

38. Is the world a better place with humans in it?

39. If extra-terrestrial life was discovered, how do you think humanity would react?

40. Is happiness just a mixture of chemicals circulating through our bodies?

41. Where do you think we go when we die?

42. Have I done anything lately worth remembering?

43. Can you ever have full control over your own life?

44. How do you know that you are not dreaming right now?

45. Is one lifetime enough?

46. What matters most in my life?

47. Is a person ever truly evil? If so, are they born that way?

48. What is the meaning of life?

49. Is humanity going in the right or wrong direction?

50. What does it mean to live a good life?

I hope that you enjoyed these thought provoking existential questions. I hope that they perhaps made you think about your beliefs, yourself and the world around you (the bigger picture). If you discuss these questions with a friend, remember, there is probably no right and wrong answers, usually just a matter of opinion.

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