Tag Archive | evolve

Life Lessons to my five year old self & every girl <3

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(me – about three years old)

This One’s For The Girls 
Who’ve ever had a broken heart 
Who’ve wished upon a shooting star 
Your beautiful the way you are 
This One’s For The Girls 
Who love without holding back 
Who dream with everything they have 
All around the world 
This One’s For The Girls” ~ Martina McBride

What advice would you give the ‘5 year old you’?

“I’ve got a song
And I carry it with me and I sing it loud
If it gets me nowhere, I’ll go there proud” ~ Jim Croce

I saw this question and think it’s fascinating and here are twenty-one little gems my adult self would love to tell my little self all those years ago. I would love to equip my little self and any little baby girl & every woman at any age with these life lessons. (And some of these are good for men too)

1.) always keep your sense of self – flawlessness. Little girls often have no sense of imperfection when they look at themselves. They’re proud & want to show off everything they are and know. They like to jump in pictures, be the center of attention.   They KNOW they’re beautiful & not afraid to flaunt it. They don’t deny compliments; they proudly accept.   They’re confident & comfortable in their own skin.  Sadly, probably for almost every girl, this sense of self imperfection gets buried, tattered, kicked to pieces, shattered to seemingly no repair the older they get. And it appears to happen younger and younger. We have 9 year olds obsessed with their own body weight, 5 year olds afraid of what other kids will think of their scars, their looks, their body weight. Look at some old little kid pictures of you. Weren’t you so cute? So perfect? So gorgeous? So un-tainted, a clean blank slate with endless possibilities & new beginnings. Feel the love & warmth for that innocent, sweet, beautiful child in that picture.   Now look at yourself as you are right this moment. That’s still you. And now you have even more experience, knowledge, & wisdom.  I want every little girl & every woman to always feel beautiful.

2.) Get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger – As LeeAnn Womack says in her song, “I Hope You Dance”. Be grateful for all you currently have & are but never settle and became stagnant. Always find motivation & inspiration to learn, explore, experience, love, & grow, and keep on going.

3.) Build and maintain an unwavering, strong, solid foundation of unconditional self love to always fall back on. Through the years you will encounter heartache, heartbreak, rejection & abandonment, loss & grief, pain, a sense of failure & falling.   You will be criticized by people with good intentions & people with malicious intentions. You’ll lose friends, be gossiped about, experience betrayal by people you never imagined could do this to you but as painful as it will be, you will be strong enough to rise above, to bounce back, to use these painful experiences to your advantage, to learn & to grow. And as long as you keep your sense of love for yourself alive, you will always feel loved. Always be loved.

4.) You don’t need everyone to love & accept you. Whenever you feel lonely remember there will always be someone somewhere who can love you. You may not know these people yet but they exist.  The way that you are, there are people who can love someone just like you.  Also, love yourself.  

5.) build others up, don’t ever drag them down – no one is better than anyone else. We all have good things & bad things. Tearing others down will never bring you up, it only serves to show more about you than the one you’re trying to destroy.

6.) always strive to see the good in people – even the kindest people may not always be kind. the most loving people still get angry sometimes. When people are hurt or numb they may act in ways that aren’t truly who they are.   Bless others by acknowledging the goodness in them and not just seeing or magnifying the bad. 

7.) Accept/tolerate people for who they are. You may have opposing views, different color skin, religions, opinions, ways of thinking, different appearances, cultures, or customs, sexual orientation, gender…but we are all equal, no one is less valuable. 

8.) always know your worth. You are more than a size on your clothing, a number on a scale, the image you see in a mirror…These things say nothing about who you truly are or how beautiful you really are. You can work to make healthy changes for yourself but you are already worth so much.

9.) Know that you are and always will be “good enough”. No matter what mistakes you make, what things you don’t succeed at, no matter what anyone tells you or says about you. You are good enough just the way you are. And if someone cannot see that, that person doesn’t belong in your life.

10.) always be honest, at least with yourself, about who you are. Don’t change for people who won’t accept the real you. Know your deep inner self, your needs, your desires, your loves, your longings, what you don’t like, what you never want to be…

11.) at one point you may feel that your life has not turned out to look exactly like your peers’ lives. It may seem like everyone around you has it good, better than you do. Maybe they’re independent with their own house, job, money, maybe they’re married with kids or in a happy romantic relationship, maybe they have lots of friends and seem to have it all. Don’t compare yourself to them. Everyone lives at their own pace, their own way. Your life doesn’t have to look like theirs to be just as beautiful. And as long as you are alive & still going, you can accomplish things & realize your dreams. You may not do everything you thought you would do by now or at all in this life but you can do other things and still be happy.  Just being you is a great accomplishment.

12.) always celebrate life. Don’t wait for birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, promotions or any other “reasons “. Life itself is reason enough to celebrate. Wear your favorite earrings, that pretty lipstick, that sexy dress that shows off your lovely curves, buy yourself flowers, take yourself to see a movie, SMILE! :-D. Keep that sense of wonder & awe. Bask in the beauty surrounding you. Be mindful of your senses and body & all they allow you to experience. Whatever you’re putting off doing until that “perfect ” occasion to celebrate, whatever you’re putting your happiness on hold for, let go & do that now, be happy now.  Cherish the simple joys of living. 

13.) follow your own dreams, plans, and goals and at your own pace. Don’t succumb to the demands or expectations or desires of family, friends, society, or others who try to get in your way. Many may have good intentions for you.   Kindly listen to what they have to say, thank them for their input, and then go on your own way, following your own path.

14.) Be happy anyway. 😀

15.) Always keep your hope alive. No matter what pain you are currently experiencing and how difficult it seems, as long as you have hope, you will feel the will to keep going.

16.) Whenever you do not succeed how you wanted or planned, even if you feel like you failed, still be proud that you had the motivation to try, be proud that you ever had a dream. Take Jim Croce’s message: “I’ve got a song
And I carry it with me and I sing it loud
If it gets me nowhere, I’ll go there proud” ~ Jim Croce 

17. ) always acknowledge the true gift you are – you are a true & rare gift to this world. You, just like every other person, have something positive to contribute to the world around you. You can fill a space no one else can. Again as LeeAnn Womack says, “When you come close to selling out, reconsider.”. Never give up on yourself. There will always be people better at things than you and worse at things than you, people will have more & people will have less but there will never, ever be another you. Never forget that.

18.) “Always be a little kinder than necessary.” ~ James M. Barrie  <3. To yourself & others.   Treat yourself how you would treat your best friend or someone else you love. Remember you are just as much of a person as all those people you love. Go easy on yourself, forgive yourself, be gentle with you, set realistic goals for yourself, don't hold yourself to impossible standards and then feel low for not achieving them. Let yourself feel happy and allow yourself to feel sad when you do & express it in healthy ways. Nurture yourself. 
 

19.) Always know that you have choices, the choice to practice controlling your own attitude & that your attitude about something and how you react are important for how happy & peaceful you feel and think of yourself as a strong survivor,not a helpless victim.

20.) Be all that you can be. Always be the best you that you can be. This doesn’t mean trying to achieve perfection in everything you do, it means being as loving, as happy, as kind, as joyous, as forgiving, as caring about yourself and others, as compassionate as you can be.

21.) Love & laugh without holding back. Laugh out loud! Love with everything you are. You may be hurt but it’s a chance worth taking.   Bless everyone with your smile. 😀

So here are some of my lessons to myself, and every girl & woman. Of course if I was talking to an actual five year old I would say these things in more age-appropriate ways but I seriously doubt there are any five year olds reading this and older people probably don’t want to read something here written in a language for a five year old! Lol ;-D

These, I believe, are valuable lessons for everyone. Maybe we haven’t all learned all of these lessons growing up. Maybe we learned them the hard way, as adults, maybe we have yet to learn & really truly  apply & live some of these but it’s never too late as long as we’re living.

You may know these things intellectually but do you really truly feel them with your emotion, deep in the heart of your heart?

Whether you’re 5 years old, 10 years old, 16 years, 28 years, 35 years, 40..50..60..70..80..90..100 & beyond…

Always remember, you’re good enough as you are. You’re more than a number & an appearance and so much more than the painful words & concepts people, society, & the media throw at you.

You don’t ever have to be anyone else’s definition of beautiful, successful, perfect, or happy.
Be your own kind of beautiful.
Your own kind of successful.
Your own kind of perfect.
Do what makes YOU truly happy.

Don’t let anyone but YOU define you. Not your lover, your friends, your family, your society, your peers, your media.   You define you. 

Focus on your own strengths, your interests, your dreams/goals your unique beauty, your interesting and difficult challenges, look at the ways in which you have grown so much and acknowledge your potential and all of your opportunities to grow some more. Nourish yourself & cherish every moment you have been given.

This is what I want for you. 
For me.
For all of us.

I absolutely loved thinking about & writing this blog post. I put everything I have into it and it felt so weird but amazing writing these things to/about myself. And like I said this is to everyone who can benefit,not just me. I encourage anyone to write a post like this. I find it to be a beautiful experience.  I would love to read other people’s life lessons to their young selves. If you write a post like this, I would love to know!

Blessings & love & hope & laughter to you all!

“To be one woman, truly, wholly, is to be all women.” ~ Kate Braverman

Xoxo Kim 😀

“All around the world
This one’s for the girls

Yeah, we’re all the same inside (same inside)
From 1 to 99″ ~ Martina McBridE

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(me – four or five years old)

Heart’s Flowers <3 {—–{—–@

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“Deep within the sanctuary 
Of ourselves there is a glade,
Where the grass is always greenest,
And the flowers never fade.
Nowhere is a garden sweeter,
Than the one love’s own hands tend,
Where affection falls like sunlight, 
Warming and awakening. 

Everlasting are the blossoms, 
That are nourished in the heart,
Little lights and little shadows,
Who can tell the two apart?
He who plants the smallest kindness,
Sows indeed a mighty seed,
For through years, like little acres, 
…Only love uproots the weed!” ~ Grace E. Easley

I came across this poem today by Grace E. Easley 

Isn’t it lovely?!

It may be hard to feel or recognize but with self work and some inner exploration and authentic self excavation we can find/create it. We can meditate, write freely in a journal or wherever you want, answer deep life questions, ponder, and reflect to find our truth and love deep within no matter what the outside world brings to us or around us.

When we nourish and cherish ourselves and tend to our deep inner needs, we can grow and find that we are all we truly need to be joyful. Nurture yourself. Care for yourself.   Give to yourself. Love yourself. As well as others. Little lights & little shadows. As the poem states, “who can tell the two apart?”. 
Pain & pleasure. Darkness & light. Happiness & sadness. Weakness & strength.  They contrast each other and one seems painful while the other seems like a gift.   The truth is negative feelings and experiences can also be gifts to teach us and guide us and allow us to truly appreciate the goodness and realize it.   

A life of all profound joy & happiness & positivity, if it were possible, may be good to a certain extent but if we just always felt a pure state of pleasure, happiness, and joy with no pain, no negativity, no darkness, no struggles would we ever be able to truly, fully, recognize and appreciate the goodness? What if there were no struggles or adversity? Can we ever truly grow and have depth and substance? I think adversity and challenges help us become. Become all we can. Grow and appreciate. I would never recommend to go out intentionally looking for direct troubles and inflicting pain upon ourselves or others just so we can grow or help others grow and learn but troubles and problems are inevitable as long as we’re living and so we can use them to our advantage and sculpt ourselves into someone who is stronger and wiser. We can choose to view them in a more positive light.   We can practice seeing them as blessings in disguise instead of a curse, an affliction, seeing ourselves as victims.

I think it’s good to sometimes take certain risks even if we don’t look for direct trouble.   By loving, we risk losing or rejection.   Filling out applications, we risk rejection. By trying we risk failing or not succeeding how we want to. By speaking up, we risk ridicule or criticism.   But all of this can teach us and strengthen us if we let it. 

These are some of my thoughts for the day. I hope everyone is having a beautiful day or night wherever you are and if not I hope you find some consolation & healing when you need it most.

Xoxo Kim

An Inspiring Conversation

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” I choose to FIGHT BACK! I choose to RISE, not fall! I choose to LIVE, not die! And I know, I know that what’s within me is also WITHIN YOU. “~Mayor John Pappas (City Hall, 1996)

About a year ago, I had a conversation with someone at work one night. At first, I found this conversation to be very unpleasant but shortly after the conversation ended, I felt energized, inspired, uplifted, and so hopeful.

This conversation is one of the things which has had the greatest, positive impact on me in my journey to recover my suicidal depression.

A person was talking to me about drug addiction and people who struggle and have struggled with addiction. She had a very negative view of people who have suffered substance addiction, even the ones who have overcome it and no longer consume illegal/recreational drugs.

She basically held the view that drug addicted people are lost causes who are bound to go nowhere in life. And even when they recover or heal, they will always be “druggies”. “Druggies” who even after recovering will never find redemption or worth.

I couldn’t have disagreed with this girl more. I see so much potential and hope and light in almost everyone I look at. People are remarkably strong and resilient and can overcome and move forward even when it’s hard. Even when it’s painful and all seems hopeless. Even when it seems impossible. Even when it’s all just so dark. 

There can always be light. When I look at a person, even a troubled, difficult, broken person with great obstacles and challenges, I don’t see an addiction or an illness or a mere label or a “lost cause”. I see a person.   A light. Possibility and hope. Hope for healing.   Hope for change.  

Everyone has something to contribute to this world and everyone around us whether or not they realize it and even when it feels impossible.   You may feel so empty, so broken, so devoid of life, so hopeless but you are not beyond healing or hope or love.

A person who has struggled with addiction and has overcome or healed that addiction and no longer takes drugs/alcohol has acheived an incredible accomplishment. It takes great strength and courage and dedication to pick up the broken pieces, the shattered parts of self and put them together again and become whole. There may always be scars, cracks, breaks, pain..but it’s possible to move forward and find true happiness, true joy in existence.

Why judge someone negatively for previous mistakes or a health condition or a choice that got out of control?

I have never struggled with addiction of any sort and cannot possibly know what it’s like.   All I can know is that it is painful, devastating, heartbreaking and difficult for the person who is addicted and everyone around that person and that it IS possible, with help & support of various kinds, to get better enough to live and be happy living. Whether or not the person is completely recovered with no more urges or still has urges that are difficult to resist. Even someone who relapses now and then.

It’s not always easy for an addicted person to know this or to ask for help or to not relapse.   And people struggling with addiction deserve empathy, understanding, compassion, love, encouragement.   They aren’t monsters. Many of them may steal and assault people and become unrecognizable to those who knew them before the tragedy of addiction but they are not all bad people . Underneath the devastation and the addiction is an amazing person who can find hope and healing.

After this girl I had the conversation with left me that night I started to think about our contrasting views. She viewed people who struggle with addiction as some of the lowest people on Earth, worthless, bad, taking up space in a world they don’t deserve.

And I view them as the people they are. Worthy of love, empathy, care, acceptance, compassion…

And I started to think about how we need more people in this world with my view. We need people with better understanding and compassion.

I thought of my own struggle with suicidal depression, which back then, a year ago, was not as healed as it is today, right now.

I thought of all the moments I wanted to kill myself in this life, feeling as if I had nothing to live for and never ever would , as if I was worthless, empty, nothing, as if the pain was just too much to bear, weighing too heavy on my life, to go on.

And I realized if I ever kill myself, I kill my compassion for others, my love, my empathy, my understanding, my acceptance, my open mindedness. If I kill myself, I kill all the chances I will ever have to help another, before those chances even begin. If I kill me, I kill the opportunity to tell someone s/he is not a lost cause, not an addiction, not a loser, not deserving of callousness and abusive insults and cruelty. I kill the chance to tell someone there is hope.

I’m not an expert on addiction. I don’t know exactly how to handle an addicted person, especially one who is acting out. They may need firmness every now and then and not all sap and gentleness, I don’t know. But that’s not my point anyway; my point is that we need more people with compassion and positive views of troubled people. We need people who will not destructively criticize and tell people there’s no hope for them.

This goes for any troubled person or anyone who has made mistakes with serious consequences, not just addicted people. 

And that if you ever kill yourself, you kill every positive aspect of yourself, your opportunity to eventually be fulfilled and healed and find or create a sense of purpose, and your opportunity for growth and your opportunity to impact the world and maybe even just one life for the better.

You’re under no obligation to live for others, it’s yourself you should live for. But there are people who need you to live, you may not have met them yet and maybe won’t meet them for many years, maybe you never will but your life will somehow touch theirs.  Someone, somewhere needs YOU to LIVE.  And eventually you will find or create a sense of purpose for your own existence.

Live for yourself and your own empathy and care and love. And live for all of your good qualities and possibilities.

I vowed to myself that night after that conversation which at first I believed to be unpleasant, that I will never take my own life. We should all live for ourselves. But when I used to get suicidal, I did not want to live for me. I saw nothing in me worth living for. But that night I vowed to never, ever end my own life even if I feel like it because if nothing else, there’s  one thing in me worth surviving for, my concern and care for others.   My empathy, my ability to see beyond illnesses and difficulties and troubles and mistakes, my desire, my longing to help heal and console in any way I can. This fulfills me.  I know those aren’t my only reasons for living, my reason is just to be,  but when I’m contemplating suicide I usually see nothing to go on for.  But this view is something I will always believe in. Helping others, also helps me. We are all connected.

I don’t live to be a “slave” and used by others, I allow myself to be fulfilled by helping and positively impacting anyone I can.

There are many, many people like me who feel this way about people, that they can heal and are deserving of compassion and love. And if I kill myself there will be one less of us.

(No one should kill themselves even if they aren’t compassionate or empathetic or caring.

Since that night, I haven’t seriously contemplated ending my own life. And if I ever do again, I have a sweet reminder of something worth living for.

And there’s also another lesson to be learned here, anyone can be our teacher even those who are unpleasant, even unpleasant encounters can be inspiring and teach us valuable lessons. This young woman who I debated with that night, this at first seemingly unpleasant encounter, provided me with the chance to think about things which have filled me with hope & inspiration. 

And here I am today, still inspired, still hopeful, still going strong.

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Xox Much love, blessings, & hope to you all.

~Kim

“Don’t judge me by my past, I don’t live there anymore.”

“Possibilities are everywhere.”

“Always go the extra mile, it’s never crowded.”

“Your past is a gift to guide you, it doesn’t have to imprison you.”

27 Lessons Learned

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In May, this year, I turned 27 years old. I have learned much in my 27 years, inside of school and out of school. I find that many of the most important lessons are ones learned through experience (good & bad) , adversity , challenges, blessings, and some even through reading or hearing about or witnessing other people’s experiences and techniques. I decided to create a list of 27 of the most valuable life lessons I have learned in my 27 years. Here is in honor of the 27 years I have been blessed to know!

1.) Attitude & a strong  and pleasant life Philosophy  is just about everything. It usually doesn’t matter what happens to us, it’s how we respond and react to and view the situation or event, that contributes to or results in our happiness, joy, & peace of mind or suffering and chaos. We cannot always control every thought, every emotion, or our attitude at literally every second but with practice we can become good at basically & generally choosing how to respond and what thoughts and emotions we dwell on.

“Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.” ~ Thomas Jefferson

2.) True, pure love is selfless. If I truly love someone, whether it’s in a platonic or romantic way, I want that person to be happy & healthy, & fulfilled with or without me no matter how painful it is to me. I won’t try to stand in the way, sabotage, or drag people down for leaving me or living their own lives even if I don’t agree or like it and even if the person’s plans don’t include me. “True love doesn’t have a happy ending; true love has no ending.”

3.) We all have things that someone else doesn’t have and we all lack things that others do not and we may want. We all possess certain characteristics or material possessions  that others won’t. No matter what I have there is someone who has more and someone who has less. Someone who has better and someone who has worse. Someone who is more skilled and someone who is less skilled. Someone who can do the job better and someone who will do worse.   And this fact will never change.   But instead of dwelling on lack, I will dwell on abundance and gratitude, and blessing, for all that I do in fact possess and everything I am. Why focus on lack?   We all lack something and always will. We all have something amazing and always will that we can focus on instead. And it’s a choice to see in terms of lack and loss or to see in terms of prosperity & abundance. It is best for me to fill my head with positive  thoughts of abundance and gratitude, and blessings. We can just look around and look within and count our blessings. It may take some practice to begin to generally and frequently *feel* blessed and gratitude but if we develop the habit of looking and taking notice of the positive, we are likely to start feeling blessed and not just making lists of our blessings without truly feeling it.  No one can replace YOU as the person you are. No one can be better at being you than you. If the grass appears to be greener on the other side, water your own grass.

““You simply will not be the same person two months from now after consciously giving thanks each day for the abundance that exists in your life. And you will have set in motion an ancient spiritual law: the more you have and are grateful for, the more will be given you.” ~ Sarah Ban Breathnach

4.)  This world is full of ugliness, craziness, greed, tragedy, bad people, discrimination, inequality,  and heartache.   But it is also filled with beauty, love, perseverance, growth, friendship, kindness, blessings, consolation, lessons learned, hospitality, healing, hope, strength, and great, incredible, good people.  When a tragedy occurs and it’s blown up in the media, we see strangers reach out in love and kindness to strangers willing and eager to help heal and allay the pain. We can focus on and dwell on the ugliness or learn to dwell on the beauty and healing instead. This is never to say we should ignore and deny pain and tragedy, we should definitely acknowledge it and make true attempts to help in any way we can but never let it drag us down and keep us there, seeing the world through negative, dark lenses. We will on occasion experience difficulty and be overwhelmed by what we witness and feel and experience and this is ok but we can muster up the strength and passion to go on positively and keep going and find joy in being alive.

When it rains it pours but soon the sun shines again.

“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.” -Martin Luther quotes

5.) When you’re at your lowest point and can get no lower, the only way now is up. When you’re lower than your lowest depths of despair, there is a light above waiting to be seized and held. When it feels as if there’s no way out other than to stop existing, to stop breathing, there is new air, new life, and new opportunities to be felt and taken. No matter how low you are, you CAN get better. I know.   “If you’re going through Hell, keep going.” Winston Churchill 

6.) No matter who you are or what you are, no matter how good or bad or average, there will ALWAYS be someone to want to drag you down,  reject you, make fun of you,  negatively gossip about you, make you feel low, point out only your flaws, magnify your imperfections, see you fall, laugh in your face, want you to lose, not like you and even loathe you. And there will be lots of people like this, the more people you meet and the more successful you become, the more likely you are to encounter negative people & rejection(and positive people too & acceptance). You cannot please or satisfy or be loved or liked by everyone. It’s not happening. And that is ok.  When someone does not like you that is that person’s problem, don’t let it be yours!   Be true to yourself. Love yourself. Live your dreams and plan your goals how YOU want, not how anyone else wants.   And if you change to please a person who doesn’t like you now, then you’ll have someone else not like you. Trying to please everyone is not only detrimental to you, it’s not practical. It’s a physical impossibility.   And you are under no obligation to dedicate your life to please anyone else at the expense of yourself.   Be you. Love you. 

“While it is natural to feel some degree of
need for the approval of others, be careful.
If you find yourself unwilling to
take actions that others disapprove of,
you have lost control of your own life
and have given your destiny to others.
An excessive need-for-approval
is a sign of low self-esteem,
and in severe cases, a condition termed co-dependency.”
– Jonathan Lockwood Huie

7.) You’re never too old. It’s never too late as long as you’re living. You can wear cartoon characters on your clothes if you want, You can wear bright clownish/ parrot -like makeup as a middle aged or old woman if that’s what draws you.   You can read children’s books and sleep with stuffed animals and that’s ok no matter what people say or think.    As long as you’re mature enough to care for yourself and not hurt or interfere with others, it’s ok to be youthful and child-like and find wonder in every breath. Child-like is not the same as childish or immaturity. There are no 7 wonders in the eyes of a child; there are 700, 000 +.   Go to college if you want, take fun classes, hold hands and giggle out in public, jump rope outside, wear those cupcake earrings….do what you want! Don’t let your age or what people think of it restrain you. “As long as you’re living no matter how long you have been traveling down the wrong road it’s never too late to turn around and start over.’ ~Unknown

8.) Kindness even to people we feel may not deserve it is a strength and not a weakness. We are not always kind and we do not always feel like being kind. Maybe sometimes we want to be vicious, even cruel but that accomplishes nothing but putting more pain out into a world where there is already too much. Avoiding this is a great strength. “Don’t treat people as bad as they are; treat them as good as you are. “. This is not being fake, it’s being mature enough to know that kindness and being civilized is better than drama and negative arguing and uncalled for negative encounters.

“The Old Ones have always said that no matter who despises or ignores you, no matter who keeps you from entering their circles, it is right to pray for them because they are like us, too.”. ~ Larry Aitken

“When you are in an upsetting situation, try loving everyone involved and pray for them, hard as they may be. Loving doesn’t mean sentimentality but rather a rational esteem for them as persons.” ~ Norman Vincent Peale

9.) Money & material possessions and even a great job are not the only or ultimate successes. They are great and can bring us some senses, often fleeting, of happiness or thrill or make us happy about those specific things but they will likely not make us truly, genuinely happy in the truest, purest general sense.  Love can do that, self- love and unconditional love for life itself.  .   Life -satisfaction as a whole can make us happy but material possessions often will not. We never need big things or lots of things to be truly happy.   The simple and beautiful things can be enough if we let them. Look at the beauty of the sky. Soak in the beauty and richness of this life. The sunlight, the moonlight, the stars, your senses….we never need a reason to celebrate. No birthdays or anniversaries, LIFE itself is reason enough to jump for joy and celebrate! Sweet simplicity.

“Oh the wild joys of living! The leaping from rock to rock … the cool silver shock of the plunge in a pool’s living waters.” 
Robert Browning

10.). You are the one ultimately in charge of your happiness and well being.   Others can help greatly along the way but you are the one who has to work the hardest for yourself.   Therapy can help but cannot, itself, cure you, most likely.   Therapists can help, friends & family can help but you are ultimately responsible for yourself.

11.)  I have the power to choose. I may not always feel like I am responsible for my circumstance but, ultimately, I am. Even the choice to do nothing is a choice. When I look at where I am right now and truly think about it, I will realize I play or have played a significant part in it. I may not have realized all along that I was making choices to get where I currently am but I was. This thought empowers me because I am aware that I can get where I want to be. If I am ultimately responsible for my pain, suffering, and unhappiness then I am also responsible for my happiness, joy, and fulfillment.   I do not choose everything that happens to me but I choose how to respond and I have more control than I may sometimes think. Often, if I’m in a situation I do not like, I can think back and see how I was/am in some ways, responsible and I can now make more positive choices to change it. If I have a victim mentality that life merely happens to me, then I have no control but when I have a “life architect” mentality, that life responds to me and I have the ability to choose and proact, then I am empowered and in control. 
I can’t choose and control everything but I can choose and control enough. 

“Destiny is not a matter of chance; it is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.” 
― William Jennings Bryan
12.) Many of us live in a stressful, fast paced, demanding society which pressures us into thinking we should live a certain way or we’re not living “right”. We’re expected to overwork ourselves or we’re “lazy” or “dependent” , to have families of our own by a certain age or we’re “old spinsters” or outcasts or “alone” or going against tradition.  We are pressured to obtain advanced school degrees or have impressive jobs to bring purpose to our lives….but There is no one specific meaning or purpose of life. There is not a reason out there waiting to be grasped. We each create our own purpose and meaning. There is no “one size fits all”.    Maybe it’s to have a job helping people, healing with compassion and kindness or being a stay at home mom, basking in the joys of being a mom or daddy, or maybe yours is a specific hobby like drawing or sculpting, or maybe you dedicate your life to research of some sort. Or maybe your purpose is simply to live, to be, to breath.   Maybe you live for the simple moments, the beauty around you, to help people every chance you get, to inspire and to be happy just to be, to be the best you that you can be. Whatever you choose, that is ok. That is great. Find your purpose and embrace it. Live it. Love it.

“We’re so engaged in doing things to achieve purposes of outer value that we forget the inner value, the rapture that is associated with being alive, is what it is all about.” 
― Joseph Campbell

13.) It’s ok if people don’t like you or appreciate you. It’s ok to be disliked by people, even ones who you really like. You CAN go on living. You CAN still succeed. If you like or love people who don’t like or love you back, it will hurt, but you can move forward and heal. Or stay stuck and dwelling on the fact and that is detrimental and will interfere with your growth. It’s healthy and it’s normal to want to be accepted and included.   Humans are social creatures and have a need, a longing to belong but we do not need everyone to love us or accept us.  Like yourself. That’s all that matters. And for all the people not liking you, there’s so many more who can and will, and already do like you.

14.) We don’t need a new year to start anew. How many people do you know who have goals and dreams they plan to achieve and realize at the start of a new year? They can’t wait for the current year to hurry up and end already.  They get pumped and inspired and energized at the mere thought of a new year about to begin. And they make resolutions they plan to start on Jan. 1st.  But imagine feeling that inspiration at ANY part of the year?! New Year is good & symbolic of new beginnings but new beginnings can happen anywhere, any place, any time.  How about now?

15.) Everyone has pain and struggles and they all deserve love and compassion and empathy even when someone else’s problems seem worse. Just because a person has or seems to have a worse problem or greater pain than another, it doesn’t take away the person’s pain who seems to have a less severe problem. Everyone can benefit by kindness and empathy and having a loving, caring, active listener. There should never be a “pain contest or competition ” to see who has worse problems and pain and judge people negatively. What doesn’t seem so bad to you may be to someone else. 

16.) About friends. Quality over quantity. One true friend is better than 20 or more acquaintances. And blood doesn’t really have to be “thicker than water”. True friends are better than family who doesn’t even care about or even think of you. 

17.) Kindness & compassion should be bestowed in general, not just to people we know & love. We don’t have to like or love everyone equally, that is unrealistic anyway, but we can still be kind and empathetic in general. Remember each person you meet has a life and a story and a breath, pleasure & pain, needs & desires just like you and the ones you love.

18.) My intense, extreme empathy is a gift and a blessing to me and to others even when it feels like a curse.   It’s good to care and have the true ability to deeply understand. I have the tendency to literally feel pain when someone else does. Feeling immense pain at the knowledge of someone suffering is often agonizing and sometimes despairing.   But it helps me connect with people and provides me with more depth and the ability to identify with another even when I haven’t exactly experienced it myself.    I would never say “I know how you feel.”. I don’t know how someone else feels and never will but I can understand to some degree and experience much compassion. But I would never overstep my boundaries and assume I know more than I do. That is pure arrogance.   Some things I can never even begin to imagine but can still be understanding and compassionate.  While I take on the world’s pain, I also have the ability of taking on the world ‘s pleasure and basking in the success and happiness of others even when I, myself am not feeling happy or successful. When one wins, we all win.

19.) The past can be a gift to guide us and doesn’t have to imprison us or hold us back. It can be our teacher. Let the bad strengthen us and the good bless us with sweet memories to cherish forever.

20.) Every person, young & old can teach us something valuable. No matter how pleasant or unpleasant that person or our encounter with that person is, we can learn something.   Inspiration is everywhere.

21.) Life is a gift. It doesn’t have to be taken so seriously. Let small things slide.   It can be painful and unpleasant but that is the price we pay for being blessed with a gift so priceless. If someone gives you a beautiful gift you were never entitled to to begin with (or even if you are) and it is an unexpected and truly incredible gift that just is shockingly beautiful but isn’t perfect, you likely would not complain about its flaws. You weren’t expecting it anyway. It wasn’t something that had to be given to you in the first place.  So you would probably bask in it and cherish it and embrace or accept its flaws.   Life is that gift.

 22.) Other people are just as important as me even if we have strong opposing views. They are as convinced as I am. Their conviction, their compassion is as strong as mine is. And often, even their longing and attempts to do what is right and their sense of justice is as passionate as mine. They frequently have good intentions. And it’s wise to step outside of ourselves often and attempt to see how and why people do the things they do and feel the way they do even when it’s hard and startling.   I may disagree with people, even get angry at them or their views but they deserve a chance and my respect. It’s ok to have differences.   You don’t have to change your views but it’s good to make genuine attempts to understand a view other than your own.

23.)  People are often misunderstood but well- intentioned. They often aren’t trying to be assholes or cruel even when it seems that way. Sometimes it’s thoughtlessness or differing points of views. It’s hard sometimes, to think about things and the world employing a perspective other than our own. I try to understand people as best as I can and give them a chance.  I believe that people in general are basically good with good, selfless intentions but often seem cold, selfish, arrogant, and uncaring. Many people or their actions are just misunderstood and misinterpreted or miscommunicated. I try my absolute best to understand people and give them a chance.

24.). The present moment is the only moment.   It is priceless and great. It is all we have right now. If you learn to live in the present you will be amazed. Let the past teach you and cherish your memories and plan appropriately for the future but LIVE for now. Then you won’t constantly mourn or be destroyed by your previous experiences and won’t fret or overly anticipate your future experiences.

25.)  Pain can strengthen us and make us more whole than we were previously.   Underneath my wholeness lies a broke- ness  that has led me to where I am NOW. Beautifully WHOLE.  

26.) People don’t have to be like me, think like me, look like me, live like me, or breathe like me to be beautiful like me.

27.) Age doesn’t matter as long as you’re alive.   There’s no reason to wish to be younger or lie about or conceal your age. You don’t have to feel the desire to keep it a secret. Shout it off the roof tops! You are blessed, truly blessed to be your age.  Every age has its blessing. However old you are now, you know more than when you were younger. You have likely evolved in ways that was not true before now.   So why want to regress back to a less developed age? And if you want to be younger but know all you know now, what’s the point then anyway? It would be the same as now but just with a different numerical label. And maybe you look older now but so what? It’s part of the blessings of living. Your “flaws” are reminders of all you have survived and learned. You can feel young, BE young, at any age! Cherish it! Embrace it! Many people die tragically young. You are still here, allowed to live this long! Beauty deepens with age. It’s better to be over the hill than under it!! :-D. You are a survivor.

These lessons I find to be true to me; I do not attempt to force any of them upon anyone. You may disagree with me on some or all of them and that’s ok. Different people have different views.   I hope you can find light & inspiration  in some of them.    

X0xo Kim

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