1. Being kind is so important.
Probably more important than anything you will ever do. Approach every situation and every person with kindness and your life will improve drastically. If someone is not being kind to you, you should still be kind to them. Why? Because that person needs it most. Happy people who “get it” simply aren’t mean, rude or reactive–so the way they are treating you is a reflection of how they feel about themselves. Nothing positive or productive can come out of speaking badly of someone or to someone. And make sure that kindness extends to yourself. Negativity is a waste of time, all the time.
2. Everything is as you perceive it to be.
If you wake up an hour before your alarm because of a loud garbage truck outside your window, you can choose to be annoyed. You can choose to angrily get out of bed, cursing this event for taking an hour of sleep from you. You can choose to let it ruin your morning and your entire day. Or, you can look at it as an extra hour to take your sweet time. Time to really enjoy your morning coffee and make a delicious breakfast. Time to meditate or read. Every moment that you have is directly effected by the attitude you have towards it.
3. Good things and bad things will happen to you. It is how you react to them that matters
The moment you choose to view your life as a miracle is the moment it becomes one. I have never understood why people let the smallest, most insignificant things make them so upset. Things are going to happen to you. Every day. Some things will be amazing, some will suck. But more often than not people let those small things that suck ruin their entire mood, their entire day, and eventually their entire life. When you’re going through a rough patch, it sucks. It really does, but dwelling on things you simply cannot change is worse. Accept it, do the things you can do to make it better, then let it go. This also applies to how you react to people and the inevitable varied experiences you will have with them. That girl who shoulder checked you on the subway, that family member who made an irritating comment, that guy who cut you off on your way to work. Can you find the self control and peace within yourself to let it go or not? Is it worth giving up your good day or good mood? The answer is no, it’s not. Some days will test you, and if those little things send you into an angry rage, it’s going to be quite a bumpy ride.
4. Be grateful
I know– this is not the first time you’ve seen that statement, but it’s a big one. It’s not always easy because when you’re not feeling good, you don’t want to be. Switch your focus from everything you don’t have and everything that didn’t work out, to considering everything you do have and everything that did. Even in the worst of times, you are still probably in a better place than the majority of people on this planet. Be grateful you can walk; there are some who don’t have that freedom. Be grateful that your ears can hear music and your friend’s jokes. Be grateful that for some magical reason, your eyeballs are advanced enough, with the help of light rays from a STAR, to freaking see this world. Do you know how incredible that is? Be thankful that food and water and all the basic things you need are accounted for. This is a privilege. Be grateful for all the simple things that allow you to live an amazing and beautiful life. Live in awe of everything the universe has given you. Look up at the stars with gratitude and be utterly amazed by everything that lead you to where you are standing.
5. Stop feeling sorry for yourself
Everyone does this, myself included. When something bad happens to us, or we don’t like our current life situation, we wallow in self pity and constantly think about whatever it is that is causing this. We think, oh poor me, my boyfriend cheated on me. Oh poor me, I lost my job. Oh poor me, my purse was stolen. These things will cause emotions that are difficult to deal with, but feeling sorry for yourself shouldn’t be one of them. We sit there and mentally perseverate about this one problem and we lose ourselves in it. Be kind to yourself in these times, but don’t pity yourself–there is a difference. Allow yourself to cry and be upset because you are a human. Then, accept it and see #4.
6. You are not in control of everything and you never will be
This statement either made you feel scared or liberated, depending on the kind of person you are. Either way, it is a fact. You are, however, in control of how you respond to the events and people in your life. You make choices every single day that effect you, whether small or large. You have free will. You could get up right in this moment and dance if you want to. It’s crazy to look back and think: What if I had decided not to get on that plane to Barcelona? Imagine all the people I wouldn’t have in my life right now or how everything would have unfolded differently. What if I didn’t have the guts to ask that girl out that day? Nothing would be the same. Your life will be a mixture of things you can control and things you cannot. There is so much beauty in that. So stop trying to fight the things you can’t change. Stop trying to fight the people, thoughts, and circumstances that come in and out of your life. If it comes let it come, if it goes let it go, if it stays let it stay.
7. Don’t be an asshole
It sucks that I even have to say this. You might read that statement and think “Who me? I’m not an asshole”. But are you really not? Be aware of your actions. Be aware of how you treat people and how you speak to them. Do you even internally judge someone for their beliefs or clothes or dance moves just because they are different than yours? Because they see things differently than you? Take responsibility for yourself and the way you are effecting the people and world around you. Your opinion is yours and while it’s right for you, it might not be for someone else. And that’s so completely cool! Just don’t be an asshole about it. There’s nothing cool about having a narrow mind.
8. Take care of yourself
Physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally. Eat things that make you feel good and move your body. Learn new things and expand your mind. Pray, do yoga, paint, play your guitar or your sport–whatever does it for you. Know when you need a break. Know when it’s time to slow down. Know when it’s time to have a cookie. Treat your heart with the utmost kindness and respect. Forgive yourself and love yourself. You can’t be a valuable part of other people’s lives until you are whole yourself.
9. Balance it out
Find the balance in all that you do. Work really hard and relax fully. Indulge in that delicious dessert after treating your body well and don’t you dare feel guilty. Always be nice, but never let people take advantage of or disrespect you. Say yes when you can. Say no when you should. Go to a wild music festival and dance for three days straight, then detox and rest for three. Be gentle and firm. Be deep and silly. Do a forward bend and a back bend;)
10. Lighten up
Why so serious? It’s really easy to get so caught up in your own life and aspirations that you start taking yourself way too seriously. Take it easy. Have a sense of humor about your stumbles and your strides. Because most of the things you’re serious about now, you’ll laugh about one day.
11. Keep it real
Be an idiot and stop giving a shit what people think. For real. Because who cares? I don’t even want people in my life who aren’t into the weirdest, realest form of me. I don’t want to hang with the judgies anyways. Be authentic, and if someone isn’t cool with it then obviously they aren’t meant to stay in your life.
12. Consume less
Once you understand our consumer driven society, you’ll understand that your desire for material accumulation is perpetuated by advertisements, corporations, and social media to always have the latest and greatest technology, the coolest car, the trendiest clothes. But will it make you happy? Absolutely not. In fact, it is scientifically proven to be a vicious cycle that leaves you feeling empty and always you wanting more, no matter how much you have. In the words of David Ramsey, “We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.” As much as possible, keep it simple. Pocket that money and spend it on a flight, a concert or something that will enrich your life.
Post photo by Eric Adler:)