What Memories Are You Creating?

Think back to three days ago. What did you have for lunch? What kind of day was it? With whom did you interact?

Chances are that unless something occurred that day that made you have a strong emotional response, you will have trouble calling up the memory to answer these questions in a speedy fashion.

Continue reading What Memories Are You Creating?

I Chose Myself

I tasted sweet, sweet victory this week. Not because I won a race or finally managed to clean my apartment the way it’s been begging me to, but because I was able to choose myself. I chose myself…twice…this week.

It is way too easy to convince ourselves that what we feel and what we want is not as important if it comes at the expense of not providing other people what they desire.

Continue reading I Chose Myself

5 Measures to Implement Today to Ensure You’re Living, Not Existing

I often mention that one of our responsibilities in life is to ensure that we are living and not just merely existing.

Time goes by too quickly to waste it away waiting for life to happen to us.

What we do (or don’t do) today impacts our journey. It shapes what type of life we create and what we will ultimately remember when our time is running out.

It is easy to become complacent with a mediocre or self-preserving lifestyle. We can do a great job convincing ourselves that we are satisfied, when in reality we are simply hesitant to move outside of our comfort zone.

Are you living or are you existing?

People who fully embrace the experience of being alive are endlessly interesting. They have magnetizing stories to tell and planned adventures that they are too willing to share with kindred spirits.

Their excitement is contagious and their boldness is inspiring.

Here are 5 measures that you can adopt to ensure you’re living and not just existing:

1.Say Yes

There are hundreds of articles on google that not only advise people to say no, but also provide guidelines on how to say no to projects or people. I’m asking you to say ‘yes.’ I know, I’m a rebel.

I’m not asking you to take on more work. I’m asking you to be open to new experiences.

Say yes to invitations that you’ve never been receptive to before. Say yes to trying out a new hobby. Say yes to tasting fried insects as a snack in Thailand. Say yes to anything and everything as long as it will not cause harm to you or others.

The goal is not to stick to the new hobby or to become an insect eating addict, though both may happen. The point is to sample from the buffet that life offers before deciding it is not for us. People who live say yes to experience.

2. Move Your Body

There is no faster way to feel how alive you are than when you move your body.

Move your body!

Whether it’s pushing yourself to go an extra mile on that run, punching harder and kicking higher in your training sessions, dancing until every part of you is layered in sweat, whatever avenue you choose is fine, but just move your body.

When we utilize our body to its fullest capacity, we can physically feel how alive we are. Our bodies remind us of our privilege.

Besides, we only get one body; we need to take care of it.

3. Don’t Wait

I once read a quote: “The trouble is, you think you have time.” Because we think we have time, we put many things on hold.

Stop waiting.

The ideal time to do whatever you’ve been holding off on will never appear.

If you persistently think about running a marathon, starting your own business, breaking off a relationship, moving across the country…fill in the blank, stop waiting. The reoccurring thought is there for a reason and you owe it to yourself to live it out and see it through.

The longer you wait, the more difficult it is to begin. Start now.

4. Face Fear

Do something that you fear and after you do, you will feel empowered.

Life is not to be feared; it is to be consumed.

People who live have fear, but they do not allow fear to slow them down. They, too, are afraid when they act outside of their comfort zone, but they do it anyway. They do it because they recognize that the payout of doing so is worth it.

Those who live appreciate that they cannot grow and make the most out of life if they do not challenge their fears.

It is when we face our fears that we give ourselves the freedom to fully live and not just exist.

5. Celebrate 

People who live take advantage of the many reasons we have to celebrate.

They know how to loosen up, how to enjoy, how to appreciate, how to live it up.

They do not take having woken up that morning for granted and therefore already feel that there is a reason to celebrate!

They celebrate themselves, they celebrate others, they celebrate life.

People who live and not just exist make time to rejoice in victories, no matter how small.

They also have an awareness that good things can be disguised as hardships and learn how to find reasons to celebrate even when it’s raining.

What are you doing to make the most out of your life?

The Weight of Expectations

One of the hardest lessons to learn (and that unfortunately pesters us until we do) is freeing ourselves from expectations.

It is a difficult lesson because expectations that we place on ourselves, those that we place on others, and even the ones that we’ve been brought up with, our cultural norms, are omnipresent.

How many times have you heard that if you work very hard, you’ll achieve your goals? There is an expectation that if you invest energy in an endeavor, you will be rewarded with your desired outcome. Oftentimes our cultural norms teach us that having expectations is a healthy approach to life.

But, we can all recall far too many instances where either we or someone we know has followed all the rules, put forth the work, and still has not received the anticipated ending.

I’m not pointing this out to devalue the importance of having goals or to threaten motivation, but, rather,  to highlight how when we concentrate on expectations instead of the process of working towards the goal, we lose sight of the experience.

When we refuse to be open to the results that follow efforts, we face disappointment if the results don’t align with the expectation that we envisioned. In other words, when we are not open to organic results, we set the stage for deflation.

Sometimes the expectations that we create in our mind, the expectations that we place on ourselves, are unrealistic. Yet, we attach ourselves to those expectations because we convince ourselves that the effort that we invest will only have been worthwhile if we accomplish something grandiose.

When we cling to an expectation, we don’t leave any room to appreciate what we do get. We stunt our growth by dismissing the opportunities that are placed in front of us.

We become so wrapped up in our persistence in forcing our expectation that we pass up the chance to explore the value in what authentically results.

We do not only do this with the expectations that we place on ourselves, but we do it with the expectations that we place on others as well.

When we don’t relinquish ourselves of those expectations that we place on others it is just as detrimental.

The minute that we construe expectations when relating to others is the moment that we create an unhealthy relationship.

When we expect another person to act, react, or feel a certain way, we set ourselves up for disappointment and we dilute our relationship.

In ignoring the need to respect others’ individuality and independence, we neglect the possibility to know someone for who they truly are.  It is only when we create the space to allow others to be themselves that we can get a feel for whether or not they fit into our lives.

Similarly, we oftentimes expect others to understand our needs or to be on the same page as we are, without even realizing that that is what we are doing. Then, when others do not show up for us or do not behave how we would expect them to, we feel hurt.

In reality, we have a responsibility to communicate with honesty what we understand to be our needs and boundaries, and not assume that others will ‘just know’ what those  are.

When we openly communicate and leave expectations behind, then we give others the opportunity to decide if they have the capacity to engage at the level that we need and vice versa.

If we manage to do this before placing expectations on others, then we have a better chance of forming and maintaining sustainable relationships.

It is respectable to have standards that we want to meet and manifest and admirable to have metrics to gauge our progress, but it is unhealthy to obsess over an expectation and blind ourselves to the realities and paths that life places upon us.

How do you ground yourself when you become aware that you are placing unrealistic expectations on yourself or others?