You can choose courage or you can choose comfort.
But you cannot have both.
– Brené Brown
You can choose courage or you can choose comfort.
But you cannot have both.
– Brené Brown
Every day we are one step closer to learning how to cope with the reality. Until then we try to escape it at each possible occasion.
You try to escape it by doing some sport. By going to the cinema. However, mostly you escape by watching TV and scrolling Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest. Until somebody texts you on WhatsApp and interrupts you.
Digital world creates a great substitution for the reality.
It’s not only the social media, where we can pretend to be better, slimmer, smarter, but it’s the everyday work on computers. Emails, servers, platforms, environments.
Every day, we escape the reality into the digital world, and we think it, actually, is the reality.
But it’s not.
8 (10/12) hours a day in front of the computer screen, that’s your reality? Oh, come on! What makes you think so? Does somebody pay you for it? Well, good for you, but that’s not all that is in the world for you. That’s not your life, your reality.
One thing is when you have to spend time in front of your computer at work, but a completely different thing is when you go home just to sit in front of a different screen.
Don’t spend more time in the digital world than you have to. Don’t turn on your TV. Don’t even start your notebook.
Escape the digital world for once.
Escape INTO the reality.
Talk to your family. Talk to your friends. Hug someone. Look around.
Live the reality for a little while if you dare. Maybe you will realize how much are you giving up.
“Don’t try to escape your reality… make it everything you want it to be.”
Progress and development are essential for successful and meaningful life. Yet, is it possible to move forward if we don’t accept what we already have?
There can be misconceptions in your opinion of yourself which arose from different experiences in childhood as well as trauma and insecurities as an adult.
Judging yourself, comparing yourself to others and negative perception of your capabilities and performance is not helping you to be successful, fulfilled and happy. Rather it’s a downward spiral that is bringing your more obstacles and sufferings in your life.
It’s so hard to think “I am great. I look good. I make enough money. My life is good enough.” when you compare yourself to others. There will always be someone who is richer, slimmer, prettier or better in a particular field.
However, no-one has the same set of capabilities, values, personality, and perception of the world as you do. That is why no matter what bugs you, you are unique and you can accomplish nobody else in the world can.
But how can you prosper, flourish and develop yourself if you don’t accept yourself in the first step? Well, you can’t really.
First, you need to accept yourself – your weaknesses.
Only then you can develop your strengths.
The question is where to start and how to learn to accept yourself. Let me help you make this process easier.
As I mentioned earlier you should build upon the solid foundation. You don’t have a solid foundation if you don’t accept yourself and at the same time, you try to improve.
You know what I’m talking about. Thoughts like “I will never be able to make it. I am fat. I am lame.” Those thoughts are toxic and won’t help you in any way.
We tend to talk to ourselves negatively and blame ourselves for different things. The easiest way to stop this is to ask yourself a question: Would I say this to my best friend?
There is a huge difference in our reaction to a negative outcome. We should treat ourselves as we treat our best friends. We should be our own best friends and allies in life.
This one is easy. I bet you’ve already accomplished plenty of things throughout your life. You finished school, found your first job, bought an apartment, painted a painting, wrote a book? It doesn’t matter what is it, everything counts.
Don’t just think about your achievements, rather write them down and look at them every time you have doubts or you underestimate yourself.
If you want to be successful and lead a meaningful life you should establish your own values and rules. If you crave other people’s appreciation then you are prone to bending your own expectations and opinions.
If somebody doesn’t like who you are or what you do, it’s his problem, not yours. You are the only person responsible for your life and other’s people opinions shouldn’t change you. These opinions should only be a ground for critical thinking which will eventually lead you to better outcomes.
All the “if only’s” are useless. If only you were a professional athlete. If only you are able to speak two other languages. Well, you are not. Learn how to live with it and draw a line between what is achievable and what is not.
Achievable is almost anything, but the question is what are you willing to sacrifice. If you don’t want to sacrifice your personal life and spend 8 hours a day in a gym, you are not becoming a professional athlete. And it’s not a bad thing, it’s a decision.
Accept that you are only a human being and you can only do as much and nothing more. Choose wisely and don’t expect more of yourself that is possible.
Not only your achievements, but your kindness counts too. To lead a meaningful life you should not be only successful, but also kind.
What are the things you have done for others? Write them down too. Any time you doubt your value read them and I bet you will quickly feel better.
On the other hand, every one of us has done something we regret. Don’t blame yourself for too long. Learn from the experience, promise yourself you will do better in the future and move on.
Firstly, learn how to recognize when you need help, and you can’t manage the specific situation on your own. Then, when you realize this is the time, and you would use some help, don’t hesitate to ask for it. It’s not a shame. It’s the reason we live in communities. Someone always needs help. This time it can be you, and next time you will help someone else.
You shouldn’t tolerate everything rather explicitly know when something is too much. Don’t let other people do to you everything they like. Don’t do to yourself what is not helping you grow.
Set boundaries for other people, what they can ask of you and how they behave to you. Set boundaries for yourself, what you ask of yourself and how you behave to yourself.
Your life is not only about yourself. You are surrounded by many people, with different level of impact on you. Their impact help to form you and make you who you are.
You have the same impact on others. Your impact can be negligible or huge. It depends on you, but you can’t make any mistake with spreading kindness around you, with helping others, or devoting yourself to some charitable activity.
Don’t build your confidence and your self-worth on the opinion of others of yourself. Nobody needs to approve your value, but you.
It doesn’t mean you are less of a person if you make a mistake. We all do. The important thing is how you react to that mistake and whether you try to eliminate its effects, whether you learn from it, and whether you try not to repeat it.
Don’t think negatively. Negative thoughts about yourself, others, the situation you are in or your life, in general, won’t help you accept yourself as a person.
We all have strengths and weaknesses. We all doubt ourselves sometimes. We all make mistakes. We all have space for improvement. But this doesn’t mean we are not enough.
You definitely are smart enough, capable enough, good enough. Accept yourself, who you are, how you live and all nuances of your personality.
You are unique. You are irreplaceable. You are great.
Do you like reading self-help articles?
I certainly do.
The problem is you won’t become a better person with only reading some articles and thinking: Oh, that’s a good idea, I’ll try it someday. Because you won’t try any of the good ideas you’ve read.
We are all guilty of scamming through articles that are supposed to give us some value and forgetting them in next few hours.
That is why I will start to give you some exercises to learn more about yourself, to find the connection to your soul, and your true self. To become better, stronger and wiser yourself.
These exercises will be in a form of questions and your task is to try to answer them.
So, my first question is following:
I wanted to be a writer, a dancer, the president of the USA and Secretary General of the United Nations. 🙂
For example, I had difficulties coping with the war in Kosovo (which took place when I was a kid) so I wanted to become US president or the Secretary General of the United Nations to ban wars and prevent people from fighting each other.
I also wanted to be a writer because I loved reading books and I wanted to write something incredible myself.
And dancer? That’s easy I loved to dance (but home alone when nobody saw me).
Apart from other things, I wanted to be wealthy so that my family and I do not have to go to school and work anymore and we can live by the beach, travel anywhere we want to anytime we want to and we don’t have to wake up in the morning.
Now it’s your turn. What is your childhood dream job?
Morning habits. Something I didn’t believe in for a long time. “Didn’t believe” is perhaps not the right expression. I simply thought that I’m not a morning person so I will do all the important stuff in the evening. It’s easier to learn and focus in the evening. I don’t have a problem to stay up. But..
But, the plan is one thing and reality is another. There are evenings you need to stay longer at work. There are evenings you are too tired. There are evenings you travel. There are evenings you meet friends. There are evenings you simply need to do other stuff than the one that is important to your self, soul, mind or body.
I try hard and I bet you try hard as well. But it’s not possible to stick to the evening schedule day after day after day. I have never been able to do my scheduled evening habits every single day of a month.
Then I realized there really is something about the morning habits. The rest of the world sleeps, so nobody bothers you, nobody interrupts you, nobody cares you are up. This is the only time you can manage to repeat your habits because it depends on nobody but you! If you manage to wake up you’ve almost won. Usually, the only thing you need to do is to get up from your bed. Nothing (and nobody) is in your way. It’s you and only you.
You might be into meditation and you might be not, but you don’t have to sit in a cross-legged position and count your breaths to relax your mind.
You can have a walk in nature. You can draw. You can sew. Find something you like. Something that can calm you and at the same time give you the positive energy for the day. The workout is, actually, a kind of mental relaxation as well.
Oh, my Goodness. You are soo tired when you get home from work. You went through some arguments with your boss, your spouse, kids, neighbor, a taxi driver. You have done piles of work. You drove. You cooked. You cleaned. You washed. You walked. You talked. You got emotional. You got angry. You got overwhelmed.
And now you are home. It’s evening. You are exhausted. To be precise, your mind is exhausted. Your body is not and you kind of know it. So you force yourself to do some crunches. To go for a walk. To do some squats.
And it works on some days, but it doesn’t on others. Your mind tricks you into thinking that you are exhausted. Every day you need to fight yourself to exercise. Every day you need to persuade yourself that it’s not your body that is tired.
Yet, this is not happening in the morning. Your mind is relaxed after night and it doesn’t even care. It will let you do whatever you want to do after you wake up. This is your biggest advantage. Use it!
I’m not telling you to get up at 4 and workout for an hour. I’m telling get up at 6 and workout for 15 minutes. But do it every single day.
I eat breakfast every day since I was a child. You should too. Breakfast is important. But, I get it, it’s hard to squeeze breakfast into the morning rush. I’ve been there. I’ve gone through eating breakfast at home and rushing, which brought me a stomachache every single time, to staying hungry until I get to work and only then eat my breakfast. The cool part? I was much earlier at work, so I could leave much earlier. The not so cool part? I was so unproductive. By the time I get to work my mind went all foggy. I got to work, I ate breakfast, I had my coffee, but for the first hour or two, I couldn’t focus on work. I couldn’t make a decision. Soon, I dropped this habit, because it was not the way.
On the other hand, I have a colleague, who wakes up at 4:00 because she lives far from the place of work. She travels for more than an hour and a half to work. When she gets to work, she has her coffee (coffee on empty stomach! That would kill me.) and she is not eating before 10 or 11. And it works for her.We are all different. That’s why nobody can tell you what to do and how to do it. Find your perfect breakfast and your perfect time for it.
Do you want to be a better person? Then, you need to work much harder than others. So eat that breakfast.
This is the fun part. You managed to wake up early. You didn’t die. 🙂 You meditated. You worked out – or at least tried. You had your breakfast and now what? Going to work?
Now it’s your time! Everybody is still asleep. It’s not a time to go to work yet. Yes, you, again, need to get up a little earlier to have this time for yourself. But there are a lot of things you were putting off for so long. What are they? Do them now!
Start small, you don’t need 3 hours a day to change your life. Learning a language? You can learn 10 minutes in the morning every day. Writing a book? You can write for half an hour every morning. Starting a business? You can write emails or start your website – all for half an hour every morning. It’s your time to do at list a tiny little bit towards your dream.
You can see, that for having good morning habits you need to stretch your time a little bit. That’s why you should always remember to do only the IMPORTANT stuff in the morning.
Gratitude is a very powerful emotion that can not only help your relationships with others but also nourish your feeling of contentment. There are many ways how to practice gratitude throughout the day, but let’s focus on your morning.
To start your day off with a strong feeling of contentment think of three things you are grateful for today. Maybe it’s your still-sleeping-child, your kind husband or your fulfilling job. It may even be the beautiful sunrise. Realize what are the things you are grateful for and embrace it.
There are thousands of things to do in a day, but not all of them are equally important to your success. Think of three achievable goals (goals that are important to YOU) for the day and try hard to accomplish them.
The charm of morning habits is that they add up. Day after day you add up value to your life. It’s hard to wake up early at the beginning, but as soon as you have your habits set, you don’t even realize how much value you have added to your life. How calmer, more productive, and in better shape you are. How more meaningful your life is.