Be your Best Friend: Advice to Myself

Today’s words of wisdom stem from a conversation with a dear friend and co-worker.  She is working hard on trying to improve herself and her situation so she asked me for my honest opinion on something.  She asked, “Will you give me 3 areas in my life you think I could improve on?”

The answers to this came way too easily.  You see, this girl is 10 years younger than me and is also a single mother.  We’ve been there for each other through a lot of stuff over the last couple of years.  She reminds me a lot of myself.  So I realized as I was typing these things, I wasn’t only speaking to her – I was speaking from my own experiences, what other wise people have taught me, and I was speaking to myself on the things I constantly need reminders of.

So today – here are 3 areas in life I think we could all improve on . . .

  1. Love yourself.  I know that we hear this a lot, but many of us have been taught that loving ourselves is selfish.  The issue is, we spend so much time trying to do for others, that we have nothing left to give.  We were given these bodies and these lives to TAKE CARE OF.  We have to meet our own basic needs if we want to reach our full potential and have the capability and energy to love others.

    So . . . GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK.  You have overcome so much in your life!  SO MUCH.  Maybe you had a horrible childhood.  Or maybe you survived the severe mental illness of a family member.  Maybe you survived a horrific accident and had to learn to live your life all over again.  Maybe you survived an unhealthy marriage or learned to move on after a betrayal.  Maybe you’re a single parent who struggles to make ends meet.  Everyone has a story and everyone has a struggle, whether they admit it to others or not.  The important thing to remember is – YOU ARE STILL HERE. You haven’t given up yet!

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    SO STOP BEING SO HARD ON YOURSELF.  You are making it.  You are making progress.  And your hard work and perseverance WILL PAY OFF in the long run.

  2. Learn how to “teach others how to treat you.”  Meaning, if you continue to allow people to treat you badly, they will continue to do it.  Set clear boundaries on how you are okay with being treated and what you will absolutely not allow.  And then let people know when they are doing a good job or when they are not.  This applies for families, friends, co-workers, and yes, even bosses, managers, superiors, etc.  We all need to be able to set personal boundaries in our lives.

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  3. Pay attention to your body and your emotions.  Notice when you start to feel stressed and prepare for it.  Preparation includes scheduling guilt-free alone time to pray, meditate, sleep – whatever you need to get through it.  (Don’t think you have time to meditate or just spend quiet time alone?  Check out this article on Pattern Interrupts.)

    Start a journal.  Even if it is as simple as writing down what you eat and what your emotions were that day – it is a step to learning more about yourself and what you need to survive.

    Another tip, especially if you’re an emotional eater like I am, always have a favorite healthy snack nearby to devour in times of need.

    The more you learn about yourself – the easier it will be to notice things and make the best choices for YOU.

I also wanted to share one final thing (okay, so actually it’s FOUR) that has been a huge help in my own personal growth.  I’m still working on each of these in my own life – but the second agreement was one of the most freeing things I’ve ever done.  I dealt with so much fear and shame in my own life, all because of what I was afraid others thought of me.  (And I was probably making wrong ASSUMPTIONS anyway.)

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Click on the picture to learn more about The Four Agreements book.

So, Congratulations to everyone who is doing their best every day and making steps (no matter how small) to better themselves.  YOU’VE GOT THIS!

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Do one thing

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Any of my followers who might wonder where I have been, I have been busy stepping out of my comfort zone.  I was kind of forced to do it – but am glad that I did.  I am not going to go into detail just yet – but let’s just say that this 40 year old body aches every night, but is getting more activity than it has in a very long time.

I used to be so fearless, and I lost my confidence along the way.  I’m slowly gaining it back and having a blast doing it.  So I thought I would stop in long enough to encourage each of you to step out of your comfort zone and do the thing that scares you.  I think it is worth it.

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The final page of 2015

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I am ready for 2016.

I have some goals for the year, but I’m not making resolutions.  Just an intention to do the best I can each and every one of the 366 (it’s a leap year!) days I am given in 2016.

2015 brought a lot of lessons.  I renewed old friendships and reawakened feelings I had forgotten how to feel.  I had my heart beautifully broken and am okay with it.  I both failed and won at being a single mom – every single day.  I started writing this blog, two novels, and several songs.  I was diagnosed with diabetes, and began a journey to a healthier me (30 lbs down, so far!).

I turned 40 and the world didn’t collapse.  In fact, it was one of the best days of my entire life.  Over 40 Random Acts of Kindness were performed on that day and since and the world became a bit brighter.  It was 70 degrees in Indiana in December and I got to hang out on the front porch with my very best friends, my tribe, the island of misfit toys, and just BE.

This past year, I cried a lot, laughed a lot, started singing again and feeling more like myself than I have in a long time.  There were a lot of struggles, and even more lessons, but I realized that I am one lucky lady to be alive and have the opportunity to wake up each day and try again.

Here’s to you on the last page of the final chapter of 2015.

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Love,

Izzy

Three Day Quote Challenge – Day 3

Thanks to T. Wayne of A Joyful Process for nominating me for the three day quote challenge. The rules are to select up to three quotes each day for three consecutive days, and nominate three different bloggers in each of these posts to do the same challenge. FINAL DAY!!

Today, I decided I was going to share some of my favorite quotes and I’m going to break the rules by sharing more than 3.

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Have compassion for everyone you meet, even if they don’t want it.
What appears bad manners, an ill temper or cynicism
is always a sign of things no ears have heard, no eyes have seen.
Y
ou do not know what wars are going on down there
where the spirit meets the bone. 
― Miller Williams

Kindness is more important than wisdom,
and the recognition of this is the beginning of wisdom.
– Theodore Isaac Rubin

Be daring, be different, be impractical,
be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision
against the play-it-safers, the creatures of commonplace,
the slaves of the ordinary.
– Cecil Beaton

I will have poetry in my life. And adventure. And love.
Love above all. No… not the artful postures of love,
not playful and poetical games of love for the amusement of an evening,
but love that… overthrows life.
Unbiddable, ungovernable – like a riot in the heart,
and nothing to be done, come ruin or rapture.
Love – like there has never been in a play.
– from “Shakespeare in Love”

Those who sing pray twice.
– St. Augustine

Girls are taught a lot of stuff growing up.
If a guy punches you he likes you.
Never try to trim your own bangs and someday you will meet a wonderful guy
and get your very own happy ending.
Every movie we see, Every story we’re told implores us to wait for it,
the third act twist, the unexpected declaration of love, the exception to the rule.
But sometimes we’re so focused on finding our happy ending
we don’t learn how to read the signs.
How to tell from the ones who want us and the ones who don’t,
the ones who will stay and the ones who will leave.
And maybe a happy ending doesn’t include a guy,
maybe… it’s you, on your own, picking up the pieces and starting over,
freeing yourself up for something better in the future.
Maybe the happy ending is… just… moving on.
Or maybe the happy ending is this,
knowing after all the unreturned phone calls, broken-hearts,
through the blunders and misread signals,
through all the pain and embarrassment
you never gave up hope.
– from “He’s just not that into you”

I wanted a perfect ending.
Now I’ve learned, the hard way,
that some poems don’t rhyme,
and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end.
Life is about not knowing, having to change,
taking the moment and making the best of it,
without knowing what’s going to happen next.
Delicious ambiguity.
– Gilda Radner

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends
and some genuine enemies.
Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.
Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.
Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten.
Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.
Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God.
It was never between you and them anyway.
– Attributed to Mother Teresa

Finally, I nominate these 3 bloggers to participate in the challenge:

Claremary from Around Zuzu’s Barn

Jacqueline from A Cooking Pot and Twisted Tales

In Between Moderation

The Three Day Quote Challenge – Day 2

Thanks to T. Wayne of A Joyful Process for nominating me for the three day quote challenge. The rules are to select up to three quotes each day for three consecutive days, and nominate three different bloggers in each of these posts to do the same challenge. Here we go with Day 2!

The theme for today’s quotes are centered around working your passions.workhardhavefun

I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself:
‘If today were the last day of my life,
would I want to do what I am about to do today?’
And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row,
I know I need to change something.  
– Steve Jobs

Are you bored with life? 
Then throw yourself into some work you believe in with all heart,
live for it, die for it, and you will find happiness
that you had thought could never be yours.  
– Dale Carnegie

Twenty years from now
you will be more disappointed
by the things that you didn’t do
than by the ones you did do. 
So throw off the bowlines. 
Sail away from the safe harbor. 
Catch the trade winds in your sales. 
Explore.  Dream.  Discover. 
– attributed to Mark Twain

Think on those things as you enjoy your weekend!

And I didn’t forget . . . today I nominate these 3 bloggers:

Dajena from Moonskittles

David Snape

Ann from Anroworld

The Three Day Quote Challenge – Day 1

Thanks to T. Wayne of A Joyful Process for nominating me for the three day quote challenge. The rules are to select up to three quotes each day for three consecutive days, and nominate three different bloggers in each of these posts to do the same challenge.  I will do my best!

Today it is officially ONE MONTH until my big 4-0 Birthday.  I will use this first challenge day to remind everyone about what I want for my birthday and will share 3 quotes about KINDNESS.

40 Random Acts Birthday

Click the picture and join the birthday fun!

People wonder why I give so many compliments out to strangers.
I’m not being fake and I’m not looking for people to like me.
But if I pass someone and I like something, I say it.
“Love those shoes!” or “Great hair!” or “Wow your eyes are beautiful!”
…. Why?  Because life is hard and this word can be a shitty place
… and people are mean.  You never know how much those few words
mean to someone, you never know what hell they may be going through;
and when you put positivity out there into the universe
YOU yourself become a happier person.
It’s hard to be nice and be miserable yourself.
It’ll reflect from the outside in . . .
I’m telling you random compliment giving will change your life;
and maybe someone else’s too. 

Jordan Sarah Weatherhead

Some believe it is only great power that can hold evil in check. 
But that is not what I have found. 
I have found that it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folks
that keep the darkness at bay. 
Small acts of kindness and love. 
– Gandalf, from J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit”

And finally . . . what is better than a quote about kindness PAIRED with a kitten?

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I nominate these 3 bloggers for the 3 Day Quote Challenge

My friend Kara at I wanna be me when I grow up.
My friend Scott, Teller of Tales.
Carole Parks, author extraordinaire.  🙂

Make it a great day!
-Izzy