By no means have I mastered the 10 things I’m about to share with you. I simply recognized along the way how controlling these innate tendencies (based on my experiences) have made me significantly happier. I recognized that honoring what you have and appreciating the now is more important than obsessing over a false reality or a fabrication of the mind.
Growing up, I wanted to feel in control of what was happening around me by aligning certain situations to occur or forcing things to happen and I have learned that when you rid yourself of that pressure, expectation, and longing for what has left, you find that energy being invested into the now. You find that energy being invested into people and things that have always chosen you. If a circumstance or person complicates or hurts your journey in this life, remove yourself. Life is simply too short and difficult on its own to further engage in things that make it even more challenging. This life is meant to be fulfilling and contrary to what people have said: loving someone is meant to be easy.
These aren’t practices that occur overnight and some take continuous reminder and effort on your part. But as much as I love being transparent about the things that strengthened my spirit, I sought after this blog post eager and ready to empower others to do the same. Paradoxical to pop culture, it’s important to reflect and talk about the things that have hurt us and to understand our contribution to the problem, so that we always remain self-aware about how to prevent those situations and move forward happily and healthily. Be intuitive. Be aware. Be gracious. Be kind. Be unapologetically yourself. + be the source of love through all of your life endeavors.
Message me if you want to discuss any of these practices further. I’ve received incredible emails + messages, and hearing from you is what makes blogging special for me so thank you. ❤
1. Stop forcing relationships, friendships + situations to work
If your relationship with whomever continues to fail for one reason or another, don’t force your expectation on what it should be or look like. Sometimes the hardest part is recognizing that some things aren’t meant to be; most things come in passing to teach you something you wouldn’t have otherwise learned. This is not to discourage you for trying for something or someone you really love (we all have wanted one thing or another to work out despite the issues) but be logical in considering all the reasons why it isn’t working.
As silly as it may sound, making a list of these reasons can reinforce your affirmative action of doing what’s right. Listen to your intuition. Thinking one sided and being so optimistic that it overshadows reason can or may be painful for you in the end. Forcing things generally results in hostility, regret, shame, or sadness. Easier said than done, it’s also important to understand relationships change overtime. People change (especially at our age when emotions + paths are inconsistent) so don’t take the evolution of relationships too personally and move forward.
Understand why the circumstance wasn’t a fit for you and look to all the things that embrace you authentically without the exhausting effort. Forgive yourself and others from past mistakes (even when you may not want to, it serves as a necessary release to move forward) and always show gratitude to people that do reciprocate the effort. Things come and go. People come and go. Take care of yourself. What’s meant to be yours will find you or resurface when the time is suited for it.
2. Stop overthinking
Overthinking is a really good way to live in the future or live in the past. The title of this practice in other-words can be “living in the present.” Either or, I think recognizing this reality for many of us is important because it tends to cause a lot of heartache and stress for those of us that regularly do it. We tend to overthink during more difficult times or even times of isolation/ being alone. I think it’s critical that we practice self sufficiency without needing someone or something to validate you and I.
Again, this isn’t easy. I tend to look for the deeper meaning but sometimes things are the way they are for reasons we don’t understand and the release comes when we are able to discern this. Rid your mind of the pressure to have it all figured out. We will never have it all figured out. It goes hand and hand that we not be too hard on ourselves; if our intentions are in the right place, then we can hope the appropriate actions would then follow.
3. Stop prioritizing superficial things over experiences
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve begun to realize how important experiences are over superficiality. I can’t really recall much of what I purchased but certainly on the moments that I shared with loved ones. It’s interesting to think about how we are a collection of the moments we had; it is these moments that define us and these moments that are worth the investment. This isn’t to say we own very cherished possessions, but I just think it’s incredibly fulfilling to seek and coordinate moments that bring you and another together (whomever it may be). Connections matter.
Similarly, give back. Be purposeful in your endeavors. It always feels better to do something with an aligning moral tie and/or admired mission. I currently teach high-schoolers in a summer institute that is determined to create first-generation college students from all over the Austin area, and it is that mission that empowers me to continue what I do. Investments like these add dimension to who we are, depth to our experiences + humility in our character. Serving creates meaning. Consider what matters to you and create the environment for meaningful experiences to follow. What makes you passionate?
4. Vulnerability heals
It can be scary to talk about the difficulties you faced or may continue to face. Putting yourself in a vulnerable position takes a lot of strength on your part and that strength isn’t always fully realized or validated in times where you may be hurting, but that doesn’t take away from the beauty of pushing yourself to endure. It’s so important to allow yourself to feel. Feeling all of what may be complicated emotions is the vital first step to moving beyond them. You certainly don’t have to understand them initially but channeling your emotions in a way that refocuses your heart and mind is paramount.
In relationships and in difficult circumstances, adversity is inevitable. Surely it doesn’t feel good but it’s what makes us human. And I can attest to learning more about myself in seasons of hardship than at any other point in time. If we aren’t failing, we aren’t trying. And if we aren’t feeling, then we aren’t loving. One thing our world could never max out on is compassion. Compassion is what bridges the differences our society and economy tends to divide. Let your guard down and give people your undivided attention: this has become rare nowadays. Begin the conversations people are hesitant to explore. Begin the conversations that plague your mind, and don’t expect solutions shortly after. As i’ve come to realize, healing varies as a process that isn’t identical to another.
Again, message me if you need an ear. It can be about anything you’re struggling to get past; just know that there are resources and people you can look to.
5. Stop resisting change
The only thing that’s guaranteed is change. This goes hand in hand with not forcing ego-based desires and letting things take its course for what it is. Although many of us (myself included) fear the uncertain, we find that we end up exactly where we need to be for reasons we later understand. Change is what gives us our highs and lows, and in difficult times it gives us reassurance that things never stay the same. Things always get better. People change and it’s because of circumstances that enable us to. Might as well embrace the thing that normalizes our human experience: change.
6. Stop depending on other people for happiness
One thing I’ve come to accept is that you cannot depend on people for happiness: not because you can’t depend on people but because the source should resonate internally. The nature of life isn’t always consistent and when happiness stems from you, you won’t ever have to fear losing it. People are flawed, therefore placing that reliance onto anyone but yourself is faulty. This is why loving yourself is critical because it dictates what we allow and how we overcome.
When you find strength through prayer or revitalization through a passion of yours: these become soul-fulfilling pursuits that make you happy from the deepest place. Superficial fulfillments serve momentarily until what is fulfilling you becomes replaced. Soul seeking practices are irreplaceable. It’s nice to keep this in mind.
How are your investments serving you?
I ask myself this very question when I’m feeling down for longer than I need to. It helps me to reevaluate who + what is truly important to me. People enrich our experiences. They don’t and shouldn’t take away from who we are. Don’t let another define you. This practice takes consistent effort on your part but it begins and ends with you.
7. Stop conforming to the status quo
Be unapologetically you! There will always be people doubting your ability to do or be something. We cannot control people’s perception and acceptance of who we are but we can absolutely control how we dismiss or internalize this feedback. Our beauty lies in our differences and if one person cannot recognize that, another will. I’ve met and worked alongside many different personalities and although we are apt to getting along with some better than others, consider lessening judgement and trying more empathy.Move beyond those that do not reciprocate respect because life (again) is simply too short to give another the power to break all that you’ve worked to become. As I’ve mentioned in a previous blog, what people verbalize about another aligns more with their character than whom they are speaking of.
So go out there and live your life. Follow your dreams and pursue the endeavors that fulfill you in ways nothing else could. Love who you want to love. Work the job that makes you the happiest. Recognize your value in this world. Note all that you have overcome to be here reading these words at this very moment. You are so much more that what the eye can see, what social media can display and what others can perceive.
In all sincerity, just be you.
8. Stop thinking you know everything
Recently, one thing that I’ve really come to really appreciate is the beauty of continuous learning in and out of the classroom. Try and educate yourself in anything and everything; it’s incredibly empowering to learn something from someone or to hear a story from someone that gives you valuable insight into something that’s harder to understand on your own. We are stronger together and much of what we learn isn’t acquired without the influence of another.
Ignorance makes it difficult to be receptive to new information. And I have so much admiration for people that understand the value in differing perceptions and ideas. I think humility is beautiful in making relationships that are genuine and raw. As much as we may feel entitled to a subject, there’s even more intellect in recognizing that there’s still so much more to learn. And there’s so many incredible people we have yet to learn from…
9. Stop letting time define you. Time is an illusion.
At one point or another we may have heard “it’s too late for you to chase that dream,” “it’s too late for you to change your profession”, or “it’s too late for you chase that person/ that thing.” And what has released unnecessary stress is understanding that processes look different for each person and although our society tends to standardize timelines for people, that doesn’t mean you need to follow it nor should you feel summoned to fulfill that timeline. People cannot and will not understand you better than you understand yourself, and if you can fulfill a timeline of sorts then that’s great but if not that’s okay too.
Perfection is idolized so much so that I (perhaps speaking on behalf of young adults) can feel like with as much as i’m doing, it’s still not enough. This outlook is certainly motivating to an extent (because there’s nothing wrong with wanting and feeling like you need to accomplish more), although crossing the line can become easier than we initially think. We are our own toughest critic and it’s not always society telling us it’s too late, but rather our perception of where we believe we should be.
When I talk about time, I use it in a way that doesn’t confine. It sets you free. Time doesn’t have to burden you with overwhelming expectation. Time is rather a reminder for me to live fully because we are not granted with this blessing on earth forever. It encourages me to chase after everything my heart desires. It serves as assurance that with God’s blessing: better times are always to come.
10. HAVE FUN
Last but not least, have fun! Life’s too short to reside in pain, regret or sorrow. Don’t compare your difficult season to someone else’s breakthrough. Reiterating, everything that’s meant to happen will happen and what’s meant to be yours won’t feel draining to maintain. Release notions of who you ought to be. Focusing on the present will lend your thoughts to people and places that have your time, and never hold resentment in your heart for anyone because I promise that hurts you more than it hurts them.
You are worthy of meaningful relationships, reciprocated investments, and impactful moments that help you get to where you want to be. You are worthy of people that want to learn you, endless opportunity, and a mental state that yearns with optimism for what’s to come (even when you couldn’t know what to expect). You are cherished by a creator who models forgiveness, compassion, and love stronger than anyone we know: and this should serve as a reminder to recognize that in spirit and in prayer, we are never alone. Be fully present amongst the people you love.
We are blessed with another day but always remember, we are never guaranteed it.
My very best, Char