Today marks the beginning of my 44th year of life and I have already started to receive the numerous social media birthday wishes and I am grateful for each one of them. I truly believe that every waking day is cause for celebration even though I LOVE to celebrate special occasions in a grande way. While I graciously accept all the birthday wishes, special gestures and acts of generosity given to me today and likely over the next few days to follow, I want to personally give back by sharing some of the life lessons I got over this past year.
1. Your words have the power to inspire or the power to destroy so choose them wisely.
As a relationship expert and matchmaker one of the many tools I use to understand how to serve my clients is to take the Love Languages test! I discovered my partner’s love language is “Words of Affirmation” and mine is “Acts of Service.” It’s so easy to say things out of anger without realizing the lasting impact your words have when they land on someone. Many parents I know have used “reverse psychology” and this strategy can backfire as well. If you want something to happen, just SAY what it is you want. If you want your kids to be honourable, loving, attentive, disciplined and kind people, encourage them to BE those things and acknowledge them in positive behaviour. If you are always pointing out people’s faults you will be seen as a person who has only negative things to say about someone. Very few people take time to acknowledge positive behaviour and are quick to point out shortcomings. It’s like being chastised for being late once, when you arrive 15 minutes early for every day prior. If you want a result, use your words to positively drive the action and to manifest your desires through encouraging words. If you DON’T want your partner to cheat or lie, stop accusing them of it. If what you’re really after is a deeper connection, love, respect and loyalty, use your words backed by actions to get the outcome you want.
2. Put the phone down and spend less time phubbing!
I had only recently heard of the term phubbing and unfortunately I am guilty of phubbing. “Phubbing is a term coined as part of a campaign by Macquarie Dictionary to describe the habit of snubbing someone in favour of a mobile phone.” I realize the act itself can be quite offensive, especially to the person who is trying to engage with you while you focus instead on your smart phone. It’s so easy to get caught up on your phone checking tweets, Facebook updates and the latest Instagram posts. Make it a point to give real people your full attention and eye contact, while you place your phone to the side when someone is speaking to you.
3. Getting angry doesn’t solve anything. Control your anger before it controls you!
For anyone who deals with anger, the emotion creeps up on you without warning. Anger can be used for manipulation, punishment and ultimately getting what you want. When you get angry, your heart rate and blood pressure go up as well as various levels of your energy hormones. There are many triggers you can blame for being angry or upset. I can personally attest to the destructive nature of anger and the negative impact it has on the people closest to you. If you are the “hot headed” type, be sure to practice calming techniques and express yourself openly, identifying your upset to reduce & eliminate your angry outbursts.
4. Assumptions still make an ASS out of U and Me!
We’ve all been there. Getting upset at someone because you assumed something that wasn’t true. The challenge with making assumptions is we actually believe our thoughts and imagination about what is going on as FACT based on our past experiences. Then we react to that person or situation according to what we hink is true often resulting in a an argument, hurt feelings an lack of trust. Asking questions about a situation (not accusing someone) is the best way to gain clarity and understanding when you think you know what’s going on, without facts. If you’ve ever been the target of an unwarranted accusation or assumption it’s like being verbally attacked without warning and causes a great deal of upset. What’s important to know is your accuser is probably hurt and clearly has a misunderstanding of what is really going on.
5. Writing down your daily goals actually helps to get things accomplished.
How many times have you let a whole day go by and ask yourself, where did the time go?
What did I do today? I have so much work to do! It’s amazing how much you can actually accomplish by writing down your daily goals and sticking to them. Having personal accountability is key to achieving your goals. If you’re single and looking-for-love, you shouldn’t go out in the dating world without a plan or a goal to accomplish. I encourage you to adopt the S.M.A.R.T goal system and to minimally write down the three key tasks you NEED to complete for the day. This habit will ensure you stay focused and on task especially when you’re plate is full.
6. Being vulnerable doesn’t make you weak, it makes you stronger.
There is something about being vulnerable that doesn’t naturally agree with me as an Alpha female. Yet time and again, when I exercise vulnerability in my life, I always feel more empowered. There is far more power in releasing yourself to Being vulnerable and you may even cause a shift in how you are perceived and heard by those around you. Being vulnerable calls for you to be emotionally open. Most of us hate vulnerability. We equate exposing our inner most thoughts, shame and fear of looking bad as weakness. In your vulnerability, you are being your most authentic self and sharing something about yourself that is relatable. Vulnerability leads to powerful connection. It’s been the most heart warming and connective energy force with the people I’ve shared my moments of vulnerability.
7. It’s O.K to get rid of things you don’t need or use. Really.
Do you have an inner hoarder? I discovered that I did! As much as I hate to admit it, in having moved my home twice in the last year, I discovered I was the keeper of many meaningless things. You would think this is a life lesson I had already learned and it turns out I was still learning. I am not sure what joy or satisfaction I got from keeping all this “stuff.” Junk really when I look at it closely, yet I associated these things as stuff I needed; just in case. I realized I also adopted a replacement mentality throughout the years. I didn’t value things the way someone who may be less fortunate would. How many pens does one need really? Or pots and pans, it seemed like I had two of everything. Part of the reason I discovered to having all this stuff, was being disorganized. Organizing your things and having a place for everything will allow you to really look at what you have and what you need. I’ve since donated loads of personal items, household items, kids stuff and my countless nick knacks. It is an ongoing process and I feel a weight being lifted in every donation bin that leaves my home. Try it!
8. Your children reveal everything there is to know about what’s working or not working in your life.
If you want to learn a life lesson, pay attention to what your kids say about you and to you. When is the last time you had a conversation with your kids one on one? Ask them questions about what they think of you as a parent. Ask your kids what are three things they think you could do better at? What are three things that you do that annoys them. Ask them anything that will encourage them to share their thoughts about you and create a plan towards creating an environment at home that is communicative, loving and supportive. Remember in life lesson #2 about phubbing? Well my son hates my smart phone. He actually accused me of being obsessed with my phone. Hard to hear as a parent, yet the truth spoken by my 11 year old. Isn’t that a very direct way of him expressing to me that he feels less important than my phone? Ouch. My daughter has caught me texting and driving and has pointed it out to me. YES, insanely irresponsible act on my part. She also questions my actions when I’m angry and why I allow her younger brother to get away with certain things. There is not much you can get away with when you are single parenting (even co-parenting) kids. It’s one thing to hear the complaint/concern and one thing to actually act on it and follow up on their requests. Foster a team environment at home and know that each person plays an important role. I never liked dictatorship.
9. Winning isn’t everything, sometimes losing teaches you exactly what you need to know.
I am extremely competitive in nature and it shows up every time I participate in any game! Be it a friendly card match, the game of Life, bridal shower parties, friendly arm wrestling, thumb wars or a game of pool. You can count that if there’s a contest, I’m in it to win it! Having said that, if there’s an argument ensuing, ask my partner, he knows it’s a full on battle of wit and words when it comes to matching up against me. In speaking with an anger management coach she posed one important and simple question, “Do you want to WIN, or do you want to be happy?” The cynical side of me immediately chose winning! Duh. However, my true desire is to be happy. I have learned time and again that happiness is a choice and whether I win or not doesn’t determine my happiness. In fact, it’s in times of deep loss that I discover true happiness and gratitude. Losing has always taught me my most valued life lessons.
10. Money actually doesn’t grown on trees, spend it wisely.
One of the greatest life lessons I am still learning today is what my mother and likely many other moms have said a thousand times! Money doesn’t grow on trees. My relationship with money has been a constant battle. As a runaway at 17 years old fending for myself and beginning work at the age of 13, I have always been able to make money. This ability to make money has also had me take money for granted. My relationship with money has been a love/hate relationship. idea of never having money or not having enough money was never a concern. Not until it actually became a reality and I had lost it, burned through it or spent it frivolously on all that “stuff” that I thought I needed. My attitude about money and its value is changing. I take my health more seriously and surround myself with people who value their time and money. When I was younger I’d spend my money at the bars, buying rounds of drinks and supporting all my friends who weren’t working, buying things without any care or concern in the world. Here are a few great questions to ask yourself when you get that urge to spend:
Do you really need it? Is it a want or a need? Will this purchase help you get to your goals faster? Is this something that forwards your life or sets you back? Did you budget for this?
I am not suggesting that you don’t buy yourself nice things or treat yourself out once in a while when there is cause. I am not one of those people who waits to put out the good china or only use the fancy stuff on special occasions. Remember your health is not guaranteed and neither is your livelihood. Using your money wisely and saving for those rainy days is simply smart practice. Planning for your future is essential to ensure your financial stability.
I could probably go on and on about life lessons and those are the ones which I thought to share on my 44th day of life. The last and most valuable lesson I want to share with you is that you get the most out of everything you do when it is guided and motivated by love.
I am grateful to be living my dreams of helping to facilitate love to those around me and the clients I serve. To each and everyone of you I pray you experience true love and spread the love everywhere you go!