Better Than I Was

11:23 AM


Guys I've been on a quest for a few years now. The goal? Betterment (is that a word?) You see for years I followed little "resolutions" I would grandly declare on the first day of the new year that all lead to nothing, of course. Bikram! I will write 350 words every day! Sugar is satan's bastard child! Yoga every day all day! No more wire hangers (literally)! And then one day I had a lightbulb moment and decided from that day forward that I wouldn't attempt to "lose weight," "read more," "eat better," etc... Now I would simply commit myself every year, every month, every week and every day to be, even to the smallest degree, a slightly better version of myself today than I was yesterday.
There are some themes that have emerged since I started this journey that have helped keep me on the right track and moving forward. Little guidelines that continue to keep me focused on bettering myself. And so in case any of you find yourselves on the same path I am sharing what I've learned so far and what has worked for me.
Surround yourself with positive, kind, intelligent and happy people.
Here's the thing - getting rid of "toxic" individuals in your life is extremely important but not because you're some sort of paragon of perfection and light, but because toxic individuals will tempt you to indulge in parts of your character or personality that will drag you down. Being around negative, critical, cynical, gossipy and mean people is like hanging out with a bunch of chain smokers when you are trying to quit. You're no better than them but being around them makes you want to "smoke," i.e. - gossip, judge or criticize so bad. So it's best to not go there. Cut those people out and replace them with people who challenge you to think kinder, be more forgiving, see the good in others and celebrate beauty, love and joy. Slowly but surely you will start to see these qualities rubbing off on you.
Nourish your mind and soul at least on a monthly if not weekly or daily basis.
Whether you read ten books a week or one a year start including inspirational, "self-help," or simply books outside of your comfort zone in your "diet." Not one for spirituality? Pick up a book about a religion that has always intrigued you. Are you pragmatic and numbers oriented? Read a book focused on feelings and thoughts. Do you usually devour the likes of "Eat, Pray, Love?" Pick up something on a more concrete subject such as a book that's a study of the mind or the latest scientific breakthrough. And no matter what religion (or lack thereof) or belief system you have find a way to inspire yourself daily through the words of people that have accomplished wonderful things (notice I didn't say "great" or "successful"). Perhaps find a book of poetry that you notice has a positive effect on your mind and soul.
Educate yourself about the human body and how it relates to food and exercise.
Full disclosure - I believe bbq was thought up by angel unicorns that live in a giant rainbow colored heart somewhere up in the sky and if I could partake of it for every meal (breakfast included) I would. People tell me that is not the brightest idea. So I don't do it. I also don't do diets and I don't go to the gym. But I am constantly finding ways to eat mindfully, give my body what it requires both in food and exercise and opening my mind to the possibility that the way I've been living isn't necessarily "the right way." I'm no crazy organic/gluten/gym rat/juicing/fasting/cleansing woman but I do find myself gravitating more and more to foods that are grown locally, responsibly, are seasonal and low in carbs, sugar and salt. I am also blessed to live in a beautiful area so any time I can I like to spend it outside walking, running or simply breathing in the clean air. Whether or not I lose weight is not of consequence to me, however, how I feel is. And it's pretty simple - when I eat better and move my body at least a minimal amount I feel better.
Say some nice things every once in awhile to someone.
This one seems pretty obvious but I have found that occasionally when life gets busy and hard I become heavy handed with the complaints and very scant with my compliments. And so instead I decided to remind/measure/track how often I say nice things. Sometimes it means leaving someone a sweet compliment, sometimes it's writing a card or a letter, sometimes it's a chicken soup for the soul phone call with a loved one and sometimes it's giving that sexy husband of mine a big hug and telling him exactly just how awesome he is. Doing this usually makes me feel all tingly and hyper and makes me want to tell more people nice things so it's kind of a self-replenishing exercise. Highly recommend it.
Stop thinking you are entitled to anything like yesterday.
Honestly guys this is probably my biggest revelation. It was a few years ago now that I realized that approximately 75% of my life's frustrations were coming from the fact that I thought that I was entitled to anything I happened to covet. Other people's lavish vacations, a certain bloggers closet, a friend's house, an acquaintance's job. Turns out entitlement begets coveting which begets hating your life so... So I realized that essentially we are actually not even entitled to the next breath that we could potentially take. Which means that the fact that you ate a meal, went to sleep with a blanket, told someone you loved them and have a little corner of your own to call home probably means you are already winning at life. And... spoiler alert... if you learn to be grateful for, appreciate and celebrate these things you will notice how little you actually covet. Just think about it this way: if that blogger didn't have a blog, or that person didn't have an instagram would your life be any different? But when looking at their lives you for some odd reason think it is? Lesson learned: don't allow someone else's shine to dull yours. Your life is brilliantly awesome just the way it is. Those people don't have better lives, they're just better at celebrating theirs. Your life is a party if you make it so.

Those are just a few things I've learned that have seemed to make a difference and really help. And because this is a journey and it's never going to be over I turn the floor over to you and I ask:  what is one thing you do every day, week, month or year that you believe has made you a better person? I know we will all benefit from helping each other on this quest!

You Might Also Like

15 notes

  1. beautiful post...I am big on the saying something kind/paying someone an unsolicited compliment daily thing. I was so touched when my son asked for the pizza place phone number (he's 8)...I was like, "but, we just ate." He's all, "Trust me, mom." and he proceeded to dial the number and say, "Hi. I just wanted to let you know that you guys make awesome pizza. My family loves it."
    Seeing these "habits" rub off on the little ones are the most precious bonus of all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Kim! And thanks so much for sharing that sweet story! What a kind little soul! xoxo

      Delete
  2. Such a great post Mama Bear. I needed to read that today! Sinéad

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love this whole thing! Along these lines, I only read bloggers who I find inspiring and positive (as opposed to catty and complaining). You, my dear, stay in my reader, of course!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Jessica! I'm so happy to hear that! xoxo

      Delete
  4. Absolutely LOVE your post. I've been contemplating how to be more happy with my own life, as is, so this is exactly what I needed to read! I just printed out the last paragraph and put it up on my computer monitor at work for whenever I need a reminder. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awww!! You are so sweet! Thank YOU!!! xoxo

      Delete
  5. Hello! I really liked your last 3 posts and what you said about speaking your mind. I often find it very interesting and always look forward to the next post. Anyway, what I really try hard to do every day is NOT rush my little daughter (3,5 J.) or be impatient, especially in the morning when I drop her off at kindergarden, and at night, if I read stories to her or sing songs with her. It is not always easy, because every morning we ARE late (I drop her off before driving to work), but we always listen to her two favorite songs on the CD in the car, even if we have already arrived in the parking lot. I force myself to sit in the car with her and just listen until the song is over. She takes her time to take off her coat, change her shoes, take out her second breakfast. But it is so important for us, that I don´t rush but sit her at the breakfast table in the kindergarden and pour her some milk and give her a kiss. And I always, ALWAYS wave goodbye through the window from outside, when I leave. At night, I always look at this book with her, which is only pictures (with a lot of tiny people, it is called "Wimmelbuch" in Germany). It has been the same 2 books for like 2 months now and they get kind of boring, if you know, what I mean. But not for HER! She loves it and talks about the people in the pictures and plays "I can see what you cannot see" with me. What I have learned through her: Take my child seriously and respect her and not try to force my ideas, my haste, my interests upon her. And what did I get from this: a jumping heart, every time, she waves back and smiles and feels confident to spend the day in kindergarden. A satisfactory feeling, when she falls asleep so, so easily after only 2 lullabys, and sleeps through ever since, because I see her to sleep patiently without yelling at her or acting bugged out. (Well, I am not a saint, sometimes I do...and then her disappointment over this breaks my heart, and I feel so ashamed). I really try to tell myself each day, that they grow so fast and that I should cherish every moment with them (I also have a boy of 1,5y). Each day, I succeed in doing this whithout haste (have to say to my defense that I am a working mum), I feel like a better person. Sorry that this is so long, you just inspire me to write from the heart as well. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much darling!! And thank you for sharing about your sweet little girl! What a wonderful reminder for us all! Wishing you the very best!! xoxo

      Delete
  6. "I believe bbq was thought up by angel unicorns that live in a giant rainbow colored heart somewhere up in the sky". Eh helloooo?! Fuck yeah.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Sorry I wrote fuck on your blog.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Jokes aside, I loved this post. Immensely.
    I've been having the same thoughts over the past year: social media vs happiness, minimalism vs consumerism. You said it much better than me but I'm happy knowing we're on the same boat.
    The one thing I've been working on to become a better person is empathy. Getting there one step at a time.
    xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL!!! You really made me smile :) And thank you so much for the kind words - you are the best and an inspiration! xoxo

      Delete

Let's talk!