Start Living a More Positive Life: Time for Change

Positive Life3In our last post (Start Living a More Positive Life: Assessment Time), we looked at how well your current lifestyle matches up to the elements that are most important to you.  Everything from your career path to the company you keep can either add to your overall happiness or drain the life right out of you.  Perhaps your life requires a massive overhaul, or maybe it just needs a couple tweaks, either way the next step is to plan your new life and take action.   That is what we are going to work on this week.  We are going to come up with a step-by-step plan to turn all those wild dreams into your new reality!

So I’m curious how your current life matched up.  If you wouldn’t mind taking a second to answer the simple poll on the right, to share what you found with us.  For those who need a massive overhaul, just know you are not alone–that is where I found myself!  I broke free of my previous job and started my own art business.  My artwork is inspired by nature and animals around the world, plus I donate pieces to further charitable causes.  (Nature, animals, travel, creative expression, friendship, cutesy things, standing my ground, and humanitarianism…check!)  Sigh, much better.  I finally have the time to travel, ride my horse, train my dogs, explore the outdoors, and enjoy all the other great things life has to offer.  When it came to the people in my life, I decided to invest in the friends and family who were there for me and embrace the positive things in life.  As for those who overload me with negativity, it was time for them to go.  Then there is the townhome, we will soon be moving to a house with land where our horse can be with us and we can start homesteading–so excited!  I am sharing all this with you in case the changes you want to make seem too big.  This doesn’t happen overnight, but you can do it and you are not alone!

So lets start with those who need a career change.  For whatever reason, this tends to be a difficult switch to believe you can make.  Lets look a few of the reasons that might be holding you back and methods to get past them.

  • A guy/gal has to pay the bills and my dream job doesn’t earn enough money!  With how society is setup, earning money seems to be a necessary evil, however, there is no “one-size fits all” way to make a living.  Ditch the stereotype about rich doctors and lawyers, you can get rich doing anything.  Here is a reality check for you: According to Celebrity Networth, Cesar Millan (The Dog Trainer) is valued at $25 million and Martha Stewart (The Crafting Entrepreneur) has a net worth of $300 million.  Also remember that money, is not the same thing as wealth–true riches don’t come with a president’s face on the front.  Choose a method that makes you happy and don’t let false ideas get in your way.  Here are some ways to work past this reason…
    • How much money do you really need in order to live your dream?  Build a budget with a “have to pay” column and an “extras” column.  Look at where you can cut expenses to live within your means.
    • What different ways are there for you to bring in money doing what you love?  Sometimes your ideal life includes a combination of money making means.  You’d be surprised how you can turn the things you already own or do into revenue earning facets of your empire.
  • My (insert unsupportive member here) will disown me if I become a(n) (insert dream career here).  Repeat after me, “This is my life, not (insert unsupportive member here)’s, and I am going to live my life the way I was meant to live it.”  Sometimes people mean well, but their intentions are misguided.  You need to realize that no one knows yourself better than you do and only you can mold your life into the one you have always imagined.  Anyone who gets in the way of your dreams will have to learn to accept things.  This is not your problem to deal with, unless the unsupportive member is your spouse.  As a spouse, your lives are shared and you are going to have work this out together.  Just keep in mind that you will never be happy so long as you choose to live your life pleasing others.
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Digital Rendition of the Patronus Visualization

Looking deeper into unsupportive members, we need to do something about the negative people in your life.  Life is too short to be around people who consistently make you feel bad–period, end of story.  It doesn’t matter if they are random acquaintances or family members, the effects these life suckers have on you needs to go.  Ditch this idea of blood and water, surround yourself with people who inspire you!  Now, I understand that some people are easier to “get rid of” than others, so there are different methods of damage control.  If you can’t get away from the people who make you miserable, you are going to have to shield yourself from them.  Sometimes you need to keep the door open, keep things pleasant, but not reach out to that person or initiate interactions.   You also need to have a weapon to combat the negativity this person attempts to inject into your life.  Being a huge Harry Potter fan, my method is to imagine casting a Patronus Charm that protects me from the joy sucking dementor–yes, I am a book nerd.  You need to find a method that works for you and stick with it so your energy goes into your awesome new life, not the dementor!

Now that you have all your energy ready, it is time to put it to use by taking up those hobbies you put on the back burner.  There has to be at least one crazy thing you have always wanted to do or maybe you are like me and the list is more than you can get through in one lifetime.  In this case, you need to make a prioritized hobby list–start at the top and work you way down.  Either way, build time into your schedule to make your hobby a habit that will fuel your life with joy and inspiration.  Make sure you are wisely using your free-time.  Life is made of moments that you have a hand in creating, make the most of the precious time you are given and don’t let anything get in your way.

Finally, we come to your living space.  Life becomes a lot easier when you set yourself up with a home that enables your ideal life rather than making it more difficult.  There are ways to make where you live better reflect the life you are putting together, but sometimes your home just isn’t a good fit.  This is time to put some thought into why.  Is it the house?  The amount or land?  The activities, or lack there of, nearby?  No matter your dream life, there is a home and community out there that will help you to embrace this.  Maybe the answer is moving–sometimes this means moving to a new place nearby and in other cases to an entirely new country.  If you aren’t sure what you are looking for, it might be time to travel and get the vibe of different areas.  Remember you can always rent  until you are certain enough to purchase a home.  Also remember, even purchasing a home doesn’t mean you are stuck there if you change your mind.

I hope you found this to be helpful motivation to make the changes you would like to make.  I’d love to hear your stories or thoughts on the direction you are taking your life, feel free to share insights by leaving a comment!

Did you enjoy this post and want to walk through the series?

Start with Step 1: Changes You Can Make Today

Then go with Step 2: Assessment Time

You are on Step 3: Time for Change

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Start Living a More Positive Life: Assessment Time

Positive LifeIn our last post (Start Living a More Positive Life: Changes You Can Make Today), we spoke about envisioning the elements of life that are most important to you.  Lets take a look at those right now.  I want to help ensure we are on the right track before the next step.  For example: If money is on your list, you will need to dig deeper.  What is it about money that appeals to you?  Safety and comfort?  A means to explore what life has to offer?  Bottom line, something about money (not money itself) appeals to you.  It is one of many tools that can be used to achieve what you want.  Fame is another one that requires digging deeper.  What is it about fame that you truly desire?  To be loved?  To make a significant contribution to others?  I think you see the trend, but if there is one on your list that you aren’t sure about, don’t hesitate to ask–I am by no means the authority on importance, but I am here to help you work through this and live authentically!

Now that you’ve found those key ingredients that make you who you are, it is time for the life around you to reflect what you’ve discovered inside.  Look at your current life and ask yourself, “Does what I see match what I have discovered?”  Let’s start by looking at your job, where you most likely spend a majority of your time…

  • Does it reflect your values?
  • Does it allow you to express them?
  • Is it in line with who you are at your core?
  • Do you feel satisfied with what you have accomplished at the end of the day?

Now let’s look at the rest of your life.  

Your friends and family…

  • Do they share or support these values?
  • Do they add to your happiness?
  • Do they inspire you?

Your free-time…

  • Are your hobbies built around your values?
  • Are you using your free-time to indulge in this unique brand of YOU?

Finally, your home…

  • Does where you live enable a lifestyle that complements you?
  • Are you able to live the way you’d like to live?

It was a bit unsettling what I found when I first asked myself these questions.  I looked at my career at the time–I was stuck inside at a computer doing paperwork all day.  I didn’t have time to travel, my dogs where sitting at home without me, and creative expression didn’t go well with the conformity that was demanded.  Then I looked at the people in my life–there were a lot of wonderful ones, but there were also a few who were down right cancerous!  My hobbies–I barely had time and when I did have the time, I was too exhausted.  On top of it all, my home didn’t match. What is a nature loving, think outside the box type doing in a suburban town home?  This was a huge wake up call that I needed to make major changes in order to live a happier, more fulfilling life.  So I sat back down to do some more meditating, journal doodling, and talking out loud to dream up what my ideal life did look like.

This week is your chance to think things over.  How well does your life match up?  For those items that don’t match, what would fit?  This is the stage where you dream without limits.  There is no concept of what is or is not possible, only what your heart desires.  Next week we will look at how to make your dreams a reality.

Did you enjoy this post and want to walk through the series?

Start with Step 1: Changes You Can Make Today

You are on Step 2: Assessment Time

Next is Step 3: Time for Change

 

Start Living a More Positive Life: Changes You Can Make Today

What is “Positive Living”?  How can it help you live a better life?  And where do you start?  These are three excellent questions that we are going to tackle together right now in Part I of this post series.

Positive Life2What is “Positive Living?”  Positive living is an active decision to embrace and incorporate meaningful things into your life.  It is a way for you to live your life to the fullest by paying attention to the things that matter and making small moments count.  Living with intention is the best way to summarize this philosophy. You define what is important to you and then you choose to build your life around those things.

How can this help you live a better life?  Let me answer this question with a question, have you ever felt like there is something missing from your life?  You may not be able to be your finger on it, but you know it is the key to making your life what it should be. You’ve tried to fill this void with all sorts of things but, ironically, the missing “something”  is YOU.  This may seem like a strange idea, but let me explain.  Think back to yourself as that carefree child you once were.  You didn’t spend time wondering about what was missing or why you don’t feel happy because you were too busy living life to its fullest.  You were happy when you were happy, sad when you were sad.  You knew what you liked and what you didn’t, then you instinctively tried to get more of the good and less of the icky.  Yes, we lived in the moment and then somewhere along the way we forgot how to do this.  We grow up, get tangled in responsibilities, and lose sight of the life we were meant to live.  Well it is time to fix that.  Getting back in touch with the YOU deep inside is the missing key to getting your life back on the right track.

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One of my Soul Searching Doodles…at One with Animals and Nature

So, what is important to you?  This is where you start.  Really take your time thinking about this because it is going define the foundation you will build your life on.  Meditate on it, pray about it, journal it, talk it over with someone you trust…whatever helps you to get in touch with the real you that is deep down inside and already knows the answer!  I am a meditating, journal doodling, talk out loud to myself type of thinker.  Thorough this combination of very scientific techniques over several cups of tea, I came up with my answer.  Nature, animals, travel, creative expression, friendship, cutesy things, standing my ground, and humanitarianism are a few of the things I found at my core.  You need to find your own unique combination of YOU, and don’t let stereotypes get in the way of what you find.  It took me a while to work past the “hippie/princess”  box others tried to put me into, but you know what, bottom line is I’m just me and I’ve never been happier.

Take some time this week to explore inside yourself and make (a non-judgmental/non-conditional) note of what you discover.  Anyone brave enough to share some personal insight is welcome to drop a line in the comments.  Next week we will take this foundation and start building the life you’ve always imagined in Part II of this series!

Did you enjoy this post and want to walk through the series?

Next is Step 2: Assessment Time

Then is Step 3: Time for Change

Stay with the light…a lesson on humanity and following your heart

Be TrueFollowing your heart can be a daunting and scary task, mainly because it requires you to open who you truly are to the unpredictable world around you.  It can be a difficult journey, learning to love yourself for all your strengths and weaknesses.  Opening this up to the world can leave us feeling quite vulnerable.  There is no longer a barrier; just you absorbing all the beauty around you and trying to deflect the ugliness.  It is scary, but you need to do it anyways.

Learning to run an art business has been my big scary hurdle.  I’ve always wanted to do this, but I was trapped by other people’s negativity.  I’ve grown up with ideas like, “you need to get a real job” and “art doesn’t make money”.  Then I decided that I wasn’t going to let others’ concepts of success deter me from following my heart.  Have their tunes changed? …no, not really…but I have.  The more comfortable I grow with my authentic self, the more I say “yes” to it, the more wonderful experiences I open my heart up to receive.  It is scary being this vulnerable but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

This is truly living.  You are going to build beautiful friendships and burn bridges.  You are going to create joy and unintentional pain.  There will be days filled with sunshine and others with pouring rain.  There will be great accomplishments and difficult lessons learned.  You will laugh and you will cry.  There will be days when your heart feels like mush on the ground and  you will want to give up; you’ll want to give in to the darkness that is the anger and pain inside you. But anger and pain accomplish nothing until you can learn to shed your light on them.  There is no greater tragedy than encountering people who have yielded to their darkness.  They are angry, they don’t accept apologies, they refuse to move forward, and refuse to show compassion to others.  We all have these moments of darkness, we all make mistakes, but it is important to catch yourself and turn these moments around.  Light can turn negativity into compassion and with compassion we can continue to follow our hearts.  We can forgive, we can learn to love, we can let go, and we can move forward.

What we put out into the world (physical or online) is an opportunity for us to spread joy or pain to others.  We choose what we create, we can bring joy into the world or add to the misery.  Spreading our darkness can be like a poison that brings others down with it.  But if we stay positive instead and shine our light through the darkness, we give people permission to do the same.  One light turns into many making the world turn into a brighter and happier place.

I hope that each of you let your true self shine through in all you do, even if you are afraid.  Don’t give into the darkness, let your light shine!  Be true to who you are and share that with the world around you…it is truly a gift like no other.