The Birth of You

The birth of a star: worth every turbulent moment.

Do you feel that?

Something’s kicking inside you. It’s been growing for a long time now, and as much as you want to embrace it, you’ve been afraid. You’ve been hoping it will go away on its own, but it hasn’t. It kicks you in your sleep, when you’re on your way to work, when you’re spending time with your friends. It won’t stop.

Some may have told you it’s not worth investigating. Too risky, they insist. Unrealistic. A waste of time. Still, the kicking continues. Growing more intense each day, the kicking rings in your ears until you can no longer muffle it. You have to answer.

As you dig deeper, you realize the kicks are your subconscious mind crying out for fulfillment, for an escape from the trap your family, society, and even you have set for you. Everything you’ve ever wanted, ever hoped for, ever admired, ever daydreamed about has been pounding on your heart, and you realize that the only way you’ll be satisfied is to heed that call. And it’s more than a fleeting desire–it’s the truth of who you are. It’s the core of your existence. All along, it’s been you. It’s you begging you to

  • Stop procrastinating and start making plans to achieve your goals
  • Stop trying to impress others and start living your truth
  • Let go of empty friendships and cultivate ones with people who care
  • Stop thinking you can’t do it and start believing you can
  • Become an agent in your life, not an observer
  • Do what you know is right regardless of what others think
  • Take care of yourself

As another year approaches, the call of your inner being grows louder. How will you answer it? How will you embrace the truth of you, of all that you are and all that you aim to be, in the new year? Know that it will be difficult. Know that every labor pain is necessary for your growth as a unique human being. They may hurt and last longer than you’d like, but you grow stronger with each one you endure.

The next time you feel that kick, don’t ignore it. Welcome it. Embrace it, and brace yourself: You’re getting ready to give birth to a new you.

Own Your Airspace

Be too busy being yourself to wonder what it’s like to be someone else. You have your own set of molecules drifting around this planet. To covet someone else’s set is to devalue your own. To desire someone else’s voice is to devalue the lilt of your own song, the unique tune that others may understand but cannot reproduce. Today is the day to sink into the fibers and blood and cells and tendons and marrow of your own body. Inhale the pocket of air that surrounds you in this immense universe and own every atom within it.

Yes, it may appear that others breathe better air. Maybe theirs seems cooler, warmer, crisper, more expensive, better smelling, better tasting. But theirs is no different from yours. Theirs comes with the same elements yours does, so resist the urge to step in another’s pocket and thereby suffocate yourself. Lift your hands in passionate self-awareness and self-acceptance. Admire and appreciate others, but do not negate your own personhood, the feeling of being you, that singular experience in your flesh. Across millennia of human existence, there has been and will be only one you. That’s amazing.

You are a unique speck of life on this ball of water and rock, here but for a short time. Blow bubbles. Laugh. Shout. Breathe. Own your airspace.

30 Days of Personal Growth, Day 27: A Letter to the One Looking Down

The lotus begins life in the muddy bottom of a pond. Slowly, it grows toward the surface. When it reaches the light, it becomes a beautiful flower.

I want to talk about you.

You’ve been told you’re not smart enough. You’ve been told you’re not good enough. You’ve been told that other people are better, more worthwhile. You’ve spent years crying, feeling sorry for yourself, thinking everyone else had a better chance to reach their dreams than you did.

I’m here to tell you you’re wrong.

You’re worthwhile. You’re not perfect. You have good and bad days. You don’t always remember things. You don’t always make the right decisions. But you’re valuable.

You don’t always feel beautiful. You slip up sometimes. Still, you’re unique, complex—and worthwhile. Nothing can make that more or less true.

You can’t control what others think about you. You can’t control what others do or say. You can’t read anyone’s mind, nor can anyone read yours. You’re not going to like or agree with everything everyone says and does. Some things others do are going to make you upset. But you can control what you do.

Every day is not going to be wonderful, but you can smile. You can feel thankful and joyful no matter what is happening.

You don’t have to be famous to be worthwhile. You can enjoy living an ordinary life. You can take pride in the things you do to keep things running smoothly.

You can speak clearly because you belong here. You don’t have to shrink away, thinking others’ opinions and existence are more worthwhile. You have just as much right to be here as anyone else, and you have a right to your own unique existence.

You have a right to be present. You can absorb details about people and the environment. You don’t have to worry about what your hair looks like. You don’t have to worry about your skin, teeth, height, weight, clothes, education, marital status, bank account, credit score, or friends list. Though you want to do your best in all aspects of life, you can’t control everything. Yet, you are worthwhile.

You can gracefully give and accept compliments. You can admire others and accept their admiration of you. You have a right to feel good about yourself no matter how you look.

You are not a static photograph. You are a living, breathing, dynamic human being. You are so much more than you know.

You don’t have to do anything to please others. You can be compassionate, but you can care about yourself, too. You can laugh, smile, and chat with others. You can put your two cents in just as anyone else can. You have that right.

You can absorb people, nature, and life freely. You can make mistakes, and you can learn from them. You don’t have to hide for fear others will know your shortcomings. Others have shortcomings, too.

You don’t have to worry about being the best at everything. You can’t. The most you can expect of yourself is to do your best work. Know that you can’t do everything perfectly, but know that you can be proud of what you do.

Not everyone is going to like you, and you’re not going to like everyone else. Yet you can accept others. You can accept yourself. You can take criticism with the intent of strengthening yourself. You can dismiss anything hurtful or rude.

You don’t have to judge others, and you don’t have to judge yourself. You can be as silly, smart, or sassy as you want, as long as you remember you’re no better than others, nor is anyone better than you. Like you, people have their own unique way of being. Your worth is on par with everyone else’s.

You have a right to look people in the eye. You don’t have to plan what you’re going to say. You can handle any social situation when it happens. You have a right to speak loudly and clearly. Others do too, and they expect that from you.

You are free to have your own style. You can wear prints, solids, sleek, bohemian, anything you want. You can express yourself through fashion, music, arts, writing, sports, any way you choose. You have that right.

You have your own gifts. Others have theirs. You are not going to be perfect even at your strengths, but you can take pride in what you’re capable of. No one has your unique voice, experience, biology, psychology, spirituality. Things won’t be easy, and nothing says they should be.

Stay focused. Growth is painful. Goals take discipline. But your dreams will come true if you believe in yourself and fight for them. You’re going to fail sometimes. You’re going to fall short of your goals.

But even if things don’t work out exactly how you want them to, you’re still worthwhile. You can pick it up and move ahead.

You can have a balanced view of yourself and others. No one is wholly good, bad, right, or wrong. Everyone, including you, is too complex for a label.

Your thoughts, beliefs, opinions, feelings, interests, and talents are worthwhile. You as a living, breathing being are worthwhile.

Let nothing distract you from that.

30 Days of Personal Growth, Day 5: Marc and Angel’s 10 Enemies of Personal Greatness

One of my favorite personal growth blogs, Marc and Angel Hack Life, is always bursting with great tips on optimal living. I love their honest, direct voice and way with words. Today’s post provides their 10 barriers to personal greatness. Don’t get caught up in them!

  1. Always taking the path of least resistance. – Just because you are struggling does NOT mean you are failing.  Every great success requires some kind of struggle to get there.  Good things don’t come to those who wait.  Good things come to those who work hard and struggle to pursue the goals and dreams they believe in.  Read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
  2. Comparing yourself to everyone else. – You will never fully believe in yourself if you keep comparing yourself to everyone else.  Being true to yourself in thoughts, words and actions is as important as being kind and true to others.
  3. Worrying too much about what others think of you. – As long as you are worried about what others think of you, you are owned by them.  Only when you require no approval from outside yourself can you ownyourself.  If you’re being true to yourself and it isn’t enough for the people around you, change the people around you.
  4. Ignoring your gut instincts. – There’s a difference between being agreeable and agreeing to everything.  Give yourself permission to immediately walk away from anything that gives you bad vibes.  There is no need to explain or make sense of it.  Just trust the little inner voice when it’s telling you, “This is a bad idea.”
  5. Holding on when you need to move on. – Moving on doesn’t mean forgetting, it means you choose happiness over hurt.  Sometimes you have to love people from a distance and give them the space and time to get their minds right before you let them back into your life.
  6. Living in the past. – If you don’t leave your past in the past, it will destroy your future.  Live for what today has to offer, not for what yesterday has taken away.  Life is a journey that is only traveled once.  Today’s moments quickly become tomorrow’s memories.  So appreciate every moment for what it is, because the greatest gift of life is life itself. Read The Power of Now.
  7. Doing the wrong things just because others are too. – Wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it.  Right is right, even if you are the only one doing it.  Always do what you know in your heart is right, for you.
  8. Allowing small problems to overwhelm you. – Everything is going to be alright; maybe not today but eventually.  When you’re upset, ask yourself, “Will this matter to me in a year’s time?”  Most of the time it won’t.  Remember, sometimes bad things in life open up your eyes to the good things you weren’t paying attention to before.
  9. Surrendering to the draw of comfort. – The most common and harmful addiction in the world is the draw of comfort.  Why pursue greatness when you’ve already got 324 channels and a recliner?  Just pass the chip dip and forget about your grand plans.  NO!  The truth is growth begins at the end of your comfort zone.  Stepping outside of your comfort zone will put things into perspective from an angle you can’t grasp now, and open doors of opportunity that would otherwise not exist.  Read The Power of Habit.
  10. NOT believing that you CAN. – If we don’t know that greatness is possible, we won’t bother attempting it.  All too often, we literally do not know any better than good enough.  Sometimes you have to try to do what you think you can’t do, so you realize that you actually CAN.  And sometimes it takes more than one attempt.  If ‘Plan A’ doesn’t work out, don’t fret; the alphabet has another 25 letters that would be happy to give you a chance to get it right.  The wrong choices usually bring us to the right places, eventually.  But you must believe in your own potential to get there.

Where’s the Party? In Your Head

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While trying on a pile of ill-fitting hipster clothes at the mall one afternoon, I heard some unrecognizable dance-pop chick sing about how the “party’s in [her] head.” At first I dismissed the ditty as just another disposable Ke$ha-style club banger, but when I listened closer, I found myself smiling at the lyrics:

I don’t care if the whole club is dead
The party’s in my head
If you won’t let me in
Dancing on the street instead
The party’s in my head

As I bobbed my head, I thought about the times I’ve gone out and had a great time, simply because I decided I would be upbeat. For example, when a few uncouth bouncers at a hot Vegas nightclub decided my sister wasn’t who her ID said she was (TSA apparently had no qualms), I made up my mind that I’d enjoy myself elsewhere, and I did. That’s because the good times weren’t in the club–they were in me, waiting for me to ignite them.

But the Swedish singer, September, wasn’t just talking about clubbing. She was talking about life.

Of course, you can’t control everything that happens to you. You can, however, control your thoughts about all of it. With your chin up and your confidence steady, you can accept the uncontrollable–the funky attitudes of others, the gray sky, the ever-rising gas prices–and draw from the well of peace burbling inside you. You choose your own purpose, happiness, excitement, fun, joy, contentment, fulfillment. Despite the naysayers, the wet blankets, and the party poopers, you host the show in your mind. When you live that truth, you don’t have to wait for anyone to let you “in.”

The party’s in your head. Turn up the music and dance.

You Owe the World Your Voice

Say it loud.

In dark times, it’s tempting to shut yourself in a corner, alone from judgment and free from anxiety. Safer it seems to hide in shadows than step beyond bravery’s thick threshold.

But nothing happens in that lonely corner. Nothing you desire from life can ever reach you in a self-imposed trench of fear.

Emerge from that abyss. Gird your determination and claw through doubt’s stubborn muck. Extend your voice farther, wider until it spreads like beads of oil in water, always dancing yet standing distinct from crowds of hydrogen and oxygen.

Bleed your feeling heart onto the universe’s infinite sheet. Steady your mind, relax your nerves, open your mouth. No matter who agrees, objects, or ignores, you owe the world your voice.

Seed of the Day

Today, remember that you are entitled to your own unique existence. You are an individual, and you have every right to move through the world at your own cadence. Do not focus on your progress compared to that of others. Keep pushing and thriving on your own accord. While others go about living their own lives, you are free to live yours without justifying yourself. And in maintaining your independence, you allow others to maintain theirs.