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15 Phrases That Remind You What Life Is For

15 Phrases That Remind You What Life Is For

Life is all about perspective. Your perspective. Life is all about how you frame your experiences and how you choose to physically and emotionally respond to them. Your perspective can make all the difference in your ability to live in the moment with joy, or view each of life’s challenges as a struggle.

This article is inspired by a thought provoking article written by Stephanie Kwong. She encourages us to flip the switch from viewing life’s commitments as “should” and “have to,” into “I get to” instead. Wow! The “I get to” mantra is so much more of a fulfilling and fun privilege.

Phrases like “I get to” keep us mindful of living and loving life. So why stop at just one?

Here are 15 other wonderfully powerful phrases which can inspire you to be present in the moment, to live in alignment with your own life choices, to enjoy life, and keep living it with passion:

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1. The purpose of my life is to be happy.

This is the most important phrase of all. Repeat it to yourself several times a day. The basic reason you are here on Earth is to discover your own inner happiness. When you are happy, that joy and energy you exude will take you to places and experiences you have always dreamed of and more! This is your Big Picture soulful purpose.

2. I’ve got this!

Ahhh, this is all about self empowerment as you move through life. It reminds you to be confident, roll with the punches, and to believe in yourself.

3. I will just “let it go.”

There will be plenty of ups and downs in life. The downs will definitely hold you down. Let it go — the disappointments, the mistakes, the feelings of remorse, regret, guilt, and all those other negative emotions which won’t propel you forward to enjoy the best life has to offer.

4. An Oldie, but a Goodie… I know things could be worse.

When things get tough, put your own situation into perspective. Turn your situation upside down and realize how much worse it could have been. Be thankful for the way it turned out. Practice grateful gratitude!

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5. The only thing holding me back is ME !

Yep, you are in the driver’s seat. With determination, perseverance, effort, attention, and intention you can do anything. Don’t expect a windfall of any sort. You orchestrate every single moment of your life by the way you perceive circumstances and how you choose to respond.

6. Life is not so short to me.

In the United States, the average lifespan for an adult male is 75 years, and 81 years for a female. That’s pretty darn long!  So why does everyone say life is fleeting? Answer: because most people are not living life in the moment. When you are constantly looking behind you or worrying about tomorrow, it seems as if life is passing you by. However, time is actually not moving any faster. When you begin to enjoy each day, each hour, and each minute, the years do not become a blur.

7. My struggles exist to indicate I need to shift.

We all do it from time to time. You have. I have. We all get lost in the struggle — the struggle for more money, more power, more time. We also struggle to have our way be the right way. This inner struggle defeats you and your momentum. It’s a startling reminder that you need to make a needed change in your life (sometimes on many levels). Living without struggle allows for greater freedom. Living freely is the goal of life for us all.

8. There is no wrong turn on my life journey.

Your life path is unique from that of your parents, siblings, children, or friends. It’s creatively designed by a higher force so that you (hopefully) get to learn along the way and uncover your true sense of happiness — your essence! So when you make a choice that didn’t get you where you thought you would land, don’t beat yourself up. That turn you made was one you were supposed to take in order to teach you something you needed to know in order to grow.

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9. All my tears soothe my soul.

Ahhh… tears… your body’s own saltwater! Saltwater heals wounds. Tears not only heal wounds, but they are also the outcome of deep emotions which need to be released — emotions of sadness, despair, frustration, laughter, joy, and bliss. Whether your tears are sorrowful at the loss of someone’s life, or blissful at the birth of your child, or the consequence of a serious belly laugh, they are all meant to soothe your soul. It’s okay to cry.

10. Life is all about my choices.

The life you live is the life you choose. Choices build upon each other. Every single choice you make has implications which will steer you in one direction or another. If a poor choice is made along the way, don’t worry so much. Life is forgiving if you want it to be.

11. I say “Yes” more often.

Growing up, you probably heard more “no’s” from parents, teachers, and caregivers than “yes’s.” So give yourself permission to say “yes” more often, especially to opportunities which will nourish your spirit. Say “yes” to that spontaneous bike ride with your kids. Say “yes” to that massage you so desperately need. Say “yes” to the homeless man begging for that $4 you were going to spend at Starbucks tomorrow morning. A heartfelt “yes” may open your soul to limitless possibilities.

12. I embrace uncertainty.

Most people like certainty. They like a sure thing. Not knowing what’s in store for you can be pretty daunting and scary. That is, if you choose that perspective. The reality is, there will always be uncertainty and randomness. It’s a law of life (and physics). You can’t escape it, so just embrace it. Welcome the change. Welcome the unknown into your life. Get comfy with it so that when things don’t go as planned, you can just go with the flow. Think of how beautiful is it to struggle less.

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13. I put passion behind my purpose.

You are a unique soul in this world and have very special gifts that no one else has. Honing in our your gifts (talents, skills, qualities) will help you identify your life purpose. When you realize why you are here on Earth and what you can contribute, it is essential to put all of your passion behind it. Whether you are an astronaut, sanitary worker, super dad, or the best Lego builder ever, your passion for what you do will drive you toward life happiness.

14. When I’m not learning, I’m not growing.

This is one of my favorite phrases. Your life purpose is to grow, to learn, and to evolve in order to click into your own essence and be happy. The only way to grow is to continue to learn and expand your mind and spirit. I get happy just thinking about how much more I get to learn in my life. Wow!

15. I love you.

The desire to be loved is a human need. To give love to another human or animal is something we hopefully learn how to do along our life path. Love is an extremely powerful energy force. Those three little words (“I love you”) can tear down walls of hatred, halt an attempted suicide, or unite a lifelong partnership. If you haven’t spoken them in awhile, it’s time to begin again. Whispers are allowed. A life filled with love is a life worth living.

Conclusion

These 15 phrases are a little nudge to remind you just how lucky you are to be alive. You have infinite possibilities awaiting you. Live life passionately!

Featured photo credit: www.globesurfer.de via flickr.com

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Last Updated on October 22, 2020

8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

How would you feel if you were sharing a personal story and noticed that the person to whom you were speaking wasn’t really listening? You probably wouldn’t be too thrilled.

Unfortunately, that is the case for many people. Most individuals are not good listeners. They are good pretenders. The thing is, true listening requires work—more work than people are willing to invest. Quality conversation is about “give and take.” Most people, however, want to just give—their words, that is. Being on the receiving end as the listener may seem boring, but it’s essential.

When you are attending to someone and paying attention to what they’re saying, it’s a sign of caring and respect. The hitch is that attending requires an act of will, which sometimes goes against what our minds naturally do—roaming around aimlessly and thinking about whatnot, instead of listening—the greatest act of thoughtfulness.

Without active listening, people often feel unheard and unacknowledged. That’s why it’s important for everyone to learn how to be a better listener.

What Makes People Poor Listeners?

Good listening skills can be learned, but first, let’s take a look at some of the things that you might be doing that makes you a poor listener.

1. You Want to Talk to Yourself

Well, who doesn’t? We all have something to say, right? But when you are looking at someone pretending to be listening while, all along, they’re mentally planning all the amazing things they’re going to say, it is a disservice to the speaker.

Yes, maybe what the other person is saying is not the most exciting thing in the world. Still, they deserve to be heard. You always have the ability to steer the conversation in another direction by asking questions.

It’s okay to want to talk. It’s normal, even. Keep in mind, however, that when your turn does come around, you’ll want someone to listen to you.

2. You Disagree With What Is Being Said

This is another thing that makes you an inadequate listener—hearing something with which you disagree with and immediately tuning out. Then, you lie in wait so you can tell the speaker how wrong they are. You’re eager to make your point and prove the speaker wrong. You think that once you speak your “truth,” others will know how mistaken the speaker is, thank you for setting them straight, and encourage you to elaborate on what you have to say. Dream on.

Disagreeing with your speaker, however frustrating that might be, is no reason to tune them out and ready yourself to spew your staggering rebuttal. By listening, you might actually glean an interesting nugget of information that you were previously unaware of.

3. You Are Doing Five Other Things While You’re “Listening”

It is impossible to listen to someone while you’re texting, reading, playing Sudoku, etc. But people do it all the time—I know I have.

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I’ve actually tried to balance my checkbook while pretending to listen to the person on the other line. It didn’t work. I had to keep asking, “what did you say?” I can only admit this now because I rarely do it anymore. With work, I’ve succeeded in becoming a better listener. It takes a great deal of concentration, but it’s certainly worth it.

If you’re truly going to listen, then you must: listen! M. Scott Peck, M.D., in his book The Road Less Travel, says, “you cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time.” If you are too busy to actually listen, let the speaker know, and arrange for another time to talk. It’s simple as that!

4. You Appoint Yourself as Judge

While you’re “listening,” you decide that the speaker doesn’t know what they’re talking about. As the “expert,” you know more. So, what’s the point of even listening?

To you, the only sound you hear once you decide they’re wrong is, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!” But before you bang that gavel, just know you may not have all the necessary information. To do that, you’d have to really listen, wouldn’t you? Also, make sure you don’t judge someone by their accent, the way they sound, or the structure of their sentences.

My dad is nearly 91. His English is sometimes a little broken and hard to understand. People wrongly assume that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about—they’re quite mistaken. My dad is a highly intelligent man who has English as his second language. He knows what he’s saying and understands the language perfectly.

Keep that in mind when listening to a foreigner, or someone who perhaps has a difficult time putting their thoughts into words.

Now, you know some of the things that make for an inferior listener. If none of the items above resonate with you, great! You’re a better listener than most.

How To Be a Better Listener

For conversation’s sake, though, let’s just say that maybe you need some work in the listening department, and after reading this article, you make the decision to improve. What, then, are some of the things you need to do to make that happen? How can you be a better listener?

1. Pay Attention

A good listener is attentive. They’re not looking at their watch, phone, or thinking about their dinner plans. They’re focused and paying attention to what the other person is saying. This is called active listening.

According to Skills You Need, “active listening involves listening with all senses. As well as giving full attention to the speaker, it is important that the ‘active listener’ is also ‘seen’ to be listening—otherwise, the speaker may conclude that what they are talking about is uninteresting to the listener.”[1]

As I mentioned, it’s normal for the mind to wander. We’re human, after all. But a good listener will rein those thoughts back in as soon as they notice their attention waning.

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I want to note here that you can also “listen” to bodily cues. You can assume that if someone keeps looking at their watch or over their shoulder, their focus isn’t on the conversation. The key is to just pay attention.

2. Use Positive Body Language

You can infer a lot from a person’s body language. Are they interested, bored, or anxious?

A good listener’s body language is open. They lean forward and express curiosity in what is being said. Their facial expression is either smiling, showing concern, conveying empathy, etc. They’re letting the speaker know that they’re being heard.

People say things for a reason—they want some type of feedback. For example, you tell your spouse, “I had a really rough day!” and your husband continues to check his newsfeed while nodding his head. Not a good response.

But what if your husband were to look up with questioning eyes, put his phone down, and say, “Oh, no. What happened?” How would feel, then? The answer is obvious.

According to Alan Gurney,[2]

“An active listener pays full attention to the speaker and ensures they understand the information being delivered. You can’t be distracted by an incoming call or a Facebook status update. You have to be present and in the moment.

Body language is an important tool to ensure you do this. The correct body language makes you a better active listener and therefore more ‘open’ and receptive to what the speaker is saying. At the same time, it indicates that you are listening to them.”

3. Avoid Interrupting the Speaker

I am certain you wouldn’t want to be in the middle of a sentence only to see the other person holding up a finger or their mouth open, ready to step into your unfinished verbiage. It’s rude and causes anxiety. You would, more than likely, feel a need to rush what you’re saying just to finish your sentence.

Interrupting is a sign of disrespect. It is essentially saying, “what I have to say is much more important than what you’re saying.” When you interrupt the speaker, they feel frustrated, hurried, and unimportant.

Interrupting a speaker to agree, disagree, argue, etc., causes the speaker to lose track of what they are saying. It’s extremely frustrating. Whatever you have to say can wait until the other person is done.

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Be polite and wait your turn!

4. Ask Questions

Asking questions is one of the best ways to show you’re interested. If someone is telling you about their ski trip to Mammoth, don’t respond with, “that’s nice.” That would show a lack of interest and disrespect. Instead, you can ask, “how long have you been skiing?” “Did you find it difficult to learn?” “What was your favorite part of the trip?” etc. The person will think highly of you and consider you a great conversationalist just by you asking a few questions.

5. Just Listen

This may seem counterintuitive. When you’re conversing with someone, it’s usually back and forth. On occasion, all that is required of you is to listen, smile, or nod your head, and your speaker will feel like they’re really being heard and understood.

I once sat with a client for 45 minutes without saying a word. She came into my office in distress. I had her sit down, and then she started crying softly. I sat with her—that’s all I did. At the end of the session, she stood, told me she felt much better, and then left.

I have to admit that 45 minutes without saying a word was tough. But she didn’t need me to say anything. She needed a safe space in which she could emote without interruption, judgment, or me trying to “fix” something.

6. Remember and Follow Up

Part of being a great listener is remembering what the speaker has said to you, then following up with them.

For example, in a recent conversation you had with your co-worker Jacob, he told you that his wife had gotten a promotion and that they were contemplating moving to New York. The next time you run into Jacob, you may want to say, “Hey, Jacob! Whatever happened with your wife’s promotion?” At this point, Jacob will know you really heard what he said and that you’re interested to see how things turned out. What a gift!

According to new research, “people who ask questions, particularly follow-up questions, may become better managers, land better jobs, and even win second dates.”[3]

It’s so simple to show you care. Just remember a few facts and follow up on them. If you do this regularly, you will make more friends.

7. Keep Confidential Information Confidential

If you really want to be a better listener, listen with care. If what you’re hearing is confidential, keep it that way, no matter how tempting it might be to tell someone else, especially if you have friends in common. Being a good listener means being trustworthy and sensitive with shared information.

Whatever is told to you in confidence is not to be revealed. Assure your speaker that their information is safe with you. They will feel relieved that they have someone with whom they can share their burden without fear of it getting out.

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Keeping someone’s confidence helps to deepen your relationship. Also, “one of the most important elements of confidentiality is that it helps to build and develop trust. It potentially allows for the free flow of information between the client and worker and acknowledges that a client’s personal life and all the issues and problems that they have belong to them.”[4]

Be like a therapist: listen and withhold judgment.

NOTE: I must add here that while therapists keep everything in a session confidential, there are exceptions:

  1. If the client may be an immediate danger to himself or others.
  2. If the client is endangering a population that cannot protect itself, such as in the case of a child or elder abuse.

8. Maintain Eye Contact

When someone is talking, they are usually saying something they consider meaningful. They don’t want their listener reading a text, looking at their fingernails, or bending down to pet a pooch on the street. A speaker wants all eyes on them. It lets them know that what they’re saying has value.

Eye contact is very powerful. It can relay many things without anything being said. Currently, it’s more important than ever with the Covid-19 Pandemic. People can’t see your whole face, but they can definitely read your eyes.

By eye contact, I don’t mean a hard, creepy stare—just a gaze in the speaker’s direction will do. Make it a point the next time you’re in a conversation to maintain eye contact with your speaker. Avoid the temptation to look anywhere but at their face. I know it’s not easy, especially if you’re not interested in what they’re talking about. But as I said, you can redirect the conversation in a different direction or just let the person know you’ve got to get going.

Final Thoughts

Listening attentively will add to your connection with anyone in your life. Now, more than ever, when people are so disconnected due to smartphones and social media, listening skills are critical.

You can build better, more honest, and deeper relationships by simply being there, paying attention, and asking questions that make the speaker feel like what they have to say matters.

And isn’t that a great goal? To make people feel as if they matter? So, go out and start honing those listening skills. You’ve got two great ears. Now use them!

More Tips on How to Be a Better Listener

Featured photo credit: Joshua Rodriguez via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Skills You Need: Active Listening
[2] Filtered: Body language for active listening
[3] Forbes: People Will Like You More If You Start Asking Follow-up Questions
[4] TAFE NSW Sydney eLearning Moodle: Confidentiality

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