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15 Essential Life Truths You Need To Live By

15 Essential Life Truths You Need To Live By

There’s almost no end to popular sayings and advice to live by. Often the most profound life truths are summed up in what most would consider mundane platitudes and clichés. Irrespective of the banality, these messages can teach us essential lessons to help us live more meaningful and fulfilling lives if we follow their wisdom. Here are 15 truths to help you live your best life yet.

1. We create our lives with the choices we make.

“Everything in your life is a reflection of a choice you have made. If you want a different result, you can make a different choice.” Wise proverb

boat on water

    There are two schools of thought when it comes to control; number one: we have no control, and number two: we do. The problem with the former is that it strips us of our power of choice, while the latter option gives us unconditional access to paths of awe. When broken down, the distinctions in our lives comes down to what we choose.

    These choices can come in different shapes and sizes. We may make choices about various topics such as our careers, our income, our friends, our environments, and our beliefs. Ultimately, though, what we choose to focus on at any time is what controls our lives and our destiny, and each new day is a new opportunity to choose how your life will unfold.

    2. Your feelings are guideposts to your truth.

    Abraham-Hicks has a wonderful philosophy: “Negative emotion always means the same thing, every single time; my thought or behavior is moving in opposition with who I really am and what I really want.” Consider this: caregivers of small children are guided by them by paying attention to their emotions, and pet owners can tell any range of emotions by the way their pet displays their feelings. You, too, know when something feels great or feels crappy. Be true to your feelings. They exist to show you the way.

    3. If you want to be loved, first love yourself.

    “You will be loved and respected only if you love and respect yourself.” Paulo Coelho


      For many people, the task of loving themselves is a difficult one. Without forgiveness, broken relationships and disillusioned expectations sometimes create barriers to experiencing love. The truth is, no matter how much people may love you, unless you are able to love yourself, you will not be able to acknowledge or accept the love of others. Take time to learn the truth of who you are: you are love.

      4. You teach people how to treat you.

      Tony Gaskins stated Life Truth #4 like this: “You teach people how to treat you by what you allow, what you stop, and what you reinforce.” I think this is a great metric when considering not only what we may be teaching others, but what we value for ourselves. Use this standard to take inventory for yourself and ask the question, “Is what I’m showing others what I wish to be conveyed?” If not, wouldn’t now be a perfect time to begin a new lesson?

      5. Find purpose in all that you do.

      hangingon

        There’s a quote that’s attributed to Mark Twain which I love: “The two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why.”
        “Purpose” is a word whose meaning often eludes many people, but without it they may find themselves feeling lost and confused in life. And while “purpose in life” is a meaningful goal, in order to truly enjoy life’s intricate details, one must live each moment with purpose. This means giving complete attention to each task, each conversation, and each thought. This is the secret of the truly happy.

        6. Spend more time looking for a solution than dwelling on the problem.

        “You are not a problem solver, you are a solution finder.” Abraham Hicks

        Our culture has assigned the title “problem solver” to someone who resolves issues. Unfortunately, many people spend so much energy considering the problem (“Why didn’t I get what I wanted?”; “How did this terrible thing happen”; etc.) that there’s little room to consider a solution. When addressing life, family, or relationship issues, ask yourself the question: “Will time spent considering the problem help me in this moment?” If not, find ways to shift your focus to improving things for the future.

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        7. We become what we behold.

          There’s a reason why we have ratings on our movies, video games and albums: not everything is suitable for every audience. We believe this because we’ve read study after study about how impressionable we are (especially as children). If you want to be successful, surround yourself with successful people and/or resources. If you want to be timely, study the habits of timely people. Visualization and focus on your loftiest goals will eventually lead you to become that.

          8. Don’t take things so personally.

          I always liked the saying, “What others think about me is none of my business.” This is not the same as someone who says, “I don’t care about your constructive criticism.” Let’s face it: we all have room for improvement, but a great way to drive yourself mad is to take every comment, criticism, or critique personally. People will reveal their characters to you based on their values and beliefs; you don’t have to make them yours.

          9. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.

          “A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.” George Bernard Shaw


            If you spend any time at all studying business experts, they’ll all tell you the same thing: don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Mistakes, they attest, are the building blocks to massive success. Thomas Edison, when asked how he felt about his early failures with one of his inventions famously said, “I haven’t failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” If you adopt the philosophy of learning, you’ll only have lessons, not failures, to look back on.

            10. Know that the sun is always shining behind the clouds.

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              I don’t always love flying—especially when the clouds are thick with rain. When the wind tosses the plane and the clouds create turbulence in the ascent, I often close my eyes and pray that I arrive at my destination safely (so far, so good.)

              What I do love, however, is that no matter what the weather, once the plane clears the clouds the sky is calm, the clouds are peaceful, and the sun really is shining bright in the sky. I like to remember this truth on days when I’m feeling down or scared or things look like they might get ugly. No matter what clouds may be in your life, the same sun shines bright for you.

              11. There is freedom in learning to be flexible in life.

              “When you struggle against this moment, you’re actually struggling against the entire universe.” Deepak Chopra

              Life is not predictable. Someone’s going to run late, some important item will be forgotten, something will be lost, and at the end of the day, the show will still go on. Those who learn to “go with the flow” enjoy more satisfaction in life than those who spend time lamenting about what “could have been.” Why struggle against the entire universe? Take a lesson from Leo Babauta and follow these practical steps for learning to go with the flow and being flexible. It could mean the difference between a great life and a stressful one.

              12. Each day is precious. Cherish the time you have.

              “Never pass up the chance to say ‘I love you’ because tomorrow is never promised.” Unknown

              I’m nearly the age my mother was when she passed away twenty-eight years ago. While it doesn’t have the same affect on me now as it did when I was a child, I try to live every day in reflection of the fact that none of us is promised another day on earth. Even if you were to outlive Jeanne Calment, life is short. Cherish the time you have while you still can and fill it with every wonderful thing your heart desires. After all, isn’t that what life’s about in the end?

              13. Build and maintain quality relationships.

              “The quality of your life is in the quality of your relationships.” Tony Robbins

              beckster-ames

                What’s life without other people to share it with? Relationships are what make life the possible, adventurous journey that it is. And any person who has lived a quality life will be quick to credit their relationships along the way. The good news? You probably already have people in your life who you love and cherish immensely. The great news? Today’s a great day to remind them how much they mean to you.

                14. Do what you can to take care of your body.

                “Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” Jim Rohn

                amesjump

                  Cardiovascular diseases killed nearly 17 million people in 2011

                  ; that is 3 in every 10 deaths. Of these, 7 million people died of ischaemic heart disease and 6.2 million from stroke. Most contributing factors to disease are preventable, and benefits of taking care of one’s health not only directly improves your life, but your continued existence can serve as a support to your loved ones.

                  15. Stay curious and you’ll never be bored a day in your life.

                  Take a lesson from children: they’re always eager to play, eager to learn, and eager to do. Sadly, somewhere along the line many of us lose this sense of wonder and “grow up” and out of our natural state of curiosity. But when you’re able to maintain that sense of interest and intrigue, you are not only resistant to boredom, but you set a course for a life of bliss and improved mental ability. So what do you want to discover today?

                  origin_4028043294 always be curious

                    Featured photo credit: http://mrg.bz/FLVVPJ via media.lifehack.org

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                    Last Updated on November 11, 2019

                    Can a Dysfunctional Family Become Functional?

                    Can a Dysfunctional Family Become Functional?

                    A dysfunctional family is more than disagreement or constant arguments. Anything from plain neglect, to abuse and even verbal and physical violence is the everyday experience of those who are part of a dysfunctional family.

                    You know how this looks:

                    • Parents constantly comparing children.
                    • Siblings in conflict because of tolerated bullying.
                    • Domestic violence.
                    • Adultery…
                    • And many others.

                    For all the members, this will mean emotional pain and even trauma; which, in case it doesn’t get resolved, will have a detrimental effect on the individual’s personality and development.

                    Needless to say, the younger members are the most vulnerable, but that doesn’t mean the parents are out of danger, as most commonly the parents play the roles of abuser-codependent, and in some cases, both parts inflicting pain on one another.

                    Most like to think these problems stem from deep-seated issues, and that therefore it’s pretty much impossible to deal with them.

                    This is only true for families not willing to do what it takes, for if only a single member is determined and knows how to do it, the whole family can do a lot of progress.

                    In this article, I’ll break down for you the basic steps of fixing a dysfunctional family. Although it may seem hopeless, it is possible to turn things around.

                    If you have ever felt in this position, or if you know somebody who is, this article is for you.

                    How to fix a dysfunctional family

                    In a few words the solution for a dysfunctional family lies in dropping the ego, focusing on the solution, switching blame for responsibility and doing the work as a unity, for the good of the whole family.

                    And this will accomplish things you once only saw as a dream.

                    Dropping the ego? Switching blame for responsibility? Doing the work? What does all this mean?

                    It’s simple. In a nutshell, it’s that which will allow you to turn a dysfunctional family into a functional one.

                    Let’s take a look at how exactly this can be done. And near the end we will also talk about what you can do in a dysfunctional family with cynical traits.

                    Dysfunctional families where not only problems are well-known, but also nobody seems to want a fix or openly decide to perpetuate the harmful behaviors. Such as the case of abuse and physical violence.

                    There is also a solution for these, it’s just not what you are expecting…

                    Dysfunctional… Or just average?

                    Most families are dysfunctional, though at varying degrees of dysfunctionality.

                    The milder cases, are just marked by “typical” comically-shrouded bullying or lack of interest in other members’ development or wellbeing.

                    You can know a family is dysfunctional if their interactions are anything different than cooperation, solidarity, care and support. But let’s get more specific…

                    A dysfunctional family is one in which members directly or indirectly suffer emotional and/or physical harm inflicted by other members of their family. Most commonly, perpetrated by the parents.

                    Even harmful actions as “passive” as neglect, which is inflicted by inaction rather than action, signifies a dysfunction within the family.

                    Dysfunctional families have conflicts such as:

                    • Unrealistic expectations
                    • Lack of interest and time spent together
                    • Sexism
                    • Utilitarianism
                    • Lack of empathy
                    • Unequal or unfair treatment
                    • Disrespect towards boundaries
                    • Control Issues
                    • Jealousy
                    • Verbal and physical abuse
                    • Violence and even sexual misconduct or abuse

                    You may think a dysfunctional family has very little or nothing to do with personal productivity, but you would be wrong in thinking this way…

                    If a person is not emotionally well, she will not be able to perform as desired, as the emotional harm that has been inflicted will hinder everyday performance in the way of inability to concentrate, lack of mental clarity and low levels of inspiration, motivation and discipline.

                    Having a functional family does exactly the opposite: It creates productive members with no emotional baggage.

                    How to turn it around

                    When you’re part of a dysfunctional family you know it. You can quickly identify in other members the behaviors and conflicts that create the dysfunction.

                    But just in case you’re having trouble telling functional from dysfunctional I will tell you the following:

                    One of the easiest ways you can recognize if you are in a dysfunctional family is to survey your won feelings.

                    We often overlook this, but have you stopped to ask yourself how you feel?

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                    As cheesy as it may sound it really sheds a lot of light on the subject.

                    What behaviors, actions and attitudes in your family you wish were better?

                    Do you think certain behaviors and actions from your family marked you in the past?

                    Sadly, we cannot go back to the past to correct it. But we can do a lot in the present…

                    Correction is possible

                    In order to fix a dysfunctional family, you must start by putting an end to the behaviors and actions that are affecting you.

                    Verbalize it.

                    All members of the dysfunctional family have one issue in common: They don’t put a stop to the harm.

                    Whenever you feel your boundaries being overstepped there is just one single word you have to remember: STOP.

                    This is the door to a better, more functional family, because after this, comes the fix.

                    But first you have to identify and make others know where exactly lies the problem.

                    So go ahead and fearlessly start with “Stop”, followed by your expression of dissatisfaction.

                    Putting it to work in real life

                    In real life it would be something like this:

                    “OK, stop! Every time you belittle me I feel you don’t care. I need attention and respect, and it is your responsibility as my family to provide them to me”

                    Or:

                    “Stop. When you compare me with my cousin it hurts, I feel like I don’t matter and that’s not ok. I ask you to stop doing it.

                    Or:

                    “Please stop. When you start yelling all respect is lost and it turns into a battle of who can do it louder. Don’t raise your voice and let’s work this out the way humans do”.

                    As you can see, here you start by putting a stop to the toxic behavior when it arises. And afterwards you verbalize why it’s wrong and what needs of you need to be fulfilled.

                    This is what you have to remember:

                    1-Stop.

                    2-Why it’s wrong?

                    3-What you need.

                    And this will also work well in case you need to do it for another family member.

                    It’s a family thing

                    A dysfunctional family cannot be fixed by one member alone.

                    Yes, a single member can initiate progress and be the leader of the change. But in order to completely become functional all members must contribute to the solution.

                    In other words, you will need cooperation…

                    So don’t be afraid of asking for it!

                    Approach your family member and ask to be listened.

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                    We sometimes feel our needs are “not that important” or we simply believe they won’t listen. But thinking like this would be like being defeated at an unfought battle.

                    You will be amazed by how much people listen when you voice your needs, especially if it implies showing yourself open, vulnerable and in need.

                    It’s not a free-for-all battle

                    In order to get your family to cooperate, first you must fix your individual relationships with every member of the family. Remember: Relationships are always between two people, and two people only.

                    No matter how complex, the quality of a multi-member relationship (like a family) will always depend on the quality of the individual relationships.

                    Once you have straightened the relationship with every member of the dysfunctional family you will be able to better communicate with other members and help in the betterment of their individual relationship.

                    And this is where we will talk about the fix itself. The one I mentioned in the introduction…

                    The method

                    1. Drop the ego

                    Wherever there is conflict there is ego.

                    You cannot fix a relationship where there is ego, because the ego will want to win. Always. Yours and the other person.

                    Ego craves control and satisfaction, and in many cases, to establish dominance.

                    What does this have to do with a dysfunctional family? Everything. Ego will interfere with every plan you have to fix it.

                    It will make people suborn and defensive. And it will also make them drop responsibility. This is why, the first step is to drop the ego.

                    After you make sure you are not going to allow your ego to interfere you must work to make the other person do the same. How? By speaking from the heart…

                    Tell the other person how important all this is to you.

                    Tell the other person that it’s not a matter of arguing, but just working things out together.

                    Point out how it is not possible for you to do it alone.

                    And ask for sincere attention without any desire of opposition, because what you are doing is by no means in the hopes of harming the other person, but just to better the relationship and stop the damage being dealt to you.

                    You will have to point out the mistakes you need corrected, that’s for sure. And that leads me to the next point…

                    2. Not blame, but responsibility

                    When talking about others’ mistakes we often use an accusatory tone. And that’s natural, it’s what things should be like if ego was not present.

                    But since we are all creatures of ego, this immediately brings the shields up. And then unsheathes the swords…

                    When we blame others they automatically enter a defensive state, and this only leads to a failed negotiation.

                    What you need to do is to shift from blame to responsibility. And even that will have to be done carefully!

                    Instead of telling them off or demanding change or complaining, calmly point what the problem with their behavior is.

                    As much as this feels contradictory, also make them feel understood. You know how difficult it is to accept a mistake, so just make them feel it’s no big fuzz… which does not mean it’s ok, but it takes tension off.

                    You will do something like this:

                    “Hello dad. Can I talk with you for a minute? I really need to tell you something.

                    I have been feeling pretty sad lately and I know this is something you do care about.

                    You see, whenever I talk about my accomplishments you mention something else that makes my achievement pale in comparison.

                    I know you don’t do this intentionally and I know you might have not realized this until now, but I want to let you know this really brings me down.

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                    It would mean a lot to me if you could stop doing it, and it would help better our relationship, because this has already forced me to distance myself from you. And I don’t want that, I want a good, healthy relationship with you”

                    What happened here?

                    We started off with making it something important, something that needs both time and attention. Then we openly show ourselves vulnerable, just as we are.

                    We also mention why he should listen, and shove our feelings there again, because they are important.

                    We describe the issue with no attachment and with no hostile intention. It’s just a description.

                    And then we take the blame off. Just before we assign responsibility without actually saying it.

                    You are not blaming him directly, but you are pointing out the inevitable fact that his actions are causing a dysfunctionality. He is now responsible for changing.

                    This is what “switching blame for responsibility” means. What comes next? Doing the work!

                    3. Doing the work

                    What would any of this mean if, in the end, nothing changes? Exactly, nothing!

                    This is why you must follow up with every change that needs to be done.

                    Do so in a manner that is not hostile. Bring it up in a casual manner, and emphasizing how you both reached an agreement and how that is important to the family.

                    If the person doesn’t follow up don’t hesitate to bring it up again, and tell them you feel disappointed that your honest try at it was not listened.

                    It may even be a subject in itself, and therefore the need for another conversation.

                    “When you go back to old habits it shows that you didn’t really care about what I said. But back in real life you just reinforce how much contempt you show towards me and my feelings.

                    I talk with you because I care. Because although it would be easier for me to just distance myself from you I rather do my part in nurturing this relationship.

                    But there is just so much I can do, if you refuse to do your part I can do nothing else.”

                    You need very clear and positive communication in order to make this work.

                    Love is all you need

                    You must remember that in order for a dysfunctional family to become functional, all the work needs to stem from love.

                    That is the single one requirement for all this to work: Love.

                    And what happens if it simply is not there?

                    What happens if, nobody is willing to do what it takes?

                    What happens if a member of the family refuses to change and is happy with the harm he or she is dealing?

                    There is only one thing you can do:

                    To break away.

                    Let’s be honest, people, especially adults, are very difficult to change.

                    There is a Jewish proverb that I love, which sums it up like this:

                    “We spend the rest of our lives trying to unlearn what we learned before we were 7”

                    If you find it very hard to change the very traits that make your family dysfunctional or if it’s simply impossible, you still have a card up your sleeve…

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                    Although nobody likes to beak away from family members, we must remember we have a responsibility with ourselves as individuals, before any relationship with anyone.

                    You have the responsibility of making yourself happy and free. Because you matter as an individual, regardless of any relationships you have, be it family, friendship or romantic.

                    Putting distance

                    So in case you are dealing with a family member who is simply unwilling to change take both physical and emotional distance.

                    What do I mean?

                    Learn, first, to take their damage in a detached manner.

                    Don’t let it hurt you further. Instead take a deep breath and distance yourself emotionally.

                    Don’t be attached to feelings such as “Why doesn’t she love me?” or “What did I do to deserve this?” or “If he wasn’t like that my life would be perfect”.

                    Simply refuse to keep participating in the emotional downward spiral and accept, even if it’s painful” that there is nothing you can do. Accept that even without that relationship you are whole, you are worthy of love and respect.

                    They are their responsibility and you are yours. So decide what is best for you.

                    Realize it only comes down to two possibilities:

                    I keep the relationship and therefore accept the abuse. Or…

                    I choose my peace of mind.

                    And don’t let your mind fool you. We often think that since we all are imperfect, we must take the good and the bad behaviors of people. And we are especially forgiving towards our family…

                    Well, guess what? We are also responsible adults who are aware and must own to their acts. Never excuse abuse or violence or transgression towards you or anybody else.

                    Choose your happiness and if possible, also distance yourself physically, as it will increase your peace of mind tenfold.

                    How to prevent it

                    There are two key concepts you must bear in mind in order to prevent the dysfunctionality of a family:

                    • To be completely aware of one’s own mistakes and not allow them to impact others and…
                    • To make sure our SO’s are also on the same channel before creating a family (i.e. having children)

                    Dysfunctional families are the product of irresponsible paternity, for the decades-long unresolved emotional conflict ends up surfacing in the family inevitably, and it will for sure harm those who least deserve it: Innocent children.

                    You may notice we went from talking about family, to talking about individual relationships, to talking about you. We went from “them” to “us” to “me”.

                    Why? Because in the end you have the power to fix a dysfunctional family. To correct the mistakes you have in yours and to prevent dysfunctionalities if you don’t have a family but plan to create one.

                    Priorities and clear thought

                    You may be part of a dysfunctional family, but that does not mean you are powerless or that you have to suffer the consequences.

                    You learned today how it’s all a matter of priorities and thinking clearly.

                    You learned that, if love exists, everything is possible. You learned that even when there is no love and no fix for your dysfunctional family, there are still things you can do. It’s a matter of choosing your peace, because you deserve it.

                    Everything will be better if you apply this knowledge. If you talk to that problematic family member. If you help them see the harm they are doing. If you make sure they do change and treat you the way you need to be treated…

                    If you choose yourself over that toxic family member. If you refuse to justify the harm that others can do to yourself. If you realize the most important relationship you have is with yourself.

                    And lastly, that you also have to be aware of your actions and be open to criticism. Because we might be unknowingly harming others. And that would be us creating a dysfunctionality. Don’t allow it to happen.

                    Dysfunctional families are not impossible to fix. It just takes love, cooperation and responsibility.

                    But if you tried and those elements are not present, just choose yourself instead.

                    Featured photo credit: Xavier Mouton Photographie via unsplash.com

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