Thursday, November 28, 2013

A Few of My Universal Truths

(Because spending three years in introspection has its perks ...)

1. People deserve to be loved:
And I mean everyone. Whether they're asking for change, serving you drinks or happen to be your closest friend - loving other people brings you closer to loving yourself. (And what's not to love about that?)

2. Love yourself:
Be your own biggest fan. It's not vain, it's learning to spend the rest of your life with someone you truly enjoy. (And truly enjoying the person you'll be spending the rest of your life with.)

3. It's okay to be vulnerable:
In fact, it's pretty brave. Opening yourself up to the world is not something you will likely ever regret. You will not break, I promise; you will learn to bend.

4. Always do the right thing, even if it's the hard thing:
You will never regret doing the right thing. It conveys respect and deference to any number of situations, persons and emotional truths; I only ask that you do it with kindness in your heart.

5. Happiness is a choice (and it's a damn good one).

6. Be honest, always:
Coupled with kindness, love or respect, it is a rare quality and it is refreshing. We have too little of it in our lives and too many expectations as a result. And people will respect you for it because even if you act a fool, you'll have the courage to admit it (and the forethought to apologize).

7. Never, ever, turn down a dance. Ever.

8. Smile often and mean it.

9. Find optimism:
There is an art to finding the silver lining in situations. It takes practice before it becomes habit and it takes effort, but if you can find that sliver of light you can hold onto it in the darkest of times (and one day it might be your saving grace).

10. A good life will make you work for it:
It's like any good catch; you have to work hard to earn and deserve it, to keep it and make it your personal best. Living a good life is just as much your responsibility as it is your circumstance. Own it.

11. Feed your passions:
Take adventures, soul-search, make your existence mean something to someone other than yourself; leap into thin air and learn to love your life.

12. Hug more (it doesn't count unless it's at least ten seconds).

13. Love more:
And do it unconditionally. It heals wounds, it fortifies, it is every question and every answer; if there's one thing Ghana taught me, it is unconditional, unbound love and, with it, forgiveness.

14. Forgive:
The world can be a heavy place when anger and guilt take up their watch on your shoulders. It may take work and it may be painful, but being able to let go of that pain will free up so much space in your heart that you won't know what to do with it.

15. Be kind to yourself:
Psychologically, we only allow other people to treat us as badly as we treat ourselves; the only problem with this is that most of us insult ourselves often. Even if it's something simple, like calling yourself stupid for a small mistake, it is a terrible habit. Make kindness your habit. Say one kind thing into the mirror every day and start to believe it.

16. Laugh often. And laugh from your toes.

17. Cry more (because it's okay to feel).

18. Listen more:
In fact, make it your goal to become a good listener; because only good things can come from being a better partner/friend/child/colleague/person. And if someone is willing to open up to you, you should respect that.

19. Make the people you love a priority:
It's easy to become distracted in a world where an app exists for every possible interaction, question and desire, but an app won't come over after a break up and it won't help you plan a baby shower or dress up with you for a late-night cult-classic at the local movie theater. Appreciate those people, love on those people like every day is their last day and you will learn what it means to live without regret.

20. Say thank you more often:
And don't wait for a national holiday to do it. Find something to be grateful for every day, make that appreciation known, rinse and repeat. Simple.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody,