#14 In The Future, I Will Love How I Look Today (from) 49 Life Lessons it took me 50 years to learn
For as long as I could remember, I’d never (ok, rarely) really liked any photographs of myself. And I am pretty sure that I wasn’t alone on the planet with that kind of thinking. These are the various thoughts that I’d inevitably think (and sometimes say) when I saw photos of myself:
I hate the crease between my eyebrows!
I look like I haven’t slept in a hundred years!
OMG! I look six months pregnant!
Why didn’t someone tell me my bum looks like that from behind!
What is going on with my hair?!?
Wait… what?!? I have an overbite?
Oh my God! I look so old!
Oh my God! I look so fat!
Oh my God! I look terrible!
And believe me… the list could go on.
#13 My thoughts and my Actions are all I can control (from) 49 Life Lessons it took me 50 years to learn
Discovering these 49 Life Lessons has become fundamental to the way I live my life. I am often asked how often I refer to them. And my answer is always the same. Never. What I mean by this is that I don’t refer to them ever, I practice them. Daily. Some days I practice all 49 of them and some days only a few. But every second of every day while my mind lives in this vessel called a body, there is an opportunity to practice them.
There is however one particular Life Lesson that I get to practice every single day. And that is this one. ‘My thoughts and my actions are all I can control”. It is also the Life Lesson that has brought me the greatest peace in my mind and my heart. So what’s it all about?
The best way to explain it is to tell you a story.
If you have been following my 49 Life Lessons it took me 50 years to learn you may have noticed a common theme running through them. The theme, of course, is YOU (me, us however you want to say it). What I have discovered is this. Whenever I am upset, unhappy, pissed off, sad, annoyed, irritated, wound up, stressed, anxious or any other state of being that is not what I want for myself, the only way out starts and ends with ME (or you). Transforming my life has not been a result of changing a single thing externally. What I absolutely know for sure is this. If you want your life to look differently, YOU have to BE THE CHANGE. Yes I just played the Ghandi trump card!
Countless surveys and studies around the world have asked people what the number one thing they want in life is. And the number one answer is always ‘happiness’. And for a great majority of my life I was no exception. I just wanted to be happy. In EVERY area of my life. I mean, who doesn’t, right?
#11 People Lie…and so will I (from 49 Life Lessons it took me 50 years to learn)
I can’t imagine a single person on this planet who has not experienced a lie at some point in time. In fact, take a stroll through history… lies have played a pivotal part in some major historical events. The assassination of JFK, Hitler, Chernobyl … just to name a few.
There are lies in books and in movies, otherwise known as plot twists!
Some would also say that some advertising claims are a lie. How is your Ab Blaster 2000 working for you?
As parents, we even lie to our kids about Santa and the Easter Bunny… or is that just a ‘white lie’?
Whilst the little ‘white’ lies make us almost giggle it’s the massive big ‘punch in the guts’ lies that this Life Lesson is about. Well actually it is about both but we’ll get to that later.
#10 People Make Mistakes…And So Will I! (from) 49 Life Lessons it took me 50 years to learn
The facts is, people make mistakes. And another fact is, so do I (and you!).
This Life Lesson is not about the mistake itself. It’s about how we react to it and what we hold onto when someone makes a mistake and what we do next. This Life Lesson is about how you can get access to peace and calm for yourself (with practice) instantly.
So what happens when someone makes a mistake? And by the way, often, they don’t realise they have even made a mistake. Because believe it or not, most people (and by most I mean 99%) of people don’t wake up and think “what mistake can I make today?!?”. It’s (often) not until WE point it out to them that they become fully aware of the mistake. But before we point it out to them, we will go through a series of statements. Sometimes to ourselves and sometimes (for days) to others. Things like:
#9 Kids Turn Out. I Did and So Did You (from) 49 Life Lessons it took me 50 years to learn
Becoming a parent, I believe, is something that no one can prepare you for. No matter how many books you read, guru’s you consult or conversations you have with other parents, until you actually walk out into the world with ‘babe in arms’ does the magnitude of the task ahead really take effect. This job called parenting does not come with any entitlements. No clocking on and off, no working 9-5, no sick leave, no annual leave, no long service leave and definitely no retirement. 24/7 for the rest of your life you are always on duty. And here’s the kicker, there is no bloody instruction manual!
So how do you know if you are getting it right? How do you know if you are doing a good job? How do you know you are not completely screwing them up (your kids)? How do you know that the decisions you are making on their behalf are the best decisions for them. How do you know that saying no to them is the right thing. How do you know that saying yes to them is the right thing?
The truth is, we don’t know. And nor did our parents…
#8 Not Making a Decision is a Decision – 49 Life Lessons it took me 50 years to learn
Have you ever felt ‘stuck’?
It’s like the universe has put you into some kind of ‘holding pattern’. You can’t land, but you can’t take off either. You just feel STUCK!
So, what happens next?
You begin to have conversations, about the thing you are stuck on, with people in your life (often close friends), over and over and over again… and yet, after hours and hours (sometimes days, months and even years) of bashing out the same dialogue about the same ‘thing’, you still don’t know what to do…
A myriad of suggestions have been offered by those closest to you. Your confidants. Your family. Your friends. And all that rolls from your lips is “I just don’t know what to do…”
The truth is… that you do know. We all do. We all know the answers to any question we ask ourselves about any situation in our lives. Even when we say “I don’t know what to do”… we do know.
So why do we stay stuck?
#7 A decision can be changed with another decision … 49 Life Lessons it took me 50 years to learn
I am blessed to be able to say that I have been sent many ‘angels’ in my lifetime. Now before you stop reading because you think I’ve gone all ‘peace, love and mung beans’ on you. Bear with me. I don’t mean the imaginary kind of angels. I mean people. Mentors. Teachers. Friends. People who show up in my life just when I need their wisdom, guidance and love the most. In my last Life Lesson, #6 Who I am is enough, Jacqui was one of those angels. The saying ‘the teacher appears when the student is ready’ is one of my favourites and it’s so true.
When I first separated from my husband (2004) a lady named Fran came into my life. Fran was amazing. She was smart, funny, kind, caring, quirky and generous. She was full of wisdom that only an ‘old soul’ could know. If you have met an ‘old soul’ you will know what I mean. She was my kids day care teacher and became a close friend to me during this time.
While I was married, I didn’t really think into the future or about it, I just knew there would be one. What I mean is, I didn’t worry about it because I just knew it would be filled with family, friends, events, moments, holidays… the kind of stuff that families just did. The kind of stuff that our family would do too.
#6 Who I am is enough – 49 Life Lessons it took me 50 years to learn.
Expectation is a dangerous thing. It is the number one factor in disappointment, heartbreak, self-implied failure, feeling let down, not feeling worthy or not feeling good enough. And though many of us place expectations on others and our surroundings, the greatest expectations we (mis)place are (often) on ourselves.
2011 was an amazing year for me. My business was booming. I had incredible clients that were achieving amazing things. I lived in my own home with my two beautiful kids right near one of the most spectacular beaches in the world. I had beautiful friends. I went on exciting adventures on the weekends. I competed successfully at many events. I was in a relationship. I was even nominated for the second year in row for the Sunshine Coast Business Women’s Network Business Woman of the Year Awards. Yet despite all of this, I was the most unhappiest I can remember being in my life.
To the outside world it looked like I had it all. And the truth is, I did. So why was I so unhappy? Everything in my life was real and yet I felt completely fake. Mid way through the year, my relationship ended which of course, added to my unhappiness. But I now know it wasn’t the catalyst for what happened next.
I couldn’t face another day of pretending to be happy. And feeling guilty that I wasn’t. I thought I was going to suffocate with sadness. And of course the more I focused on it, the worse it became (this is an entire Life Lesson of its own which I’ll cover in #36).
I wanted to run away!
#5 Good times don’t last and neither do bad times… 49 Life Lessons it took me 50 years to learn
Despite what this Life Lesson implies, it is not about the good times or the bad times. What I know 100% for certain is that, until the day comes when they are shoveling sand on my face, I am going to experience both. Life is like that. It is made up of a series of moments, days, weeks, months and years and in each of these time frames we are likely to have good times and bad times.
But here’s what I used to do. I used to miss a lot of the good times because I was busy worrying about the bad times. In fact I often found myself worrying about things that had not even happened (and quite often, did not happen).