Three questions that will save you countless hours

We can see them standing together inside the kitchen. “It still hurts my stomach.” he said.

Well, he said something to that affect anyway. We were both drunk. He didn’t like seeing them together and was hoping for an empathetic response.

“It’s none of your business anymore, don’t let it affect you.”

Sorry. That’s the best I’ve got.

There will always be certain realities or aspects of your life that you aren’t happy about. It’s even worse when you spend so much of your time brooding and there is nothing you can do to change it.

Sometimes it isn’t important, sometimes it has little relevance to your life moving forward but you get stuck on it.

We have to be ruthless with our thoughts or they will take hold of us.

Don’t let thoughts that can’t help you, control you.

In the past I have spent an atrocious amount of time brooding over things I can’t change.

I started asking myself three questions whenever presented with something uncomfortable, so that I can either do something about it, or get rid of it.

Is this relevant?

Is this something that is actually relevant to your life and your future?

When asking yourself this question you may realize that most of your problems aren’t. Most of the time my answer is “I guess not, but it upsets me.”

Once you have labeled this situation as irrelevant you might find it easier to put it out of your mind. Just keep reminding yourself that in the end, it has no real relevance.

Is it important?

Sometimes the things that make us uncomfortable are relevant to our life. What do you do then?

Ask yourself, is it really that important? In the grand scheme of things is this something big, or small?

Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill. If it’s not important, push it out the door.

Those two are easy, now it’s time for the hard question.

Your situation might be relevant and it might be very important, but if you can’t do anything about it you will have to painfully remove it from your head.

Is it actionable?

The worst feelings come from this question. That feeling in my friends stomach, it was because it was relevant to him and it was important to him.

But he couldn’t do a damn thing about it.

There was nothing he could do to turn the current situation into the one that he wanted. I truly did feel for him.

If you can’t do anything about a situation, you will eventually have to come to peace with that. You might as well try to speed up that process as much as you can so you can get back to enjoying life.

If you ask yourself these questions and the predicament you are in doesn’t meet all three criteria, it’s probably best to accept it and move on. You’ll thank yourself later.

2pac_tupac_shakur_move_on

 

A little boy who gave me hope

“Hope. Sometimes It’s all that you have.
When you have nothing else, if you have it, you have everything.”

The memories are hazy.

I was laying in my hospital bed. God only knows how long I had been hooked up to this IV.

The procedure usually takes six to eight hours, but because of a mistake the hospital made we were now somewhere past the twenty four hour mark.

I hated this hospital, every time I came here something bad happened. I would always beg my mom to take me to a different hospital but we couldn’t drive all the way to Toronto every time I had to get a transfusion.

I was eight years old.

This was about a year after I was diagnosed with my blood disorder. We made trips to the hospital at least two times a week. It was a very dark point in my life, I felt like I had no hope.

Every time we would talk to the specialists they would throw around the idea of removing my spleen, there was a 50% chance that would put me in remission.

I would have to take pills for the rest of my life. Even at the age of eight I knew that was an obligation I would have a hard time sticking to.

So we tried other things.

We tried natural remedies, a disgusting drink with chunks of something that would have me gagging every time I had to take it.

They put me on pills that made me gain weight and have uncontrollable mood swings. I once broke down into tears while I was watching Sunday morning cartoons.

Countless needles and a year later here I was, laying in this bed.

The worst part was the frustration of being trapped.

There was a needle in my left hand with a board taped to my arm to stop it from moving.

I was attached to a pole on wheels that held all the equipment.
Even going to the bathroom was near impossible.

But something happened that day that has affected me deeply ever since.

A little boy and his mom approached my bed.

The boy was younger than me, maybe five or six. His mom said something like “My son saw that you are sad, and he wanted to give you this.”

He handed me a teddy bear.

I don’t remember what the boy or his mom looked like. I don’t remember their voices, the expressions on their face, or much at all really. But I remember that I felt truly happy when he gave me this gift.

I’m not going to say after this incident it was all rainbows and sunshine, but it gave me something intangible. I’m not even sure what word to use. Call it hope, courage, faith, the feeling of someone caring.

All I know is after that incident, I would find myself seeing things in a new light. Instead of saying “It’s hopeless” I would say “If that little boy can be brave, why can’t I?”

Sometimes I still feel like my eight year old self.

Except now I lay in my own bed. There is no needle in my hand or board strapped to my arm. Instead I am trapped by my fears, anxieties, emotions and worries.

But I still have that teddy bear from fifteen years ago. Every once and while I look at it and think to myself.
“If that little boy could, why can’t I?”

He still gets a chill spot in my bed after 15 years. ILY little buddy.

Throwing away regrets

I get love from everyone I meet.

I don’t mean to sound egotistical but for my whole life most people have just generally liked me.

It’s probably just because I like 99% of people I meet. If you like someone, they are a lot more likely to like you to some extent.
It puts an asterisk beside your name at the least.

I receive and give love to some extent with most people in my life, and it is part of what drives me everyday. It keeps me in a positive mood and gives me more energy.

Honestly, I owe my life to the people who just give me a smile, a moment of their time, a laugh.

It hurts so much to lose part of that when I wrong someone I care about.

I’ve done it a million times. I have cheated, lied, back-stabbed, and done it all over again.

I’ve lost friends. I’ve lost lovers. Every time, I lose a piece of what makes me happy.

So I sit. I sit down and regret everything. I think about it all in my mind. I picture it and apologize.
No one hears.

I just feel empty when I think about these things. Even after so much time, if I think about it, it drains my energy.

Then I start thinking about all the energy that I have spent wondering, regretting, or analyzing the past. This is all energy I could have spent making a better future, or even just a content present.

I have decided that I will not let the mistakes I have made in the past affect my future.

 

let go

The only way to show respect to the people I have wronged, is to learn from it.

The only problem is, in order for me to do this, I have to throw away the memories.
Maybe I’m a coward.

I can never think back to these memories and avoid that empty feeling of regret. Maybe that is something I will learn in time.

For now I will throw them away. All my opinions, all the wondering, the regret, the hate.

And just maybe when I’ve learned in time, I can revisit these memories, and only see the little piece of love we shared.

Hit the reset button every morning

Some days are a write off.

Something might happen to you that ruins your day to a point where you can’t salvage anything from it. Maybe your boss insulted you in front of coworkers. Maybe the bus driver drove past you with out stopping.

Things like this happen all the time. I’m sure you have your own examples coming to mind as you read this.

I have days where something happens that upsets me so much that no amount of tricks to recenter myself will work. I spend the whole day laying around, watching shows, eating badly, and feeling sorry for myself.

At that point there is only one thing you can do.

reset

It’s quarantine time.

They say when you are in a relationship you should never go to bed angry. Well maybe I don’t have the same mental fortitude as these people seem to have, but when I get in my bed the only thing I can think about is what upset me that day.

I literally just lay there and replay it over and over in my head. So, no luck with that little tip.
Instead I choose to quarantine that day.

When I wake up the next morning I do whatever I can to make sure that yesterday stays where it belongs. Out of sight, out of mind.

How to hit the reset button every morning.

I make sure that the morning is the best part of my whole day. It’s sort of like a challenge.
Wake up happy and see how long I can keep that feeling.

Tip 1:
Wake up early enough to relax a bit before your day has to start.

By doing this, you make sure that there is no stress in your morning. You can wake up and do things at your own pace.

If you wake up and immediately have to rush to get to work, that feeling of being rushed is going to permeate through your whole day.

You shouldn’t allow yourself to be stressed first thing in the morning.

Tip 2:
Make a breakfast that excites you.

Now that you have a bit of free time in the morning I want you to make the type of breakfast you dream about.
You should want it so bad that you literally dream about it the night before.

A great breakfast will make your body happy, and boost your mood instantly.

Even forgetting all of the health benefits to eating breakfast, just think about that beautiful smell first thing in the morning.
Yesterday will be long gone by now.

Tip 3:
Get at least eight hours of sleep.

There is no way you can wake up early and have the motivation to make a great breakfast if you are running on little sleep.

Get into that bed a little bit earlier and your body will thank you for it.

This way you will have energy in the morning and your day won’t seem so much like a mountain to climb.

If you start the day right, you give yourself the best chance to be happy.

As I said, some days are write offs. Some days there will be nothing you can do to feel better.

On those days it’s okay to indulge a little. Watch some tv, be a little lazy. You don’t have to be perfect all the time.

But as long as you follow these tips, you can hit the reset button the next morning and try again.

They say happiness doesn’t last, but neither does bathing.
That’s why it’s recommended daily.

 

 

 

How to be happy

Positive

I think I have it figured out.

And by “it” I mean happiness. I find that most of my negative emotions come from two situations.

The first is when I am thinking about mistakes I have made in the past. The second is when I am feeling anxious about a bleak future. I call this time traveling, it is a really bad habit.

I think this could be said for most people. Some people may lean more towards the former, others toward the latter, but I think we all dwell a little too much in each of these mindsets.

So how do you avoid these traps?
First I will start with thinking about the past.

There is absolutely nothing you can do to change the past, period.

Oh, gosh. That sounds horrible right?
Wrong.

You may not be able to change the past, but you can change the way you think about it. The only way to make sure that your past mistakes and bad experiences were not in vain is to learn from them.

You didn’t know the stove was hot until you touched it, right? Even if you parents told you not to touch it you have to learn some lessons yourself. But as long as you didn’t touch the stove after that instance you can say that it was a “good experience”.

Believe me, you can learn from even the most horrible mistakes or experiences.

mistakes

Look at that. Now all the terrible things that you have experienced in the past are the reason you are stronger, wiser and more complete as a person.

Use them as the launching pad to your future.
Which brings me to my next point.

All of your predictions for the future are WRONG.

When I was seven years old I was diagnosed with a blood disorder called I.T.P. and it was a very scary time in my life.

I was told there were two types of this disorder, acute and chronic. In children it was usually just an acute case and it would go away within six months. If it lasted more than six months, you were considered chronic.

I passed the six month mark with no end in sight.

I thought I was going to die. I honestly remember being eight years old and already having to come to terms with my own possible fate.

When I was diagnosed there wasn’t very much known about the subject.
Maybe I was over-reacting, but I was a kid.

I had this disorder from when I was seven until about the age of fifteen. There were a lot of close calls, a lot of lonely nights in the hospital, and a lot of emotions I still don’t think I have fully dealt with.

I could go so much deeper into this subject, but I will leave it at this for now.

I am still alive and I now consider I.T.P. to be one of the greatest blessings I have ever experienced. I learned so much through it and it greatly shaped who I have become.

No matter where you think you will end up you have to realize that you are completely wrong. No one can predict the future, though I know you are going to do it anyway.

future

If you are wrong, and you are going to imagine a future anyway, why not imagine a positive one?

Happiness is more about where you are going, and less about where you are.

“Pain pushes until vision pulls”
-Michael Beckwith

Let your vision of the future be as unrealistically amazing as possible.

When you think negatively about the future, it drains you. It takes away from your mental energy. It steals your motivation. This in turn causes you to head towards that negative future which you were worried about in the first place.
It is a self fulfilling prophecy.

The same can be said about thinking positively towards the future. When you imagine a bright future you become happy. When you are happy you are more motivated, you have more energy, and you are more willing to reach for those crazy goals.

The cool thing about this is when you feel this way you start taking little steps in the right direction. With each little step you start to realize “maybe my goals aren’t so crazy after all?”.

Your positivity will start to snowball. Who knows what could happen from there?
Maybe you could be happy.