In response to Steve Pavlina's challenge
Lay a strong foundation. It is difficult to stand strong if your foundation is weak. Set a high standard and live up to it, even in the difficult moments. Temptations abound. Shortcuts beckon. A base of honesty, loyalty, integrity and compassion will support and serve you well. Make a list of the characteristics you would like your best friend to possess. Be that friend to yourself and others. When tough times come, and come they will, your core values may be all you have to see you through a life storm.
Choose with care. Your choices build the ladder of your life. One of my college friends had a summer fling with the poster boy for poor marriage material. She was an incredibly bright math major, and he a high school dropout posing as a wannabe rock star. She was momentarily blinded by his attention and professed overpowering love. At summer’s end she was pregnant and living in a trailer while his band was on the road.
Her life’s path took an unexpected twist that delivered her two children before she was twenty, working dead-end jobs to support her family and his habits, then life as a single mom. An impulsive choice claimed a decade of recovery time.
Honor childhood dreams. What did you dream of doing before the world imposed a list of shoulds on your life? Being a grownup woman does not mean you must give up your dreams, but all too often, women get caught up in the lives of husbands and children and forget about their goals. That is a sure road to discontentment and life long regrets. Don't disconnect from your heart's desires.
Pursue your passions. Marriage and motherhood place many demands on women. Throw in a career, a home to manage, and a host of other aspects of daily life, and it is easy to caught up in making sure everything runs smoothly. Do something outwardly selfish, but oh-so-inwardly satisfying every once in awhile. It will put a girlish bounce in your step and a twinkle in your eyes. Your relationships will benefit from your higher level of happiness.
Trust your intuition. If you suspect your teen is smoking pot, he probably is. Women are gifted with an inner sense of guidance. Don’t ignore it. This is a cardinal rule of womanhood. It is not “just in your head,” it is your heart and brain teaming up to send a message to your gut, your center, the very core of who you are. If you’re religious consider it God speaking to you. If you’re not, consider it Mother Nature advising you to take action.
Know your boundaries. Some things are simply unacceptable. Before I married I told my husband-to-be there were only two reasons I would leave him. One, if he was physically abusive, and two, if he was unfaithful. There would be no second chance on either count. I kept my word.
Revere your creations. A nourishing meal for family or friends is a giving act of love. A newborn baby is a collaboration with God, the Universe and you. A painting, a garden, a child at play and a job well done are all reasons to celebrate your creative side.
Bestow praise. Acknowledge the good in others. Give a compliment or pass one on. Look into the eyes of a child or loved one and praise their effort. Nurture the positive and it will multiple.
Expect miracles. Sometimes as I watch the early morning light come into the world I marvel at the daily miracles we are privileged to experience. The beauty of a sunrise or sunset, the sound of your child’s laughter, the outstretched hand of a loved one are miracles to be savored.
Survive heartaches. The loss of a love, the death of a loved one and children leaving home, are reminders of our temporary status in this world. Honor the cracks in your heart; no one survives life without a few scars from living it. Heal them with treasured memories and move on to the next chapter knowing you are living your life with energy, purpose and love.
Celebrate your life. Do this every day, and while you’re at it, celebrate the lives of those you love. Make life better for each person you encounter by giving what you can, doing what you can, and at the end of the day you can close your eyes knowing you called forth the best of yourself. If you’re lucky, tomorrow you’ll get to do it again.