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Remember when you wanted what you currently have?

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YOU KNOW. That relationship, that career goal, that destination holiday, that THING you wanted more than anything—until you got it, and subsequently moved onto the ‘next’.

As humans, we are often searching for MORE, bigger, better, of sometimes simply different. The second I get or achieve the thing I’ve been wanting, my mind immediately goes:

  • What’s next?
  • How can I make this or get EVEN better??
  • How do I get to the next level/step?

As a result, I’m in a constant state of bottomless dissatisfaction, PEPPERED with momentary flashes of bliss. And that’s all well and fine… except for the fact that it can feel a little empty, meaningless, stressful, and endless.

Rather than continue this inane Cycle of Discontent, it’s important to step back, and appreciate/acknowledge our accomplishments, and what we have SO THAT we can have more meaningful and happy lives. So that our accomplishments and goals actually hold MEANING and purpose.

Cliché and perhaps eye-roll-worthy, but quite effective when applied. It’s not about giving up your goals, life standards, or ideals. It’s not about settling for a lesser life, and pretending to be “happy” about it. Do/get/make whatever you want.

The thing about gratitude and learning to appreciate what you have is it allows for ease and contentment in your life EVEN IF nothing else were to ever change about it again. It adds meaning to the rat race, and relieves a bit of the self-inflicted pressure.

Stop, breathe, and pat yourself on the back. You’re doing good.

#WhereHappinessBegins
Instagram @WhereHappinessBegins_

Choosing happiness over suffering

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What happens when your internal dialogue is your worst enemy? Lately I’ve been struggling with the ACTION of choosing happiness over suffering.

Am I a masochist, addicted to pain?? My actions and behaviours as of late would certainly say so!

Conceptually, saying NO to all which doesn’t serve you is freaking fantastic. I generally have an easy time saying No to the things outside of myself (maybe too easy). But whether it’s habitual neural pathways, or a mental/emotional addiction to pain and internal drama, some days I just can’t seem to break the trappings of my turbulent inner voice.

The voice that tells me I’m not good enough; the one that is paranoid, fearful, judgemental, jealous, and anxious.

So what to do? For started I’ve been…

  • Allowing my thoughts to simply exist, without labelling them wrong or making them a big deal
  • Filtering out distracting thoughts – particularly unproductive negative thoughts – by focusing on the actual results I want to achieve at the end of the day
  • Reminding myself of my overall core values in life and of the person I want to be
  • Observing all these thoughts, making note of them, and reserving judgement

I guess we’ll see how it goes! Happy Friday.

#WhereHappinessBegins
Instagram @WhereHappinessBegins_

Illustration by @abbiepaulhus

Warren Buffett on True Power

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There are two distinct versions of myself: the Higher Happy Self (soul), and my Lower Darker Self (ego).

When faced with a challenging conversation, my Lower Self will often oscillate between being reactive/heated/defensive or cool/cold/harsh/unfeeling; both extremes acting as shields to my ego.

When activated, these “shields” or mechanisms have brought along many undesired mental and emotional side effects: anxiety (probably high blood pressure), insomnia, depression, resentment, rumination. The trickle-down effect of which has affected my relationships, resulted in poor judgement, analysis paralysis, stress, adrenal fatigue, frustration, and unhappiness.

The side effect of THAT has included weight gain, self-sabotage, reckless decision-making, procrastination, not going after my dreams, extreme fatigue/loss of motivation, and of course, the cycle continues. All triggered by one simple thing: the INABILITY TO HEALTHILY PROCESS MENTAL/EMOTIONAL CONFLICT, or what my ego perceives to be a threat.

I’m not sure what the answer is. It’s so much easier to share, give advice, and speak on social media as your “Higher Self”. But the reality is my (and most people’s) problems don’t stem from when I’m in that healthy, balanced state. They come up when the Lower Self is at play.

So the question is how do we effectively and consistently SHIFT that, coming from that lower, darker place? Going on long solo walks usually does the trick, but isn’t always convenient or possible. So what is the answer?

Let’s just say, I’m in the discovery, and it’s a great place to be.

#WhereHappinessBegins
Instagram @WhereHappinessBegins_

Mantras for the New Year 2019

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Preach for 2019.

Be responsible, be willing to ask yourself if there’s something you’re actually AVOIDING that needs to be addressed, and don’t make a habit out of canceling commitments.

Balance and self-awareness are key. So is developing the habit of NOT SAYING YES to things right away (requests, invitations, favours, even opportunities), learning how to say NO, and setting boundaries.

Know that only YOU can truly know what it is you need to be and feel your best self.

#WhereHappinessBegins
Instagram @WhereHappinessBegins_

Letting go of the old, embracing the new

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Midnight Thoughts:

Dreams change. Priorities change. Weight, size, hair, skin change. Friends change. Jobs and career paths change. Favourite foods, books, drinks, hangout spots may change. PREFERENCES change. Values change. Who we want to invest time into changes – WHAT we invest time into changes. How we view money and finances changes. Where we’d like to live, who we’d like to be, and what we want out of life changes. What lights our soul and spark changes.

These kinds of changes to our “fundamental” selves can be scary. We spend so many years knowing ourselves as everything we’ve stuffed into this box of “Who I Am”, that sometimes we don’t even realize or WANT to accept that things may have changed – for the better, or for the worse (hopefully always better).

I’m personally going through one of those major shifts right now. I grow and change every day. Who I am now sometimes feels like a completely different person from who I was last month. Yet only very recently did I realize just how FUNDAMENTALLY different I am today in my mid-late twenties, from who I was just 4-5 years ago. Everything has completely changed, what I want has changed, yet I am/was still living like I was the same person. No wonder I’ve felt so unfulfilled, lost, and unhappy!

It’s so important to stop and acknowledge when a change or shift has happened, embrace it, reflect on our “old” self, then let go and bravely leap into the next chapter with abandon. No good is had holding onto our past selves and the things we USED to want.

The truth is, real happiness does not live in the past. It does not live in the future. It lives in the here and now where the real magic happens.

#WhereHappinessBegins
Instagram @WhereHappinessBegins_

Image by @AliceKassLingerie

Forgiving all that it means to be human

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Nobody is perfect. This applies to our friends, our parents, our significant others, and ourselves. It would be a sad day/month/life to walk around with a cold unforgiving heart, holding onto the “wrong” words, actions, and humanly flaws of others.

When we are unable to forgive, when we are harsh with others, we subconsciously create the space for others to mirror our behaviour. Everything begets everything. Being unforgiving begets others being unforgiving of you.

That does NOT mean doing or saying things we don’t mean just to get what we want (that’s called being manipulative). It takes a STRENGTH to be able to genuinely look within, and see and call out your own behaviours that may be limiting the love, happiness, and freedom you do or could have in your life.

Love begets love; courage, humility, strength, empowerment. And in the face of those who don’t accept your forgiveness, know that it likely has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with what they’re going through.

#WhereHappinessBegins
Instagram @WhereHappinessBegins_

Magic Hour in Paris

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Early mornings and magic hour.

None so beautiful as when the gentle light kisses his lover’s face. Bathed in loved, bodies intertwined; basking in the hopes of an eternal tomorrow.

Location: Paris, France
Highlights: The view from my hotel window of cars passing by, navigating the roundabout. A flock of Parisians at the bistro across the street, starting their mornings with the ritual espresso and accompanying “C” – croissant or cigarette. Or both.

#WhereHappinessBegins
Instagram @WhereHappinessBegins_

Body Image: How You Feel Matters

Do you know how many times I’ve missed going out with friends and meeting people, turned down a new experience, or been in a snappy mood because I didn’t “feel” good about how I look?

Keyword: Feel. NO, I am NOT defined by my body, or how society and pop-culture trends deem I should look right now. AND, the appearance of my body and how I feel about it is often a direct reflection of my inner state.

When I’ve been taking care of my inner world – through nutrition, fitness, downtime, creativity, sleep – it manifests through my body in the quality of my skin, hair, weight, attitude, mental clarity, and emotional wellbeing.

Beauty stems from the inside out, not the other way around. So no, it may not be about how you look, but how you FEEL about how you look matters. The next time you’re feeling down about yourself, look inward and nurture the crap out of yourself until you feel like a queen again. Corny, but true.

#WhereHappinessBegins
Instagram @WhereHappinessBegins_