Discover the Ultimate Shortcut to More Happiness, Love, and Success
These four Life Lessons based in personal experience will propel you towards more happiness and success.
Your ultimate quest for More Happiness, Success, and Love is not only universal but most certainly attainable if you can change your focus to what really matters.
We upgrade and update our computers, our phones, our cars and homes on a pretty regular basis — but have you ever considered upgrading your own mental software to be more effective?
Could it possibly be time for a personal update?
At some point in our lives, we all realize that we want to become Better Versions of Ourselves.
Usually, it comes later in life when we start wondering what our ‘real purpose’ is and addressing that nagging feeling that you’re still missing something.
Sometimes it’s just an overall feeling that you’re on the wrong path in life.
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You feel uneasy, unhappy and maybe you even feel bored. That may be all it takes to motivate you and decide you need to make some changes.
Most of us strive to find ways to feel fulfilled and at peace with our lives. Usually, that means acquiring more things, taking on a bigger more stressful job, buying a nicer home, or having another child.
Unfortunately, after the initial thrill passes, we realize we aren't any closer to our ultimate goal of true happiness and success.
We stay too busy with all that — to work on the one thing that can truly change our lives forever — our Selves.
Your Personal Growth Journey to becoming the ‘Best Version of You’ will be as unique as you are.
There is no "one size" fits all method.
Maybe that’s why so many of us find personal development such a daunting task. There is no master list to follow that works for everyone.
So in the spirit of ‘uniqueness’ here are some super serious things we need to learn about ourselves, but with a hint of humor.
It’s NOT meant to be an all-encompassing course on your personal growth. It’s based on four life lessons I’ve learned through my own personal experiences.
Parts of it will resonate with you on a deeper level, and that’s how you’ll know where you need to focus and spend more time.
Working towards more Happiness, Love and Success in your life will be a very gratifying experience.
It’s also a much better option than trying to control your circumstances or other people in your life to find happiness and fulfillment.
I know from personal experience that the results you’ll see in your personal and professional life will persuade you to continue the process.
Just taking inventory of your life and making a decision to improve it, in any area, is more than most people ever do.
We spend a fortune on clothing, personal fitness trainers, makeup, plastic surgery and fancy cars trying to improve our self-image — but we spend very little time, money or effort on what really matters on the inside.
Your state of mind.
So if you’re ready to learn more about the reasons you are where you are today, and still not feeling fulfilled or at peace with yourself, continue through this article to find some insight and solutions to this very Normal inner struggle.
Congrats on even getting this far, and hopefully admitting to yourself that you’re worth the time and effort.
It will all be worth it, and you’ll be amazed at how better you feel about yourself and the world around you.
Life Lesson 1 — Speaking Your Truth
To start we’re going to dig into an uncomfortable subject that took me a very long time to acknowledge and actually work on. It’s something you hear about all the time, but few actually tackle, so that’s why I thought we should start here.
I believe it holds most of us in its grip and it’s one of the hardest things we need to do on our path to becoming the Best Version of Ourselves.
I’m referring to speaking our truth, telling our true stories and getting vulnerable.
Taking ownership of our imperfections, admitting we’ve made mistakes, and some bad decisions in our lives is a huge step towards our overall well being.
We tend to get caught up in our facades to the rest of the world — like we’re invincible and we have everything under control.
Facebook is the perfect place to find examples of this. We post our proudest moments, not the day to day crap we’re embarrassed about.
In fact, if you’re scrolling every day, it can feed your insecurities and reinforce the idea that everyone else has their shit together except you.
We also try to be everything… to everyone.
We show a strong front and forge forward — no matter what the cost is to ourselves. When really, screaming at the top of our lungs seems like the only thing that might relieve our frustration and overwhelm.
Let’s just face it…it’s exhausting!
A much better plan is to take a deep breath (and maybe a nice glass of wine), or whatever your brand of liquid courage is and just put yourself out there.
I don’t mean get plastered and scream your brains out at the last poor fool that pissed you off! 🙂
I mean, just summon your courage and without anger…tell someone what’s going on and how you’re feeling. Hell post it on Facebook and see the likes and comments fly in!
Speaking our truth and sharing our stories — the good, the bad and the ugly — takes immense courage, and getting vulnerable can be tough…
We imagine being rejected and embarrassed somehow if we tell anyone about our buried secrets… even to close friends.
We imagine people thinking less of us, and perceiving us as weak and less desirable. We feel guilty for having such thoughts, so we squelch them and figure we can deal with it.
I know I imagined all of those things for many years.
You probably have to — right?
What I found to be closer to the truth, however, was the exact opposite.
When you share things about yourself and let your guard down, you’re seen by the people around you as brave and strong instead.
Enduring 10 Toxic years in an abusive relationship kept me silently imprisoned in shame, fear, guilt, and embarrassment.
When I finally summoned the courage (many years later) to share my story, and admit the truth (even to myself ) about what happened, it was extremely empowering.
Don’t get me wrong, it was crazy hard, but still not at all what I expected it would be.
Bringing those awful years into the light allowed me to see my circumstances from a different perspective and the whole experience shrunk in size.
Instead of the ridicule and perceived rejection, I was met with open arms — empathy, congratulations, and comments on bravery.
When I dug a little deeper and wrote it all down in a journal — there was another huge shift. I was able to disconnect from my victim mentality and further disconnect from the shame around it.
I was so enlightened with this new-found knowledge that it eventually inspired me to turn my journaling into a book Silent Fright: A Memoir and publish it to offer hope to others in the same situation.
The book itself was effortless to write, but airing my dirty laundry for everyone to see, or I guess in this case read…is still a bit terrifying.
But it’s no good to talk all this smack if I’m not willing to share my own Jerry Springer episode first…right?lol
If you turn it around and think of a time when someone got really vulnerable and shared a very personal story with you… I bet you felt closer to them in that moment, and maybe even compelled to let your own guard down and share more of yourself and your truth.
It can be amazingly powerful and you’ll feel connected on a different level of understanding with that person.
So when you’re ready to get real and share your story, take heart in knowing that others will feel encouraged and empowered by YOU.
It helps everyone involved to see their imperfect lives for what they are -normal.
So embrace your uniqueness and share! Unpacking your story will bring you clarity as you’ve never had.
Stuff you’re not proud of, things that go bump in the night and make you feel vulnerable. You’ll realize instantly that when you share it, the hold it has on you releases instantly.
If this is all very new or overwhelming for you, start small. It doesn’t have to be huge — but pick something significant enough that it festers inside you.
If you can take that first step you’ll be amazed at the relief you’ll experience.
It lets your light shine through the cracks in your armor.
It loses its power over you, shrinks away, and clears your path towards your future … A Better You and a Better Life!
Life Lesson 2 — Choose SELF Love
Self-love is a deep, important topic and can impact many aspects of your life. But unfortunately, it’s another topic we don’t spend much time on.
I know I never spent any time thinking about it, and most of us don’t even really know what it means.
AND NO… I’m not talking about that kind of SELF Lovin’…if you landed in the gutter there for a second 🙂
Here’s what it really means;
Self-love means having a high regard for your own well-being and to feel worthy of happiness.
It means taking care of your own needs and not sacrificing your well-being to please others.
It means not settling for less than you deserve.
Self-love is a practice, and it’s a skill set that takes work.
There are lots of reasons WHY we don’t practice Self Love, most of which manifests itself in how we were raised as children.
When our self-love and self-esteem are low we tend to self-sabotage our relationships, our ability to earn income, our levels of success and even our health, without realizing it on a conscious level.
Negative Self Talk is a huge sign that you need to do some work in this area.
We can be highly critical of ourselves, and we say things to our SELF we wouldn’t even consider saying to our worst enemies.
Self-loathing is real. And it can hide in the dark places of your mind without you realizing it.
It shows itself in many ways — here are some signs & symptoms;
Misdirected angry outbursts
Negative Self Talk
Drug and/or Alcohol Abuse
Hostility Towards Perceived “Threats”
Isolation Sabotaging your own Success
Refusal To Get Help
Under or Over-Eating
Do you recognize any of these things in yourself?
I know I sure did.
For many years I saw most of these symptoms rearing their ugly heads and I had no idea I could do anything about it.
With some work, I managed to squelch most of them. But first I had to recognize them for what they were.
My Negative Self-talk, however, was completely over the top. It needed to be redirected and it took consistent effort to turn it around. I still find myself struggling with it today if I get overwhelmed are really tired.
I think it’s a big one for most of us…and that running commentary in our heads can be very destructive if we don’t get it under control.
So let’s take a closer look at this one so you can see what I mean. Simple everyday stuff can turn your thoughts into toxic bombs in your mind.
I’d say we’re at our absolute worst in front of a mirror. Imagine telling a friend the things we say to ourselves?
Here’s an example:
“Look at that big fat butt — my God you have to stop eating chips at night or you’re going to explode! And that muffin top — seriously — how do you even get your pants on?”
I know you’re chuckling, I know I was when I wrote it, but it’s really not funny at all. We bearate ourselves day in and day out about our flaws, without realizing the impact it has.
My point is that we need to treat ourselves like we’re our own best friend.
It can be really tough, but if you’re deliberate about it — you can stop it and replace it with gratitude and self-love instead.
Start by staying conscious about when you start shaming yourself.
What brings it on?
Then actually say STOP out loud when you catch yourself doing it.
Now take inventory of what’s really going on and redirect your thoughts. What would you be saying to your best friend right now if they were saying those things about themselves?
Then start over.
Look for your attributes and the positive instead.
Pay attention to all the good stuff.
Acknowledge and be grateful for all the things your body does for you without you even having to think about it — like breathing!
If you stick with it, eventually this will become your new habit, and the negative bashing will become a thing of the past.
A really good next step is forgiving yourself.
It’ll be the hardest, but definitely one of the most powerful things you can do.
Here are some of the things I forgave myself for. To be honest, there are a few I still struggle with, and others I’m completely and forever finished with.
Maybe some of them will resonate with you and help you get started with your list.
I Forgive Myself For; Not Being Perfect
For not loving myself as I am
For not embracing who I really am at my core
Making bad relationship choices
Allowing other people to control me
Tolerating bad behavior and letting others treat me badly
For failing over and over again
Being afraid and not speaking up about my truth
For not making enough money
And not having children
Don’t let this overwhelm you . Pick an area that stands out the most for you. Then give yourself the greatest gift — take time today and forgive yourself for something on your list.
Life Lesson 3 — Better YOU — Better Relationships
So anyone who knows me at all and happens to be reading this is thinking this isn’t a topic I should be helping other people with! lol
In fact, I almost didn’t do it, because it’s the area I’ve suffered in the most.
It’s where I’ve made my biggest and worst (let’s just go with epic) mistakes. But I changed my mind and even made it one of the cornerstones of my new website.
Because I’ve forgiven myself for what I didn’t know or understand.
It turns out that because of those failed relationships and the deep desire to improve my life, I’ve done a lot of work in this department.
I’m also very passionate about what I’ve learned, and I’m now reaping the benefits of all the time spent trying to understand the difficulties I was having inside my relationships.
Although I was the victim in most of it, there were things about myself I needed to take responsibility for. I didn’t want to repeat my bad choices and desperately wanted to enjoy a healthy and happy relationship.
Because I know I’m not alone when it comes to finding happiness in your relationships.
They can be tough, and you need to love yourself before you can truly love another.
Interacting with your spouse, kids, friends, family, and co-workers is a huge part of your life, and it can be very challenging.
That’s why I absolutely love this quote, and the light it shines on Becoming the Best Version of yourSelf.
"You draw to you the people and events who resonate with the energy you are radiating. You attract what you are ~ so be your best!"
— Someone famous I’m sure.
I didn’t learn this one in a book, but from a dear friend who is extremely wise for her young age. That’s why I have no idea who said those eloquent words above.
She explained that when your overall level of Self Love is low and you continue to feel shame, guilt, and anger then you exude that same negative energy around you.
Some refer to it as your aura.
That energy in turn, comes back to you in the form of events and people you attract into your life. Unconsciously you connect with them because your energy is the same.
When that person turns into a spouse it’s a recipe for disaster.
The quote I added above gave me a much deeper understanding of what’s been going wrong in my relationships.
So I’m sure it can for you too!
I needed to take responsibility for my part in my failed relationships.
As your perception of yourself rises and you work on the things we’re discussing in this Guide, your energy can’t help but change.
You’ll exude more positive energy when…
You feel better about your authentic self and accept that you are more than your mistakes
Gain control over your negative self-talk.
Realize that you are perfect in your unique imperfections.
You gain higher regard for your own well-being and start to feel worthy of happiness.
STOP settling for less than you deserve.
And stop sacrificing yourself for the benefit of others.
Now on the flip side…when you start doing this work on yourself, you’ll notice some other changes — so be prepared.
As your energy shifts and becomes more positive, your current negative relationships will feel unstable at best.
People will blame you for “being different now” and possibly feel uncomfortable around you because of it.
They won’t understand what’s happened to you, and you’ll most likely spend less time with them. Although it will be somewhat upsetting at first — if you let it naturally take its course the really unhealthy relationships will fall away, and the good ones will actually strengthen.
So be prepared, and take heart in knowing that the discomfort you’ll experience as you make yourself a priority is for your own good, and your overall well being.
The experts say you’re the average of the 5 people you spend most of your time with — so you may need to work on that equation!
As more happy positive people are attracted to your new energy… Life takes on more light, joy, and peace and you’ll wonder why it took you so long to get here.
Life Lesson 4 — Life’s Setbacks & Failures
I'm sure you’ve had times in your life when you experienced a life change that set you back. Maybe it was more like hitting a roadblock head-on, or perhaps a big fat failure that punched you right in the face.
Regardless of how hard the hit was…you hopefully learned something from it, and it most likely led you down a different path in life.
Life’s setbacks have a way of forcing your personal development, but the impact it has on you may not be obvious until years later when you look back.
The economy crash in the 2008/2009 hit me hard emotionally and financially.
I was laid off my corporate job after 15 years with the same Fortune 500 Company. The big corner office, my own parking space, and the six-figure income were gone virtually overnight.
I found myself feeling insignificant and it paralyzed me with fear.
To make matters worse, I also lost over $100,000 in home equity.
I'd worked very hard to have success in my life, and was left without a clue how to recover from that blow at age 48.
Going through another divorce at age 54 (after being together 20+ years) was my most recent punch in the face.
It was classic — he cheated on me with a younger woman at work scenario — but that turned out to be just the tip of the iceberg.
It was difficult to admit how deeply it hurt right away because it was buried in my disbelief, fear, and of course smoldering anger.
But it did eventually send me down another delightful (she said sarcastically) path of self-understanding and personal growth.
When those proverbial doors get slammed in your face…others open. Eventually, I had to admit that the times that were the hardest, were also the times I made the most progress in my life.
I bet if you look back and reflect on some of those times in your life you’ll come to that same conclusion.
It’s easy to overlook all the details of the situation and just start thinking in general terms, which leaves you feeling like YOU’re the failure.
"Failure is NOT falling down, but refusing to get back up. "— Old Chinese Proverb
A powerful way to handle this emotional fallout is to NOT keep it bottled up but to shine a bright, powerful light on it instead.
Share your story, as we talked about in Life Lesson 1. Speak your truth and watch it shrink away like that wool sweater that got in the dryer by mistake 🙂
Then get constructive and learn what you can from the experience.
See it more as valuable feedback about your life and something you can use to improve yourself or your situation, rather than just viewing it as a big blow.
I’ve also come to believe that if you’re really on the wrong path and not working towards your real purpose, the universe has a way of nudging you off that path and turning you in a new direction.
If you’re on autopilot and not in tune with how your life is progressing or you’re stubbornly moving along not listening to your gut, then you might find yourself knocked right off that path, instead of just nudged!
Those nudges (setbacks, roadblocks, and failures) can come in many forms;
A sudden job loss
A bad fall or a broken leg — just to slow you down 🙂
A broken friendship
Failed business venture(s)
A death in the family
It’s all tough stuff to work through, but also a huge opportunity for personal development and growth.
They make you think and dig a little deeper into yourself in order to get back on track and decide where it is you really want to go.
“ I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” ~ Michael Jordan
No one wants to fail, but thinking that you’ll never fail is unrealistic.
Take responsibility for your part in it so that you can learn from it.
Ask yourself — Was it in my control?
If the setback was due to a lack of knowledge or skills, take a course or do some more reading to gain more understanding, to position yourself for success in the future.
Don’t take it all too seriously…try to find some humor in your circumstances.
Keep Taking Risks.
While setbacks and obstacles can derail us, they also are opportunities to look at a problem from a new angle. They can force us to learn, and build confidence in our abilities and judgment.
Most personal and professional breakthroughs were achieved after people took a risk, hit a roadblock, regrouped and moved forward towards their goals.
Remember time heals…
Know that things will improve with time and if you stay flexible, positive and open-minded you can't help but experience more Happiness, Love and Success.
Cheers to your "Ultimate Success "— Better You and a Better Life!
I hope you found value in these life lessons. I certainly enjoyed our time together and value your feedback, so if you’d like to connect with me or leave a comment, you can do so right here.
Paying it Forward with Gratitude - Liz
P.S ~ If you like Straight Talk & Practical Solutions, check these out.