Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Keep these three things about: A Merry Heart. A Smile About. And A Twinkle In Your Eyes.

My childhood was a combination of many things. There were times of abundance, when we had too much of a lot of things, and then there were those times of scarcity, when it seems that everything was in shortage.
We never really lacked the things that truly mattered, but certain commodities were in short supply.
No matter what the situation was, I still can't remember ever seeing my Mum without a smile for a full day.

Now, as an adult, I know that she had it tough on a lot of days. 
Her job as both a health worker and a family counsellor, attending to the sick and needy. Raising seven children together with an almost absent partner, (because of his business, Dad lived in another city and visited occasionally. Mum didn't want to give up her career). A demanding extended family, and the fact that she committed herself to sharing other people's burdens. All these surely would weigh anybody down, but not Mum. She stood firm, handled all resulting emotions and always found reasons to smile.

I saw her angry, I saw her really upset about things. I saw her cry. I saw her sad. But, even when she had too much on her plate, she always managed to find a moment to smile. To tell a joke. And to laugh, not a small laugh, but a full belly and resounding laugh.
My Mum's laugh reached far and infected many.
She always found something to be merry about, and when she smiled or laughed, the world lightened up, there were really stars in her eyes and on our skies. She seemed to find such pleasures in little things and at unexpected moments.
And she would say, that no matter what anyone has to go through, there will always be things which will bring a smile to your face, only if you remember to see them.

And she taught us: "A cheerful disposition makes a whole lot of things, a whole lot better. So, my dear, no matter what you have to face in life, always keep these three things about; a merry heart, a warm smile and a twinkle in your eyes".

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Shut Up And Listen.

Mum always said, "My dear, you have two ears and one mouth, use them proportionately!"

You know how sometimes, kids tend to make such efforts to explain things or talk their way out of some situation. Mum would listen to you, sometimes amused, and, sometimes clearly irritated. 

But, she always listened to us, focusing intently, hardly ever taking her eyes off you (and Mum had real big eyes), then she would say, ever so gently but firmly, "Now, shut up and listen."
Not angry. Not uncomfortable.
Not scolding. Not reprimanding. 
Not judging. Not criticising. 
Just gently pointing out one of life's greatest lessons and one of the best gift you can give to anyone; your ears and your undivided attention.

I am learning to do the same. 

To give people more of my ears and less of my mouth. 
I'm learning to just shut up, focus on the person in front of me and just listen to them. 
I'm still learning to give people the gift of a listening ear. 
You will agree with me that there are times when this is extremely tasking. 
And then, there are times when I feel like saying to the other party after listening, "Now, you shut up and listen".
But, then I can, because, I still use my mouth from time to time... You know, finding the balance.
Oh, and don't worry, when I ask someone to, "Shut up". I do it in a really nice way, not as nice or as gentle as my Mum, but nice still...

The Four Kinds Of People You Will Meet In Your Lifetime.

There will be the ones who will bless. 
Who will teach and build.
Who will give. 
Who will add value. 
Who will inspire you to greater heights.

There will be the ones who will hurt. 
Who will betray. 
Who will judge and criticise. 
Who will try to bring you down, intentionally or unintentionally.

Then, there will be the ones who will do nothing. 
Not giving anything. 
Not contributing anything.
Just there, idle.
Just occupying space, taking from you and draining you.

Then, there will be the ones who will do all three. 
They will make you laugh, but they could also make you cry. 
They will give you, but they will also take from you. 
And, sometimes, they will do nothing, they will just be there.

This is a fact of life that you can only accept, for no matter how much you question or resist this, these are the four kinds of people you will meet in your life. 
And until you have met them all, you cannot say that you have truly lived.

Monday, 29 December 2014

You are enough!

The need to conform your perception of yourself to what others may or may not think is one sure way to self destruction.
The desire to fit into a tag as described by other people will only guarantee heart break.
The attempt to follow conventions and their definition of what you should be or do to be accepted will only lead you to frustration and despondency.
Contending to satisfy everyone's demand on your person and response will only usher in disgruntlement and circumvention. 

So, today and every day for the rest of your life, accept and remember this truth:  "No matter who you are, what you look like, or what you share with the world, there will always be someone who doesn’t approve of you. 
You are who you are, and you’re enough. 
It isn’t your job to conform to their idea of what constitutes a “worthwhile” human being. 
Instead of focusing on all of the people who don’t approve of you, try to take some time today to remind yourself of all the people who do appreciate and accept you. 
They’re the people who matter. To them, you matter. 
Let go of the rest."
~Daniell Koepke

Sunday, 28 December 2014

The Mirrored Image.

In front of the mirror,
Looking at the woman she has become.
She forgot to count the years
She was instead transfixed by the reflection looking back at her.

The lines caught her eyes,
but they are laugh lines.
the wrinkles creased,
but they are the lives she has lived.

Her eyes glowed,
With the promise of fulfilment.
There is peace within,
for the assurance that she has weathered most storms.
There is no sadness in her eyes.
She is rather expectant.
And ready to live, to give and to love.

Doubt momentarily flickered.
Fear threatened.
But then, she remembered that the tears always dries up.
And, she remembered that she always found reasons to smile.
And then, her smile deepened and brightened her horizon.

The mirrored image is the woman she has become.
Full of life and vigour.
Endowed with graceful gait.
Emboldened by faith.
And assured of a golden sunset when it is evening.

Saturday, 27 December 2014

The Thanksgiving Speech.

The other day, I listened to someone make a thanksgiving speech. 
She thanked God for her life, her family, her children, her business. 
She thanked God for how He protected her and her family..., for how He provided for her and her family, 
for how He did not allow her enemies triumph over her and her family... 

I could go on, but I'll spare you the rest of the details.
All good and well, and I was genuinely happy for her and thankful to God for keeping her and her own, but in retrospect, I realised that it was all about her, her speech was filled with, "I/My/me". 
Not once did she mention anyone outside her family, not once did she express thanks for what God might have done for others or used others to do for her. 
She simply did not acknowledge anyone else in her speech.

And, I realised that most times, most of us tend to focus so much on ourselves that we forget that our testimonies, our successes, our achievements, our accomplishments and our attainments always come about because of someone else, whether directly or indirectly. 
There will always be someone who contributes to your testimony. That person may or may not realise it, but without him or her, your story would not be complete. Their contributions might sometimes even be negative, but without them, you would not have been spurred on to greater heights.

And, as the year rolls to an end, we should all remember that even though your destiny and your success is in no one's hands, we do need each other to achieve and to attain. We need each other and we should be thankful for each other. Is there not a saying about no one being an island? And, truer words has not been said. 
No one is an island, so, when you thank God for the wonderful year you've had, remember to thank Him for all the wonderful people He strategically placed on your paths to make things happen. 
Remember to thank everyone who readily allowed himself to be a vessel in God's hands to make your story what it is today. 
Remember to be thankful for everyone who lent a helping hand. 
And, remember to say a word of thanks to everyone who offered a word of prayer, shared a word of encouragement, or whispered a word of hope, whether you know them or you don't.
Say thanks to everyone who was there when you needed to talk. 
To the people in your life who suffered when they saw you suffer, to the ones who rejoiced when they saw you rejoice. 
To the ones who put up with you when you were being a real pain in the rear.
To the ones whose testimonies and success inspired you.
Acknowledge people for simply being in your life.
Let your thanksgiving speech truly gives thanks for the right people and for all the right reasons.

And, I want to specially thank "you" for being a very essential and integral part of my life and my testimony. Without "you", there will be no me.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Some Of Those Quotes That...

Mere quotes will certainly not change your life, but they can broaden and change your perspective. They can act as a gentle reminder of some things you might be taking for granted or have forgotten. They can change your outlook in life and they can certainly change your day. And, sometimes, they'll just bring a smile to your face or trigger one good belly laugh.

In life, it is easy to get caught up in challenging situations and forget who we are, what we are, and how far we can go. So,  today and over the next few posts, I will be sharing some remarkable words by both men and women and use their words to create a reminder for myself and for women in general, but also for the menfolks. Compiling and bringing together quotes that inspire, empower, motivate and gently or abruptly remind us of the magnitude of the gifts that we have, and of how potentially powerful we really are.

Hope you enjoy reading them as much as I have enjoyed putting them together, and of course, you can tell us the quotes which most got to you and as well share any of your favourite quotes with us:

  • “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” - Maya Angelou.

  • “A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous.” - Coco Chanel

  • “A woman is like a tea bag – you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water.” - Eleanor Roosevelt.

  • “Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea.”  - Robert A. Heinlein

  • “Being a woman is a terribly difficult task, since it consists principally in dealing with men.” - Joseph Conrad

  • “I, with a deeper instinct, choose a man who compels my strength, who makes enormous demands on me, who does not doubt my courage or my toughness, who does not believe me naïve or innocent, who has the courage to treat me like a woman.” - Anaïs Nin

  • “Here's all you have to know about men and women: women are crazy, men are stupid. And the main reason women are crazy is that men are stupid.” - George Carlin, When Will Jesus Bring The Pork Chops?

  • “What would men be without women? Scarce, sir...mighty scarce.” - Mark Twain

  • “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” - Oprah Winfrey

  • “How wrong is it for a woman to expect the man to build the world she wants, rather than to create it herself?” - Anaïs Nin

  • “Women only nag when they feel unappreciated.” - Louis de Bernières, Captain Corelli's Mandolin

  • The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.” - Anna Quindlen.

  • “If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun. - Katharine Hepburn.

  • “There is nothing more rare, nor more beautiful, than a woman being unapologetically herself; comfortable in her perfect imperfection. To me, that is the true essence of beauty.” Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience

  • Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people. - Eleanor Roosevelt.

  • “There is a special place in hell for women who don't help other women. - Madeleine Albright (Keynote speech at Celebrating Inspiration luncheon with the WNBA's All-Decade Team, 2006)” 

  • When we do the best we can, we never know what miracle is wrought in our life, or in the life of another. – Helen Keller.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Yes, Dream! And Dream Big!

Yes, dream! 
And, while you're at it, dream big!
By all means, build castles in the air!
Let your eyes wander and be wistful.

Aspire to the heights.
Dare to spread your wings.
And, when you have, fly!

However, my dear, 
always keep your expectations real,
gird yourself with the right armour
and make sure your feet are firmly on the ground".

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

This Explains my Crush on Denzel Washington.

Most people who know me will tell you about my lifelong crush Denzel Washington. Apart from the fact that the dude is one fine looking brother and an exceptional actor, I have always felt that there was something more...
Then, I recently stumbled upon this video and everything just clicked.

A man that reasons and speaks like this is a man assured of grace and the success that grace brings.

I am grateful for Denzel, and I am grateful that he can share these things with the world.
Oh, and I still have a crush on him! And, now with more justification, not that I needed it.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

What Is Your Deepest Fear?

Today, this note spoke to me in a very profound way.
I hope it will speak to you too.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. 
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
So that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us, it is in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, 
our presence automatically liberates others.
- Marianne Williamson.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014


We have all been at one time or another been influenced by things. Sentiments. People. Emotions.
We have received inspiration and motivation from people. From something they said or wrote. By something they did or didn't do.
And, indeed it is commendable that we allow ourselves to be inspired and motivated.

But, sometimes, we find ourselves on the opposite side of the coin and we allow ourselves to be misguided. To be negatively influenced.
We know we shouldn't, but we do it anyways.
We acquiesce to external or internal influences that  propel us to self doubt. And, sometimes, we do not realise it until it's too late.

Today, I encourage you to look out for those things, those emotions, those people, those situations that tend to push you towards the directions we shouldn't be heading to.

You should identify them and once you do, you should run for dear life.

Refuse to be misguided by your fears.
Refuse to be misguided by your past.
Refuse to be misguided by conventions.
Refuse to be misguided by societal norms.
Refuse to be misguided by what people say or do.
Refuse to be misguided by what you have or don't have.
Refuse to be misguided by misgivings, be they yours or other people's.

Refuse to succumb to anything that does not build you up.
Don't concur with any word or thought process that does not elevate.
And, don't be misguided.

Stay focused and as my Mum would say, "Surround yourself always with people who will motivate and inspire you to be the best that you can possibly be".

Monday, 1 December 2014

The Very Necessary And Fine Art Of Saying "No".

In life, work, business and relationships, we will be confronted with very diverse opportunities, choices and decisions. There will be many juicy and mouth watering offers, and we will be tempted to grab them all. 
People will ask favours and make demands.

We will want to explore and we will sometimes be plagued by the terrible malady known as FOMO (fear of missing out). 
Maybe, we are afraid of missing an opportunity. 
We might sometimes just want to be the nice guy.

But, whatever the reasons are, we need to understand that opportunities are not mandates.
We can not lay claim to all of them. 
To maintain our sanity and keep your mental, physical and emotional health, we need to learn and master the very necessary art of saying no. You will find that saying this little two-letter word can actually be wildly liberating. It creates space for the right opportunities to appear and when they do, it sets you free to accept them. Saying "no" gives you both the energy and peace you requires to make the most of the opportunity you commit to.

Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the best-selling book Eat, Pray, Love, in an interview on The Oprah Winfrey Show shared one of her strategies for maintaing focus in her life. She said that surrounding herself with what she called a “wall of no’s” is what helps her to ensure that she could deliver on whatever she decides to say yes to.

You must have seen people who often say, “Yes” when in fact, they should say, “No” solely for the fear of disappointing others. But then, when you say yes to something just because you want to please someone else, you are betraying yourself, and you will lose a small part of you. And if you keep doing this, you will get to the point where there's very little or nothing left of you when what you really need to say "yes" to appears on the horizon.

The Decision:
When you’re faced with a decision, before you say, "yes" or "No", ask yourself and answer these questions.
  • Can I do this? Check yourself. Time. Ability. Availability. Result. And, maybe, I can, but, will you? Remember there is a difference between "Can't" and "Won't". And, you are entitled to both. 
  • Do I really want to do this? Think it through. Listen to your inner voice if you can trust it. 
  • Does this align with my values and goals? 
  • Do I have the time for this? Time is what everyone has in equal proportion. Make sure you're using yours judiciously.
  • Will it be of benefit to me? Yes, sometimes, you should think about yourself too. You don't want to waste your time in something that will not serve any purpose
  • Will I do a good job of this if I take it on? A job well done will bring you more opportunities, and one that's done in a mediocre way will not only tarnish your professional image, it will also leave you second guessing yourself.
  • What do I hope to achieve by doing this?
The Answer:
As you answer these questions with an authentic and honest "yes" or " no", you will be better positioned to give a response that will work both for you and the other party and at the same guarantee you aren't pitching yourself up for failure and physical, psychological and emotional burnout.
And, when you decide to say "No", be sensitive, be firm, and be polite. Be aware that your tone of voice and underlying intent should be congruent with your words to ensure the impact you want.

There are diverse ways you can let someone off gently, without ruffling feathers (at least, not too much), and these keywords and short phrases can help you articulate your "no" in a way that is authentic.
  • No, thank you.
  • No, thanks, but No.
  • Thank you for the gracious invitation. I regret that I must decline.
  • I am flattered, but I'll have to say, no.
  • That sounds like a lot of fun, which makes it even harder for me to decline.
  • It sounds like a great idea, but I'm afraid, I have to say no.
  • I'm not able to do that right now.
  • Let me think about it and get back to you.
  • I can't commit to this right now, but let me help you find someone who can.
  • I can't right now, but I can do it [insert a specific time here].
  • Unfortunately, I have other commitments right now. If you'd like, I can get back with you at [insert a specific time here].
  • I have another commitment at that time.
  • I'm sorry, I already have plans. Thank you.
  • I'm afraid this is not something I want to do right now. Maybe in the future.
  • I have an important family/personal commitment.
  • I'd love to help, but I'm on a strict deadline for the next few days. 
  • I'd rather decline than do a mediocre job.
  • I'd like to help out; but I have other projects I am committed to finishing before I take on anything else.
  • I'm sorry; I really can't give that project the attention it deserves.
  • Thank you. This really isn't my strong suit. Let me connect you with someone who can do it.
  • Some things have come up that need my attention.
  • No, I won't be able to make it, but please let me know how it goes.
  • I'm sorry, as a general rule I don't participate in [insert activity here]. If there's another way I can help, let me know.
  • I can't right now, but I know you will do a wonderful job yourself.
  • No, I can't because... Let me know if there's any way I can help another time.
In as much as you want to be polite and sometimes proffer reasons and justifications for turning down an offer, a request or an opportunity, you should remember that the honest answer is YES or NO, all the rest can be useful or useless embellishments as to describe the motives behind the answer if there are any. 
 Sometimes you don't need so much syrup or fog around your answer, you should just serve it straight, without any side dishes, be it a "yes" or a "no".

Thursday, 27 November 2014

A Very Happy Thanksgiving. Today, I'm Taking Stock.

Today, I'm taking stock! 
I'm counting my blessings and once again, I'm awed and overwhelmed by how much I've been given. 
I'm humbled by how much my sphere of contact had widened. 
I'm elated at the thought of the love, peace and grace surrounding me
I'm thankful for my roots. Thankful for a solid foundation.
I'm thankful for my family. The seven champions raised by a giant. I'm thankful for God's special interest in our case. I'm thankful for the men and women we are becoming. 
I'm thankful for the peace and unity that abounds.
I'm thankful for my home. For in spite of all the odds, it is still standing.
I'm thankful for the man in my life, the one whose ring I'm wearing, for love and grace.
I'm thankful for the rest of my family. Both far and near.

I'm thankful for healing and divine health, thankful that His word and my faith has defied all the attempts that the devil has made to counter my testimonies...
I'm thankful for my job, for the tremendous responsibilities of being an agent of change, knowledge and improvement. To be so privileged as to be positioned to help, build up, empower, impact, bless and inspire.

I'm thankful for the country where I live, for better things I see!
I'm thankful for country where I was born, for beautiful and glorious things are coming out of her! Riches and abundance continue to abound and circulate properly!

I'm thankful for life and for living. Thankful for all the lessons learnt! For the joys, the laughs, the tears! Thankful for my testimonies and for the challenges! Thankful for the grace to share and to to give.

I'm thankful for a bright future, full of promise and joy and laughter and peace.
I'm thankful for friends! The ones who have gone! The ones who are still here! The ones who have known to love me unconditionally and have chosen to see only the good in me! The ones who have prayed for me and with me, the ones who haven't! The ones who haven chosen to judge me without all the facts! The ones who celebrate me, and the ones who don't!
I'm thankful for the friends both old and new, for the ones who are near, and the ones who are far!
I'm thankful for you who's reading this, for the many little ways you've been a part of my life! For that tiny smile (or look of annoyance) on your face as you continue reading! I'm thankful that you're in my life! I'm thankful for all the blessings that you have received! And I rejoice with you, for you see..., today, I'm counting my blessings and you are one of them!!!

Your Character And Your Reputation.

Your character defines who you are. Build it.
Your reputation defines what others think you are. Protect it.
Your character speaks the words upon which your reputation is built.
Both are important. 
For if your character speaks well, your reputation will reflect it. 

Also, hasn't it been said that "a good name is better than riches".And, I'll leave you with these words: 

"Character is the one thing we make in this world 
and take with us into the next.
The circumstances amid which you live determine your reputation;
the truth you believe determines your character.

Reputation is what you are supposed to be;Character is what you are.

Reputation is the photograph;
Character is the face.

Reputation comes over one from without;
Character grows up from within.

Reputation is what you have when you come to a new community;
Character is what you have when you go away.

Reputation is made in a moment;
Character is built in a lifetime.

Your reputation is learned in an hour;
Your character doesn't come to light for a year.

Reputation grows like a mushroom;
Character grows like the oak.

A single newspaper report gives you your reputation;
A life of toil gives you your character.

Reputation makes you rich or makes you poor;
Character makes you happy or makes you miserable.

Reputation is what men say about you on your tombstone;
Character is what angels say about you before the throne of God."
~ William Hersey Davis

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Stay True To Your Faith And Your Beliefs.

My Mum has always been someone who knew her own mind. At a very young age, she took what appeared then to be a very unpopular decision regarding her faith. This decision somehow annihilated her from certain friends and family, but even despite all the lows she suffered as a result, she held on and very tenaciously so. 
She knew what she believed in and all through her lifetime she stayed true to those beliefs.
These days, when I see people , some of who had mocked her at the time, towing the same line she did many years ago, I can't help but marvel at her foresight and her tenacity of purpose.
She always said that it's paramount to recognize what's important in life and what matters most to you. She found what truly mattered and she held on. And she managed not only to do that, but also she taught us to do the same. 

"Your faith, your beliefs will carry you a long way. A time will come when these two might seem like all you got, but you'll find that they'll be enough", she would say. "And when all seems lost my dear, stay loyal to those things that matter most".

A trail blazer she was. And, she was not afraid to show it. 
And, I learnt from the very best. 
To stay true to my faith. 
To stand up for what I believe in. 
I learnt to focus on that which truly matters. 

Monday, 24 November 2014

A generous hand and a grateful heart!

Learning to be both generous and thankful will prove to be indeed a direct link to miracles, even if
you don't believe in miracles.

When you learn to be grateful for what you've been given, you'll be given more. When you give of what you have, you will receive more.
Something as simple as sharing toys, sharing clothing, books, even candies and treats was a vital part of growing up. Sometimes, we didn't like it, but we did it anyways. And then we became used to it and now it is a way of life. And we are reaping of the joys and the immense harvest that comes as a result.
We had to say "thank you" after a meal, when you receive your school supplies or you get that chocolate or ice-cream, when you are taken to the zoo, when you get that crayon, that book or that treat you've waited ages for, when you get your hair done, or someone helps get your nails cut or helps you zip your dress. It doesn't matter what,  how big or small the gift or act is, you absolutely had to say "thank you".
You might think that that's only to be expected, but then this is something which a lot of people are taking for granted these days.
This was a rule from which Mum was not exempted. She said "thank you" to us, when we finished our food, when we showered ourselves or a younger sibling. She said "thank you" when you get your chores done, do your homework or when you bring home good results from school. It didn't matter what it was, how big or small, Mum said "thank you".
I remember that a few months after I got married, one of my first complaints was that I didn't feel appreciated by my husband. The darling man had to gently remind me that he was not my Mum, who said "thank you" for everything. 

There will be time when you will not like to do these things. Sometimes, you might not feel like it. Sometimes, the recipient might not be totally deserving of it. But we should do it anyway. Sometimes, the results are not always as expected, but we shouldn't stop doing it.
The rewards comes in many different shapes, sizes and colours. You might know it or you might not know it, but, they will indeed come.

I can't claim to have everything I want, but I do have everything that truly matters here and now. I am thankful for that which I have been given, I willingly share of them and I have no doubt in my mind that every other thing is coming and in abundance in the fullness of time.

Your generous hand and your thankful heart will not only always bring you many blessings, and open countless doors for you, it will also bless the lives of others and bring them joy.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Words To Live By. 5

  1. Hold your heroes and role-models to a high standard. 
  2. Expect the seat in front of you to recline. Prepare accordingly. 
  3. Don’t linger in the doorway. In or out. 
  4. Look people in the eye when you thank them. 
  5. It’s never too late for an apology. 
  6. Be patient with airport security. They are just doing their job. 
  7. Know when to ignore the camera or the mirror. 
  8. When entrusted with a secret, keep it.
  9. Smile at strangers.
  10. Your dance moves might not be the best, but I promise making a fool of yourself is more fun than sitting on the bench alone.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

How To Build Your Self Confidence And Keep It.

Continuing our conversation on increasing your self confidence, we will look at 3 more guaranteed actions that will boost your confidence in yourself.
If you missed the others, you can read them here and here.
  • Be kind and generous. Being kind to others, giving of yourself and giving a helping hand to the person who needs it has a magical effect on us. It provides you with an opportunity to bless the life of another and gives you a feel-good-about-yourself feeling that can not be easily taken from you. Giving and contributing to the success of others will not only help you feel better about yourself, but karma will reward you in the end. After all, it is said that we do reap what we sow. Kindness and generous acts will always find their way back to you. 
  • Be both grateful and thankful for what you have. A lot of the times, at the root of insecurity and lack of confidence is a feeling of not having enough of something, whether it's emotional validation, opportunities or material things. But, it is irrefutable that just the mere act of acknowledging and appreciating what you do have, can help you keep the feeling of being incomplete and unsatisfied at bay. And, subsequently, this will bring with it an inner peace that will do wonders for your confidence. Gratitude and thankfulness will keep you both humble and elated. So, as you continue on your walk take some time to sit and think about all of the things you have going for you, no matter how mundane you think those might be.
  • Surround yourself with positive relationships. My Mum always used the popular saying, "Show me your friends and I will tell you who you are". Cliché, you might say, but it is true that being around people who support, compliment, encourage, and generally validate you will open your eyes to the good in you. It will boost you and help you solidify a sense of self-affirmation in you and this will directly increase your self-confidence. Identify people with positive, uplifting outlook and attitude towards life and whose standards are kinder and more realistic, and when you do, spend time with them.Identify those people that exhibit the confidence and qualities that you desire to possess. Become friends with those people who are positive, empowering, and want to see you succeed. 

  • On the flip side of this one, stay away from negative people. Get rid of as many sources of negativity as you can. You might argue that we can't get rid of every possible source of negativity in our lives, but, we can certainly make an effort to cut down on exposure to that negativity. So, do yourself a favour, keep far from you everything that might bring you down. Disengage yourself from mean and toxic friends. Choose to spend less time with people who are nervous perfectionists, unkind or unsupportive of your dreams or goals. Cut them loose. Stop reading or watching anything that even remotely makes you second guess your self-worth. 
And, if there is any part of your life or situation that you can't change immediately, then change the way you handle it.
I will end this post with a word from Mark Twain. "Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. (Or you, your achievements and your dreams.) Small people do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great", he said. Words in bracket are mine.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Think Highly Of Yourself.

In many cultures, we are taught to be modest and even sometimes, self-deprecating. We are made to believe that putting ourselves down or underplaying our achievements is upheld as a virtue. It is common for even successful people to downplay their success so as to be regarded as humble and to earn the respect and approval of others. 

You will be told that one can not blow one's own trumpet.  But, the truth is that sometimes, you will need to take the first step to help people know your worth.  The world will see you, but first, they might need to hear you. And for that to happen, you need to sing. So, sing. Sing your praise. Blow that trumpet. Blow it hard and well. People will always listen to what you have to say about yourself. Otherwise, why is the advertisement industry doing as well as it is doing today.
If you think of yourself and consequently present yourself as too old, too inexperienced, uninformed, dull or ordinary, those negative expectations influence the way you live.

Psychologists and life's experiences have pointed out that low self-esteem, as well as self-deprecating thoughts have endless negative consequences both for those who have it, and for those with whom they relate.

It is indeed true that, very often, our biggest limitations are the ones we put on ourselves, be that by our actions, our words or our thoughts.

And, over the years, I've learned that it's okay for you to think you're pretty great. 
Thinking highly of yourself doesn’t mean you have to be cocky, arrogant or elitist. It doesn't mean imposing yourself on others or putting others down. 

Thinking highly of yourself rather implies that you are acknowledging the gifts that you have been blessed and empowered with. It means that you are celebrating the journey which has brought you to the place of attainment. It entails sharing the lessons learnt and it denotes encouragement to the ones who are aspiring to triumph.

You will find that when you think of yourself as creative, passionate, interesting, valuable, unique and genuine, those positive expectations will be expressed in your life.
You should acknowledge yourself as fulfilling your purpose and performing an indispensable role in this life. And, whatever that role may be, it should be a source of joy and pride.

And when you do this, you will find that it becomes easier to inspire and empower others to the same or a higher level of greatness.

When you truly think highly of yourself, you’ll end up living your life so as to genuinely prove those thoughts accurate.It is the quality of our thoughts that determine the quality of our experience in life. Right thinking or positive thoughts today shape our future life.

The beliefs and expectations you hold about yourself can hold you back, but they can also encourage you forward. So, as you go about your day, make the choice to be encouraged, inspired, motivated and compelled by the positive things you believe and expect of yourself.

An honest pride in one's work always speaks volume and is also with with the promise that others can trust you. 
My Mum would say to us, over and over again, "whatever your hand finds to do, do it well and take pride in it"
And it was Norman Vincent Peale who said, "Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers, you cannot be successful or happy".
So, go right ahead! Think highly of yourself! Blow your own trumpet. Keep it honest and then continue to make sure that the world won't be mistaken when they agree with you. 

Share your thoughts, please.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

The Power Of A Mother's Words. The Power Of Your Words.

I am the second of seven children. 
The second daughter just before my parents' first son. 
Growing up, I felt equally well loved and appreciated, Mum was not one for favouritism. She spread love and cheer the way no one has equaled. She was also a strict disciplinarian , but love and tenderness were made manifest in everything she did. I had a happy childhood and I had and still have a great relationship with all my siblings. I love them to bits. I genuinely admire and respect the men and women they have become. 
However being the middle child has it's own peculiarities, and there were times when I felt ignored or not important. There were just feelings, baseless and untrue, but there were there.
They would spring up when I least expected them and at the age of 12, I left for boarding school. My years in boarding school in an all-girls school some hundreds of kilometres away from home didn't help, but that and the experiences as well as lessons learnt therein is a story for another day. 

My perception about myself changed in my last year in secondary school. I was 15. I was home on mid term break and one bright, moonlit evening, as we were out in the front yard of the hospital staff quarters where we were living at the time, enjoying a family evening with roasted corns and pear. My mum asked my sister and I to sing for every one, (a family tradition as we were in our church choir). After a number of songs, Mum suddenly went serious and said she had a word from the spirit of God for everyone, all seven of us, as well as two of my aunts and two domestic helps living with us at the time.
Mum was a woman given to prayers, it was commonplace to have her praying from midnight till the wee hours of the morning. It was also normal for her to name every member of the family as she prayed. She would go on and on, making declarations and petitions.  Little wonder she took so long to finish, we were seven children after all and then there were always people living with us at any given time, people who were always taken as members of the family.
And so, whenever Mum said she had a word from God, we all stopped and listened.
Today, I don't remember the words Mum gave my siblings, but I have never forgotten mine.
They are words etched on my heart and mind and engraved in every fibre of my being. Those words have guided me and strengthened me. They have provided succour when I have been faced with self doubt.
Her words or God's word to her for me that evening were simple but powerful. The words she released that evening were life. The words she told me were different from what she told my other siblings, they were personalised, they were authentic. I believed them. I still do.

She said that God said to tell me that I am "His very special princess".
She said that God said that no matter how I err or what I do, that I should always find my way home to Him, because He has a special interest in me. 
She said that God said that He will never allow me lose my way. She said that God knows that I have a very deep and genuine love for Him and that He loves me even more and that will never change. 
She then said that God said to tell me that He wants me for great things, but that I need to keep myself a vessel fit for His use.
These were the words my Mum told me. 

She said they were words God asked her to tell me. 

I have held on to these words and they are the foundation upon which my existence is built. I have never doubted them even when faced with the fiercest of storms. 
You may or may not believe in God, it doesn't matter.
But, you will agree with me that when a mother convinces her daughter of such affirming words, a champion is born. A princess, a woman of virtue, one who is not afraid to fail, one whose confidence cannot be shaken is born. 

That bright eyed girl is this day, the woman I have become. 

I live life knowing that I am God's very special princess. 
I live life as God's very special princess. 
I live life knowing that no matter how hard it gets, he's got my back and he won't allow me to get drowned. 
I live life knowing that I have a purpose. 
I love life fulfilling that purpose.

The words you speak to your children indeed do matter. And, even if you don't believe in God, the power of words is infinite. Whether they are God's Words or yours, words are as eternal as their powers are perpetual. 

It'll be great to read your thoughts and experiences.

How To build Your Self Confidence And Keep It.

We have been talking about self confidence, building or improving it, but most importantly, keeping it. If you missed the first part, read it here.
  1.  Change the way you see yourself. Our mental image of ourself could determine our level of self-confident. If you see yourself in a good way, chances are that the world around you will also you in the same way. We should realise that our self image is the first tag that we put on ourselves and people usually buy into it. This tag isn't fixed, it could be changed and improved, so if your level of self confident isn't where you want it, change it. Discover something good about yourself and celebrate it. Stop visualising all your shortcomings and begin magnifying your strengths. See yourself as valuable and your gait will change. 
  2. Groom yourself and clothe yourself nicely. You would think that this one should be obvious, but it’s amazing how difficult it is to pay attention to your physical appearance when your self confidence is low. Nevertheless, a good grooming can completely alter what the world sees when it looks at you. A popular saying tells us to dress the way we want to addressed. The effects of a good shower, a shave, clean clothes, well cut nails, and well fitted and nice clothes on your self confidence goes far beyond what some people think. If you're well spruced up and nicely dressed, you’ll feel good about yourself and, invariably you'll feel ready to tackle the world. Now, dressing nicely doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with the price tags on what you're wearing, it simply communicates to the people around you the value you place on yourself.
  3. Stand tall. Don't slouch. Don't droop. Remind yourself to stand tall and straight. Chin up. Square your shoulders. Imagine that a rope is pulling the top of your head toward the sky, and the rest of your body will straighten accordingly. In my Mum's book, people who stand tall and confident generally get people's attention. And, in my book, people who stand tall and confident hold the attention of the world around them...
  4. Smile. Another very obvious one. Cliché, you might say, but it works. It is proven. Everybody feels instantly better when approached with a smile, not to mention that when you smile you do really look better. So, come on, just smile. See...! Now, that you're smiling, don't you feel better already?

Monday, 10 November 2014

Life Is.

"Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
Life is beauty, admire it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is a tragedy, confront it.
Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is luck, make it.
Life is too precious, do not destroy it.
Life is life, fight for it." ~ Mother Teresa

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Words To Live By. 4

  1. You must not win every argument. 
  2. Admit it when you’re wrong. 
  3. Nothing is the end of the world and most things are usually not as bad as they seem at first. 
  4. When in doubt, take a moment to clear your head and refocus. Then move, just take the next small step. Whatever you do, don't stop there. 
  5. If you don't ask, you don't get. 
  6. At first, almost everything is difficult before they are easy. Just keep at it. 
  7. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick or old. People will. Be nice to the people in your life and give them your time. 
  8. Make the little things count. 
  9. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.
  10. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift. It won't be easy, but it'll be worth it.

    Friday, 7 November 2014

    How To Build Your Self Confidence And Keep It.

    Many people are oft held back from pursuing their dreams because of fear of failure as well as a lack of self-confidence needed to overcome that fear.
    Undoubtedly, overcoming a habit of fear and changing a lifetime spent wallowing in diffidence requires a battle. It is a battle you will need to fight over and over again, but once you know that you can beat them, that you can break through that wall of fear and come out on the other side, you will find yourself moving from success to further success.

    Whether you are struggling with building your self confidence or you want to keep improving yours, I invite you to join me over the next few days as we explore ways to improve our self confidence and consequently overcome all and every fear that might try to limit us from achieving our highest potentials:

    Today, we will be looking at 5 ways that could help you improve your self confidence.

    1. Believe that you can actually increase your self confidence. Lack of self confidence is not something genetic, and you do not have to be reliant on others to increase your self-confidence. Nobody was born with a low level of self confidence. By taking concrete actions you can improve your competence, your self-image, you can increase that self-confidence. But, first, believe it is in your hands to bring about the change you desire. And if you don't believe you can do better, you won't. It really is that simple. 
    2. Change your thoughts. Think positive. As a man thinks in his heart, so is he. You are what you think. Stop thoughts that are limiting and self-defeating. Cut your negative thoughts immediately and replace them with thoughts that are positive and confident. 
    3. Change your words. Talk positive. As Lisa M. Hayes said, “Be careful how you are talking to yourself because you are listening.” Your words have tremendous power over you. You tend to believe words that both you and other people say about you. When you change what you say about yourself, it will be easier for other people will follow suit. The more you repeatedly send positive messages to yourself, the more confident you will become. 
    4. Change your actions. Act positive. If you can change what you do, then you have changed who you are. So, change your actions, one action at a time. Do things that will reinforce your strengths and improve your overall faith in your self. Things for yourself and for others. Channel energy into positive actions and you'll see how your self confidence begin to take an upward hike. 
    5. Stop comparing yourself with anyone. Quit exhausting your energy trying to be like someone else. Each person is different, and there is a lot you don't know about that person and the image they are portraying to the rest of the world. Every body is fighting a different battle, so focus on your own battles and win them. Be an authentic you. Convince yourself that the only person you should strive to better than is the person you were yesterday. And you set out to do this, your self confidence will continue to rise steadily. 
    It was E.E Cummings who said that once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit.

    Please, share your own ideas or experience about how you have improved your self confidence.

    Wednesday, 5 November 2014

    Be Kind, to yourself.

    “Be careful how you are talking to yourself because you are listening.” —Lisa M. Hayes

    Choose to be kind to yourself, both in words and deeds. You deserve it.

    To be able to do this, first, rid yourself of any preconceived or judgmental notions about what self-kindness is or what it should look like.

    You are in charge here. In charge of your life and in charge of your choices.
    You should define your worth and define the things that transmit kindness to you, and when you have done so, go ahead and be kind to yourself.

    Most times, society assumes that being kind to yourself is being selfish or self-indulgent. But, nothing can be farther from the truth, because self-kindness keeps us content and helps us give to others and be kinder to the people in our lives. 
    Taking care of ourselves and being both kind and nice to ourselves  sustains our emotional reserve, so it doesn’t empty out so quickly.

    And, in the words of psychotherapist Claudia H. Christian, "self-kindness is applying a generous and warm heart toward yourself to create sympathy and understanding from yourself, for yourself."

    Tuesday, 4 November 2014

    Respect. Cont'd

    In an earlier post, we were talking about respect and how much easier it makes life for us. If you missed it, read it here. 
    Now, let's look at what respect is and what it's not. 

    Respect is Not a Sign of Weakness

    People might think that showing respect is a sign of weakness. But, that is a mistaken notion. Respect doesn’t make you obliged to anybody. When you feel a sense of antipathy towards anyone, it'd be better if you tried to stay calm and emotionally neutral. There's no situation that can not be handled when treated with respect. And, it is always a great pleasure to communicate with people and have relationships built on mutual respect. 

    Showing respect to the people you meet will make them feel, valued, confident and contented and in turn, they will be better people to the people in their lives. It becomes a circle. A healthy one.
    Real weakness is to give way to negative emotions all the time and hurt everyone on your way.

    If you have difficulty respecting others, then you should probably start with showing respect for yourself.
    When you begin to treat yourself with respect, you will become an absolutely confident person, and you will find it easier to reflect the feeling of respect on others, even on the ones that are not on your list of favourite people. 

    Respecting the disagreeable ones might be difficult, but totally worth it. 

    Disagreeable people, just like other life's difficulties are a crucial part of life's wonderful lessons. Everyone knows that people can exert either positive or negative influence on each other. Unfortunately, we tend to focus more on negative experiences than on positive life surprises. Consequently, we learn more lessons from unsuccessful situations. 

    Undoubtedly, when you learn to give respect to the people who you might have genuine reasons to dislike, it is one of those life lessons that qualifies you to rise to the next and higher level.

    When you understand that spreading cheer and joy is better than being a distributor of vile and malicious emotion, you'll discover that being more careful and tactful in words and deeds is worth every effort. After a while, it becomes a habit and a constant motivation to inspire and bless others. 

    You should know that you can not be friends with everybody you meet, you should know that everybody will not like you. And, really it's ok. It is however essential to develop a personalized approach to everyone, knowing everyone is different. You do not have to be friends with them, but you can build and foster good and cordial relationships, based on respect with the world around you. Sometimes it will happen that your respectful treatment will make people change their attitude towards and even if they chose not to, respect their right to that choice.

    Respect is the Best World Currency

    Respect is one of the most important and essential human values that can never be replaced by money or anything else. People usually spend much time searching for respect in order to build a good reputation.
    Wherever you go, whoever you meet and whatever you do, you should never forget about respect. This wondrous value can provide you many chances and opportunities. People’s hearts are open to those who treat them with love and respect.
    There are people who say that if people fear somebody, they’ll respect them. I do not agree with this idea, because only weak, feeble, and cruel people build artificial respect based on fear, deceit  and violence. 
    Obedience and respect might have something in common, but they’re different. Obedience can be reached by threats,  intimidations or a sense of obligation. Respect can exist only in the relationships built on mutual understanding and benevolence.

    Respect should be an essential part of our daily life. This precious value will help us to live life in a greater peace and balance. Respect will provide added support and will act as a springboard in reaching goals and making life easier.

    I hope you realize that respect is the choice of highly strong and confident people. 

    What is respect for you? 
    How do you show respect to the people in your life, even the ones you consider disagreeable or rivals?

    Please, share your thoughts with us.

    Monday, 3 November 2014

    Be like a child. Sometimes.

    We should all observe the children more and try to be more like then, every now and then.
    Pay attention to the way they delight in the simplest pleasure.
    Listen to the joy in their voice as they giggle.
    Notice the gleam in their eyes.
    Remember the honesty with which they express happiness, sadness and disappointment.
    Remember how fleeting each of these emotions are. 
    How they move easily from one to another.
    Reflect on how well their memory work and how easily they sometimes seems to forget every thing negative
    Remind yourself of their enthusiasm.
    Never forget how fast they grow.
    We should never lose sight of the ease with which they learn and unlearn new things.
    And, thus, we should take time off our very busy schedules being adults and sometime be a child.

    Saturday, 1 November 2014

    Words to Live By. 3

    • Count your blessings.
    • Keep your wits about you.
    • Be grateful for whatever you're given.
    • Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
    • You shouldn't take everything personally.
    • Get up. Dress up. And, show up.
    • Hold your heroes and role-models to a high standard.
    • When entrusted with a secret, keep it.
    • Burn the candles; use the nice sheets; wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
    • Frame every so-called disaster with these words: "In five years, will this matter?" Your response should determine your reaction.

    Wednesday, 29 October 2014

    The Blogging Challenge.

    So, I'm on a 30 day blogging challenge.
    I accepted the challenge, because I believe we can do anything we put our mind to. 
    I like to stretch myself and see how far I can go. I like to break limits.
    I like to do that which most people consider difficult or even impossible, for my Momma taught me that impossible is, indeed, nothing.
    And those who know me will tell you that I do like the sound of a challenge. 
    So, I'm going to be writing for the next 30 days. 
    After which, we'll go for a 90 day stretch.
    Sharing the inspirations and lessons I have learnt and the ones I'm still learning.
    I invite you to join me on this journey and share your own inspirations and life's lessons with us. 

    Sunday, 26 October 2014

    Words To Live By. 2

    • No matter how you feel, get up, dress up, and show up.
    • Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful. 
    • Life is too short for long pity parties. Don't attend one and don't host one. 
    • However good or bad a situation is, it will change. 
    • Stand up to bullies. You’ll only have to do it once. 
    • If you’ve made your point, shut up and stop talking. 
    • Be kind. Everyone has a hard fight ahead of them. 
    • Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present. 
    • Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.
    • If you want to be anything, just do it.

    Thursday, 23 October 2014

    Words To Live By 1

    • No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
    • The best is yet to come.
    • Believe in miracles. They do happen. 
    • Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
    • Love yourself first. Then love others.
    • Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
    • Forgive everyone everything, and that includes you.
    • Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
    • Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
    • What other people think of you is none of your business.

    Monday, 20 October 2014


    Trying to follow in my mother's footstep, I have been a woman of principle for many years and I've found that one of the very many good qualities that help people stay both emotionally and psychologically balanced is respect. Respect helps keep the heart free of hate and malice, it is a constant reminder never to judge anyone and it helps keep dignity intact.

    So, I have learnt to have and to show respect for the world around me and everyone in it.
    Respect for my maker.
    Respect for my roots.
    Respect for myself.
    Respect for my beginnings.
    Respect for my imperfections.
    But, above all, respect for others.
    Respect for authorities.
    Respect for everyone, both young and old, rich and poor, educated and uneducated.
    Respect for people's time and resources.
    Respecting people's right to their own opinion.
    Respecting their right to agree with me or to disagree.
    Respecting people's right to see things differently, to be different.
    Respecting people's right to their individual identities.

    On the one hand, I know it is generally difficult to deal with people, because they will be ones whose opinions and ways of doing things will seem apparently wrong or misguided to us. But, I have also come to realise that respect is a debt I owe to everyone and one which I must pay.
    Respect for traits I dislike, sometimes is a herculean task. I say traits, because in my life, I am yet to meet one person who I entirely dislike. I always manage to find something nice in everyone I meet and I try to focus on that. However, respecting people who has no respect for others requires divine strength. But, like I mentioned earlier, I must pay my debt.

    So, to make things easier for myself, I wake up daily and I chose to advance my mindset, and everyday I make respect a priority. And prioritising respect has taught me innumerable lessons. At first, it was no small feat, but with a whole lot of determination, strong will and time, I am the better for it. I have noticed many positive changes in my life. And, what's more, it has become a way of life. 

    My respect for everyone I meet has become my gift to people, it has also become both my weapon and my defense. I have found that it doesn’t give anyone a chance to hurt my feelings, because they lack grounds and reasons to do it. And, even when some people do manage to hurt me, respect for myself has helped me rise above any negative feelings.
    Respect is a powerful tool.
    It makes one more mature and knowledgeable.

    You might not realize this little, but significant truth, but feeling hatred and harbouring a grudge against others is not only a complete waste of time, energy and strenght, it is also one of the biggest causes of stress and frayed nerves. Negative thinking and destructive emotions usually bring sufferings and misery. I have realized that the sooner we all admit and acknowledge this truth, the quicker we’ll learn to live with people in peace and in accord.

    I'd love to read your thoughts...

    Sunday, 19 October 2014

    Make these promises to yourself, and keep them forever.

    Life is not all rainbows and butterflies. It can be tough sometimes. And you’ve paid a heavy price to get this far, so the best option is to really make it count by moving forward from where you are. Free yourself from the world’s negativity – from the sources of ignorance telling you what you can and cannot do – by promising to look ahead, to live ahead, and to get ahead. In other words, start making positive promises to yourself!

    Promise to fight back, to fight harder, to laugh louder and longer and slap adversity back into its seat whenever it dares to stand against you. Promise to be a force to be reckoned with – because you are a force to be reckoned with.
    Make these promises to yourself, and keep them forever.

    Repeat after me: “I promise…” 

    • “I will not hold the past against myself.” – Your problems, your weaknesses, setbacks, regrets and mistakes teach you if you’re willing to learn, or they will punish you if you’re not. So let them teach you, every day. Take everything as a lesson learned. If you regret some of the decisions you have made in the past, stop being so hard on yourself. At that time, you did your best with the knowledge you had. At that time, you did your best with the experience you had. Your decisions were made with a younger mind. If you were to make these decisions with the wisdom you have today, you would choose differently. So give yourself a break. Time and experience has a wonderful way of helping us grow and learn to make better choices today, for ourselves and those we care for. 
    • “I will own my life and never deny responsibility for it.” – Through the grapevine, you may have learned that you should blame your parents, your teachers, your mentors, the education system, the government, etc., but never to blame yourself. Right? It’s never, ever your fault… WRONG! It’s always your fault, because if you want to change, if you want to let go and move on with your life, you’re the only person who can make it happen. It’s YOUR move to make. It’s YOUR responsibility. Own it! 
    • “I will speak kindly and consciously to myself.” – Wait, what did you just say to yourself? Were they the inspiring, encouraging words you would speak to a friend? Or were they the belittling remarks you might shout to an enemy if you had no heart. Or the negative assessments about life you would utter if you had no faith? All day long we speak silently to ourselves, and a part of us believes every word. So stay mindful, and ask yourself, “If I had a friend who always spoke to me in the same way that I am speaking to myself right now, how long would I allow that person to be my friend?” (Read Loving What Is.) 
    • “I will listen to what my heart and soul is telling me.” – When something feels right, that means it is right for you (at least it is worth looking into). And if you genuinely feel deep down that something is wrong, it probably is. Pay attention to your authentic feelings, and follow where they lead. When you’re following your inner voice, doors tend to eventually open for you, even if they mostly slam at first.
    •  “I will live a life that feels right to me, not one that looks right to others.” – Give yourself permission to follow the path that makes YOU happy. And realize that some people in your life will refuse to walk beside you as you embark on this journey; they simply won’t approve no matter what you say, and that’s OK. Sometimes when you commit yourself to creating your own happiness, it clashes with the perceptions of others. Sometimes when you gain something great, you have to let go of something else. And sometimes this ‘something else’ is a relationship that only wants you to do what they want you to do. 
    • “I will let go of relationships that are obviously not meant to be.” – Most people come into your life temporarily simply to teach you something. They come and they go and they make a difference. And it’s OK that they’re not in your life anymore. Not all relationships last, but the lessons these relationships bring to you do. If you learn to open your heart and mind, anyone, including the folks who eventually drive you mad, can teach you something worthwhile. Sometimes it will feel weird when you realize you spent so much time with someone you are no longer connected to, but that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be. You are exactly where you’re supposed to be. We all are. 
    • “I will not let any situation permanently steal my smile.” – Even when times are tough, take a moment to pause and remember who YOU are. Take a moment to reflect on the things that have real and lasting meaning in your life. And then smile about how far you’ve come. Honestly, nothing in this world is more beautiful and powerful than a smile that has struggled through the tears. Any fool can be happy when times are easy. It takes a strong soul with real heart to develop smiles out of situations that make us weep. No matter how long it takes, it will get better. Keep going. Tough situations build strong people in the end. 
    • “I will celebrate and appreciate the life I have.” – Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are. Don’t be one of them. Take a breath of fresh air. The past is behind you. Focus on what you can do today, not on what you could’ve or should’ve done yesterday. Remember, for everything you’ve lost, you’ve gained something else. Appreciate what you have and who you are today. Life does not have to be perfect to be wonderful. Count your blessings, not your troubles. It costs nothing to be positive, and it changes things for the better. Your thoughts are yours to control, so make good use of them to give your actions and your life a powerful advantage. 
    • “I will realize and use my power to make a difference.” – The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any. Don’t do this. The world needs you. In a world filled with doubt, you must dare to dream. In a world filled with anger, you must dare to forgive. In a world filled with hate, you must dare to love. In a world filled with distrust, you must dare to believe. And once you do, I promise, you will find that power you once thought you lacked. 
    • “I will dedicate myself to personal excellence.” – Anything worth doing, is worth doing right. And excellence is never an accident. It’s the result of high intention, focused effort, intelligent direction, skillful execution, and the vision to see obstacles as opportunities. It’s also important to note that excellence cannot be judged by looking at where you are at any given point in time, but by measuring the distance you have traveled from the point where you started. It’s about being diligent and making progress – either a step forward or a lesson learned – day in and day out. (Read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.) 
    • “I will keep stretching myself beyond my previous level of comfort.” – Just because you’re struggling doesn’t mean you’re failing. Every great success requires some type of worthy struggle to get there. Know this! When you’re struggling, that’s when you’re growing stronger and smarter. The more time you spend there, the faster you learn. It’s better to spend an extremely high quality ten minutes growing, than it is to spend a mediocre hour running in place. Every day, you want to practice at the point where you are on the edge of your ability, stretching yourself over and over again, making mistakes, stumbling, learning from those mistakes and stretching yourself even farther. 
    • “I will embrace the changes I know I need to make.” – Life is a balancing act of holding on and letting go – of staying put and moving on. We strive to make the right choices, but how do we know when it is truly time to move forward with our lives? The signs aren’t always easy to accept, but they are there and you know it. Relationships, jobs, and even the cities we live in have expiration dates. Sometimes we hold on to what’s not working out of fear that we won’t be able to adapt to necessary changes. And thus, the outcome is always the same: more pain, immense frustration, and lasting regret. Be smarter than that. Embrace the changes you know you need to make. 
    In a world where vows are often left unfulfilled – where making a pledge means less than it used to – where promises seem like they’re made to be broken – it would be nice to see words come back into power, wouldn’t it? Yet, words can be twisted into any shape, so you must be careful not to be careless. Remember this when you make promises to yourself. Your promises must be backed by devoted action.

    The image you have of yourself in the future depends on the actions you watch yourself take today.
    Promise yourself and then prove it!
    The floor is yours…
    Which of the points above resonate with you the most? What promises do you want (or need) to make to yourself? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts with us.
    - Marc and Angel