Saturday, May 30, 2015

Who is worthy of a spot in your life?

When trying to decide which people to surround yourself with, or which friends you should put effort into building closer friendships with and spending most of your time with, or what kind of person to pursue a romantic relationship with, there are a number of aspects to consider regarding whether or not they are a worthwhile person to put that time and effort into.  The most important question overall is this: does this person add to my life?

There are a number of sub-questions related to that overall question.  But in general, someone worthy of a spot in your life should add value to your life, in more then one way.

Here are the other questions to consider though, when trying to make this decision:

Someone worthy of a place in your life....

1.  Is someone with whom you generally enjoy spending time.  Obviously everyone has occasional bad days, difficult times, or moodiness.  But these are exceptions.  They should not be the norm.  People worthy of being in your life are those who you look forward to spending time with, and when you come away from time with them, you feel good.

2.  Is someone you can trust.  You can rely on them, know they will keep their promises and their commitments, that their words will be reflected in their actions towards you as well, and that they are not a person who lies.  A person whom you can trust is someone you can believe in, feel safe with, and thus be close to.

3.  Treats you with respect.  This means many things, including treating you as someone with value, being honest with you, respecting your time, truly listening when you speak (without interruption or being distracted), talking to you in such a way as with kindness and love, their actions making it clear that their relationship with you is a priority, and they act in ways that show compromise and understanding within their relationship with you.

4.  They are a good influence on you.  They are someone who encourages you to be your best self.  People who are good for you make you yearn to be a better version of yourself.  People who are a good influence do not encourage you to lie, cheat, abuse alcohol or drugs, harm yourself, make choices out of fear or laziness, make choices based on their selfish wants instead of what they know is actually best for you and your happiness, etc.  Great people want, for you, what is best for you (not what is best for them), and they bring out the best within you.

5.  They are equally as interested in a connection with you, as you are with them.  And their actions consistently back this up.  There is generally equal effort to maintain the relationship.  Equal sacrifice.  Equal giving and receiving. Equal prioritizing of time.  Equal gestures of appreciation and love.  Of course, there are times when it will be somewhat imbalanced (if someone is going through a big life challenge, difficulty or change for instance), but the point is that overall, it should basically balance out and there should be clearly equal effort and interest from both ends.

6.  They encourage growth within you, as well as are open to growth and learning themselves.  Both of you are truly receptive and open to learning both with and from one another.  Great relationships enrich both of the people within them in different ways.

7.  Inspire you in some way.  Maybe you are inspired by a friends sense of daring and adventure, or by their hard worth ethic, or the way they can create magic with their writing, or by their confidence and emotional strength, or their generous and deeply loving nature.  You get my point.  The list goes on.  The most special, memorable and worthwhile people in our lives inspire us in some way, and make us want to be better versions of ourselves.

8.  They seek to understand you.  Who you are as a person, your dreams and fears, your passions, your ever-changing emotional landscape, your past, your feelings, your current life experience, etc.  The people worthy of your company and heart are deeply interested in all that you are.  They seek to learn as much as possible about you, to understand you as much as they can, and maintain this interest throughout their time knowing you.

Important note: SO many people think that being empathetic just means hearing someones words, and that's it.  That they listened and thus, were "there for" that person.  No.  Its much more than that.  Its removing yourself from your own personal bubble, thoughts and experience for that time (while really listening and connecting with this other person), and trying to truly feel and see what the other is expressing and experiencing.  This takes effort and interest.  But when you can do this most of the time in your close relationships with others, it is immensely rewarding and will deepen those relationships and connections significantly.

And finally, good friends and people make you feel this... :-D

Thursday, May 28, 2015


Why is gratitude such an important thing?

Life can be challenging.  Life can include loss and sadness.  Navigating the challenges of familial, romantic, platonic and other social relationships can prove emotional and difficult at times.  Life can entail stress, challenges, and rapidly impending deadlines.  Life can dish us the pain of failure, betrayal, jealousy, regret, anger, and heartbreak.  Life can be trying and disappointing at times, sprinkled with challenging lessons we must often learn the hardest of ways.

Life also includes romance, magic and excitement.  It holds wonder, adventure, awe and many moments of contentment.  Life can take our breath away.  We can experience moments of deep satisfaction, achievement, both feeling and giving love, joy, comfort, thrill, suspense, support, closeness, and so much more which fills us with happiness.  Life, in all its awesomeness, is all of these things too.

Because, without the darkness, one couldn't marvel at the light.

So, the reason gratitude is so important is because it amplifies the light, while helping the darkness to recede.

Gratitude also helps us to recognize what is good in each of our lives, and thus, what areas we might like to alter or change certain things.

Gratitude can give you rushes of happiness that buoy you with cheer and joy throughout your daily life.

Being thankful can provide you with sweet nostalgia for the life you have already lived, and excitement for what is to come.

Gratitude can provide you with feelings of contentment, and thus, confidence, in terms of who you are and what you have in your life.  It can also help to draw your attention to things you need to take less for granted, or the pay more love, sweetness, attention and respect to.

Gratitude gives your life a sense of meaning.

It shows you what you already have, and helps one with identifying what is truly important.

I am grateful for so many things, as I suspect you are too if you give it some thought and create your own life.  I am grateful for:

My wonderful, supportive, loyal, inspiring and loving friends, of whom I am thankful and surprised to have quite a few (a number of whom are not pictured here because I do not have photos with them).

Old school photo of Lindsay and I from high school!!! She is one of my closest friends, and my very longest friendship.

Another old school photo of Lindsay and I ;-)  so young!!!


All the amazing places to which I have had the opportunity to travel and adventure.

See here for a previous entry about those amazing places :-D

That I was able to attend college (an adventure in itself) and finish with a degree under my belt.

The fact that I had a breathtaking wedding day with a wonderful man.

Tea and cake.  Two fantastic things.

Living in Europe (and I am still here!!).  This has been a wild story, that's for sure.  And I have loved every minute.

The fact that I have a job, and an income.  This is pretty paramount and something I am deeply thankful for.

The adrenaline rush of downhill skiing, as well as the peacefulness of it.

My favorite foods.  Eating these is always the BEST (though eating, in general, is the best).

The cool, peaceful relaxation of going swimming.

The way I feel (both in body and emotionally) after exercising.

That I am able-bodied and healthy.

Board games with others.  SO much fun.

Skype and Viber.  Keeping me close with the people I love.

Photographs.  I love them.  Taking them, looking at them, sharing them.

Picnics, the ultimate summer activity.

Roller coasters, what a STELLAR rush!!! ALWAYS awesome!

Summer time :-D Reading cream....road trips...days seem longer...a hint of romance and possibility lingers in the air....summer is great.

The Beach.

Christmas time, and my birthday.  My two favorite holidays.

Fireplaces.  So cozy and comforting.

Food magazines.

Having an incredibly fun night out with close friends.

And the last one I will add to this list for now...the people who love me.  And all the people I love, who add light and happiness to my life.

What are all of you feeling grateful for...??