Happy Independence Day! I am so thankful for being a citizen of the United States of America! We are so blessed! I hope you are able to spend this day relishing in the freedoms we enjoy and surrounded by those you love most!
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Happy people do a lot of things. They spend time expressing gratitude, cultivating optimism, practicing kindness, nurturing loving relationships, committing to meaningful goals, savoring life’s little pleasures, and so on and so forth.
But they NEVER…
Forget about what others are doing. Stop looking at where they are and what they have. Nobody is doing better than you because nobody can do better than you. YOU are walking your own path. Sometimes the reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes circumstances with everyone else’s public highlight reel. We listen to the noise of the world, instead of ourselves. So stop the comparisons! Ignore the distractions. Listen to your own inner voice. Mind your own business.
Keep your best wishes and your biggest goals close to your heart and dedicate time to them every day. Don’t be scared to walk alone, and don’t be scared to enjoy it. Don’t let anyone’s ignorance, drama, or negativity stop you from being the best you can be. Keep doing what you know in your heart is right, for YOU. Because when you are focused on meaningful work and at peace within yourself, almost nothing can shake you. (Angel and I discuss this in more detail in the “Passion and Growth” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
When you are content to simply be yourself, without comparing and competing to impress others, everyone worthwhile will respect you. And even more importantly, you will respect yourself.
How are you letting others define you? What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?
Truth be told, no one has the right to judge you. People may have heard your stories, and they may think they know you, but they can’t feel what you are going through; they aren’t living YOUR life. So forget what they think and say about you. Focus on how you feel about yourself, and keep walking the path that feels best under your feet.
Those who accept you are your friends. Those who don’t are your teachers. If someone calls you something and it’s true, it’s not your problem because it’s true. If someone calls you something and it’s not true, it’s not your problem because it’s not true. Either way, whatever they call you is not your problem. What other people call you is their problem…
What you call yourself, and who you decide to become, is your problem.
Unhappiness lies in that gap between what we have now and what we think we need. But the truth is, we don’t need to acquire anything more to be content with what we already have. We don’t need anyone else’s permission to be happy. Your life is magnificent not because someone says it is, or because you have acquired something new, but because you choose to see it as such. Don’t let your happiness be held hostage. It is always yours to choose, to live and experience.
As soon as you stop making everyone and everything else responsible for your happiness, the happier you’ll be. If you’re unhappy now, it’s not someone else’s fault. Take full responsibility for your own unhappiness, and you will instantly gain the ability to be happier. Stop seeking in vain to arrange conditions that will make you happy. Simply choose to appreciate the greatness that is yours in this moment, and the right conditions will start to line up around the contentment you seek.
The greater part of your happiness or unhappiness depends upon your outlook, and not upon our situation. Even if things aren’t perfect right now, think of all the beauty still left around you. A good reason to smile is always one thought away; choose to tap into it any time you like. (Read The Gifts of Imperfection.)
Let today be the day you stop being haunted by the ghosts from your past. What happened in the past is just one chapter in your story; don’t close the book, just turn the page.
We’ve all been hurt by our own decisions and by others, and while the pain of these experiences is normal, sometimes it lingers for too long. Feelings of resentment urge us to relive the same pain over and over, and we have a hard time letting go.
Forgiveness is the remedy. It allows you to focus on the future without combating the past. To understand the infinite potential of everything going forward is to forgive everything already behind you. Without forgiveness, wounds can never be healed and personal growth can never be achieved. It doesn’t mean you’re erasing the past, or forgetting what happened. It means you’re letting go of the resentment and pain, and instead choosing to learn from the incident and move on with your life.
You can’t make positive choices for the rest of your life without an environment that makes those choices easy, natural, and enjoyable. So protect your spirit and potential from contamination by limiting your time with negative people and the environments they inhabit.
When other people invite you to act like victims, when they whine and moan about the unfairness of life, for example, and ask you to agree, to offer condolences, and to participate in their grievances, WALK AWAY. When you join in that game of negativity you always lose.
Even when you’re alone, create a positive mental space for yourself. Make it a point to give up all the thoughts that make you feel bad, or even just a few of them that have been troubling you, and see how doing that changes your life. You don’t need negative thoughts. They are all lies. They solve nothing. All they have ever given you is a false self that suffers for no reason.
It is a certain deathtrap when we spend our lives learning how to lie, because eventually these lies grow so strong in our minds that we become bad at seeing, telling and living our own truth. Lives come apart so easily when they have been held together with lies. If you resist the truth, you will live a lie every day as the truth haunts your thoughts every night. You simply can’t get away from your truth by moving dishonestly from one place to the next.
So don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to hide the truth with deception; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion of what’s popular. It is better to offer no explanation or excuse than a false one. It takes courage and strength to admit the truth, but it is the only way to truly live. Accept what is, embrace it fully, and live for the possibilities that lie ahead.
Today’s inspiring articles shared from the following website: http://www.marcandangel.com/2013/07/16/6-things-happy-people-never-do/
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From the time that I first stepped foot on Russian soil – during the Kosovo conflict, I have treasured my freedom and my U.S. citizenship. It was not until that moment that I understood what lack of freedom was or that it was even possible to lose it. The freedoms that this nation enjoys has come at a cost. I hope that each one of us who walks the soil of America as free citizens will cherish the gift that has been given to us by the soldiers of this nation and the inspired United States Constitution. Today, I am including just a brief portion of my book that addresses the trip my husband and I made to Russia to adopt our two youngest children. May freedom be a gift that we all enjoy forever!
From my book:
Greg and I were a little nervous about flying to Russia, but that nervousness increased dramatically when our plane made its first landing on Russian soil. Our first landing was made in Khabarovsk, Russia. We were surprised to see that the airport seemed more like an abandoned military base. Old weathered airplanes with questionable functionality dotted the tarmac. Our initial astonishment turned to tension as armed men in military type uniforms drove up to our airplane and one of their commanders barked harsh words at the flight attendants and demanded possession of their passports. Our first touchdown in Russia made it painfully clear to us that while on Russian soil, we would not have the same freedoms that we were accustomed to in the United States.
Our second landing was just outside the city of Vladivostok, the destination for our adoption. Though friendlier than our initial landing, going through customs verified our initial impressions that as foreigners in their country, we were not welcome visitors.
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Do you have individuals from history that you would love to spend time with and chat with for a few hours – maybe even a few days? Benjamin Franklin is one of those people for me.
There are many individuals who, through their example and legacy, continue to mentor me and my life even though I have never met them and most of them have long departed this world.
The one consistency that all mankind has faced and ever will is adversity. It is the stuff that growth and improvement is made of.
Yet, in regards to adversity, we all have a choice: To let our difficulties defeat us or to enable them to grow and refine us. I don’t always succeed as well as I would like, but I try to enable my challenges to create a better person of me.
As you read today’s story, I hope you will think about your own life. Is there something you can do better? Can you turn your lemons into lemonade? Remember, we are never defeated unless we give up! I hope you have a wonderful day!
Overcoming Obstacles: Ben Franklin’s 13 Virtues Worth Learning
Born as Benjamin Franklin in Boston on January 17, 1706, he was the 15th of 17 children, the son of a soap and candle maker. After only two years of schooling, at age 10, he was forced to leave school and make candles for his father. As for further education, he was self-taught. At 12, he was apprenticed to an older brother James, who ran a print shop.
James was a cruel taskmaster, and would beat young Ben when displeased – which was often. When his brother started a newspaper, The New England Courant, James would not allow brother Ben to publish any of his own writing. So Franklin submitted 14 witty pieces under a made-up name, Mrs. Silence Dogood, and they delighted the paper’s readers. But when James discovered Franklin’s ruse, he was jealous and punished him severely again, eventually forcing Ben to escape his servitude – which was against the law.
Franklin ended up in Philadelphia, with just the wet and ratty clothes on his back and three pennies to his name. Hungry, he went in to a bakery shop and came out with three loaves of bread, one for his mouth and two tucked awkwardly under his arms. It was October 6, 1723, and as he devoured the bread, the bedraggled young man saw a charming young woman, Deborah Read, watching him. Little did either of them know that seven years later, they would be married!
In Ben Franklin’s famous Autobiography, he looks back on the mean treatment he received from his brother, and reveals an important lesson: a lifelong “Aversion to arbitrary Power.” This hard-earned lesson would match up well with the philosophy of the revolutionary movement. After all, just as Franklin got out from under his tyrannical brother’s beatings, so would the Colonies strive to gain independence from the tyrannical King of England’s “arbitrary power.”
That poor, 17-year-old boy pounded the pavements of Philadelphia and was able to find work, using his skills as a printer’s assistant and his many outstanding traits and talents to make his way in the world. He borrowed money and set up his own printing business. Before long, he was known as a tireless, honest, and diligent businessman, and Franklin gained attention and landed major jobs, setting up a thriving business.
After marrying his childhood sweetheart, Deborah Read, they set up their own dry goods store, and Ben opened up a book store. He didn’t stop there. At the ripe age of 23, in 1729, he bought a small newspaper, the Pennsylvania Gazette, and turned it into the most successful paper in the Colonies. He even created the world’s first political cartoon of himself! And, while getting involved in civic improvement groups, in 1733 he also launched Poor Richard’s Almanack, which became famous for its down to earth advice and witty writing, such as “A penny saved is a penny earned.”
The list of Franklin’s ideas and accomplishments goes on and on, and this only scratches the surface:
By age 42, Franklin’s inventive, industrious nature had brought him from rags-to-riches, enabling him to retire from business and devote his next four decades to the revolutionary politics for which we know him best.
Franklin’s 13 Virtues
As we’ve seen, Franklin overcame many obstacles at a young age. And when he was just 20, in 1726, Franklin took what he had already learned from adversity and developed a method to improve his character by what he called “13 Virtues.” It was something he worked on for the rest of his life. His idea was to focus on only one virtue each week, “leaving all others to their ordinary chance.”
His autobiography lists his 13 virtues as:
Franklin admitted that he fell short of these virtues many times, but believed that sincerely trying his best made him a better man, and contributed to his success and happiness. In his autobiography, he devoted more pages to the 13 Virtues than to anything else; in fact, he wrote, “I hope, therefore, that some of my descendants may follow the example and reap the benefit.”
We are all, in a sense, “descendants” of the great Founding Father, Ben Franklin. So by all means, take these virtues to heart, “follow the example and reap the benefit!
Today’s story shared from the following website: http://www.learningliftoff.com/overcoming-obstacles-ben-franklin/#.WTm0C8bMxBw
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“With the Election coming up, I suggest that as a nation we fast for our country. Try to fast at anytime that you can on this day. If you can’t on this day, do so on another day. Fast for inspiration on who to vote for. Fast for Peace. If for whatever reason you can’t fast, just pray. Invite everyone.
If you don’t know how to fast this is how I fast: Start with a prayer. Prayerfully abstain from food and water for two meals. End with a prayer.”
15 And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do?
17 And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.
I learned in heaven that God is the same – He never changes. How can you change perfection? Why would you want to? God has helped His children throughout all ages! He continues to help us today as we turn to Him and request His help (And do our part)! I hope you will join with Sarah, others and myself in prayer and fasting on November 6th!
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