Here are 21 ways to lead a resilient life:
1. Set healthy boundaries that work for you and not everyone else. Put this phrase at the top of your healthy, self-loving boundary setting list: “That doesn’t work for me.” If others don’t understand your boundaries, so what? You are not creating them for anyone but you. You do not owe anyone an explanation of why your boundaries make sense for you. Simply say, “That doesn’t work for me.”
2. Delete internal junk I don’t know about you, but for me, growing up meant hearing a lot of other people’s interpretations of who I was, what I looked like and what I would become or never be. Whether from your parents, the playground, ex-boyfriends, bosses or friends that turned out to be enemies, the junk you still carry with you is harming you and contributing to your negative inner self dialogue. Delete. Delete. Delete!
3. Be a guest in your own home. Coming home is an event for me. After a long day I want to enter into a space that welcomes me just as much as it does those who come over to visit me. I am sure to treat myself like a guest often in terms of setting out nice appetizers or imported cheese and Greek olives on creative-looking pieces of granite or marble, pour some wine, light candles and make myself a meal fit for a VIP guest. Why wait for someone else to come over to enjoy a special night? Do it for YOU!
4. Kick fear to the curb. Fear is the biggest thief of dreams, purpose and passion there is. The kicker? It isn’t even real fear, but imagined fear 99 percent of the time. Healthy fear when it comes to real danger is good. But fear about whether or not you are going to break down or be embarrassed if you go to a movie alone, start a business, enter into a relationship or what to wear to a party or a high school reunion because you fear failure or being judged or even fear success… those are all just excuses disguised as fear.
5. Do something no one would ever expect from you, not even you. Along the lines of kicking fear to the curb, kick the proverbial box you have been living in out with it. I don’t say “think outside the box,” I say LIVE outside the box! Live an unexpected life. You don’t have to bungee jump off a 200-foot high bridge, but maybe take an art class, a salsa dancing class, join Match.com, run a 5K, do the MUD run, take a boxing class or even take a stripper pole exercise class! Yes, you heard me– stripper pole!
6. Be a kid again. So many of us get stuck in our adult life and forget everything we loved when we were kids. For me, my favorite doll was Derry Daring. She was clad in pink pleather and rode a white motorcycle. I would rev up the wheels and let her rip across the back patio at the house on Big Rock Road. I loved motorcycles then, and for so many years I never touched one. Finally, I decided to hold a charity event, Ride to STOP Violence, and got back to what I loved as a kid.
What was something you did back when you were a kid that you loved and have not done in years? Yes, that thing… now go be a kid again with no regrets!
7. Stop playing the shame game. Shame is based on the PAST and will hang around as long as you hang on to the past in a negative way. It will also run like hell the second you begin to love yourself and love everything about who you are RIGHT NOW! The past can drag you down and paralyze you, or it can catapult you forward. It is your choice. Don’t believe the lie that the past is who you are and give shame the boot for good.
8. DIVE IN! — literally, into a pool, the ocean, a lake. Water is a healing element. Adult women’s bodies are 55 percent water. We not only need it to survive physically, we need it to maintain a healthy spiritual and emotional balance in our lives. For centuries, water has been used as a healing therapy in spas, at hot springs and in baptismal ceremonies. It is calming, refreshing and rejuvenating. Take the time on a regular basis to submerge yourself in a body of water. Allow it to calm and relax you and re-energize your spirit.
9. Dish it out. Feeding others in need feeds the soul. My daughter grew up witnessing me hand out food to homeless people as often as I could. We even organized a New Year’s Day “Feed the Homeless” event complete with pizza, salad, drinks and plenty of conversation. The pleasure and blessings were ours for sure. Giving to others must be the foundation of life.
10. Stop listening to the broken record of your life. When someone tells me “Don’t ever look back,” I want to tell them to wake up! That is impossible unless I am in a Tom Cruise-type movie having my memory wiped out to become a drone. Looking back is imperative to living a resilient life because that is how we celebrate how far we have come and learn from our unconscious choices. What about remembering the wonderful and simple things of the past? If we NEVER look back, we lose them all. If you are looking back and learning, growing… great. If you are stuck in the past and living there, get help getting unstuck so you can live a resilient life from this day forward.
11. Laugh out loud. After my daughter and I survived a home invasion kidnapping and hostage ordeal, our therapist suggested we only watch comedies for 30 days. That was some of the best advice I have ever received when it comes to overcoming adversity and violent trauma. We laughed so hard we cried sometimes and learned that nothing can take joy and laughter away unless you allow them to. It really is one of the best prescriptions for healing there is. Laugh your way to resiliency!
12. Tend to your financial, emotional, and spiritual garden. People who love to garden know that in the beginning when we plant a garden, we get excited watching it sprout. We water it and we watch it grow. Suddenly, we see a weed popping up, threatening the life of our plant and all it can produce. There is no difference when it comes to the gardens in life we cultivate in the spiritual, emotional and financial sense. When you see, feel or become aware of something negative that has the potential to harm you, your well-being, your peace of mind, your spiritual growth or your financial success, do you ignore it and allow it to destroy all the hard work it took to establish the garden in the first place? No. Be sure to get rid of the “weeds” in your life, pronto!
13. Make time for your inner circle. I have so many people in my life that I know. Some I know well and some I know on a surface level only. But most are on the periphery of my circle of friends or acquaintances. My inner circle is a very short list. These are the people we trust with every secret, every flaw, every confession, every heartbreak and every brilliant success-driven celebration. These are the people that fill our tank with acceptance and that is one ingredient you must have for resiliency to flourish.
14. Connect to something greater in the universe. I believe that all branches of spirituality or even religion have the same trunk of the universal tree of life. In order to tap into your resilient spirit, try tapping into those roots, the deeper meaning to life and why you are here in this world right now. There is a deeper meaning, that is for sure. But it may never be revealed to you if you don’t take time to connect to it by asking these questions frequently in order to remain clear on your divinely guided direction during prayer and meditation: “What is my purpose and who am I meant to be or become?” Seek only an answer, not an explanation, and then take action.
15. Notice something perfect every day. I dated a guy once who, after six months, began showing signs of being a close relative to Eeyore. “Oh bother,” became the normal-sounding answer when I asked him how his day was. His response to asking how his day was: “It was alright. Nothing special.” NOTHING SPECIAL? Really? I was in disbelief. If you want to live a resilient life, seriously ditch the Eeyore attitude, wake up and look around and be a witness to the theater of life. Listen to the orchestra of life and discover something so perfect that it leaves you in awe and gratitude every day.
16. Think Global! We don’t live in a town with others. We don’t live in a city with others. We don’t even live in a country with others. We live in a WORLD with others. Don’t just settle for getting to know your neighbors. Get to know your global community of others that share this planet we call Earth. See how they live, how they celebrate, how they still smile in the face of the direst circumstances you will ever be humbled by. Our history individually is rich, but how much greater is our history collectively? Get out there and find out.
17. Distance yourself from drama queens and emotional vampires. The movieTwilight is a great way to explain my thoughts on drama. Vampires need to find others and attack them and drink their blood in order to survive. Emotional vampires are exactly the same way. They need to find others to attack emotionally and suck the life out of them or the positive energy out of a room the second they walk in, just to survive. They are so wrapped up and focused on the negative in their life and all that is wrong with it that they can’t even hold a conversation for 10 minutes without starting to gossip about others, turning up the drama volume and talking about how everyone screws them over and playing the total victim. RUN away from them, not towards, an emotional vampire, a.k.a drama queen.
18. Keep it simple. We all have a tendency to over think everything. Many of us, including me, have control issues we have to keep a close eye on. I had to realize that control is an illusion that creates a wall that I couldn’t even climb. I had to discover how to keep things simple even when they seem so complex. If you are confused about anything that is causing you to lose sleep or that is creating anxiety, take a few steps back and a few hours to bring it back to the simplest possible place. Look at it from a softer place. When we do this, not only does the question or situation become simpler, the solution does too.
19. Realize life is not a competition. Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” I agree. I have a great friend who is 6 feet tall, blonde, and could seriously be a Victoria’s Secret model. I’m 5 feet tall and not in the best shape of my life. If I took one second of my time comparing myself to her, it would rob us both of a great friendship and beyond that, it would slowly destroy my self-esteem. I know that what I bring to the table of life is amazing in my own way. There is only one of me out of billions of people. Why compare myself to anyone else when we are all so different, all needed here as much as the next person to make this crazy thing called life work? Enjoy who you are. Cherish what you have to offer to the world and stop comparing yourself in any way (i.e. looks, money, and material possessions) to anyone else.
20. Treat yourself better than you treat your animals. This may sound crazy, but I actually know people who buy their pets’ better food than what they feed themselves and dote on them, loving them more than they love themselves. They get them groomed and make sure they take them to their favorite places, but do they ever do any of that for themselves? Nope. Seriously, if you want to get back to living a life that is more fulfilling, start doting on yourself for a change.
21. Last but certainly not least (didn’t want to scare you with this being my number one) have fun in the bedroom. Sex, contrary to what you may have heard growing up, is NOT dirty or just for procreation. It is supposed to be for pleasure too. I’m not saying go all 50 Shades of Grey in the sac, but have some fun! Get creative and adventurous, laugh and be silly, even, and don’t rule out whipping out the whipped cream can! No partner? No problem. Invest in self-exploration. I understand that religion or past shame may be the initial cause of your sexual shutdown, but why allow that to control your sexual life forever? It is time to heal any unhealthy wounded part of your sexual self and get back to, or even discover for the first time, how to have fun in the bedroom.