1. Forgive yourself for the mistakes you’ve made in the past.
Resentment, be it with others or the self, builds itself into a toxic monster. It can invade our thinking, how we interact with the world, and ultimately, can keep us from achieving true peace. We’re always told to forgive other people when they hurt us – to practice being the bigger person. But this can also be applied to the self. Forgive yourself for things that you’ve done. Forgive yourself for screwing up.
2. Give as often as you receive.
I believe generosity is a learned skill. Some will be born more inclined to it, but there’s a reason we teach kindergartners the importance in sharing. The more you practice it, the easier it will come.
3. Listen. Listen. Listen.
I struggle with talking over people. It’s a terrible habit that I have to actively remind myself to fight against. But it’s so important. We don’t listen to each other nearly enough. Even if we’re not the one talking, we get wrapped up in what we’re thinking or going to say and end up not being as engaged as we should be. In 2017, try to truly listen. Maintain eye contact. Respond accordingly to what the other person said instead of rushing to say something about yourself or your life.
4. Move your body.
If you’re physically able, try to move your body every single day. Exercise isn’t just about losing weight or getting that bullshit ~*~beach body~*~, it’s about health and overall wellness. Get those endorphins going on a regular basis and you’re likely to be a happier, more satisfied person. After all, remember in Legally Blonde when Elle says, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands.”
5. Set aside specific hours to unplug.
I love social media. I love the internet. So many amazing, bizarre opportunities have happened in my life because of it. BUT, it can also drive. you. insane. Instead of refreshing your Twitter timeline incessantly, pick a few hours to do something that allows you to disconnect from online groupthink. Read a book. Go for a walk. Catch up with a friend. Journal. Whatever you enjoy!
6. Be accountable for your actions.
Going back to number 1, yes, I think it’s good to forgive yourself for being imperfect. However, forgiveness doesn’t cancel out accountability. There are consequences to what we do. Take ownership of what you do. It will not only make you a better person, it will also make you a more responsible member of society.
7. Embrace the weird parts of you.
We’re actually all weirdos. We grow up thinking it’s just us and we try to hide away anything that might make us different. But the thing is, EVERYONE has some quirk or bizarre aspect to their personality. I think that weirdness is what makes us interesting. So, don’t shy away from what makes you stand out. Embrace it.
8. Try to learn a new perspective.
This does not mean abandoning what you believe in. This does not mean you have to listen to or validate someone who is demeaning you or your existence. But, there is value in trying to understand where another person is coming from.
9. Give back to your community.
Real talk: if every single person did something good, no matter how small, it would add up immensely. Find a cause you care about and research ways you can help. Maybe it’s donating money, your time, or talents. Are you a social media guru? See if your favorite charity needs someone to help up their online presence. Are you a dope public speaker? Volunteer to emcee at an event. It’s awesome to feel connected to something larger than just you.
10. Be honest in your romantic pursuits.
Are you just looking for casual sex? Boo, go get some. But, you know, be honest about it. Are you not interested in someone romantically? Gently let them down. Don’t just disappear. You should always be honest about your intentions when another person becomes involved.
11. Love without holding back.
I get it. This is hard for a lot of us. It’s natural to want to protect ourselves. We love people. They hurt us. We don’t want that feeling again. So, we build walls. We push. We hide. In all honesty, I don’t know how to fix it other than it’s something you just have to start doing. Eventually it becomes, like anything else, a skill. Loving without reservations is one of the most thrilling things anyone can experience.