7(8) Cardinal Rules for Life

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I, like most have failed every New Years resolution I have ever attempted. Most of the time it was pretty common stuff. Such as eat healthier, exercise more, cut back on the caffeine, floss more, stop swearing. I know……. who can do that!? This year I made the resolution to stop setting myself up for failure, and not make a resolution. Of course, that is perfect. If you don’t make a resolution you can’t fail!! Well!! Hi, I’m Sarah, and I failed at not having a resolution. As I aimlessly scrolled through Pinterest I came across these 7 cardinal rules for life and they really hit me in the gut! Like “YES” if every human could live by these rules this planet would be so much more peaceful and satisfying. So not only did I fail to keep my resolution, I took on 7 and added an 8th rule of my own. Way to go me!! I thought I would write a little bit about each rule from my perception and belief systems. I am in no way an expert or professional. I just really resonate with this stuff and want to share it with you.

1. Make peace with your past so it doesn’t disturb your future.

So we have all heard this before but have we really done it? We have heard all the clichés. Your past doesn’t define you, don’t ruin a good today by thinking of a bad yesterday, yesterday is history tomorrow’s a mystery.  Cliché maybe, but I love clichés. Because not only are they true, but for me so many of them make you really think and can bring you to a place of acceptance. Acceptance is truly what we are talking about with this rule. Our lives are made up of many events, good, bad and ugly. These events made us who we are today. Some choose to take those events and look for the good in all of them. Some not so much by dwelling and holding on to the negative emotion that is associated with the event. I truly believe that everything that happens to us is for us. I believe that every moment is made up of lessons to teach us what we need to learn. It might be that we have past trauma to let go of, or we hold grudges, or we have false beliefs about ourselves that we need to heal to know our true selves. Whatever our lesson is, it will keep showing up in our experience until we learn it. That is why some people keep changing their environment with the idea it will make them happy. But the truth is you bring yourself with you. Same faces different places. Making peace with your past will set you free.

2. What other people think of you is none of your business.

I have to admit, this has always been a struggle in my life. I’m 36 and I think I have finally come to a place that this has sunk in. I work on it everyday. It is so liberating to truly not give a flying you know what about another persons opinion of you. Of course we all love and want praise and positive feedback about ourselves, that’s normal. The difference is I like it, I want it, but I don’t need it. Have you ever heard “Your perception of me is a reflection of you?” Anytime someone has a negative opinion of you it is a direct reflection about how they feel about themselves. They are projecting onto you their insecurities. This is a difficult theory to get behind and that’s why I think so many people seek acceptance from outside themselves. This also goes back to lessons. When someone is getting under your skin or says something that hurts your feelings this is a perfect occasion to stop and look at what it is that triggered you to feel hurt. The hater is actually doing you a service by acting in this way. It’s opening up an opportunity for you to learn why what they are saying or doing is getting to you? Do you need to reevaluate a belief about yourself or something else? Do you have trouble with forgiveness or holding on to negativity energy? Do you have your own internal negative self talk? The lessons could be endless. If you can look at the hater as your teacher instead of your enemy you would feel so much lighter and free. This doesn’t mean you’re a push over. It means you care to much about your wellbeing and happiness to let a troll take it away. Also remind yourself that when someone makes you suffer it’s because they are suffering themselves and it’s overflowing onto you. They don’t need hate they need help. It has nothing to do with you.

3. Time heals almost everything.

This may sound pretty self explanatory and it pretty much is. The way I’m diving a little bit deeper with it is to look at where I was 10, 5, even 1 year ago and the things that seemed so “end of the world” are nothing but distant memories. Obviously the healing time differs for every person and every event and how the person chooses to look at the event but time really can lessen the pain and eventually heal. I know you will never “get over” the tragic death of a loved one, a painful divorce, a traumatic experience such as sexual, physical or mental abuse. I do however believe with time and willingness a person can heal from these traumas. When I’m feeling stressed, down, or I’m faced with a hard situation, I have been trying to tell myself that everything always works out. Don’t confuse a season for a lifetime, you will not be in this situation forever, you will not always feel this way. Think of the good in every situation. (Yes, there is always a good) If you can’t think of one think of what it’s trying to teach you.

4. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

This may be my favorite rule. It is human nature to place blame.

“Well if they were like this or that then I wouldn’t be as stressed.”

“If my boss gave me more appreciation I would like my job.”

“If my kids would just always do what I say I wouldn’t be such a lunatic.”

“If I only had more money I would be happy.”

I could go on and on writing about ways we place blame on others or lack of material things for the reasons we aren’t happy. The truth is we get what we give. When we are constantly in a state of blame, anger, jealousy, or fear. We are attracting more of that into our experience. I have recently come to a place where I realized I am 100% in charge of my happiness. Nothing and nobody can give that to me but me. Of course we experience happiness with others and become happy when we get a new material thing that we have been wanting, but these things are completely temporary. Once we manifest what we want in our lives we will always want something else or more to build on it. We are ever expanding creatures who’s creating never ends. What I am working on doing is getting excited about the journey about the everyday experiences that are there to surprise and teach me. Something I always go back to is this quote I read by Marianne Williamson. “Ego says “Once everything falls into place, I’ll feel Peace.” Spirit says “Once I feel peace, everything will fall into place.” I believe this with everything I am. You can always, without exception find the good, a silver lining. You can choose happiness. You can’t control your environment all the time but you can choose how you decide to react and respond. You can choose peace.

5. Don’t compare your life to others and don’t judge them. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

So this has a 2 part rule. Comparing yourself to another is one of the most counter productive things you can do. Every person on earth is exactly where they are supposed to be on their journey. You have had a lifetime of experiences to get you to where you are. This is something we should look at like a badge of honor. We should be proud of where we are in every moment. When we compare ourselves to another we are saying we are not enough. We are all enough and we all deserve all the abundance the universe has for us. If we could look at the people that have more than we have, or that have a life we think we want and really truly try to be genuinely happy for them, it would change our whole outlook. Also the people that we envy more then likely have their own list of struggles they are suffering with. They may very well be looking at you saying “Wow! They seem to always have it all together.” I have been a hairstylist for 17 years and have come into contact with people from all walks of life. The one thing they all have in common is that they all want to feel good about themselves. Everything we do or want is because we believe we will feel better in having it. The truth is, if we can feel good even in the absence of what we are wanting we have really figured it out.

The other half of this rule is also difficult for most of us to follow. I think we all have a judgmental side to us. When we see someone acting in a way that we consider inappropriate, or looking a way that isn’t pleasant to our eyes, or having something we don’t that we wish we had. It’s easy to go straight to thinking, look at that train wreck, or what a mess! Didn’t they look in the mirror? or they must have been born into money, or sell drugs. The truth is we have no idea what any other human is going through or what they have been through. If we could look at every human through kind eyes no matter what, we could get to a place that more kindness would come back into our experience. We have all been in a situation where we have judged a book by its cover and found out we were so wrong. This also goes back to projecting our own insecurities onto someone else. Maybe ask yourself, what is it about me that this person is triggering that is bringing out this unkind judgment. Just be kind. It really is that simple.

6. Stop thinking so much.

Ahhhhhhh!!! Over thinking!!!!! We all do it. This is where meditation has been a major tool for me. We think about the past and fear replicating bad experiences. Ego keeps us stuck in that place of fear and tries to protect us by overthinking and holding us back from doing things that we may want to do. Living in the past keeps us stuck. We can’t grow if we keep looking back. The same is true with obsessing about the future. This is how one suffers with anxiety. We have no control what has happened in the past or what will happen ahead of us. The only real moment we have is right now. Living in the moment is really the best way to live. Being mindful and grateful of every breath we take cause we can’t get the last one back and the next one has yet to come. Don’t ruin a good today by worrying about a bad yesterday. Let it go!

7. Smile! You don’t own all the problems in the world.

I know this is a bit hard for those of you with resting bitch face, but try!! No, in all seriousness, forcing yourself to smile can reduce stress and change your mood drastically. When I find something effecting my emotions or I start to feel the need to control a situation, I ask myself this question first. Is this mine? If the answer is yes, I ask. Is it true? If it’s true, I ask. Is the solution with in my control? If not then I have no other choice then to try and let it go and trust that it will work out exactly how it’s supposed to. We take on stresses that aren’t ours to take on. Not only on a personal level but on a global level as well. I stopped watching the news and reading news articles years ago because I noticed how much it was effecting my mood in a negative way. I have made the decision to make my happiness and emotional wellbeing my #1 priority. Anything that interferes with that has to be let go. The Alcoholics Anonymous program has the saying “Let go and let god.” I believe every human on earth can benefit from this saying. We can not control anyone or anything other then ourselves. The more we try the more disappointed we will become. Expectation is the root of all heart ache. If we have no set in stone expectations and can just go with the flow we will never be disappointed.

8. Stop being so hard on yourself.

This is the 8th rule I added. In my opinion it’s the most important. Although all these rules will change the way you view everything and improve your life immensely. No human will be perfect at all of them all of the time. If you can, I applaud you and you must be the most enlightened saint on the planet. When we make mistakes or disappoint ourselves we have to let it go and start over without judgment. I look at these rules like a practice. I will never finish perfecting it and it will never be perfect. We are perfectly imperfect beings and thats exactly how it’s supposed to be. As long as we are doing our best we can’t ask ourselves for anything more. Our best is always going to be different! Our best is going to be dependent on the time, the day, the environment, our health,etc. The important thing is we recognize where we are and honor that. Self love should be our #1 priority. Negative self talk and core beliefs that we have about ourselves need to be let go. It’s like the old saying, “if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say it at all.” We should be applying this to ourselves. If I asked you what are all the things you love? How long would it take you to name yourself? Hmmmmmmm? That one got me when I first heard it too. Your answer should be 1st. Be gentle with yourself. Honor the light inside you. Get comfortable in your skin. There is nobody like you. You are here for a purpose. You are a beautiful soul.

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