Lesson #14: You Look Better When You Smile

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“Smile though your heart is aching,

Smile even though it’s breaking”

Charlie Chaplin

I love the song Smile by Charlie Chaplin.  My favorite version of the song is when Janelle Monae covered the song.  You can be having the worst day of your life, but smiling can help you improve your mood and make you look better. It may not change the circumstances that you are going through, but it can give you a glimmer of hope that things will be alright.

 

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Create a New Normal by Tasha Richardson

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Picture Change New NormalHave you ever wondered why it seems like you keep facing the same problems or struggles over and over again?  You managed to change your life, your outlook, or at least accomplish some goal that you’d wanted, and you were sure that this time–this umpteenth time–everything would stick, allowing you to move on to bigger and better successes.  This was until, with utter disappointment, dismay, and defeat, you found that those changes you made disappeared as quickly as roaches do when the lights are turned on.

The notion of change is so seductive and exciting, especially when you finally feel empowered enough to want to pursue it.  It tantalizes us into believing that once we capture it–it is ours forever.  How can we avoid the trappings of ‘change’s’ siren song?  How can we create true and lasting change?

Food for Thought

Realize that you (and everything else around you) are always in a state of evolution and flux. Accept the fact that the only change that is permanent is change itself.  Elizabeth Gilbert best describes the relationship between change and motion.  She states, Change is all about motion, motion is all about uncertainty and we are deeply uncomfortable with uncertainty.”  In addition to our discomfort with change, many of us become complacent after we do manage to ‘change’ and reach our vision of success.  For example, those of us who finally lose the weight we’ve been carrying around feel so good about that feat that we end up getting comfortable, thereby slipping back into the bad habits that allowed us to be overweight in the first place.

Create a New Normal. What is the new normal that you MUST accept in order to continue to have the quality of life that you’ve worked so hard to create?  Part of creating that new normal is shedding old defeating beliefs about yourself and the world around you.  Your new normal becomes your non-negotiable.  For example, in November 2011 Tanika and I became vegan, gluten-free, and caffeine-free.  In order for our change to have been sustainable over the last 3.5 years, we had to sever our connection and emotional affiliation to what it meant to eat meat, animal products, etc. and wholeheartedly create the new normal where meat, animal products, chocolate, and coffee no longer fit.  One way to do this is to actively replace those things you give up with something else that fits with your new vision of yourself, all the while realizing that this is something that you must do continually.  To do this requires making a series of adjustments.

Be grateful for all of your failures. It really is like Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”  Gratitude for failure allows you to appreciate process and have compassion toward life and the many lessons it seeks to teach you.

“Do the Next Right Thing.” One slip up does not have to define you.  You have the power to choose and to choose those things that will elevate you at any given moment.  For more information about this concept, check out Matthew Kelly’s great book called Perfectly Yourself and Brian Johnson’s Philosopher’s Notes and video summary.  Doing the next right thing allows you to be unbothered and to reframe failure as a temporary state.

Be Courageous. It takes courage and resilience to look at defeat and failure and still make those necessary changes toward embracing the life that you want to have.

What steps did it take for you to create a new normal?  What are some barriers you are facing now when it comes to living in the life you want?  We would love to hear from you.

Best wishes on your journey–and remember to do you!

When…? by Tasha Richardson

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“The graveyard is the richest place on earth, because it is here that you will find all the hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled, the books that were never written, the songs that were never sung, the inventions that were never shared, the cures that were never discovered, all because someone was too afraid to take that first step, keep with the problem, or determined to carry our their dream.” Les Brown

When will you give yourself permission to step into the life and the greatness that exists within?  It is time to let go of excuses–enough is enough.  Today, what is the song, dream, or desire that is burning in your heart that you’ve postponed or stifled because you have been waiting for someone or something to give you a yes?  We’ve been given this gift called life so that our unique gifts and talents could live.  There is no time like now to act…begin where you are!  If you need some tips on how to begin to live boidly, unabashedly, and unapologetically see the links below:

  1. How to Stop Waiting for Permission
  2. Live Your Life Outloud: 30 Ways to Get Started
  3. How to Live an Apology Free Life

You can start living now and gracing us all with your gifts and talents because you are worth it!  In the comment box below, let us know what actions you are currently taking to  have the life you want!  Let us know the moment you stopped asking yourself when or why and seized the opportunity to take immediate action.  Best of luck on your journey today!  Let the words of Marianne Williamson touch you where you need to be touched:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

 

Introduction: Lessons I’ve Learned Series by Tanika Richardson

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Greetings and thanks!

If you are reading this blog, I want to first say thank you for your support. It has been such a pleasure to prepare this work for you. Throughout my life, I have learned countless lessons about myself and about life that have assisted me in becoming a better person. It is my hope to include a mere 365 of those lessons on this blog. Since 2011, I have been jotting down some of these lessons that have helped me transform my thinking and encouraged me when I’m faced with a challenge.

My hope and prayer for this series is that I can share 365 testimonials of my ups and downs in order to inspire you to make positive changes in your life as well. I am by no means perfect but I strive to be better everyday. I wrote these lessons for you, as well as for myself, as a reminder that we can learn, grow, and become our best selves.

I wish you all much success on your journeys of self-improvement. I hope I can assist you along the way.

Peace and Blessings.

Love always,

Tanika Monique

Always & Forever

Forever & Always