The Instructions for life – Dalai Lama

I saw a meme the other day which said "You don't have to attend every argument you are invited to" and it really struck a chord with me. This was a new concept and I had never thought about it that way before. I have always felt compelled to respond, react and meet people where they are - like it is some type of unevolved and instinctual defence mechanism. However, I have never been very good with conflict, I avoid it like the plague. So this idea, that I actually don't even need to attend arguments at all, sounds amazing to me. It gives me the choice and not a default response - with a predictable ending. Me having anxiety.

Change and taxes, they say, are the only two constants of life. We all embrace and resist different changes that come up in our lives depending on our individual fears. Some people love to travel, some don't. Some like to participate in high-risk sports some don't. Our attitudes toward fear don't make us any better or worse than the next person they are merely a sum total of our life experiences and conditioning.I remember a time when I thought the only way to live was by having a 9-5 office job where I knew what the salary would be each week, could climb some type of corporate ladder and plan out every day, week, month even year of my life accordingly. At the time I felt an element of safety in that, even though the daily grind was just that

Spending time alone is nourishment for your soul. Taking time to sit back, think and reflect on your experiences is crucial in getting to know your own mind and coping with the compounding feelings that life serves us every day. I find consistent outside influence so detrimental to my inner peace, and mental health, that it causes me real discomfort at times. Once I start to notice that I feel crowded and need space I can feel myself growing resistance to anyone and anything I feel restricted by. When it gets to this point spending time alone is no longer desired, it is required.

It's easy to let ego get in the way sometimes.It's easy to let "right and wrong" get in the way sometimes.It's easy to allow your emotions to sit squarely in the drivers seat sometimes. What isn't easy to do is to build great friendships with people you choose to love and care about. Like romantic relationships, friendships require energy, love and consistency in order to flourish. Friends are also mere humans, like us, who make mistakes, get busy and sometimes they need space too. Sometimes your friends could use a little care, grace, understanding and kindness from you. Great friends are one of life's spectacular gifts.Take special care of them.

This is an interesting one. Learn the rules. Break them. Do it properly. This is a process that I think we all naturally participate in, through every stage of life. From the time we take our first breath we start learning rules, habits, traditions, laws, whatever you want to call "the rules". We walk around, hands outstretched trying to locate the boundaries. Sometimes the boundaries aren't really acceptable to us, so we push further. Tweens and teens seem to have the highest ability to locate the area just on the other side of your boundary fence, it's like a special git they receive once leaving primary school and transitioning into intermediate school.

This has been one of the most consistent messages in my life. I have fought and fought to make things work that were just never meant to. Showing a great amount of persistence, sure, but wasting so much good energy and denying myself happiness in the process. There have been people in my life who would praise me banging my head (figuratively, not literally) against a wall. Praising me for really giving things my all and not "giving up". As if realizing that something isn't working, and making changes, is some kind of cop-out or weakness. I know now that this place of understanding and change is exactly where your strength and power is and once you start using it to design your life the way you choose, there is no going back to old patterns. I have come to learn that consistent struggling is not the way we need to experience life. In fact, this is to be avoided at all costs. When something isn't working or doesn't feel right then it probably isn't and it's time to move along. Remaining attached for attachment's sake is unhealthy and will eat away at your inner peace. In years gone past I have experienced FOMO (Fear of missing out) like you wouldn't believe. I could feel distraught about missing out on things I didn't even really want to have, or do. Crazy right.

To me, respect means boundaries. Both setting them for myself and acknowledging other people's. Respect means not overstepping into an area where I am making myself or anyone else feel uncomfortable. It has taken me a very long time to learn the true value of respect and I still trip up on it at times. As a child, I was taught that respect was demanded of you by someone else, usually someone in an authoritative position and that I had no choice but to give it. Respect meant doing what I was told and not questioning it even if it made me uncomfortable, upset or totally went against what I felt comfortable within myself. I realize now that this is not what respect is. No one can demand to overstep your boundaries nor should you expect to trample inside of someone else's.