When we see someone hurting themselves by their choices, we want to help them for their own good. This instinct is, of course, an excellent one. To be a place where they can share in safety, or to offer suggestions of things that might help them, are wonderful kind things to do for a friend or loved one.
But the truth is that, as humans, we often need to make our own mistakes before we know better. No matter how “right” we are, or how “wrong” someone else is, we can’t control them.
Once we realize that we cannot make them take our advice, no matter how good it is, we can leave them in peace to make their own way in the world. What we can do is trust that they are exactly where they need to be right now, and let them go with love.
Today’s Meditation: What lessons have I learned from past mistakes?
Today’s Action: I will list the steps I can take to let others make their own mistakes safely.
Being content may sound like choosing second best.
We may strive to be happy and to see the best in everything, but sometimes even our best decisions don’t help us be happy, and sometimes the death of a loved one or the ending of a relationship, even the loss of some object that we valued, makes us sad.
Contentment may seem a quiet thing, something that comes along on us without our knowledge, but in reality, it too is something for which we can strive. If we are content within ourselves, we can carry on and push through temporary hurt or failure. So how do we get contentment in our lives?
One way is through acknowledging things for which we can be thankful. We tend to forget how much we have, and remembering these can help us. Another source of contentment is to do worthwhile things, to know that we have done something as well as we could, or that we have helped someone or been or service to them.
Today’s Meditation: Contentment requires balance.
Today’s Action: Today I will make a list of things that are right with the world and with me.
You are unique, no one has your set of life experiences, feelings, and genetics. At the same time, you are just the same as everyone else, especially those who share your geographical and cultural heritage.
To the casual observer, your life will look the same as countless other people who share your gender and general physical makeup. From inside, however, your own experiences will have created a world that is different from anyone else’s.
This is a great concept we need to remember. We don’t have an objective reality, and the world we live in is experienced through the filter of our own experiences and assumptions.
We all live in our own universe, at the same time as being in the world of others.
Today’s Meditation: In my quiet time I will consider the things that make me uniquely the same as everyone else.
Today’s Action: I will not be afraid to show my unique qualities today, while also acknowledging the uniqueness of others.
It is true that external events can influence how happy we are. However, it is always up to us to decide how the event will affect us internally.
When we recognize that we are powerless over many of the externals in our life, we are free of the guilt that things are not going according to plan. When we acknowledge that we cannot control or change the people in our lives, we can live our own life, rather than try to fit into someone else’s.
What we can control is how we react to the events and people around us. We can choose to be happy.
Today’s Meditation: Today I will reflect on the things that stop me being happy, and consider if they are in my control, or external to me.
Today’s Action: I will decide to be happy by leaving behind the things I cannot alter, and taking action on the things that I can.
It’s easy for us to dwell on the past, rather than live in the present.
We may think of happy times and want to live again in those simpler, long gone days. Or the memories are sad or painful ones. We may think about someone who abused us, or occasions when we hurt others. We wonder what we could have done or said to avoid the hurt, or what we did to provoke the abuse.
We need to realize these things happened in a different time and to other people; the past is, indeed, a foreign country in that sense.
But we should not try to expunge the past either. Memories of past mistakes can help us grow into better people today. When times are hard, we can use the happy memories of the past to encourage us that things can get better.
Today’s Meditation: Are there parts of the past that I am trying to live today?
Today’s Action: I will list ten ways that I am different from the me I remember in the past.
We have to assume that tomorrow the sun will rise, that electricity will work when we turn it on, and that water will flow downhill. These are assumptions, but they are reasonable ones because the alternative would be a paralysis of indecision.
But there are the assumptions we make about ourselves and others, and these can lead to difficulties.
We met a stranger and based on the flimsiest of information, made assumptions about their character and who they are. To some extent this is inevitable, we have a human need to categorize people that we meet as friend or foe, colleague or adversary, supporter or detractor.
But it is important to remember that this is just an assumption, not fact. We have to be able to change that assumption as more is known, to give ourselves the opportunity to learn how our assumption may be wrong.
Today’s Meditation: What am I assuming I know, without even realizing it is an assumption?
Today’s Action: Today I will not take for granted that I know the answer to everything, but will test at least one assumption I have made.
Sometimes we focus too much on what we can’t do. We look at others doing this job or living that lifestyle, and we wish we were able to do that.
But we are all, in our own individual ways, able to do things that others are not; we all have our abilities. When we build a robot, we give it the ability it needs for the job it is made to do, and nothing else. But we humans are created differently. We are not built for just one particular task, but rather to find our way through life meeting the challenges of the day as they come. We all, without exception, have unique abilities.
Some people have an outstanding ability in a particular subject, and they excel in this area to the astonishment of all around them. But for most of us, our abilities are more modest but nonetheless significant. We may or may not be geniuses, but we all have unique abilities.
Today’s Meditation: Do I underplay my abilities by comparing myself to others?
Today’s Action: Today I will understand that I can do the thing right in front of me. I may not do it in the same way as anyone else, but I will do it my way.