Pride. A father proud of his son.

Pride

Do you feel good about yourself?

Are you satisfied with what you’ve accomplished in life? Do you think or talk about it a lot?

Pride is a double-edged sword. It has historically been considered an undesirable trait, while humility has been considered a virtue. The “sin of pride” is one of the seven deadly sins. However, in this context, pride is a relative term—we would have to feel we’re better than other people. It could also be interpreted as arrogance, which takes that superior feeling one step further—to acting superior or saying that we’re superior.

Pride can also have positive connotations. The positive feelings that come from knowing we did something well or achieved something are part of our motivation for doing those things. Pride gives us confidence. It can be the foundation for our belief in ourselves and our ability.

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Beginnings. Young woman sitting and looking through window

Beginnings

Have you ever found yourself going down a path that you know isn’t right?

We may feel we’re stuck on that path, that the events that led us here will lead us relentlessly in the same direction.

We may feel that we’ve messed up, or dropped the ball, and that we can’t escape the consequences.

I’ve had several times in my life when I knew (or later realized) that I was on the wrong path—that I had done, or was still doing, something stupid (smoking, staying in unhealthy relationships, making poor choices). But I was shortsighted or pigheaded or oblivious—or a combination of the three.

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Sad girl in bed, backlit scene.

Acceptance

It is what it is.

As we journey through our lives, certain people, events, and conditions will come and go, sometimes when we really don’t want them to. Some of these we will have influence over, and some we won’t.

Some of these things are relatively minor. Catching a cold, having a fender bender, having a game rained out—these are things most of us can roll with without too much agita. But each of us, at some time or another, will also face the big things: divorce, losing a job, death. These things are harder to accept quickly, nor should we try to.

In any case, a better sense of how we handle adversity can take away some of the stress associated with our negative responses to those events, big or small.

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Woman driving a convertible car at the beach.

Drive

Who’s in the driver’s seat?

Who (or what) drives our actions, decisions, and thoughts?

Some people go through their lives firmly in the driver’s seat. They know what they want and they do what it takes to get there. But even the most self-assured people have others who guide them, advise them, or otherwise influence them. They may be in the driver’s seat, but there is usually someone else in the car with them.

On the other extreme are people who are just along for the ride. Someone else is (or a series of people are) in the driver’s seat, and they may not even know where the car is going. These people might lack the confidence to make their own decisions or may be susceptible to manipulation or control. They are drawn to others who have strong visions even if they don’t share them, because the others provide them with a sense of direction, which they would otherwise lack. Although there is nothing inherently wrong with this—some people are just naturally more comfortable in a supportive role—it is important for us to move our lives in ways that we understand and approve of. Even if someone else is driving, we should be aware of the route and destination.

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Ticket. A Woman holding her passport and ticket while standing in an airport.

Ticket

For me, one of the most interesting times in life is buying a plane ticket. Seems pretty straightforward, but to me that’s an exciting moment—one filled with the promise of adventure.

When buying plane tickets, many people buy the nonrefundable kind because they’re cheaper. When we click that button, we’re making a commitment to the trip and all it entails. We’re taking a leap of faith. We have faith that our seat will be there, that the plane will get us where we’re going, that the 1,001 arrangements we made will pan out. Maybe it’s commitment to having a good time or to achieving a goal.

In all of our lives, we don’t personally handle all the details. In the simplest transactions, we take many things on faith. When we do something as basic as buying milk, we assume that it was properly handled, that it was processed correctly, that the date stamp is right. We don’t check each of these things. We are making a leap of faith, and we are leaping every day.

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