We all have people in our lives who seemingly know how to push our buttons—they are somehow able to get under our skin and threaten our peace and happiness. There may also be circumstances that invariably make us tense or irritable. Rather than denying that this is happening or resigning ourselves to these unpleasant feelings, we can use a variety of tools and perspectives to help us identify these conditions and address them. We can also make ourselves less susceptible to being impacted by these conditions. We can build a foundation of serenity through practices that stabilize our emotional reactions and make us aware of how we interact with the world. We can also be proactive about the elements in our lives to which we consistently have negative reactions. Finally, we can look inside ourselves and try to truly understand why we react the way we do and use that knowledge to mitigate our negative emotions.
Life is full of transitions. Some are big, life-altering changes, others are small changes in habits or activities, but transitions happen all the time. The more you’re conscious of them, the more intentional you can be. Try to notice any changes in your routine and ask yourself if they are intentional or just convenient. If you can be intentional about the little transitions, the decisions about big transitions will be easier to make.
How do you approach big life decisions?
Some of these may seem overwhelming and carry repercussions that can have impacts for years to come. You may obsess and worry over them and struggle mightily to come up with the “correct” choice. But ultimately, there is no incorrect choice, as everything you experience becomes part of your story and gives you insights into your journey and your path. Something positive comes from every decision you make—you just have to be open to it and allow it to become part of your experience. Regrets can also be part of a decision, but they are also part of the experience and can result in positive outcomes.
I’ve always loved the symbolism of wings. To me, there are many attributes of spreading wings that have analogies in our lives. Starting with making the transition from dependent children to independent people. As children grow up, they spread their wings a little more each time they have a new experience. Unlike birds, however, we humans don’t leave the nest in one dramatic leap of faith, but in many little ones throughout our lives.
Still, wings and flight have always held a special place for many people. Our desire to fly, literally and figuratively, is ingrained in the human experience and highlights our adventurous spirit. Our adventures can be literal forays into the unexplored, or they can be adventures within ourselves as we spread our wings internally and take flight to explore our personal landscapes. But we all need to understand how and when to spread our wings and fly toward the lives we are meant to live.
As we move through our lives, most of us are working to make our lives better: happier, healthier, and more meaningful. We may work on these elements consistently, or we may follow fads and have multiple false starts along the way. In the midst of our busy lives, it can be quite challenging to pay attention to what is needed to achieve our most basic goals in life. But without accomplishing these goals, we are considerably less likely to achieve our more lofty ones. How many of us pay attention to the foundation needed to work on those basic goals—the elemental pieces of a happier, healthier, more meaningful life? It’s not complicated—eat right and exercise, get plenty of sleep, keep your stress level down—but it is onerous. It takes discipline, proactivity, an open mind, and consistency. We have to be intentional about our foundations or they will not happen. Although everyone’s foundation may be slightly different, we all have basic requirements that include sleep, nutrition, exercise, and mental/emotional health. Many would also add spirituality to this list. But whatever our foundation consists of, it’s important to be specific and intentional and follow through on our goals for each of these elements.