Q&A Day 10: What is the Meaning of Life?

So many people search their whole lives to find the place where they belong, only to end up back where they started. Contrary to popular belief, life is what you make of it. It is about putting those things into the world that make who we are. Life has no meaning. Each of us has meaning and we bring it to life. It is a waste of time to be asking the question when you are the answer. Give your life the meaning it deserves.

“Life doesn’t happen to you it happens for you. Life has no limits and it does end with us. You will only ever have two choices in life: Love or Fear. Choose love and don’t ever let fear turn you against your playful heart.” ~Jim Carrey

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Tomorrow’s Question: Q&A DAY 11: DO YOU BELIEVE IN MAGIC?

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Q&A Day 9: What Are Your Regrets?

Regret: the dictionary definition tells us it is “a sense of loss, disappointment or dissatisfaction. I would be lying if I said I don’t have regrets. Unlike most people, though, I don’t let it consume me and causing unneeded stress in my life for making taking my chances on missed opportunities.

I had read an article on Psychology Today by Melanie Greenberg, Ph.D. about the psychological effects regret can have on our well-being. She states, “[It] can have damaging effects on mind and body when it turns into fruitless rumination and self-blame that keeps people from re-engaging with life.”

Although we hear that we should live with no regrets, I suspect we all have a list.  Regrets invade our thoughts, occupy our minds, and keep us thinking about the things we wish we had done differently.

I hear from others who say it is possible to learn something from having regrets. We can learn what causes them and why we have them. We can then take this knowledge and turn it into something worth living for. Regrets are, in a way, little life lessons for how we want to live our lives the best way possible.

Another article on Psychology Today, written by Ira Hyman, Ph.D, talks about what it would mean to live without regrets. Hyman states, “I don’t think it’s possible to live without regrets.  But if you want to feel less regret for your actions (or in-actions), then closure may be the key to lock the gates of your mind against rumination. ”

Regret isn’t necessarily about doing something differently, but more or less not doing something. We, as humans, have a tendency to stress over things we didn’t do in our lives. This can lead to depression and negative self-thought, which can be detrimental to our health and well-being.

As hard as it may seem, we would benefit more from living fully in each moment than wondering what life be like if things had been done differently. We can’t change the past, so we might as well embrace it and do the best we can for the future.

“I’d rather regret the things I’ve done than regret the things I haven’t done.” ~Lucille Ball

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Tomorrow’s Question: Q&A Day 10: What is the Meaning of Life?

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Q&A Day 8: What is Your Biggest ‘What If’?

What if? So much has been wasted on those two words.

What if I had a great childhood? What if I went to college and got a degree? What if I never quit my high paying job to stay home? What kind of person would I be today if my life choices had been different?

Everyone has a ‘what if’ story. Here is mine.

At the end of the day, I am still the same person I have been my whole life; making alternate life decisions wouldn’t change that. Likewise, my ‘what if’ is painfully simple: What if I had been financially responsible? Would I have been able to live comfortably? Maybe bought a house? Retired early and lived out the rest of my days in a foreign land? Possibly all of those things and more. Unfortunately, my life hasn’t turned out quite like the fairy tale ending most people can only hope for.

Even if I did everything in my life “the right way”, I would not be sitting here today and doing exactly what I am doing right now. Certainly, I would know how to make better choices and I would do things a bit differently. However, I am who I am today because of the chances and risks I had taken. It has been a bumpy ride with lots of dead ends, but I wouldn’t do anything differently. I still have many years left on this earth, and still many chances to get my happily ever after.

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.” ~George Eliot

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Tomorrow’s Question: Q&A Day 9: What Are Your Regrets?

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Q&A Day 7: Are You Happy in Life?

The Pursuit of Happyness is a movie where Christopher Gardner, played by Will Smith, is seen going through struggle after struggle, only to come out on the top in the end. He becomes distraught, having to deal with homelessness and making sure that his young son still has his most basic needs met. There is a quote in the movie where he talks about Thomas Jefferson and the Statue of Liberty. He says “happiness is something that we can only pursue and maybe we can actually never have it.”

I believe to know happiness, we must first overcome sadness; those who know struggle and strife have been at the bottom of the dark pit. When it seems as if there could be know way out, help comes in the most unexpected ways: a job we were hoping for, a friend comes through during our crises or just an unexpected paycheck to help with some financial troubles. Somehow we were able to make it out alive, showing the rest of the world if you don’t give up, you too, can truly know happiness.

Happiness is different for many people. For me happiness is being able to achieve the many dreams I didn’t have time for if I were stuck in a mundane 9-5 job. Don’t get me wrong, it is nice to be able to earn and regular income, but not when I have to sacrifice my creative side in order to get it.

I left the 9-5 only a few months ago and I have never felt so free to let my creative side run wild. I am writing again, I started a blog (!), and I’m in the beginning stages of planning a business. I don’t know what the future holds for me, but whatever it is I want to remember this feeling… this feeling I have right at this very moment… it is called HAPPINESS!

“Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.” ~Dalai Lama

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Tomorrow’s Question: Q&A Day 8: What is Your Biggest What If?

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Q&A Day 6: What is Your Greatest Strength?

Energetic. Charismatic. Idealistic. Focused. Wise beyond my years. Passionate. Loyal. Honest to a fault. Forgiving. My strengths are a number of things, but my greatest strength isn’t just any one main thing, but many of my strengths put together. Altruism. I have had many strong feelings towards such efforts since I was a young child.

I remember being 10 years old and meeting a young homeless man near where I lived. I would spend my weekends talking to him and listening to his many stories. One day I begged my mom to make him some food (even though we had so little ourselves) so we could bring it to him. Unfortunately, by the time my family brought it to him, he was gone. I never saw him again. I later found out that he was killed in a hit and run. I was devastated.

Many years had passed and I officially become an adult citizen, free to do whatever and whenever. I had forgotten about that homeless man and the meal he never received. I spent a lot of time since then only focusing on myself. My problems, my relationships, my future, me, me, me.

Moving from place to place with no real place to call home, I eventually became homeless myself. For months, I lived in my car. No bed to sleep in. No hot food to eat. No way to even shower. I was shunned from my own family and wasn’t allowed contact with them.

I got a low paying job which is where I found some roommates. This only lasted for a few months, however. In my efforts to try and help a close friend, I got myself into a rut once again due to my own greediness. Thinking of my own self, I lost my job and my roommates kicked me out of their apartment. With nothing else to do, I went homeless again.

I would do everything I thought possible in order to help out someone else, but only ended up getting myself into financial trouble or homeless again. This same pattern went on for several more years, and only until a few years ago was I finally able to break myself out of that never-ending cycle.

My altruistic nature along with my passion and idealism, kept me from realizing that I don’t have to save the world in this way. I am like those people who will adopt any stray animals in order to make sure they have a safe and loving home. The difference in my case, though, is with human people. I allowed those close friendships to affect my personal life along with my financial freedom. They used me and in the end there wasn’t anyone else to blame but myself.

As I look back on all the hardships I have experienced, I still wouldn’t change what I have done for countless others when they needed someone to be there for them. I believe I am a better person today for giving when I had nothing else to give except my compassion.

“The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others.” ~Albert Schweitzer

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Tomorrow’s Question: Q&A Day 7: Are You Happy in Life?

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Q&A Day 5: What is Your Greatest Weakness?

Sometimes in life, our greatest weakness can be used to become our greatest strength. This is very true in my case. My greatest weakness? Focusing more of my time and energy on projects and goals than on those who love and care about me. This is great for my future success in life, but what is success if everything else around me falls apart?

I focus so much on what I want to accomplish to the point of neglect and procrastination of day-to-day mundane tasks: dishes, that mountain of laundry and sometimes even my hygiene. There have been times where I go days without a shower, all because I just needed to finish what was in front of me.

I have let important relationships fall to the wayside all because I let myself get so engrossed in whatever happens to have my attention at the time. Family, friends and other loved ones felt betrayed because the times I had said I would be there for them, I was elsewhere, trying to do something in my life that gave me a purpose. The saddest part? Most of those relationships had perished for no other reason than my own selfishness.

I have allowed myself to become reclusive and lonely as I have pursued my life’s biggest dreams and passions. I guess this is the price some of us have to pay in order to have success. Success is a great dream to strive for, but not if everything else in life gets tossed away like yesterday’s trash.

I wouldn’t call it a sacrifice; I wouldn’t call it healthy either. Maybe I can call it being too idealistic, impractical, even self-centered. Whatever words I choose to associate it with, sometimes I realize that I just need to slow down in life and focus on the moment. Be in the present. Be here, now.

“Sometimes your greatest strength can emerge as a weakness if the context changes.” ~Harsha Bhogle

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Tomorrow’s Question: Q&A Day 6: What is Your Greatest Strength?

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Q&A Day 4: What Scares You Most About the Future?

In the world we live in today, tomorrow can hold so much uncertainty. A secret unknown that no one person can tell for sure what will come of the human population. Animals that once roamed the earth in the thousands, now only few survive and it is getting worse every day. Industrialized cities are polluting the atmosphere by the second. The air we breathe is becoming too toxic for us and the waterways are becoming undrinkable. Our very lives on this planet are at stake, but this is not what scares me the most.

What scares me the most about the future, is not my future, but my children’s future and even their children’s future; the future they will build in their lifetime that will pave the way for other future generations.

I am more afraid of the world my children will have to grow up in. What dangers may lie ahead for them. Whether or not they will be ridiculed for their skin color, just as those that came before them. We live in a world of acceptance, but we are far from where we need to be. Too many of us still look out for numero uno. We are more focused on getting that big house or big car, or the promotion we have worked so hard on.

We are not treating each other as humans, but pawns in our own Game of Life. I don’t want to imagine my children growing up in that kind of society. I teach my children to dream big and that anything is possible. I teach them love and kindness towards others. I am afraid that they might lose that mentality once they become adult citizens of the world when they realize the rest of the world isn’t what they had hoped for.

Our world might be hurtling towards its own demise, but if we don’t put faith into our younger generations, we will all perish. We must believe in the abilities of today’s youth. They will one day be our leaders. If we don’t allow them the freedom to make their own choices, then perish we will. Unless we can come together, and become one as an entire human race.

This is what scares me the most about the future.

“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” ~Malcolm X

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Tomorrow’s Question: Q&A Day 5: What is Your Greatest Weakness?

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Q&A Day 3: What Was the Most Difficult Choice You Ever Had to Make?

My relationship with my biological father was never an easy one. As his not-so-perfect daughter, I could never make him proud or pleased at my (few) accomplishments. This carried over well into adulthood as I did everything possible for him to take notice of how well of a citizen of society I had become. Granted, my achievements weren’t Noble Prize worthy, but they showed just much I had matured from the young child I once was. I am the woman today I was destined to grow up and become. Still, this wasn’t enough for the overbearing and overprotective father of mine. College, good paying jobs and a loving family weren’t enough for high standards.

It wasn’t enough for him to just let me be happy with letting me make my own choices. He wanted me to become him and make his choices; that wasn’t the road I wanted to take in life. I didn’t want to be him. I wanted my own life. My choices in life led me to be where I am supposed to be in life. Good choices or bad, I was still shunned away from him and his life.

It took me years, but after realizing I didn’t need his permission to live my life my way, I knew that I had to make a choice on choosing my own happiness or living for his happiness. The day I decided to let go of my father completely, I felt a huge weight had lifted off of my shoulders. Many holidays had passed, even Father’s Day, and I have yet to have any contact with him.

I still love him, of course, but that doesn’t mean I have to waste my time or energy on something that is only going to keep me from succeeding in life and achieving all that I can.

“Freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought.”     ~Pope John Paul II

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Tomorrow’s Question: Q&A Day 4: What Scares You the Most About the Future?

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Q&A Day 2: How Do You Deal with Criticism

I had recently received an e-mail from Jeff Goins about reading reviews and how reading some of them isn’t always a bad thing. Criticism is a way for us to grow and become better at what we do. Whether it is writing or something you might be passionate about, it is nice to have others looking out for our well-being. If they are taking the time critique our work, then we should to take the time to read and learn from them.

I am a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to writing. I will edit a piece about 20 times before finally publishing it to my blog, only to find other errors after posting. Criticism from the outside world might be harsh at times, but nothing compared to what is going on inside of my head. As a writer, I am always fighting my Inner Critic; sometimes it’s a losing battle, but know that at the end of a hard day putting my thoughts on paper, I can only come out on top.

Writing can be hard, but once having written I get a sense of joy and pride knowing that someday my writing is going to help someone else. Still being new in the world of authors and/or bloggers, I don’t know to don’t deal with criticism just yet. In the meantime, I am just going to keep pressing forward and putting my words out in the world.

“Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.” ~Winston Churchill

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Tomorrow’s Question: Q&A DAY 3: What Was the Most Difficult Choice You Ever had to Make?

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