If we stop to think about it, there are so many things to be grateful for. As I was reflecting on all the good things, people, and blessings I enjoy, I starting compiling a long list. It seemed it would never end. In all actually, it never will end because our blessings are new every morning. In this article, I share eight simple ways to be your best. I believe we can all be grateful for the opportunities we have and the freedom we have to choose to be our best every day.
1. We can be free from negativity.
A while back I decided that I was going to stay away from as many negative influences as I possibly could. I ended some unhealthy relationships in the process. I realized that being around critical, negative people was not only unpleasant, but it rubbed off on me. Being around more optimistic, hopeful people surrounded me with a positive influence that was energizing and motivating. I can minimize negative influences in my life by making better choices in what I watch and read as well. Good and wholesome, edifying and positive influences help to keep my mind and emotions healthy.
2. We can have peace in my minds and hearts.
Fear, worry, anxiety and depression…They all rob me of inner peace. Whenever I get overwhelmed with stress and its negative effects, I immediately take a time out. I know how discouragement can keep us down if we let it. It leads to self-pity and ultimately to defeat and despair. Years of experience have taught me that bad times don’t last forever. Things that seem so pressing right now are not as important as I make them to be in the big scheme of things. I remind myself: this too shall pass. I slow myself down. I recall the source of my help and the many times I have overcome in the past. I draw on my inner strengths and trust in God to help me. As busyness and distractions subside, I begin to see things from a more realistic and hopeful perspective. I become free of things that once bound me and shook my confidence, threatened my security, and dimmed my hope. I have new courage to take necessary steps for change. I gain wisdom and learn to accept what is not in my control. Peace returns to my mind and heart.
3. We can learn from our mistakes.
When I make mistakes or say and do things I later regret, I found that I end up with two choices. I can either entertain feelings of guilt, regret, anger, blame, or I can take responsibility, apologize if necessary, and learn from my mistakes and regrets. Beating myself up over something doesn’t really teach me a lesson. It just makes me more upset and frustrated with myself. Realizing this has taught me the importance of forgiving myself and accepting that I am not perfect, no one is. I can extend the same grace to myself as I do to others when they miss it. I don’t want to punish them by constantly reminding them of their mistakes. Nor do I want to reject them for their human weaknesses and imperfections. In the same way, I will not punish myself by holding on to guilt, anger, and regret. I believe we can become better if we will learn from our mistakes and regrets, know when to let them go, and come out better as a result.
4. We can learn to appreciate and like who we are.
It’s not easy to love others when we do not love ourselves. Once I realized the importance of this simple truth, I decided to stop complaining about the things I didn’t like about who I am. Instead, I started to change the things I could and accept the things I could not change. As a result, I was more able to appreciate myself and my unique God-given gifts and talents. The more I did this, the more I noticed and received the appreciation and love I got from others. My desire to be my best really began to flourish and bring much joy to me. It was simply accepting and liking myself that enabled me to love and bless others with all that I am.
5. We can have control over our thoughts.
I can choose what I want to think about. Negative thoughts cannot stay if I do not allow them to. It seems the more we focus on something that is bothersome to us, the more if affects our mood and overall outlook. For this reason, I do not spend too much time thinking about life’s disappointments and losses. Instead, I think about how to overcome them and I recall past victories. I have control over my thoughts and I can focus on things that build my faith, make me strong and hopeful, and encourage me. Sometimes I need to remind myself that my thought life is in my control. No one can put thoughts in my mind that I have to receive. I can decide what will stay and what will go. Although I may not be able to control how I feel, I can control what I choose to think and dwell upon and what I choose to do.
6. We can choose to forgive and be free.
There is no prison like that of unforgiveness. It keeps us bound to bitterness, resentment, and unhappiness. It hurts us more than it hurts anyone else. For this reason, forgiving is more a benefit to us than it is to the person(s) who hurt us. I have learned that if my willingness to forgive is contingent on apologies or justice, it may never happen. I have to do it for me. It is not easy. Actually, it can be the most difficult thing we ever do for ourselves. Forgiving is a process. It begins with a decision to release whoever or whatever it is we are holding on to. I do this believing that people reap what they sow. You can’t sow thistles and expect to reap daffodils. When people sow deceit, gossip, greediness, selfishness, and so on, they reap its fruit. When I choose to sow forgiveness, I reap peace and freedom. I am thankful that my mind and emotions can heal when I forgive.
7. We can know and experience love.
I believe God is love and when we receive His amazing love, it works miracles in our lives. I once said: The power of love is amazing and never-ending. It can motivate, energize, inspire, and strengthen. Love can do in a person what nothing else can do. Love has the power to revive and change lives, restore relationships, and bring healing. All else may fail, but love never fails. When you think about it, most of the love we know and experience has to do with relationships. That is why I do a great deal of writing on the topic (The 10 Keys to Happy and Loving Relationships). Love is the foundation of healthy and successful relationships. Love is what we live for. I am thankful for the experience of giving and receiving love.
8. We can live a lifestyle of true and lasting joy
True and lasting happiness is not something we can pursue as much as it is a lifestyle we live. I have learned that our lives are made up of many habits. Some are good and some are bad. It all shapes who we are and contributes to our well-being and happiness. When we make a deliberate effort to be our best, we find we have to change some things. Since I came to this conclusion, I began to replace some old and bad habits with new and healthy ones. I practiced seeing the glass half full rather than half empty. I practiced patience to keep myself from acting on impulse. I allowed myself to make mistakes rather than be driven by perfection. I learned to relax and be at peace rather than become worried and anxious. It takes determination, self-discipline, and lots of practice to break old habits and establish new ones. Changing and improving our lifestyle is actually shaping our character and becoming our best. I want to fulfill my potential and I realize that the only way to do so is to live a lifestyle of health, happiness, and love. I am thankful that this is possible and I have all the tools I need to be all that I am destined to be. (for more info see The 9 Habits of Happy People)
Far from being exhaustive, the above list is just a start to the many reasons I am thankful for the opportunities I have to be my best. In making this list, I am reminded of the very active role I need to take in maintaining good mental health. This list also helped me to identify the many things I can do to keep mentally and emotionally healthy. How can you be your best every day? I encourage you to add your own ideas and experiences to this list and be your best every day!
Copyright 2010 All Rights Reserved. Written by Krystal Kuehn. NewDayCounseling.org & BeHappy4Life.com
Every day do something that will inch you closer to a better tomorrow. ~Doug Firebaugh
Be not afraid of growing slowly; be afraid only of standing still. ~Chinese Proverb
Happiness is not a state to arrive at, but a manner of traveling. ~Margaret Lee Runbeck
Krystal Kuehn, MA, LPC, LLP, NCC is a licensed professional counselor, author, teacher, and musician. She specializes in helping people live their best life now, reach their full potential, overcome barriers, heal from their past, and develop a lifestyle of health, happiness, and love. Krystal is the cofounder of NewDayCounseling.org, a relationship counseling, family counseling center, specializing in helping individuals, couples and families with professional counseling services for relationship problems, parenting issues, depression, anxiety as well a s substance abuse classes, anger management groups, and more. Krystal is also cofounder of StopSuicideSong.com and BeHappy4Life.com as well as Facebook.com/WordsOfInspiration and several blogs.
New Day Counseling is a marriage family counseling center that provides professional counseling services for the entire family. We help parents, children, teens, families, individuals and couples. We offer relationship counseling, couples counseling / marriage therapy, child therapy, adolescent counseling, anxiety counseling, depression counseling, divorce counseling, grief counseling, porn addiction counseling, substance abuse counseling. We also offer groups for anger counseling. Go to NewDayCounseling.org today for more information or call us at 248-649-8050. We are here to help, and we look forward to hearing from you.
Love and Logic Parenting Classes help you with the most important job there is! You can learn practical tools & techniques for effective discipline, better communication, appropriate boundaries, healthy decision-making, & respectful adult-child relationships. Workshops are available at New Day Counseling in Troy. For more information or to register online go to: Love and Logic Parenting Class or call 248-649-8050.
Put an end to anger problems & regain control over your life today. Anger management classes help for personal, court, and business. For more info go to newdaycounseling.org or call 248-649-8050 to register today. * Anger management class and/or individual anger counseling can be extremely supportive and helpful in equipping us with many tools for a better life.
Are you experiencing addiction or substance use that is impacting your daily life? You are not alone! There are many people struggling with substance abuse and addiction! There are also many people who recover and live a drug free lifestyle. Come join our 6 week substance abuse group to discover the pathway to freedom! One Day at A Time! For substance abuse group and/or individual substance abuse counseling, call or visit us today.
Learn to handle & stabilize your emotions, lessen depression, and improve your relationships by learning coping skills, de-stressing techniques, and ways to change negative thought patterns with Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. Call 248-649-8050 to register for DBT Adult Anxiety and Depression Support Group today.
Self-Esteem Group for Teen Girls (ages 13-17)
Teen girls learn to feel empowered, gain self-awareness, develop positive coping, and improve daily problem-solving skills. Through G.I.R.L.S. (Girls in Real Life Situations) counseling curriculum, group discussion, and fun activities, girls will learn more about themselves and be better equipped to handle Real Life Situations. Call 248-649-8050 today to register. For more information, go to New Day Counseling Center. We also offer individual teenage counseling.
<< Go Back Be Your Best Home