Learn to invest your energy only in people that truly matter

I realized in the past years that family isn’t just your blood. They’re the people in your life that appreciate having you in theirs, the ones who encourage you to improve in healthy and exciting ways, and who do not only embrace who you are, but also who you want to be. These people are the ones who truly matter.
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I recently came across 20 Buddhist learnings about fostering relationships and people who truly matter in one’s life. I personally identified myself with them, thus I believe they can be inspirational and maybe an eye-opener.

1.  FREE YOURSELF FROM NEGATIVE PEOPLE. Spend time with nice people who are smart, driven and likeminded.  Relationships should help you, not hurt you.  Surround yourself with people who reflect the person you want to be.  Choose friends who you are proud to know, people you admire, who love and respect you – people who make your day a little brighter simply by being in it.  Life is too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of you.  When you free yourself from negative people, you free yourself to be YOU – and being YOU is the only way to truly live.

2.  LET GO OF THOSE WHO ARE ALREADY GONE. The sad truth is that there are some people who will only be there for you as long as you have something they need.  When you no longer serve a purpose to them, they will leave.  The good news is, if you tough it out, you’ll eventually weed these people out of your life and be left with some great people you can count on.  We rarely lose friends and lovers, we just gradually figure out who our real ones are.  So when people walk away from you, let them go.   Your destiny is never tied to anyone who leaves you.  It doesn’t mean they are bad people; it just means that their part in your story is over.

3.  GIVE PEOPLE YOU DON’T KNOW A FAIR CHANCE. When you look at a person, any person, remember that everyone has a story.  Everyone has gone through something that has changed them, and forced them to grow.  Every passing face on the street represents a story every bit as compelling and complicated as yours.  We meet no ordinary people in our lives.  If you give them a chance, everyone has something amazing to offer.  So appreciate the possibility of new relationships as you naturally let go of old ones that no longer work.  Trust your judgment.  Embrace new relationships, knowing that you are entering into unfamiliar territory.  Be ready to learn, be ready for a challenge, and be ready to meet someone that might just change your life forever.

4.  SHOW EVERYONE KINDNESS AND RESPECT. Treat everyone with kindness and respect, even those who are rude to you – not because they are nice, but because you are.  There are no boundaries or classes that define a group of people that deserve to be respected.  Treat everyone with the same level of respect you would give to your grandfather and the same level of patience you would have with your baby brother.  People will notice your kindness.

5.  ACCEPT PEOPLE JUST THE WAY THEY ARE. In most cases it’s impossible to change them anyway, and it’s rude to try.  So save yourself from needless stress.  Instead of trying to change others, give them your support and lead by example.

6.  ENCOURAGE OTHERS AND CHEER FOR THEM. Having an appreciation for how amazing the people around you are leads to good places – productive, fulfilling, peaceful places.  So be happy for those who are making progress.  Cheer for their victories.  Be thankful for their blessings, openly.  What goes around comes around, and sooner or later the people you’re cheering for will start cheering for you.

7.  BE YOUR IMPERFECTLY PERFECT SELF. In this crazy world that’s trying to make you like everyone else, find the courage to keep being your awesome self.  And when they laugh at you for being different, laugh back at them for being the same.  Spend more time with those who make you smile and less time with those who you feel pressured to impress.  Be your imperfectly perfect self around them.  We are not perfect for everyone, we are only perfect for those select few people that really take the time to get to know us and love us for who we really are.  And to those select few, being our imperfectly perfect self is what they love about us.

8.  FORGIVE PEOPLE AND MOVE FORWARD. Don’t live your life with hate in your heart. You will end up hurting yourself more than the people you hate.  Forgiveness is not saying, “What you did to me is okay.”  It is saying, “I’m not going to let what you did to me ruin my happiness forever.”  Forgiveness is the remedy.  It doesn’t mean you’re erasing the past, or forgetting what happened.  It means you’re letting go of the resentment and pain, and instead choosing to learn from the incident and move on with your life.  Remember, the less time you spend hating the people who hurt you, the more time you’ll have to love the people who love you.

9.  DO LITTLE THINGS EVERY DAY FOR OTHERS. Sometimes those little things occupy the biggest part of their hearts.  You can’t be everything to everyone, but you can be everything to a few people.  Decide who these people are in your life and treat them like royalty.

10. PAY ATTENTION TO WHO YOUR REAL FRIENDS ARE. As we grow up, we realize it becomes less important to have more friends and more important to have real ones.  Remember, life is kind of like a party.  You invite a lot of people, some leave early, some stay all night, some laugh with you, some laugh at you, and some show up really late.  But in the end, after the fun, there are a few who stay to help you clean up the mess.  And most of the time, they aren’t even the ones who made the mess.  These people are your real friends in life.  They are the ones who matter most.

11. ALWAYS BE LOYAL. True love and real friendship aren’t about being inseparable. These relationships are about two people being true to each other even when they are separated.  When it comes to relationships, remaining faithful is never an option, but a priority.  Loyalty is everything.

12. STAY IN BETTER TOUCH WITH PEOPLE WHO MATTER TO YOU. In human relationships distance is not measured in miles, but in affection.  Two people can be right next to each other, yet miles apart.  So don’t ignore someone you care about, because lack of concern hurts more than angry words.  Stay in touch with those who matter to you.  Not because it’s convenient, but because they’re worth the extra effort.  Remember, you don’t need a certain number of friends, just a number of friends you can be certain of.  Paying attention to these people is a priority.

13. KEEP YOUR PROMISES AND TELL THE TRUTH. If you say you’re going to do something, DO IT!  If you say you’re going to be somewhere, BE THERE!  If you say you feel something, MEAN IT!  If you can’t, won’t, and don’t, then DON’T LIE.  It’s always better to tell people the truth up front.  Don’t play games with people’s heads and hearts.  Don’t tell half-truths and expect people to trust you when the full truth comes out; half-truths are no better than lies.  Remember, love and friendship don’t hurt.  Lying, cheating and screwing with people’s feelings and emotions hurts.  Never mess with someone’s feelings just because you’re unsure of yours.  Always be open and honest.

14. GIVE WHAT YOU WANT TO RECEIVE. Don’t expect what you are not willing to give.  Start practicing the golden rule.  If you want love, give love.  If you want friends, be friendly.  If you want money, provide value.  It works.  It really is this simple.

15. SAY WHAT YOU MEAN AND MEAN WHAT YOU SAY. Give the people in your life the information they need, rather than expecting them to know the unknowable.  Information is the grease that keeps the engine of communication functioning.  Start communicating clearly.  Don’t try to read other people’s minds, and don’t make other people try to read yours.  Most problems, big and small, within a family, friendship, or business relationships, start with bad communication.

16. ALLOW OTHERS TO MAKE THEIR OWN DECISIONS. Do not judge others by your own past.  They are living a different life than you are.  What might be good for one person may not be good for another.  What might be bad for one person might change another person’s life for the better.  Allow people to make their own mistakes and their own decisions.

17. TALK A LITTLE LESS, AND LISTEN MORE. Less advice is often the best advice.  People don’t need lots of advice, they need a listening ear and some positive reinforcement.  What they want to know is often already somewhere inside of them.  They just need time to think, be and breathe, and continue to explore the undirected journeys that will eventually help them find their direction.

18. LEAVE PETTY ARGUMENTS ALONE. Someone else doesn’t have to be wrong for you to be right.  There are many roads to what’s right.  And most of the time it just doesn’t matter that much.

19. IGNORE UNCONSTRUCTIVE, HURTFUL COMMENTARY. No one has the right to judge you.  They might have heard your stories, but they didn’t feel what you were going through.  No matter what you do, there will always be someone who thinks differently.  So concentrate on doing what you know in your heart is right.  What most people think and say about you isn’t all that important.  What is important is how you feel about yourself.

20. PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOURSELF. One of the most painful things in life is losing yourself in the process of loving others too much, and forgetting that you are special too.  When was the last time someone told you that they loved you just the way you are, and that what you think and how you feel matters?  When was the last time someone told you that you did a good job, or took you someplace, simply because they know you feel happy when you’re there?  When was the last time that ‘someone’ was YOU?

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The Road to Happiness – follow the Inner Peace sign!

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I received this interesting advice once: “If you want to be strong and protect yourself, all you need is inner-peace, happiness and forgiveness”. On the spot, it felt so general – because of course we all want to be happy, in peace and have no conflicts with anyone. However, then I looked into the real meaning of the above advice… the real meaning of those words… the real meaning of being at peace with yourself and the world, being happy and forgiving those that once harmed you.

And I had this epiphany because I was going through a phase of continuous conflict with myself and the world around me…and it was all because…in the end I could not find my peace. Even though I seemed peaceful and satisfied, deep inside I did not forgive myself for the mistakes I did in the past, I did not really forgive those that hurt me before and I wasn’t genuinely always happy. And then I realized…all this inner conflict, lack of forgiveness, lack of peace inside of me was making me ultimately unhappy.

I have this quality in being able to pose worry-free or happy, but a woman’s heart is indeed an ocean of secrets, of sorrows, of regrets. These are the things that keep you away from the great feeling of inner peace, of full satisfaction with your life and yourself.

It’s true that everybody is searching for a permanent contentment, but very few are finding inner peace. The real reason is that hardly anybody is interested in what it actually is. The difficulty is not that it is hidden, but that nobody is looking for it, and when it is seen, nobody recognizes it.

Moreover, it’s also true that we eventually find whatever we’re looking for, although there usually is some misunderstanding about what finding it will do for us. We work toward money, power or fame, and to the extent that we succeed, we notice it’s only temporarily satisfying, and we usually actually feel burdened by the potential of losing whatever we have gained. We look for the right partner to share our lives with and more often than not we encounter our own expectations in bold relief, and find ourselves burdened by the expectations of our partner. It all becomes a big lesson in what to avoid or what not to do rather than the fulfilling relationship that we imagined it would be. We find ourselves on a roller coaster of seeking, finding short term satisfaction, and then seeking another goal, and this is actually the best case scenario.

The problem is that we’re looking for a one-ended stick and there is no such thing. Whatever it is that we find satisfying is only experienced in contrast to what we find unsatisfying, and so we must be endlessly moving toward what we want and away from what we don’t want, and never resting at a place of satisfaction.

So while we can certainly get what we think we want, it always turns out to be impermanent, and so we’re destined to keep looking. But what if what we really want is not what we’ve been looking for, but something else? If that’s the case, we never find it simply because we’re not looking for it.

The reason inner peace is not looked for is that it cannot be understood, and the reason it is not found is that it is not looked for. It’s not that inner peace is hiding or that it is difficult to accomplish. It is, in fact, already here and simply is not recognized.

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So what does it mean to find inner Peace? While it may sound like the goal is to locate something inside that we didn’t know was there, this isn’t really the case. What finding inner Peace actually is……. is a LOSS only. Sounds weird, right? But pause a second and think about this.

In the end, what finding happiness is about is finding inner Peace, and what inner Peace is about is LOSSING THE DISSATISFACTION that comes with your constant effort to SEEK happiness. What you actually want is not to acquire happiness, but to lose your suffering. Moreover, the loss that I’m talking about is loss of ignorance, of discomfort. It may not be an easy process, partly because the mind cannot understand the value of a loss, and partly because it doesn’t like losing anything.

Go to the place that brings you most calm and you love the most. For example, mine is by the sea. Try to think of what is creating you discomfort, what bothers you, and once you know what it is, realize it is not worth making you that miserable, see the good in it, do not try to think at it as a disturbing factor, but as an experience. Train your mind to ignore more of the discomfort it sends to the heart, take things easier. However, once you train your mind to stop always worrying about the next move, about tomorrow, about real happiness, and acknowledging the beauty of the present (with everything it brings), the gift of the things we have and surround us, the inner peace settles in.  And, believe me, where inner peace settles, other good things come together.

Give it a shot! Summertime helps in enjoying the present day, the sun, the warmth, the things we have been blessed to live and experience! I have personally started this experiment and the truth is, it works :).

 

 

Drinking Cofee 101 – the Healthy Way

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I recently managed to crack the secret of a both delicious and nutritional cup of coffee in the morning! And, no, it does not imply Starbuck’s, nor an Italian cappuccino (both yummy, I agree!). It’s more of an original healthier option that I truly recommend.

Given the fact that I am both a vegetarian, let’s say a body health & look conscious, but also a woman with a job that requires a daily cup of coffee at least, I had to look for ways to create out of the drinking coffee habit, a good thing for my body, not just a wake-up call for my brain.

What is important to clarify is that coffee per se is a healthy drink – the coffee bean is loaded with antioxidants and beneficial nutrients that can improve your health. The studies show that coffee drinkers have a much lower risk of several serious diseases (reduce risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes, skin cancer and so on).

As a personal choice, I decided not to eliminate the coffee from my diet, but take advantage of it. What makes coffee unhealthy (besides the Frappuccino’s from Starbucks loaded with all the unnecessary artificial calories), is the fact that we add milk (cow milk) and sugar to it. But, these can be replaced with healthier options and the coffee can still taste delicious.

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So, in a nutshell, this is my personal coffee recipe and how I drink my coffee now: espresso + soya/rice/almond milk (instead of normal milk). 

The beauty of this is that you hardly need sugar. I don’t, personally, especially if I go for the rice or almond milk. But just in case you want to add a bit more sweetness you can go for some agave syrup or stevia.

Try it out, you may discover that you actually feel better too (as you eliminate the daily dose of unnecessary lactose and sugar from your system).

I’ve got a feeling…of insecurity!

2014-04-08 10.55.40Have you ever noticed that one hundred people can pay you a compliment and you’ll brush them all aside, but then, when just one single person says something a bit mean to you, your entire world collapses?

For a short while I thought I was the only one this happened to. I was convinced that my tendency to lament over negative comments for way too long was due to my hypersensitive nature. But then I realized I wasn’t the only one. Most people are like this.

Unfortunately, in general life too, most of us will actively, unconsciously, place far more emphasis on the negative than the positive. We’ll let positively skewed stuff slide right off our shoulders and soak up the ‘bad’ stuff like a sponge.

This whole, ‘Let’s let the negative vibes get to us’ is part of the reason people put themselves under go plastic surgery. It’s part of the reason people go to the gym. It’s part of the reason people self-harm or end up being bulimic or anorexic. It fuels us in ways we can’t even begin to understand. And mostly towards the wrong direction, because we let these negatives shaken our self confidence and belief in ourselves.

Why is it that one negative ‘vibe’ can completely ruin your day, but one hundred positive ‘vibes’ will go unnoticed?

I believe a lot has to do with the fact that we are all just a little bit insecure. So when someone criticizes us, or condemns us, or tells us that we’re not good enough, we’re reaffirming what we deep down already believe to be true. Of course, if you’re naturally someone who’s very confident, then negative comments won’t have as much of an affect. But considering our marketing consumer social world is designed to make you feel insecure, to feel inadequate, to feel destitute and quietly desperate so that you’re pulled to need and to desire – to feel discontent, restless, incomplete – it’s easy to see why the majority of us are so sensitive to criticism.

Modern society thrives on your insecurities. That’s how it is able to exploit you. Your insecurities fuel the current system. Without them, it’d probably take a massive blow, or perhaps even collapse. It’s pretty safe to assume that the default ‘modern man’ is insecure. If someone is reinforcing these insecurities, as a general rule, we’re likely to believe him.

Yup, we are weird, as we like to pride ourselves we are rational beings, but to the core, deep down, we are truly emotional beings and tend to be insecure. But, with a bit of courage, belief in ourselves, we can fight that, and enjoy all that is positive in our life, leaving the small negative things aside, ignoring them, as we know better we are lucky with all the good things we already have. Look at life from a positive perspective and don’t let your insecurity shadow your living. Take criticism as a learning point to improve who you are, but don’t let it shatter your self-confidence, don’t let it define you!

Having a moment with…over-the-knee boots

The over-the-knee (or knee-high) boots are top of my list this period. I wear them with skirts, shorts or jeans for a more casual look. However, they seem to be the perfect transition from winter to spring, especially if you want to forgo stockings, thanks to the amount of leg coverage they offer up. 

While ultra-tall boots may seem a bit daunting, finding the right height and proportion will guarantee they’re flattering (not to mention a worthwhile investment) and highlight the feminine touch.

I believe they always look better in dark colors such as black, dark brown or grey in order to add up that touch of style. Whenever I wear them, I feel sexy, feminine and comfy with these boots. The heel doesn’t have to be more than 10cm to make your legs look beautiful. Also, a too high heel with these boots can look slightly unflattering.

So get some, they are a good investment for sure (also for the upcoming autumn season), and we probably have only one more month left to wear them with no stockings before the heat comes around and we say bye-bye to boots for a few months. I took advantage last weekend of them for a weekend walk in a small city in Switzerland, Lucerne. I was wearing my black suede Steve Madden over-the-knee boots with zipper back.
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