less hate, more love : taking positive action

  Less-Hate-More-Love

 

[THANK YOU to everyone who took the Reader Survey! The giveaway is closed, but the survey is still open if you'd still like to give feedback. I know a lot of you would like shorter articles and I hear you! This one is lengthy because I have a lot to say, but I promise I'll cut them down in the future.]

 

For those of you who don't want all the details, here's the TL;DR version of this post:

Gun violence sucks. I'm scared and saddened, and I want to do something so I made these pins and I'm donating 50% of the proceeds to the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence

 

 

Generally I don't write about politics or current events, but a lot of you who took the reader survey said you'd like "more personal stuff," so I'm stepping out of my comfort zone today.

I hesitate to write about personal things or beliefs because, in all honesty, I fear losing readers -- not because I want more readers, but because I want everyone to have an opportunity to learn more about living positively in the present. I worry that if I write too much about personal beliefs (or potentially feather-ruffling topics like money, politics, religion, or sex), people will turn away from the site and miss out on the benefits of living a positive, present life.

But it's too hard for me to remain quiet right now. 

 

FEELING THE FEAR

Positively Present isn't (and will never be) a place for political discussions, but recent news -- particularly the Orlando massacre, the murder of Christina Grimmie, and a deadly shooting at my local mall -- has deeply impacted me. While don't know anyone involved in these tragedies, I can't stop thinking about how it must feel to lose a loved one for no reason other than the hate-fueled actions of a mentally unstable man.

It keeps me up at night, my mind racing with thoughts like, Why did this happen? When will it happen to someone I know? What can be done? How can we fix this? These thoughts plague my days, causing me to be fearful in places I should feel safe. 

At the post office yesterday (shipping self-love stickers!) a man in front of me began a heated argument with the postal worker behind the counter. Their voices raised and he called her a bitch, and my eyes immediately went to the waistline of his pants in search of a gun. I could feel the color drain from my face and my heart pound fast as I thought, He could have a gun. He could pull out a gun and start shooting us.

While these thoughts are not helpful (or present-minded!), they aren't entirely irrational. I have reason to be afraid. And that makes me sad. And mad

I don't want to be afraid, and I don't want other people to be afraid either. What happened in Orlando has hit me hard. I can't pinpoint exactly why -- maybe it was the number of people killed or the fact that a community I feel part of, as an ally, was targeted. Or maybe, like so many American citizens, I've simply had enough. 

Whatever the reason, this is the first mass-shooting that brought me to tears. Lying in my bed, reading Eddie Justice's last texts to his mother, tears streamed down my face and I knew I had to do something.

 

TAKING POSITIVE ACTION

In the aftermath of past mass shootings, I've been one of those saying, "We should do something!" But while saying "we," I really meant "someone else." Someone else should do something. Because, really, what could someone like me -- with no political connections and little extra money to donate -- actually do? 

Taking action is hard, particularly when it's not clear what action should be taken. Do I want to restrict Americans' freedoms? No. Do I want to be able to go to the post office without fearing I might be murdered? Yes.

I still don't know what exactly should be done, but I know with certainty that two things lie at the heart of all mass shootings: hatred and guns. Regardless of how you feel about guns, you cannot deny that hate (served with a side of mental instability) is what pulls the trigger. 

We need to lessen hate and create more love.

But how do we do that? We'll never eradicate hate, but just because we can't rid the world of it completely doesn't mean we should sit by complacently and watch it pelt bullets into the bodies of people at nightclubs and churches and malls and schools.

If we want things to change -- whether it's something personal or political -- we have to take some sort of action, however small.  

Less-Hate-More-Love-Preorder-Click

LESS HATE, MORE LOVE PIN

When the news broke about Orlando, I was in the process of designing my first enamel pin. After I heard the news, I knew I could use the pin to make a difference. I switched the direction of my design and created the Less Hate, More Love pin.

The pin is not only a way raise money (50% of the proceeds will be donated to the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence), but it also serves as a visual reminder that love is incredibly powerful. We need more of it. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."

We cannot fight hate with more hate. We must fight with love. It's my hope that this little pin will remind us of that every time we look at it. 

 

ABOUT THE DONATION

Of course, love alone won't solve our problems. If we want change, I believe we have to start with education. We need all kinds of education to make this world a better place, but there are two things we need much more education on: hate and guns.

Hate is what I'd really like to tackle, but I'm starting small. After much research, I decided to donate to the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence, an organization making communities safer by translating research into policy.

The EFSGV works on policy development, supports policymakers and gun violence prevention advocates by drafting and implementing policy, influences the policymaking process by lobbying and educating policymakers, and works with community members to bring their voices to policymakers. 

If you're not into the idea of a pin or want to donate directly, here's info on how to donate to EFSGV.

Less-Hate-More-Love-Pin-Preorder

Whether or not you buy a pin or donate to (or even believe in) this cause, I hope this post reminds you that, if you want change, you have to do something. You might feel small, but, as Ronald Reagan once said, "We can't help everyone, but everyone can help someone." 

Doing something small is better than doing nothing at all. You can use your skills (whatever they might be!) to make a difference in whatever cause you believe in. Use your voice, your time, your money, and your resources to make a positive impact in the world.  


6 self-love lessons from alice in wonderland (part II)


 Alice-Self-Love2
All images © Walt Disney Studios


As you might of seen last week, I wrote about two of my favorite topics: Alice in Wonderland and self-love! Today I'm catching you up with the second half of the amazing self-love lessons from Alice. If you haven't already, check out PART I for the first three lessons (and some background on Alice). 

  

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LESSON 4: AVOID NEGATIVE PEOPLE (AND FLOWERS!) 

Rose: Just what species or, shall we say, genus are you, my dear?
Alice: Well, I guess you would call me... genus, humanus... Alice.
Daisy: Ever see an alice with a blossom like that?
Orchid: Come to think of it, did you ever see an alice?
Daisy: Yes, and did you notice her petals? What a peculiar color.
Orchid: [sniffing Alice's hair] And no fragrance.
Daisy: [chuckling, as she lifts up one side of Alice's dress] And just look at those stems.
Rose: [as Alice slaps the Daisy's leaves away] Rather scrawny, I'd say... 


When Alice initially encounters a garden of talking flowers, they are polite, welcoming, and curious about her. As she spends time with them, however, they quickly turn judgmental, negative, and cruel. As soon as the flowers start poking and prodding her, judging her appearance and picking on her, Alice removes herself from the situation, quickly exiting the garden and murmuring, "You can learn a lot of things from the flowers! Huh! Seems to me they could learn a few things about manners!" She recognizes the flowers' rudeness and refuses to tolerate it -- and this isn't the only scene in which she leaves a negative situation or character. In fact, in many of the scenes in the film, Alice faces rudeness, nonsense, or bad behavior and, rather than tolerate it, Alice leaves. 

This is one of the most essential self-love lessons we can learn from Alice: if someone is treating you poorly or is bringing too much negativity into your life, get away from that person. Now, this is obviously not as easy as stomping out of a garden if you've been invested in this person or your relationship is very intertwined with other aspects of your life (like work or parenthood, for example), but if you want to truly treat yourself with love, you have to get away from those who don't treat you well. In addition, it's important to seek out positive people -- people who will encourage you, uplift you, and inspire you. The fewer negative people you have in your life, the more room you'll have for these positive influencers. 

 

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LESSON 5: DON'T FEEL PRESSURED TO DEFINE YOURSELF

Caterpillar: [meeting Alice] Who... 'R'... 'U'?
Alice: I- I hardly know, sir. I've changed so many times since this morning, you see...
Caterpillar: I do not 'C.' Explain yourself.
Alice: I'm afraid I can't explain myself, sir, because I'm not myself, you know.
Caterpillar: I do not know.
Alice: Well, I can't put it any more clearly, sir, for it isn't clear to me.

When Alice encounters the Caterpillar, one of the first things he does is ask her who she is (in quite a demanding and aggressive way, I might add!). If asked the same question, most of us would probably respond with our names, as we use those to identify ourselves to others. But what does it mean to be "[your name]"? Who are you really? How would you describe yourself to someone else? These are hard questions to answer -- and one of the reasons I created the Finding Your Self workbook! -- but they are important when it comes to self-love. It's difficult to love yourself, after all, if you don't know yourself. It's important to get to know yourself as best you can, but it's equally as important not to limit yourself with labels. 

Alice, because she's been through so much and changed physically in many ways since entering Wonderland, doesn't know how to answer the Caterpillar's question concerning who she is. She's changed a great deal, making it difficult for her to define herself. Like Alice, we also change a great deal over time. The person you are today isn't the person you were five years ago -- and that's actually a good thing. When we don't change, we don't grow. One of the reasons some people don't change much is because they often limit themselves to a definition of what they should be (or have been). While it's wonderful to have a sense of self and know who you are, this scene in Alice in Wonderland reminded me that it's also good not to limit yourself with internal or external expectations. It's okay not to know exactly who you are, to want to change, or to feel you have changed. It's okay not to be completely clear on who you are -- so long as you treat yourself with compassion and love. You don't have to fully understand yourself to treat yourself with understanding.

 

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LESSON 6: LISTEN TO YOUR OWN GOOD ADVICE

Alice: I give myself very good advice. But I very seldom follow it. That explains the trouble that I'm always in.

This last lessons is, what I believe to be, one of the most important. Toward the end of her time in Wonderland, Alice feels completely lost and uncertain about how to find her way home again. The path she was heading down literally disappeared and she's alone in the Tulgey Woods with no sense of which way to go. In this scene, Alice sings one of my favorite songs, "Very Good Advice," (watch the video here!) all about how she gives herself very good advice but very rarely follows it. You're probably well aware of how much easier it is to give good advice than it is to take it, but one of the greatest acts of self-love is giving yourself good advice -- if this is hard, imagine what you'd tell a friend in your situation -- and actually following it. 

More often than not, we know the right thing to do -- the thing that will ultimately make us happy and fulfilled -- but a lot of the time, the right choice isn't the easiest one to make, which is why we sometimes don't take our own advice. But consider, for a minute, what your life would be like if you did the right thing every time, if you made the choice you know someone who truly loves you would make for you. You can do that. You can be the person that loves you enough to push you in a positive direction -- even if it's hard to do so in the moment. The next time you're faced with a tough choice, try to take your own good advice and see what happens. Challenging as it might be, it's a brave and worthwhile act of self-love.

 

I hope you've enjoyed these inspiring self-love lessons from Alice in Wonderland. If you haven't seen or read Alice in awhile and you want to check it out, here are some of my favorite Alice-related things:
 

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (original 1865 edition)

Through the Looking Glass (original 1872 edition)

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (Rifle Paper Co. illustrated edition)

Walt Disney's Alice in Wonderland (Little Golden Book edition)

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (Salvador Dali illustrated edition)

Disney Alice in Wonderland score (the weird, wonderful soundtrack!)

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (Yayoi Kusama illustrated edition)

The Annotated Alice (annotated and illustrated edition)

Alice in Wonderland (1951 animated film)

Alice in Wonderland (2010 live-action film)

 

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6 self-love lessons from alice in wonderland (part I)

 

Alice-Self-Love
All images © Walt Disney Studios
  

I'm a huge fan of Alice in Wonderland -- the book, the films, and especially the 1951 Disney film. I've written about it quite a few times  Wonderland Wisdom: 8 Life Lessons from Alice, How to Reclaim Your Muchness, Revisiting Your Muchness: 5 Steps to Reclaim Who You Were), and it was even the reason I published The Positively Present Guide to Life! (My publisher originally discovered my site via one of my Alice articles. So awesome!) Not only did my love for Alice enhance my career, but it's also had a pretty important impact on the way I think about life. (As have many other Disney films -- fun fact: I wrote my graduate school thesis on Disney films!)

With the release of the new Disney film, Through the Looking Glass, I've been planning to write another Alice-themed article for months. And, after recently releasing my self-love stickers, I've had a love of self-love on the brain so I thought it would be interesting to see if I could find any good self-love lessons in Alice's adventures. I was pleasantly surprised to find tons of them, but I narrowed it down to the top six. Here are some of the best bits of wisdom from Alice's tumble down the rabbit hole.

(Note: these are all from the Disney film, which varies a bit from the original book. If you haven't seen the film or aren't familiar with the story, the general idea is this: Alice, a restless young girl, falls down a rabbit hole and enters a magical world. There she encounters an odd assortment of characters, including the Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter, the March Hare, the Queen of Hearts, the Caterpillar, and a garden of talking flowers. The tale focuses on Alice's adventures in Wonderland and, ultimately, on her quest to find her way home. If you're interested in reading/watching Alice, check the end of the post for links to my favorite Alice-related works!)

 

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LESSON 1: BE BRAVE ENOUGH TO IMAGINE WANT YOU WANT

Alice: If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is because everything would be what it isn't. And contrary-wise; what it is it wouldn't be, and what it wouldn't be, it would. You see?


At the beginning of the film, Alice sits with her cat, Dinah, musing about what it would be like if she had a world of her own. She's restless and bored with her school lessons and longs for a world with more fancifulness and magic, a world in which things would be very different from how they are in the real world. How many of us have had a moment like Alice's, where we sat imagining how things could be different? While we might not have daydreamed about talking flowers or cats wearing trousers (but, let's be serious, clothed cats sounds pretty adorable...), we've imagined how we might want things to be different. And, believe it or not, this is actually an act of self-love. Yes, self-love does involve acceptance and staying in the present moment, but it also includes envisioning what we'd like for ourselves in the future -- what an ideal life would look like. Imagining a life we want to lead is actually a very brave act because it means facing the fact that things aren't always perfect and, if we'd like to be fulfilled and happy, we might actually have to make some changes (gulp!).

A great lesson we can all take from Alice is embracing our imaginations, considering what an ideal world would look like for us -- and, most importantly, going after it. While I wouldn't recommend following a rabbit down a rabbit hole, as Alice did, it's interesting to consider how Alice's daydream turned into a reality when she took action. Also worth noting is that not everything Alice envisioned turned out to be how she imagined it would be (See Lesson 4!). So, while it's important to tap into your imagination, envision what you'd like your world to look like, and take action toward your goals, it's also a good idea to recognize that things won't always turn out how you imagined (or, if they do, they might not be as fulfilling as you would have thought). This idea isn't meant to discourage you from pursuing your dreams, but to inspire you to find a balance between bravely envisioning the future and realizing that the future, however it arrives, will require acceptance. 

 

Alice2

 

LESSON 2: TRY TO MAINTAIN A POSITIVE ATTITUDE

Alice: Well, after this I should think nothing of falling down stairs.

Maintaining a positive attitude when the world around you feels crazy is quite challenging, but Alice is one of the best examples of someone who faces strange and unusual adversity while remaining optimistic and hopeful. Can you imagine tumbling down a rabbit hole, through a seemingly endless tunnel filled with furniture and knickknacks and books and thinking to yourself, "After this, I should think nothing of falling down stairs!" I don't know about you, but I'd probably be screaming, eyes shut, and thinking to myself, "I'm going to die when I hit the ground. This is the end. Oh my god. Oh my god." Not Alice though! She's not only completely trusting that she'll land on her feet (despite never having fallen down a rabbit hole before!), but she's also thinking about how this strange experience will help her stay positive the next time she goes through something less challenging: falling down the stairs. (The fact that she has this idea at all is a bit concerning though. I mean, how often does she fall down stairs?!)

In this scene, and countless others in the film, Alice is faced with adversity and strangeness. Rather than get upset, frustrated, or angry, she generally tries to see the good in the situation and take a positive stance on whatever she's experiencing. She notes something positive in the present moment or, as she does in this particular scene, she takes note of how she could use her current experience to stay positive in the future. While she does have moments where characters or situations test her patience, throughout the film she generally remains hopeful and optimistic -- in spite of having just fallen down a rabbit hole into a strange land where nothing makes sense! The next time you find yourself in a challenging situation, try to imagine how Alice would look at it. How would Alice view the difficult coworkers you have to cope with? How would she cope with the nonsensical aggression of a driver on the road? Though we don't live in Wonderland, a lot of what we encounter in everyday life can seem confusing and frustrating. When tough situations (or people!) come your way, ask yourself, "How would Alice find the good in this?" Because, when it comes down to it, positivity is an act of self-love. 

 

Alice3
 

LESSON 3: BE CONSCIOUS OF YOUR CONSUMPTION

Alice: Better look first, for if one drinks much from a bottle marked "Poison," it's almost certain to disagree with you sooner or later.

After arriving in Wonderland, Alice is encouraged by the Doorknob to drink from a bottle. Though Alice is only a young girl, she paused before taking a sip, reciting the quote above. What inspired me about this scene is Alice's mindfulness about what she's consuming. When it comes to our bodies and minds, we often have control about what we consume -- and what we consume can have a big impact on how we feel, think, and act. Whether we're talking about the food we eat, the substances we intake, or the media we watch/read, everything we consume contributes to the way we feel about ourselves. Though Alice probably isn't aware of this when making this statement, the words "better look first" are powerful when it comes to self-love. 

Before you consume something -- eat a meal, uncork a bottle, swallow a pill, pull up a website, open a book, turn on the TV, or make a purchase -- think about how it will make you feel. Will you feel better after you consume it? Will it make you happier, more fulfilled, more successful, more at peace? And, for how long will it do that? Some things make us feel really good in the moment, but terrible later. While I'm all about staying present, sometimes you have to consider how you present consumption will impact your future emotional state. Taking a moment to pause before consuming and consider the consequences can lead to more positive choices and more self-loving acts.

 

Clearly, Alice knows a lot about self-love! I bet you had no idea you could learn so many great self-love tips from a Disney character, did you? The best tips are still to come. Stay tuned for PART II next week! And, if you haven't seen / read Alice in awhile and want to check it out, here are some of my favorite Alice-related things:
 

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (original 1865 edition)

Through the Looking Glass (original 1872 edition)

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (Rifle Paper Co. illustrated edition)

Walt Disney's Alice in Wonderland (Little Golden Book edition)

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (Salvador Dali illustrated edition)

Disney Alice in Wonderland score (the weird, wonderful soundtrack!)

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (Yayoi Kusama illustrated edition)

The Annotated Alice (annotated and illustrated edition)

Alice in Wonderland (1951 animated film)

Alice in Wonderland (2010 live-action film)

 

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6 benefits of self-love + STICKERS

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Love yourself. You've heard those words before (and not just in an amazing Justin Bieber song!), but have you ever paused to ask why you should embrace self-love? There are many reasons to love yourself, not least of which is summed up in the quote above: loving yourself changes your whole outlook on life. 

Self-love is one of the most important topics I write about here on Positively Present. I firmly believe it's the foundation for creating a positive, present life because, if you don't have love and respect for yourself, what incentive do you have for staying optimistic in the moment?

I'll go into more detail about why self-love is absolutely essential below, but before I do, I have some very exciting news... I've released my first non-book product: STICKERS

 

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This might sound like a small thing, but I am beyond excited about this new release. For one, I've never released a non-book product before and, two, I absolutely love purchasing stationery items that make me feel inspired, so it feels amazing to have created something that will hopefully inspire others!

Here are the details about the stickers, which can be found on my Etsy shop, Twenty3:  

 

Sticker-Template

The 5x7 self-love sticker sheet is perfect for anyone looking for self-love and inspiration. It's also a great gift for a friend who might need a little self-love boost!

This sticker sheet features an extra special mirror sticker. Stick it on your shirt or jacket and look in the mirror for the sticker's uplifting message to be revealed!

Printed in full color, these kiss-cut stickers are perfect for planners, diaries, notes, letters, or any other place you might need a positive pick-me-up. :)

Each sheet is packaged in a cellophane packet to keep your stickers nice and clean until you're ready to use them. One (1) sheet per pack. Each sheet has eleven (11) stickers.


I'm particularly pumped about the mirror sticker idea I came up with. I've never seen a sticker designed to be read in the mirror, and I think it's an absolutely perfect way to reflect (get it -- mirror, reflect, ha!) on self-love and encouragement. I really hope you'll check out the stickers and treat yourself (or a friend!) to a bit of self-love. Go get 'em over at Etsy and come back to read more about self-love... 

Buy-Stickers

 
... okay, now back to the benefits of self-love! I'm sure you've probably read plenty on how to cultivate self-love (if not, read some articles here), but sometimes it can be extra motivating when you know about the benefits of doing something. For example, one of the ways people stay motivated to exercise is because they're aware of its many benefits and, when they don't feel like doing it, they remind themselves of all the ways staying active will help them. Same goes for self-love. When you keep self-love's benefits in mind, you're more likely to practice it -- and it'll be much harder to treat yourself badly (or tolerate anyone else who does!). Here the the reasons you should practice self-love as often as you can: 

 

SELF-LOVE INSPIRES EMOTIONAL SECURITY.  

First and foremost, when you love yourself, you have more emotional stability (which is a very important foundation for almost every other aspect of your life). When you're focused on loving yourself, you won't seek validation or approval from others (or from society in general). As a result, you live your life according to your rules and, though others will impact the way you feel at times, you won't spend your life reacting to and being dependent on others' desires. You'll also be much more attuned to your own needs and will prioritize them. (And, no, this is not selfish. Read why here.)

 

SELF-LOVE PROMOTES POSITIVE THINKING. 

In addition to the invaluable emotional stability self-love offers you, it also has the added benefit of promoting positive thinking. The way you think (and talk) about yourself greatly influences how you feel and act, even if you don't always realize it. If you're thinking wonderful, encouraging things about yourself, it's easier to have positive thoughts about others and the world around you. Additionally, maintaining a strong sense of self and cultivating self-love makes it much more difficult for negative thoughts to take over; your self-loving mind will challenge them and strive to neutralize them with positive thinking. 

 

SELF-LOVE ATTRACTS INSPIRING INDIVIDUALS. 

You've probably heard the saying "like attracts like," and it's never been more true than when it comes to self-love. When you love who you are, you're much more likely to surround yourself with those who also love themselves -- people who are inspiring, encouraging, and empowering. Self-loving individuals don't have a need to judge or bring down others, and they don't spend time with those who do. The more you focus on loving yourself, the more you'll attract those that love themselves, and those are the kinds of people that will motivate and inspire you. 

 

SELF-LOVE IS A FOUNDATION FOR TRUE LOVE. 

Not only does self-love help you attract positive, inspiring people in general, but it also serves as a important foundation for romantic love. Want to attract the right kind of partner? You have to be the right kind of partner. It's going to be very challenging for others to love you if you don't love you. Additionally, self-love impacts how you treat others. The more you love yourself, the more loving you'll be -- and you'll be less like to settle for anything less than loving interactions with others. When both people love themselves, they're likely to have a more productive, positive, and meaningful relationship.  

 

SELF-LOVE NEGATES AGGRESSION + VIOLENCE. 

Anyone who watches the news knows that there is a lot of violence throughout the world. :( Violence is almost always a result of inner pain, which is frequently caused by a lack of self-love. If everyone in the world loved him or herself, hate, intolerance, and violence would be minimal (if nonexistent). People who love themselves don't need to put others down, commit acts of violence, or act aggressively toward others. Even if you don't experience violence in your own life, you've probably experienced negative emotions like envy and jealousy (and maybe even hate). These feelings dissipate and disappear when you cultivate self-love. 

 

SELF-LOVE ENCOURAGES PROFESSIONAL SUCCESS. 

With self-love in place, you're more likely to have professional success for a number of reasons. For one, self-love makes you more confident, and people, particularly in the workplace, are attracted to confident people. People will put their trust in you, and that trust will motivate more work hard, which is the true path to success. Additionally, the more you love yourself, the less likely you are to be governed by others' expectations. You're also more likely to find and follow your passion, which is one of the best ways to find lasting success.  

 

Clearly there are many self-love benefits, but self-love, useful as it is, isn't always easy. It's important to practice it every single day and incorporate it into all aspects of your life -- from your relationships to your career to your thought patterns. Surrounding yourself with people who love themselves and putting yourself in positive situations are two great ways to do this. It's also helpful to have inspiration and encouragement around you in the form of books, websites, and, yes, even little things like stickers. ;) The more inspired you feel (and the more you're reminded to love yourself!), the easier self-love becomes. 

 

Order-Stickers

 

For all of you who've placed an order, thank you so much! You'll have your stickers soon, and I know you're going to love them. If you have any questions or need any additional info, you can always reach out to me via email or social media


the top 6 benefits of having an open mind

Open mind

 

Even if you consider yourself a well-rounded, nonjudgmental person, being open-minded can be a challenge at times. When we’re young, we’re taught a set of beliefs and values and, throughout our lives, we tend to surround ourselves with people who share the same values and beliefs. This presents a challenge when we're faced with ideas that conflict with our own and, though we may wish to be open-minded, we may struggle with actually doing it from time to time.

Having strong beliefs can be a wonderful thing, and it’s important to stay true to your values, but having strong beliefs doesn't have to mean closing your mind to what others have to say. In fact, closing your mind to others’ beliefs is a sure sign that you don’t feel confident enough in your own. An open mind can mean standing firm on what you believe in, but also being willing to hear what others have to say. It means knowing what you value while appreciating what others value as well.

When your mind is open, you have the opportunity to reap many rewards ¾ new perspectives, new experiences, and even new friends. There is much to be gained from opening the door to your mind and letting new ideas and beliefs in. Here are just a few of the benefits you can experience when you choose open-mindedness:

 

FREEDOM FROM CONTROL

An open mind frees you from having to be in complete control of everything you experience. By allowing for new points of view and new experiences, you open yourself up to new thoughts, and you challenge the beliefs you currently have. While this might sound a bit unnerving (particularly if you feel very strongly about your beliefs), it’s actually quite liberating to experience the world with an open mind.

 

NEW, LIBERATING EXPERIENCES

Keeping your mind open to new ideas almost always keeps your heart open to new experiences. This doesn’t mean you’re going to engage in acts that counter your current beliefs, but it does mean you’re likely to experience things you’ve never encountered before, and these new experiences will either help shift your current beliefs or remind you why those values are so essential to who you are.

 

VALUABLE VULENRABILITY

Vulnerability sounds intimidating, but it’s actually one of the greatest things you can experience -- and it’s often the result of having an open mind. By opening your mind to the world around you (and others’ points of view), you’re admitting that there are possibilities you may not have considered before. This admission -- while terrifying at times -- is liberating and exhilarating.

 

FRESH MISTAKES

Mistakes probably sound like something you don’t want to have more of in your life, but they’re, in fact, a wonderful side effect of opening your mind. Striving to see life from others' perspectives allows you to not only recognize potential mistakes you’ve made in the past, but also to be open to the idea that you may make more mistakes in the future. Mistakes are part of life, and the acceptance of them is one of the greatest benefits of open-mindedness.

 

INNER STRENGTH

An open mind provides a platform on which you can build, piling new idea on top of old. It allows you to learn and experience new things, and these experiences can build on (and enhance) old believes. Every experience you have strengthens who you are and what you believe in, but it’s very difficult to experience novel things if you don’t keep an open mind.

 

STUNNING CONFIDENCE

Those who are open-minded have the greatest confidence. Why? Because they possess a strong sense of self. They are not confined by their own believes, but, instead, are open to their own values, as well as those of others. And the more open-minded they continue to be, the more they come to understand themselves and the world around them. If you want to be confident, stay open-minded.

 

Even with the knowledge of these brilliant benefits, keeping an open mind can be a challenge. For some, it comes as effortlessly as breathing. For others, it may be something they have to work hard to attain. This often has a lot to do with how you were raised (as well as what your personality type is), but regardless of your background or personal traits, don’t give up on open-minded thinking. There are so many advantages to living life with an open mind, and the effort it takes to cultivate open-mindedness will be well worth the rewards you will reap.

  

Finding-Self-Cover

Open-mindedness towards others starts with having an open mind toward yourself. If you're looking for some more soul-searching inspiration, check out the Finding Yourself workbook. Discover more about yourself, and uncover what you want most by downloading a copy of the e-book Finding Yourself: A Soul-Searching Workbook for Surprising Self Discovery. Filled with inspiration, questions, and activities to get you thinking about what it means to be you, Finding Yourself is a must for learning more about who you are and about what matters most to you. Learn more about the workbook here and purchase your own copy here.