4 Important Lessons You Learn Through Difficult Times, by MAURA HUGHES

While difficult times can feel like a deep dark hole that we can’t escape and we often wonder “Why is this happening to me?”, there is a silver lining to tough times. It’s through the difficult times in our life, that we are able to grow. It’s when we are tested that we are able to rise, push through and come out the other side stronger, braver and bet

No one wants to struggle. No one wants to even admit their struggling. We all want to have Photoshopped versions of our own lives that fit perfectly into an Instagram square. But life does not work like that. Every one of us will be faced with a variety of tough times in their life. It is one of the few things we can really count on.

The truth is, there are some important lessons in life that we are only taught through difficult times and they can become the silver lining to the darkness.

1. Who your real friends are.

It’s an unfortunate and often time brutal truth to learn that someone we once thought would be there no matter can’t be counted on. Difficult times have a unique way of trimming off the fat in our lives. If someone does not truly care, they will not make the effort to be there. End of story. The realization that someone you love doesn’t make you a priority can knock you off your feet but it will save you time and energy that would have been spent trying to be there for them in the future. Eventually, you will learn who really matters, you will be grateful for them and you will have cleared out some emotional space for someone who will be there for you, through thick and thin.

2. The depth of your strength.

“It builds character,” was my mom’s favorite response to any complaint I had growing up. As annoying as that line was, it is true. Nothing builds our strength like surviving difficulty. Nothing forces us to leverage what we have, dig deep and come up with every ounce of integrity, patience and strength like a hard time. When you survive something, your internal scoreboard registers it. Imagine as if your internal synapses are pushing an extra win into your win/loss column and the next time you go into battle, your will take an inventory of what your winning record is and bulk up your confidence that you can survive and thrive, no matter what you are facing.

3. What really matters in life. 

Difficult times tend to turn our worlds upside down and anything that is nailed down to the floor will go flying. Sometimes it’s comforting to know what actually does stick, what is still hanging in there after the world goes awry. Because when we’re right side up again, we’ll be able to look a little more closely at those things, take a bit better care of them and love them even more for being unmovable. Most of us spend most of our days worrying about everything but what we should be worrying about. But after a difficult time, we’re less likely to worry as much about the little things and focusing on those unmovable pieces in our life that really matter.

4. How to be grateful. 

Difficult times leave us with a lasting impression. They alter us and change the way we view our lives. We have learned who and what matters in our life and undoubtedly we have a greater appreciation for them. Surviving hardship gives us a broader perspective on what hardship really is. You will look back on the things you use to complain about and be thankful they are your only worries. After we have survived a difficult time, we are given a deep gratitude for our life.

Difficult times will happen. To find the light, we have to go through the darkness and while you’re in the midst of it, try to take a deep breath and remember that the lessons you are learning will shift your view of life. You will learn what matters, who matters, how strong you are and how lucky you are to exist. That’s what difficult times teach us and they are some of the most important lessons we can ever learn.

Original Post; http://www.purposefairy.com/80874/4-important-lessons-you-learn-through-difficult-times/

Self Love | Making Yourself The Only Priority

Self-Love-Equals-Success

It’s been a while, and took some convincing, but now I am able to say that I am number one.  Number one does not mean that I neglect my duties and responsibilities as a wife and a mother, it simply means that the decisions I make in my day-to-day life are decisions that will make me a better individual.  Decisions that put my best interests first in order to make me the best version of me.

In today’s society we have way too much negativity, and the saddest part of all of this is that I never noticed this until I took the trusted teaching of Buddha and tried to apply them to my daily life – get rid of all toxic and negatives in your life.

Toxic’s are not necessarily bad people.  The toxic’s and negative’s can be things, anything really, that gives you a not so great feeling.  Anything that drains a little bit of that happiness, and places that heavy feeling on your shoulders.  The things that dull your sparkle, and shine.

For the longest time I felt that being passive and non responsive to these feelings was the right, and mature thing to do.  In the end I felt that things ended up weighing on my shoulders much longer than they ever had the right to be there for.  Feelings left unresolved only caused a bigger burden on my body, in my heart, and in my mind.  They left me functioning at 80%, and the other 20% was focussed on negatives.  I may not have outwardly reacted to them, but functioning at 80% was not only unfair to myself, it was unfair to those in my life because I was not really being me.  The happy, authentic, and real 100% me.
self-love | noun
regard for one’s own well-being and happiness (chiefly considered as a desirable rather than narcissistic characteristic).

I found this article that had a list of things that you could do for yourself to help pull the 100% you into focus from the minute you wake up, so I thought I would share. The original post is in http://www.lifehack.org

 We practice self-love so we can push through our limiting beliefs and live a life that truly shines.  So do yourself a favor, take a deep breath, give yourself a little hug and start practicing the following:

  1. Start each day by telling yourself something really positive. How well you handled a situation, how lovely you look today. Anything that will make you smile.
  2. Fill your body with food and drink that nourishes it and makes it thrive.
  3. Move that gorgeous body of yours every single day and learn to love the skin you’re in. You can’t hate your way into loving yourself.
  4. Don’t believe everything you think. There is an inner critic inside of us trying to keep us small and safe. The downside is this also stops us from living a full life.
  5. Surround yourself with people who love and encourage you. Let them remind you just how amazing you are.
  6. Stop the comparisons. There is no one on this planet like you, so you cannot fairly compare yourself to someone else. The only person you should compare yourself to is you.
  7. End all toxic relationships. Seriously. Anyone who makes you feel anything less than amazing doesn’t deserve to be a part of your life.
  8. Celebrate your wins no matter how big or small. Pat yourself on the back and be proud of what you have achieved.
  9. Step outside of your comfort zone and try something new. It’s incredible the feeling we get when we realize we have achieved something we didn’t know or think we could do before.
  10. Embrace and love the things that make you different. This is what makes you special.
  11. Realize that beauty cannot be defined. It is what you see it as. Don’t let any of those Photoshopped magazines make you feel like your body isn’t perfect. Even those models don’t look like that in real life.
  12. Take time out to calm your mind every day. Breathe in and out, clear your mind of your thoughts and just be.
  13. Follow your passion. You know that thing that gets you so excited but scares you at the same time. The thing you really want to do but have convinced yourself it won’t work. You should go do that!
  14. Be patient but persistent. Self-love is ever evolving. It’s something that needs to be practiced daily but can take a lifetime to master. So be kind and support yourself through the hard times.
  15. Be mindful of what you think, feel and want. Live your life in ways that truly reflect this.
  16. Treat others with love and respect. It makes us feel better about ourselves when we treat others the way we hope to be treated. That doesn’t mean everybody will always repay the favor, but that’s their problem not yours.
  17. Find something to be grateful for every day. It’s inevitable that you are going to have your down days. This is fine and very human of you. It’s especially important on these days to find at least one thing you are grateful for as it helps to shift your mind and energy around what’s going on.
  18. Reach out to family, friends, healers, whomever you need to help you through the tough times. You are not expected to go through them alone.
  19. Learn to say no. Saying no sometimes doesn’t make you a bad person, it makes you a smart person.
  20. Forgive yourself. You know that thing you did one time (or maybe a few times) that made you feel bad, embarrassed, ashamed? It’s time to let that go. You can’t change the things you have done in the past but you can control your future. Look at it as a learning experience and believe in your ability to change.
  21. Write it down. Head swimming with so many thoughts it’s giving you a headache? Write them all down on a piece of paper, no matter how crazy, mean, sad, or terrifying they are. Keep it in a journal, tear it up, burn it, whatever you need to do to let it go.
  22. Turn off and inwards. Grab a cup of your favorite tea, coffee, wine, whatever your choice of drink, and sit down for a few minutes on your own. No TV or distractions, just you. Think about the wonderful things that are happening in your life right now, what your big dreams are and how you can make them happen.
  23. Give up the need for approval from others. “You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.” — Dita Von Teese
  24. Be realistic. There is no person on this earth that is happy every single moment of every single day. You know why? Because we are all human. We make mistakes, we feel emotions (good and bad) and this is OK. Allow yourself to be human.
  25. Get creative and express yourself in whatever way you like. Painting, writing, sculpting, building, music, whatever takes your fancy, and make sure you leave your inner critic at the door. There are no right ways to be creative.
  26. Let go of past trauma and wounds. This can be a really tough one and it may be one of those times you need to turn to others for support. The truth is though, when we let go of things that have happened to us it’s almost like a weight is lifted off our shoulders. We don’t have to carry that around with us anymore. We deserve better.
  27. Find your happy place. Where’s the one place you feel totally at ease, calm, happy, positive, high on life? Go to that place when you are going through hard times, or imagine yourself being there. Think about how it feels, what it smells like, what it looks like.
  28. The next time you are feeling happy and on top of the world make a list of your best qualities and accomplishments. It may sound a little corny, but it can be a wonderful reminder when you are having a day that’s less than amazing.
  29. Get in touch with your inner dialogue. If it’s anything less than loving, encouraging and supportive, it’s time to make a change. You deserve to be spoken to in the same way you would speak to your best friend, sister, brother, daughter, or son.
  30. Have fun! Get out there and do the things that light your fire. Enjoy them, enjoy being you and enjoy your incredible life.

Feel better?  Feeling motivated?  This list is a fabulous reminder of the little things we can do to help guide ourselves along that good path in our day-to-day journey.

Practice Self Love.  Choose just one of two of these items each day.  Live with self-love as your focus, and slowly you will begin to see how you will be encouraging to other’s.  How other’s will begin to be motivated by you.  How much better you will relate to other’s on this same journey.

Loving yourself isn’t a one time event.  It is an endless, and ongoing journey that hopefully, if you surround yourself with the right people, will be enjoyable and memorable, the way we should all live our lives.

 

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Happy New Year, 2016!

2016

Making New Year’s resolutions and staying committed to them can be a challenging thing for a lot of people. And even though I think it’s important to have a vision, a clear direction or goal before starting the New Year, all these New Year’s resolution lists can create a lot of stress and anxiety in people, causing them to feel disappointed when things don’t go as planned. And that’s the reason why I created this list of 15 New Year’s Resolutions Every Person Should Make. 

This is a different kind of New Year’s Resolutions List, a list that’s meant to help you do the things you want to do, while at the same time learning to be calm, flexible, open and receptive when things don’t go as planned. Because you and I know that life doesn’t always goes as planned, and that’s okay. Anyway, here are 15 New Year’s Resolutions Every Person Should Make.

Enjoy :)

1. Be open and receptive.

Be open and receptive to whatever life sends your way.

2. Allow.

Allow life to shape you and to mold you in a majestical and graceful way.

3. Surrender.

Surrender to what is.

4. Let go.

Let go of fixed plans and concepts and allow events to follow their natural course. 

5. Accept.

Accept life unconditionally and trust that it’s all happening for your highest good. 

6. Embrace.

Embrace with grace all that you face.

7. Be soft. 

Be soft, fluid and yielding, just like water is, and you will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. 

8. Trust.

Trust the wisdom of life more than your own wisdom. 

9. Treasure the moment. 

Treasure the moment. Don’t let it pass by you unnoticed. 

10. Be of good cheer.

Be of good cheer, there is always another way. 

11. Where there is no love, put love.

Follow the advice of St. John of the cross, and “Where there is no love, put love — and you will find love.” 

12. Give thanks for all things. 

Cultivate the habit of giving thanks for every experience and every interaction life sends your way, either good or bad, because all of them are meant to contribute to your growth and evolution. 

13. Speak from the heart. 

Speak with love, speak from the heart. Speak in such a way that people love to listen to you. And when people talk, listen with your heart. Listen in such a way that they all love to speak to you.

14. Work with love.

Whatever you do in life, work at it with all your heart. Work at it with love, passion and dedication, “as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” ~ (NIV) Colossians 3:23

15. Seek to become all that life created you to become.

Be who life created you to be, not who the world thinks you should be. “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.” ~ Catherine of Siena

Purpose Fairy; Added by Luminita Saviuc on 30, December 2015

Faking The Funk: Authenticity At It’s Finest

Real.  What does that word mean to you?  I think tangible things are “real”, and I believe emotions I feel are “real” but what about friendships – are they real?  Are they authentic?

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It occurred to me one day that there are a lot of “non-authentic” people in this world.  I guess in other words one would describe them as “fake”, or “two-faced”.  WHY?  How can people not be real .  What causes a person to hide who they are, or not say what they mean, or even lie to your face saying one thing to you, and speaking a whole other version to someone else?.

We’ve all told white lies, or sugar-coated situations, but i’m talking about the individuals that are one way to your face and a completely different person behind your back.  Where you even question their loyalty to you as a friend, family member, or acquaintance.

fake

Keep toxic people in your life at arms length.  Do not give them the satisfaction, or power, to manipulate you.  Here a are a few ways that may guide you to determine if the friendship, relationships, etc… may be harmful to you in the long run – always keep in mind these “red flags”, and trust your gut instinct – most of the time you will have the right reasons to be hesitant … over time you will come to understand this, and learn that there is always a reason for the way that you feel.  Be responsible and love yourself enough to know that there are a billion, and one people on this earth – why waste your time on a person, or people that do not appreciate you, love you, respect you, and care for you the same way that you do for them?  Don’t fake the funk!  Be Authentic!

A person’s belief system is often a direct reflection of who they spend their time with. To ensure a positive social environment built for your success, make sure the people you trust the most aren’t guilty of these ten things true friends don’t do.

1. They don’t gossip behind your back.

True friends distance themselves from unnecessary drama. If a close one spreads rumors or shares secrets that you asked to be kept private, then they aren’t a true friend worthy of your trust.

2. They don’t resort to personal attacks.

True friends aren’t in the business of making you feel bad about yourself. They communicate with words of kindness, not cruelty. They focus on your similarities, not your differences. They speak of your qualities, not your shortcomings.

3. They don’t start pointless arguments.

True friends know that there is nothing less productive than starting an argument you can’t win. “Reading that status update sure made me rethink my entire existence,” said nobody, anywhere, ever. A true friend should be willing to accept a person as they are, whether they agree or not. This isn’t to say you can’t have friends you disagree with (in fact, I highly recommend it as it puts things in perspective). But if you’re going to argue, do so respectfully.

4. They don’t interrupt your every word.

True friends aren’t so obsessed with themselves that they aren’t interested in how you feel. A fair and balanced friendship can’t exist in a situation where one half does all of the talking and none of the listening.

5. They don’t discourage you from pursuing your goals.

True friends are willing to offer feedback without mincing words if they feel it is necessary for your personal development, but they don’t do so in a condescending or hateful fashion. Instead, they offer constructive, helpful advice that inspires you to become a better version of yourself.

6. They don’t look down on you for your past.

True friends aren’t concerned with your past, no matter how colorful it might be. If you’re courageous enough to reveal a few skeletons living in your closet, a true friend shouldn’t think any less of you; instead, they should offer you comfort and support, expressing an appreciation for your willingness to open up.

7. They don’t abandon you in social situations.

True friends are emotionally intelligent enough to know that bringing a friend to a party where they don’t know anyone, and then proceeding to throw them to the fishes, is a very inconsiderate thing to do (especially if said friend happens to be an introvert). 

8. They don’t get jealous of your success.

True friends don’t waste their time in a pit of jealousy when something good happens to another person. They know it is much more productive to be happy for other people’s success (and maybe even take some notes about how they did it), than it is to be pout and play the “Why didn’t they pick me?” game. Less complaining, more hustling.

9. They don’t judge you or try to “fix” you.

True friends know it’s silly to try to “fix” a person while their own inner-houses are in disorder. As Jesus Christ said, “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.” Recall that Jesus spent most of the Gospels hanging out with the very sinners people love to judge today instead of the moralizing Pharisees, who were so blinded by judgment that they couldn’t take an honest look at themselves and their own faults. True friends can admit that they themselves are far from perfect, so it’s a bit absurd to expect anything more from another person. You might not be perfect, but you are good enough, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

10. They don’t take your friendship for granted.

True friends don’t see a relationship as a short-term fling that can be tossed aside when it becomes inconvenient, but rather a long-term commitment of high importance. A friend worth having isn’t only interested in doing fun stuff like drinking Tequila shots, playing miniature golf, watching goofy videos on the Internet, riding roller coasters, lounging on the beach or dancing at the club; they are also willing to help you through difficult times by doing things like supporting you after a death in the family, and encouraging you to put yourself back together after a brutal break-up or unexpected job loss. Will Smith captured this top trait of true friends when he said,

“If you’re absent during my struggle, don’t expect to be present during my success.”

She Was Done: A Magnificent Read by Adrienne Pieroth

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She was done not fully being herself.

She realized she was the only self she could be—and not being unapologetically true to herself was a disservice to her soul and the world.

She was done listening to the noise of the world. She realized the quiet voice of her own soul was the most beautiful sound.

She was done questioning her motives, her intentions, the call of her soul. She realized questions seek answers, and maybe she already knew the answers.

She was done striving, forcing, pushing through and staying on the hard path. She realized toughing things out might be a sign to pick another path.

She was done with friends that admonished her to be more light and breezy. She realized they didn’t understand she swam in the deep waters of life, she felt at home in their dark depths and died if she lived on the surface.

She was done with the distractions, the denials, the small addictions that pulled her away from the true desires of her soul. She realized that strength of character came from focus and commitment.

She was done not following the desires that yelled out in her soul every day. She realized if she did nothing about them, they died a quiet death that took a piece of her soul with them.

She was done with dinner parties and cocktail hours where conversations skimmed the surface of life. She realized the beverages created distortion and a temporary happiness that wasn’t real and disappeared in the light of the day.

She was done trying to please everyone. She realized it could never be done.

She was done questioning herself. She realized her heart knew the truth and she needed to follow it.

She was done analyzing all the options, weighing the pros and cons and trying to figure everything out before leaping. She realized that taking a leap implied not fully seeing where she landed.

She was done battling with herself, trying to change who she knew herself to be. She realized the world made it hard enough to fully be herself, so why add to the challenge.

She was done worrying, as if worry was the price she had to pay to make it all turn out okay. She realized worry didn’t need to be part of the process.

She was done apologizing and playing small to make others feel comfortable and fit in. She realized fitting in was overrated and shining her light made others brave enough to do the same.

She was done with the should’s, ought to’s and have to’s of the world. She realized the only must’s in her life came from things that beat so strong in her soul, she couldn’t not do them.

She was done with remorse and could have’s. She realized hindsight never applies because circumstances always look different in the rearview mirror and you experience life looking through the front window.

She was done with friendships based on shared history and past experiences. She realized if friends couldn’t grow together, or were no longer following the same path, it was okay to let them go.

She was done trying to fit in—be part of the popular crowd. She realized the price she had to pay to be included was too high and betrayed her soul.

She was done not trusting. She realized she had placed her trust in people that were untrustworthy—so she would start with the person she could trust the most—herself.

She was done being tired. She realized it came from spending her time doing things that didn’t bring her joy or feed her soul.

She was done trying to figure it all out, know the answers, plan everything and see all the possibilities before she began. She realized life was unfolding and that the detours and unexpected moments were some of the best parts.

She was done needing to be understood by anyone but herself. She realized she was the only person she would spend her whole with and understanding herself was more important than being understood by others.

She was done looking for love. She realized loving and accepting herself was the best kind of love and the seed from which all other love started.

She was done fighting, trying to change or not her accepting her body. She realized the body she came into the world with was the only one she had—there were no exchanges or returns—so love and acceptance was the only way.

She was done being tuned in, connected and up-to-date all the time. She realized the news and noise of the world was always there—a cacophony that never slowed or fell quiet and that listening to the silence of her soul was a better station to tune into.

She was done beating herself up and being so hard on herself as if either of these things led to changes or made her feel better. She realized kindness and compassion towards herself and others accomplished more.

She was done comparing and looking at other people’s lives as a mirror for her own. She realized holding her own mirror cast her in the best, most beautiful light.

She was done being quiet, unemotional and holding her tongue. She realized her voice and her emotions could be traced back to her deepest desires and longings. if she only followed their thread.

She was done having to be right. She realized everyone’s truth was relative and personal to themselves, so the only right that was required was the one that felt true for her.

She was done not feeling at home in the world. She realized she might never feel at home in the world, but that feeling at home in her soul was enough.

She was done being drained by others—by people who didn’t want to take the time for their own process and saw shortcuts though hers. She realized she could share her experience, but everyone needed to do the work themselves.

She was done thinking she had so much to learn. She realized she already knew so much, if she only listened.

She was done trying to change others or make them see things. She realized she could only lead by example and whether they saw or followed was up to them.

She was done with the inner critic. She realized its voice was not her own.

She was done racing and being discontent with where she was. She realized the present moment held all it needed to get her to the next moment. It wasn’t out there—it was right here.

She was done seeing hurt as something to be avoided, foreseen or somehow her fault. She realized hurt shaped her as much as joy and she needed both to learn and grow.

She was done judging. She realized judging assumed the presence of right and wrong—and that there was a difference between using information to inform and making someone else wrong.

She was done jumping to conclusions. She realized she only needed to ask.

She was done with regrets. She realized if she had known better she would have done better.

She was done being angry. She realized anger was just a flashlight that showed her what she was most scared of and once it illuminated what she needed to see, she no longer needed to hold on to it.

She was done being sad. She realized sorrow arose when she betrayed her own soul and made choices that weren’t true to herself.

She was done playing small. She realized if others couldn’t handle her light, it was because they were afraid of their own.

She was done with the facades and the pretending. She realized masks were suffocating and claustrophobic.

She was done with others’ criticism and complaints. She realized they told her nothing about herself—only informed her of their perspective.

She was done yelling above the noise of the world. She realized living out loud could be done quietly.

She was done needing permission, validation or the authority. She realized she was her her own authority.

She was done being something she was not. She realized the purpose of life was to be truly, happily who she was born to be,and if she paused long enough to remember, she recognized herself.

Catharsis: Steps To Finding Emotional Healing In Trying Times

I sit here, and I start to write about friendships, and quality, and frustrations, and toxic people, and closure and walking way and I find myself frustrated and saddened because that is not what I really want to be writing about.  I want to talk positive things, and get this miserable mess of a feeling off of my chest because it feels like it weighs about 50 lb., and it’s a very heavy load to be carrying around, and there’s another part of me that want’s to say … “nah, not you again.  Could you please stay away today?”

I want to be positive, and write positive, but lately I feel like I have just been smacked back and forth, and back and forth by the karma gods.  I really am not sure what I have done to deserve this, but then I also remembered reading this quote a while ago which did help to change my perspective.  I try to think of it frequently.
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And so how absolutely fabulous it is, just by changing your perspective, for that one moment, to think that instead of being drowned under water, held underneath life, and struggling in a world that we just cannot manage to keep afloat in, we are being cleansed – refreshed from all of the toxic, negative, chaos that we are just so over whelmed with in our lives.  This is how I choose to think of it today;
ca·thar·tic
adjective
providing psychological relief through the open expression of strong emotions; causing catharsis.  crying is a cathartic release
I love this word.  Who doesn’t love a word so strong that just by saying it could make you feel as though you have been picked up by the strongest of person, given the greatest of hugs, and made to be felt like you are on top of the world again – exactly where you were longing to be – safe, and taken care of.
Unfortunately, sometimes it is not as simple as just saying a word, though – but here are a few steps that I hope to remind myself to following when I do become overwhelmed next time – as I know I will.  I am human, and I do notice that I do follow a pattern when it comes to emotional hurdles.
Steps To Finding Emotional Healing:
Take Time Alone:
Take some time alone and figure out the emotions that are making you feel negative. Was it a person, situation, feeling.
Let It Go:  
Write, Cry, Scream, Let the emotions out.  Find a way that works for YOU – everyone is different and we all have a different way of dealing with things.  The trick is not to let things internalizing.  Internalizing things is what makes us hurt, and most likely why we are reading this right now.
Let Time Pass:
Sometimes it may take a day, or two, even weeks or months for things to digest.  Some of the things that may be causing you pain can be really heavy situations that you may not even know how to deal with.  Sometimes they are simply easier to deal with than others.  Sometimes we are at different points in our emotional journey which makes dealing with external negatives  at different times in our paths easier on different days than others.
Repeat:
Don’t be too quick to make these things go away.   You have your own rate at how your body digests emotional hurdles, and your time when you are ready to move on to the next chapter in your lives.  Do not put a timeline on things.  Expectations will only frustrate you and bring more stress to an already stressful situation.  Appreciate yourself enough to give yourself the time you need to heal.
Talk to someone you trust, someone with positive energy about things that have hurt you.  Perhaps their perspective, and guidance can bring great insight to the situation.  Sometimes just speaking out loud about the situation will help to ease the pain.

Setting Boundaries: Turning Expectations Into Appreciation

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Abolition of the drama, and tying up loose ends can be both cathartic, and liberating, especially when it comes to situations or circumstances that have lingered on much longer than they should have – days, months, perhaps years?  So, imagine my surprise when I finally gathered enough courage to confront a situation that had been causing a lot of negative feelings only to be told that I did something horribly wrong to hurt someone ….WHAT?  How did I hurt you when I was minding my own business?  As I continue, you will see how ultimately it was myself that caused this to happen.
I am a giver.  I love to give and to see people smile.  I love to make days brighter if you are feeling sad, or even just having a normal same old day.  I love to be generous, not only because it feels good but, because in my mind I know that it is good karma – you can never give too much.   It doesn’t have to be something grand, it just needs to be the thought put into it.  It can be anything from giving a friend a bouquet of flowers, to taking them out for dinner, to writing them a nice card from your heart, baking a friend a batch of cookie, etc.   I give to friends, and family members.  I give to strangers, food banks, charities, homeless people.  I donate religiously to causes for animals, health research and anything that tugs at my heart-strings because I can, because I want to, because I am free to do so, because it makes ME feel happy.  It makes me shine – and when I shine, I feel wonderful.
I felt that I needed to make a change at the beginning of last year so I really tried to take a look at what the cause was, and what I could do to not only protect myself from feeling this way, but also see the reality of my situations.  I took an honest look, and the “things” I was doing for people, and the way I was being treated were not adding up.  The balance was off kilter and it was impacting me negatively.  It hurt and I was not feeling joyful or happy about doing things for people – I was beginning to feel like it was an obligation.  So, I chose to make a conscious effort to be selective of the individuals I spent my valuable time with. I began to set boundaries.  Not huge boundaries but just enough to create a little distance so I could work on what I was struggling with.  I felt that my boundaries were keeping me focused, on track and committed to the most important thing in my world, my family.
Ultimately, I felt like I was being taken advantage of by many people – not being fully appreciated for the things I was doing for them.  Some of the people who I was trying to distance myself from were friends I that have known for many year, literally decades. So, in hindsight I can definitely see, from their point of view when they say that it looked like I had changed – perhaps I did.  After all, my priorities had changed.  My focus was on being a wife, and mother of two children.  My energy was redirected to them, and gladly so.
I was doing fantastic.  When I did have some time to spare I was spending time with, and becoming closer to, wonderful, beautiful individuals – people who were inspiring, intellectual, positive influences, and limiting the time from those energy draining people aka the energy vampires.
There were many different individuals, but the one that was bothering me the most was my best friend.  I could feel the distance invading my friendship with my best friend of twenty plus years, but I just chalked it up to being a result of the boundaries that I had set for myself as I previously mentioned.  I felt that I needed to keep distance from her, in particular, because of the relationship she had with her husband.  We did not see eye to eye on many of the issues when she would come to me for advice so I chose to back away avoiding tension in our conversations, as I can be quite blunt at time – especially when it comes to situations that continue to happen over and over again.  I appreciated that this was her path she was wanting to travel.  It had nothing to do with me – I was just simply feeling protective of someone I loved and hoping that the friendship would just work its way through the bumps, as things had in the past.  I was being respectful.
Since I made this change I can literally count on both of my hands how many times I had not only seen her, but talked on the phone. I missed her, but took responsibility for the way things were going – after all, I was not happy with my feelings at the beginning of the year, made my boundaries –  so I really needed to put myself first, for once.  I figured that she was doing the same thing.
The distance became greater, more obvious and awkward – it was completely apparent that there was hostility, over the past few months, as my text message were no longer responded to, my phone calls were ignored.  Of course, I was completely hurt as the months continued on, but I took responsibility for the way I felt, even if I was feeling down for her not being more involved in my life because the reality was that my personal boundaries would , obviously, result in this distance.  Whether I welcomed it or not, it was something that I knew I had to do in order to make me happier – it was not specifically directed at her, it was a phase that I had to work thru in my own personal world.  The reality was that I had been busy being a mother of two, and spending my moments raising my children, not accommodating her needs.
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What this ultimately comes down to is that her expectations in a certain situation were not as she had anticipated.  She was disappointed that I did not put as much effort into a material gift that was given to her – she felt that it was much less than I had done over the past twenty years, and she was offended by it. I’m still confused how someone has the audacity to say that out loud, but yes, we’ve all experienced disappointment, but would you honestly say that to someone??  I’ve witnessed homeless people show more appreciation for the food I have given them!  Saddened, beyond words.
To hear that out loud broke my heart because over the years I have been so giving.  You would roll your eyes at me if you knew some of the things I did to make her, and others happy. Disappointed, deeply.
I indirectly take full responsibility for this particular bump in my path because I know in my heart that if I had set my boundaries years ago, things would have turned out differently. I would have been more guarded, and the end result would not have been the way I am feeling right now.
Expectations …. it will destroy friendships if you begin to take someones kindness for granted.  Learn to appreciate their efforts before you destroy a friendship based on characteristics that you would never even look for, in a potential friendship, in a first place.  There is no room for expectations, especially without appreciation, in genuine friendships.