By Liv of Live by Surprise
I recently turned forty and decided I’d like to give my children forty pieces of advice that I’ve absorbed in the past 14,610 days.
I want you to understand how strong you are. I want you to know that whatever happens to you – you have everything you need within you to deal with it. You are far too smart to be the only person standing in your way.
You’ll learn these things from your own experiences, but I’d like to give you a head start:
1. Care less about what you own. Life isn’t about “things” or “ownership”. You need to care about how you live.
2. Every day, try to be better than you were yesterday.
3. Never allow waiting to become a habit. Live your dreams and take risks. Life is happening right now, all around you. All you need to do is join in.
Be your best self
4. Be a person of good character. Good character is shown by how you treat people who can do nothing for you. This includes waitresses, taxi drivers, and garbage men. You are no better than anyone else.
5. Your beliefs don’t make you a better person. Your behavior does.
6. Never stop doing your best just because someone doesn’t give you credit.
7. Integrity is choosing your thoughts and actions based on values rather than personal gains.
8. Don’t be the same. Be better. Do better.
9. Never dim anyone else’s light so you can shine. Just shine.
Face your problems
10. Remember that your greatest talent is more powerful than your biggest fear.
11. Courage doesn’t mean you don’t get afraid. Courage means your fear doesn’t get in the way.
12. Sometimes the easiest way to solve a problem is to stop participating in it. Don’t spend time beating on a wall hoping it will turn into a door.
13. You are allowed to scream. You are allowed to cry. You are not allowed to give up. Ever.
14. Don’t be afraid to fail. Be afraid not to try.
Achieve great things
15. All difficult things start out easy. All great things start out small. Don’t let the size of a task intimidate you. Every task is completed by taking the first step – and following it by the next one. Don’t give up.
16. If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it. If you never ask, the answer will always be no. If you don’t move forward, you’ll always be in the same place.
17. If it is important to you, you’ll find a way. If it isn’t, you’ll find an excuse.
18. Always act as if what you do makes a difference. It does. You do.
19. To be happy, keep trying to get better. To be better. Unhappy people in this world have not figured this out: instead of looking within, they’re looking outside and casting blame and judgement. Be curious – not judgmental.
20. You can either make yourself miserable or you can make yourself strong. The amount of work is the same. And the choice is yours.
21. What screws us up most is the picture in our head of how it’s supposed to be. Let go of that picture and live life anyway.
22. If you want light to come into your life, you need to stand where it is shining. When it rains, look for rainbows. When it’s dark, look for stars.
Friends and Lovers
23. Surround yourself with people who make you hungry for life, touch your heart, and nourish your soul.
24. It takes nothing to join the crowd. It takes everything to stand alone.
25. If you have the power to make someone happy, do it.
26. You can’t change how people treat you. You can change how you react to it.
27. Far too many people are trying to find the right person instead of being the right person. Don’t be one of those people.
28. Looks are fleeting. When looking for a mate, find the most beautiful mind.
29. No relationship is all sunshine. But two people can share an umbrella and survive the storm.
30. Give the people you love wings to fly, roots to come back, and reasons to be there.
31. Never speak from a place of hate, jealousy, anger, or insecurity. Evaluate your words before expressing them. Sometimes silence is the best answer.
32. Travel. Experience life. As long as you can. As far as you can. Life isn’t meant to be lived in one place.
33. Travel while you’re young. Don’t worry about the money – you can make it work. The experiences are far more valuable than the money.
Respect your body
34. You don’t have a soul – you are a soul. You have a body. Make it a temple.
35. You are beautiful. But Mother Teresa didn’t suck in her cheeks and take selfies all day. She had shit to do. So do you.
36. Love yourself as much as you want to be loved.
37. The more you know about who you are and where you want to be, the less you’ll be upset by things.
38. Love every part of your story. It’s yours. Even if it hasn’t been a fairy tale.
39. Forgive yourself for not knowing what you didn’t know before you learned it.
40. Whatever makes you weird is probably your greatest asset. Own it.
My darlings, the two most valuable words in the world are “I am”. Whatever you put after them shape who you are. Always strive to be the best person you can be. Be brave. Do great things. Be kind. Respect others. Travel. Get to know yourself. Make your own happy.
This post was originally published on Live By Surprise.
Liv is the pseudonym for an inspirational woman who has lived and thrived through an emotionally abusive marriage, subsequent divorce and co-parenting issues, as well as multiple surgeries resulting from a horrible car accident. She now lives happily with her husband, three children and a dog, and is determined to Live by Surprise and take things as they come. In addition to the Live by Surprise blog, Liv is also a Featured Columnist at DivorcedMoms.com. You can follow her on Twitter, Google Plus, Pinterest, Instagram, and, of course, on Facebook.