Tag Archives: relationships

The Key Ingredient In A Relationship

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What Is Trust Made Of?

“Trust is made of glass. Cracks don’t go away”. 

Wise words from a wise friend.

If there’s one thing to nourish above all else in relationships, platonic or romantic, it’s inspiring trust through our actions.

How Can We Be Perfect All The Time?

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None of us are perfect. There may be stunning temptations that fall in our paths on our journeys through life, options which we imagine could feel soooo good they might be worth risking a more mundane reality for or seemingly beautiful alternatives which we think we could compartmentalise in our minds – humans make mistakes and where’s the harm if nobody finds out?

Wrong…

Why? 

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No matter how minor a feel good gamble may seem, if it risks compromising the trust we’ve built up in those who truly believe in us, always always choose integrity. Always remember and respect the fragility of trust. Once lost, it can be lost forever. The cost benefit analysis is pretty one-sided…

What About Everyone Making Mistakes?

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Very true. We’re all human. We’re all flawed. But be careful where you mess up. Try sticking glass back together – it’s seriously hard work and may never look the same again. You can put it behind you but bear in mind that…

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What’s The Bottom Line?

Trust really is the bedrock of true relationships.

Be the person you want to see in those you truly trust and be prepared for a beautiful return on your investment.

#love #trust #respect

#beauty

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The Surprising Stats On Having Children Outside Marriage

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Cohabitation Or Marriage?

Should you have children outside marriage or after marriage? Isn’t having children a commitment in itself?

Apparently not, according to statistics released by the Marriage Foundation founded by Former High Court judge Sir Paul Coleridge.

What Do The Stats Say?

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Research conducted by conservative think tank the Marriage Foundation analysed data from 40,000 households in the UK. This indicated that as many as 77 per cent of the couples surveyed who had children after they got married were still together. This was significantly higher than the 44 per cent of couples still together who had children before tying the knot.

What’s The Bottom Line?

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Although it is a positive step that “the social shame of having children outside marriage” has been effectively eliminated, there is still value in “cystallising commitment before starting a family”, he claimed.

What’s The Way Forward?

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In response to this study, he said the belief that cohabitation is as stable as marriage “should be eradicated by clear public statements and education”. Whichever party is in government following May’s general election should “tackle the worrying rise in family instability in the UK”, he added.

Whatever your views, the full article on Marilyn Stowe’s blog, a top UK divorce lawyer, makes for interesting reading…

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#love #and #marriage #go #together #like #a #horse #and #carriage

Why Looking Within Is The Way To Happiness

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Buddha

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“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.”

Buddha

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What Makes A Relationship Healthy?

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“Nick Hornby once said, “It’s no good pretending that any relationship has a future if your record collections disagree violently or if your favorite films wouldn’t even speak to each other if they met at a party.”

I’m not a therapist or relationship expert, but after nearly a decade of marriage, I’m not convinced that your taste in movies or music determines if you and your significant other are destined for happily-ever-after or a bad break-up. My marriage isn’t perfect, but it’s satisfying and happy and it’s taught me a few things about what keeps long-term partnerships working. Thankfully, those things have nothing to do with musical preferences or I would have taken my country albums and left my Beatles-loving husband long ago. Instead, we’ve figured out how to compromise on music, and other things, and settle in for the long haul.

Here are a few of those things that I’ve learned do seem to say something about the strength of your union…”

Devon Corneal @realsimple

Relationships are complex but there are some dead certs about what makes a relationship healthy. Read this excellent article by Devon Corneal for Time Magazine if you’d like a healthy dose of wisdom on healthy partnerships.

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Why Self-Acceptance Is The Key To Happiness

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Who Is Lucille Ball And What Does She Know About Happiness?

Lucille Ball was a beautiful American actress, comedian, model and the first woman to run a major television studio, producing popular television series such as Mission Impossible and Star Trek. She received four Emmys, A Golden Globe and A Lifetime Achievement Award (she was also a pretty pretty redhead). That she advocated the importance of self-acceptance, despite her movie star good looks and giant successes, speaks volumes about looking internally for happiness, not externally. No matter how beautiful or well-known you may be, if you don’t learn to cherish yourself, you’ll miss out on really living.

Why Should You Take The Preachers With A Pinch Of Salt?

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Of course, there are also some folk who preach a little too much about the importance of finding happiness within before you can find happiness with others. I recall a good friend who had been single for years returning from a ‘girly’ trip away with friends who were all in longterm relationships and could talk of little else. Naturally, this amplified said friend’s feelings of loneliness after years of singledom, yet when she expressed this to her nearest and dearest, she was met with well-meaning but rather unfeeling advice about finding happiness within, before finding happiness in love. And while there is certainly some truth in this, sometimes life throws people punches that can be hard to recover from without a bit of external affirmation. As with all things, it’s a question of balance.

What Are The Benefits Of Self-Acceptance?

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While it’s easier said than done, embracing who you are really is the first step towards inner confidence, peace and happiness. Whether this is accepting where your heart takes you in matters of love, choosing lifestyles that others would not choose themselves or being yourself and risking the disapproval of others in the short-term, it’s crucial to respect who you really are.

It may be hard to accept truths about yourself which you know others may find hard to swallow, but anyone who truly cares about you will only want to see your longterm happiness and will realise this when they see you happy.

A client once told me that the biggest mistake he’d made in life was ignoring his instinct about a woman that he loved in order to please his family. He said he’d since learnt that standing firm to who you are is always the best course of action, because if you’re acting in accordance with your true values, you’ll find true happiness and the naysayers will soon come around.

Why Is It Unhealthy To Resist Self-Acceptance?

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Resisting who you are, whether worrying about what others think of you or looking outwards for acceptance, will only slow down your journey to happiness. A good friend repressed their sexuality for years for fear of what his military parents would think, only to discover that after short-term discomfort, his parents felt great relief in his happiness. Repressing who he really was had caused him years of inner turmoil and outward aggression which people couldn’t understand. And in the process of self-acceptance, he taught older generations blinded by ignorance a thing or two about love.

How Do You Know When You’ve Achieved Self-Acceptance?

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Accepting who you are is an ongoing process - whether this means realising that your passion in life is unlikely to bring you the wealth that society reveres or accepting that your one true love isn’t who you’d imagined as a little girl.

The bottom line is, if you’re trusting your instinct, you’re accepting that intangible part of yourself which you cannot see or necessarily rationalise, that inner core which may be far from society’s ideals of perfection but the heart of you which makes you beautifully unique. Trusting your gut and knowing that ‘a feeling’ is adequate motivation for your decisions in life shows that you are some way down the path to self-acceptance, whether it’s resisting manipulation in a partner or standing up to a friend who has upset you.

The feeling of peace and contentment that will arise from whole-heartedly cherishing who you truly are will tell you that you’ve met yourself with open arms. From there, infinite possibilities will come your way, professionally, personally and spiritually – outer beauty will be attracted to the value that you place on yourself like a magnet drawn to your core.

Conversely, a sick feeling in your gut signals fighting against who you really are, whether this is in a relationship or in a job. If it doesn’t feel right, accept your feelings and respect them. They’re just whisperings from your wiser self.

How Can You Learn To Be More Self-Accepting Day To Day?

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If this is hard to apply in real terms, take a look at this wonderful Ted Talk by Niko Everett, which gives great tips on building self-love. It’s amazing how effective her advice is. It can be as simple as repeating daily affirmations and it really does work :)

Why You Should ‘Come-Out’ Today?

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So if you’re having a tough time ‘coming out’ in any sense, don’t dumb down who you really are. Take the above steps and learn, bit by bit, to embrace yourself in all your glory. It may not be easy and it may take some time but once you do, you’ll feel a peace you didn’t know existed.

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The Theory Of Everything: Far More Than Physics

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The Green Eyed Boy Who Made Waves

Yesterday was a big day for Eddie Redmayne. He was already high on my list just for being a dazzling redhead, for his (inoffensive) public school charm and for those stunning green eyes, but his performance in The Theory Of Everything propelled him into unchartered territory. 

I had assumed that The Theory Of Everything would be about physics, planets and a famous scientist. And though it is, of course, about the incredible Stephen Hawking and his awe-inspiring achievements, it’s about far more than physical matter.

A Bit Of A Life-Changer

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This is a tale about the great themes of life – love and loss, strength and frailty, courage and fear, comedy and tragedy. This isn’t a perfect love story with violins and roses and romantic longevity untainted by challenge. This is a story about the varied and subtle shades of life at its most difficult and most beautiful. 

This is a story of reality and hope united – a story of a young couple bound by a love so strong that we are carried to dizzying heights with Jane’s passionate commitment to Stephen, a commitment at its most beautiful on his diagnosis with Motor Neurone Disease. Her inner courage is heightened by her miniature size, a gumption soaring way above the testing physical and emotional obstacles which are laid in their marital path.

Stephen’s strength is equally inspiring, manifest in his wicked sense of humour, sparkling eyes and remarkable scientific achievements despite his physical constraints. Nothing grips human nature more than strength in adversity and boy is this a hero’s tale – not just of the incredible scientist himself, but of his steadfast wife, unbending in love and sacrifice for the man she loves.

Where’s The Real Wow?

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But for me, a more subtle ‘wow factor’ lies in the twist towards the end. The Hawkings’ ability to adapt to new and uncomfortable truths is established early on through Stephen’s illness but later, with the breakdown of their marriage, come some truly powerful messages. That the changed status of their incredible relationship doesn’t undermine their happy ending bears poignant testimony to the power of the human spirit, challenging our perception of romance, commitment, happiness and success. For despite being the most brilliant example of ‘for better or for worse’, this ends up being a tale whose value isn’t determined by whether the couple remains together or apart… This is a tale about success in a far wider sense – the ability to accept the twists and turns of life and adapt to changes thrown your way, no matter how unfair or seemingly futile. 

What Can We Learn From The Theory Of Everything?

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In this respect, The Theory Of Everything is aptly named, for it really is rich in messages about so many aspects of human existence. The aforementioned twist, set against a tale of such supernatural love and professional achievement shows us that imperfection can still be inspiring and that magnificence is not always born of picture perfect endings. Intelligence is not just about brilliance and jaw-dropping achievement. It can be of a quieter kind, found in dignity, courage and the ability to adapt to change.

In an increasingly digital society dependant on the disposable, The Theory Of Everything shows us that those who don’t end up with picture perfect Facebook statuses can still find immeasurable success in their lives, looking backwards and forwards, whether personal, professional or familial, external or internal – together or apart. Indeed, any other type of ‘perfection’ seems rather superficial and mundane set against a tale so rich in challenges and the beauty that follows – but a static snap from a virtual world built to dazzle.

The Theory Of Everything challenges this empty cultural norm, showing that real beauty shifts and moulds to the circumstances of life – a life which can be rosy, shady and just plain difficult. A real life – where real brilliance goes way beyond a perfect picture, inspiring hope in loss, beauty in pain, humour in suffering.

A Cosmic Kind Of Hope

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And it is in this vein that The Theory Of Everything finds its cosmic power – in the quiet beauty of one of the closing scenes which sees the former couple united in the Queen’s perfectly manicured gardens, sharing their pride in the children that they have created together. The dignity with which they move on to confront life apart from one another following their incredible love story, without compromising the deep respect that they have developed for one another, struck me as a great perfection. Nothing supernatural, nothing cosmic, nothing to write home about on a Facebook wall but a flawed reality rich in hope, humanity and dignity.

Why Should You See The Theory Of Everything? 

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The Theory Of Everything is a remarkable tale about the power of the human spirit – a spirit which can be dazzling, other-earthly in abilities and passions and spell-bindingly inspiring but one which is also, just that – human – flawed, challenging and complex. A truly metaphysical tale, The Theory Of Everything unites improbable points of likeness on so many levels to incredibly powerful effect – strength in adversity, humour in suffering, passion in frailty and happiness despite separation. I can see why Stephen Hawking and Eddie Redmayne respect one another so much. Both seem to be remarkable men, probing life’s deepest questions in dazzling fashion.

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That Thing Called Love

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“People don’t like love, they like that flittery flirty feeling. They don’t love love—love is sacrificial, love is ferocious, it’s not emotive. Our culture doesn’t love love, it loves the idea of love. It wants the emotion without paying anything for it. It’s ridiculous.”

Matt Chandler, Pastor

Ever wondered how the heck love can last a lifetime? Ever wondered how you can be in the lucky few who stay together forever? Ever wondered how lasting love works in a society which is increasingly obsessed with the superficial? Ever wondered how you move through the giddy honeymoon period to keep love alive?

If you do one thing today, read this article by Iris Mendoza for Thought Catalog on love, its many difficulties and its deeper meaning. It’s outstanding.

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Entrepreneur Of The Month: Dreams, Havard & Humans Of New York

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“What’s your favorite thing about your mother?” “She loves life more than anyone I’ve ever known. I hope she doesn’t mind me telling you this, but recently she’s had some health problems. And her health got so bad at one point, she called me and said: ‘I was starting to wonder if there was any reason to go on. But then I had the most delicious pear!’”

“You can’t wait for the perfect idea to follow your dreams” -

Brandon Stanton, creator and photographer behind Humans of New York.

What is Humans Of New York?

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Launched in November 2010, HONY is a remarkable photoblog and bestselling book featuring street portraits and interviews collected in New York City. Achieving incredible popularity, reaching over 12 million followers on Facebook and gathering over 6000 portraits of New Yorkers, HONY captures every shade of human nature through honest visuals and snappy words.

Whether tales of poverty, love, suffering or humour, the thousands of comments under each photo reflect the powerful effect HONY has had on the world, with the public’s words revealing a rather more charitable, loving and inspiring human spirit than the media may have us believe.

A Boy With A Big Dream…

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HONY was created by Brandon Stanton, a self-professed ‘bad photographer’ who left the finance industry to pursue his dreams, risking the wrath of his parents to try to forge a career which would afford him ‘time rather than money’. He has, in fact, achieved both in tremendous fashion.

What Of The High Points?

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In the process, Stanton has interviewed Barack Obama on how he deals with adversity and garnered a Harvard Fund for disadvantaged NYC children which allows them to expand their idea of their own potential by visiting Harvard. The fund currently stands at over $1.5 million, with donations from the public stemming solely from the powerful picture below.

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“Who’s influenced you the most in your life?” “My principal, Ms. Lopez.” “How has she influenced you?” “When we get in trouble, she doesn’t suspend us. She calls us to her office and explains to us how society was built down around us. And she tells us that each time somebody fails out of school, a new jail cell gets built. And one time she made every student stand up, one at a time, and she told each one of us that we matter.” 

Stanton’s Speech To Harvard

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Stanton’s speech about his incredible journey is only 20 minutes long, the rest of the time being comprised of questions from the audience. If you don’t have time to listen to the whole speech and would like inspiration about why you should follow your dreams and design a life which fits your ideals, some of the high points can be found around minute 12 here.

Some Of The Best HONY Snaps…

To see some of my favourite HONY snaps, scroll down. They are, quite simply, amazing.

#be #brave

#follow #your #dreams

#design #your #life #happy

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“On January 19th, I met a young man on the street named Vidal, and I asked him to tell me about the person who had influenced him the most in his life. He told me about his principal, Ms. Lopez, and he explained how she had taught him that he mattered. Over the next two weeks, I learned the story of Ms. Lopez and her school, Mott Hall Bridges Academy. By hearing the stories of MHBA students and educators, my eyes were opened to the unique challenges facing a school in an under-served community. Ms. Lopez taught me that before a student is ready for academic training, they must be made to understand that they deserve success. And that can be the hardest battle in education. Ms. Lopez always said that there was no place her students did not belong. Recently we received an invitation that proved just that” – Brandon Stanton.

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“What’s your greatest struggle right now?” “No struggles.”

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“Right after I lost vision in my eye, I was so bad at walking that I ran into a girl eating ice cream, and knocked her cone out of her hand. She screamed: ‘Are you blind!?!?’ I turned to her and said: ‘I am blind actually, I’m so sorry, I’ll buy you a new cone.’ And she said: ‘Oh my God! I’m so sorry! Don’t worry! It’s no problem at all! I’ll buy another one.’ So we walked into the ice cream store together, and the clerk said: ‘I heard the whole thing. Ice cream is free.’”

HONY-11

“I’m glad I had a daughter. Ever since my grandmother died, I’ve needed the female energy in my life. It’s good energy. I mean, when things go wrong, another man can tell you that everything is going to be OK. But not like a woman can.”

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“When I told my mom that I was going to rehab, she was about to catch a flight to her 40th High School Reunion. I told her: ‘I guess you won’t be bragging about me to your friends.’ She said: ‘Actually, I’ve never been prouder of you.’”

14 Soul Shaking Quotes From Dr Maya Angelou

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Who Was She?

Maya Angelou’s early life was tarred by rape and prostitution. So disturbing was the abuse that she endured aged seven, she stopped talking for five years.

Despite this, she developed a love of language which saw her become a world-famous poet, civil rights activist (working with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X) and award-winning author known for her acclaimed memoir “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”.

Awards She Won?

Her achievements don’t stop there. In 2000, she was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Bill Clinton. In 2010, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honour in the U.S., by President Barack Obama, not to mention being awarded over 50 honorary degrees and three Grammys. She was also the second poet in history to recite a poem at a presidential inauguration.

Tributes To Her?

Michelle Obama described the African-American poet as: “One of the greatest spirits the world has ever known”, Barack Obama lauded her as: “One of the brightest lights of our time – a brilliant writer, a fierce friend, and a truly phenomenal woman” and Bill Clinton called her: “A national treasure”.

Why Does She Remain So Popular?

A truly indomitable spirit, the power of her work stems from her remarkable approach to suffering. Her poetry has been lauded for its depictions of black beauty, the strength of women and the human spirit, combining humanity, passion and dignity to stunning effect. Never losing the strength, defiance and humour which underlines her work, she rises above adversity with wit, wisdom, courage and grace. The power of her work is rooted in incongruity; despite her deep understanding of suffering and pain, she became known ultimately as a figurehead for strength, hope and survival.

Where Can You Read Her Work?

I’ve referred to two of her most loved poems below, including a personal recital of “Still I Rise”. With a commanding voice full of humour and gravitas, her poetry comes alive with her performance of it – so if you’re feeling a little run down or tired, watch, listen and be uplifted. It’s magical.

1. Legacy

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My favourite quote. It bears the test of time and is manifest in public reaction to the deaths of much loved figures such as Robin Williams, Princess Diana and Maya Angelou, herself. It was their human kindness, warmth and ability to make others laugh which people remembered, not their jobs or how much money they made.

2. Kindness 

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Corny but true. In line with Buddhist thinking, the greatest achievement and fulfilment is found in selflessness. A poignant message of internal beauty in an age which is increasingly obsessed with the external.

3. Strength 

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While her brilliant poem, Phenomenal Woman, celebrates female sensuality, she focuses predominantly on the beauty of the human spirit. Defiant and poised under attack, like a tree rooted to Earth, her ability to capture what it is to be grounded brings tremendous inspiration to her readers.

Not dissimilar to Einstein’s words: “Try not to become a man of success, but a man of value”, her words are all the more humbling given her achievements.

4. Faith 

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A woman who survived many trials herself, with teenage pregnancy and marital breakdown being at the minor end of the scale, Maya Angelou is a compelling example of hope.

Marianne Williamson builds on this, praising the benefits of intention: “Magic happens when you tell the universe what you want it to do for you”. I’ve also found this to be very true. 

5. Challenges 

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In the words of Freud, another great mind: “One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful”.

Listen to Maya Angelou’s personal recital of one of her most powerful poems on adversity at the end of this article. The determination, defiance and positivity in “Still I Rise” is infectious.

6. Self-Expression 

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A woman who created swathes of beautiful literature, Maya Angelou is a great example of the self-generating nature of creativity. If you want to create something, whether a blog, a business or an online pin board, just do it. The rest will follow.

7. Reality 

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I’m probably one of many who have learnt this the hard way. The idea that you can change someone is one of the most idealistic going. It’s easier said than done, but truly listening to what someone tells you about themselves is emotionally economical and can save much pain. In the words of Freud: “Being entirely honest with yourself is a good exercise”.

8. Suffering

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Suffering and isolation often go hand in hand but remembering that we all experience this at different points in our lives can be very comforting. Focusing our attention outwards shifts consciousness away from our inner turmoil, creating space for hope and regeneration.

So avoid becoming too entrenched in your emotions by taking a peek at others’ adversity. The likes of Stephen Sutton who raised more than £5 million for The Teenage Cancer Trust after being diagnosed with terminal cancer at 17 years old puts things into perspective, reminding us of the positives that can come from adversity.

9. Happiness 

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There’s no shame in taking a break from life if your body and mind are screaming for time out. Whether rooted in relationship breakdown, job overload or general life confusion, we’re all human – the only difference is not everybody admits it.

10. Change

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Simple. Nobody will change your life for you. “You are the master of your destiny” – Napoleon Hill.

11. Love 

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Those of us born in Generation Y are very fortunate in educational, professional and travel opportunities but this freedom can confuse as well as enhance us. But however muddled we become on the journey, the fundamentals rarely change.

In the words of Mandy Hale: “True love is crystal clear” – so don’t make too many excuses for a partner who doesn’t make you feel valued.

It can take a while to learn, but love is really quite simple. Your best friends don’t let you down and – corny as it sounds – love is just friendship set on fire.

12. Self-Love 

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If you’re a reasonably settled soul, you’ll sometimes attract people who are lost. If you find yourself with this type of person and you’re unable to help them, you may start feeling pretty disorientated trying.

You then have a choice.

Be careful staying in a partnership which may erode your self-esteem. If you spend too much time with someone with no self-worth, this will likely manifest itself in your relationship and may start to decay your own sense of self. Instead, hang onto who you are and remember Barbara Marciniak’s words: “The quality of love you receive mirrors the value you place on yourself”.

13. Laughter 

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Life’s stressful enough without laughter. Put simply by Charlie Chaplain: “A day without laughter is a day wasted”.

14. Survival 

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What have you done for yourself today for feel good factor? If the answer is: “Not much”, watch the below. Maya Angelou’s energy is contagious.

Meditation Hype Backed By Science

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Theory versus Reality?

Ever wondered whether meditation is all talk and no results?

This article in the Havard Business Review by a group of scientists gives compelling evidence of the science behind the hype. 

The Benefits of Meditation?

Read it and discover how mindfulness keeps our brains healthy, supports self-regulation, enhances decision-making capabilities and reduces stress. If it sounds magical, that’s because it is.

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