Interest.

I’ve mentioned this before but learning new things by reading then applying is one of my all-time favorite past times. I love reading books that have a lesson to be learned and a new way to look at life. There are times when I am constantly reading the same styles of book, ones that promote self-improvement and time management. I get there are people who look at these books and think they are complete folly, but I take the good from them and apply them in my day to day life.

There are plenty of reasons to spend a little time each day invested in self-improvement. First to improve your quality of life, not because you are broken or need improvement but because too many of us fail to see the good we do and the strengths we have. Being honest we are often too critical of our weaknesses, we need to be more kind when we look inward at what we do. Investing a little time into self-improvement can truly make your mental well being better as you are a bit kinder to yourself.

Second would be to learn topics that can help you to be a better friend, primarily a better listener who can respond with better answers and follow up questions. There I said it, often times as friends we are needed as good active listeners who are able to respond with answers that add value to the conversation. These moments when we can add to the conversation will strengthen our friendships and help our friends have someone besides themselves to lean on. Obviously, you don’t want to take over the conversation but add enough value that your friend not only knows you are listening to them but you are invested in learning about their interests too.

You and I both know the list could add up to one hundred different points but that’s not why we’re here. Take a little of your time each day and work on learning a little about self-improvement, take a little more time to appreciate yourself and the good things you do. Be interested in adding to your quality of life and your personal happiness and everything else will follow.

You.

After watching another episode of Queer Eye on Netflix I’ve got to say it and reiterate it, you are great. Yes you, the reader you are great as you are. Many of us are on the receiving end of criticism that is ninety percent self-given and often not uplifting. We are spending too much time breaking ourselves down and not enough time building ourselves up. We need to spend a little more time each day loving ourselves.

I’m not saying that you need to start carrying around a notepad and writing down twenty-five reasons why you are great, worthy, and deserving of your own approval and love but that is one way to do it. What I am saying is that we can talk a little less negatively of ourselves and that starts when we think/talk to ourselves. You know those little conversations that we have when something happens and we replay the scenario in our heads? It is okay to evaluate your behavior and performance but give yourself the credit that you deserve. You do better than you think you do.

A few ways that I have been able to better love and appreciate myself include:

  • Talking about the things I enjoy doing and do well.
  • Smiling at myself in the mirror from time to time.
  • A weekly recap of the things I did well at.
  • Little moments of gratitude to thank, me. (Like this)
  • Belief in my abilities
  • Investing in my personal education and growth.

The list above is just a few things that can be used to look at yourself in a better light. We all know that self-love is a challenge that we battle differently from person to person. If you know someone who needs a little more love, tell them how great they are. Then help them to see that goodness and express the good things they see about themselves. Don’t be afraid to shed a tear or two as you love yourself and help others see the good they do too.

Classroom.

As a child I was not a fan of being in classrooms. As a student I found myself bored and uninterested in the subjects I was mandated to learn. I wouldn’t say that I was a terrible student, but I wasn’t invested in learning the information I was required to at that moment. I appreciated my teachers and the time they would invest in attempting to shape my young mind, but I have always wanted something different based off my interests at the time.

As an adult attending university at times have been an uphill battle for me because of that mindset. I struggled even in subjects I was interested in all because of the rigid structure that higher education requires students to conform to. I had to break my mindset of the avoidance and distaste for classrooms and what they meant to me. That process took me two years of university education and thousands of dollars. I still don’t enjoy classrooms at all, but I am now able to listen better and learn easier behind a desk while being lectured at.

Learning for me was something that was never limited to classrooms. I was always learning outside of school either at home from books or out with my parents. I was and still am a questioner, I always want to know the “why” behind things, I want to understand the process and the mechanics that make things happen. From paving roads to the law process questions have been a tool I’ve used to learn a little about a subject and pursue what I wanted to learn or drop what I haven’t

Self learners tend to be able to pick up a subject and guide themselves to a working knowledge than a mastey of a desired subject. Many of the self learners I know are in a constant state of educating themselves and are often either early adopters of trends or find themselves in a constant state of catch up trying to rejoin the industry they are involved in.

Classrooms can be the best proving grounds for some along their educational experiences. For others classrooms can be places that dam learning and hinder the progress of different individuals. Each of us learn differently so find the place you learn best and excel in your education.

Yesterday.

Yesterday always plays a part in who we are today because who we were yesterday determined what we are able to do today. Today’s success started with yesterdays efforts and the struggles that we were able to overcome. When I was younger I often would hear people talking about their past and the “what if’s” had they decided to stick with career x or hobby y. The echoes of yesterday with all its former glory were holding them back from a better today, and their desired tomorrow. Yesterday is in the past, we cannot change it, we can only learn from it and move forward.

Living in yesterday isn’t healthy for anyone, yesterday was a lesson we learned and today are utilizing as we go. I think about a few things I learned yesterday and have utilized today. First from work was new policies and a better understanding of the processes we need to make things work for all parties involved in a transaction. At home, I refreshed my technique for making yellow coconut curry and a better balance of water to coconut milk in the simmering phase of the dish’s preparation. While I was at the climbing gym I practiced a few routes that I am hoping to send in the coming weeks and found better hand and foot placement for balance as I climb. These are all valuable lessons for the next time I work with someone on policy at work, invite friends over for curry, and send those routes I was practicing. All great lessons learned yesterday to benefit me in the future.

If you messed up yesterday let it stay in yesterday if you can. If its a small oops leave it there stop dwelling on the things you cannot change and work towards the things you can. We all have those experiences that have weighed us down and that we sometimes think back to with embarrassment and hope that someone else doesn’t remember it. Most of the time you are the only one who remembers those moments and it’s best for every one of you forget them too.

Yesterday was great, wasn’t it? Yesterday was a learning experience, so today lace up your shoes and use what you’ve learned to do great things.

Together.

Tonight I finished watching the Netflix series, Russian Doll. Warning, possible spoilers ahead if you haven’t finished the series. The lead character in the series Nadia begins a series of loops where she struggles to find a safe way to navigate life, eventually finding herself cautious yet still struggling to move forward in life. She eventually meets Alan on an elevator and shares a unique moment that leads to a friendship of shorts leading to an understanding that they need to work together to help the other move forward a better person.

This process takes some time as they struggle to better understand each other, find balance in their friendship, and take some time apart to realize that friendship is a challenge accepting even when the other person might demand you get lost. After an extended time, they recognize the benefit of working together to free each other from past baggage and move forward together as friends into the unknown.

Friendship comes in all shapes and sizes due to the fact that we all bring different pros and cons together at the table as friends. Our strengths and weaknesses become well known to others as we spend time together and dare to share the truest parts of ourselves as the friendship grows from the first contact to extended years of experience. We know that having true friendships can benefit us if we are willing to trust our friends and welcome them in when we need them most and vice versa we need to be ready to be a friend who can listen at times, speak at others, and just be there for brunch on an odd day when opportunity knocks,

Some are fortunate and have the ability to easily make friends and build lasting relationships in a short time. Others might struggle to find real common ground with others and hold back on trusting their friends with heavy thoughts and feelings out of fear of oversharing and scaring away friendship. There are friends who are a mixture of these two types where one party is vastly more open and another is a better listener who shares smaller pieces back that are solidifying pieces of the friendship.

We are great as individuals, we can accomplish great things on our own, and nobody should tell you otherwise. Add any number of friendships and you will be strengthened by others and aided in your day to day conquests by supporters who believe in you too. Alone we can do many things, together we can do anything.