(Photo Credit: Bryan Tewell. @Lookout Mountain. Chattanooga,TN)
We are in a time where we all need a list. 7 reasons why your zodiac sign is the worst, 20 reasons why you suck at life, 13 ways to declutter your mess of a brain etc. We need these lists to have something to relate to, something to validate we aren't alone in this gigantic massive negative crumbling world. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it. We all need answers to these problems we have within us. These problems we feel we need to protect, so we bottle them up and never share them. WHY? Because God forbid we share our worries or we might be judged or even worse (GASP) embarrassed that we are a disgusting human, walking around with our gross stinky feelings/emotions/thoughts. EW But really I need these lists too, because you see even as a nearing 30 year old (I know I am nearing grandmahood, grow up.) I still don't always have my crap together. In fact I don't know if I ever will and yeah thats certainly the most terriiying but also completely liberating thing. So here is my list on how to be a better human, how to open up, how to manage your time, how to communicate better, how to admit your'e wrong, and how to procrastinate efficiently. Basically this is my life on how to live each moment as your most authentic, mistake making, human living, open hearted self.
1. BE KIND.
We say it all the time. We share quotes about it. Man even Cinderella is on board with it, and Cinderella is amazing. Like seriously guys, genuinely smile at everyone you see, hold the door (ladies can do it too), acknowledge the homeless (wo)man on the corner even if you can't spare some change. Leave a note for a friend/coworker to brighten their day. Call your grandparents if you still can. Change someone's day with a simple act of just treating every single person how you want to treated. Not only does it require the smallest amount of effort, you might actually find that negative closed off armour melt away a little bit.
2. WORK HARD
Let's face it. NO one is going to do the work for us as much as we'd love that. Getting somewhere in life requires ultimate effort. Not just the bare minimum, but above and beyond, blood, sweat, and tears kind of effort. Believe me, its exhausting. But the pay off is worth it. If you're like me in the freelance/artist world, finding work can be a full time job. But when you get to work for yourself, all of that hard work is the ultimate reward, even if it doesn't always feel like it. Just put in some elbow grease and dont stop.
3. PRACTICE PATIENCE.
Success, love, finding yourself, money, etc. What do all of those things have in common? They require time to acquire and grow. We work hard and search endlessly to figure out how we can get these things but we never take the time to allow everything to play out how they should. Put in the effort in life necessary to grow our assets and let it all just happen. Stop for a moment each day and breathe. Reflect. Meditate. Slow down just a little bit and enjoy each moment for what its worth, instead of rushing to get to the finish line. Unless you have a deadline, then do that fast.
4. LET IT GO
There I said it. Let it go. LET IT GO. What exactly is the "IT"? It doesn't matter. Its the past. It is unchangeable. It is absolutely most certainly not going to define you unless you let it. You had a horrific breakup. You lost all your money gambling on a boat. You cheated on your spouse. You hurt someone's feelings. You didn't get the 1,000 auditions you went to. Your credit sucks. You failed the spelling bee? All these things are things we don't want to experience or shouldn't have done. But guess what? They happened and Y O U have the ability to pick yourself up, move on, and make the changes to get out of that funk. Do it. You'll feel amazing.
5. COMMUNICATION IS KING
Use your words. Sing them. Scream them. Write them down. But most importantly, get those words out in to the world. We all spend so much time complaining on the internet, or to our friends/family/whoever will listen about the most trivial stuff. Instead we should be talking to the people it pertains to. You don't like something your husband did? You were unfairly treated at work? You feel you're being taken advantage of? You didn't get paid what you were promised? Say something. If you do nothing. If you say nothing. Nothing will ever ever ever ever change. Communucating with one another can seriously change the world.
6. SHARE YOUR SUCCESSES (with no expectations of return)
Many many moons ago when I first started modeling, I didn't have any one to guide me. I didn't have a single person to tell me if something was a scam, or that I shouldn't pay for this or that, don't cut your hair, learn how to dress, what is in a model bag? The internet wasn't really a tool at the time. We barely used emails for bookings. Anyways. It's been my vow and I've felt my duty to mentor/guide/pass on the torch to others when I can. Sharing is literally one of the best things we can do for ourselves and others. Not only does it make you feel good to help someone else out, you are also giving someone else a chance to have a great experience.
What do I mean by sharing your successes?
Example: I can't make a particulr modeling job on Sunday (true story) so I reached out to my network of models and passed on the amazing opportunity to someone else.
Moral of the story. Stop being so competitve and afraid that another model (person) might take your client. If you are good at what you do, people will always remember you. They will remember your hard work, your kindness, your ability to share, and eventually maybe just maybe you'll refer enough people they'll start paying you for it? (Hey its happened to me a few times)
7. DROP YOUR EGO (sort of)
Okay. EGO isn't all bad. We all need to believe in ourselves fully. So.....don't drop your ego completely. DO allow yourself to be more open. I believe that many opportunities are missed because we think we are "too good" for something. We all want to hold ourselves very high, because we think we are better than something. We think because we made this much money doing this job that we should always continue to make that much and never less, or we've worked this job so we can't be seen doing something we consider beneath it. STOP THAT RIGHT NOW. Yes. We do need to have standards. We do need to demand that we get paid what we are worth. We do have to make sure we are not being taken advantage of. BUT what I have learned is that you can never judge an opportunity because you never know what it might turn into.
8. STOP COMPARING YOURSELF
Nobody is perfect, I repeat, NO LIVING HUMAN IS PERFECT. Although we are all pretty guilty of this on the daily reg. BUT just stop it. We are our worst critics, but it isn't our place to judge others or compare ourselves to others. Look within yourself, if you do not like what you see, change it. But stop tearing yourself down trying to be someone else. Your successes, your path, your journey, your life. That is all you. You will never anyone other than you, so embrace that fully. Be you and be proud.
9. BE PRESENT
GET OFF YOUR CELL PHONES. It's rude. It's boring. I've fallen into the habit of getting so annoyed that people are on the phones ignoring the moment that I've just started being on mine, because I hate talking to thin air.
Nothing on any social media page will ever be as important as the conversation you are having with a real live friend, spouse, family member. I don't care how boring the conversation is, when you refuse to absorb the people in your presence, or the moment, you are refusing the have a normal open friendship/relationship with that person. So if you are having a nice dinner, leave your phone in your purse/pocket/car. Pay attention. The world is beautiful. Your phone can't hold you at night.
10. CREATE YOUR OWN HAPPINESS
You are completely responsible for your own happiness. You need to get your life in order, pave your own way, make your own money, have your own individual successes, learn to cook for yourself, whatever. You need to be your own individual. It should never ever be up to another person to make you happy.
INSTEAD- You should be with a person or people or friends who enhance your existence. Who have their own game going and can run alongside you and share happiness. Right? Happiness is shared. And if that isn't the case, run as far away from the negativity that is bringing you down son!
*Side note- happiness isn't constant ok? Like get a grip. Its work, just like everything else. So if sometimes you have a day where you aren't super happy, its not the end of the world. Promise. Go pet some puppies, sip a latte or unicorn frapp if you have that fat heart, and sleep on it.
11. TAKE A LEAP OF FAITH
YES! Do something bold, something that you know deep down you want to do. Something you maybe always dreamed of. If you can look deep inside your soul and say, if I do this I will be with the person of my dreams, I can live in a place I've never lived, I can change my life, I can live a little differently, DO IT. It might be scary. It might be the biggest uncertainity ever. It might not even be anything you ever expected. And it might not even work out. But if you don't do it, you will spend your life wondering what if?
As Eminem once nobaly said:
If you don't take a leap of faith at least once in your life, to do something that might change your life forever, why not take it? I did. And I literally woulnd't change it for the world. <3