This is a guest post by Louise Fandino, originally published on Make it Blissful
I am a woman and proudly so. I celebrate being a woman and mother every single day. I wouldn’t trade them for anything else. I am at a point in my life where things are not perfect. Where I am is not ideal, but I am happy, contented and at peace.
It wasn’t like this a decade ago when I had a beautiful mistake in my life: I got pregnant out of wedlock, I wasn’t ready and I didn’t have contingency plans. That time, I was climbing my way up the corporate ladder, I was starting to help my aging parents, I was only beginning to enjoy my independence, and I abused it. The only beautiful thing I could think of was I was chosen to bear a child. To bear a child is in itself, a miracle. I was chosen to be a mom.
That was all I had, everything else was a mess.
It was a process and long but sure one, coupled with a lot of prayer for guidance and strength to get to the more intentional and more peaceful state my life is right now. Again, not perfect, not even normal, but a better and steadier one. There were eight simple personal disciplines I consistently reminded myself to live by which helped my life pick up from being broken, to being whole again.
1. Follow Your Dreams.
When I was down, all I had was myself, my son and my dreams. I decided to not give up. I decided to keep that dream burning and stand up from the fall. Slowly, from being a jobless and a depressed mom, I looked for work, to support myself and the little life depending on me. But I didn’t settle for just any job, I looked for a job that I wanted. The job I wanted kept me busy and happier because I was doing what I love. I gained new friends. I brought back my self-confidence. I finally had money for myself. I was better than my jobless self. I just had a dream and I just intentionally fulfilled it. Everything got better.
2. Don’t Compare Yourself To Others.
To each her own. Back then, I was struggling as a new mother, a newbie in the workplace, but I survived. My eyes were “on the prize,” that is, my life goals. I was focused.
Admittedly, there were moments I compared my life to my batchmates who were more successful, who were happier, and instead of doing better for myself, I self-pitied. I went back to zero. When that happened, I refocused. I realized comparing myself to others will not help me become better. I started to believe in myself more, motivated myself to reach my goals, and realized that we are all unique individuals and God was, and still is, still molding me to be the person He’s planned for me to be. I have a different path, a different life to live, a different set of challenges. I should not strive to be better than others, because there will always be people better than I am.
What I did do is strive to be better than my old self and just keep on getting better at what I thought was already my best. (I still do this now.) This motivated me to live the life I intentionally want for myself and my son.
3. Prioritize What Matters.
When one part of my life was a mess, every area in my life was crushed and scattered all over the place, too. Just like a bunch of flowers that have fallen out of a basket, I had to pick up the stems one by one and put it all together. But this time, I had to choose the flowers that still had a chance to bloom. I left the wilted ones.
You know what I mean? It’s similar to how we prioritize things in life. I asked myself: Will this or that bring value to my life? Will choosing to do this make things in my life better? If the answer was “yes,” I went for it. If not, I would delay it or not do it at all. The end in mind is to reach my dreams and attain the life goals I had for myself. I cannot do everything at once, I had to choose, and make better choices… which now brings me to the next part…
4. Learn How To Say No.
In choosing better, there were things I had to say “No” to. I used to be a “Yes” person, because I thought if I decline an offer, an invitation, an opportunity, I might be saying “no” to myself too. I might be giving up a chance to make things better for my life. I realized, while tempting opportunities do not always knock twice, there are also opportunities that may not always be right for me and the intentions I had for leading a better life. Some opportunities may bring more money or fame, but will stress me more and take me away from my family. Some opportunities may be smaller but aligned to my dreams and how I want my life to be led. I say NO to anything than doesn’t lead me to a happier, stress-free, and more peaceful life.
5. Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff.
This became my daily reminder because a lot of activities happen everyday which may affect our moods, our stress levels and the way we relate to other people. Along the way, I learned how to let go of things beyond my control and pay more attention to matters that I have control over.
Now, when there are projects that have been executed in ways I had not planned, I examine what went wrong and see which part I could remedy and immediately do it. If I cannot, I don’t punish myself by blaming myself for the disaster. At work, my motto is, tomorrow is another day. In parenting, I say, if the mistake is not life affecting or life threatening, I just talk to the kids about the lessons and forget about yelling and punishments which may have worse effects on their lives.
6. Surround Yourself with Positive People.
Misery loves company, so when you’re feeling a bit off, don’t turn to people who feel the same way. Instead, seek advice from people whom you know had overcome similar situations. Be in a company of successful and inspiring people so you would be motivated to rise above the challenges you go through. Surrounding yourself with positive people will propel you more to live a more intentionally successful and happier life.
I was able to achieve this for myself when I became one of the Martine’s Blissmakers here on Make it Blissful. I was surrounded by talented, inspiring, successful, positive, and empowering women and I always feel good knowing I am part of this group of like-minded women who doesn’t see each other as competition.
It’s important for a woman, a mom, a career person, a businesswoman, a super mega busy lady to go back to her elements, to relax, to breathe, to unwind and to recharge. She’s a delicate, fragile, precious, woman who deserves to be treated well, and loved much.
You have to do this for whatever life stage you’re in. If you’re single, don’t rely on another being to make you happy or make you whole. Respect and love yourself enough so others will see your value. If you’re in a relationship or married, don’t feel guilty about making time for yourself, about treating yourself once in a while to a massage, a hand and foot spa, a facial or hair treatment to feel good and cared for.
I learned through the years that paying attention to myself and being able to get what I need without depending on others felt really good. When I feel good, I come out to be a more positive being. When I’m in my in touch with all my woman elements, I think more clearly, I am kinder, I am more empowered and I live my life more intentionally, just how I want it to be. And lastly, and the most important of all is to…
God provides. God knows all our pain, cast it upon HIM and He will give us rest. God knows the desires of our hearts. God listens to everything we tell Him in prayer. This is the most powerful aid in helping any woman, any mother, any wife, any sister, any daughter in living a life happily, peacefully and intentionally. I lived by ORA et LABORA, prayer and work. In order to reach my dreams, my goals and my life intentions, I have to couple my prayers with work. And when you also do, you’ll see beautiful and intentional things unfolding before you.
From zero, I’ve gone far better, not perfect, but my life is now more intentional. I’ve learned a lot as a woman, as a daughter, as a mom, and as a wife by living life simply and following these eight intentional things. These had made me stronger and more empowered to do the things I love doing, to choose the things that add value to myself and my family, and to live life just the way I want it.
How about you? Have you gone through a major life event? How were you able to rise above it?