As I began putting this list together I had titled it ‘rules to live by’, but then as I kept writing I realised something; rule makes it sound so concrete and definite, rigid – like you have no option and this is the only way… and yes, while these are all beautiful ideas to live by and incorporate, that’s all they are, ideas, these are just my musings to take on board. None of these are mandatory. And so to that end, I didn’t like the idea of calling them ‘rules’. Alas, I arrived at;
Rules Sentiments To Live By.
Feel free to add your sentiments to the list in the comments below, collectively we can come up with a master list of over-arching sentiments to lead with.
Be Kind. This is number one. Be kind every. single. day, in every. single. way. It’s the secret sauce of life, it makes the world go round and it impacts you just as much as it impacts those around you – it’s empowering when you inspire kindness. Don’t underestimate the impact of kindness, even something small – and that costs nothing – like a smile, can impact someone in ways you don’t even know. Always always always choose kindness.
If you can’t be kind, be quiet. I’m sure you remember your parents telling you when you were younger; ‘if you don’t have anything nice to say, say nothing at all’… and that is so true. There’s no need for negativity, judgment, criticism (that isn’t constructive) or flat-out-plain-old-mean-ness, if you can’t be kind or say something nice, then just keep those lips sealed and know that there really is no need to say anything at all.
Be you. Be the person you are, the true you you want to be, loud and proud. All you need to know is that you are you and you are enough, right now, just as you are. The world needs you, and you are unique – there is not one other person on this planet (and heck, there are a lot of people here) that is exactly like you. How freaking amazing is that! And we need what you’ve got and what you bring to the world.
Ask questions. Never stop learning. Be observant, inquisitive and curious, ask questions always – there’s no such thing as a stupid question. The more you ask, the more you learn and develop opinions and explore and discover. Ask all the questions.
Meditate. Don’t be like me and put off meditation because you’re quote / unquote scared of it. I kid you not, meditation used to terrify me because ‘I didn’t know how to do it and if I was doing it right’… but the thing I learnt is, just to give it a go because there is no ‘right or wrong’ really and you wouldn’t believe the benefits it has. As Eckhart Tolle says, (I’m paraphrasing but along these lines) one conscious breath in and out is meditation. The impact that being still has on you, on your life, is incredible. It has helped me with so much. And don’t get me started (because I’ll go on all day) on the positive impact it has on mental health, for me it has helped immeasurably with my anxiety and now I honestly look forward to it, I crave it and I notice the difference when I don’t. It doesn’t mean that I am a guru and religiously disciplined in doing it every single day because, life happens and sometimes I forget / can’t / leave it till night and fall asleep etc… buuuutttt when I do stick to it and regularly incorporate it into my routine, I really feel ‘in flow’.
Dream BIG. Aim for the stars baby, your wildest dreams CAN come true… you just need to first of all dream them up (and know that no dream is too big; it’s imagination, there are no limits), work towards the dream and most importantly BELIEVE that it can’t just come true, but it’s in the works right this very second and you have the power to dream it into fruition. Pretty cool, right?
Surround yourself with people who feel like sunshine. This is so important and something that has a beautiful impact on your heart and life. You know those people I’m talking about, the rare gems in this world that sometimes, we are lucky enough to cross paths with, and they radiate sunshine from within. They make life better just by being in it. And they definitely have a magic that exudes. And know that when it comes to friends, it’s quality over quantity. Know who your people are – you know those people that you can truly be yourself with (the aforementioned sunshine), they are keepers.
Be grateful. Gratitude is magic, it has more of an impact and a profound power than science can explain, but just trust me on it. Once you start being grateful for all that you have in your life, more shows up. Start seeing your life, and the world around you, through a lens of gratitude and watch what happens. And it’s so simple to be grateful in your day-to-day life, make it a ritual, before you nod off to the land of zzz’s; write down, say out loud or think to yourself of three things you’re grateful for… and I promise you, once you start, the ‘three’ turns into a very long list.
Have manners. This one is so simple and doesn’t need much of an explanation. Please and thank you go along way. Use them, always – please.
Slow down. What’s the rush? Haven’t you ever noticed that if someone races off and overtakes you, or runs through a red light, you almost always end up at the next set of lights with them anyway. This is just a metaphor, but also practical advice – don’t speed through red lights and drive like a crazy person overtaking people – alas, I digress. There’s no race. We don’t have to always be rushing or busy. Sometimes, we need to take a moment, be present and just go at our own pace. It’s all going to work out how it’s meant to anyway.
Be conscious of your internal dialogue. You know that voice, the one that tells you you’re not (blank) enough, the one that sends you in a spiral and before you know it has made up a crazy story that you think is real. Well, it’s not. And you are more than enough in every single way. Be aware of this voice. Learn how to distinguish the difference and re-wire your thought process / internal dialogue.
Spend time away from your phone. ( /laptop / iPad / tv). Look, this is a hard one. I get it. It’s almost impossible right, especially when that little thing that sits in our hands / pockets / handbags connects us to literally everything and everyone. But put it down, immerse yourself in a book, dip your feet in the ocean, take a walk in nature and it’s amazing the inspiration, clarity, creativity and calm you will find by stepping away from the screens for a minute.
Be aware. Awareness is such a beautiful trait to hone in on. Be aware of the people around you, be aware of our planet and environment, be aware of what’s going on social and politically, be aware of situations, be aware of your intuition.
Lose yourself. In a good movie, book, show, conversation… whatever it may be, find the things that offer you escape, offer you downtime, offer you joy… and do them more often.
Take the high road. Always take the high road. Aint no body benefiting from taking the low road. Ask anyone, there’s nothing to see on that road and it will just make you feel worse.
Sing your little lungs out. The power of music is quite incredible, it can instantly change your mood, your demeanour, your vibration and your energy. So, whether you’re feeling down or you’re high on life and want to keep those vibes a’comin, put on that song – you know the one, it’s got your feet tapping, your insides dancing and the corners of your mouth moving upwards into a smile already – and sing loud and proud to your hears content lil lady.
Listen to (and trust) your gut. Gut instinct, it’s a thing and it’s something we all have inside of us. You know when you have that spidey-sense that something’s not quite right, when you get a feeling about a person or a situation, or un unexplainable inkling to do the thing, keep going or give it a shot even when the odds are stacked against you or no-one else believes in the thing – that, my friend, is your gut. It is wise, even wiser than the three wise men if you can believe, and it knows. It always knows. So tune in, listen to it and trust it.
Embrace discomfort. Uncomfortable? Lean into it. That’s where the growth is baby, trust me.
Stop talking about it, start doing it. That thing, you know the thing, we alllll have the thing. Do it. Start it. Put one foot in front of the other and just get started. Life’s too short to just dream about things that our hearts desire but not actually action them and then live with regret and a constant longing in our hearts. What’s the worst that can happen – just do it.
Be thoughtful. There’s so much to be said for thoughtfulness and just like kindness, it has more of an impact than you could possible know. There are so many ways to be thoughtful and it’s never wasted.
Love yourself. Well, at least work on loving yourself sick. Look, it’s a work in progress, for all of us. But keep trying, keep going, look that beautiful face staring back at you in the mirror right in the eyes and tell her how much you love her. Because, you are freaking amazing and deserve to be loved, you’re worthy of all the love and you are enough and perfect and wonderful and incredibly amazing just as you are.
Reflect. Always reflect. Whether it’s work, friendships, relationships, projects or just a situation, self reflection is key. What could I have done better, what did I learn, how can I improve next time, ask the questions and take not of the answers.
Call your loved ones more. Be old school, pick up the phone (I know I know shock horror, who does that these days?!) and check in, see how they are doing, remind them how loved they are. It’s really important.
Be comfortable in your own skin. Okay, okay. I love how I’m just writing this down so nonchalant like it’s so freaking easy to do. Errrmmm, not quite. I know, trust me, I know! Butttttt we gotta work at it right, and there’s no time like the present. We’re so quick to judge and fault our own bodies, pick them to pieces and point out all of our ‘flaws’ and things we don’t like. But, our bodies are our bodies and they are keeping us alive and they are part of who we are. Our bodies are amazing, we have a heart that beats without us needing to tell it to, lungs that breathe, a mind that thinks…. Plus, I hate to say it but that age old theory is right, ‘the thing’ isn’t going to make your life amazing, you know… ‘When I lose my tummy fat’… ‘When I tone up’… ‘When I lose 5 pounds’… ‘When I get fitter’… ‘When my skin is clear’… ‘When I fix XYZ’…. You can ‘When I’ all you want, but I know, as well as you do deep down, that it isn’t the answer. You gotta love you for you, yes of course we want to look after our bodies and set goals and feel good… but do it for the right reasons and not because otherwise that isn’t the answer and the grass aint gonna be any greener just by you fixing whatever you think needs to be fixed.
Live in the moment. It’s easier said than done for some (ahem, me) but life is too short. Instead of worrying about the past or future tripping about what is to come – something we literally have no control over, let’s get back to basics and be present. Let’s embrace spontaneity and make the most of this gift of life.
Find the positive. Be a glass half full person, look for the goodness – there is always goodness, there’s always a positive, there’s always a lesson and growth – it’s just whether we choose to see it.
Use the good china. The good china, the fresh towels, the new outfit, the thn=ing we’ve been saving… just use it. Make every day special, make every time you enjoy a cup of tea ‘a moment’… don’t wait. Life doesn’t wait and it really is all in the details.
Never settle. Ever. No matter what it is: relationships, career, dreams, goals etc… just please, don’t settle. Know your worth and know that you don’t need to settle for anything. You deserve whatever it is that your heart desires, you deserve to live your dream life. So don’t settle. Even when fear is telling you otherwise. Because that’s all it is, fear – that’s the voice talking. Please, promise me, you will not settle.
Cry when you need to cry. I was speaking to a girlfriend about this the other day, I think there’s a lot of pressure right now to ‘be happy,’ ‘let it go’, ‘be your best self’ and yes, all of those things are true but we are still humans living the human experience and that involves the ebbs and flows of life. Sometimes things happen that make us feel sad or shitty, and sometimes they don’t and we feel those things anyway (hello, hormones I’m looking at you) but it’s ok. It’s ok to cry. Let it out. Go in the shower, crumple up on the couch, tuck yourself up into bed, jump around to a song, punch it out at a kickboxing class, eat pizza and ice-cream, watch a sad movie if you want – whatever helps. Just let it out.
Move your body. This is an important one. Try and move your body for 30 minutes a day, it doesn’t have to be with fancy equipment, an expensive membership or something that doesn’t work for you and your lifestyle – it can be a walk in your lunch break, getting up a little earlier or sweating it out after work. But try and carve out the time for it. It’s obviously good for your physical health, but it’s amazing how much of an impact it can have on your mental clarity and mood.
Watch sunsets. As often as you can. This is one of my personal non-negotiables, jump at any and every opportunity to watch a sunset. It is one of the most beautiful things your eyes can ever witness, they have such a magic about them and they’re never ever the same.
Know that everyone is doing their best. Seriously, for the most part – people are generally doing their best. So cut them some slack, be empathetic and compassionate because you don’t know what it’s like walking in someone else’s shoes. You don’t know what demons they are battling or what is going on behind their smile or friendly demeanour. And honestly, everyone is just doing the best they know how from their level of awareness, education, consciousness and how they’ve been brought up / the person they are.
Give good hugs. You know those friends (I can think of 2 off the top of my head) that give amazing hugs. The hugs that swallow you up. The ones that feel warm and comforting. The ones you can sink into. The ones that make you feel loved – how good are those hugs and how much do you particularly look forward to seeing those friends. There’s nothing better than giving a hug, because you get to receive one at the same time. Be a hugger, and better yet, hug with heart.
Live by your values. Know them, inside out and live by them in everything you do. Use your moral compass as a guide, always.
Believe in magic. Life is full of magic, it’s just whether you choose to see it. Consciously choose to create space, look for it, and more will appear.
Listen. Being a good listener is an underrated part of conversation and something that adds so much value to someone. Sometime’s all someone needs is an ear.
Be a giver. Give help without expectation of anything in return.
Love. Love love love and then love some more. All we all want is to love, and be loved.
Don’t compare. We need to change this narrative that we ‘should be’…. there is no should, you’re on your own path, you don’t know someone else’s story, and remember that Instagram is a highlight reel.
Find what lights you up / feeds your soul. Discover whatever that is for you (and when you know, you know) and find ways to incorporate it into your life as much as you can.
Accept yourself: you are enough. Seriously, I know you don’t believe that because it’s something we all struggle to believe. But you are. You are soooooo enough!!
Support other women. Period. I cannot street this enough. We’re better together, we are stronger together and we need to support each other in anyway possible. The pie is big enough for everyone, so let’s keep building each other up, supporting each other, be encouraging and offer opportunity, advice or resources whenever you’re in a position to.
Get sleep. Sleep is more profound than we give it credit for, the science behind the process our bodies go through while we sleep is mind-blowing, but more than that, getting enough sleep, every night means we are taking care of our bodies, it allows us to function better, it provides energy and mental clarity. And it’s just the best, amiright?!
Know that NO is a complete sentence. I struggled with this one a lot growing up, I used to think I would always have to give a reason. However, as I’ve gotten older – and I think 30 really cemented it for me – no means no and is a complete sentence. If you’re unavailable, can’t do something, don’t want to be involved, need some time… then all you have to say is ‘no’. No explanation needed.
Be vulnerable. There is so much beauty in vulnerability. Remember, the cracks are how the light gets in.
Carve out time for you. You know that lighting of your soul stuff we were talking about earlier. Carve out time for that as often as possible. It’s where the goodness lies, it creates space for magic to happen. Trust me.
Redefine your definition of failure and success. I think it’s to do with the whole ‘comparing’ thing we’ve had drummed into us somehow over the years, but we need to put a spin on what we define as ‘success’ and how we see ‘failure’. Failure is actually a great thing, it means you’ve tried, it means you’ve given something a go, it means you’ve learnt and it’s helped navigate your path. And as for success, success looks and is different for everyone, so don’t measure yourself against someone else. Dig deep and ask yourself what success really means to you, what would make you and your life seem ‘successful’ on your terms, and then work towards making those things happen.
Be brave. Take risks, follow your dreams, give something a go, make changes – it’s courageous and it’s scary but it’s what life’s about. Don’t look back in a month / a year / 5 years / 10 years and regret.
Be a good person. Ultimately, it’s all there is in life. It’s all you can do and all you can really control. Be a good person, be a nice human, do your best.
Treat others how you wish to be treated. It’s an oldie but a goodie for a reason. Treat everyone around you how you would like to be treated yourself. Because we all have feelings, self doubt and insecurities. Remember, for she is you.
Would love for you to add to this list and share below what other sentiments you would include!