What’s So Fake About You?

What comes with knowing yourself? Oftentimes it’s too overwhelming and intimidating, and we return to our previous patterns. If we’re persistent enough to embrace who we really are, it can still be a lonely road. Sometimes, finding out the truth about ourselves just seems to be too much trouble. So we keep making the same mistakes and falling into the same patterns because we haven’t really unwound and understood the root of these patterns in the first place!

Someone once (or twice) said, know thyself. Let’s see; the Oracle of Delphi, Jesus, well, heck, about everybody worth mentioning has some twist on it. Why? Most of us who have been in therapy, read numerous self-help books, etc., are left being mostly acutely aware of what is wrong with us and eventually head back to the barn (what’s familiar). There is only so much we can take. And those of us who hang in there still complain of the loneliness and austere life it seems the road less traveled requires. “To Hell with it!” we say, “Life is short and I need a reward for all this vigilance and self-examination, arrgh…pass the Kool-Aid.” So, we continue the search, now seeking elsewhere for guidance, and perhaps decide Popeye was right, “I am what I am” and get on with life.

If knowing the truth and ourselves is that much trouble, I can’t be bothered: I have bills to pay, mountains to climb, kids to feed, men to seduce (who will hopefully rescue me from it all), women to charm (who will hopefully distract me from my failures), pounds to lose, wrinkles to conquer, a legacy to leave so I can get to Happily Ever After already. So we ditch Buddha for Santa Claus (& Popeye) and keep looking for the secret. “Know thyself, ha!” we mutter and join the proverbial “if ya can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” crowd.

We manage to skate for a while on our latest distractions: a new love interest, new job, new cosmetic procedure, sudden influx of cash, new handbag or project. Yet the gap between how we act and who we are widens, and no matter what we tell ourselves, eventually the suffering returns, most of it silent. And we wonder why. So we up the dues: get more sex, more stuff, more money, more attention, better projects, a different house, another baby, another job, travel (that’s it! I need a vacation!), a face lift, a tummy tuck, lose 20 pounds, a younger wife, get another degree, REDECORATE for God’s sake… THIS IS AMERICA! The pursuit of happiness is my birthright!

Beneath the façade of fake smiles and the it’s all good story swells the raging sea of discontent, the cauldron of disappointment, chilled by terror and fueled by resentment that things are not different. This cocktail is lethal—we chase it down with envy and regret as the elusive dream slips further away.

According to scientists, our daily behavior is 90% subconscious. From years one to five a projection reel spliced with trauma, false beliefs and genetic inheritance has been cast upon our nubile brains: the reel continually spins out our reality, like the daily press, in predictable neural loops over our lifetime. It seems who we are is simply who someone else (“they”) told us to be. Most of us were duped and now are understandably pissed, as we find interrupting these patterns and uncovering who we really are feels like trying to stop a nose-diving 747 jet with a diaphragm.

You might cry, “Why do I pretend to be more than I am, have more than I have? Why do I feel that I am not enough, why don’t I want what I have, how come happiness escapes me, why do I believe that when I get (blank) everything will be okay, but that never seems to come?” The good news is, what is fake about you is NOT who you are! Who you are is magnificent, eternal, and unique. Yet until we know this true self we feel trapped in a life directed by an unconscious dictator, our subconscious beliefs and patterns.

While you may be tired, overwhelmed and have no bandwidth right now as survival is taking its toll, as my mother would say, “Don’t give up 5 minutes before the miracle.” Here is an exercise that may help you reignite your search for freedom of being, as well as put some pep back in your step—the energy it takes to pretend to be someone you are not, be fake, is extraordinary.

What’s fake about me? Exercise

1. Get a piece of paper and write down all the things that are fake about you (you may burn after reading, of course). Examples might be that you are:

Fake skinny: you spend an inordinate amount of time watching your weight so that people will find you attractive or so you will feel loved or seen. You fear that if you were fat you would never be happy, popular, get a man, be loved or accepted.

Fake nice: you spend much of your time trying to make people like you, manipulating your circumstances by being nice so you can get what you want, while underneath you seethe with resentment or envy of those who don’t seem to care what others think.

Fake rich: you pretend to be successful, you have mortgaged your life so others will think you are a person of worth, you lease your car that you cannot afford, buy clothes to create a false image, live in a house beyond your means, etc.

You get the idea, go ahead and explore all the fake parts: fake smart, because you believe you need to know so you can hide your fear of being inept or stupid; fake pretty, in hopes of being perfect-looking so you can finally be important, special or loved; fake happy, because you know people don’t want to hear your problems and would never want to be around someone as depressed and messed up as you really feel. Fake straight, fake sexy, fake sensitive, fake caring, fake in control, fake good mom, fake happy marriage, fake great relationship, fake healthy, fake spiritual, and on and on. Let it out. You have an opportunity to relieve yourself of the burden of living this secret life by simply admitting it!

2. Be with it. Sit down with what’s fake about you and move deeper into it. Exaggerate it, even. Give it a voice. Let the fake part or parts have a turn telling you about themselves. You might be surprised at what they have to say!

3. Feel it. Whatever feeling or emotions come, let yourself have them. Like a wave, they will not hurt you; they will wash through you and heal you if you have the courage to feel them all the way. (It could be helpful to have an enlightened witness to share this part of the process with, someone you trust to your core.)

4. Allow it. Relaxing into this allowing, comes freedom. In the acceptance comes understanding and then compassion. Including all our parts allows us greater freedom of being. Developing unconditional love for ourselves expands our capacity for intimacy and joy.

5. Know this is not all of who you are. My teacher Kathy reminds me of this fact all the time. I feel relieved and all at once welcomed back to the human race and condition. We find our right size again. This perspective gives space for a sense of peace and well-being, room to breathe and dream forward your heart’s true desires again. Your soul shines, your authentic self is free to be!
Namasté and blessings, freedom seekers!

Who Do You Push Out and Close Down?

You’re getting with your friends realizing how amazingly successful everyone is (let’s be honest each one of them seems to divulge in a different success each turn) but do they really feel successful? If you often really ask people they’ll tell you they’re nowhere near where they want to be because we’re always striving for more.

Do you feel successful?

Being an artist as a career is tough.. no one wants to take you seriously, especially when you’re a tiny girl that loves cuteness. One day you feel you’re getting somewhere, perhaps you’re illustrating a new layout for your favorite art magazine, and then the next day immediately it feels like everything can be taken in an instant.

We are constantly averting our attention and watching as new art shops and artists pop online one after the other.. we’re constantly deciding who we want to succeed and who we want to fail.

We are? Yes. You’re deciding right now what succeeds and what fails, take a look at the support you have for the art or DIY community.. whatever you buy or pay attention to, you’re ensuring their success.. whatever you pass by without a second glance, you’re obviously not ensuring their success. We have more power than many of us like to think and it’s time we realize that.

If success was based solely on the artistic vision, genuineness, and quality then there would be no problem, but with the resurgence of options what really is getting weeded out? Is it the amazing acrylic jewelery artist who coined the peppermint ring? Are we purchasing the rip off and ensuring their success while the genuine artist is missing our patronage? It’s worth thinking about.

Is it tough to be unique in a world that’s constantly adopting your ideas and incorporating them into their own artistic vision?

All jobs are hard in some way and everyone can master something amazing in their lifetime.. why not also realize you’re ensuring your community’s success also?

Make a List: Naughty or Nice?

When we don’t know who we are, what we want or have our priorities intact, we fall into the default loop that was programmed into our subconscious long ago. “I want someone handsome, tall, and strong; someone rich, who will take care of me, someone sexy who is great in le sac, etc.” At some point we start to realize these aren’t things that make a great relationship. Someone we thought was hot becomes really unattractive when their real character starts to show.

Here’s an email I got recently:

“I wanted to thank you also for your story about “presence” that you told at your talk recently at Open Secret Book Store in San Rafael. I had an important experience of that this weekend. I have been contemplating dating a man I met recently who is a financially successful lobbyist, and we have many other interests aside from politics. The wining and dining is great, but when we’re together, it is odd: he is always distracted by his cell, a meeting, not enough time, etc.

This weekend, another man, a very old friend, came to town…we’ve known each other 35 years (college). He came to my studio and asked about my work, and he was incredibly “present” with me. And you are right, it was a total and complete turn-on. Whoa!

The next day, I had dinner with the other man (the lobbyist) and he spent most of the time talking about how his recent ex-girlfriend is using a popular dating site and how her profile is full of lies, and that he ought to get his own profile on the site so he could compete in attracting new women (so what am I, chopped liver?). Not present at all. Big turn-off! We were supposed to go on a date this Saturday, to the ballet, but I canceled it because I decided I would rather have my own precious company, than his….

So I just wanted to echo what you said, that presence is really “IT”! and my back-to-back experience of it, with these two men, absolutely convinced me of what I want, and do not want, in a relationship with a man. Thank you for your teachings, Maryanne!”

A few days later…

“Hi Maryanne, so interesting what happens when I choose me. I came home to find a huge box of flowers from my college friend. I’m sure that saying goodbye to that lobbyist was the best decision I’ve ever made.
Thank you…”
J.Alder, Nor Cal

Bottom line, ladies and gentlemen: when we don’t know who we are, what we want or have our priorities intact, we fall into the default loop that was programmed into our subconscious long ago. “I want someone handsome, tall, and strong; someone rich, who will take care of me, someone sexy who is great in le sac, etc.” At some point we start to realize these aren’t things that make a great relationship. Someone we thought was hot becomes really unattractive when their real character starts to show.

I have met too many people who, time and again, confess that the things they thought they wanted weren’t essential at all—or, at minimum, fell lower on the priority list than they once realized.

Perhaps rather than “hot and successful” being at the top of the list, you could alter it some and require that certain other qualities be immediately apparent:

Present
Kind
Interested
Honest
Generous
Purpose-driven
Attractive
Sensual, etc.

So, yes, make that list, but check it twice as the holidays approach. Do you really want someone naughty or do you want someone one who’s mostly nice (and maybe a little naughty only on special occasions)?

Making Mondays More Miseducated

Monday jokes rain out of people’s ears at offices.. I don’t know how it is where you work but I’m sure whatever day the work week begins on someone’s complaining.

Instead of thinking of Mondays as a bummer, think of them as a beginning to your inspiration overload sessions every week — begin to plan fun and personal growth activities *as well as* work, errands, tasks, etc.

.. and if scheduling seems like absolute hell to you and you have no issues with procrastination.. simply pass to Step 2.

Want more mood therapy techniques like this?
Key to Living the Law of Attraction
Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy Revised and Updated
ALL Business is Show Business

Step 1

Schedule your day per hour — Write what you actually do beside it and next to that make 2 columns for you to rate how much pleasure you experienced during the activity and to what percentage you mastered it.

Again, make sure you allow time throughout the day for activities you look forward to.

taste
Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette

Step 2

Incorporate more Miseducated whimsy and special you time into your Mondays.

Instead of taking a shower before you start your work day, take a bubble bath using sensitive Mr. Bubbles or your favorite bubble bath — play some inspiring music that you can hear while in the tub and brew a cup of earl grey tea.

Create your own (lots of recipes here!) or buy a new scented lipgloss to apply throughout the day, not just when lips are chapped! Think of ways to incorporate other new smells into your day such as an aromatherapy candle, nice-smelling lotion, sweet solid perfume, etc.

Master your skills. As you’re working imagine what you might do to keep on task better while still enjoying your day. For me this means the occasional walk-around break, snacks optional and listening to music or inspiring pod casts while I work.

Keep a little notebook in your purse or briefcase especially for inspiring sketches, notes and pieces of inspiring found-items. These little carry-along scrapbooks can be great sources of inspiration and remind you about experiences when you’re sitting down to work and communicate your ideas.

Decide that you’re going to rearrange a room in your home/apartment and surf online for delicious decor in your free time. Find ways to make your environment a little more you, a little more unique and much more inspiring! Sometimes just changing things up is very revitalizing.

My favorite movie since childhood, the delicious 80s glitter rock fest (The Labyrinth) complete with faeries and the rock king himself, always inspired me as everything, even the dirt, was covered in glitter. Sweeping your floor and feeling a little bummed? Sprinkle glitter in with the dust and even dust bunnies become just a little more magical.

It’s off to your local handmade market for you! Purchase some incense that smells great and a little decadent snack. When home, burn the incense as intended and relax near it reading and enjoying the occasional whiff of fragrant smoke. Don’t like incense? Try scented candles!

Write your best friend a good morning letter when you begin your work day. Chances are you’ll brighten her day as she is also at work and it’ll make you smile knowing she’s smiling. You might even get some sweet messages back throughout the day that make you feel wonderful for opening communication.

Grab a pack of post-its in your favorite color and write inspiring and positive messages to everyone signed, Happy Monday. Stick these on electric posts, subway windows, in your lover’s briefcase, on the milk in the fridge, on your coworker’s computer mouse, etc. <3 Don't overdo it, it's more special for those that find the surprises anyway. Kitty Rave! (both my and my best friend’s favorite way to wind down at night!) At night time when you’re relaxing and feeling a little excited that you’ve gotten through another Monday, turn up the dance music and dance around the house in your pajamas with your cat or dog. (my chihuahua gets really excited about this and bounces around the room) You’re getting exercise, they’re getting exercise and it’s really quite fun.. especially if you’re jamming to Kissy Sell Out. Often my husband even plays his electronic music live on kitty rave nights.

Have a great Monday!

Are your Friends or Lovers Holding you Back?

The mutual flow of respect and support is essential to all healthy, sustainable relationships. Whether friends or lovers, we all want to believe those closest to us want for us to thrive, to fulfill our dreams and to achieve inner and outer success. Yet when this isn’t our experience, we might want to look more closely at the nature of these relationships.

I can remember getting what for me was my first big break in my budding media career. I squealed with delight when the producer called from a popular syndicated radio show asking to interview me. My heart pounded, my mouth went dry ~ I had worked so hard and now it seemed things were about to unfold. I was ecstatic.

After I enthusiastically accepted the invitation, naturally I couldn’t wait to tell the three people closest to me (okay, and a few strangers along the way, I couldn’t contain myself). The funny thing was, the one person I thought would be the happiest for me was anything but. Upset by his confusing affect, I pressed the matter. “Aren’t you happy for me? This is what I have worked so hard for, to get the message out there, but you seem upset?” He looked at me and unexpectedly said, “Now what, you’re going to be some big star and have to start traveling. I don’t want to be with someone who …” He didn’t finish the sentence. He didn’t have to, as it turned out; his attitude towards me and my being successful was a major culprit in ending our relationship a few painful years and many missed opportunities later. Opportunities that I passed up, afraid he would leave me if I didn’t.

It would take me years to identify and learn the importance of surrounding myself with supportive people. The mutual flow of respect and support is essential to all healthy, sustainable relationships. Whether friends or lovers, we all want to believe those closest to us want for us to thrive, to fulfill our dreams and to achieve inner and outer success. Yet when this isn’t our experience, we might want to look more closely at the nature of these relationships.

Signs of Un-Supportive Relationships

Making ourselves small ~ you notice you place others’ needs or wants above your own, or hold back your wants and desires because you are afraid to alienate friends or lovers.
Hiding our success ~ you hide or minimize or significant events or progress towards your heart’s desires, not to arouse negative response, rejection or criticism
Jealousy~ you notice people who say they love or care about you are giving you mixed messages about your good fortune or advancement toward your goals. I.E. You just graduated from law school, your friend slaps you on the back and sarcastically says, “How does it feel to be part of the bottom-feeders club?” or “Ya know, most lawyers don’t even end up using their degree!”
Undermining~ someone you care about purposely says or does something to throw you off track. Perhaps your single roommate conveniently doesn’t tell you your hot new boy friend called, twice; or doesn’t mention your name to someone who could help your career when they said they would; or worse, bad-mouths you behind your back.
Competitiveness~ maybe your buddy hits on a someone you have had your eye on for quite some time and then says something like, “Hey dude, snooze you lose.” Or picks your brain about your latest idea, takes it without telling you, and uses it themselves without cutting you in.
Devils advocate~ This person is always telling you why you can’t do something or why it won’t work, even when you don’t ask and they’re not an authority on the subject. “No one’s ever done that before.” “You can’t do that; you don’t have a license!” or “Where are you going to get the money to do that?” “She’ll never go out with you!” etc.

If you suspect someone you care about or love is holding you back, consider this: Great relationships begin within! No matter what they’re doing, we need to look first at how we treat and care for ourselves. Relationships stem from this fundamental truth.

*Another of what I call my 7 Essential Truths™ is surround yourself with supportive people! This may take some work, yet you will have a group of people in your life committed to you attracting and creating what you want. One of my husband’s and my marriage vows is “I want what you want for yourself,” and the friends I have today are as much fans of my living a rich, fulfilling life as I am of them doing the same. I am grateful every day to have them all in my lives!

If you have specific questions you want Maryanne to answer for you, please email us and she’ll take a look!

Living like a 5-year-old

When I was five years old, if you had asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would have stated, very specifically, that I was going to be a pony rider in the circus. Apparently, riding horseback in a tutu with a tent full of people watching was my greatest aspiration. Nowadays, you’ll find me working odd jobs waiting tables, organizing office files, and ringing up sale items to pay my rent, but in my heart, I’m still a performer. True, my dreams have moved beyond the circus saddle to in front of a movie camera, but actresses love their audience too. There are those who find my aspirations foolish, childish, and unrealistic; naysayers who feel it’s time for me to grow up and settle for something more sensible. So far, I’ve refused.

Why is it that we are expected, even encouraged, to have ridiculous ambitions in childhood, but realistic goals as adults? Let’s find ways to keep the magic within us alive even as we grow older. To find out how, I set out to discover what we can learn from the dream jobs of our five-year old selves. Through discussions with friends and family, I’ve compiled a few themes within common childhood dreams and ways to never let go of them.

Art/Entertainment

Creativity is important to us as children. We want to color. We want to create. We want to let our imaginations run wild. Perhaps that’s why the vast majority of the people I asked remembered wanting to do something artistic or entertaining when they grew up. If we’d all had our way, today’s world would be filled with ballerinas, writers, artists, movie stars, and even a few ‘In Living Color’ Fly Girls. Maybe it was the glamour that attracted some, but I think most of us just wanted to express ourselves. That instinct doesn’t have to die with age. Ballerinas and fly girls can take a dance class or volunteer to teach dance to children. Writers can still express themselves in blogs or webzines dedicated to their subject of choice. As for the movie stars, there’s actually a lot more local film opportunity than you might know, find your way in and you can ham it up on your weekends off.

Caring/Helping

As selfish as some children may seem, there are quite a few of us that still care about the rest of the world, even at a young age. A large majority of former five-year olds that I talked to wanted to be veterinarians. As children, we sense the importance of having furry friends in our lives and want nothing more than to help them. Oftentimes this dream falls to the wayside later in life when the reality of a long veterinary education sets in. But fret not; you can still have a taste of your Dr. Doolittle dreams by volunteering at local shelters or adopting your own menagerie of pets. After all, adults need furry friends too.

Inspirational

For every dream that’s set aside, there’s another dream fulfilled. While my research revealed that perhaps superheroes and cowboys are aspirations best left in childhood, there are still several inspirational stories of those who are making their dreams a reality: lawyers just graduating from law school, writers working nightly on their novels, and animal lovers plugging through pre-vet exams. Anything is possible, if it’s what your heart truly wants.

Quick Tips for Making your Dreams a Reality

Be realistic about why you want what you want. Do you want the reality of your dream or the fantasy?
Don’t let television dictate what you think is real. Find out what the job is really like before deciding it’s your ideal.
Start small. No one makes a career happen overnight. Find ways to participate in your dream field, even if they’re not bringing in the big bucks.
Surround yourself with people that understand. You need support to follow your dreams. Nothing picks you up after failure like the voices of those who believe in you completely.
Never stop dreaming. Make a list of new and exciting dreams annually and don’t be afraid if your goals change, just always be honest about what you truly want. Follow your heart and you can do no wrong.

Adopt your Next Best Friend

Have free time and missing some companionship? Even if you’re not you can incorporate a new friend into your family that lowers your blood pressure and actually improves your health. It gives you a schedule or routine to keep you on focus and you’ll find the payoff extremely more amazing than the work!

… BUT WAIT! Before you run to the pet store you should know that most pet stores are supplied animals through mills which treat them inhumanely and use them solely for offspring and a paycheck — they often live in VERY unsanitary conditions and are sold at a steep price.

There is good news though! Some pet store chains have regulations and encourage adoptions — PetSmart and PetCo both often show local cats and dogs from the Humane Society that need homes. Also make sure to check out Humane Societies and Animal Rescue groups in your area for more lovely animals in need of companionship.

ASPCA has a great guide on adopting and locating pets that need homes as well as lots of features and questions to ask yourself prior to adopting.

Remember to research the pets that are right for you before adopting!

.. and don’t be picky! Looks aren’t everything, this is a chance at a wonderful life for an animal — choose based on need if you want to be choosy!

pets

Who’s Famous? .. and Why?

fame the condition of being known and talked about by many people

With the trend in reality tv and reality celebrities, it’s not so hard to believe that fans went underground as well. You can find them all over social networking sites such as youtube devoting photo montages to their favorite indie fashion celebrities.

As often as you see these artists, fashion icons and bloggers names you often see a small, jealous collection of people often demanding to know exactly what they are famous for.

“People are very jealous of success and often aren’t pleased with their own so they’ll try to take others down to feel better about themselves.” – Audrey Kitching

Believe it or not, marketing yourself can be a beneficial career. Although you might not recognize that as celebrity status, excelling and becoming an icon in your career makes you famous within a certain network of people — sometimes even globally. Whether this does or does not involve Hollywood is usually merely based on approach, style, criteria, etc.

The point is, when you work for something you believe in and you happen to excel at it — who’s to argue why you deserve it? Everyone is going to have a different subjective opinion about who is really better at what — does it matter? We all have to be different because we all have to be ourselves.

If you are not sincere, people can sense it and they’ll pounce on you. Although all success attracts negative energy right along with the positive, having low integrity and being insincere, trying to be something you’re not, is very transparent. You must be honest, be true to yourself and be the person you really are inside to truly find happiness and success in life.

famous

How to Create Sustainable Relationships

When you think about sustainability, what comes to mind—global warming, going green, doing your part to lessen your carbon footprint? How about relationships? We should compost old relationships and only get involved with organic people? Not exactly, no. Although the concept is intriguing, this would be implausible for most of us, given our cultural proclivity towards big “relationship footprints.”

If you have had a few relationships you know what I mean by “sustainability,” especially ones that have been a source of pain or suffering to some degree. (Some of which have compelled you to dispose of them by almost any means, organic or not.) But what of the ones you wish to keep, nurture and grow rather than watch die prematurely or unexpectedly? Given all the energy most of us spend putting ourselves “out there” on the emotional limb (oftentimes left with nothing more than a “seed,” or perhaps less some seed, as the case may be), let’s wise up and turn those seeds into wisdom. Let’s instead get on with how to make our lives fertile so that we can more optimally attract and create more healthy, fulfilling, sustainable relationships. Ones that have the greatest potential for an amazing harvest, for season after season to come.

Relationships can be complicated, given the myriad of unique nuances that make up any one individual, the layers of experiences that create the filters we each see reality through. The real enigma seems to be a matter of skill and planning—how to create a optimal climate for potential for growth within this human complexity. Just like plants, relationships grow and flourish under optimal circumstances and care as well.

Okay, enough with the plant metaphor. You get it (hopefully). The deal is that if we come to relationship broken up, with some serious unexamined baggage, expecting to attract great relationships, odds are the next one will end up much the same—in disappointment and regret. At some point, as I have said many times, you gotta be thinking, “Hey, maybe it’s not just them.” Friends and lovers alike, we need to bring our “A” game to the party and expect nothing less from our prospective playmates and potential soulmates as well.

Here are some pointers for how to sustain any great relationship (platonic or otherwise), once you have carefully selected who you want to be in it with:

Respect

Here’s a word. Know what it means? If you don’t, you have no chance at REAL, lasting intimacy (in my not-so-humble opinion). If you respect yourself, just double it. Don’t just talk about it either—this is an action item. Respect is not a feeling, it’s a way of behaving!

Responsible Communication

You get to choose from every word in the English language (or whatever language you share) in whatever tone you choose to communicate your thoughts and feelings to another, so choose carefully. You have no one to blame if you don’t tell the truth or say what you want. My teacher says “We are always doing one of two things; creating separation or connection.” What is your intention?

Integrity

Do what you say you’re going to do, when you say you’re going to do it, as often as humanly possible. And don’t BS yourself. Nobody trusts a flake, nor does anyone want their vulnerable hearts to be in the care of one. If you love and respect someone, ACT like it!

Compatibility

If you are mad about the outdoors, can’t live without reality TV, are a screaming (or worse, Nuevo) liberal, or abhor people who over-accessorize or don’t keep up on current events, then you probably wouldn’t want to hang out with…me, for example. Just because someone has good energy doesn’t mean you do real life well together. Watch what people DO, not only what they say. Make sure they match or you’ll be sadly disappointed, eventually bored and even resentful. There are 7 billion people on the planet—check some more of them out and quit trying to make someone they are not!

Compassion

Walked a mile in their shoes, have you? I recommend before you think you know whatever you think you know about the person you say you love, one of the most loving acts of all is to try and understand as much as you want to be understood. Old adage for a reason. ‘Cause it’s a damn good one!

Expectations

The fastest way to get back to love in any relationship is to want nothing. Period. Try it. No one is responsible for your happiness or anything else, unless expressly agreed to.

Consciousness Agreements

One of my all-time favorites. Let people know what’s important to you up front. As soon as possible, in fact. In any relationship the time to negotiate is up front, not after you are in deep! Don’t want to party a lot, but notice you keep giving in and feeling bad about yourself—but afraid to lose your friends if you stand up for yourself? Don’t want to have sex so much, but because you’re afraid they will leave, you do it anyway (see compatibility)? Two of my “needs” (if you can call them that) in a friendship is that a) we don’t make unilateral decisions about ending the friendship, and b) if we have a problem we bring it to the other person as soon as possible. What are your non-negotiables?

These tools and skills have helped me immeasurably over the years and I rely on them all today, as they are responsible for helping me maintain the loving, healthy relationships I have today! Remember, relationships take work, they are not just “add water,” and people are not disposable. They are precious blessings, and in their presence I feel blessed to keep on my path to becoming the best version of myself, as well as have the privilege to witness l those I love do the same!

Finding More Love and Happiness

These are not tips meant to be solely taken for happiness, you can find tons of happiness inspiration nestled within all sorts of magazines and websites! However.. these are tips I have found to be true. Accept them and make them work for you and you’ll find some delicious new happiness.

Copying

Taking inspirations from other artists and making them work in a way that is very you and your style can be ok but make sure you’re aware of where you got it from. If what one person is doing inspires you, also make sure others know about it. Recognize and honor those who inspire you, they wont forget you as easily when they’re rising to the top.

It’s important to realize we do not live in a box closed off from the outside world and everyone’s work is everywhere. I used to get really upset about this. Still do sometimes.. but what’s the point?

Be aware that if you’re using another artist’s work without their permission in any way to benefit yourself or to gain profit, you should be strung by your shoelaces to the nearest tree until you come to your senses. The importance of the world and the internet is that we all have an opportunity to express OURSELVES. Not our neighbors.

Copycats

Let go of your superiority complex if you have one. People are going to copy you if you’re doing something groundbreaking, it’s not a new tale. Instead of trying to monitor the whole world (impossible even for Bush), accept that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Can you imagine if Andy Warhol exerted energy making sure no one copied his work? You’re inspiring others. Be proud of yourself. Artists have inspired other artists since the beginning of time. That being said DON’T COPY. Find inspiration but BE YOURSELF.

Research

Study daily, anything you have an interest or passion in. Continue learning about it and never stop — let your passions guide you and your dreams. Live your life doing what you love and enjoy everyday you have alone and with those you adore to the utmost. Share your passions and research, in this way we’re always learning about new things from each other. Master your craft and you will find true happiness and satisfaction inside.

Flamers & Trolls

Everywhere that there are amazing and positive, creative, successful people you’ll find a group of jealous and conniving. They feel that instead of working on their own dreams they’d prefer to shatter yours and inspire you to fail. Don’t ever give up and let them win — be true to yourself and you’ll attract friends that are true to you, too. Everyone has people that do not like them, everyone clashes with someone. Don’t ever beat yourself up for it, focus on those you love and that love you. Always be open to new friends. You only live this life once, spend it with and thinking about the positive relationships you have and move on from the negative. They’ll only cause you pain in the end and it’s usually taking away from your family and friends that stood by since the beginning.

Memories

Or souvenirs of the mind. Collect good memories and let go of hurtful ones. Be aware that you cannot change the past and your new life starts today. If you feel there is something missing from your life that you see in your memories — realize that is a charm to be shared with only you and whomever you may experienced it with. If you can locate them let them know what they mean to you, if you cannot mentally thank them for the wonderful adventures and move on to have new ones. When people separate it can be for a million reasons, all that matters is the memories they shared. Don’t focus on what you had, focus on what you have. It’s nothing but a Polaroid to hold sentimentally in your mind, let it inspire you to spend new amazing times with the people you care about now.

Compassion

Be a little bit more compassionate! Not only will it improve your happiness but it will improve the receiver’s happiness as well. Even if you feel fake, like you don’t mean the help you are extending, keep offering and building character because soon you will feel it. You’ll feel better for being reliable, too. 🙂

happiness

It also doesn’t help to take a trip to your nearest carnival and grab some cotton candy or a candy apple or saltwater taffy! If you were really feeling indulgent you might get all three, haha.