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33 steps to realise that you are already happy.

1. Always be here and now, there is nothing else. If you have the habit of waiting for your future, you will never be able to appreciate what you already have. What can you do to realise this moment is special just as it is?

2. Give your best in every activity you perform. The result is not essential. What matters is the process of work. You will never know how good you are, unless you give your best. Where did you give your utmost this week?

3. Give yourself some credit for who you are today. For all your efforts, all your attempts, all your determination, all your strength, for all your patience, for all your dreams. Every experience in your life was created by you. If you had to give advice to yourself 10 years ago, what would that be? What advice will you, 10 years from now, give to yourself today?

4. Don’t beat yourself up for the mistakes you have made. Like Confucius said: Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. Stand up and stand tall. Every morning is a new beginning and today is the first day of the rest of your life. Who do you choose to be?

5. Love and appreciate yourself. You are unique. There is no other person in this Universe that is like you. Don’t ever put any conditions on how and when you will love yourself. Set yourself free from your own expectations and ideas. You are your own greatest gift just as you are. What are 3 things you love about yourself?

6. Don’t try to be perfect. You can’t learn anything from being perfect. When you make a mistake, learn from it, pick yourself up and move on. What is the greatest lesson you have learned in your life?

7. Accept yourself the way you are. Whenever you feel you are not accepting yourself, ask this question: “What if I will never be anything more than I am here and now? Could I be okay with that? Guiding Thubten, a Buddhist monk said: “When you have compassion for the parts of you that are hurt, resistance melts into joy.”

8. Do what you feel like doing. Remember, you come first. What is best for you is always best for others. Do not put off your dreams. If you feel something, follow it, no matter what you think about it. It will be best for you. What do you feel like doing right now?

9. Don’t ever focus on the absence of happiness. When we focus on a lack of happiness, we create a lack of happiness. When we focus on a lack of health, we create sickness. When we focus on a lack of money, we create a lack of money. What are you focusing on?

10. Take action. You can’t expect your reality to change if you are not ready to make different choices. What are you going to do today differently?

11. Remember that happiness is not conditioned. It is us who condition it. Make a decision to feel happy here and now, regardless of your circumstances. You do not depend on the world. The world depends on you. How do you choose to feel right now? Say it.

12. Be grateful for what you have. For all the stars in the sky. For every sunbeam on your face. For every single smile you have given to the world. Gratitude has enormous power. What are you grateful for today?

13. Always focus on positive thoughts that make you feel good. Bad thoughts attract even more negativity. Replace each negative thought with a positive memory from the past. Learn to generate happiness at will. What is a positive memory from this month?

14. Don’t take anything personally. People's emotions are only a mirror of themselves. What matters is not someone’s behaviour but how you respond to it. How did you choose to respond positively today?

15. Speak positively. Your words create the reality around you and emphasise your experience of life. Stop complaining to your friends about your problems and start sharing all the good things about your life. Good words will attract good energy in the light of which the problems will resolve themselves. Choose to always focus on the positive. What are 3 things you love about your life?

16. Create a positive environment. Who are the people you surround yourself with? Are they uplifting? Do they share their happiness with you or their complaints? Are they inspiring or do they bring you down? Be aware of where and how you are investing your energy. You are not helping anyone by listening to their victim point of view while feeling sorry for themselves. That only reinforces their bad feelings and prevents them from seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. In order to find any solution to any problem, we need to first feel good about ourselves. Send this list to those who need it and be a friend who lifts people up rather than who feeds them in their darkness. Who will you send this list to?

17. Be greater than your body. Even if you wake up feeling sad, choose to be greater than this feeling. You are a master of your own mind and you can decide how you will behave and what you will think regardless of how you feel. Recondition your body to feel positive emotions. What thoughts cheer you up?

18. Learn to cultivate positive emotions. Choose music that lifts you and read articles that inspire you. Remove yourself from the mainstream culture of fear. Be aware what emotions you generate through the choices you make. Surround yourself with positivity. What uplifting song are you going to listen to today?

19. Focus on the present and look at the road in front of you. If you make the mistake of looking back too much, you aren't focused enough on what is right in front of you. Where are you placing your attention today?

20. Feel today how would you like to feel tomorrow regardless of your reality. Sometimes you can’t change your situation immediately but you can make up your mind to feel as if your situation was already ideal. Anything you do, you do to feel in a certain way. Bring those emotions ahead and cultivate those feelings. Be grateful for it, because gratitude means that something has already happened. How would you feel if your dreams came true? Feel it.

21. Don’t be imprisoned by your own dreams. The more we desire something, the more we become afraid that we will not be able to get it. Instead of creating dreams, we create worries. We create a deficiency, a sense of lack, a hunger, deprivation. What are you missing in your life? How can you feel an abundance of it today?

22. If you set intentions, set intentions without being attached to the result. When you get too attached to your own vision, you stop seeing other, potentially better opportunities and directions that arise along the way. What can you let go of?

23. Become familiar and comfortable with the unknown. Do not have a complicated vision of your future. Remember, your imagination can be limiting for you can imagine only what you know. Surrender and trust. Who is your best friend?

24. Welcome change. We often want new things in our life but we don’t want our life to change. If you pray for the new, be ready for it to appear in your life and to receive it. What will you change today?

25. Stay open. When we are closed, nothing can get out and nothing can get in. We can’t give and we can’t receive. We create walls around ourselves. Happiness is born in the flow of giving and receiving. How often do you choose to stay open?

26. Every single day gives something to someone else. A compliment, a smile, a hand, a gift, a surprise. When we give to others, we give to ourselves. What will you give today?

27. Love life. Simply love living. Not even for the sound of birds, a pink sunset or the smell of spring flowers, but simply for life itself. When you love life, life loves you back. What do you love about life?

28. Believe in yourself. The rest will fall into place. Have faith in your own abilities and there is nothing you cannot accomplish. You can choose to live your life as someone who thinks he can’t or someone who thinks he can. What could happen if you chose to believe that anything is possible for you? How would that make you feel? Try it. You don’t lose anything by trying, you might gain everything.

29. Take off your mask. When you put on a mask, you not only hide yourself but also you reject who you are. You prevent others from seeing you. When you show yourself fully, you might be rejected, but it is far worse to be rejected for who you are NOT, than for who you truly are. It is our own rejection that is the most painful. Which part of yourself you will show to others today?

30. Express and speak your heart. Every word, facial expression, gesture, action or movement sends a message about you into the world. That message always receives an answer. What message do you send out? How can you choose to express yourself differently today?

31. Set yourself free from expectations. If you never have any expectations for others you will never be disappointed. If we have expectations for how others should be we imprison them in our own idea of them and we make our love for them conditional. The unhappiness comes from our own limitations, restrictions and conditions with others and ourselves. What expectations can you let go of today?

32. Stay curious about yourself. You can’t discover who you truly are unless you accept that you might not know it in the first place. Find comfort in the mystery. Stay open to possibilities of who you might become without planning what you should feel, think or have. You might surprise yourself. What new are you going to discover about yourself today?

33. Marry yourself. Never cheat on yourself anymore. Be with yourself for all the right and wrong reasons. For better and worse. Celebrate your relationship with yourself. What are you going to do for yourself today?

Unmasked

One day I was asked to give a short speech in front of almost 1000 people. I couldn’t sleep at night from the stress that this idea of me being on stage was giving me. I was completely paralysed and 2 centimetres away from cancelling it, from running away. I was convinced I wasn’t good on stage. I would repeat to myself how bad a speaker I was and so on. But some little voice inside me was telling me that I had to do it. Not for the speech, but for overcoming the fear that had become unbearable. When I was walking towards the stage that day I remember I couldn’t breathe, my heart was beating fast, I was all dizzy. And when I finally stood in front of all those people something unexpected happened. All my fear was gone. I was more afraid of the idea of being afraid than from what was actually going to happen.  that moment hundreds of images passed through my head. Images of me being a little girl who loved performing, singing, dancing, reciting poetry for so many years in different competitions. What happened to that little, confident girl I was back then? In that moment I reconnected to her. I did great. That moment of my life was crucial to me. Not because I have overcome my fear but because I realised that something I believed about myself was simply not true. How many other false beliefs did I have? Did I really know who I was? I wasn’t so sure anymore.

Now, more than ever, we try to escape who we are and especially what we feel. There is nothing more uncomfortable than a resistance to feeling whatever is there to be felt. This feeling of resistance is almost more uncomfortable than what we are trying to escape from in the first place. The desire to be somewhere else and to feel something else pushes us to look for other states of mind. Grasping those other states of mind is nothing more than a way to experience freedom from ourselves for a moment.

Spirituality, in many cases, has become used as a way to avoid feeling or thinking, rather than a way to find what is really going on deep down in our hearts. It has become a desperation for ‘otherness’. We are looking for something different from the present moment. But, when we are looking for happiness, for instance, we are actually focusing on the absence of that happiness so we end up feeling ‘down’. We started to look for otherness in ourselves that has created an absence of acceptance for who we are and for what we feel. Not only would we create that “better”, in our mind's eye of who we should be and what we should feel, that would make us escape who we are, but also we would punish ourselves constantly for not living up to that vision.

I have been mastering for the last 10 years how to create an image. Brand Identity. And I also have been mastering how to create my own image. Crafting how people should perceive me or how I thought they should perceive me. I believed that my image was who I was. I started to believe in that image so much that I would use every single opportunity to confirm to myself that the image was real. When I would not fit in that image though I would punish myself for it. 

We are the perfect creators of our own reality. We cast people around us for the roles we wish them to play and we also cast ourselves, constantly, for an image which we have created, the image that would give us an illusion of control of who we think we are. An image that we would like to prove we have on every step of our way. An image that would imprison us eventually and limit the access to our true self.

The worst thing is that after many years we start to believe in that image. We are afraid to think of who we might be. We much rather prefer to put ourselves in some sort of frame of adjectives and stay loyal to our opinion and family heritage, using it also as an excuse for our unwillingness to change. “This is who I am”  we say, “Accept it”.
But, do you really accept who you are? Do you accept when you feel sadness and disappointment or when you are not ‘good’ enough? Or do you try to escape that feeling as soon as you can and change yourself? You will then punish yourself even more for not being who you think you should be, and not doing what you think you should do.

If you will not accept yourself for who you really are, how can other people ever accept you? We are our own worst enemies. When we fall, we punish ourselves for falling. When we win, we think we don't deserve it. When people hurt us, we convince ourselves that it is our fault.

How liberating it would be to say: I am sad today and I love myself with this sadness. I didn’t achieve my goal and I love myself anyway.

We are so terrified of letting ourselves be free that we will judge every little action we take or behaviour we perform. We will judge our feelings and our thoughts.

You can be so kind to your friends and so unkind to yourself. And so can I. Would you ever said to your friend: Stop being sad! What is wrong with you? You suck! I don’t think so… you would say: Hey, I love you. Everything will be alright. I promise. You are amazing.

Don't ever set any conditions about when and how you love yourself. You are your biggest gift and your best friend. You are your everything. Start to open to who you might be and who you might become without rejecting who you are now. Start treating yourself as you would like to be treated by your best friend. Without trying to escape what you feel. Without willing constantly to be somewhere else. Start to question all the false beliefs you have created around you through all those years and keep only those that truly make you happy. Be free and love yourself. Stop comparing yourself to others. Everyone is unique and extraordinary. In order to discover who you really are, you need to accept that you might not really know who you are in the first place. You can’t think who you are and feel who you are at the same time.

Find comfort in the mystery. Stay open to possibilities without planning what you should feel, think or have. Alan Watts said: “The future in which You already know the outcome, has already happened.” Don’t try to predict the future and who you should be.

Give yourself the freedom to experience who you truly are. Give yourself permission to feel it.

The day that I decided to remove my mask, was the day I promised myself to never cheat on myself anymore. To be with me for the good and for the bad. To love myself unconditionally no matter how many people loved me or didn't. Maybe I will never be anything more than I am now but that is perfectly fine. I don't need to be more as I am everything already. This was my wish for me, and is my wish to you.

Fear of rejection

I used to be afraid of rejection. 

Very early on I stopped letting people in. I was always prepared for them to leave my life tomorrow. I never fully opened up and showed myself. There was a part of me that I would never reveal. A secret I was hiding. A great secret of who I was. 

Holding that secret created a deep and strong desire to be seen. A desire to be found and uncovered by someone. To come out of my cave and to shine in the light of the moon.

If our greatest desire is to be seen for all of who we are, it can only mean that we are hiding part of ourselves. 
The biggest paradox of all is that if we fear rejection, we are actually rejecting ourselves by NOT showing authentically who we truly are. 
So actually we will never be rejected for who we are, but rather for who we are NOT! 

I used to think that if people reject me for who I am not, it will cause me less pain. The opposite is actually true. Not showing who we are, for many people, is a safer place where rejection is not related to our true identity. We often create new identities or wear masks to hide behind.

I asked myself one day: What is more uncomfortable, hiding or being afraid of rejection?

I realised that my greatest pain didn’t come from rejection itself, but from being rejected for who I was NOT.

There is nothing more beautiful than being with someone who shows their authenticity and their vulnerability. A man revealing to a woman how stressed, worried or insecure he may be in her presence. A woman sharing with a man how nervous she is before their first date. How many relationships have been missed out on, or have parted company, because we were NOT who we are, unable to communicate and express our vulnerabilities, our fears and our truth. How many friendships were sacrificed because we were too afraid to speak with each other honestly? 

If we show up as who we truly are and people reject us, at least they reject us for our truth in the moment, and we retain our integrity to ourselves and the other.

How many relationships have you lost, not because of showing who you truly are, but because of NOT showing it? 

You will save so much time by being unapologetically YOU. Now and in every moment. Communicate what you think and feel. Be truthful to others but most importantly to yourself. Express yourself fully, with all the uniqueness that you are. You might think that it is going to separate you, but the truth is, that it will re-unite you with yourself. And when you are re-united with yourself, only then can you truly re-unite with another. When I started to show who I am, my fear of rejection dissolved. I understood that it was not the rejection of others I was most afraid of, but rejection of myself. 
Only true self-love and acceptance will set you free from the fear of other’s people judgement. 

Everything we see in the other person is a reflection of ourselves. Michel Odoul in his book Dis-moi où tu as mal, je te dirai pourquoi (“What Your Aches and Pains Are Telling You”) writes that if we like a particular feature in someone, it is probably our own trait we, for some reason, are not able to notice or express. On the other hand, if there is something that irritates us in another person, it is probably our flaw we cannot stand. We do not want to notice, recognize or accept it. So, whenever we spot it in others, we experience negative emotions for it presents the picture of ourselves we are not able to acknowledge. The only part of ourselves we cannot see is our face. It represents our identity. The only way to see one’s face is in the mirror. In life, the other person is such a mirror. How we perceive that person and what we see in him/her depends on our attitude to ourselves. Every person is perceived differently by different people and may evoke various emotions and feelings. There are as many opinions on us as many people we know, for they will see different aspects of themselves in us. We can only see our own face in the faces of others. Like Carl Gustav Jung said: We can see a thousand different images in other people. He also beautifully asked: And what if the poorest beggars and the cheekiest criminals hide in me. It is me who needs the alms of my own kindness. I am the enemy who must be loved, what then?

Are you afraid of rejection? If yes, ask yourself: Are you showing who you truly are?

During my Tedx talk for the first time I shared my personal story, never shared publicly before, where I spoke about what our own rejection can cost us.

You can watch it here