Living your best life starts with being your best self, and not only to those around you but to yourself. While walking around the world with a frozen smile on your face 24/7 will make you look slightly delusional (and you'd have to be that or Botoxed to accomplish this), there is a way to move into a more joyful existence—and it's not found by swiping credit cards at Chanel or being asked for a second date by the hot guy you met on Match.
Living joyfully starts with a commitment to living a life more out of intention than habit and accepting total responsibility for your choices, actions and reactions. It means congratulating yourself when you've done well on behalf of yourself and learning the lesson when you haven't. If you're ready to stop existing in the same old and start living in a happier reality, here are 21 ways to put your best foot forward.
1. Be it friend, lover or family member, she accepts this universal truth: If you're important to someone, you’re not chasing them around and waiting for them to give you the respect, love, and affection you deserve. Translation: Stop treating anyone who treats you poorly as a priority.
2. She doesn't expect men to change or save her life (and she doesn't seek to save his). She buys her own drinks ... and is surprised and appreciative when someone treats her to dinner. She does this because she realizes that she's equal to a man - not better than one, less than one, owed anything by one, or more deserving of (insert expectation here) than one. She doesn't put her life or travel plans on hold until she meets one, and when things don't work out with a man she's been seeing, she doesn't waste her time vilifying him, but accepts it as a sign that they were not the right fit.
3. She rises to the occasion and expects those in her inner circle to do the same. These women understand that a great friend deserves a great friend and giving your word is a promise to take action. She maintains a strong sense of honor and when people show her they are unreliable, she takes note and doesn't rely on them again.
4. She is her own champion: Yes, she feels insecure and fearful at times, but she always chooses to guide herself through it. She makes a daily decision to do whatever it takes to fill her soul up with enough self-acceptance and love that she will stand firm on her own two feet, comfortably in her skin, and never allow any person or situation to place her "beside herself" again.
3. She refuses to allow herself to be relegated to a self-esteem boost via text message. Regardless of how handsome he is and no matter how many emojis are included next to that "Hey, how are you?" If he's not making a real, physical effort, she's not wasting her time.
4. Whether it's a dream vacation, a home of her own or an OTT dinner, she opens up a savings account for whatever she’s worried she will never be able to afford. She then puts something in there religiously, even if it’s only $10.00 a week.
5. She applies this morning ritual: Instead of just jumping out of bed the moment she wakes up, she lays there for five minutes being grateful for the chance to experience a new day. She then stretches her whole body from head-to-toe, gets up and drinks an enormous glass of water with lemon and has breakfast within one hour. This sets the tone of self-care and she will carry it with her for the rest of the day.
6. She uses her words wisely. She knows that what we speak stirs up our energy inside and creates ripples in the world around us.
7. She take a real and meaningful interest in her own life and the lives of those around her. She turns off the TV when she's on the phone and puts the phone away when sitting across from someone. She asks how those around her are doing and waits for the answer. When it comes to her own life, she sits with herself to see how she feels about the direction she's moving and the choices she makes, from her eating habits to how often she's hitting happy hour.
8. She reads two newspaper articles for every reality show she watches. Not because she wants to be pretentious, but because she wants to know what's happening in the world she lives in, beyond what's happening on E!
9. She learns how to take a compliment graciously, appreciating it as the gift it is. Deflecting is not only self-defeating; it's a rude response to someone who took time to share their appreciation.
10. She stops herself from allowing a heartbreaking period to become a heartbroken existence. This isn’t a period drama. In reality, there is no honor in melancholy.
11. She purchases a journal and writes in it at least a few times a week. She knows that it will not only serve as a wonderful resource for her in the years to come; it will service her in the here and now. Don’t believe me? Spend 10 minutes writing on a topic without thinking about what you’re going to put down and enjoy your A-ha! moment.
12. She downloads her happy song and has it at the ready. This is the song you will put on before stressful meetings, in moments when you feel overwhelmed and when you need a little pick-me-up throughout the day. My jam? Billie Jean by Michael Jackson. It’s saved me from tears at my desk.
13. She pays her own bills (on time). She checks her credit report twice a year and she makes productive financial decisions with her future in mind.
14. She is grateful for her healthy body, regardless of it's shape and size. Take note, ladies: Stop. Comparing. Your. Body. To. Other. Bodies.
15. She meets the consideration of faking an orgasm with the same reaction one would have when seeing a rat run across their bedroom.
16. She knows how to make at least one appetizer, one dessert, one amazing cocktail and one showstopping meal. She's now equipped for all holidays and the dinner party for friends you will throw to catch up without being interrupted by strangers in the bar or on the TV.
17. She truly understands the difference between self-care and selfish.
18. She maintains a little mystery. Time has shown her that sending that half-naked photo to the guy you just met online may not be such a great idea.
19. She purchases a box of "Thank You" cards and a roll of stamps. She sends accordingly.
20. She sees the "ignore it and maybe it will go away" mentality for what it really is — a useful tool for school yard taunts and a seriously detrimental way to handle anything of importance — especially pertaining to your health and financial situations.
21. She forgives herself for the mistakes she's made and is grateful for the lessons they offered her. She is who she is now as a result of who she was then, and once more, she’s one hell of a survivor!