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When we seek to discover the best in others, we somehow bring out the best in ourselves.

I read somewhere once that we tend to judge ourselves by our intentions and other people by their actions. In other words, we give ourselves the benefit of the doubt, whereas we’re more apt to assume other people mean to be cruel, inconsiderate, or hurtful when they make poor choices.

I suspect this is a survival strategy: We need to believe that we are good people in order to live with ourselves, and we want to quickly assess which other people aren’t to make sure that they won’t hurt us. It’s a mental shortcut, if you will–the sooner you discover the worst in people, the sooner you can plan how to protect yourself.

But what it if we decided that just like us, most other people mean well, and then instead of fearing the worst, focused on finding the best? What if we put all our energy into recognizing the light in other people, and in doing so, brightened the light within us?

I know that whenever I believe in someone else, it awakens a sense of possibility inside me. It makes me feel more connected to other people, more empowered to collaborate with them, and more passionate about what we can all accomplish if we work with each other, not against each other.

Today if you feel tempted to focus on another person’s flaws, ask yourself: What good qualities are you overlooking, and what possibilities could you create if you focused more on those?

Stay away from what might have been and look at what will be.

Everyone has something they might do differently if they could back in time. It’s a natural consequence of learning and growing.

The happiest people focus not on what they should have done if only they knew then; but instead on what they can do right now with the knowledge they have gained. No matter how helpless you may feel, you can do more than you think.

Today you will make hundreds of mini-decisions that will create what will be. You’ll have people to meet, challenges to take, and opportunities to seize. You can only seize those moments with a sense of joy and possibility if you forgive yourself for the choices that have past.

When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.

Sometimes we judge ourselves pretty harshly. Sometimes we blame ourselves for things we have absolutely no control over. Sometimes we criticize, berate, and even disparage ourselves, treating ourselves far worse than we’d ever treat other people.

It’s just all too easy to hold yourself to high standards, and then get frustrated when you fail to meet them. I know I have done this before, and, at the risk of sounding defeatist, I know I will do it at some point again.

I believe that in much the same we will inevitably have conflicts with other people, we will also go through times when we’re not kind and loving to ourselves.

Perhaps the key to silencing the enemy within is accepting that it is there–that we all possess both darkness and light within us–and then learning to create a higher ratio of self-affirming to self-diminishing thoughts. Maybe the goal shouldn’t be to always be positive, but to recognize when you start being self-critical so that you can shift your thoughts more quickly and effectively with each internal struggle.

In a perfect world, we would always know the exact way to think and thing to do to nurture ourselves and honor our needs, and we’d instinctively always do those things. Maybe some people do. But I can’t speak for them, because I sometimes struggle.

What helps me is to focus on progress, not perfection–to forgive myself when I’ve gotten negative, and then start anew from right where I stand.

Today if you get down on yourself, remember: You’re doing the best you can, and you have the power to choose, right now, that your best is good enough.

Peace of mind is not the absence of conflict from life, but the ability to cope with it.

There are some days when I want everything to stop.

I want the calls to stop, the emails to stop, the requests to stop, the expectations to stop, the confrontations to stop, and the struggles to stop. Essentially, I want everything to feel quiet and easy.

Then I realize that if everything stopped, life would boring, uneventful, and static.

If everything stopped, I wouldn’t have any opportunities to create, grow, learn from other people, or share what I’ve learned with them. Life would not be peaceful–life just wouldn’t be happening.

What I really want on those chaotic days isn’t for the world to stop. I just want to stop seeing the world as a million fires I need to put out. I want to stop interpreting everything as a conflict or crisis. I want to stop living life in a constant state of reaction, and instead focus on the actions that matter to me.

I suspect that’s what we all want: the ability to nurture a sense of peace that doesn’t crumble every time our circumstances get challenging.

The truth is we can access that on any day we choose to. We just need to choose–and then keep choosing instead of responding with stress, fear, and angst.

Today if your world seems less than peaceful, remind yourself: I can deal with whatever happens outside me. It starts by taking responsibility for what happens inside.

The amount of happiness that you have depends on the amount of freedom you have in your heart.

People and circumstances don’t weigh us down. We weigh ourselves down with worries, regrets, fears, and expectations.

Don’t worry about letting those go forever–that’s an overwhelming goal. Just focus on letting them go right now. This exact moment will only happen once. You have the choice to spend it feeling bad or feeling good.

You can start by doing whatever makes you feel good–take a walk, sing a song, write in your journal. What makes you feel free–and can you do it right now?

There are no failures. Just experiences and your reactions to them.

We’re responsible for most of the pain that comes along with failure. We create the failing-drama. We beat ourselves up, convince ourselves we’re inadequate, and assume other people are judging us harshly. We take our biggest disappointments and assume they have to define us. Failure doesn’t have to imply anything about your worth or potential.

Failing means nothing more than the literal happening itself: you tried, it didn’t work, and now you need to try something else. You can either let it pull you down or let it go so you can get back up. You decide how to interpret things that happen. You decide how to respond.

Odds are your life will contain a balanced blend of successes and failures–meaning you’ll have countless opportunities to feel down on yourself or motivated. Which will you choose today?

Peace of mind is not the absence of conflict from life, but the ability to cope with it.

There are some days when I want everything to stop. I want the calls to stop, the emails to stop, the requests to stop, the expectations to stop, the confrontations to stop, and the struggles to stop. Essentially, I want everything to feel quiet and easy. Then I realize that if everything stopped, life would boring, uneventful, and static. If everything stopped, I wouldn’t have any opportunities to create, grow, learn from other people, or share what I’ve learned with them. Life would not be peaceful–life just wouldn’t be happening. What I really want on those chaotic days isn’t for the world to stop. I just want to stop seeing the world as a million fires I need to put out. I want to stop interpreting everything as a conflict or crisis. I want to stop living life in a constant state of reaction, and instead focus on the actions that matter to me. I suspect that’s what we all want: the ability to nurture a sense of peace that doesn’t crumble every time our circumstances get challenging. The truth is we can access that on any day we choose to. We just need to choose–and then keep choosing instead of responding with stress, fear, and angst. Today if your world seems less than peaceful, remind yourself: I can deal with whatever happens outside me. It starts by taking responsibility for what happens inside.

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