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1. Change is inevitable and uncomfortable, and youll survive it. We go to great lengths to avoid change or to ensure were totally prepared for it, but you can never totally prepare. Change/transition is inevitable and uncomfortable, and we can choose to view it as liberating or devastating. Humans are adaptive and I promise as long as you survive, youll survive.

2. You cant just choose happy during shitty times. Moments and periods of difficult feelings are likely there for a reasonto tell you something. And contrary to what the happiness industry wants you to think, they dont go away by choosing happy. Instead, give yourself permission to feel what youre feeling, turn inward to the emotions, and figure out what theyre trying to tell you.

3. You are going to die, but acknowledging this will actually make you happier. Death awareness causes anxiety (hence the big 3-0 causing me all sort of angst); but acknowledging our mortality also allows us to appreciate the time we have here, and experience perspective about the shit that doesnt matter. So think about deathitll make you happier. Oh, and while were being positive, youre also aging. So quit hating on your bod, and appreciate your health and mobility should you be so lucky as to have both.

4. You have way less control than you think. Like, none. Control is an illusion we create to alleviate our anxiety around having no goddamn control. Like it or not, you cant predict whats coming down the pipeline. That said, you do have control over how you treat yourself (and your relationship to yourself if the longest and most important one youll have in life). So choose to be supportive and encouraging rather than critical and punishing.

5. Expectations cause suffering, especially unrealistically high ones. The expectations you place on yourself and others, are causing your frustration, disappointment, shame, etc. But we naturally create expectations because we dont like uncertainty. Have the same expectations for yourself that you would for a friend or loved oneunrealistically high expectations paralyze us and set us up for feeling shitty. And be open to changing your self-imposed expectations based on your mood, sleep, energy, health, life circumstances, resources, etc. etc.

Also, consider what youre imagining is going to happen, or what should happen, and actively imagine multiple possible outcomes. It will help you detach from expectations.

6. Media wants you to feel crappy. Industries make their money by telling you youre not good enough. You know what happens when youre told youre not happy enough, not attractive enough, not thin enough, not successful enough, not cool enough, not married enough? You buy shit. Media is meant to make you feel shitty. Consume with caution (and be honest with yourself about how social media makes you feel).

7. Happily ever after isnt a thing, and thinking it is will leave you perpetually resentful. The idea that life should look how it does in movies and stories sets up an expectation that its going to look like it does in movies and stories. And then it doesnt, and we feel like weve failed. Remember you will never reach a state where you dont experience the pain that accompanies life. Grief, heartbreak, disappointment, sadness, anxiety, guilt, hurt, frustration, etc. etc. are natural responses to our ever-changing and unpredictable lives. So learn how to support yourself through the tough stuff.

8. Comparison can make you feel better or worse real quick. Start to notice where youre comparing and how it makes you feel. Try to keep your eyes on your own page for the most part, but when its impossible, make sure youre seeing the whole spectrum of experiencenot just the ones you perceive to be better than yours. A.k.a. perspective, gratitude, the Oprah stuff. And for effs sake, stop following people on social media whose accounts leave you feeling inadequate!

9. Whether or not others change is not up to you. So dont let your happiness depend on whether or not they do.

10. You will never have this moment again. So wake da fuck up. Dont sleepwalk through life. Plus, waking up is necessary for having influence in our lives. Practice paying attention to your thoughts, feelings, and sensations mindfully (with acceptance and compassion and without judgment), and without reacting. It will give you more time to choose how to respond, rather than reacting impulsively.

11. That job title, salary, number on the scale, asset, or milestone isnt going to bring you lasting happiness. There will always be another one for perfectionism to attach to.

12. No one gives a shit about your insecurities. Theyre all way too focused on their own. Also, no one has it all figured out, especially the ones who claim they do.

13. Reality is subjective. There are no objective truths (with the exception of this list .D ). The rules are social constructions, and following them or believing you should follow them can actually cause you harm. Only follow them if it serves you. Also, your parents dont always know whats best. Dont continue to internalize their voices unless theyre supportive, and dont continue trying to please them if its causing you grief.

Also, our realities are influenced by the language we use, internally and externally. Try to rid your vocabulary of evocative words like good/bad, right/wrong, selfish, lazy, should, idiot, stupid, fat, better, shitty, pathetic, etc. etc.

14. It all comes back to sensations, and all sensations are impermanent. Anything outside of us in life only affects us because we experience it sensationally in our body. So basically, our bodies react to life and our job is to remember its just a sensation and it will pass.

15. Be selfish, but dont be an asshole. Selfish has a bad rap. You should be selfishno one else is at the helm of your life. Always putting others first at the cost of your own needs will lead to burnout and resentment, which doesnt serve anyone. Just consider how your actions will make others feel, and dont be a reckless asshole in the process of doing you.

16. We make any difficult experience a thousand times worse by judging ourselves for feeling. Doing so creates guilt, shame, anxiety, frustration, anger, etc. for feeling whatever we were feeling in the first place. Pain x struggle = suffering. Quit struggling and alleviate suffering.

17. Sometimes distracting and avoiding are necessary. We call it coping. Eventually, challenge yourself to go into the pain, but permit yourself to run for a bit if thats what you need to do first.

18. Growth doesnt happen without discomfort. And success doesnt happen without risk of failure. Welcome all of it.

19. Conflict is inevitable and people dont always have to agree. Disagreeing doesnt mean anyone is bad, wrong, or hates each other. It just means they have different subjective interpretations of the world. Learn how to have uncomfortable conversationsits a seriously underrated skill (Psst. it all comes back to dem sensations).

20. Seeing life as your teacher and finding meaning in suffering is the way to get through shitty times. Its the most effective way of finding the positive.

21. When others judge, hurt, or abandon you, its almost always because of their own shit. So take it with a grain of salt. The whole shaker, actually. And if you find yourself feeling triggered, impatient, or irritable around certain individuals, its probably your own shit. Go inside and figure it out.

22. Intuition is more significant than you know, but still ought to be studied. Your gut can either guide you to happiness or keep you stuck in an unserving pattern. Definitely hear what its saying, but dont be a lemming to it (Sidebar. remember Lemmings? WHERE DID THE TIME GO??!)

23. Finding joy in the process is a secret to happiness. Its cliche AF, but enjoying the scenery, The feeling of our hands on the steering wheel, the company of the hitchhikers we pick up along the way thats more significant than the places we visit on the journey of life. Also, be wary of goal-setting. It can really keep us from enjoying the journey, and it creates expectations, which creates suffering.

24. Our minds are not separate from our bodies. Our minds are processes of information gathered from our brains and bodies. Were not conscious of all of it. You can access and process your unconscious awareness through movement, meditation, and dreaming. Do more of them.

25. Its okay to not know. We change our minds anyway (which is also okay).

26. Its okay to be uncomfortable. Its just part of the process. We get our bearings and work toward getting comfy again, but somewhere in there we have to be in a mess, and were usually in our mess for longer than we want to be.

27. Sometimes being compassionate and respectful leaves people feeling hurt. Youre allowed to break hearts, set boundaries, and give feedback to others thats ultimately serving but that might initially sting.

28. Happiness depends on connection. Connection to ourselves (self-compassion and knowing ourselves), connection to others (romantic or otherwise), connection to purpose (meaning), connection to the present moment (mindfulness), and connection to something greatera god or the Universe or nature or consciousness or humankind (spirituality). When disconnected, we experience anxiety, depression, and shame. See where youre disconnected and nurture those areas of your life (or read this to see the steps described in more detail).

29. Understanding the relationship between hope and acceptance is important. Hope and acceptance are mutually exclusive.You cant be in both at the same time. Sometimes we go between the two multiple times a day, or multiple times a minute. Hope can keep us from moving on, but it can also help us keep on keeping on. Its easier to default to than acceptanceacceptance is generally more effortful, and more of a practice. But over time, it gets easier.

30. Were all in this together.
You knew I was gonna end on this one. Whatever youre experiencing, its not new. Its part of the human experience. We all struggle. We all feel inadequate. We all think were broken. We all feel pain. We all suffer. Thats what unites us. Were all in this together.

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