Happiness for Your Life

You Are Enough

As the school year begins, we place a lot of high expectations on ourselves. As great as it is to go into the year with goals, we have to be careful that those goals don’t turn into a competition with our peers. If we’re not careful, we’ll end up sizing ourselves up next to our classmates, our roommates—even our friends (without even realizing it!). All of sudden, we get those nagging feelings of resentment, jealousy, and uncertainty about ourselves. That little voice within tells us that we are inferior, insufficient—that not only will we not reach those goals, but we will also fail entirely.

Well, that took a dark turn.

Thankfully, we can turn it around. Rather than compare ourselves to others, we can find opportunities to learn from one another and in the process, learn to love ourselves. If you don’t foster a love for yourself and what you stand for, all of the knowledge, self-care, and resources are meaningless. I cannot make you care about yourself: only you can do that. Of course, I can tell you that you are valuable, worthwhile, and loved but only you can believe that.

I know you might have doubts about yourself; perhaps you think you aren’t “enough,” but will you do something for me? Will you read the following sentence and truly believe it?

I am enough.

You are enough. I am enough. Just as we are. Do you believe this? Life is going to be a long journey if you cannot start accepting yourself for the imperfectly perfect person that you are. We all have made mistakes, and we will continue to do so (myself included!). That is the essence of being human. But it is also the essence of humanness that includes goodness, compassion, and kindness. I believe that you already possess all that inherent goodness within you. You just have to own that and know that you are entirely wonderful.

As you read this, ask yourself what FIVE qualities make you AMAZING? Embrace it!

Many of my clients speak words of shame to themselves. I often hear the following come out of their mouth on a weekly basis:

  • I’m not smart enough.
  • I’m not talkative enough.
  • I’m not pretty/handsome enough.
  • I’m not funny enough.
  • I’m not cool enough.
  • I’m not thin/strong enough.

The list could go on and on. But let’s stop this list. Rather than compare ourselves to others, let’s remember that we are enough as we are. It’s not about comparison. There can be room for everyone to succeed. I know that I have days when I feel insufficient, and days when I have doubts, but I have to remind myself: I am enough. And if someone thinks that I am not enough? Then that is their loss and someone else’s gain. I trust that even when someone says “no” to me or denies me an opportunity, something better is meant to come along. I believe this for your life as well.

Remember, you are skilled enough, you are smart enough, you are dedicated enough to accomplish what you are seeking to do. If you compare yourself to others, we all will fall short in one way or another. So instead, hold yourself to your own highest standard and seek to meet that potential. That’s all that you owe to yourself.

Keep shining,

The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook

About Those Resolutions…

Do you rebel against resolutions? Or do you implement them as a mandatory marker for January 1st? As the New Year dawns on us, we often note our failures from the past year rather than celebrate our big and small victories. For example, we tell ourselves that to be successful and happy in 2016, we should attempt the following:

  • Lose 20 pounds
  • Exercise every day
  • Stop smoking
  • Eat healthier
  • Drink less

 

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While there may be some merit to these goals, both for our physical and mental wellbeing, ultimately, it is one more way of punishing ourselves for not living up to expectations. Inevitably, resolutions are notorious for often failing regardless of our intentions.

Why?

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Because no one wants to be punished—especially not by themselves. When a day on a calendar is telling us that we should refrain from this or that, we cannot help but resent it. We rebel. Not to mention, we experience the added failure of one more goal that went unmet. We disappoint ourselves and setting a new goal for the future becomes that much more challenging. It is not until our hearts our truly set on accomplishing a goal, whether that comes May 30th or July 8th or December 31st, that we can work towards honest success.

Rather than write out your resolutions for the year, of what you think you should do, what do you want to gain from this year? What are your dreams instead of your limitations? How can you add joy to your life rather than set parameters and constraints?

Do you hope for any of the following?

  • Strengthen your marriage
  • Learn some new information
  • Travel to a new place, whether that’s a new restaurant, town, or country
  • Laugh a little more
  • Explore your faith and spirituality

This year, I am hoping for the following:

  • Publish a new book
  • Read more: both nonfiction and fiction
  • Strengthen my friendships: spend more time just having fun
  • Explore a new country that I’ve never visited before
  • Begin a doctoral program
  • Continue speaking around the country

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This list can be limitless—which is the exact opposite of a resolution list. Be generous and good to yourself this year. Give yourself credit for all that you do and know that whether you meet the goals that you set or not—know that you are enough.

Keep shining,

The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook

Come Sail Away

As summer has been in full swing, I’ve finally had a chance to breathe. I’ve begun working as a therapist at La Vie Counseling Center in Pasadena but the course load at USC has been lightening up. You would think I would feel relieved. And sure, that lasted about a day.

Now, I feel guilty.

Any spare time I have should be spent toward my next book to write, fitness class, marketing for speaking engagements—(fill in the blank with your own tasks). Instead of just being happy to relax, I have been burdening myself with unnecessary worries. Sure, these tasks are important goals but what good are they if I am not feeling well rested and spiritually nourished?

I think this is something we punish ourselves with all the time. Any chance we have to watch a movie, read a book for pleasure, or just sit and do nothing—we worry and fret over it. We think of other excuses that diminish this very much needed time, so that even when we do have an opportunity to enjoy, we judge ourselves for it.

We have to remind ourselves that it is okay to rest. It is not a bad thing to not be productive every waking hour of the day. It’s okay to not be productive for an entire week! Part of why I write this is because I need to remind myself to accept this free time openly. I need to embrace these days of unscheduled time and for once, not write a to-do list. Be okay with the unknown of the day. And if I just read a book, instead of write my next one? So be it. It is not in vain.

The other day I visited our family beach house and began painting. As an avid Lilly Pulitzer lover, I painted the nautical print with sailboats breezing by. It seemed fitting as I listened to the waves. In that solid hour of painting, I did not feel burdened to talk, plan, or prepare. I could just be. We call this concept “flow” where you can lose track of time and truly be present in the moment. It was such an enriching experience that I can’t wait to paint more prints next week.

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As I wrap up this post, I want to leave you with a quote that I heard a therapist say the other day:

“Too much of the time, we are human doings. We scurry around, busying ourselves with tasks. Instead, let us focus on simply existing as a human BEING.”

So, as we move through this week, are you a human doing, going through the motions? Or are you present, living and breathing as a human being?

Keep shining,

The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook
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