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Many of us are familiar with the idea of loving our spouses, children, or parents unconditionally — and we might even try to practice that unconditional love, though imperfectly. But do we try to love ourselves unconditionally? Consider whether you do any of these (I sure do): • Criticize your body. • Feel like you need to improve at things. • Feel guilty about things you do. • Feel undisciplined, lazy, unhappy with yourself. • Not feel good enough. • Fear that you’re going to fail,...

by School Of Life on 14 May 2016

Testing ideas through direct experience is among the best ways to learn and grow. If you want to know if an idea really has merit, test it under real-world conditions. Then you’ll have your answer. For example, suppose you want to ask someone out for a date. One simple test would be to go right up to the person and ask. Within minutes you’ll know the answer. Yes, this is common sense, but how common is it in practice? Unfortunately most of our tests are run only in our minds, and in that realm...

by School Of Life on 13 May 2016

When we’re frustrated with others, or feeling bad about ourselves … we often turn toward habits that comfort us: • distractions • food • shopping • smoking • drugs/alcohol These don’t often work, because they tend to make us feel worse in the long run. We become unhappier, more stressed, and then need to seek comfort in these things again … and the cycle continues. These are sometimes the only ways we know of comforting ourselves! I know this because for a long time I always turned...

by School Of Life on 12 May 2016

Let’s say you’ve been wanting to quit smoking for awhile, or you’ve really been wanting to start exercising. All of a sudden, you read something that motivates you … you’re ready to make the change!You have the determination to make this happen. That’s amazing. The question is: are you going to convert this determination into actual lasting change? How will you do that? The feeling of determination is wonderful, but it can be ephemeral. It doesn’t necessarily last for more than a...

by School Of Life on 12 May 2016

There’s a way of being that I’m trying to cultivate in myself — to let go of wanting others to be a certain way. Here’s the problem: we all get frustrated with other people. We want our kids to do certain things, our spouses to be less something or other, our friends to change their lives, our relatives to be healthier, other people to be less rude, etc etc. So what can we do about this? It can drive us crazy, but we can’t make it happen. It’s out of our control. Trying to change others,...

by School Of Life on 11 May 2016

Arrogance (too hot) Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. – Proverbs 16:18 Arrogance is overbearing pride that attempts to juxtapose others as inferior to yourself. Although this quality is considered honorable among Klingons, it tends to annoy human beings. Arrogance makes genuine socialization difficult because it paints others into a competitive position. By treating others as inferior to yourself, you invite them to respond to your opening move with a reactive counter-move....

by School Of Life on 11 May 2016

I’ll admit I do it as much as anyone else: see the cool things that others are doing and wish I were doing something cool like that too. You see great travel photos on Instagram and other social media — people living amazing lives, creating cool things, going on adventures. And instantly, there’s the thought that you should be living a better life. But this is the wrong habit. It leads to a feeling that your life isn’t good enough, that you aren’t good enough. And the habit doesn’t...

by School Of Life on 11 May 2016

Pretty much all of us experience frustration on a daily (or even hourly) basis. We get frustrated by other people, by ourselves, by technology, by work situations, by small crises that come up all the time. You know you’re frustrated when you find yourself sighing, or complaining about people, or fuming about something that happened, or going over why you’re right and they’re wrong. Frustration is normal, but holding on to frustration is not so fun. It’s not even helpful: if the situation...

by School Of Life on 9 May 2016

Difficult times are hard to avoid. Sometimes, life just wallops us against the head, deals us with such a blow that it takes our breath away. A loved one dies, you lose a job, someone you care about gets sick, your car gets totaled, or hopelessness hits you. What do we do when the world around us crumbles, when we can’t seem to find a way out? The times when things are falling apart are exactly the best times to practice mindfulness and compassion. These are the times we’re preparing for, in...

by School Of Life on 8 May 2016

Our feelings are a natural response to our thoughts and intentions. We don’t really choose our feelings directly. Our feelings are a feedback mechanism. They indicate whether we’re moving into alignment with our true desires (positive feelings) or out of alignment (negative feelings). Simply put… we feel good when we’re moving towards what we want, and we feel bad when we’re moving away from what we want. And that movement is more about thought and intention than it is about action. Feelings...

by School Of Life on 8 May 2016