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Fortune Cooking Life Lessons #35
Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

Is there someone in your life that has wholly wronged you? Whether it be a family member, friend, or significant other something has happened that had created a fire inside you that you just can’t put out. I feel this is true for most people that one time or another we have come across the feelings of hate and discontent towards someone in our life. As time moves on we do move forward and these feelings will hide away for a time and every once in a while these feelings of anger that we had come creeping back to remind us of the knife we received in our back. But does hating this person help us in the end. If we stop to think about it hating takes a lot of time and effort on the part of the person that is angry. What if we could take that energy we have inside and put it to good use. Image all the awesome things we would be able to accomplish in our lives. Here are five ways to stop hating and use that energy for some good.

1. Don’t forgive for the person who hurt you forgive for yourself.
Forgiving someone who has hurt you is seriously a hard one to understand. When we learn about forgiveness, it is always about the other person but what we forget is that when we forgive those that have hurt us we are allowing ourselves to move on. The situation no longer controls how we feel or deal with that person and the control is lost. If we react to this person or situation negatively, it still has a hold of us if we move past it and forgive we are letting go.

2. We are all humans.
Humans are imperfect, and we will all make mistakes. Keep that in mind the next time someone does something that may hurt you. It is hard but what if the shoe was on the other foot. What if it was us that did the hurting. There will be individuals that don’t care about how people feel and know that you as a person can always do better regardless of how others may want to treat you.

3. Don’t bring up the past.
If you have completely moved on, you won’t be bringing it up anymore. Letting the situation go may take some time as time heals most wounds and when you are ready to move forward, you will be done reminiscing what happened. Moving forward also helps the person that has hurt you especially if they are seeking forgiveness because this shows you have completely forgiven them and moved on but if you keep rehashing what has been done there is unfinished business that needs to be addressed, and the problem never disappears.

4. Hating takes too much time and energy.
Hating someone takes up a lot of time and energy, and all it will do is exhaust you. A person can spend all day thinking about how much they hate someone but unfortunately, this waste of time and nothing will ever get accomplished. Instead of being angry and hateful take that energy and put it towards something that will make your life better.

5. Time will heal the wounds.
Time does heal wounds. Give yourself space from the person that has hurt you. Right now you need to process the hurt and taking a break can help you recover. Even if the relationship is unrepairable taking time off will help you to heal and find your peace in the situation rather than having to fight it all the time.

Being angry isn’t right for you or the people around you. Choose to do better and take that anger to a positive level. Forgive this person for yourself so that you can find your happiness again. Remember that human beings make mistakes and learn to let go of what happened. Don’t hate to long because it takes too much out of your life to do so and make sure to give yourself enough time to process what has happened.

If you are looking for a way to channel your negative energy, try meditation. It is a perfect way to relax your mind and spirit. A good forgiveness meditation is repeating the phrase ” The person I need to forgive is _______, and I forgive you for ________. Saying this phrase will help you put the situation in perspective and find happiness along your way.

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Fortune Cookie Life Lesson #34
There is no substitution for a genuine lack of preparation.

When you set out to achieve a goal do you fly by the seat of your pants or do you take the time to prepare and visualize what you want to achieve? Developing yourself to get what you want out of life takes discipline and work. It is not for the faint of heart, and often we can wish we were somewhere in life and without preparing to make it to that point that is where we find a that we get stuck. Instead of wishful thinking here are five ways to prepare yourself so that you can achieve your goals.

1. Practice Mindfulness
I have just recently begun doing this as I have found that I have a pretty full schedule. I am a very busy lady and have just added going back to school to my already active lifestyle. Being able to meditate 10 to 15 minutes a day has helped me get the things done that I need to without feeling anxiety and the stress of the heavy schedule that I run for myself. Meditation helps you to slow down and get in touch with yourself on an intense level. It clears the mind and enables you to focus on what needs to be done. Being able to meditate helps the body heal and de-stress.

2. Let go of what can not be controlled.
Being able to let go has been a hard one for me to do in the past, but I have tried to let things go if it can not be controlled. Not only will this bring extra stress into your life but you are completely wasting time on something that can not change. It takes away from your focus on what you are trying to attain.

3. Visualize what you want to have happen.
I am a visual person. I learn by visualizing, and I work even harder when I can envision what I want to achieve. Being able to see what you want to will motivate you to work harder, and you will feel accomplished when you have completed the goal. Vision boards are a great way to keep the vision of what you want alive.

4. Act as if you already attained your goal.
If you are always dreaming of your goal and not acting on it, the target won’t happen. If you put your mindset into you have already achieved this then you are held to certain accountability. Tell yourself today I am going to do this as if the goal you have wanted to reach you have already mastered. Mentally preparing yourself not to fail will keep you focused on what needs to get done.

5. Get rid of the excuses.
Excuses are crutches, and they don’t help they hinder. If I am working on a fitness goal and I am continually finding a reason not to exercise I will never get what I want. Quit telling yourself that you can’t do your goal because of this or that. Sometimes we make excuses because we are afraid that we won’t reach our goal. Making excuses for yourself is self-sabotage and know that you got what it takes to conquer.

Preparing yourself to accomplish your goals is not an easy thing. You need to be aware of yourself and make yourself mentally for the work that needs to be done. Don’t focus on things that can’t be changed only focus on the things that will help you move forward. Vision is key to making things happen. Mentally telling yourself, you are already there hold you accountable for your actions and get rid of the fear and excuses and slay your way to what you want.

Fortune Cookie Life Lesson #33
Think of how you can assist with a problem, not who to blame.

Blaming others for problems does not make you happy. I have learned this intensively through the years and have just managed recently to put this lesson to good use. It is so easy to blame anyone and not take responsibility for your part in the problem. When we blame others, we are attacking them and making them the direct fault for what is going on. Blamers reflect their issues on other people so that they do not have to take responsibility for their actions. The problem you face might be valid in placing blame, but you are also in this situation with the other party. If you have been hurt and have hard feelings to those that have hurt you the feelings you have are valid and essential but blaming that person keeps you controlled by that problem, and if you can give up the resentment, it will free you in the end. The next time you find yourself in a disagreement that places blame try these six steps so that you see yourself being a productive solution to the problem instead of adding to the negative.

1. Talk about what can be controlled
Many times we focus on what cannot be controlled, and that causes hostility in an argument. If you can come together to discuss what in the situation can be controlled, then you should be able to find a successful solution to the problem.

2. Make sure you are involved in a positive, productive discussion.
Negative conversations never get people anywhere and more than likely you will end up angrier than before you even started to discuss the situation. Positivity puts the argument in a better light and will leave you with a feeling of accomplishment when you are done.

3. Focus on the problem and how it can be fixed.
There are lots of ways to do this. You can have a sit-down and discuss what needs to happen to solve this issue. Many times it is a simple task and when you can communicate effectively more is going to get done.

4. What can be learned?
There is always a lesson, and most of the time it can be learned by both parties involved. Talk about what we can learn from this and sincerely take the experience into account so the problem can be avoided in the future.

5. Discuss how this problem can be avoided, so there isn’t a next time.
Most problems can be solved with a simple solution. Knowing how to prevent a problem is half of the battle, and when you both can figure out works best for you it makes the environment a whole lot easier to deal with in the future.

We can’t always control others reactions to us, but we can still control how we react to others. Being able to solve a problem positively gives you the benefit of being at peace with the issue. When in an argument discuss what can be controlled and make sure to use positive and productive conversation tactics, so the other party isn’t offended. Talk with the other person and focus on what the problem is and how to fix what is wrong. Discuss any lessons that can both of you can learn from in this situation and how to avoid it next time. Being able to do these things with help you to be a problem solver and not a problem starter.

Fortune Cookie Life Lesson # 32
Nature gave us one tongue and two ears so we could hear twice as much as we speak.

How well do I listen instead of letting things come right out of my mouth? A long time ago this was extremely hard for me to do. I usually never heard what was being said and was always the one talking. I am more aware of my lack of communicating back then and have worked hard to try and fix this little indiscretion. However, this is not an easy task and takes some dangerous practice and in my case patience along the way. These five things helped me become a better listener and improved the way I communicate effectively with others.

1. I listen so that I can learn.
If we are always talking are we anything? To be able to learn efficiently you need to be able to listen to what is said. I started to recognize this and began practicing this in conversations, and I could not believe all the exciting things I learned about other people around me. I am sure that I would not have known if I was the only one getting a word in that conversation.

2. Ask questions
I never used to ask questions. I always thought that asking questions was a weakness and many times I either pretended to know what was talked about or would take over the conversation. Pretending to know what is going on absolutely does not work, and more than likely you will end up looking ridiculous. Asking questions shows a person that you are interested in what is said and not only that you will learn something that you did not know before and that is ok.

3. Make eye contact
If you want to show someone your undivided attention make eye contact with them. Eye contact was also a hard one for me to do because I was shyer and for some reason, eye contact was hard for me. Doing this makes the conversation more enjoyable and exciting. You are taking the time to acknowledge what is said and making eye contact shows that you are genuinely interested in the discussion.

4. Don’t Interrupt the other person talking.
Interrupting conversations was something that I always did, and I honestly did not understand how annoying it was until I started focusing on changing the way I listen. Not only is this rude but it shows that you are not valuing the other person in the conversation. Being able to stop interruptions in conversations is genuinely a hard habit to break and if you do accidentally innterupt make sure to apologize.

Why is it a good idea to be a good listener?

1. Listening can be a confidence booster.
People love a good listener merely because they are hard to find and being able to do this will make you certainly feel right about having this talent.

2. Acceptance
When you listen, you are accepting the person that is involving you in the conversation. Not only are you receiving them they are also accepting you by telling you what they think is essential.

3. Connection
As humans, we need relationships and listening can create a deep connection.

So the next time you are finding yourself in a conversation take a back seat and listen to what is said. Take time to listen, and you will undoubtedly learn something new about that person. When you get a chance to ask a few questions about what is being discussed make sure to keep good eye contact so that the speaker knows that you are engaged. Last but not least remember not to interrupt the one that is speaking so that you can have the opportunity to listen to all that is being said. Listening is a talent that few have and that many want to have around them.

Fortune Cookie Life Lesson #31
Trust is earned by many deeds.

Honesty is the best policy. We have heard this statement time and time again but what happens if you have broken that policy and need to repair the damage. Breaking trust is a hard lesson to learn, and it takes lots of time and patience on both ends. Know that if you work hard and stay diligent the trust you once had can be rebuilt and in many times become stronger than it once was. Here are six ways to restore the faith that was thought to be lost.

1. Be Honest.
It might be hard, but please be honest. Not only with yourself but also with the ones that have been affected. The gig is up, and it is time to get real. The more real you are, the better it will be to mend those broken fences.

2. Show You Care.
The actions that you do will speak louder than the words that you use. By showing action to someone, you are indicating that you care and are committed to fixing the problem. If you didn’t care, you wouldn’t act. The action also takes time and effort on your part, and that lets the other person know you are trying.

3. Respect
Respect is earned and not just given. Respect takes hard work, and if you want the same respect, you must work for it especially if you have been dishonest. One way to earn back trust is to think about how to restore what was lost and take the time to work on fixing things. It will not happen overnight and takes a lot of time, but it is well worth the effort to show the person you care how much respect you have for them.

4. Transparency
Be an open book. Honesty also involves you being honest with yourself. If you are hiding things, you are not honest with those around you. You need to be able to be comfortable in your skin and be comfortable with those around you to know who you are and being transparent lets the other person see a side of you no one else does.

5. Take the situation seriously.
Do this by sincerely asking for forgiveness and giving a sincere apology. If you don’t take the situation seriously for what it is, then you show that your commitment to fix what you have done is not there.

6. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
People are not perfect, and everyone makes mistakes. Just know that whatever happens, you can always do better after making a mistake. Don’t judge yourself harshly and think that you need to. Being dishonest to someone can take its toll, and it is better to learn from the mistake and move forward never making a mistake again.

Trust is a very fragile thing when it comes to dealing with relationships. When trust is broken remember to be honest from here on out to rebuild what was lost. Show you care by working hard to fix the damage that was caused. Be honest with yourself and others so that they can see the best of you. Take the situation seriously and carefully as it will be in a very fragile state for a while. Always know that you are going to get through this and see that you can take a bad mistake and make it into a great future by learning the lesson that it taught you.