Here is How to Stop Playing the Blame Game so You Can be Happy.

Fortune Cookie Life Lesson #28
Think about your own mistakes rather than blame on other’s faults.

Why do people like to play the blame game? When I received this paper a couple of weeks ago, I sat back and took a long hard look at the times that I have played the blame game and what if anything it has done for me and the situations that I was involved. The answer to this question is that playing the blame game has done nothing constructive to any of the circumstances or relationships that were required. Nothing good has ever come out of me just blaming someone or something for any negativity in my life, and so I have decided that I am going to work hard at controlling how much of the blame game I will be playing and make sure that this game doesn’t negatively affect the things in my life.
Why does the blame game become so toxic? To blame someone or something is destructive rather than constructive. Blaming others rather than taking responsibility for your portion of the issue won’t help you or the situation better your circumstances. If you blame others for the problem than you don’t have to take responsibility for your part of the issue at hand and that will always be a recipe for disaster.
I grew up in an unstable home and for many years that haunted me with feelings of blame. I felt like I was a victim and was continually blaming the adults that allowed me to grow up in the situation I did. Last year I finally realized that it was time for me to stop blaming and take control of my life. One thing I noticed was when I was angry and condemning those that did not do their job I wasn’t happy. I could not find my joy, and all the blaming distracted me from moving forward in my life. I had to stop blaming even though some of these things were out of my control I had to let go and realize that we are here to make mistakes and hopefully learn from them.

There are four wrong ways of thinking when we are playing the blame game and all of these thoughts I had throughout my life.

1. Something is wrong, and I need to find blame in something or someone else for this situation. I feel this is a hard one to recognize because sometimes I feel like the responsibility can be justified. Even though the fault is warranted does not mean it is right to decide to place blame.

2. This person doesn’t deserve respect as a human being. I realize that we are all human and therefore we will all make mistakes and had to sink this one in when getting rid of my blame. The focus should not be about the person who has done me wrong so much as the person is controlling the way I think and act.

3. It is ok for me to treat those that hurt me poorly. I can do so anyway I want. There is no peace when you find yourself hating someone or something all the time. Letting go is the best medicine for this, and you will find happiness by knowing you have done your part.

4. I don’t have any responsibility for the problem, and if I admit this than I have to accept my responsibility and I would deserve the same treatment, I am giving. There are always two sides, and each side will have there own thoughts and actions. Even if you didn’t start the problem but the way you handled it was not the best. Life and people can be very frustrating and remember to take the higher road you will feel better in the end.

If you are experiencing conflict and blame here are ways to settle the blame game once and for all constructively.

1. Be willing to accept your part of the problem.
When there are disputes and problems, there is usually more than one creating the conflict. It is better to take the responsibility and try to make amends on your end. If the other side wants to accept their portion and help make things right tremendous and if not then you did your best.

2. Don’t lose respect for people.
There are some pretty cruddy people in this world, and they have made some horrible decisions in life. Being able to understand that you are not there judge and jury makes it easier to move forward. Always know that there is room for improvement.

3. Be more forgiving
I will be the first one to admit it is tough for me to forgive. I have grown up to be a person that has a shell of protection, and if I overlook, it weakens that shell. I started trying to excuse years ago, and I will say that it creates peace I never had growing up. All the anger and resentment I kept inside was a big green monster, and it kept me prisoner for quite some time. Only in the last few years have a finally been able to forgive and move forward. Forgiveness is hard, but it is well worth the work that goes into making it happen.

 

How to Release Your Inner Buddha and Enlighten You Life

Fortune Cookie Life Lesson #27

To attain enlightenment is to be aware of your own Buddha.

Wouldn’t be nice to have an enlightened life? To be able to have the knowledge to choose what road you want to take in life. Many of us have had to travel our paths of life with little bumps along the way, and I for one consider life’s small cracks to be valuable lessons but wouldn’t it be nice if we could look at our lives and feel like we have taken the right road. Practice these 4 Buddha enlightening techniques and make your life a little more at peace.

1. Compassion
Compassion makes the world a better place. Giving those around you empathy and understanding will provide you with peace. Imagine a time when you were the most compassionate and how did that make you feel? There are some in our lives that we may struggle to show compassion. I think these are the most important individuals to be compassionate too. When you have compassion rather than anger you will indeed feel good in your actions and decisions.
It is also essential to have self-compassion for our actions. Just like those we have had troubles with we too must remember that we are human and if we make a mistake acknowledge it and move forward with a softer heart. Do not torture your self because others choose to act a certain way. Work toward making yourself better even though your compassion may not be received. Practicing kindness will create some of the most profound relationships you will ever experience in life.

2. Be Awake
Make sure to be awake in every moment of your life. Be aware of what is around you and pay close attention. Being attentive will cause a person to slow down and recognize certain gratitude. One thing I truly enjoy is hiking, and I am lucky to be in an area where I can go anytime I want. I love to hike the backcountry and take everything in around me. Slowing down to look at the terrain and listen to the mountains has given me certain gratitude for the things around me that I might not have noticed if I continued the fast-paced lifestyle. When you are awake in your life, you will be able to experience joy in the little things that you once did not notice. If you are experiencing struggles being awake at the moment can even help you overcome these obstacles. Knowing the things around you will also help you welcome those teaching moments that will come along the way.

3. Food is Special
I bet you’re wondering why on earth would food have anything to do with enlightenment. Food gives us comfort and happiness. It can strengthen our bodies and can hurt our bodies. Creating a positive relationship with food can benefit your life, by providing you strength and overall well being. Cooking your food can give you respect for the food you eat. My kids were very picky eaters when they were younger, and when my husband and I started making our kids participate in cooking dinner, they became less picky and more grateful for what was in front of them for dinner. Another way to become more in tune with what you are eating is to grow a garden. Gardening takes work, and it is well worth the patience. The fresher, the better and you will feel great accomplishment knowing that this is something you brought to the table.

4. Remove 3 Poisons From Your Life
There are three poisons out there that can keep you from enlightening your life. Greed, hatred, and delusions can create a catastrophe for the person looking for something better. These three things cause nothing but pain and suffering. If you experience these things in your life make sure to recognize what happened and remove it from your life as fast as possible doing so you will be able to be more at peace. The longer these things stick around, the worse you will feel. Eliminating these types of feelings will also give you freedom, and you won’t feel confined to the negativity.

Being able to make little changes in your life can make the most significant difference. No one is perfect, and it is hard to attain perfection but one thing is, and that is we can work toward being better people.

How to be an Outstanding Achiever

Fortune Cookie Life Lessons #25
Whatever the mind can conceive and believe it can achieve.

Do you have high hopes? I do, and I have most of my life. Some of my dreams have come true, and most are still on the bucket list of life. Whatever we desire to do with ourselves whether it is in a career, relationships, or a personal journey for ourselves we want to be able to achieve these hopes for the future. Try these daily habits of high achievers to help you get your high expectations done.

 

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1. Get Out of Bed
It is time to get out of bed sleepy head. Those of us that work to achieve what we want usually are out of bed bright and early to get things done. Getting out of bed and getting on with your day will give you a feeling of accomplishment not to mention more time to get those critical to do lists done.

 

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2. Read to Succeed
Reading is knowledge and so get as much as you can. Reading can teach, inspire, and motivate us to do the things we want and reading is good for our brains. The more we read, the more our minds can strike up creative ways for us to make goals happen.

 

3. Routines are Trendy
I love routines and have one that I do every day. I am a person of habit and find that if I have a method, I do better throughout the day and get more done rather than fly by the seat of my pants. Routines can also help by keeping our habits organized and keeps us focused on the goal in mind. I always do better and get more done by having my morning routine of working with my kids, doing the housework, doing any tasks that need to be handled for my husband’s side business. Then by the time afternoon rolls around that is my time to focus on what I need to do with a book or the blog. I find that if I keep this routine going smoothly, it doesn’t throw me off of what I want to get done that day.

 

4. Have a Vision Keep a Vision
Don’t lose sight of your vision. Losing vision can happen easily especially if things are not going as fast as you would like them. If you find your idea dwindling, take a fresh new look at it and see if you can add some new goals, or take a look at your outline so that you can achieve more and keep the vision you have active.

 

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5. Prioritize
Priorities are essential, and if you can’t prioritize what you want, then you might end up stuck. Look at what is important to you and focus on how these things are going to get done. Right now in my life, my kids are my priority and their education is essential. I love my blog, and I love to write, but I homeschool, and so this oversteps my blogging life. It doesn’t mean I have to stop blogging or stop pursuing what I want I need to take care of my kiddos first. Once my kiddos can head on out on their own in a few years I will then continue to move forward with my writing dreams and will be able to give more time to my writer’s vision. Until then I am building and learning with any extra time that I have during the day. Take a look at the critical tasks that you need to handle and prioritize them to fit the life you are living.

Aiming high for your dreams is not something that is unachievable. Get up and ready for the day so that you can conquer all the task that needs to be done to get you closer to what you want. Read about what you want to accomplish and gain an understanding of how to get there. Make a daily routine and follow it. Keep your vision active and don’t give up on what you want to accomplish. Make sure you know what is essential and prioritize so that you can achieve your dream.

How to Stand Your Ground When no One Stands With You

Fortune Cookie Life Lesson #22

When both feet are planted firmly, nothing can shake you.

Sometimes it can be tough to stand your ground when there are opposing sides coming at you. I am a passionate person and when I have chosen to stand my ground the consequences of my choice to stand firm has affected certain relationships. The decisions I made were based mainly on the safety of my family and myself, and I felt that there was no budging. The result has led me to cut ties with some of my family members. I will be honest I don’t regret the decisions I have made and wished those that do not agree the very best. Even though our differences have kept us apart, I am still compassionate towards them. I still hope that one day we may also meet on good terms and be able to build the relationships we once had. A person can hold steadfast in what they believe and still be compassionate to the others that don’t agree. The reason I chose to separate myself was based purely on the fact that I was tired of being a doormat and I felt that my family was feeling the repercussions. Here are five ways that I stood my ground and can still make peace with my decision.

1. Be Compassionate

When I first had to learn to do this, it was hard for me to wrap my head around this concept. The people I had to stand my ground with were my family, and I had grown up with these individuals my whole life. I remember when I was an adult, and the situation became extremely dramatic; I wanted to blame the family that was involved. I was mad and hurt that they did not have faith in me and my life choices. After a while, the blame game gets pretty old, and with that, I started to feel sympathy for these people involved. It made me sad that they would not be able to watch my kids grow up and have a relationship with them. They would miss any of my husband’s and mine accomplishments and celebrate with us. My anger changed to sadness not so much for myself but for those that would lose these life moments. I am sure you may be curious about what I decided to walk away from that would cause me to choose to separate myself from family. My reason to stand my ground was alcoholism, and it takes a lot for someone who is dealing with addiction to gain compassion for those that suffer. It took me many years to gain an understanding of my family that struggles with this. Instead of being angry I decided to be more sympathetic although all of these feelings have to be done from a distance. It helps heal my spirit to be compassionate to the people I love and gives me comfort in my decision.

2. Learn to Have the Right Attitude

Having a bad attitude has never worked for anyone wanting to move forward. Sometimes taking a stand for what we believe in means we need to stay positive about what is confronting us. Even when there are those around us that want to try to change who we are we still need to be respectful of their beliefs and opinions. Sometimes standing our ground can get us ridiculed and we need to be able to be confident in what we are standing for. I am a homeschool mom of two children, and I have run into this in the past where I have had to stand up for my belief in teaching my children. I have had many different conversations where people believe that this can not be a good fit for a child socially and from an educational standpoint. I respect them for their belief, but it is not going to change the way my family lives their lives. Many times after these individuals have met my children and spent time with them the opinion they once had has now changed. Having the right attitude when it comes to dealing with those awkward situations can have a more significant effect on the situation instead of handling it negatively.

3. Don’t be a Pushover be Assertive

Being a pushover never got me anywhere. I began to realize early when needing to stand my ground that if I did not, I dealt with the most disrespect. Just because these individuals may be close does not mean you have to bend your rules. When dealing with my kids and their friends, I have a rule in my house that when you are in my house, you need to follow my rules. I recognize that other people have other rules in their homes and I support their rules when I am in their homes. I expect the same thing when others are in my house. Being assertive is not a bad thing and shows that you are confident in what you want for your life. It keeps those that want to use you as a doormat at a comfortable distance. When you are assertive it lets, people know that you deserve to be respected.

4. Prioritize the Things in Your Life

What is important to you? What things hold special meaning? My priorities in my life are my husband and my kids. When these things get disrupted, that is when I take a stand and don’t budge. When addiction was affecting my family, I chose to separate myself to keep my family safe and healthy. The things you prioritize in life are the things that you value most, and you don’t want those things to be affected negatively. My family is something that I have worked hard for, and it is not something I am willing to negotiate with when the negotiation may cause pain to them in the end.

4. Keep your Vision

Don’t lose sight of what you have worked so hard for. Even when there is an opposition that you must face know that you can still keep your head high and be comfortable where you stand. Keeping your vision helps you stay on your path even when a deterrent hits. It helps you work toward your primary goal and gives you a light at the end of a tunnel. If you can make it through this, you can make it through anything.

5. You do not Have to Give a Reason for Your Stance

Your reasons are your reasons and no one else’s. People should not have to explain why they decided the way they did; it is their business. Never let anyone make you second guess what you firmly believe in your way of thinking is precisely that your way. Giving reasons also shows that you may not be as set as you thought and can show a sign of weakness. If people see a flaw, they may also see an opportunity to use that against you.

Standing our ground can be difficult at times, but it is very beneficial for us to do so. While we do need to be firm, we also must show compassion for the opposite side and understand where they are coming from. Having a right attitude when dealing with a situation that questions our ideas gets us a lot farther than one that is more combative. Remember to stay strong and don’t let others push you around. By being assertive and confident, this will less likely try to force their views on you, and respect what you have to offer. Prioritize the things in your life that you treasure you will work harder and you will value them more and expect others to appreciate them in return. Never lose sight of the vision you want for your life. Keeping your idea keeps you on the path to attaining the ultimate goal. Never feel like you have to explain to others why you do things a certain way. Everyone has the freedom of choice and telling others why you choose to do things a certain way is not allowing you to have that freedom. Never feel like your less than just because you may do things differently than others, embrace the individuality that lies within you.

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How to Get Out of Debt and Crush Those Money Goals

Fortune Cookie Life Lesson #14

Whatever you want to do, do it. There are only so many tomorrows.

One of the things I want to do is get out of debt. This fortune phrase hit it right on the head and I want out of debt now. Something I struggled with most of my life was my finances. I was never very good at keeping a budget and didn’t quite learn the skills to get me through adulthood. In 2008 my husband and I took a substantial financial hit, and everything came crashing down to an unforgettable end. Unforgettable because this was the time in our lives when we hit financial rock bottom and had to make a change not only for ourselves but make a difference for our kids.
We needed to wake up, and we needed to get our act together, and that is precisely what we did. It was hard, and it felt like it took forever. We kept going even when there were downfalls and unexpected events that would put us behind. With all our effort and teamwork we managed to pull ourselves out of the dark abyss of the debt black hole. It wasn’t easy, but with a little patience and a lot of determination, debt can become a not so fond memory of the past. Here are five ways to get out of debt and get out fast.

1. Goals, Goals, and More Goals
Plan some goals and stick to them. Goals help direct you and keep you focused on the essential things you want to change. Sometimes goals can be very overwhelming especially if you have an enormous amount of debt and you don’t know where to start. If this is the case, start broad and work your way to small. I know it sounds funny but taking a look at the whole picture and breaking it down will make you take a look and see how easy it can be as long as you stick to it.

Long range goals will be goals that you will have years down the road. These goals are the bigger picture. My husband and I have a significant goal to be able to travel and do some van living once we are completely debt free. We have planned to complete this task in the next five years and are working on getting to that point. When designing large goals ask yourself what is it that you want out of life? How long will it take for me to get to that point? Answering these types of questions will help you to understand what it is you want and give you an idea on how to get there.

Next, you should work on planning some medium range goals. These goals can be completed in a couple of years. These goals will help you to attain the big picture, and they can include, paying off certain debt like student loans, or cars. They can also be adding a side hustle to make a little extra income. Medium goals can be made on a yearly basis. Keeping a log can help you attain the common goals. Make sure to be as specific as possible and use positive words when writing them out as this will keep you motivated. Our common goal is mostly based on our side business and keeping it running smoothly and successfully. Our side business requires both of us to put in the time and effort. We also have a monthly budget that we follow that keeps us in check.

Last but not least is making small goals that can quickly be followed on a weekly basis. These weekly goals help you focus on the things you would like to accomplish in 6 months to a year. Our short-term goals are to get vehicles paid off which we have been able to do except for one and pay off any student loan or credit card debt, and we are continually working on this as well. We have managed to take out a pretty big chunk in both the last six months. Like I said we just keep going once one goal is made then we tackle the next. One of the things I like to do to keep me up on my weekly goals and this could be done monthly as well by using a dry erase board, and I write three categories. These categories are Want to Do, Doing, and Done and I will start my week with my task all under the want to do, and when I need to, I move the work to the next category until they are finished. I am a pretty busy lady, and sometimes all the things I think about will almost make my head explode so if I write them down and see them it keeps me organized and creates a less stressful environment.

2. Downsize Me
When we hit our financial crisis, one thing we had to do whether we liked it or not was downsize. We went from a four bedroom home with full basement, garage, and backyard to a three bedroom apartment, and yes it was interesting. We have two kiddos, and they were pretty young at the time, so they had to share a room because I had a side Ebay business that needed an office. We downsized and lived tiny for a while to get ourselves back on our feet. I will tell you my kids looked back on it and didn’t mind it at all. It brought them closer, and they had to learn to get along more. I consider this a blessing being able to do this and learning to minimalize. I became a minimalist because of the very reason of downsizing. It is incredible to realize the amount of stuff you don’t need.

3. Want a Ride
One thing that has helped us out is lowering our monthly gas expense. We live in Fort Collins, Colorado and we have to drive to Denver once a week for our side job, Which is an hour away sometimes a little longer so we have to be careful how much driving we do throughout the week. My husband’s full-time job is six blocks from our house so most of the time he uses a bike not only is it fun for him, but it keeps him in shape. I try to make weekly grocery trips and keep our going back and forth to a bare minimum. When we first needed to get back on our feet, we decided to buy a car from an auction site instead of buying or leasing something newer to save on monthly payments. It also lowered our insurance since the car was older the coverage was less expensive. There are lots of ways to downsize the amount of gas you pay each month, and this can make a big difference on what you will pay at the pump.

4. What’s For Dinner
I get asked this question every single day and more than once by more than one person. I am the meal planner and in most circumstances meal prepper. Back when we thought money grew on trees, we ate out all the time. Now I look back at it and think “Oh my gosh I wasted so much money and half the time what I ate was awful.” We do not eat out if we can help it. Not eating out can save you tons of money and not only that your waistline will thank you as well.
I am a planner, and therefore my meals are planned, and I prepare my shopping by matching coupons, sales ads, and discounts where I can find them. If you are healthy eater that is fantastic because so am I and I will tell you yes you can eat healthy on a dime and I do it all the time. I plan my grocery bill around what is on sale and where my discounts will be found. There are many nutritious foods you can eat that won’t break the bank. I also have an Instant Pot and let me just say this thing is sent from heaven above and is my go-to for most of my meals. I make soups, sauces, beans, rice, vegetables, even meat in this thing and it rocks! Not only does it help me make affordable yummy meals it is so easy to operate just set it up and let it cook.

5. Every Girl Loves Her Shopping and So Does This One
I love to shop and back in the day when I had no clue how to save a dime I did just that I went shopping. I look back now and realize that most of the time I was wasting time and precious savings. I am so thankful that I came to my senses and figured out I can still shop but just have to be more mindful in my shopping. I even have better things now than I did when I was spending money like it was water. How is that possible you ask, I am very keen on season sales and watch many of my online clearance sites. One of my favorite sites is Steep and Cheap. I am an outdoor girl, and this place has tons of outdoor clothing and accessories for huge discounts. Steep and Cheap is by far my favorite place to shop, and you can find some things as much as 90% off. I have paid that much off, and it makes me very happy when I do. To shop with them you need to get on the email list, and it is straightforward so it is easy to join. I also learned that I should only buy for the things I need and not to waste on things I want. So I wear out my jeans and keep shoes around forever. I keep the stuff I have in good shape. I am more aware of how to care for these things, so they do not need to be replaced.

Knowing your goals and planning them out will keep you focused on what you want out of your life. Making changes and downsizing things that you may not necessarily need can give you more to work with when paying off debtors. Carpool, biking, walking, or just being more aware of your driving can save you at the gas pump. Quit the takeouts and fast food and choose a more healthy and less expensive alternative. When you shop remember to ask yourself is this a want or is this a need and if it is a need try to get it at the lowest best price around.

Even though trying to control the debt monster can seem at times impossible know that with patience, dedication, and focus you can control your future. There are only so many tomorrows so instead of waiting jump in today and make those changes to give you the life you want.