101 pieces of advice

We started out this blog, 99 posts ago (a whole year and a half ago), because we are told we give good advice and are always asked for it. Self-proclaimed, self-help junkies—we love and absorb ideas, knowledge and advice. We both love to expand the mind, quest for happy living, and search for analysis and reasoning in human behavior. Here are our 101 favorites from our blog, and from a few of our favorite bloggers (note that if you want to read more, just click the link at the end of each quote!):

  1. “OWN being in transition.”  Transitions
  2. “Help yourself out. Sort through all the issues in a simple and effective way: Make a list.”  Regain Control of your life- Make a list!
  3. “Things, life, kisses, don’t always happen the way you dream or plan.” First Kisses
  4. “Change needs to happen. Not all of it is drastic. Sometimes little change is good. It keeps you on your toes.” Patterns vs Change
  5. “You already know the answers.”  Breaking up was RIGHT to Do
  6. “It’s completely OK to know what you want but not want it now.” Don’t want it now
  7. “You really don’t need to keep things. Really.”  5 things I have learned from Moving
  8. It doesn’t matter where you lay your head, as long as you have a place to lay it.5 things I have learned from Moving
  9.  Be vulnerable. Take a breath. Ask for what you need. “ 5 things I have learned from Moving
  10. “… remember to breathe through the painful moments and just keep moving forward. If nothing else, you’ll figure it out as you go.” 5 things I have learned from Moving
  11. “Like any good relationship, a good friendship brings out the best in ourselves.  If you’re not seeing your best, you’re not in the right relationship anymore.” Growing out of Friends
  12. “Its time we make connecting in real life a trend again!”  Eye to Eye
  13. “Cut out the excess chatter and find that peace within.” Text-a-Bitch
  14. “It’s tough out there but don’t try giving advice that 1) wasn’t asked for 2) puts your friend in a place that makes her second guess herself 3) that isn’t leading to a positive feeling towards oneself.” No more projections please
  15. “‘No’ is a full sentence.” The Olsen Twins said that.  Basically…life’s too short to do anything you don’t want to do, or anything that makes you uncomfortable. You always have a choice.–Honestly Libby’s Blog
  16. “A flirt is really just a compliment of you being alive and in this spot at this moment.” Flirting: A How To Guide 16332829367_ddb088af60_k
  17. As cliché as it sounds, love will happen when you least expect it… The most important thing to do is make sure you are living a full life. Fill your days and nights with the things you love, your passions, your family, your friends. Don’t wait for love to happen.–This That and The Other Thang’s Blog
  18. “…. do it with bells on—figuratively that is.” Duty Dating
  19. “Statistics are like a bikini – what they show is interesting but the important stuff is covered up! In a world where we rely heavily on data, it’s people who are at the heart of what really matters and numbers can paint a very different picture, whether good or bad.”– Aloada Bobbins’s Blog
  20. “We all have our lists of wants and needs in a mate. If you don’t experience it in the flesh how do you know its something that is a deal maker or breaker.” Duty Dating
  21. Treat dating as a hobby. If you’re too busy with life, or not having fun, stop. Don’t stop your life, just do it in your spare time. First, dating should never be your number one priority.”  Duty Dating
  22. “Whatever happens, we are responsible for our own happiness and success.”– Lessons From My Daughter’s Blog
  23. “Truth sometimes hurts, but lies are ultimately more painful. Let’s stop lying to each other and make this a more truthful world.” Lying: is it really worth it?1438336432_0904c3f0be_o
  24. “..not every date will be someone you want to date again. It’s nice to set boundaries until the date becomes the partner.” Whats in a Name? 
  25. “Maybe you want to be distracted by a 6 out of 7, but 7’s and 7 Plusses do exist, and are out there for the finding.” Move On From a “No”
  26. “If you want it and are willing to work for it, you can make it happen!  “It” can be anything.”–Lessons From My Daughter’s Blog
  27. “The thing about callings is that once you’re called you have to answer!” Leap of Faith
  28. “Chances of winning the lottery are increased significantly by actually buying a ticket.”–Suzie Speaks’ Blog
  29. “If you want to buy fancy undies, or fancy wine, or have a fancy shave: do.” Am I an Amy
  30. “It’s wonderful if they call, it’s great if they take you out, but if you’re not being introduced to friends or other people in their lives after a month or so, there is a reason.” Professing
  31. “…forgiveness isn’t letting down the protection walls. Its more of the mental version of just releasing unneeded tension and relaxing your shoulders.”  How to Apologize to Yourself
  32. “Only tell others things that you wouldn’t mind the rest of the world knowing unless they have consistently proven that they are trustworthy.”–Suzie Speaks’ Blog
  33. “…acting like a queen means watching and kicking lots of jester’s to the curb but one day your king—do not settle for a prince!—will show up.” RESPECT
  34. “You can change anything in your present.  You can take steps to cure your own unhappiness.” Stick Your Neck Out
  35. “Sex one time or multiple times does not a mate make. If you’re having sex to land a mate…” The Best Sex
  36. “My advice for you is dream big.  Work that dream backwards until you have something “small” to work with.” Climbing the Career LadderSONY DSC
  37. “…moving and doing creates options.”  Round Peg Square Hole
  38. “…the excuse “he/she is not my type” is out the window. If you’re single and alone, its obvious your type hasn’t exactly gotten you a home run. So, try on a different pair of ‘jeans’.” Because He ASKED
  39. “If something makes you want to scream, it’s the absolute wrong answer. Step back. Put the item down.”  Holiday Sanity
  40. “Desire: the sexy Live ClareLesley way to prepare you for a positive path for your future! It’s the Fuck Yes way to set your “goals”. If you don’t desire the outcome, it’s a Fuck No!” Desire
  41. “Happiness is ALWAYS just a perspective.” Happiness
  42. “Sudden change of who you are shouldn’t happen just because the calendar changed, but instead because you want to become a better, upgraded version of your current self.”  New Year, Same You: Upgraded
  43. “Once you start sneaking in the time to create, you’ll start making time for yourself to create.” Competitive Progress
  44. “Get off that “woe is me” train! Grab you happy side up ticket and drink a glass of Self Love.” In Your Social Face
  45. Make your own damn plans.”  Valentines Survival
  46. “Shed those red flag preventing glasses and see your own wants, desires, happiness.”  Red Flags
  47. “Don’t make yourself smaller for a mistake.” Stop Saying I’m Sorry
  48. “ANYONE that you kiss, sleep with does NOT a Relationship make.” Sex with Friends
  49. “Remember, the right one isn’t “out there” but instead is inside of you.”  How to be Single
  50. “You’re exactly where you need to be right now. Isn’t that Amazing?” Climbing the Career Ladder
  51. “We decide when we want something to be done, and we arbitrarily pick dates and times and abilities that we think we should be able to do.” New Year: Same You. Upgraded
  52. “Remember, breathing is the opposite of nerves—if there is plenty of good warm breath in your stomach, there aren’t room for butterflies!”  Nerves: Squish Those Butterflies
  53. “You rest, you rust! Seriously. When I think about rust I remember this old wheelbarrow out in the back yard where I grew up. Do you really want to become and old wheelbarrow?”  Love the Skin You’re In
  54. “…dating should be fun. It should be treated as a hobby. No one freaks out about or overthinks yarn, book club, or collecting stamps.” Dating:  Straightforward From the Beginning
  55. “Texting does not a relationship make.” No Waiting Dating
  56. “Get your face out of your phone. Actually talk to people, see what happens.” Crying wolf on social media
  57. “Sometimes we set goals and then we grow out of them. Luckily we write goals on paper, not in stone.” How To Stop Avoiding Your Goals
  58. “How do you fight the distortion?  Fight it with truth. Get down to the nitty gritty. Get naked.  Find a full length mirror you trust, and take it all off.” Love Your Skin Now
  59. “It’s nice that someone is contacting you. Wallpaper is nice my friends; your relationship should not be just nice.”  Texting is not a relationship
  60. “If you don’t eventually demand your worth, people will think you’re worthless, or worse, take advantage of you.” What Is Your Worth?
  61. “Sometimes the dream we have had in our head since childhood isn’t the one we really want to achieve.” 5 questions to help you focus your dreams
  62. “You are a beautiful snowflake, and you travel however you want to.” Age–Does It Really Matter? 11445631923_df52846c49_o
  63. “Be ok with changing your timeline.” Are you in a trough of sorrow?
  64. “It is great to be altruistic, but you have to take care of yourself if you are going to be any good to anyone else.” Rest IS good for you
  65. “Just like a stockbroker doesn’t put all his money in one companies stock. Don’t out all your stock in dating online. Keep yourself available to meet people multiple ways.” 5 ways to change up your dating game
  66. “I will survive my crisis. You will survive yours.” How to survive your own personal hell
  67. “Your life shouldn’t be supporting your business; your business should be supporting your life.” 5 steps for getting out of your own way
  68. “Even if you walked the same path, at the same speed as another person, you would have a completely different experience. If you open up your eyes and have no expectations, you’ll have enjoyed the journey much more; you see more, experience more, gain more.” Age–Does It Really Matter?
  69. “Slowly progress into the schedule you need to hit the goals you have.” Love the Skin You’re In
  70. “What do you really want? Re-tailor your life to that dream!” 5 questions to help you focus your dreams
  71. “Go, picture the life you want to live, ignore the negative voices, try something new and have fun while doing it.” I Said Yes
  72. “Understand you are not on a timeline/time crunch/expiration.” 8 tips to survive your friends wedding announcements
  73. “Be careful what you say: your brain is listening.” Be careful the things you say: Your brain is listening
  74. “Love the person, leave the label off, and let your expectations and demands on a relationship fall away.” Labels are for Soup, Not People
  75. “You will not die from rejection.  The odds are better than any other form of gambling.” Just Ask Already
  76. “Build your business around your lifestyle not the lifestyle around your business.” 5 Steps to get out of your own way
  77. “You are never “too” anything… so stop thinking that way!!” Why the word “Too” is just an excuse
  78. “That is the first thing you have to understand and realize is that all “single” means is that you’re not in a pair.  It doesn’t mean that you’ll always be–unless you choose it.” How To Be Single
  79. Wouldn’t you rather be your own original story? Knockoffs and remakes are rarely as exciting as the original.” How to deal with a barrage of green grass 2680294816_e710a43d3b_b
  80. “Partners take time. Just like friendships take time. They deserve to take time. Like a fine wine, tea or beer…fermentation is a good thing.” Sex with Friends
  81. “Focus on yourself. In this time that you’re waiting, think about things to do for yourself, or that you need to accomplish.” 6 Ways to Stop Your Waiting Anxiety
  82. “Stay Hydrated. Drink in lots of self love, big picture thinking and how this storm will prepare you for the future.”  5 tips to beat the heat of life
  83. “Don’t value the actual money more than you value time.” What is your WORTH
  84. “Don’t create realities that aren’t really happening.” Make like a Blondie Song and Call Me
  85. “Breathing may be difficult, but you’re the only one who can control that. So it is up to you to keep breathing and keep moving on.”  How to Survive Your Own Personal Hell
  86. “You are in control of your life and your thoughts. Remember you have choices.”  5 tips to beat the heat of life
  87. “Maybe you’ll succeed. Maybe you’ll fail. No matter what you’ll try something new and you’ll learn something.” How writing a novel made me a better person
  88. “The thing is, you’re never alone in your crap.”  What to do when Shit Happens
  89. “Forget about “you only live once.” You only die once, and its getting closer every day.”  How to Face your Big Fears
  90. “Change it up! If freestyle isn’t working there are other strokes out there. The important thing is to take action. You’ll feel more in control of your situation.” Just Keep Swimming
  91. “Remember the beginning is always slow, but you have to just slog through it. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other, and you’ll get there eventually.”  How writing a novel made me a better person
  92. “Take a look around you. Say a general thank you to the positives in your life.”  The Power of Thank You
  93. “Let’s stop being virtual recluses!  Go forth and have conversation.” Make Like a Blondie Song and Call Me
  94. “Being yourself, having fun and making eye contact are all things that attract someone to you and your personality.” Could your next date be at the grocery store?
  95. “Sitting around complaining about it and doing nothing to change it seems pretty silly don’t you think?  Unless you do something to change your situation, nothing will change.”  How to Let It Go2512983749_ee38b41e0d_b
  96. “By creating a new schedule for yourself the bad stuff won’t seem so bad because you are living the lifestyle you desire.”  5 Steps to Getting Out of Your Own Way
  97. Make mistakes. Make choices. Take chances.How to Listen to Life Lessons
  98. “I understood that I would be even more unhappy and unfulfilled in my life, which would actually be worse than the possibility of failure and the humiliation.”  How to Face Your Big Fears
  99. Being kind only takes a moment of time, but it will earn you moments, hours, and years.–Clare
  100. The true definition of luck is when preparation meets opportunity. You can be the luckiest person in the world if you want to be.–LL
  101. Go out and be great.  Or at least enjoy the ride!–LCL

Thank you!  Here is to hundreds more blogs, stories, and pieces of advice!

xoxo–Clare and LL

If you have a comment scroll down past the tags below (or up, if you’re on the main page), or email us at liveclarelesley@gmail.com   We LOVE your feedback!!   Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for DAILY inspiration!

Photo credits–all photos from Flikr Creative Commons: 100 (by Ash); lightbulb (by Beat Kung); Create (by Dana Bateman); Truth (by T); Snowflakes (by MayYeo); Dream Big (by Heidi); Ant Heart (by uditha wickramanayaka)

5 tips to beat the Heat of Life

Alright, I know you all don’t live in LA, but I’m sure you can relate to this.  There are those days or weeks where it feels like the wind and chill will never return.  The sun goes down and the temperature took a stand and decided not to go down with it.  When we think of storms in our lives, we often relate them to hurricanes, El Ninos, or other wet and windy moments.  Recently, Clare shared her experience and thoughts on weathering a storm. As we know storms do blow on through eventually. Often leaving behind fresh air or at least a rainbow.

What if your “storm” feels like a heatwave. What if it feels like stagnant hot air. One where even when you run for cover you are only in a space that’s at best a few degrees cooler. You look around and you’re still feeling smothered.  Well, I’m here to say you’re not alone. These almost suffocating waves will pass eventually. But man! While you’re in (I’m very much in it) it just feels hot, unmovable and lifeless.


You’re not alone. These almost suffocating waves will pass eventually.


My heatwave started probably when summer started. Just like summer my wave eased on in. I didn’t wake up one day and plop there I was in this place of feeling stagnant. Nope, there were signs of the wave that was too come.  As it began I dealt with an internal dialogue. Projects began piling up. Deadlines were fast approaching. Inside I kept making excuses for why I was falling behind on things. Then when I ran out of excuses I started beating myself up.  I couldn’t help but think things like: Am I just crazy? Is it me? Look at all the half finished projects!  This dialogue would and could spin entirely out of control. That’s when the wave hits! Every step in any direction is effort and you find yourself not know which way is up. Your self doubt gets louder in the heat of it.

There’s a tipping point in the wave though. A moment where you can grow stronger because of it or sink down.   Here’s some tips for staying cool:

1) Eventually fall will arrive. You can either be ready to welcome it or be picking yourself up still when it arrives.

2) Stay Hydrated. Drink in lots of self love, big picture thinking and how this storm will prepare you for the future.

3) Cold showers. Snap you out of your head and into the present. When you get too much into analyzing you lose a sense of what happened and what you thought into happening.

4) Open a window. It’s like a fire drill. If the door is hot look for another path out!

5) Move early! Don’t let the heat or problems keep you from exercising. Just do that earlier. Taking on the day before the heat try’s to take you is the best way to stay on the offense.

To be honest, I’m still in my heatwave. Maybe by the time this publishes, LA and I will be entering fall. But, until then I will workout earlier, keep my eye on my future plans and celebrate any breeze that blows my way.

The late Dr Wayne Dyer said “Be miserable or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done. It’s always your choice.”

You are in control of your life and your thoughts–see brain is listening. Remember you have choices. You can make them, or the heat can. Which will it be?

Stay cool my dears!

Xx~LL

If you have a comment scroll down past the tags below (or up, if you’re on the main page), or email us at liveclarelesley@gmail.com We LOVE your feedback!! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for DAILY inspiration!

Rest IS good for you

Last week I royally screwed up at work. I missed a very important detail, that could have been extremely costly. Luckily, a co-worker caught my mistake before it left our office. I beat myself up about it. And I got a talking to by my boss.  I’m a detail person. I PRIDE myself in details!   However, I’ve been running in all cylinders for weeks, and I didn’t take the time to rest, got sick, still tried to function at my normal speed, and screwed up big time.

Whether you’re a yogi that observes savasna at the end of your practice, if its a Friday and your counting the minutes until the weekend starts, or if you’re from Europe where everything shuts down for lunch and a siesta—you know that rest is a good thing. Rest is something we should accomplish daily, but is the one thing that we push aside in our lives most. We don’t really pay attention to rest until we really need it—which is a travesty.


Currently, I’m typing this, cozied up on my sofa, Netflix streaming in the background, tissues to my right, hot tea to my left. I waited too long to rest and my body decided to shut down and make me rest. On average, I work a 50-hour week, with all of my jobs and rehearsals or performances; I’ve got a lot going on. I carry a lot of responsibility on these tall shoulders. I feel, sometimes that if I slow down to take care of myself, that everything will fall apart and I’ll have such a large mess to clean up. So, it’s best to keep chugging along. However, that isn’t the case. More often than not, “things” will keep going. I, however, will not.

It’s a funny thing, because about a week before I get sick, I get a feeling I should slow down. A very strong sense comes over me—sometimes I take heed, this time I ignored it. Instead of making sure I went to bed early, or making sure that I didn’t take on extra things, or just letting my mind go and actually resting, I scheduled extra things, and did the opposite of everything my body told me to do. Instead of taking it easy, I doubled my activities. Oof.

You can do so much more harm to yourself when you don’t rest. I’m not talking about sleep—which is also needed, but lack of rest is an epidemic in the world. People gain weight, and create more stress in their lives with the lack of rest. True you won’t get as much done immediately, but in the long run, you will save time.

Think of it this way—because I didn’t rest, and fell sick, I then had to take double the amount of time to get healthy again, that I would have if I just rested.

Mastin Kipp—founder of The Daily Love, and seemingly a man I should be friends with, because we have such similar views and insight on life—wrote an article a few weeks ago about making yourself the most important person in your life. And you can do this by simply saying “No”. When I read this article, this knowledge was refreshed in my mind. I know that I should take better care of myself. I should say “no” more often. But I don’t want to let anyone down, because I have the reputation of being dependable and resourceful. In his article about self care he talks about this same feeling, and how he put himself in the hospital because he couldn’t say no. He also goes on to say, a “no” to someone or something else is a “yes” to you.


When I read that, I had to take a deep breath. It hit my heart so deeply. (I also have to confess it took me three different tries to read this article all the way through—because instead of taking a moment for myself to read it, I did work, or helped someone else.) Ugggh! I thought to myself—I hate that he is right! I have to learn to say “yes” to myself, my health, and my resting time more regularly.

This is going to be a hard process (Mastin agrees). But I have to commit to myself, to take better care of myself by saying, no. I wrote an article a while ago about being sorry–which I say that you shouldn’t apologize, but instead think before you act, or reform your behavior, because it is too easy to commit the “crime” and then just ask forgiveness.  Taking care of yourself, and saying no, and RESTING follow a similar thought… you can’t just continue to go at full throttle, and hope that your body will forgive you.  Mine never does.  She gets pissed off at me and shuts down.  Life seems to be three times harder when I’m not well, because I’m going at half speed, or less.  It is truly agony to be sick, not just because I’m not healthy.

The silly thing is there are simple ways to rest, or shut down, if we would only take them.  I have started with the few simple habits to get me started:

1) Obviously, I am to try to get 8ish hours of sleep a night.  I make sure to think about when I need to get up and make myself aim for bed 9ish hours before, so that way when I finally get to bed, I get enough sleep.

2) I put my electronics to sleep.  I put my cell phone on “do not disturb” mode.  I turn off my computer in the hour before I go to bed.  There have been studies that say that electronics over stimulate, so by shutting them down, you allow your brain to slow down.

3) I follow Mastin’s advice and say “no.”  I need to not commit myself to everything simply because it is the right thing to do.

4) I make sure I observe rest time for myself.  I take moments on weekends, or moments of the day when I’m not working, and actually focus on myself.  Like today:  I decided to stay home and rest and clean.  And a friend asked me to go to dinner… I committed to myself first, so I’m going to honor that.  Its just as important as honoring a friend.

5) I will remember to breathe.  Deep breaths are cleansing and relieving.  They relax and open everything up.

These are the beginnings.  I’d love to hear what you do to relax.  Share below or email us!!  Remember, it is great to be altruistic, but you have to take care of yourself if you are going to be any good to anyone.

Clare

If you have a comment scroll down past the tags below (or up, if you’re on the main page), or email us at liveclarelesley@gmail.com We LOVE your feedback!! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for DAILY inspiration!

How To Apologize to Yourself

“I told you so” is one of the worst things to hear. Partially because when hearing it, you know that you partially agreed when your friend or relative said it to you, or at least had the knowledge before hand, but you still sojourned into the choice and came out on the other side, as predicted. Hearing “I told you so” from yourself is even worse. Knowing that a situation will not turn out the way you think, want, or need it to, but still going in with the understanding that failure is not only possible but imminent, is tough. Maybe I’m a hopeful dreamer, maybe I’m overly positive, maybe I’m just an idiot, but I have once again found myself on the back side of a situation that I knew what the result would be, as did almost all of my friends, but I tried it anyway. Of course it was a romantic situation. I’d tell you about it, but it’s a pretty generic scenario, and it’s also not the point of this article. I want to talk about forgiveness.

Yeah, forgiveness is one of those topics right now that is bouncing around the personal growth world that exercising forgiveness allows you to grow. And it does. Gabby Bernstein is one of my favorite advocates of this. What all of these other articles and blogs are failing to mention is how hard forgiveness is and that it is a process. Its not like you can just wake up, add water, and poof, the person is forgiven. It takes time, effort, and reliving—not the incident that happened, but reminding yourself that you did, in fact, forgive the person which means that you are no longer allowed to hold the grudge. Harder than forgiving someone else is how you have to forgive yourself—and that is just as, if not more, important than forgiving someone you don’t have to live with 100% of the time.

Because this stream of consciousness comes from a failed romantic experience, I’ve been told by Lesley that this is the last I’m to write about him, so I’ll name him Lazy Musician and if I ever write about him again, you can pelt me with olives. I feel like I talk about the relationship issue over and over and over… anyway… I was given hope that a dead relationship might have a resurrection, and was given a dangling carrot. To try to achieve said carrot, I reached out for it. Picture me, the extremely tall woman that I am, reaching on one tippy-toe with both arms out, fingers flexed, tilted to the side with one leg kicked out keeping me on balance—it’s a very silly, cartoonish vision. And I’m standing like this for 24 hours. That’s not what I was actually doing… but it felt like it, mentally. My friends were telling me not to give any attention to the situation, to walk away completely. By this person, I’d been hurt before. He didn’t deserve me, and I would only be let down. Again. Twenty-four hours pass. Thirty-six hours pass. Here I am at hour forty-two. Awake in my bed on a Saturday morning. Listening to crickets—well, actually, the boom of the bass and the people outside speaking Spanish on my Harlem stoop—but the point is that he has failed, again, to reach out when he said he would. The thing that keeps running over and over in my head is: Clare, you should have known better, I told you so. Like I said, its frustrating to hear that sentence. It’s horrific to say it to yourself.

I’m the type of person that will over analyze everything from what has been to what could have been to what will be. I could lay in bed and over think this non-situation and waste my Saturday. Instead, I sat up. Moved to the edge of the bed pausing before putting my feet on the floor, and told myself I needed to take this moment to wallow. I made myself agree that that after I put my foot on the floor I needed to move on with my day. I took a breath. I took a moment. Then I put my foot on the floor and walked into my day, leaving the angry and disappointed thoughts behind me. I’d love to tell you that I’m so amazingly well adjusted that I stepped foot on my floor I left the whole thing behind me. However, spoiler alert, it was not the case. I made coffee and lasted about an hour before I had to go snuggle with my roommate to get more out it out of my system. I was fine for about an hour until she left for work. After she left, I felt myself sinking again while washing my face. I found myself staring into the mirror. I uttered the horrific words to my image: I told you so.

Ugh. Sinking lower still, I thought that I wanted to talk to someone about the whole thing. But knowing that I’d hear “I told you so,” repeatedly for the next few days from friends and myself when I chose to relive the account to explain my dull mood. Feeling a tear about to fall down my cheek, and not wanting to go back into feeling sorry for myself, I stared into my own eyes with insolence. I realized I needed forgiveness. I needed to forgive myself for taking a chance, reaching out, but getting nothing in return—just like everyone I know said would happen. With unrelenting, fiercely protective friends, I was not about to hear the forgiveness I wanted from them. I was the only one who could give this forgiveness. I squared my shoulders, looked into my own soul and said: I forgive you. I forgive you for making the choice that you know would fail. I forgive you for wanting something you knew you wouldn’t get and that wasn’t good for you. I forgive you.

It felt a bit silly at the time—talking to myself in the mirror. This isn’t the first mirror pep talk I’ve given myself, but add in the “I told you so” and the frustration I felt of sinking back into a situation that I knew better than to sink into, and it was an odd moment. But now, I feel refreshed and I’ve moved on. It was such a free feeling I felt as I walked back into my kitchen to fix breakfast. As I poured more coffee, I thought that this would be a good thing to share with the Live ClareLesley readers. I felt really silly looking at myself in the mirror and telling myself that I forgave myself. Why was this so hard? Was it looking at myself in the mirror—probably not since I do it daily. Was it letting go of the situation that has been plaguing me for the past few weeks? Maybe. If I’m really honest, it’s the forgiving. Moving past the incident and forgiving is not the easiest. If someone has committed an injustice against you, its one thing to get over what happened. Its more difficult to let it go. Its even harder to offer forgiveness and completely move on. All of these steps towards one’s self should be easier, but its not, its harder. Anything for yourself is harder than doing it for someone else. Especially when it comes to mental health and well-being. Its easier to help someone else, even to forgive someone else than it is to be vulnerable. Even to be vulnerable in the confines of one’s own bathroom. To overcome your own ego and forgive is one of the most difficult things to do. We all put up walls, even towards ourselves, for protection and self-preservation. Its an interesting thought trying to protect yourself from yourself. However, it’s a self-taught trait that we all encompass.

The thing is, forgiveness isn’t letting down the protection walls. Its more of the mental version of just releasing unneeded tension and relaxing your shoulders. Why do we hold onto things? Why don’t we forgive more easily? After the forgiveness is the moving on and feeling better; the world seems brighter; breathing seems easy again. Maybe we don’t want to forgive because we don’t want to move on. We don’t want to face Change. Is it really easier to hold onto that wall and self-preserve or is it easier to let go and move on?

Starting to forgive is an easy process. You just have to wake up and start it. Instructions are simple: figure out who you need to forgive and why you need to forgive them. You can start with a mantra to yourself that what the person did, shouldn’t have as high stakes as you are allowing. Then go to that person (or to yourself) and look them in the eye and say the words: I forgive you. You don’t necessarily have to do it out loud—in fact a daily repetition of this might get creepy—but you have to have a repetition of this. Every day, you have to remind yourself that you’re better off having let go and forgiven and moved on. If you don’t have the chance to forgive them in person, or don’t want to face them again—write it out. Write everything they did to you and how they hurt you and how you would love to shove it back in their face. Take the paper, somewhere safe, like a lake or your toilet, and burn it. Let the fire literally take away your feelings. (Again make sure that you’re doing it in a safe place that the ashes will scatter and won’t burn anything to the ground.) Don’t let this person have power over you anymore. That is actually what forgiveness truly does—it takes your power back and makes you the stronger person. Forgiveness is such a powerful thing. Harness that and not the frustrating thoughts you’ve been harboring.

Going back and reliving my moment this morning in the bathroom, I now feel silly about it, but I’m so glad I did it. It hurts to think of the choices I made to get to the point of forgiveness. I also want to think about them and rethink and analyze… but I’ve forgiven and I need to move on. Lazy Musician has no ties to me anymore. I just don’t care, and I’m giving him no more power over me. He doesn’t deserve it. I need to look forward into the future and remember that in a week or a year or five, I won’t remember this day, or any injustice I feel now, because I’ve let it go. In the grand scheme of life, the negative things of today won’t matter, but my letting go and self-forgiveness will. What do you need to forgive yourself for? Until you forgive yourself, you’ll keep reliving the same mistakes. Maybe its time to have a little one on one chat in the mirror.

Clare

Making the Bed and Other Daily Habits That Matter

I’m a Gemini, for better or for worse. I don’t religiously believe in astrology, but there are some irrefutable traits that I have that are totally and completely “Gemini:” I’m fun, out going, happy, creative. But I’m also fickle and I don’t always finish things—I can’t begin to tell you how many projects I have laying around waiting to be finished.

It is really frustrating to me that I don’t finish things. It’s even more frustrating that I seem to not be able to keep healthy habits going. I regularly berate myself for not doing some sort of physical fitness. However, I do have two daily habits: coffee every morning—and an hour of quiet time to myself, when possible; making my bed—every day, without fail. This sounds like something that is just a daily task, without a moral. But its not. I didn’t start making my bed daily until about 8 years ago when I was in my late 20s. I’d love to tell you that there was some lovely dramatic story to this, but there really isn’t. As a kid, my parents encouraged a clean room, but it didn’t always happen, and wasn’t enforced. As a teenager, I just didn’t care if my bed was made or not. In college, I was convinced I could only sleep well if I configured my blankets and pillows in a certain way. This configuration was not to be disturbed, so I NEVER made my bed. After college, I moved into an apartment, got a grown up job while still pursuing my dream on the side. I dated, and had men over. I still didn’t make my bed. It just didn’t matter.

Then one day, it just did. I read something that said if you’re stressed out in your life, you need to organize your living space. To try to channel this, I think I did everything BUT make my bed. I cleaned out my closet, organizing my shoes and putting all items by type, season, and color. I went through my drawers, and organized and refolded everything. I cleaned and organized all surfaces, my desk, my nightstand, the top of my dresser. This overhaul took a few days, and I still didn’t think about making my bed—I think I pulled up the sheets to make a flat surface for organizing, but I didn’t actually make it. Now, in my terms, “making the bed” is straightening sheets and blankets and any flat to be straight and pulled to the edges, sometimes tucked. Pillows are fluffed a bit and sat straightened. Any extraneous blankets are folded neatly at the end of the bed. I have a queen bed. This activity generally takes me no more than five minutes. I rarely do it right when waking up, its usually after I’ve been awake for a bit.

The first week I started to make my bed daily, something interesting started to happen: I was happier. Not from making the bed, but instead from randomly entering my room and seeing that my sleeping space was just waiting for me. And the opposite is very true as well: if I don’t make my bed and I walk back into my room, I’m grumpy and frustrated until I make my bed. Its so bizarre. I’ve also figured out that if I leave things on my bed, taking up its space, I am frustrated when I come back and see the mess on it. I’ve also learned that if I need to remember things, I write myself a note and leave it on my pillow—those things ALWAYS get done. And, if I need to take anything with me for the day, I put it on my bed, I never fail to remember those things.

I wish I had better daily habits. I wish I got up and did yoga, Pilates, stretching, meditation, vocal warm-ups, eating healthily, writing, even brushing my hair, regularly without fail (yeah, sometimes I walk out of the house and haven’t brushed my hair… I’ll confess that. It happens. After having super short hair for over 10 years, I forget to deal with long hair some days. But I digress…) Instead, I have my coffee and bed making. Both make me happy. Both make my day go more smoothly, and thereby make me a better person.

The point I’m trying to make here is that daily habits you have should make you healthier in some way. The gym isn’t a healthy habit, if you find you can’t live without being there for at least three hours daily and aren’t getting paid for it. The coffee intake isn’t the healthiest choice, but the time I spend with those cups (and ultimately myself) is. Taking five minutes to make my bed isn’t a lot of time, but ensures happiness. Yes, I do other things for health and wellness, but nothing else is a daily priority. Truly, I’m ok with it. So, yes, I’m a Gemini. Yes, I’m a creative. Yes, I’m a coffee drinker. Yes, I’m a bed maker. I often bemuse that I don’t have better consistency, but I’m consistent for the things that matter to me; when I need to be consistent with something, I am. What makes you happy, and how can you make it into a habit? Do you have good daily habits? Are they as good for you as you think they are?

-Clare