I recently celebrated a milestone: my 30th birthday! I can’t help but look back and see how much I have grown. Over the last 30 years I have been to 10 countries, learned 6 languages, published a book, graduated medical school, treated thousands of patients and started my own medical practice. I’ve also been the new kid 7 times throughout 7 states and 8 moves, married, divorced, bullied, disrespected, heartbroken, felt lost, found, then lost again. Here is some wisdom I have gained through my own personal experiences and those with patients over the last 30 years of my life.
- Love Yourself
Without self-appreciation you can’t have health or happiness. I can’t tell you how many patients I know who don’t take care of themselves or are depressed because of a deeply rooted low sense of self worth. Health comes from prioritizing yourself, and true happiness comes from being happy with you.
- You can do anything you want in life
If you want something bad enough, with patience and hard work, you can make it happen. If I listened to what people told me not to do, I would not have become a doctor or a blogger; 2 things which bring me the most joy. Don’t let anyone else’s doubts ruin your dreams.
- Health is achieved through a healthy lifestyle
This sounds pretty intuitive, but you would be surprised at how many people think a doctor or a pill are the only ways to achieve health. The healthiest people I have ever met always ate healthy, stayed active and had a positive attitude. Everyone is capable of optimal health, but it depends on the positive choices you make to let your inherent healing abilities shine.
- Karma is a ….
There is good karma and bad karma, and I’m a firm believer that whatever you do always comes back to you. So make sure to be putting out what you want to get back.
- No one is perfect
We all make mistakes. Accept your imperfections or else you will never be satisfied. It’s ok to work on improving yourself, but you will constantly be disappointed without a foundation of self-appreciation. As a perfectionist, this is a difficult concept for me, however, the more I accept myself the way I am, the more I end up getting what I want out of life.
- Respect everyone and everything
It doesn’t matter what people look like or what their “status” is. You never know what other people are going through. You also never know who you may have to work for one day. The Earth and the animals also deserve respect because at the end of the day we truly are all connected in some way or another.
As one of my spiritual mentors once told me, “tears are water of the soul.” I have known some people who have suppressed sadness for so long that it started affecting their physical health. We are taught to hold in our emotions and but emotions are a natural part of human life. So give yourself permission to cry once in awhile.
- The only way out of anything is through it
We always want the easy way out, but with any difficulty, there are hidden lessons to be learned. Everything you are avoiding has a way of coming back in your life in one way or another. This includes difficult patterns, relationships and emotions. So cry, get angry, settle your differences, speak your truth or else you won’t be able to move forward with all the wonderful things that life has to offer.
- Take chances
You won’t know if you don’t try. (I originally submitted this article to a well known website that told me it wasn’t “personal” enough. It’s personal for me and that’s what matter most, and I feel happy to be sharing it with you.)
- Be grateful
We spend a lot of time focusing on the negatives that we forget about all the positive things we have going for us. Practice gratitude and you will find more to be happy about.
Forgiving others does not mean forgetting what they have done. It just means that you choose to let go of the negative mental association that binds you to someone else. By holding resentment, the only one who ends up suffering the most is you. Forgiveness is also something to apply to yourself. If we can be gentler with others and ourselves, the world will be a more peaceful place.
- YOLO (you only live once) so live in the moment
I can’t tell you how many people I know who have developed serious health issues as a result of worrying too much. 99.9% of the time, what we worry about doesn’t come to fruition, so we are better off spending our time living and enjoying in the moment. The only time that ever matters in life is the one happening right now so make it count.
- Follow your heart
If it makes you happy and doesn’t hurt anyone else, do it. Remember YOLO.
- Thoughts are powerful
If you believe you are not good enough, are going to fail or will never achieve your goals, you set yourself up for a self-fulfilling prophecy. Thinking positively may seem foreign if you are used to thinking negatively, but with practice it can replace long-standing negative thought patterns, leading to a lot more positivity in your life.
- Fear is the root of all conflict
The subconscious mind contains many hidden experiences that influence our perception of reality. We often react to things out of fear because something in our present is triggering something from our past. Practicing mindfulness can help us become aware of our triggers and replace fear with faith.
- Your outer life experience is a reflection of your inner experience
If you don’t like something in your reality, it’s either because it’s something you haven’t accepted in yourself or it’s something you are creating. So stop blaming other people or situations. They are only there to reflect to you what is going on inside of you so that you can look within and heal. Every time I have done this, it’s amazing at how my reality shifts in the direction I want it to. You have a lot more control over your life than you may think.
- Today is a new day
Nothing in life is black and white. Everyone and everything is changing, including you. Every second is a moment to improve your life, regardless of what has happened in the past.
- People treat you the way you treat yourself
There are many books out there that teach you the things you have to do to make people respect you or how to “get” the guy or girl. These will only get you temporary results. Self-respect and self-esteem are the keys to being respected by others. Like Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
- Be your authentic self
I laugh loudly and consider myself to be somewhat eccentric. Any time I have ever tried to be someone different I have felt unhappy. People who truly love you will accept you for who you are, and those who don’t aren’t meant to be in your life.
Traveling puts many things into perspective. It allows you to see that there are different ways of being, thinking and living that exist outside of your reality and that your problems may actually be nothing compared to your blessings.
Meditation transformed my life. I feel calm and balanced and my weight has remained stable. Much of our stress comes from dwelling in the past and worrying about the future, so take time each day to practice being present. This can be done with focusing on your breath, practicing yoga or anything that gets you out of your mind and into the present moment.
- Failure is a blessing in disguise
I have not been successful in many of my endeavors, but I have always picked myself back up and tried again. I look back at many of my “failures” and see that there was either a lesson I needed to learn, or a huge bullet I dodged without knowing it at the time.
- Delayed gratification and hard work go a long way
Like with karma, what you give, you get back. Nothing in life ever comes easily. Any major accomplishment I have came with a lot of patience and hard work. Cutting corners may get you instant results, but they will always be short lived.
- Nature is the best medicine
Being in nature is one of the most therapeutic ways to achieve balance. Mother Nature has a lot of healing messages for us, so take some time to sit in nature and listen.
- Communication is everything
Often times, conflict comes from a lack of understanding and miscommunication, and is usually related to fear. Proper communication requires rising above our egos and having a respectful dialogue that ensures all parties’ concerns are addressed. With a little compromise, we can pave the way for a great deal of understanding.
- Ditch the drama
Drama, gossip, and propaganda are all sure-fire ways to keep you hooked into a cycle of negativity. Choose positive comments and interactions and you will find that life becomes a lot less stressful.
- Let it go
The less clutter we have in our life, the more simple life gets. This applies to things, people, emotions and deeply held beliefs. I moved across the country with only my personal belongings in my car. It was one of the most liberating experiences I have ever had. Remember, if something hasn’t served you in the past 6 months, it probably never will.
- The root of suffering is attachment
Buddha was a very wise man. Attachment to people and things, leads to inevitable sadness with their loss. This does not mean that we shouldn’t love our family, enjoy material things or feel sadness with loss. It just means that we would benefit from not delegating our happiness to what lies outside of us. When we connect with the world of love and abundance that resides in all of us, we can practice detachment and understand the true meaning of happiness.
- Happiness is a choice
Like it was noted above, true, lasting happiness does not come from a person or a thing. It comes from the choices you make to live a positive life.
- Healing is a lifelong journey
I have had major breakthroughs throughout my journey of soul searching. However, something else always seems to come up, leading me to realize that we never stop learning lessons. The healing process may never end, but when you decide to work on yourself, the challenges become a lot easier to deal with. Make yourself a priority and everything else will fall into place.
40, I’m coming for you, but I’m going to enjoy the moment for now!