Archive For The “Self-Improvement” Category

Stop Chasing Happiness, <strong>Fulfillment</strong> Is What You Want

Stop Chasing Happiness, Fulfillment Is What You Want

Stop Chasing Happiness, Fulfillment is What You Want | TheSunnyShadow.com >> Click to Read!It seems that everyone is in search of happiness. The token phrase we often hear is, “I just want to be happy.” Or, “I just want you to be happy.” We’ve come to view happiness as the ultimate “life goal.” Like obtaining it will somehow solve all of our problems.

But why is happiness so elusive and difficult to find?

Because happiness is fleeting. Because happiness is a moment-to-moment emotion. And because happiness is not a long-term state of being.

We all find happiness from time-to-time, hopefully multiple times throughout each day. Sometimes these moments get strung together to give us the elusion (or delusion) of “finding” happiness. It’s in those moments that we wish we could bottle them up and keep them with us always. Going on vacations often string together these moments. But even joyous occasions can be anti-climatic, leaving us with a feeling of disappointment.


The real reason you haven’t found happiness is because you’re searching for the wrong thing. What you’re truly seeking is fulfillment.


I think many people simply got the two confused along the way, or never learned about fulfillment in the first place. Okay, so perhaps I’m describing myself. But maybe you’ve done this too?

How is fulfillment different from happiness?

Fulfillment is more permanent. When you’re fulfilled, your life consists of people and things you’re passionate about – a cause, meaningful work and loving relationships. To reach fulfillment, you need to feel as though your life has meaning.

You deserve to be fulfilled in life. You deserve to live a life you feel passionately about. To do work you feel passionate about doing. To be surrounded by people you love, who have your best interests in mind and who push you to be your best. You’re worthy and deserving of love and respect.

You deserve all the good that life has to offer, just like everyone else.

Of course there are still unhappy moments and even days in a life of fulfillment. But they become easier to weather when you’re happy with your life as a whole.

The mindset of seeking happiness is problematic because you believe that you should always feel good. When you seek happiness, you focus way too much on how you FEEL from one moment to the next. We must learn to live with some level of uncomfortableness. Life has many unpleasant, tedious, and monotonous moments. The sooner we accept this, the sooner we can stop the misguided search for happiness and focus on the true life goal, fulfillment.

The ability to withstand discomfort allows us to achieve our goals faster.

It’s never too late for a change of perspective.


Identify Your Core Values: A Workbook by TheSunnyShadow.com↓ FREE DOWNLOAD ↓

Something you can do to work towards fulfillment right now is Identify Your Core Values. Consistently living in alignment with your core values is essential to life fulfillment.

Core values act as a personal guide directing the behaviors and choices you make. They’re kind of like your personal rule book for living life. We all have them, even if they’re a bit loose. But defining clear-cut values makes life much simpler. For example, clearly defining your core values minimizes indecision.

Download Your Free Workbook!

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What are you passionate about? What brings you meaning in life?

 Krista-Lee-Pfeiffer


How to Increase Clarity and Minimize Indecision

How to Increase Clarity and Minimize Indecision

How to Increase Clarity & Minimize Indecision | TheSunnyShadow.com >> Click to Read!For months now I’ve been stuck in indecision regarding which way to go on a blog-related project. Okay, let’s be honest here… I have bipolar disorder, so it’s more like project”S” (plural). When I returned home from my trip to Vegas I had a fleeting moment of clarity, but confusion soon returned.

Do you ever get stuck in indecision?

But enough is enough already! I’ve allowed this to drag on for way too long. Yes, I’ve allowed it. Because the thing about clarity is that, despite what we think or how we may feel, it’s always within us.

I thought that “getting away” helped me. But it didn’t because my problem wasn’t a geographical one. My problem was that I wasn’t truly – truly – listening to myself. Instead, I was treating every idea as if it were equal to the idea I felt most passionately about. Not all thoughts are worthy of being entertained, I know this. But that didn’t stop me from ignoring my truth and considering every single idea that entered my mind. When we do this we confuse ourselves!

Clarity is a decision.

When it comes down to it, clarity is a decision we make for ourselves. Are we going to center ourselves so that we can hear the answer? Or are we going to continue to battle the ten voices in our heads saying, “yeah but what about this one?” It’s natural to question ourselves, but when we’re faced with indecision, we have to dig through the noise to reach the truth. Ask yourself what you keep going back to? Which option do you feel passionately about?

Line_Black6 Tips to Increase Clarity

  1. Meditate: Sit alone in silence with your thoughts each day for a few minutes (10-20). This will help center you and bring you closer to your truth. It will help you sift through all the noise.
  2. Use Visualization: Once you’ve narrowed your options down to two or three (perhaps using a pros and cons list?), visualize what your life will look like in six months and a year if you were to choose each option. How do each of these options make you feel?
  3. Come Back to It: Walk away, take a break and come back to it in a day or two (or a week) with a fresh pair of eyes. You’ll have a different perspective and be able to view the decision or project objectively once again.
  4. Remove Clutter: Mental and physical clutter make it more difficult to concentrate. Take a little time to free-up mental space and clean-up your immediate surroundings. Participate in some more centering activities, like meditation (above), yoga or deep breathing. What clears your mind?
  5. Give Yourself a Deadline: There comes a point when enough is enough and A direction is better than NO direction. So if you’ve been stuck for a while, you may even consider implementing a deadline for yourself.
  6. Ask a Friend: Ask someone close to you for their honest opinion. Since you already know the answer, if their opinion differs from yours, you’ll likely feel an uncomfortable twinge. And if it agrees with yours you may feel relief. Pay attention to your reaction.

BONUS PRODUCTIVITY HACK ↓

The Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique was developed in the late 1980’s by Francesco Cirillo. The Pomodoro itself is a tomato shaped timer. It’s used as a time management system breaking work down into intervals with short breaks in between. It’s proven to be an effective productivity method. (These are affiliate links, please see my Privacy Policy for more information on how I use affiliate links.)

What do you do when you need to gain clarity? And what’s your biggest productivity hack?

Krista-Lee-Pfeiffer


10 Must-Have Daily Meditation Books

10 Must-Have Daily Meditation Books

10 Must-Have Daily Meditation Books | TheSunnyShadow.com >> Click to Read!Reading daily meditation books has been a part of my morning routine ever since I got sober. I’ve come to view them as part of my recovery plan. Just taking those few moments in the morning to read two to three readings grounds and centers me. I then try to remain mindful throughout my day and carry the most relevant reading with me. Sometimes I even go back later in the day and re-read it.

Of the meditation books below, I own numbers 1, 2, and 10. The others are on my wishlist! -hint, hint 😉

*This post contains affiliate links. For more information on how I use affiliate links, visit my Privacy Policy.


The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie: This is my most favorite daily meditation book. It’s inspirational while being solution-focused, and every day is relatable. I feel that I grow a little more with each day I read it. Plus, its index is thorough and highly convenient. For example, if I’m struggling with guilt, I know there’s likely a meditation on that so I just flip to the index and find the relating page(s).


Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach: Through its daily meditations and mini lessons, this book inspires women to fulfill their passions and live authentically.


Believing In Myself: Self-Esteem Daily Meditations by Earnie Larsen: Everyday, there’s a fresh meditation reading to teach you, to help heal you, to help grow you – increasing your self-esteem all along the way.


Daily Affirmations for Adult Children of Alcoholics by Rokelle Lerner: This book aims to tackle that little, but not so quiet, self-deprecating voice in your head. It teaches you to direct your thoughts. “Today I acknowledge that I have emotions – but I am more than my emotions. I recognize this day that I have thoughts, but I am more than my thoughts. I need not cling to uncomfortable feelings or negative thoughts today….. “


50 Mindful Steps to Self-Esteem: Everyday Practices for Cultivating Self-Acceptance and Self-Compassion by Janetti Marotta: This book offers 50, easy-to-implement, mindfulness-based practices aimed at increasing self-awareness and decreasing self-criticism. This book provides you with actionable steps.


The Woman’s Book of Courage: Meditations for Empowerment and Piece of Mind by Sue Patton Thoele: “Courage is having the strength and willingness to overcome our resistance and do what we feel is right, even though it is difficult and/or we are afraid. It takes tremendous courage to face our fears, though it is essential that we do. For it is only when we free ourselves from the leg irons of fear, accepting and honoring the wisdom, strength, and beauty we inherently possess, that we can truly find the happiness we seek.”


Daily Gratitude: 365 Days of Reflection by National Geographic: This book combines beautiful imagery with daily inspirational quotes. “Start by doing what’s necessary, then what’s possible, and suddenly you’re doing the impossible.” ~St. Francis of Assisi


The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want By Being Present In the Life You Have by Marc Nepo: This book’s daily meditations draw on many different spiritual traditions and include a short exercise at the end of each one!


Journey to the Heart: Daily Meditations on the Path to Freeing Your Soul by Melodie Beattie: This book aims to help you uncover the peace, healing, power and passion that’s already within you. Thus, the journey to your heart.


Day by Day: Daily Meditations for Recovering Addicts (Hazelden Meditations): This is a classic for a reason. It offers inspirational messages of hope in line with A.A.’s principles. It poses open-end questions to encourage action and is applicable to everyday life.


 What are your favorite daily meditation books and which ones are on your wish list?

Krista-Lee-Pfeiffer


Let Go & Be You

Let Go & Be You

Why do we feel the need to live according to others' expectations of us? Often those expectations imposed upon us by others are not reality-based, they're a figment of our own imaginations. Let Go & Be You! >> Read Full Post >> by TheSunnyShadow.com“Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal.” ~Albert Camus

What’s heartbreaking about this quote is that it’s true. I used to be one of these people. Every time I stepped out of my house I immediately went into defense-mode. It was like, suddenly, I became this fragile person who I didn’t even know. I lived in fear; of what, I’m still not completely sure. Fear itself?

I felt like a fraud, like I was constantly wearing a mask. And now I’m watching a loved one suffer this.

Why do we feel the need to live according to others’ expectations of us?

More accurately, what we think are others’ expectations of us. See, that’s the thing. We’re not even sure what those expectations are. We waste so much energy concerning ourselves with what other people think, when most of the time they’re not even. 

Often those expectations imposed upon us by others are not reality-based, they’re a figment of our own imaginations.

How do you convince someone of this fact?

We’re all beautifully, weirdly, imperfectly, perfect – just the way we are.

Let’s focus less on trying to be like the person standing next to us & the one standing next to her. Instead, let’s live the life we want to live, not bound by another’s opinion – real or imagined, a loved one’s or a stranger’s. There will always be haters & trolls along the way, that’s human nature.

But the power of choice is also human nature, we can choose to let go.

Quote: "It's never too late to become the person who you might have been." ~George Eliot -via TheSunnyShadow.com

A few more quotes. . .

“Ignore People That Are Shitty.”

“BELIEVE in your fucking SELF.” ♥

“Being different is one of the most beautiful things in the world.”

“Embrace your “you”ness.” -via @lesleyinprogress {instagram}

Listen, I know it’s not a simple thing. . . to completely change the way you experience the world. It requires self-acceptance. But I’ve been there so I know it can be done. I no longer put on a mask to face the world. As you can see, I pretty much let it all hang out. And nothing catastrophic has happened thus far.

Just don’t give up. You’re worth it. You’re NOT alone. Your beauty is visible even when you can’t see it.

Krista-Lee-Pfeiffer

Self-Compassion: It’s Okay!

Self-Compassion: It’s Okay!

Self-Compassion: It's Okay! | TheSunnyShadow.com >> Click to Read!Some of us are stuck in a cycle of self-criticism. Some people use it as a way to push and motivate themselves. But this self-sabotaging behavior can negatively impact mental health. And some people think that showing themselves compassion is weak, narcissistic, or selfish. But it’s not.


“If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.”

—Jack Kornfield


The reality of the situation is that we suffer too. So it would be unrealistic not to acknowledge this fact. We can simultaneously have compassion for ourselves and others at the same time. By recognizing our own suffering, we’re not claiming it to be more or less than anyone else’s. We’re not pitying ourselves. A healthy perspective about self-compassion means viewing our suffering as part of a common human experience.

We wouldn’t want anyone else to suffer, so why do we so willingly sit back and allow ourselves to?

Self-compassion can actually open the door to growth and change. Pain and suffering are great motivators. And if we can convince ourselves that it’s okay to make the necessary changes to end the pain, growth often follows.

Treat yourself the same as you would a loved one. Nix negative self-talk by practicing self-awareness. And as soon as you catch yourself, consider what you’d say to a loved one in this situation. Keep practicing replacing negativity with positivity until it becomes your normal.

Is something keeping you from self-compassion? Is there something that you just haven’t been able to forgive yourself for? If so, read this blog post: 10 Steps to Forgiving Yourself (+ 10 Journal Prompts). Most of us have something specific that we don’t like about ourselves. Journal about it from a place of compassion and empathy. It may help to step outside yourself for this journal exercise.

Connect with others who are going through the same thing. This will help you recognize your suffering as part of a common human experience, in addition to validating it. You will see that some people are way worse off, and some people aren’t. But also that you’re all equally deserving of compassion.

Be kind to yourself. Practice good self-care. Do something nice for yourself. Make time for things you enjoy. And give yourself something to look forward to each day, even if it’s small.

Practice mindfulness – the moment-to-moment, non-judgmental awareness of your thoughts, feelings, and environment. This will help you become more aware of your thought patterns and allow you to catch negativity as early as possible. So that you can replace it with positivity.

We’re all deserving of compassion, even our own.

How do you practice self-compassion?

Krista-Lee-Pfeiffer


Book Review & Excerpt: <em>12 Simple Steps to Loving Life -by Robert Radcliffe</em>

Book Review & Excerpt: 12 Simple Steps to Loving Life -by Robert Radcliffe

*Excerpt from Step 1 at bottom

*this post contains affiliate links, please see my privacy policy for further information.

12 Simple Steps To Loving Life, published January 2016, is author Robert Radcliffe’s second book. In his first book, 180 Degrees, Robert chronicles his inspirational success story in which he goes from homeless teenager addicted to drugs, to self-made millionaire by the age of 30.

Currently, Robert is one of the nation’s leading real estate agents with Sotheby’s International Realty. He also appears with his wife Tara on the current season of Bravo’s “Newlyweds: The First Year.” But it’s Robert’s continued participation in the 12-Step community that’s so well-prepared him to write 12 Simple Steps to Loving Life.


“My intention is to provide everyone access to this simple method of enhancing life through a proven, world renowned, Twelve Step process. This is the perfect book for anyone interested in a healthier, more compassionate approach to life’s challenges. A joyous, peaceful life is yours for the reading. Namaste”  ~12 Simple Steps to Loving Life, Robert Radcliffe


12 Simple Steps To Loving Life is an adaptation of A.A.’s Twelve Steps. And while the book can absolutely stand on its own, as a recovering alcoholic who’s worked the 12-Steps and read most of the A.A. literature, I found it impossible not to make comparisons as I read it. Which isn’t necessarily good or bad, I just want to be clear about from what viewpoint this review is being written.

The objective of 12 Simple Steps to Loving Life is to guide everyone, not only alcoholics and addicts, toward an improved quality of life. To do this, Robert states that we may simply remove the word “alcohol” from The Steps, or replace it with “vice that may hinder our success, or any of the seven deadly sins.”

At 116 pages, it’s an easy read. Similar to the book Alcoholics Anonymous, it includes a chapter {its preface} titled How It Works. Robert translates and summarizes each step in his own words, making the book feel both honest and relatable. In keeping with the A.A. program and literature, 12 Simple Steps to Loving Life has a sturdy spiritual foundation. This won’t come as a surprise to those in recovery. But seeing as how this aspect of A.A. is a common roadblock for many people, Robert appropriately took careful consideration when addressing this topic. As he shares his spiritual journey with us, he comes across as open-mind and human, which is refreshing considering that’s exactly what he’s encouraging us to be.

Robert opens up about deeply personal experiences and generously offers them to us as examples. Particularly in Step Four, when he shares three instances of which would trigger anger and resentment in pretty much everyone. Yet Robert’s forgiven and even found compassion for the people who’ve treated him so wrong. Sharing that, “Anger is futile. It’s forgiveness that sets us free. Anger and resentment cannot simultaneously coexist with peace and happiness.” I especially love his take on resentment here…


“We harbor resentment because we feel threatened. We are either afraid of having something taken from us or afraid of not getting something we think we deserve.” ~12 Simple Steps To Loving Life, by Robert Radcliffe


Overall

Overall, I feel this book fulfilled its intention. That is, “to provide everyone access to this simple method of enhancing life through a proven, world renowned, Twelve Step process.” It’s the type of book that will continue to help you for as long as you allow it. You can pick it up five years from now, and so on, and apply The Steps to your life circumstances. I think the non-addict will read this book from cover-to-cover and no doubt be incredibly inspired and motivated.

But I also feel that, to reap the full benefits of 12 Simple Steps to Loving Life, one should take time to carefully consider and work each step. Ideally with the assistance of a mentor or therapist, as Robert encourages us to do. A workbook would make a great addition to 12 Simple Steps of Loving Life, or at least links to downloadable worksheets. The 12-Steps are steps of action, and though Robert states this in the book, I’m afraid the non-addict is not likely to take action from reading this book alone. I suggest partnering up with someone you trust, ideally a mentor or therapist, and working through it together.

Simply put, I love this book and its motives. It left me feeling lighter, more serene and inspired. 12 Simple Steps To Loving Life has the potential to change many lives, and I hope it certainly does. Similar to the A.A. program, it will work if you work it; and you’re worth it.


Excerpt from Step 1

12 Simple Steps To Loving Life, by Robert Radcliffe

Step 1 is about admitting what is wreaking havoc on our lives. For me, it was drugs; and while I wasn’t ready to admit powerlessness, I was willing to concede that my life was unmanageable. I couldn’t deny my life was a mess, a nightmare, in fact. I’ve since learned this is often the case with the first step. People will admit one part or the other, but seldom do we grasp it entirely until we’re in a great deal of pain. Pain is the trigger for most change.

We don’t have to wait until our situations are unbearable to take the first Step toward a better life. Anyone can take this Step at any time regarding any matter. This Step is appropriate for the ordinary, primarily healthy people who allow traits and behaviors to interfere with their well-being. Often, we know things could be better but we are accustomed to things as they are. We aren’t uncomfortable enough to do anything about our impediments to true happiness. We may be powerless over feelings of anger, fear, resentment, insecurity, anxiety or depression. We may be powerless over bad habits like over-eating, gambling, procrastinating, or worrying. We may be addicted to sugar, caffeine, tobacco or sex. Possibly we’re strapped with irreconcilable differences in relationships or at work; maybe we suffer from an inability to commit, or to complete tasks or goals. We’re stuck in a proverbial rut. Let’s insert any one of these obstacles or Life Liabilities into the first step and make a start toward overcoming it.

These bad habits and negative feelings are handicaps, hindrances to the life we are meant to live. They can get out of control and cause stress, conflict and related health problems. They prevent us from reaching our potential and deter us from our rightful purpose. “Life Liabilities” as I like to call them, pull us off course like a flat tire does a car. The flat has to be changed before we can successfully continue our journey.

Once we identify which aspect of our lives is creating a problem for us, we simply acknowledge it. If we determine it is within our power to fix it, great; but the chances are we would have done so already if we could. We embark on the 12 Simple Steps because it is beyond our capacity to overcome this difficulty on our own. So, we take Step 1. We admit we are powerless over our problem, that it is making our lives unmanageable.

We got honest with ourselves; this is the crux of Step 1. Leading us to the next step we concede to our innermost selves that we need help with this issue whatever it may be because it is too much for us to handle on our own. We are powerless to change it and our lives on our own. We enjoy immediate relief from this quiet act of admitting our powerlessness and surrender, from relinquishing control. We free ourselves from the struggle.

Our dilemma is that we are powerless without help. The solution is to find a Power greater than ourselves who will help.

Meet the Author: Robert Radcliffe

Author Robert Radcliffe | 12 Simple Steps to Loving Life | Book Review -via theSUNNYshadow.comAfter seven years of considerable struggle, at the age of twenty-two (March 11, 1991), Robert made the choice to be sober from drugs and alcohol by applying the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, enabling him to turn his life around 180 Degrees and as a result of his commitment to living the twelve steps in his life, his recovery and self-improvement has led to his massive success spiritually and financially; once being a homeless drug addict to a self-made millionaire by the age of thirty.

“I went from being a daily-using drug addict, eventually, a home-less addict living on the streets to today, a completely sober, self-reliant, self-employed husband and father. I was able to miraculously transform my life before I turned thirty. The Twelve Steps presented in this book are credited to mine and millions of others success.”

Eternally grateful to everyone who helped him become and remain sober, Robert felt compelled to reach out to others with both of his books; 180 Degrees, www.180book.com and 12 Simple Steps, www.12simplesteps.com, in hopes that his story would inspire others to find their own success.

Robert continues to be of service as a philanthropist and active community member. He has shared his fascinating story on panels, in high schools, juvenile detention centers and throughout his community. He continues to be an active participant in the twelve-step community.

Robert resides happily with his wife Tara in Malibu, California. They are one of the couples on season 3 of Bravo’s hit series “Newlyweds: The First Year.” To learn more, go to: http://www.bravotv.com/newlyweds-the-first-year

Connect with Robert on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Krista-Lee-Pfeiffer

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