I always get very pensive on trips, I brainstorm, make up lists in my head, take inventory of my life.
During my last long flight, I came up with a list of personal commandments - truths and tricks that generally make my life simpler and happier.
Having a tried and tested list of answers for the interrogations, big and small, that life throws my way gives me a sense of control, peace, and security.
As a questioner, I like to research, gather data, and make decisions based on that information. I also like it when these decisions can be applied to many aspects of my life, to save me from spending more time researching.
Reading this list calms me down, makes me smile, reminds me of what's important.
I've kept this list in my notebook for the past 6 months or so, and only just came back to re-reading it this week, to see whether it had passed the test of time and was still relevant.
I edited it - as some commandments were too specific to the period I came up with them - and wanted to share it with you. Here is how it goes:
My 10 Personal Commandments
- It's OK to say NO.
I wrote a whole article about this one. Whether it's deciding not to go to an event you are invited to (and staying at home to take a bath instead) or refusing to make coffee for a client (because you know your boss did not even think about asking your male coworker to do it), you're the master of your fate, you do you, enjoy that freedom.
- Alcohol isn't worth it
This one seems very specific, but it's playing a very big role in my life.
I've suffered from migraines most of my life now and I'm only starting to learn to identify my triggers.
Alcohol is a major one (so is lack of sleep and loud environments). So when I don't feel like drinking - at an event, at a family gathering - I just don't.
Lately, I also stopped justifying my non-drinking. If people want to think that I'm a party-pooper or that I'm pregnant... I. don't.care.
- Let it go
There are things you can change, others you cannot. And oftentimes, you just have to let them go. It's a tough one for me as I have a tendency to ruminate, overthink and beat myself up about things. This story of two monks and a nun really opened my eyes. It's a quick read. I swear!
Too often - because, I'm shy, nervous, insecure because I have a hard time understanding people in loud environments - I tend to retreat into my "serious gaze" (those glasses sure help), which, I feel, makes me appear unfriendly. So I try to practice smiling more, one trip to the coffee shop at a time.
I've also been trying to put into practice the "act the way you want to feel" mantra. They say that if you want to be happy, you could start by looking happy.
I'm not 100% sold on that last concept, but seeing people smile back is a very rewarding experience.
- Less is more
I suffer from FOMO, analysis paralysis, and many more afflictions caused by the abundance of options.
When my head starts to spin, I just remember that less is more. Having one good sweater is better than 3 cheap ones. You can probably count your true friends on one hand. Outer order, inner calm.
Simplifying, downsizing and organizing are amongst my favorite pastimes. I know, I'm weird.
- Act now
I usually wait for the "right time" to do something, big or small. Whether it's changing that broken light bulb in my bedroom or starting writing this book that's been on my mind for a while, the best option is always to act now. It will either provide an immediate satisfaction (now I can read in bed) or just give purpose (sharing my wisdom with the rest of the world, in all modesty).
- Don't expect a gold star
This one is a tough one for me. I'm a gold star junkie and am convinced that my work and efforts should be acknowledged, always.
I'm working on it, it's gonna take time. In the meantime, if you want to tell me how much you appreciate what I do, suit yourself :)
- You can stand anything for 10 seconds, then you just start on a new 10 seconds
I borrowed this saying from the one and only Kimmy Schmidt! This goes for headaches, scrubbing floors, or any unpleasant task or experience. It's just a practical translation of the "This too shall pass" adage.
- Assume that people are doing their best
This is one of the main lessons I learned from Brené Brown's "Rising Strong". You never know what someone might be going through. There could totally be an extraordinary circumstance that made them behave the way they did. I try to repeat myself this whenever I'm about to snap at someone. It helps, most of the time.
- Think about your future self
Whether it's by going around the house at night and putting things back where they belong or exercising regularly, I try to do things that will make my future self happy, or thankful.
Waking up to a tidy home is definitely a good way to start the day and taking that yoga class or doing that core training will for sure help me in the medium and long run.
What are your personal commandments?
If you haven't done so yet I would highly encourage you to take some time to write down your personal commandments (in your planner, on your phone, next to your bathroom mirror) where you can reference back to them easily.