Guestpost #62: Jim Van Meggelen – Ten things I’ve learned that make my life easier

Bio:Jim is a telecommunications expert, author, blogger, and comedian to boot.

  1. My body changes as it ages, but my mental and emotional state have a huge impact on how old I feel. When I do youthful things with my mind, heart and body, I feel younger.
  2. There is no future. It does not exist, and never will. All I have is this moment. Understanding this has reduced the stress I experience in my life.
  3. I have learned to breathe into my belly, not my chest. Somebody once taught me to picture my diaphragm as a tube that wraps around my belly and attaches to my spine, and to breathe into this imaginary inner tube, filling the belly, with the chest barely moving. Breathing in this way massages the intestines, which produce calming hormones (physiologically, the organ in the body most similar to the brain is the intestine). Learning this simple thing changed my life.
  4. Forgiveness is one of the most powerful skills there is. I have learned that forgiveness has nothing to do with whether the other person deserves it or not; it has to do with letting go of resentment, and being free of it forever. I do not forget the things I forgive, but neither do they cause me any more suffering. Forgiveness doesn’t actually benefit the recipient much, but the benefits to me are enormous. I find I have much deeper insight into people, and it is much more difficult to fool me or take advantage of me (although sometimes I let things go that are no longer important to me). I often find that I am forgiving an offence at the same time it is occurring, and thus it passes right through me. The more I forgive, the easier it gets.
  5. I have learned not to fight my emotions, especially those that I believe to be wrong or childish. I have come to believe that all emotions (even those I don’t want) are there to serve me. I try to feel them fully, and not analyze them until I’ve allowed them to be what they are. In doing this I have discovered insights about myself that have amazed me. This does not mean that I have to act out my emotions (i.e. it’s not an excuse to take things out on others), but I do need to feel them fully, and never bury them.
  6. I have learned to love myself. I can see myself as strange, or I can see myself as unique. This subtle difference determines whether I berate myself for being human, or celebrate my imperfect humanity.
  7. It is good to laugh at myself, but this should not be a mocking laughter, but rather a laughter that celebrates the humour in discovering my various quirks.
  8. Risks and mistakes are how I grow. They should not be feared, but rather embraced.
  9. I speak my truth. While I try to be sensitive to the feelings of others, I must first be sensitive to my own feelings, and never compromise what I believe for the sake of being agreeable or acceptable to others.
  10. I will never be perfect, nor should I try. Each day I attempt to be a better person than I was the day before, but I accept that I will not always succeed at this. Even the items on this list are not things I am able to apply 100% of the time, but I am learning, and I am growing, and I am content.

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