happy-birthday-to-me-21117388In a few days I will celebrate my 50th birthday. And, while I could do without the growing crow’s feet, I’m pleased with what 50 feels like. It feels comfortable and here’s why:

1) I’ve stopped trying to please others because I know my best is good enough.

We’ve all tried to please and impress others for some reason or another. Maybe it was a boss who never seemed satisfied or a lover who refused to commit. Either way, when we begin living our lives with the sole purpose of making someone else happy, we are tossing our own needs, wants, desires right out the window.

One of the toughest crowds to please is our own family. When I think of my LGBT friends and their struggles of coming out to their families and the fear of rejection — it’s unbearable to imagine. Or, what about the lonely atheist in a sea of Christians? Oh! You are going to burn in H-E-L-L for all eternity! Tough crowd, family.

The good news is that once the coming out is over, you forget trying to impress your boss and just do you’re very best, or you let go the lover who can’t give you what you need, then life begins to feel more comfortable.

2) I make it a priority to chase my dreams with wild abandon.

But I’m a late bloomer. I didn’t start chasing my dreams until a few years ago. Why? Fear of failure. Fear of people laughing at me. Oh, and did I mention fear of failure? When you learn to let go of whatever is holding you back, you feel a sense of freedom that is both powerful and inspirational. When you surround yourself with trusting friends and family to hold you accountable for progressing your goals, then you begin to let go of the chains holding you back. Once you experience your first success, nothing can stop you!

3) I’ve eliminated toxic people and environments from my life.

If you have friends that are negative and critical, they are toxic. If you have a job that you hate but you get up every morning and go to work, that’s a toxic environment. Eliminating toxicity is one of the toughest things to do — especially if the toxins are related to you or if that job you hate is the only one you can find. MUST. TRY. HARDER.

We’ve all known people who couldn’t open their mouth without something insulting issuing forth. If you work with someone like that, it’s important that you balance the dialogue with your own positive spin on each comment. Not because you are hoping they will see the error of their ways, but simply to neutralize the energy. If the toxic person is a friend or acquaintance, then you need to limit your exposure to them even if it means saying no to their invitation to do things together.

In an article titled Addictions in Disguise, author Fouad Alaa describes negative people as addicts. In fact, he states that people who always make negative statements are actually addicted to the brain stimulation they get as a result of negative thinking. Whoa! I never considered negativity anything more than an annoying behavior, but the concept of it being an addictive (annoying) behavior seems spot on.

While I’m happy to say that 50 feels comfortable, getting here has been a journey of self-discovery. Finding my comfort zone has forced me to push the envelope, find and use my own voice (sometimes loudly), and take chances. Let’s just say I’m looking forward to continuing the journey and feeling fine!

PS: Happy birthday to me!

Sheila Callaham is an author, speaker, and success coach living in Chapel Hill, NC. Her books include crime fiction Truth Runs Deep” and spiritual non-fiction “Stories from Spirit.” Her forthcoming young adult mystery trilogy will be released later this year.

Image found here.

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