Grab a piece of paper and a pen.

In the middle of that piece of paper, write “ME.”

Now, around “ME,” write all the words you use to describe yourself.

When you’re done, take a good look at those words and how you feel about what you just did. If most of those words are positive, such as “strong,” “cheerful,” “helpful” and “motivated,” you don’t have to keep reading. (But I’d really love it if you did!).

If your words are less than positive and you feel a bit of angst, you still have to find your path.

Falling in love with you

Last week, I wrote about the secret to a long life and happiness. When you nurture strong, healthy relationships around you, you lower your risk of heart disease and other health and mental problems.

The most important relationship you need to nurture, though, is the one you have with yourself.

Self-esteem is fundamental to living the life you want.

It’s a big part of the clarity you need to make smart choices and catapult toward your goals.

Figuring it all out

Go back to that first exercise and recall how you felt when you wrote down all those words about you.

Did you frown a little?

Did your shoulders sag a tad?

Are these familiar feelings?

This is your body giving you signs. They’re similar to the signs your body and your world give you when your stress levels are becoming unmanageable and you’re nearing burnout.

You might find yourself:

  • Losing your patience easily
  • Eating uncontrollably
  • Constantly complaining
  • Having panic attacks
  • Sleeping poorly
  • Breathing erratically
  • Becoming forgetful
  • Being easily distracted
  • Going in micro-management mode

You’re on overload, because you aren’t being congruent with your idea of happiness.

You aren’t doing what’s right for you and maybe even focusing too much on what’s right for other people.

You aren’t creating a world that fits your personality and convictions, a world where you experience all sorts of joy and satisfaction in your day-to-day tasks.

It’s time to be kinder to you.

Let’s have opposite day

We’ve talked about the Clarity through Contrast List before, but it’s time for a reminder.

Get another piece of paper.

Draw a line down the middle and title one column “Contrast” and the other “Clarity.”

In the Contrast column, write a list of all things you don’t like about your life right now. Your “ME” words might help if you need inspiration, although I doubt you do. We rarely need help figuring out the things we don’t like about ourselves and our lives.

Here are some examples:

  • My job
  • The commute
  • I can’t get my house to stay clean
  • I don’t get any making dinner
  • I need/want more money

Now go down the list and let each ‘contrast’ item reveal to you what you want.

If you don’t like your commute, what do you want? To move closer to work? To get a job closer to home? To work from home for a few days a week?

By creating a Clarity through Contrast list, you can get clear on what you want. You probably don’t have a plan on how to get to the Clarity side but this is a starting point.

You know where you want to be and you can focus on how to get there.

You have goals, and that helps you get back to a place of feeling good about yourself.

It’s the beginning of change and the start of your life becoming congruent with your core values.

When our lives reflect our core values, we have better relationships with ourselves.

We have a strong sense of ourselves. We know who we are and what we need to be content and happy.

We are more confident.

We experience a range of positive, healthy emotions

And we nurture better relationships with our families, friends, co-workers and communities.

Toward happiness and healthfulness.

I am Janice Otremba. I am a professional speaker, trainer and coach that specializes in stress management, health and wellness, personal growth and life balance. I invite you to share your thoughts and opinions, to determine how I can be of service to you. I can be contacted at

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