Amanda Johnson

Love the life you have and have the life you want


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10 Simple Ways to Truly Love the Life You Have

One of my favorite things to do is read people’s “top 10” lists.

It feels like I’m receiving a ridiculously short “how to” guide on life.

I wanted to create my own and share how I put some of what I’ve learned into practice to honestly love the life I have and have more of the life I want.

I’ve gone from feeling depressed, anxious, constantly stressed and worried to feeling way more calm, compassionate, at peace and in love with myself just the way I am.

Don’t get me wrong. It took more than just doing these 10 things, but each of these now contribute to a much happier and more joyful experience.

Here’s how I practice what I preach on a regular basis to truly love the life I have.

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1. Attitude of gratitude

Whether this is journaled, shared with a friend, acknowledged in my mind or as part of a Gratitude Circle, regular gratitude is a key component to me being good with being me.

2. Daily meditation

Spending just 5-10 minutes a day in meditation makes a world of difference. Typically done first thing in the morning, this creates space to appreciate where I am now and learn how to be more at ease with my thoughts throughout the rest of the day.

3. Simple morning ritual

Along with meditation, I implement a very simple morning ritual that consists of drinking a glass of warm lemon water and spending a few moments journaling or writing. Whatever the ritual, it is a great opportunity to have a reliable way to do something for ourselves each and every day.

4. Take it all in

As often as possible I take time to look around and appreciate what is all around me. That might be while walking down the street or sitting at a desk or at a favorite restaurant. This is a great way to get back in the moment and out of any pesky thoughts, fears or worries.

5. Be selfish

Sometimes to love the life I have requires being a little selfish. Maybe that’s spending more time with friends. Having a night in on the couch. Being more mindful about what I commit myself to. Whatever it is, it’s important to check in with our needs on a regular basis and ensure that they are being met as often as possible.

6. Set intentions

One of the greatest things I did was set intentions for the year ahead. Having more clarity on my true desires and how to cultivate more of that on a regular basis helps reduce the “should-ing” and self-doubt.

7. Connect with others

It is amazing what happens when I make eye contact with strangers on the street or give a compliment to my barista. As humans, we need connection and it is one of the quickest ways to experience more joy and spread that joy to others.

8. Smile more often

I make a conscious effort to smile at people. It is such a small gesture that makes a world of difference. It’s also fun to smile at myself more often—whether that’s in the mirror when I’m getting ready in the morning or simply when lost in my own thoughts.

9. Celebrate on a regular basis

Acknowledging what I do (even in a small way) makes it a whole lot easier to love myself and the life I have created. Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in what else there is to do or what hasn’t yet been done but it is so important to take some time to celebrate what is happening right now.

10. Be 100% present (as much as possible)

There will always be a million things that want my attention but the more often I give one thing my full presence, the more joy I experience. Whether that’s choosing to do the dishes or talk to a friend or go for a walk.

We all know that there is no magic pill or get-(fill-in-the-blank)-quick fix. The most important thing is that whatever we choose to do, we do it from a place of love and acceptance.

We can’t get what we want until we love what we have. {Tweet it out!}

What are some of your favorite ways to practice what you preach and love the life you have? Leave a comment below and inspire others!

P.S. If you are interested in better understanding what you have and how to love it, I invite you to join me for a complimentary Inner Essence Discovery Session. I have 3 spots left and would love to be your guide to discovering what makes you you.

P.P.S. If you enjoyed what you read today, sign up to receive my weekly blogs and other insights delivered directly to your inbox. Doesn’t get much easier than that!

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What I’ve Learned from Breaking up with My Ego

Have you ever been in that situation when it came time to “have the talk” or DTR (Define the Relationship)?

I’ve had it a few times in my life. It’s not a comfy thing for me to do. But in each situation, I’m glad I did. It helped me get clearer on who I am and what I want and how this other person plays into that (or not).

A couple of years ago, I realized that I needed to have this conversation with someone who I had known for a very long time and who had been with me through thick and thin — my ego.

And I can tell you, it’s not easy. But having a clearer understanding of our dynamic has made my life so much easier.

We all have an ego.

And our ego has played an important role since a very young age. It  helped protect us from this big, bad world when we were at a place in our development when we needed it most.

And like with any relationship, there comes a time when we need to take a closer look at it.
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We get to a point when we realize the ego no longer serves us.

So how do we let the ego down easy and reclaim our relationship with our self?

Recognize its individuality.

The ego loves to talk. A lot. The first place we can notice our ego is in our thoughts. And by the very nature of observation, when we can observe our thoughts (our ego) then we can be confident that we are separate from it.

When we recognize that we are not our ego, the conversation gets a whole lot easier.

Give it some love.

The ego just wants to be seen and heard. It wants to be acknowledged. So go ahead and give it what it wants. Say “thank you for sharing” when it butts in and gives advice on how to respond to that text message or comments on that woman’s attitude.

The ego isn’t trying to be a jerk — it just doesn’t know any better.

Next time the ego interferes, give it a wink and a smile.

Learn what matters to it most.

The ego gets its sense of self by identifying with all sorts of things — thoughts, labels, roles, material possessions. Remember, it is trying to protect us and is doing the best job it can to make sure we are okay. So it latches on to anything it thinks will make life better. Sadly, it doesn’t know that we are already okay. Take note of what it identifies with most — the car, the role as leader, the label of “shy,” the thought “I could never do that.”

Trying to force the ego to let go of attachments is impossible — but as awareness grows, the attachments will begin to drop away because we start to notice that we are separate from all these things.

Get to know its patterns.

The ego uses some incredible strategies to help us out in situations that seem scary or uncomfortable. Maybe the ego withdraws each time it finds itself feeling attacked. Or perhaps the ego puffs up its chest and yells at someone who confronts it.

Take note of these tendencies — they are just a way for the ego to help make sure we feel okay.

The next time the ego wants to crack a joke in a stressful situation, don’t say anything and notice what happens. I can pretty much guarantee that you will still be standing and completely unharmed.

Once we understand that we are okay without the ego’s help, then we are stepping into our truly awakened self.

Now the ego is pretty tenacious. (Some women wish more men were this way.) And just because we have this conversation once doesn’t mean it’s going to go away.

Having an ego is a part of life. Redefining the relationship with the ego is enlightenment. {Tweet That!}

What is one pattern you observe your ego doing in moments of stress or conflict? Share in the comments below and serve as an inspiration of self-observation to others.


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Wannabe Your Valentine? 3 Ways to Reclaim This Holiday

Valentine’s Day is just one day out of 365.

Hard to believe, right? I find that no matter if I’m single or in a relationship this day seems to dangle over my head (and in my subconscious) for the entire month of February.

Even this year, I actively decided not to make Valentine’s a big deal and here I am writing an entire article about it!

It feels nearly impossible to ignore — so I decided to approach it from a different angle this year.

It’s not just about chocolates, teddy bears and cute couples going out to eat.

I know it sometimes feels this way. Our society has done a phenomenal job of getting us to buy into it hook, line and sinker. But there is another way of looking at it.

Love is all around! And love is a beautiful and essential thing.

And for all my single peeps reading this, that might not feel so great. Or maybe it feels like something to celebrate! Either way, it is up to us how we want to interact with this holiday.

At the end of the day, Valentine’s is a great opportunity to pause and remember to love thyself.

We all know the importance of self-love. It is at the root of our ability to love others; at the core of our own satisfaction with life; and it serves as the foundation from which all growth and self-realization begin.

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This time of year actually provides us with loads of opportunity to see the beauty within and boost our own happiness.

And this is exactly what happens as we begin to be more conscious and mindful in life. So here is how we can use Valentine’s as a fantastic excuse to practice awakening to our authentic self.

Actively look for love and beauty.

The world is our mirror. This means when we see things in others that cause our skin to prickle, there’s a really good chance that exists somewhere deep in our dark corners.

But this also means that when we see a couple truly in love sharing a romantic moment or notice the beauty of the sunset or admire the beauty of a rose, this love and beauty exist within us.

We can only know these things to be what they are if we have some experience of them. And that experience is part of who we are and what we are capable of in the world.

Connect with others.

Use this time of year to reach out to family, friends, strangers on the street or support your favorite cause. When we connect, we have a positive impact on our brain. We are social creatures and are meant to connect with others.

And when we remember that we all want the same things in life — to feel loved and and a sense of belonging — we can extend more compassion to others.

Connection and feeling compassion for others boosts our natural anti-depressants and increases real happiness.

Celebrate YOU!

Do something nice for yourself. Use this time to celebrate all that you have done and all that you are. Write yourself a love letter or take yourself to dinner.

Another thing we can do is expand on the feel-good thoughts we sometimes have. When you notice a positive thought, ask these four questions from Elisha Goldstein.

  1. Is it true?
  2. Is it possible that it’s true?
  3. If you step into that possibility for a moment, how does that make you feel?
  4. Can I allow myself to linger in this feeling for a few moments?

When we actively love ourselves first and practice self-care, we create space to let go of the judgments, expectations and negative thoughts and experience a deeper sense of self.

No matter what our status, we can celebrate Valentine’s Day in a self-nurturing way.

It’s up to us to reclaim this holiday (and all other 364 days) as a day to celebrate our authentic inner essence and experience more peace and joy.

What is your favorite self-nurturing ritual? What else would you add to make this holiday more about self-love? Share your thoughts in the comments below!


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The #1 Reason We Don’t Experience Unconditional Love

Unconditional love.

You know, the kind we see in the movies. The kind where the person can do no wrong and are loved fully and truly as they are. Ah, so beautiful.

I must admit, I’m one of those sappy romantics who believe it’s possible and wants nothing more than to experience it in my own life.

And, boy, do I try. I want nothing more than to love my partner unconditionally — so why is it so hard sometimes?

I’m not suggesting that to give unconditional love is easy but I wondered if I might be missing something. I realized I was going about it in the wrong order. I was focusing all of my efforts on loving him unconditionally. And when I found myself feeling frustrated when I couldn’t seem to muster up the ability to do it, I couldn’t quite understand why.

What does it even mean to love unconditionally? According to one article I read, it means releasing judgment and accepting others as they are and choosing to act in a loving manner always.

Have you ever wanted unconditional love?

Or maybe you’re one of those people who believe it doesn’t exist. I don’t blame you. It’s hard to believe it exists when we experience it so seldom and when most of us have been going about it all wrong.

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If we want to experience unconditional love, we have to start by giving it to ourselves.

This was my big “ah-ha” moment. Maybe it’s painfully clear to everyone else but it just recently clicked for me. I began to realize that if we can’t love ourselves unconditionally we’ll never be able to experience unconditional love elsewhere.

Why?

Well, because the way we see ourselves is how we see the world. So, if there is something I don’t like about myself, it’s going to become a sore spot for me when I see it another.

How can we have unconditional love for someone who possesses the qualities or does things that we don’t like about ourselves? We can’t.

Before we can even begin to love someone else fully and truly for who they are, we first must love ourselves that way.

How?

Stop judging ourselves.

That voice that says “I can’t believe you just did that” or “That was so stupid” or “Why am I always so needy?” needs to go. Judgment is a total joy kill and it makes loving ourselves unconditionally impossible. When we judge ourselves we are placing a condition on ourselves that says “If only I were better, then I could love myself.”

Accept ourselves for who we are.

Yup, despite the number on the scale or what others say about us or how much money we have in the bank. Life is cyclical. It ebbs and flows. We have ups and downs. We need to remember that in this moment we accept where we are. It might not be where we “want to be” but that doesn’t matter. When we are unwilling to accept who we are we are placing a condition on ourselves that says, “If only I were different, then I could love myself.”

Choose to act in a loving manner with ourselves — always.

This shows up in how we talk to ourselves and how we take care of ourselves. Do we say kind things? Do we get enough sleep? Do we fuel our bodies with healthy foods? Do we care for ourselves the way we would care for another? Do we put our needs first? When we choose not to act in a loving manner we are placing a condition on ourselves that says, “When I feel good about myself, then I can treat myself better.”

If we are unwilling to love ourselves in this way, we can’t expect to show it to others.

Because each time they do something that irks us or triggers us, it will be so much harder for us to accept it and not judge it if we haven’t first developed that same kind of compassion within ourselves.

It’s a heck of a lot easier to accept someone for being late when we have already done the work to accept ourselves those times when we did the same thing.

Let’s do the work ourselves first. Then, we can think about extending this type of love to others.

And once we’ve learned how to love ourselves unconditionally and begin to extend that to those around us, we create space for them to do the same thing.

But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves.

What is one way you can show yourself more unconditional love? Share below and inspire others by leading the charge and providing some food for thought.