Why Problems Are GIFTS!

Things in life won’t always go the way we want them to. 👍

📍 Someone doesn’t follow through on their promise to you.

📍 Your car breaks down at the worst time.

📍 Just need at all in your day is going as planned.

Life can hit you when you least expect it. And it will hit you hard! 💥

🌟 When expectations about how our lives “should” be are not met, we suffer. 🌟

So we can complain. We can whine. We can cry. We can feel sorry for ourselves. We can do all of the above! 😤

But there’s another option! 😲

When these moments come, and they surely will come, how about we be prepared…🔎

🧠 Remind ourselves these moment are only temporary.

🧠 Remind ourselves what we’re feeling is only temporary.

🧠 Let ourselves take a few deep breaths to re-center your focuses.

🧠 To ask ourselves: “What is the gift I can take from this situation?”

“Wait wait wait! Problems are NOT gifts! They are problems, painful, annoying, and useless!” 🗣️

But who’s to say problems can’t also be “gifts”? 😉

🌟 What if we could treat every problem we experienced in our lives as a gift, another opportunity for us to grow as individuals? 🌟

It’s easy to get caught up in “the heat of the moment”! I’ve done it myself too. 👍

But the ultimate triumph comes when even in the most heated of situations you allow yourself to stop, think, and reframe your perspective. 💪

Purposefully, you turn what your brain first said was a negative situation into a positive. 😁

🌟 You either take control of your emotions or your emotions take control of you. #TranscendLabels

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Why a Life of MEANING and PURPOSE is Worth Living!

“Ever more people today have the means to live, but no meaning to live for.” – Viktor Frankl 🗣
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A life filled with purpose and meaning is what drives a person forward. Without either of these, why does a person desire to live? Why does a person then wake up every single morning: to live…or to maintain? 🤷‍♂️
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I believe these are very important questions we need to ask in a world where mental health continues to be a grave concern. 👍
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⚠️ According to the World Health Organization, depression is now the leading cause of mental illness with an estimate 300 MILLION people affected. ⚠️
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A few years ago I would’ve also been a part of that list. But I’m not anymore. 😲
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“So what changed, Donald?” 💬
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I’ll tell you it definitely wasn’t a quick-fix. As much as I want to tell you that, I’d be lying. We all want a quick-fix, the path of least resistance, the least amount of work for the biggest reward. But it’s really not the case.
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🌟 Quick fixes are not how sustainable changes in our lives work. 🌟
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Here are key factors which helped me in changing my life:
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📍 I started doing things I was deeply passionate about, even if it wasn’t “realistic”.
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📍 I started choosing to see every problem I had as a “gift” I could learn from.
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📍 I started challenging my bad habits. I quit drinking soda. I started eating more vegetables and whole foods. I started exercising more. In turn I eventually lost over 80 pounds.
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📍 I studied philosophy and saw there’s MANY ways to look at our lives and how we can live them.
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📍 I started meditating daily and becoming aware how my thoughts were greatly controlling my life.
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📍 I made a habit to always be grateful for something in my life, no matter how little.
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It wasn’t a magic pill that “treated” my depression; it was making lifestyle changes that were meaningful and purposeful. ❤️
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It wasn’t seeing depression as a biological defect that helped me alleviate its symptoms; it was seeing my emotions as messengers telling me something had to change in my life. 📬
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The status quo isn’t working; otherwise we wouldn’t have so many people feeling this way. This calls for additional solutions to solve our mental health crisis.
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🌟 I’m not saying to get rid of the current menu, but rather we expand on the available options people can become aware of and choose from. 🌟
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I’m very grateful I’ve had the opportunity to step outside the norm and go in a different direction the past year. I feel so much happier than I ever use to. 😊
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It’s not to say everything is perfect, but that life is much more fulfilling these days. And that’s a life worth living! 👌
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I will also never forget to help others do the same! It gives my life even more meaning! Eudaimonia! ❤️#TranscendLabels

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How AUTISM Helped Me DEFY the Odds! (PERSONAL)

😲 I WAS DIAGNOSED WITH AUTISM!!! 😲

I use to consider myself a very introverted person, very shy, and very set in my own closed routines. I was more of a thinker than a doer and more a dreamer than a leader. Can you relate to that? If not, can you think of someone in your life who was like that? 🤔

Being diagnosed with Autism in 7th grade was probably the starting point for me, the point where I confirmed these ideas to myself about who I was: something was ‘wrong’ in my brain. 🧠 “I have Autism. It explains why I feel the way I feel. It’s just something that’s a part of me; I can’t change it.” 🤷‍♂️

But even at the time I remember feeling like I didn’t want to be labeled like this. I saw the label before me with all its negativity, a label I needed to object and rebel from. 👊 I saw the stigmas of this label becoming my reality, and once I started seeing it reflected in other people’s behaviors towards me it frightened me to the core! 😨

I have vivid memories from school where I refused to accept new accommodations because of the new label. I was now being offered additional time on tests, opportunities to leave class to ‘cool down’, and every single time I refused. I was being treated differently. I hadn’t changed, but with my new label I had changed in the eyes of everyone else. 😟 Has someone ever said something about you that you knew wasn’t true? Did you ever feel like you just wanted to jump on the defense and say: “That is absolutely NOT TRUE!” 🤬

With my new label I was constantly reminded about my new-given identity: what I couldn’t do, what my limitations were, and what struggles I’d have the rest of my life. 🔮 Very little was I ever reminded about all my current strengths or what I could do. It was mostly the echoes from a set of diagnostic criteria. 📖

In psychology, the term is referred to as a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy. In sociology, it’s referred to as the Labeling Theory. To put it simply: If a person holds a belief in their mind about someone else’s future expectations, the person will unconsciously help in influencing the other person into fulfilling those expectations. 🤔

So for example, if a parent holds a child to very low expectations the odds are very likely the child won’t ever go past the ones the parent already set for them. They will only achieve the most minimal, the expectations set by the parent. 😲

SO FOR A LONG TIME I USE TO LET OTHERS DICTATE HOW I WAS GOING TO LIVE MY LIFE…😔

But then at one point I finally decided I was going on my own path. These past few years I’ve learned that everything starts with Me: I must take control of my life, how I choose to see it, and how I’m going to live it. 👍

📌 Dale Carnegie explained it through his principles to Win Friends and Influence People.

📌 Stephen Covey said it with his Habit of Being Proactive.

📌 The Stoics taught it through their principles of self-control.

📌 The Existentialists shared it through the creation of meanings.

📌 Individuals like Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. excelled it through their example.

It’s the power of helping OURSELVES FIRST before we start trying to help the rest of the world. It’s about taking CONTROL over our emotions rather than letting them and our environment control us. It’s about living our lives for a PURPOSE greater than just ourselves. It’s about a “dream”, a vision of a greater future for all of humanity. Most importantly, it’s about about YOU DEFINING YOUR LIFE. 🌎

What I’ve come to realize again and again is that my past does not have to equal the future. I’ve realized I am more capable than what any label or diagnosis will dictate. 🙌

Have you ever taken a personality test and it gave you a result you wholeheartedly believed in? “Congrats, you’re an INFJ!” The problem with these tests is they can tell you who you are NOW. But they don’t tell you who you’ll necessarily be in the FUTURE. We can change as well as mentally evolve. It’s a part of who I may be now, but it’s not the final destination! 🛣️

I’ve realized that I ultimately will define Me, not someone else, not a test, and not a set of diagnostic criteria. Otherwise I keep a fixed identity for the rest of my life…nah! 😉

So this year I’ve been on a mission to Transcend Labels. I am showing the world what’s possible, to show others how to look beneath the surface, past the labels, past the stereotypes, and to see each other for who we all are. 👥

I truly believe when we do this we’ll start seeing the humanity within each other, see each other as human beings, and see that we are all more alike than we like to believe. With that not only comes greater understanding for our neighbors but most importantly an unconditional love, because the realization comes: “That person is also Me.” ❤️

I see lasting change in the world happening through the individual from the inside-out, not the outside-in. I believe that the better we can be for ourselves, the better we can be for others. 🌎

Gandhi said: “Be the change you wish to see in the world”. Everyone has an opinion, but there are fewer people out there who ever set the example. Will we be the next examples?! 👌

I WAS DIAGNOSED WITH AUTISM, BUT AUTISM NEVER HAD ME! #TranscendLabels 💪

I hope this resonates with many of you. I would appreciate it if you could share this post with others, whoever you believe will also benefit from these words. If there are any additional areas I can add value to your life as well as in the blogging community, please let me know! 🙂

My areas of expertise include:

👍 Detail-oriented, Thoroughness

👍 Quality-over-quantity Focused

👍 Analytical, Systemic Thinking

👍 Emotional intelligence (plus 10 years in Customer Service)

👍 Social media, Building Engagement

 

With lots of gratitude,

Donald “Ace” Arteaga ❤️

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How to STOP Beating Yourself Up!

🌟 Don’t beat yourself up…

There’s a part of you that no matter how hard you work, it’s ready to tell you what’s missing from your life. There’s a part of you that no matter how much you believe you’re doing well, it comes knocking at your mental home to challenge you:”Are you SURE you’re doing enough?” 💭
“Do you REALLY believe everything you say you are is true?” 💭
“Do you TRULY deserve what you’ve been given?” 💭

I’ve felt this in me before, multiple times in fact…

There’s the psychology term “imposter syndrome”. It’s the tendency to believe our achievements pale in comparison to what we believe we’ve actually done. To put it another way, we don’t feel the status, success, or fame we’ve received is equal to our own feelings of self-worth. In our minds it doesn’t feel like it’s “deserved”. We have this irrational fear we’re ultimately going to be exposed as a “fraud”. 👈

Would it surprise you to hear even the most famous of individuals have experienced these feelings? Individuals like Tina Fey, Maya Angelou, Tom Hanks, Anthony Hopkins, and even Meryl Streep have openly expressed feeling like this. Despite all the wealth, awards, and recognition they’ve received from other people, there’s a part of them that still at times self-doubt what they had accomplished in their lives.

What’s easy to forget on this journey called life is remembering all the achievements we’ve made. Now I’m not saying I’m a celebrity or am following the same path these individuals are. I’m saying these feelings of self-doubt are universal, these feelings of inadequacy and not being enough just where we are. A character from the film “Before Sunset” summed it up pretty well: “I feel like I’m designed to be slightly dissatisfied with everything.” 😝

This past year has truly been a journey: ups, downs, lefts, rights, zig-zags, and any way the Wonkavator is going. Even now, being almost a year since I stepped into this new path for myself, I have felt these emotions come up. It creeps up when you least expect it, too. As I write this, I can already hear the echoes of this voice in my mind.

But I have an answer for this voice as well as your own…

📍 Disconnect yourself from these voices. These voices are not You or Me. These are voices of Fear. These are voices from your Past, voices that are no longer serving you now and in your future.
📍 Unconditionally accept yourself where you are now in the present. The past (literally) no longer exists but in your mind. So why not take what’s most useful from your past into the future?

📍 Reflect on your achievements. These moments of self-doubt are temporary; all the achievements and impact you’ve made on the world and others is forever. Remember that everything you do has an effect, even if you don’t have the chance to see it for yourself.

📍 Remember your WHY. You are where you are today for a reason. Something might have pulled you here, something might have pushed you here, but you’re here for one reason for another. When you have strong enough reasons for why you’re here, your self-doubts will easily start to disintegrate.

Writing this post this evening was in it’s very own way cathartic. As much as there have been times I’ve experienced this self-doubt, I remember all the amazing things I’ve achieved in my life that have shaped me into the person penning this very post. This is a moment in time I won’t ever get exactly the same again. No moment is, and it honestly feels quite surreal thinking about it in that way. ☺️

But I digress. Don’t beat yourself up. It’s not worth your future. I can guarantee you’re not alone, and that everyone else has done it before too. But the key is to remember those moments are not meant to stay; they are meant to pass. Much love. ❤️#TranscendLabels