Overcoming Barriers To Happiness

Overcoming Barriers To Happiness

Overcoming barriers to happiness

I’ve never by any means been a very unhappy person. I’m very extroverted and I love being with other people. Nevertheless, my moods have always been quite up and down. I could be perfectly happy one day and it would all come crashing down a few days later.

After a while, I realized that this kept happening because I was basing my emotional state on other people.

Let me explain what I mean. For example, I’d find out that several of my friends would be going to a party that I wasn’t invited to. Or someone would make a comment that I construed as being overly critical. Or someone would cancel on me.

I would take those kinds of situations very personally. Every time anything like that happened, I’d question myself. Did I do something wrong? Did people actually like me? Did they still want to be friends with me?

I had construed this image of myself as a reflection of how I thought others saw me. Try to wrap your head around this one. As long as I thought I was well-liked and I had a lot of friends, I felt happy. And as soon as that perception changed, I felt bad about myself.

I wasn’t doubting my abilities or personality. I just felt insecure about whether others thought I was good enough. So, I was constantly seeking validation. I think that happens to a lot of people. We crave validation from others because we don’t know how to self-validate. We don’t understand how we can create our own happiness without depending on others.

overcoming barriers to happiness

I’m Helene, the creator of the HC Lifestyle Blog,
where I share my favourite life experiences. I love writing about travel, food, fitness, and many other things.

I’m a big believer in trying to live life to the fullest, dancing, and seeing as much of the World as I can.

As soon as I realised this, I started changing my thinking patterns. This was how I started thinking:

  • Everyone has their own life. Stop being so self-centered in thinking that every action or reaction is about you. It really isn’t. Someone might be having a bad day and be cranky, and that might have absolutely nothing to do with you. If you haven’t done anything wrong, don’t assume it’s about you. Offer support instead.
  • Be happy on your own. Being alone doesn’t mean being lonely. If no one is around, start that project, get fit, cook, get creative, travel, or just watch a film and enjoy your own company. If you feel uncomfortable doing anything by yourself, ask yourself why you’re scared of being alone with your thoughts. Then tackle that issue.
  • No one is responsible for your happiness apart from you. Your friends and family have no obligation whatsoever to help you with your issues. Of course, if you ask them for help and they help you, they’re great. But don’t feel like anyone owes you their friendship, their time, or their listening ear. If you learn to tackle your own problems, you’ll become much stronger as a person.
Overcoming barriers to happiness
overcoming barriers to happiness

Let me clarify something. I’m not saying you shouldn’t make friends or you shouldn’t hang out with people. Be social, hang out, have friends, but don’t become emotionally dependent on them.

If you can be in charge of your own emotions and create your own happiness, you’ll naturally attract other emotionally stable and strong people who will enhance your life. Instead of subtracting from each others’ happiness, you’ll create more happiness between you than you each possess individually. And that’s a very freeing experience.

Note from Kate: Ah… Helene is SO right. Nobody can make you happy if you are not happy alone. And that goes with love and self-love as well 🙂 I am so happy Helene let me publish this beautiful story of hers!

If you want to read more life-stories from our Team up Girls, head over here.

Otherwise see you until next time! Lots of love and Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow!

Breaking Free of Boundaries

Breaking Free of Boundaries

Breaking free of boundaries

I was raised by a very conservative family that believed that girls should be seen but not heard.

My brother was the golden child, and words like gifted, genius and so on were bandied about whenever he was the topic of conversation, whereas I was described as the “better looking one”. Relatives would send books to my brother for Christmas, where I would get a pretty dress. We were stereotyped and I wanted to break out of it.

I pushed against the tide my whole childhood, choosing to play the trumpet rather than the more feminine flute, and playing rough sports like rugby and hockey. I felt so many restrains were put on me to conform to a certain way of behavior, and I could see the path I was expected to go down for my future, which was to marry a sensible middle class man, and live in a semi-detached house, and live happily ever after. The thought made me shudder, and so I started researching alternatives. 

As soon as I finished university, I found a way to break free!

Armed with a TEFL qualification, and a huge backpack on my back, I got on a plane to Thailand, and did not look back. I worked for 6 months in Thailand, before moving on, overland through Indonesia, finally landing in Bali with just days left on my visa.

breaking free of boundaries

Mary has a cute beachwear business that she started with her gorgeous daughter. I absolutely adore it and you should look HERE. 

And she is opening her Coffee Shop, called Tyas Coffee Shop on November 1st! 

You can follow her on Instagram here. 

breaking free of boundaries

I arrived in a little port town, with one thing on my mind, which was finding a yacht, to work my passage to Australia, but little did I know that my life was about to change forever! The first thing I noticed when the bus was pulling in to the town was a Tattoo sign, in front of a simple little shack.  I had been toying with the idea of getting a tattoo for a few months at that point, and seeing that sign, I felt compelled to enter, and “just take a look”

An hour later, I came out proudly sporting 2 small tattoos, and feeling a little giddy. The tattoo artist had been so kind and gentle, and he had invited me to go out later for drinks. We went out, and talked all night, sitting on the beach, gazing at the stars and exchanging dreams of the future.

3 months later, we were married, and in January 2018, we will celebrate our 22nd wedding anniversary! Living in Bali has given me opportunities I could only dream about in the small town where I grew up in England.

I have learned to take each day at a time, not to worry so much, and to slow down and appreciate the small things in life. We have 3 wonderful children, and we encourage them all to follow their dreams, reach for the stars, and have never stereotyped any of them.

I have met Mary in one of the Facebook Groups and I had the pleasure to have a call with her as well. She is very humble and I can tell she has a very kind heart and I feel honored I could share her story today. I hope you all find some piece of inspiration in it. And definitely check out her business, whether you are in Bali and you go to her cute coffee shop OR you take a look at all the gorgeous beach wear.

And if this is your first time landing in our Team Efforts category, go ahead and read more of these A-mazing stories HERE. 

The 4 Fears That Stopped Me From Pursuing My Passion, and What Happened When I Actually Went For It

The 4 Fears That Stopped Me From Pursuing My Passion, and What Happened When I Actually Went For It

The 4 Fears That Stopped Me From Pursuing My passion

The 4 Fears That Stopped Me From Pursuing My Passion, and What Happened When I Actually Went For It

Alright ladies, I’m about to drop some serious self-discovery truth on you, you ready? I denied myself the pursuit of what sets my soul on fire for far too long. When I finally gave myself permission to pursue my passions, magic happened. Now, I’m passionate about seeing others go for their crazy dreams. I want to share with you why you should get out of your own way, and go for it. Ready?

I’m going to share with you the four lies and fears that stopped me, the four truths I discovered, and my action steps for turning your dream into reality. Let’s start with the fears…

#1 “Art is so impractical, aren’t you worried about being financially stable?”

I know that expressing creativity makes me feel alive, and I’m sure the rest will come together if I work hard.

This was always my response to the skepticism of others, but the unfortunate part? Over time, their words sunk into my thinking, and I truly began to cling to the idea of “stability.”

#2 “You have to be REALLY good to make it in that industry, so few people actually do”

I NEED YOU ALL TO HEAR THIS: sure, you can be born with talent, but for the most part, skill has to be honed. People aren’t born prima ballerinas. It takes commitment and perseverance above anything else. I made the huge mistake of listening to the comparison thief, and I gave up on practicing.

The 4 Fears That Stopped Me From Pursuing My passion

Alyssa is a Michigan lifestyle photographer and blogger.

On her blog, Aly May, she writes encouragement for homemakers, and about how to make daily life an adventure.

She loves to travel with her husband, John.

Though, she sure doesn’t mind nights at home snuggling their German Shepherd puppy, Summer.

You can follow her blog and photography at Aly May: www.alymay.com
On Instagram: @aly_cat
Facebook: Aly May Photo
Pinterest: @aly_cat

The 4 Fears That Stopped Me From Pursuing My passion

#3 “You’re really talented, that is such a cool hobby”

At first, I was insulted by how casually people treated my dreams. Eventually, though, I let the fear of not making it professionally stop me. I started working office jobs and full-time nanny jobs for the sake of making a comfortable income. I told myself I would do theatre and photography in my spare time.

Here’s the thing about spending your time doing something you aren’t passionate about, though: it burns you out. I was way to exhausted to spend any time at all on growing my artistic skills.

#4 “I would love to get back to photography, but cameras are so expensive, I just can’t afford it right now”

This is a lie I told myself. After all that appreciation for financial stability was driven into me, I sure wasn’t going to throw my hard-nannied-for cash into a “hobby” that might not pan out.

Finances were an excuse for me to bail on taking a scary leap into something that I could possibly fail at.


Truth #1 passionate on purpose

We are built with passions in us which are meant to be pursued. I truly believe that each of our lives has a purpose, and that our talents and passions are a huge channel for living out our purpose.

Truth #2 leave a greater legacy

My husband and I are starting to think about growing our family. In my post My Calling to Stay Home, you can read about my passion for family. I recently realized that I’ve never let myself truly explore my passions. We want our children to know that their parents don’t give up on their dreams. I want them to zealously pursue their own passions, and how can I ever teach them that, if I’ve given up on mine?

Truth #3 find your cheerleader and stick by them

All this self-realization led to me telling my husband that I believed I could succeed as a photographer, and would he be on board with me saving up for a camera? His response was a very simple, “I believe in you.”

Friends, this is HUGE. Surround yourself with people, or at least a person, who completely believes in you.

Truth #4 the practicals follow the commitment

Once I decided that I was finally going to go for it, the rest of the pieces seriously fell into place. It was crazy. A photographer friend gave me a camera for a crazy low price. Another friend had an iMac computer collecting dust, and offered to indefinitely loan it to me.

I refer to these as “God things,” in that I believe that God works things out for our benefit when we pay attention to His calling on our lives. You might believe in the universe smiling on you. You don’t have to believe what I do, though, to see that things DID work out once I committed to pursuing my dreams.

Take action

It wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t decided to shoot down the lies and negativity I’d been carrying with me. To be successful, you first have to take a leap. To really condense all of this, here are my action steps for putting your passion to work:

#1 Announce it

Tell yourself, and someone you trust what dream you are going to pursue.

#2 Put it out there, and allow others to help you on your journey

I told all of my friends that I was pursuing my love of photography and planned to launch a business. I asked photographer friends for equipment advice, which is how I got my camera so I could actually start.

#3 Identify with it

When people asked “what do you do?” I started responding “I’m a lifestyle photographer.” I felt like a fraud at first, but I gradually said it with more confidence, and that is how I got my first clients!

#4 Treat it professionally

I set up a website, a business email account, and social media pages. If there’s a podcast or online article about being a successful photographer or blogger, I soak it in. I treat it like my main job, and you know what? Nobody has called it a “hobby.”


So what is your scary-big, awesome dream? I challenge you to kick the fears and lies from your brain, and lead from your heart. It does take some fake-it-till-you-make-it confidence, and a lot of hard work, but you’ve got this.


Note from Kate: Aly is incredibly lovable person. I have met her in one FB group and then we became Instagram friends. It was my pleasure to follow her journey she’s describing in this post! BTW look at her GORGEOUS photos!

If you like there real-life stories, check out some other ones from our Team Efforts Category. 

Blessings Come In All Kinds Of Disguises

Blessings Come In All Kinds Of Disguises

Blessings come in all kinds of disguises.

In June of 2016, I packed my bags and me and my son moved to Florida from Illinois. I transferred my job down there and planned to look for a better paying job once we were there.

My daughter who had recently graduated college was accepted into Art Institute of America and was going to move down in early August. Everything seemed to take a complete turn a week after I moved.

I was having a hard time finding a babysitter and it was going to be an entire month before my job could get me work. Then I found out my daughter no longer wanted to attend Ai because her loans were not enough to cover her room and board.

Everything just seemed to come crashing down around us. As much I did not want to move back to Illinois I packed my bags and headed back. My oldest sister called me on my way back and asked if I would be interested in going to Branson, Mo with her. Of course, I said yes because it was somewhere besides back home.

We were set to leave for Branson on July 1st. I had put a deposit down on a place for us to stay all we had to do was show up. The day before we were supposed to leave I received a job offer with a company that paid decent, offered full-time hours, and excellent benefits. I was stuck. What do I do now? Of course, my sister encouraged me to take the job. Even though the job involved working a warehouse I really wasn’t crazy about it but felt led to accept the offer.

blessings come in all kinds of disguises

Shauna is a Blogger at ShaunaColeman.com and very inspiring person.

She has 3 beautiful children and got recently married to a love of her life.

Her blog has multiple challenges and lot of cool materials to help women to change their mindset on her website! Go and check her out! 

In August I decided or shall I say I felt led to start dating again. This was a huge step for me because I had been through so much with men in the past. In September I met the man I would later marry.

Looking back I would have never met him if everything would have been peaches and cream and I stayed in Florida or moved to Branson as planned. We met in September, got engaged in November, and was married June 30th, 2017.

I don’t want to get all gushy on you but he is a pretty amazing man. He has taught me so many things like how to not be selfish or self-centered. He has taught me was love really is. He makes me want to be a better person. The best part is my kids love him and he loves them.

He completes me and I complete him. We are so different yet we balance one another. When I thought everything was going downhill and I was going to be stuck in a state I hate working a job I wasn’t crazy about my entire world changed in an instance. My husband, my blessing, taught me how to love life and have fun.

NOTE from Kate: It’s unbelievable how sometimes the things that suck the most turns out to be a huuuuuuge blessing. I am SO happy Shauna decided to share her personal story because it takes a courage to talk about your personal life, challenges and maybe even about the low points of your life.

If you liked this story, get ready for next Thursday for another one. (Unless Divi makes another update that will make it impossible for me to upload it…. AKA I am not blaming you, Elegant Themes, at all!)

And in the meantime, check out Shauna’s awesome inspirational blog HERE or read the previous story from Teresa HERE. 

How I’ve Been Treating Men & Women Differently Without Realizing It

How I’ve Been Treating Men & Women Differently Without Realizing It

Years ago, back when I was in high school, I had a boyfriend cheat on me with a friend of mine. I found out on Valentine’s Day. The school was doing this thing where classes would be interrupted by a student delivering valentines. It was a big public display thing and I can’t remember exactly what happened, but one of them sent the other one a valentine.

That’s how I found out my boyfriend was cheating on me with my friend. It might not be as bad as walking in on them having sex or being left at the altar, but it was still one of my most painful experiences. I found out in a very public way. I was humiliated, and betrayed by two people in my life. That day, I also started to learn that friends in our group knew. The betrayal multiplied over and over. For a person who has a hard time trusting people enough to let them in, it was a betrayal that hit incredibly hard. 


Moving On

Over time, I started to move on and pretty much forgive the friends in the group who knew but never told me. I even started to move on, accept, sorta forgive, and even take back that boyfriend. The thing is, he cheated on me repeatedly, and I kept taking him back. After years of having this dysfunctional relationship of being on and off or sometimes sex buddies, I realized I needed to do something on a big scale to jolt out of it and break-free. I moved cities. While overall it was a great move for me, it was not the most healthy or effective way of dealing with the problem.

You know that female friend of mine, other than a drunk conversation I had with her once, I never spoke to her again. Even years later when she friend requested me on Facebook, I shut that down.  Why did I treat a cheating boyfriend who hurt me, better than a cheating female friend who hurt me?

I’ve looked back at my reactions and decisions in different situations during my life. One thing that seems to pop up quite often is how I have a double standard for men and women. I never noticed this before.

treating men women differently

Teresa Carnegie is the person behind Dapsile.

A new resource web-site created to help people, with a little bit of everything. It provides information, product reviews and business services. The site is continuously growing and has just added ‘A Different Point of View’ section for writers, artists, and outspoken creative people to share their work. 

Teresa brings to Dapsile, an ingrained need to help people, with the added belief that the more we share, the more we help others. That and her love of learning, travel, eating and trying new things, to name a few. 

Apparently, men who have hurt me very rarely have any repercussions. The women who hurt me though, well, I go full out, never speak to them again mode. Why? Why do I basically allow this treatment from men but punish women.

Self Analysis

Realizing I’ve been treating men and women differently, has caused me to do a lot of analysis for a why. Do I just expect to be treated this way by men? Am I naturally expecting women, or even just my female friends, to be more trustworthy? Is this because as a society, men’s behavior is expected to be bad but women are generally expected to be more trustworthy and maternal?

I think it is definitely partly due of society. All you have to do it is read the news around the world to hear of men not being punished for crimes against women. It happens everywhere, and a lot. If men have no repercussions in society for their behavior and actions what does that teach the rest of us. Maybe that is why I hold women up to a higher standard. They aren’t men.



Owning It

I don’t think I can just blame society for my behavior though. I try to treat people equally, and I expect to be treated equally back. It shouldn’t be any different when men and women hurt me. I think my behavior over the years can be explained by going back to that high school cheating boyfriend. By figuring out why I basically let him cheat on me, when I accepted him back into my life every time, it helped me understand why I let men go without repercussions after they have hurt me. And why I kept falling into the same pattern of dating. Unfortunately, I didn’t figure it out for years, but once I did, it all made sense. The realization has helped me work on changing and treating men and women equally when they hurt me. In every aspect of life, not just female friends and boyfriends.

I didn’t realize it back then but that high school cheating boyfriend, I loved him more than I loved myself.

I made him more important than me and I put him first.

I might be better at loving myself now, but treating myself as important as others, is something I am still working on.


NOTE from Kate: Teresa is a very kind person and it was amazing collaborating with her. Especially, since she said it got her thinking about herself more. Part of that was the questions I have asked her. And this is what makes me happy :).

Get ready for next post in the TEAm EFFORTs category.  And in the meantime GO ahead and check out her website!


I Stand For Girls, Do You? Women Empowerment

I Stand For Girls, Do You? Women Empowerment

#IStandForGirls, do you?

When you were on high school… Have you ever thought how awful is it that you have to wake up every morning and go to school and listen to those damn teachers blubbering the whole day?! Or complaining about the gross smelly bus? Oh I bet you did!

I loved school but still, every time my morning alarm went “beep” it freaked me out. Not that I was scared to go to school because I would get bad grades. I actually got really good grades. But you know why I felt like throwing up every morning? Because of the hateful girls. Because of all of the drama, jealousy, girl’s insecurities, and yes, even because of my good grades.

Well, now think about it from a different perspective.

Can you imagine not having the experience of going to school every day?

Can you imagine to walk to your high school 12km there and 12km back every day?

Can you imagine not being able to count?

Can you imagine not being able to text your friend because you don’t exactly know how to write?

And actually, you don’t even have a cell phone because you don’t have a job?

I can’t.

My Instagram *friend* Elisabetta together with her Mozambique friend Percina is running a campaign #IStandForGirls, ONLY in the month of September.

BTW Percina is the girl who walked 24km a day to get to her high school every day!

stand for girls women empowerment

In 2015, the literacy* rate in Mozambique was 58% for people over 15 years old.

*“Literacy” is defined as “being able to write a short, simple statement in everyday life.”

And I am saying *friend* because I haven’t met Elisabetta in person (yet) but I’ve been following her journey in helping out people in Mozambique for a while and I think she’s doing an amazing job.

The goal of the campaign is to help 100 girls to get an education for a year!

And the best thing? It doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

Do you love coffee?? I DO, TOO! Look at the image below:

stand for girls women empowerment

Can you skip 1 coffee a week and help out another girl to maybe change the world? Or even if you just change hers, if you help, the world won’t ever be the same:).

And BTW that Pumpkin Spice Latte is not good for you anyway. Get a glass of water!

If you want to donate right away, get to KURANDZA website where you can choose what is the best for you. You can sponsor a girl for a year or you can donate an amount of your choice. If you need more information, read it here.

#IStandForGirls. Actually, I stand for 2 girls from Tuesday.

stand for girls women empowerment
stand for girls women empowerment

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