I know what you’re thinking, oh boy Rafi is going to give us an airy fairy lecture on the universe or some crap like that. Maybe, but I wanted to share a piece of advice that I would have given my younger self. It’s a piece of advice that has changed my life for the better, a different perspective than what is the norm.
When I say everything happens for a reason, I don’t mean what most people mean when they are trying to see the silver lining in a tragedy, because honestly, sometimes there isn’t one. Life can suck royally and sometimes shit happens that we have a hard time bouncing back from.
It’s more about taking responsibility for your life and how you feel. In other words, not blaming yourself or others for the circumstances and events that take place in your life. Understanding that every moment, every circumstance is an opportunity for you to show yourself who you are.
Whether it’s good or bad, if you understand that everything comes into your life for a reason, even though at the time something might seem like your world is falling apart, you’ll be more equipped to handle it.
It is only natural to feel like things are not meant to happen in a negative way — people are not meant to leave, you are not meant to get rejected, accidents are not meant to happen — and if you had done something differently, the situation might have turned out different.
However, as time passes, you realize that things happen, life goes on, and you are left stronger and wiser for it. Sometimes people come into your life to teach you something about yourself, or to bring you to the opportunity to empower yourself. Things that seemed horrible, painful, or unfair at the time usually lead to an opportunity to stand up for yourself. Years later in reflection, you may realize that they happened because you allowed them to happen, and eventually got stronger for it. That is taking responsibility.
So here’s the advice I’d like to give to my younger self:
Everything happens for a reason — understand this. Without mistakes and failure, you would have never learned. Without breakups, you would have never met someone new. Without pain, you would have never grown. Once you understand this — really understand this — you will know that everything can serve a purpose. Don’t dwell on disappointments or view unfortunate events as regrets. But rather, see them as opportunities in disguise — an opportunity to know yourself. Try to understand the fleeting nature of events in life and don’t stress or ever think that life is unfair, because everything happens for a reason. And only time will tell.
A really popular phrase is – no one’s perfect. But so often we compare our insides to other people’s outsides. Dwelling on our flaws, what we’re not rather than what we’ve got, or who we really are.
I would challenge everyone in the world and say, yes you are perfect. You are the most perfect version of you that exists out there. No one can be like you, and you can’t be like anyone else. There has never existed someone exactly like you, there is no one like you now, and there will never be anyone like you… you are it.
I think imperfection comes when we try to be like someone else, because we see them as perfect, or more perfect than us. Sometimes it’s things like looks, hair color, skin color, beauty ideals, education, height, weight, eye color, and so much more. But who is to say what is perfect and what is not?
First of all, ask one hundred people to describe what is perfect and you will get 100 different answers. Usually, these people will be describing someone other than themselves because they think they are flawed. This version of the idea of perfection is what is flawed.
Listen, you are beautiful, unique, and perfect just as you are. Simple. You don’t have to be ANYONE else in order to be perfect, you just have to be the best version of you that you can be.
Feeling like you are flawed, letting people down, a loser, ugly, dumb, unmotivated, not good enough, and other popular presets of society is not going to help you achieve the perfection that is you… No, you are going to act like a dumbass, because you feel that you are nothing more than a dumbass compared to that jackass over there.
Don’t compare yourself to anyone else, there is no comparison. Focus on being the best possible version of you that you can be. Take time to determine that for yourself. You know you are there when you think you are beautiful, but you also think everyone is beautiful.
If you think you are more beautiful than someone else, then you’re just playing the same stupid perfection game that everyone else plays.
Learning to accept ourselves and being kinder to ourselves when things go wrong increases our enjoyment of life, our resilience and our well-being. It also helps us accept others as they are. So figure out who you really are for yourself. Just food for thought.
This is written simply to tell you how freakin’ awesome you are! Yes, YOU! Stop looking behind you. You are more awesome than you might like to believe, and I want to give you one reason today, so listen up.
Reason #1: You Are Beautiful – So Darn Beautiful!
That’s right I said it. You’re beautiful! Yes you!
Listen, the way you look is different from anyone else around. Your unique look is beautiful.
You have been through so much in your life – you have come so far and you’re still moving along. No one has experienced your exact experiences, and that’s one of the many things that makes you beautiful.
Your laugh is beautiful (even when you snort). It is. Nothing is better than your joy.
You may not think of yourself as a creative person, but you are. Somehow, somewhere you have created something, imagined something, dreamed something. Creativeness is beautiful, and you’re creative in your own way, and that is beautiful.
No matter what you’ve thought about yourself in the past, someone out there thinks you’re perfect. Someone loves you for who you are, just the way you are, and wouldn’t change a thing.
You are brave. At some point in your life you had to do something that you were afraid to do. You had to face your fear, and that is beautiful.
You have your own unique thoughts, your own unique experiences, and your own unique life. Your uniqueness makes you beautiful, and it’s what makes you, you!
You exist. That’s beautiful in itself. Life is a precious gift, and knowing that out of all the unknown in the world, you were created, and you turned out… well, as you – now that’s beautiful.
Happiness is beautiful. Even if you’re having a bad day, or you don’t feel the greatest – smile. Smiles bring happiness, happiness is beautiful, and your smile is beautiful.
Believing in yourself can be tough, but I can honestly say that it is my self belief that helps me really make the most out of this precious life that I am experiencing right now.
There are 5 things I remind myself of daily in order to really get the most out of life.
#1 Time is short
It might sound a little morbid, but the idea that our lives could end at any moment causes me to both evaluate the relationships that I am in, and really appreciate the people I love. It also reminds me that life is too short to spend any time worrying about something and not simply doing something about it.
#2 Be fearless in taking the next step
and enjoying life
Taking the right risk is one of the most important aspects of being happy in life. Always take the first step with optimism and a gusto for life. I knew a beautiful woman who was 88 years old, and one day I saw her riding on the back of a motorcycle. It was her first ride ever, she was smiling from ear to ear and said “If not now, when?” that’s been my motto ever since. As an artist, my entire career is one emotional and financial risk, and if I wasn’t willing to face those fears, I wouldn’t be enjoying what I’m doing now. Listen, if it doesn’t work out at first, you are always free to try it again.
#3 Time is going to pass by anyhow
Sometimes it seems like certain things I want to do are going to take such a long time to accomplish. In the past, I would quit before I even started because it was disheartening. I realized later that time is going to pass anyway, so you might as well chip at that wall.
#4 Don’t allow yourself to settle
I remember a while back looking at my life and thinking “That’s it? That’s all there is to my life?” I was miserable. What I didn’t realize at the time, was that I had a mentality that was putting me in a miserable place. I settled for things that were satisfactory, but not satisfying. My relationships, my job, my car, my friends, and my self esteem was satisfactory… Life didn’t become satisfying until I decided reevaluate my priorities.
#5 Take every day as a new chance
Today is a day for you to begin
creating your unique and fulfilling life. Today is the day to begin
to release all your limitations. Today is the day for you to learn
the secrets of your life. Today you realize you already have the
tools within you to do so… and if today was just eh, move on from
it, because you get 365 days a year to practice being awesome.
This time of year I always seem to find myself more contemplative than ever. It’s almost like I can’t help but evaluate my experiences of last year and come up with a fuzzy idea of a plan that is not really a plan for the new year.
I think everyone does this to one extent or another. I remember back in my less optimistic days, this time of year was only a reminder that time was running out. I would spend most of my time thinking about lost opportunities, and how terrible my year went. Yeah, I was not a ray of sunshine back then, and to be honest, my life was a reflection of my attitude.
Luckily for me, I stopped being a dumb-ass and started to appreciate this thing we call life.
My new year resolutions are not the typical “I want my butt to look better in jeans” type of resolutions (my butt looks great in jeans, btw), they have more to do with realizations I had throughout the year.
The one that is really on my mind is based on our recent trips and around 60 hours worth of conversations on said trips with Klee.
Appreciating every single individual moment that I spend being alive, and really taking advantage of the fact that I am breathing and able to make decisions that impact my life now. Essentially, not waiting around for things to happen, but just living now. Our experience last year was a solid realization that life is extremely short… So EVERY moment is precious.
Remembering that I am unique, but so is everyone else and there really isn’t such a thing as normal. Everyone is weird, but there are those who embrace it, and there are those who hide it. Embrace it always.
Well, that’s all I have so far, it’s still a work in progress and Klee and I will probably have some long conversations about feelings, goals, life, and other fun stuff. Have fun figuring out your awesome resolutions for 2019.
Oh yeah, play more guitar, write more blogs, film more videos, create more amazing art, and try to ween myself off of Snyder’s buffalo pretzel bits, those are on the list as well, so we’ll see how those go for 2019. Just kidding on the pretzel bits, I’m never gonna give those up.
I talk a lot about ways to empower yourself and investigate some of the patterns we play out in our minds that may cause us to feel like victims. To determine whether or not I am feeling powerful, I ask myself whether a situation, circumstance, or person makes me feel like a victim, or do I feel empowered.
Anything that causes you to feel like you don’t have control over your emotions is a sense of victimhood. I don’t mean expressing those emotions, you can sit down to have a good cry because you know it will make you feel better, that’s empowered crying.
A good way to feel empowered and happy is to spread it like a contagion into the world. I do it through art, but I also have a few weapons in my arsenal against feeling like a victim.
1. Smile at people.
It’s amazing to me how powerful a smile can be.
2. Be positive.
Be conscious about your words and actions so that you can be a positive force, rather than, you know, a drag.
3. Give genuine compliments.
I’m a firm believer in saying what you mean, when you want to say it. That means being genuine. What is interesting is that a lot of people assume that being genuine means being mean, but I find that when you are truly genuine with yourself and others, everything is infused with love.
4. Encourage creation.
Themed movie nights, to adventure walks, to art parties. Encourage yourself and others to have creative fun.
5. Live outside your comfort zone.
6. LOVE real big. QUESTION everything.
In every given moment there is an opportunity to fear, judge, or love. We sometimes have to seriously question our own beliefs and where they came from in order to get to love. The thing is, the more you love yourself, the more you can love the world… So start by questioning beliefs about yourself.
Being an agent of positive change in this world is a label that I’ve proudly given myself. I ask that you also wear it wisely and wear it well. It takes real determination and commitment, but it brings color and wonder back into the world.
Hi guys, here is a short story I wrote a while back, I wanted to share this with you. It seems a little dark in the beginning, but I promise the ending is pretty bright.
The Man And His Shadow
One day, a man was walking down the street on his way to work. His thoughts were on his life as he looked into his passing image in the store windows.
“What has happened to you, you look horrible.” He thought as he turned away from his reflection.
His stomach rumbled a bit in passing the faint smell of delicious coffee and pastries emanating from the small café on the corner.
“If only you had woken up earlier, maybe you would have time to eat, not that it matters, you don’t have a dime to your name. You’re such a loser, you know that?”
The man’s expression soured and his shoulders slumped a bit. He made his way to the bus stop and stood next to a group of people, none looked up from what they were doing.
“You don’t even exist, you could die tomorrow and no one would notice. You are worthless.”
He looked out at the passing cars as people made their way to work. Some were talking on their cell phones, others seemed barely awake, and some were applying make up.
Just then, a man in a beautiful expensive car drove up. He had a smile on his face and exuded a confident warmth.
“Look at that, if you actually had done something right in your life, maybe you would drive your own car instead of taking the bus with all the other losers.”
The man looked up briefly at the crowd and then back at the crack in the cement by his feet. The bus arrived and he fumbled with his change, and felt slightly embarrassed that he had taken as long as he did.
“You do this every morning, you make yourself look like an ass everywhere you go. You are such an idiot.”
Not looking at people, he made his way to the handrail and stood there quietly as the bus took off. A beautiful woman stood at the other end of a group of commuters. The man always looked forward to seeing her, but had never had the nerve to talk to her.
“Are you kidding me, what the hell do you have to offer her? She would laugh in your face, or vomit. If you talk to her you’re just going to make yourself look stupid again.”
He looked away disappointed, and wondered if he would ever meet someone. He glanced at his reflection on the bus windows and noticed something on his shoulder.
When he looked down at his shoulder, there was nothing there. Looking back at his reflection, he could distinctly make out a form of a small person sitting on his slumped shoulders. It bent down and whispered in his ear.
“Not only are you an idiot and a loser but now you’re going crazy too. You should just end your meaningless life now and put everyone who knows you out of their misery.”
He blinked his eyes and the image was gone.
Maybe it was just the fact that he was hungry, he couldn’t afford to start going crazy now on top of everything else that sucked in his life.
After getting off the bus, he watched the beautiful woman walking away, a dream that would never come true. Suddenly, a cab honked it’s horn, startling the man.
“Watch where you’re going you idiot!” Screamed the cab driver.
The man jumped out of the street and looked around, embarrassed.
“Even the cab drivers know you’re an idiot. You might as well walk around with a sign that says “I’m an idiot”.
The rest of the day pretty much went the same for him. He avoided talking to people, and just kind of kept to himself. The conversations he had were either about work or mindless small talk.
That night as he was getting ready for bed, he looked into the mirror and saw the shadowy form sitting on his shoulder again.
Frightened, he looked away. After a few seconds, he felt himself compelled to look again, and the shadow was still there.
“Who are you?” The man asked.
“I am you. A form of you anyway.” The shadow said.
“What does that mean? Why are you here? Am I going insane?” The man questioned.
“It means” The shadow shrugged “that I am the voice that tells you what you think you should hear. I am you, telling you what you can’t do, in order to keep you safely where you are most comfortable.”
“I have been conditioned by you all your life.” The shadow continued “You have told me what to think, what to say, and how to remind you.”
“My whole life?” The man asked.
“Yeah, but our relationship was much different when we were young. I was much brighter then. Our world was one of wonder, exploration, and imagination. We played for hours and loved openly. There was nothing we couldn’t do, and we did everything our hearts desired.”
“What happened?” The man asked.
“We were introduced to fear, limitations, intimidation, by words or actions. You started to tell me to remind you of these things so you wouldn’t get yourself into trouble. All of these fears and limitations were based on other people’s opinions. We believed them as our own because they would keep us safe.
After a while we were just not good enough. We believed we had to be something other than we are in order to be worthy, worth it, or good enough. We consoled ourselves by saying nobody was perfect, but everyone else seemed so much more perfect than we could ever be. So a shadow filled my light, and I became darker. It became my job to remind you of your imperfection.”
“Why does it have to be this way?” The man asked.
“It doesn’t. I am tired of telling you horrible things based in lies. The truth is, you are perfect, you are the most perfect and beautiful version of you that exists in this universe. You are a unique gift to the world.”
The man looked deep in the mirror, and tears swelled in his eyes. He saw that the shadow was actually him. The shadow was the smoke that had prevented the light from shining within him.
The shadow was a lie that hid the truth from him. In that moment he caught a glimpse of his perfection. He realized that almost everything he believed to be true about himself was a lie he believed. The light shone within him, the light that was always so familiar.
He made a choice at that moment based on what he wanted out of life. A choice based on fearlessness and limitless potential. He made a choice, looked at the person in the mirror and said…