6 Ways To Better Yourself

6 Ways To Better Yourself

There is no challenge more difficult than the challenge to improve yourself.

We've all made mistakes in our lives. There are things each person regrets, and there are things each person is proud of. As we continue to progress with our lives, we learn more about who we are and what we want out of life. No one's perfect. We all have room for personal growth, albeit in different ways. Here's some ways to better yourself and live a more fulfilling life:

1. Listen.

To really show someone respect, you have to listen to what they are saying. This means letting go of any preconceived notions or prejudices and sincerely giving your time and understanding to those around you. Don't listen with the intent to reply, but listen with the intent to understand. By listening and understanding what those around you have to say, you learn new things, gain new perspectives, and have new experiences. Listening to what others have to say is an art that involves putting your ego aside and putting others before yourself.

2. Don't make excuses.

Blaming others, pointing fingers, and making excuses in life will get you nowhere. We all make mistakes. It takes courage to admit them, own them, and learn from them. Excuses and lies are separated by a fine line, and an individual who constantly relies on excuses is only setting themselves up for failure. Learn to make efforts, not excuses.

3. Give what you can.

The only way we can make this world a better place is by acting with kindness in all aspects of life. Anything that goes towards helping others is never a waste. We lift ourselves by helping others rise, and a heart that gives is a heart that gathers.

4. Educate yourself.

Take the time to understand what is going on in the world around you, and let go of preconceived notions you may have that are not based in fact. Ignorance breeds hatred, distrust and frustration. It isolates humans from each other and detracts from the true essence of humanity. Education and understanding promote interconnectedness; awareness produces well-roundedness. Knowledge allows you to understand viewpoints different from your own.

5. Be yourself, love who you are.

An original is always worth more than a copy. You cannot be accepted and understood by others if you do not accept yourself. Pretending to be someone you are not will wear you out mentally and emotionally, and allow for feelings of self-loathing to harbor. Being yourself and accepting that individual allows you to add value to who you are. Trusting in that, forgiving yourself for the mistakes you have made, and loving who you are will enable you to empower yourself.

6. Be thankful.

Life isn't fair, and it's most definitely not perfect. There's always going to be people who have more than you, who you envy, who seem to have it together so much more than you. But there are always going to be people who think that about you. There is always, always, always something to be thankful for. Never forget the things you already have in light of the things that you want. Wake up every day being thankful for simply being alive. Go to sleep at night being thankful for having another night to sleep. Be thankful for friends, for family, for freedom and for everything else that you have--take nothing for granted and you will be happy.

Every day is a new beginning, an opportunity to for you to be better than the person you were yesterday.

Cover Image Credit: globetrottingstiletto.com

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Ilhan Omar Is at Best Foolhardy and at Worst, Yes, Anti-Semitic

Her latest statements seem to lack substance, motivation, or direction.


I find the case of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) to be a curious one.

Specifically, I am referring to the recent controversy over select comments of hers that have generated accusations of anti-Semitism. In all honesty, prior to doing research for this article, I was prepared to come to her defense.

When her comments consisted primarily of "Israeli hypnosis" and monied interest, I thought her wording poor, though not too egregiously deviated from that of most politicians in the current climate of bad behavior. After all, Israeli PACs surely do have a monied interest in the orientation of United States policy in the Middle East. Besides, if President Trump can hypothesize about killing someone in broad daylight and receive no official sanction, I don't see the need for the House of Representatives to hand down reprimand to Rep. Omar for simply saying that Israel may have dealt wrongly, regardless of the veracity of that position.

And yet, seemingly discontent that she had not drawn enough ire, Omar continued firing. She questioned the purported dual loyalty of those Americans who support the state of Israel, while also making claim that the beloved former President Obama is actually not all that different from the reviled current President Trump.

In short, the initial (mostly) innocuous statements about the United States' relation with Israel have been supplanted by increasingly bizarre (and unnecessary) postulations.

Those latest two controversies I find most egregious. Questioning the loyalty of an American citizen for espousing support for a heavily persecuted world religion and in defense of a refuge for practitioners of that self-same religion that has existed as an independent state since 1948, seems, in really no uncertain terms, anti-Semitic.

After all, is it not her own party that so adamantly supports persecuted Palestinians in the very same region? Is it not she and fellow Muslim Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) (who is not without her own streak of anti-Semitic controversy) that have rejected challenges to their own loyalty in being ethnically Somali and Palestinian respectively? Is her claim not akin to the "racist" demands that Obama produce proof of his birth in the United States, and the more concrete racism that asserted he truly was not? And (if you care to reach back so far) can her statement not be equated to suggestions that President John F. Kennedy would be beholden to the Vatican as the first (and to date only) Catholic to hold the presidency?

From what I can discern amongst her commentary, in Omar's mind, the rules that apply to her framework on race, ethnicity, religion, and culture as sacred idols above reproach do not extend to her Jewish contemporaries.

Oh, and may I remind you that over 70% of Jewish Americans voted for Hilary Clinton in 2016.

And yet, beyond even this hypocrisy, is the strange disdain Omar suddenly seems to hold for Barack Obama. Even as a non-Democrat, while I can find reason for this, it is still largely perplexing.

To begin with, I recognize that Ilhan Omar is not your prototypical Democrat. She would scoff at being termed a moderate, and likely would do the same to being labeled a traditional liberal. While she doesn't identify as an outright democratic socialist, one would have to be totally clueless to avoid putting her in the company of those who do, such as Tlaib or Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).

As such, she's bound to have some critical evaluations of President Obama, despite the lionizing that the Democratic establishment has and continues to engage in. Two points still stick out to me as obvious incongruities in her statement, however.

First, Obama and Trump are nothing alike. Again, this coming from someone who does not regularly support either, I can at least attempt to claim objectivity. While Obama might not have been faithful to all the demands of the far-left during his presidency, his position on the political spectrum was far from the extreme bent that Trump has ventured into.

Secondly, there is the style of the two men to consider. While Obama had his share of goofs and gaffes (I still think it somewhat juvenile that he often refused to say "radical Islamic terrorism" when referring to Islamist extremists) he pales in comparison to Trump. Every week Trump has his foot caught in a new bear trap. Obama is enormously tame in comparison.

And in addition to all of that, one must beg the question of Omar's timing. With Republicans emboldened by her controversies and House Democratic leadership attempting to soothe the masses, why would Omar strike out at what's largely a popular figure for those that support her most? There seemed no motivation for the commentary and no salient reasoning to back it up, save that Omar wanted to speak her mind.

Such tactlessness is something that'll get you politically killed.

I do not believe Barack Obama was a great president, but that's not entirely important. I don't live in Ilhan Omar's district; her constituents believe Obama was a great president, and that should at least factor into her considerations. Or maybe she did weigh the negative value of such backlash and decided it wouldn't matter? 2019 isn't an election year, after all. Yet, even if that's the case, what's to gain by pissing off your superiors when they're already pissed off at you?

You need to pick your battles wisely in order to win the war, and I'm highly doubtful Omar will win any wars by pitching scorched-earth tactics over such minute concerns.

Her attitude reminds me not only of that of some of her colleagues engaging obtusely and unwisely over subjects that could best be shrugged off (see the AOC media controversies), but also some of my own acquaintances. They believe not only in the myth of their own infallibility, but the opposition bogeyman conjured by their status in a minority or marginalized group. As the logic goes, "I'm a member of x group, and being so gives me the right to decimate anyone who has any inclination to stand against me in any capacity, tit for tat." So much for civility.

I initially came here to defend Rep. Ilhan Omar, and I still do hold to that in certain cases. The opposition to some of her positions is unwarranted. She is allotted the freedom of speech, as are all Americans.

And yet, in certain other cases she has conducted herself brashly, and, one could argue, anti-Semitically.

All I can say is that I am content living adjacent to Minneapolis, not in it. You'd be hard-pressed to find me advocating for leadership that makes manifest in such impolitic fashion.

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