How To Live Your Best Life

Maddy's Not-So-Secret Guide to Living Your Best Life, In 45 Steps Or Fewer

*I am not liable for any injuries or crimes that may or may not occur*

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There are thousands of self-help books, articles and tips for people who are searching for ways to lead a better, more happier life. For me, I've been working on my own formula on the secret to happiness and while I'm nowhere near to the final solution, I would like to share with you my own commandments on living your best life!

Please enjoy Maddy's Not-So-Secret Guide to Living Your Best Life!

*I am not liable for any injuries or crimes that may or may not occur*

1. Eat dessert. Life is too short to pass up a slice of cake.

2. Take care of your body and stay in shape after you eat the slice of cake

3. Don't just call your family and friends on birthdays and holidays. Make it more frequent.

4. If you like someone, TELL THEM. You'll never know unless you shoot your shot.

5. If they reject you, cry a bit, buy yourself a new outfit, re-download Tinder and post a hot selfie

6. Always make a good impression because the world truly is too small and you never know who you're going to run into

7. Know your politics and what you stand for

8. Also know when you've crossed the line

9. Apologize if you did something wrong

10. Conquer (or at least attempt to conquer) your worst fear (if it's in reason...don't be going around trying to wrestle sharks or something equally as stupid)

11. Try new foods

12. Who cares if you're lactose intolerant? Eat that ice cream.

13. Life is too short to buy cheap makeup

14. Meet all of your deadlines

15. Chug water before bed if you go out drinking on a weekday

16. For Pete's sake, just wear a seatbelt

17. Don't try to yell at the idiots, they will lower you down to their level

18. Pet dogs when you can

19. Always give people a hug goodbye because you never know when you'll see them again

20. Keep your hideous middle school photos so you can look back and see how much you glowed up since then

21. Sing at Karaoke Night

22. Never pass up the opportunity to dance

23. Save money but also occasionally treat yo self

24. Turn your phone off during movies

25. Recycle

26. If you're going to streak, do it at night in a low-populated area

27. It's only weird if you make it weird so try not to make it weird even if you're a weird person

28. Learn to cook for yourself without burning down the house

29. Be a good friend

30. Always hold yourself to high expectations

31. Try not to (purposely) make babies cry

32. Brush your teeth

33. It's OK to cry

34. It's not OK to resort to physical violence

35. Find a person that doesn't judge you and your crazy ways

36. Marry that person

37. Never cheat on anyone or anything

38. Pineapple belongs on pizza

39. Sing in the shower

40. Loudly cheer for your team

41. Talk to God

42. Laugh more

43. Get at least 6-8 hours of sleep

44. Don't forget where you came from

45. Treat everyday as if it's your last

That's all for now! I guarantee that if you live by these rules, you will live a much more fuller and happier life.

Cover Image Credit:

Madelene Whitfield

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

From an outside perspective, suicidal thoughts are rarely looked into deeper than the surface level. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is that people live in between those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead.

You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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20 Signs You're In A Toxic Relationship As Told By 'Sherlock Holmes'

Having Trouble In Paradise?

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No relationship is perfect. For the most part, a good relationship makes you feel euphoric, loved, respected, safe, and free. There are seven fundamental elements, including good communication, respect, trust, acceptance, compatibility, affection, and patience needed for a healthy relationship.

Good communication allows people to talk openly, without fear of being judged. Respect helps maintain equality in the relationship. Additionally, it promotes compassion and sympathy between two people. Trust lets a couple count on each other and feel safe.

In return, you build credibility and consistency with each other as your relationship becomes more and more transparent. Acceptance makes people appreciate their partners and accept them for who they are, faults and all. However, this does not extend to abuse in any form.

Compatibility brings people together and strengthens their emotional bond. Affection causes two partners to feel special, wanted, and acknowledged. Patience allows people to feel free. Pushing someone to do something they do not want to do allows causes that person to feel pressured and become they are not.

Mixed together, these seven elements create a strong, healthy long-lasting relationship.

Therefore, a toxic relationship lacks many, if all, of these elements. As a result, a toxic relationship typically makes you feel exhausted, broken, and miserable.

However, toxic connections ring multiple alarms. Sadly, many people never hear them.

Here are some of "alarms" to help you recognize a toxic relationship:

1. You are filled with insecurity. 

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You are questioning whether anyone likes you. Your partner actively tries to cut you off from your support network of friends and families. Also, nobody wants to hang out with you when you are with your partner.

2. The relationship has become boring. 

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You are lonely when you are with your partner. You no longer enjoy his/her company.

3. The atmosphere is loaded with negative energy. 

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Your partner sees himself/herself as having a much higher "mate value" than you. They think you are lucky to have them, but not vise versa.

4. Constantly complaining, making ultimatums, and yelling out commands, your partner drains your energy. 

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Your partner is all take and no give. (S)he is demanding and never takes "no" for an answer.

5. Nothing is ever your partner's fault. 

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Your partner is ALWAYS right and NEVER wrong. When you argue, one or both of you always get defensive. You can never acknowledge that the other person has some valid points. When you argue, you just blame each other rather than accepting some blame.

6. Your partners always want to control what you are doing. 

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(S)he never wants to do anything you want, making you think of several friends whom you would rather be in a relationship with.

7. You always seek acceptance from your partner. 

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You constantly are doing thing to "impress" your partner. Yet, (s)he never seems interested or proud of you when you experience success.

8. ​​​You are giving more into the relationship than what you are getting. 

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You feel like you are the only one that makes an effort in the relationship, causing the relationship to seem one-sided and like a rollercoaster.

9. The atmosphere is hostile. 

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You are too scared to confide in your partner. If you were to reveal something you are sensitive about, you are not sure how they would react.

10. Your partner causes you to lower your standards. 

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You feel nauseated about who you have become while with your partner. You can identify ways your partner has negatively influenced you. As a result, (s)he has involved you in unethical activities, causing you to feel ashamed of what you have done.

11. Your partner never treats you with respect. 

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(S)he doesn't listen to you. As a result, you do not feel able to get your partner's attention when you want to talk about something important.

12. You receive no support form your partner. 

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When your partner is listening, (s)he never takes into consideration what you are saying or feeling. Your partner is dismissive of your interests and projects. (S)he judges the things you do by how important (s)he perceives them to be, rather than how important they are to you.

13. You are always on your guard as your relationship presents constant challenges. 

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Your partner gets mad at you when you disagree with him/her. When you and your partner disagree, (s)he insists you do things his/her way or leave. It is their way or the highway.

14. Your partner diminishes your self-worth. 

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(S)he does not see you as a priority. As a result, (s)he makes jokes about leaving you or teases you about what his/her "second" or "next" partner will be like.

15. You are afraid of your partner seeing you in public with other people. 

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You dread coming home after work or school because of how much stress your partner causes you. As a result, you often spend time at Starbucks to procrastinate coming home to your partner.

16. You believe you would be nothing without your partner. 

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Despite thinking about how disrespectful, cold, untrustful, and inconsistent your partner is, you feel compelled to tell him/her how wonderful (s)he is.

17. You feel like you have betrayed your own morals and values. 

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You have changed for the worst. You feel worse about yourself as a person than when you first started the relationship. You are less confident and can see fewer positive qualities about yourself.

18. You are constantly corrected and judged. 

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Your partner implies that you are stupid or that they are "the smart one" in the relationship. (S)he tries to dissuade you from trying something new because you probably would not understand it.

19. Your partner manipulates you with gifts and compliments.  

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Your partner uses "love bombing" to gain your trust and love. (S)he regularly does something, such as giving compliments, flattery, or promises. Moreover, these actions are what you use to justify the relationship and your partner's "love" for you.

20. There is no trust in your relationship.

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Your partner always checks your phone and asks where you are going or hanging out with. As a result, you feel as though you must get their permission before you do anything. At the same time, you can not trust anything your partner says or does, causing you to constantly wonder what they are doing behind your back.

If any of this sounds familiar, it is time to make some changes.

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