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What Are You Giving to the Universe?

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A while back I came across this quote and it struck me:

"If you want to ask one question, ask yourself, what are you giving to the Universe and only that will be returned." ~Amit Ray

Something about these words stayed with me, popping into my head from time to time, stopping me in my tracks, forcing me to consider it.

I think I've finally figured out why.

So often we feel like life is happening to us.

We think no matter what we do, we have no control over what's occurring in our lives. Some of us feel we are more like pawns than people, getting moved and pushed around a game where we are unaware of the rules, and our wants and needs are never considered.

It's pretty terrifying to live that way.

And it's not even remotely true.

While it is true we can't control everything -- whether that's the people around us or the circumstances we're facing -- we can control much more than we acknowledge.

We aren't pawns.

We are people with far more power than we realize. And the first step towards recognizing our power is to know this one essential thing:

Life isn't happening to us; it's happening for us.

We have to believe that, own that and live every ounce of our lives reaching for this truth.

It doesn't mean that nothing bad will ever come our way. It doesn't mean that at all.

But what it does mean is much more essential. It means we are better prepared for whatever life presents us with.

We recognize our reactions to situations matter most. We see our attitude can make the life-changing difference between becoming bitter or becoming better.

We can practice compassion towards others and more importantly, compassion towards ourselves.

We begin to realize if we give out in a loving way, and share the best version of ourselves, that most of the time, yes--we will be given that in return.

Maybe things aren't exactly the way you would like. Maybe you feel you have no luck and you've convinced yourself you'll never be able to outrun the ominous cloud hovering over you.

Maybe you think these thoughts and other debilitating ones every single day.

Maybe you try and say positive things, but still find yourself fixating on what's not working in your favor.

That's only making things worse because whether you realize it or not, those thoughts are what you're sending out to the Universe.

And the Universe?

The Universe hears those words as if you're shouting them from a megaphone. It's that intense, that loud and that clear.

The Universe is responding to your internal monologue, even though your spoken words may be saying something else entirely.

If you recognize you can veer off on the negative-path-of-no-return, acknowledge your self-awareness.

Being aware of your negative script is the first step towards choosing different thoughts--ones that will serve you better.

When you find yourself feeling like the entire world's problems have been dumped on your doorstep, find something -- anything -- to be grateful for. It could be as simple as the breeze coming through your window, or something much more significant like being alive for another day.

Acknowledge that. Voice it.

Give yourself the gift of a more positive mantra to hear over and over, one that won't torment or destroy you.

And when you find yourself asking the Universe for your long-awaited for wants, your greatest desires and everything else at the snap of your fingers, ask what you can give to the Universe instead.

Start giving out what you most want in return--even if it's just in symbolic, meaningful ways. If you want happiness, spread joy around even if it's simply a genuine, heartfelt smile.

Sometimes it's the intention behind an act which matters most.

In this spirit of giving, you may find the person who needs your love and attention first is actually you. Give yourself the kindness you deserve and you'll then be more able to share that with the world.

But, whatever you do, please don't give away your best self, all your love, and all your help simply because you want the same in return. Don't give just because you feel you'll then be rewarded and get what you want boomeranged back at you with lightning fast velocity.

Give because it feels good, no matter what the outcome may be.

Give what you can, with all you have, because it's the most loving way to live.