All kinds of things can go wrong with houses.  There are leaky pipes, chipping paint, and design flaws.  Let’s say our body and mind is a house.  Here are 10 ways to do home improvement to stand strong and beautiful.

1.      Get Rid of Flies in the Kitchen

According to Don Miguel Ruiz, one of The Four Agreements we need to make with ourselves to create love and happiness in our life is to not take anything personally.  Harsh words spoken to us are like flies in the kitchen.  When they come our way, not taking them personally will mean our kitchen is clean and those pesky flies do not exist.  Although we can’t control what others say we can control how we respond. Although this may seem impossible, I challenge you to give it a try.

2.      Fix Leaky Pipes

Leaky pipes cause damage in the walls or under the sink, often before it's even noticeable.  Judgmental thoughts are like that leaky pipe causing damage in our minds and hearts.  Fear is most often the instigator.  Making a decision to stop judging others is like fixing that leaky pipe. 

3.      Enjoy Your Drive Through the Neighborhood

Just as each house is different, each one of us is different.  In addition to its basic structure, each house has been furnished with things we love and enjoy.  It’s important for us to acknowledge that, like our homes, each person is different and they have furnished their lives with things they love and enjoy.  And like our houses, we won’t be able to see if they have structural issues or a pest control problem just by looking at them from the street.  Don’t try.  Enjoy your drive.   

4.      Invest in Home Improvements

As houses need new furnaces and updates, our lives do too. Replacing that dated dryer is like deciding to break free from a friendship that isn’t working anymore.  Notice what is and isn’t working in your life and invest in things that will make your life run more smoothly.

5.      Be Proud of Your Beautiful Rooms

As some houses come with a fantastic kitchen or expansive back yard, each of our lives have special attributes that stand out too.  Identify what you're good at and show off those gifts.  Allow others in your life to reap the benefits of the talents you have to offer.  Invite them over and show them your best room!

6.      Build Fences

We often put a fence in our yard to keep our dog in or to keep others out.  Sometimes, we need to build a fence in our relationships with others.  This allows us to understand what we own and what we don’t own.  It also allows us to enjoy our yard, keep out what doesn’t belong there, and invite in who we want to see.  The amazing book Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend explains these principles and teaches how to build good boundaries in our lives.

7.      Perform Routine Maintenance

To maintain a house, we need to clean, change furnace filters, and mow the lawn.  When we leave the basic maintenance alone, our homes become messy and difficult to live in.  Likewise, we need to eat right, get enough sleep, and exercise.  Without this routine maintenance, we'll become messy and difficult to live with.  Taking care of our basic maintenance allows us to be strong.

8.      Call the Insurance Company

When a storm hits, a homeowner will call the insurance company to help repair the damage.  Our personal lives also have tragedies.  That’s when it’s time to call our friends and family for help.  They are like the insurance company and will help repair the damage.  We may even have a more beautiful house when we’re done!

9.      Pay Your Bills

It’s my house.  Along with the benefits of ownership come the responsibilities of paying utilities, property taxes, and insurance.  Likewise, we all have the responsibilities of owning our thoughts, emotions, and actions.  Instead of believing we are a victim in life, blaming others for our circumstances or being defensive about what has happened we need to take responsibility for it all.  No one else will pay our bills and no one else will take care of our thoughts, emotions, and actions.

10.    Stop trying to keep up with the Jones

There will always be someone with a bigger house, a snappier wit or more well behaved children.  Although it seems natural for us to compare ourselves to others, we will always lose the comparison game.   It’s best to stop the madness and be grateful for what we have.

Just as houses need to be cared for, so do our lives.  The more we care for them, the more beautiful they will be.  We will enjoy being in them and will be able to give more to others.  

Protect your most precious investment - your life.