Tag Archives: Self-Help

Positive people are good for you

14 Aug

If you took an inventory of the people in your life, how many of them would you classify as having a positive influence?  Do you feel loved, accepted, and optimistic because of them or do you feel downtrodden, defensive, and inferior?  It is your choice about who to allow in your life as friends, loves, acquaintances – so why not choose those who bring out the best in you?

some peopleWhile it is true that no one can make you feel anything (positive or negative) without your permission – the influence of those who support and love you cannot be underestimated.  When you love yourself and understand that you truly deserve to be surrounded by like-minded positive people, life becomes wonderful.

Below is a slide show of some of the best quotes about positive people and their impact.  Sometimes it’s better to be alone that to settle for people in  your life who don’t appreciate you…

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Put out your intentions to the universe that you want positive, uplifting, optimistic and supportive people in your life – and watch (over time) as the universe delivers!  And remove relationships that are toxic to make room for these new ones.

Wishing you a positive week!

Carol

 

The Secret to Happiness? Five Minutes of (Self-Love) Zen at a Time…

13 Aug

I never thought I’d say this but I am closer to a “permanent state of happy” than I’ve ever been before.  Yet, to look at my life objectively, I’ve got less of the material trappings than I’ve ever had in the past and my type-A personality is no longer governed by titles or financial goals.  The journey to happy has been a conscious one – and along the way I’ve gleaned a few nuggets of wisdom from others that led me to where I am today.

survival

I’d like to share them with you in the hopes that no matter where life led you in the past, and whatever is planned for tomorrow, you CAN experience moments of happy zen today.  (Even if the rest of your day is stressed beyond belief!)   But first…

A little about me

Today I earn less money and have a less stable financial future than ever before, I’m middle-aged (and the youngest I will ever be again!);  I likely won’t retire until I’m 80 (given that I find sustainable income soon); I have many stressed out friends (because of their kids and unemployment); and I’m divorced without a love/”partner” relationship.  YET (this is the good part!) on 99% of my days, I’m blissfully happy. And you can be too!

It wasn’t always that way:  I started off in my early 20’s as a young go-getter – an engineering graduate, a career-minded mother of two  with a husband in school, and multiple roles: mother, wife, daughter, friend, employer, breadwinner, maid, cook, PTA member, entrepreneur, co-worker, confidante, volunteer, role-model, sister, motivator, pet owner… I was busy, needed, loved by others, in demand, and yet something was missing.

In the midst of constant crisis (goes with being a mom and everything else) and feeling out of control, I neglected “ME.”

When things got overwhelming from the demands of others on me, I tried harder to please others and became more and more unhappy.  Self-love was something I was never taught – and the self-help books that said “take care of yourself and go take a bath” just didn’t make sense.

I WAS happy in my role as mother to two wonderful kids and my career was taking off (software consulting), but I seldom felt satisfied being me.  When it felt like the world was caving in with demands, school work, dinners, clients, employees, soccer games, family engagements, I often envied those who had the time to breathe and smell the flowers.  Here I was SuperWoman – in good health and physically fit, but there were times when I had no idea how I was going to survive the stress of it all.  I was everything to everyone and every moment of my time was spoken for by others (children, husband, clients, co-workers, employees, family, friends, acquaintances, etc.)

When I laid my head on my pillow at night and my husband wanted to be amorous, my head was already trying to find solutions to tackle the mounting to-do list only a sleepy 8 hours away.  In my dreams I was alive, but realistically I was fast asleep as far as life and loving ME.

As life progressed, the real me virtually disappeared – my (now ex-) husband continually had to be right (obsessively so) and my intuition died; my son became a violent (towards me) teenager; my business declined; and my daughter moved to NYC – I had become a Stepford Wife and the real me was gone from my personal life.

By spring of 2006, I was divorced (financially and emotionally devastated); lonely (I didn’t have any personal non-mutual friends aside from business); alone (my son was in Colorado at holistic wilderness camp); challenged in business (the nature of consulting); and essentially asleep.

What I didn’t realize then was that “While I was busy in life TAKING CARE OF THE WORLD, NO ONE (not even me) WAS TAKING CARE OF ME!”  When you are taught to take care of the world one person at a time, you really have no idea how to take care of yourself!  The cost of putting everyone else first was almost my life. At that point, I WOKE UP to the fact that even I didn’t love me!

walking

What I’ve Learned that Might Help You…

  • Although self-love is instinctive, it is systematically programmed out of us from birth.  We are taught (especially as females) to put others before ourselves – and that pleasing others is more unselfish.  What I’ve learned: Self love IS the KEY!  You have to put on your own mask first!  The airlines have it right by saying: “Put on your own mask first before assisting others” – I found out the hard way that if you sacrifice yourself in the service of others, no one takes care of you!
  • Learning self-care and self-love is (for many of us) is a new skill that can be mastered over time. After a lifetime of putting others first (what’s in it FROM ME?) I’m awakening to the realization that I matter!  (I.e., what’s in it FOR ME?)
  • The key to finding happiness comes with five minutes of self-love (my definition of “zen”) at a time

Five minutes of (Self-Love) Zen at a time…

  • Give yourself the gift of the present to get reacquainted with the real you:  set aside five minutes (at a time) anywhere that you can be alone in relative silence (even if this is a restroom stall).  Once you’ve turned off distractions (your cell phone, tablet, blackberry, pager…) – tell yourself how much you love YOU (this might seem hokey, but bear with me).  Make sure you use words such as “I love you – you deserve to be loved – you are a wonderful, kind, giving, genuine person.  Pretend that you are your child, a best friend, a lover and use words that you would use for them.  (Note that you may not want to say this aloud in a restroom stall – you might get attention that you really don’t want!);
  • Be kind – think about five things that you do well (this sometimes takes practice) and remind yourself of this. These can be little things such as “you know better than anyone how to see the good in others”, “you are imaginative and creative”;
  • Be playful – consider one or two things that make you smile (or if it’s not happening in the present, something that made you smile in the past) and thank yourself for being able to smile!;
  • Be giving – imagine surrounding yourself with the warmest, most embracing, most genuine bear hug you can possibly give – filled with appreciation and love;
  • Be ruthless and protective: when your inner critic tries to interfere in YOUR five minutes – tell them this is your time and tell them to “shut up and butt out”;
  • Be conscious – take in the air around you and breathe – thanking your heart for beating and allowing you to transform the air into oxygen that your body needs;
  • Be optimistic – tell yourself that you are a survivor (you are!) who deserves the best things in life no matter what is happening around you outside of this five minutes. Make sure you tell yourself the same wondrous things you’d say to a best friend you are encouraging;
  • Close your eyes and imagine the warmth of a newborn swaddled and cuddled in the arms of the most loving parent – give yourself this gift even if you’ve never experienced it for yourself. Become the loving parent (for five minutes at a time) to your true inner self;
  • Be proud of yourself:  too often we seek acceptance and approval from others when we really need it from within – tell yourself how proud you are that you’ve made it this far in life!  That’s an accomplishment in itself and a privilege that you are alive!;
  • One foot forward at a time: all you need to do no matter where you are at in life is to put one foot forward at a time – a marathon is won by many small steps – and you CAN take one step forward no matter what’s going on in your life. Just one step – a baby step is admirable!;
  • Remind yourself of your value:  you deserve happiness, peace, tranquility, love, and time for you.

five minutes five steps

For me, the many, many five minute sessions of self-love zen are becoming second nature.  It’s really been crucial to me learning to take care of myself and overcome the tendency to put everyone else first. (Forty plus years of self-neglect takes time and energy to overcome!)

It is so much easier to face (and conquer) the challenges of everyday life (finances, lack of work, unemployment, disrespectful people, acquaintances who I thought were friends, family, disappointments, etc.) when I know that I have at least 3 main supporters in my life:  Me, Myself and I – and that I can rely on them to come to my rescue with Five Minutes of Self-Love Zen throughout the day.

Wishing you a wonderful day!

p.s., if you got ANYTHING out of this post – please let me know. Comments (good, bad, ugly, amusing) are welcome!

Carol

Trust means letting go of the outcome

11 Dec

I’ve been on hiatus – living life to the fullest, meeting new people, having the best time of my life, learning that becoming my own best friend is a wonderful thing!

As part of this journey of happiness (“Happiness is a journey not a destination” – Souza), I am discovering that TRUST is a powerful word laden with all sorts of emotional baggage from the past.  I grew up with an unbalanced view of God and the universe (in my humble opinion) – if anything in my life went well, I was told that it was because of God shining favorably on me.  However, if anything went bad in my life, well that was solely due to my inadequacy to make things go right – and furthermore it must have been due to my personal lapse with God.

Today I know better!  I know that there are certain things that are within my control (trusting my instincts, choosing what is best for me, putting my best self into a relationship, making good choices, choosing whether to stay friends with abusive people, being kind, doing charity, etc.) and there are many things that are completely outside of my control (how other people behave, other people’s choices, what people say or do to me, the weather, traffic patterns, who passes me on the street, when the universe will deliver what I need, etc.)

It’s not really trust when it is within YOUR control…

For me, the road to becoming blissfully happy has been to know the difference between what I can control (me) and what I cannot.  Trusting myself has little risk – the outcome is something that I can reliably count on.   I trust that my perceptions, feelings, intuitions, and outlook are genuine and right for me. It is powerful to know this (and to dismiss as uninformed anyone who tells me otherwise.)

Cover of

Cover of The Four Agreements: A 48-Card Deck

Sidenote:  If you are like me and spent time in a narcissistic or controlling household or marriage or relationship, to arrive at a position of trusting oneself (after years of being told your perceptions were wrong) is an accomplishment in itself.  Never allow anyone to override what you know is best for you – your intuition is the best friend you can ever have!  Read The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz for guidance on doing this (Agreement #1 – Always live with integrity.  (in other words, respect and love yourself and never say anything to yourself that you would not say to a best friend!)

Trust really comes in when you do not have control…

I believe that our views on Trust (trusting another to put your best interests first) gives “Trust” way too much power over us.

We trust our government to do the right thing (individuals do what is in THEIR best interests not necessarily ours), friends to be there for us (again it may not be in their best interests all the time), family to love us (outside of our control), and the universe/God to answer our prayers and manifest our dreams (timing is outside of our control.)  And when the other party lets us down, we find it hard to trust again.

But, when we reframe the word Trust into a concept where we let go of the outcome and tie Trust to Hope and not Expectations – we can continue to Trust without being angry or hurt by the outcome.

Trust tied to expectations ends up being about me (which is ego-centric and unfair to everyone involved).

Trust tied to hope is about letting go of the outcome and realizing that life happens in spite of us.  This is a much healthier way to live.

Let me illustrate with a few examples:

1. I ask you to mail a package for me and I “trust” that you will do it.

If trust = expectations, then if something comes up (outside of my control) and you neglect to mail the package at the appointed time, I will be angry at you for not meeting my expectations (and putting me ahead of other priorities).  If trust = hope, I can let go of the emotion that the outcome had anything to do with me.  I can be disappointed, but with hope, I can realize that the outcome was not within my control.  I trusted that the outcome would be good, but can live with the fact that it was not what I had hoped for.

2. I ask you to go to a company dinner with me and I “trust” that you will attend.

If trust = expectations, then if you forget to put it on your calendar and make other plans, I will be agitated that I wasn’t important enough (when the result may have had little to do with me.)  If trust = hope, then I can be disappointed, but I can realize that I cannot control you or your behavior.  (I may not ask you the next time, or may remind you next time, but I can live knowing that I am not in control of you!)

3. I commit my dreams to God/the Universe and “trust” that they will come true.

If trust = expectations, then when my dreams do not manifest in the exact time and place I want, I lose faith in God and the universe and wonder what I did wrong.  If trust = hope, then as my dreams unfold in the exact way that is best for me (I have to trust in this) then I am okay with the outcome.  Life seldom unfolds in the exact way we would have it if we were entirely in control, and often it comes out better than we could have ever planned.

The Next Five Weeks…

I have a wedding (my son), a move (5 weeks notice to vacate was just given to me by my landlord), the holiday season (laden with people and stressors), and some family issues to deal with… I know that I will get through it all by reframing Trust with Hope.  I trust (hope) that the universe will help me to find the perfect new place to live; that my son’s wedding will be a day they long remember with fondness; that the family issues will sort themselves out.  But I don’t expect it all to be “peaches and cream and rosy.”  I can do what I can do and Trust (= hope) that everything will turn out fine.

I hope that something I’ve written here resonates with you – have a wonderful December and a Happy New Year 2013!

Carol

Saying NO to saying yes – a Survival Guide

7 May

There are two types of people in the world – those who say “no” and those who say “yes” as a matter of upbringing, personality, habit, or need for acceptance.

Stereotypically, the people who say “yes” are women who were raised to go with the flow, be service-oriented, don’t rock the boat, and the best one – take care of others before you take care of yourself.  Many of us learned and believed that the latter was our lot in life playing a support role to the world.

One of the most powerful self-care words in the English language is the word “no” (even when your first inclination is to still say “yes”) because it allows one the space to consider our own wants and needs first (which is the way it always should have been) before accepting the needs of another to override.  Much of my adult life has been spent saying yes: yes to children, yes to a spouse, yes to volunteer roles, yes to school, yes to friends, yes to everyone – and, no to myself.

In some ways, it is dishonest (and poor communication) to say yes, when no is what we really need to say (to survive!)

Finally, having read enough survival guides, I realize that “no” is a critical survival technique that should be taught to girls (especially!) and boys everywhere – we only have one life and one person (me) who will take the care to make sure our needs are actually met.  Everyone else wants to make sure their needs are met first!

But for every opinion, there is someone who dissents…

It comes as no surprise that the number of opinions in society at least equals the number of blogs online (gazillions!), but today’s post from a blog I read weekly took me aback.  You can read it yourself by clicking on the image below:

WOW – how completely opposite!!!  (But not surprising when you consider the writer is male.)

When you read the outlined paragraph, it falls along the lines of how I believe that my generation (end of the boomers) in North Americans are raised: boys were raised to take care of themselves, and girls were raised to take care of – well – everyone (except themselves).

In other words females are raised to put others first (in John’s blurb above:  “What’s in it FROM me”) to our detriment.  As a habit, putting others first without consideration of how it will affect one’s own (mental, physical or emotional) health is sheer suicide!  As a matter of survival, saying “no” more often allows us to be 1. Honest with what we can or cannot do; and 2. survivors by saying (finally!) “what’s in it FOR me.”

Having grown up with three brothers, I also saw that the natural tendency was for boys to be raised with the right survival mechanism – in boy scouts the mantra was “be PREPARED” or in other words, take care of yourself first (what’s in it FOR me.)

Why is there gender inequality?  Who knows?  But the best way forward is for everyone (regardless of gender) to take care of their own needs first (see Put on your Own Mask first) so that NO is an option, and not rotely saying YES and regretting it.

What do you think?

Related posts:

I “no” you’ll find a way to have a good week!

Carol

 

 

The top 10 affirmations for 2012… The “Royal We” Checklist

2 Jan

2012 is already starting to be an awesome year – and it’s only two days old!

Instead of having a list of resolutions about what I want to change about myself and my current situation, I want to follow my advice about self-love by practicing what I preach.  In other words, “walking the talk”, doing what I say I am going to do, being consistent and living with integrity – well, you get it.

A bit of background…

I spent most of my life being told:rear view mirror

  • what to believe (a strict no-questions religious upbringing),
  • how to feel (“Carol, you should feel happy about …”),
  • how to dress (vanity is the work of the devil),
  • why I do what I do (“you are purposely making me late so that you will make me embarrassed”),
  • how to be a friend (“you have to be a friend to have a friend” – ignoring the fact that I had any rights in any relationship not to put up with verbal or other abuse!),
  • how much others loved me (“I’m only telling you this for your own best interests because I love you so much”), and
  • how much more they knew about me (“I know you better, Carol, than you know yourself”),
  • and so much more, and the worst part of it all was that

I believed them and allowed these people in my inner circle of life to override my intuition and self-love.

For most of my life, I put more credence into what others purported (and sometimes yelled to insist) to know about me, that I became invisible. In my personal life, I became the amorphous amoeba-like people pleaser that everyone else wanted me to be, and in the process, I fell-asleep to the wonderful, incredible, creative person who is me.

I woke up six years ago (and am happily divorced!) and have been on a path to self-discovery and acquainting myself with the Royal We (me, myself, and I) from whom I have withheld true love since birth.  It has been too long without self-love!

2012 is the Year for Us!

2012 is going to be my year of affirmation and true love for the Royal We, and because of this goal I am already a happier, healthier person.  I share my Royal We checklist with you in the hopes that your journey of self-love can advance to a place where you can become the great person you already are (and just don’t yet know!)

The Royal We Checklist

1. WAKE-UP:  Did I begin the day truly thankful to be in the company of the Royal We?  Did I thank myself for one great characteristic that I am proud to have?

2. GOOD MORNING!  Did I look at myself in the mirror and notice at least one great physical attribute? (I love how my eyes sparkle!)

3. PUTTING ME INTO THE DAY:  Have I planned my day to include at least one totally selfish, self-indulgent pleasure that I can do without anyone else? (It can be as simple as walking down to the seashore for 5 minutes because I live near the water or making sure that I look up at dusk to enjoy the sunsets that I so love!)

4. CHOOSE TO SHARE UNCONDITIONALLY: It is MY choice throughout the day whether or not to share a great aspect of the Royal We with anyone else – to give, to smile, to complement, to help, to be courteous – and if so, it is my gift to the world without conditions or strings attached.  If others choose not to receive or accept graciously, or reciprocate, that is THEIR choice and it has nothing to do with the value of my gift.

5. STOP THE GUILT programming from the past about anything in the present by affirming that the Royal We have rights!  We have the right to our own earned income (the Royal We works hard), good food (yes, we deserve to indulge in our favorite cheese even if it is more expensive), good friends (who respect us and affirm us) and great experiences that  we can afford.  The life I am living today with the Royal We is the only life we have.

6. THE ROYAL WE COMES FIRST!  Remind myself that I am the only one who can or ever should put the Royal We FIRST!  It was a lie that I was taught to put others first and that then others will put me first – it is not the way that life works!  It is a right of life that I should “put on my own mask first” before helping others… and it is about time that this becomes instinctual! (Sidenote: it is not a reflection on oneself when you have to terminate a “friendship” or other relationship that is toxic or off-balance or providing no value… it is a reflection on the incapability of the other person to be a friend to us.)

7. CHOOSE TO BE HAPPY ALONE WITH THE ROYAL WE.  We are on this earth to be happy – to make heaven on earth… yet so many others attempt to make it a living hell for themselves and others!  I choose to be happy today and everyday – content with the satisfaction that I am always in the great company of the Royal We!

8. LOSE THE ANTICIPATION and expectation of anyone outside of the Royal We. While “we” grew up with the Golden Rule and a giving nature, it is not an universal belief.  The only change I can make in life is about me – not about anyone else, and THAT IS OKAY!

9. STAY COGNIZANT THAT WE ARE ONLY RESPONSIBLE FOR OUR OWN BEHAVIOR. When others behave badly, as they inevitably will – it is THEIR responsibility (not ours) to clean up the mess without our involvement!  Just as we must take ownership of our own doings, others are responsible for:

  • their actions (yelling, berating, ranting),
  • their words (especially when negative, disempowering, disrespectful),
  • their tantrums (stomping, screaming, pouting, silent treatment),
  • their lack of support, and
  • their judgments!

When the person in question is over the biological age of 2, remember to be thankful that we have the Royal We to hang out with.

 10. LOVE THE ROYAL WE COMPLETELY AND UNCONDITIONALLY!  I am reminded of the mom-ism (a saying from my mother): “remember wherever you go, there you are!”  Finally at this awakened point in my life — I am truly grateful this is true.

WE, (The Royal We, that is) are going to have an incredible year and we hope that you do too!  Happy 2012!

Carol

Dear Daughter, Lessons from a female engineer (part 3)

29 Nov

This is a follow-up to two postings I did in January 2011: Dear Daughter, Lessons from a female engineer (part 1) and Dear Daughter, Lessons from a female engineer (part 2).  Now that it is almost the end of the year, I find myself with more thoughts, so I hope you will enjoy this latest installment.

SunsetDear Daughter,

You are so lovely and grown up, and it is a joy to watch you fulfill your hopes and dreams!  Godspeed to you and the wonderful life you have made.

As with my earlier posts, I hope that you do not mind the mom-isms below – take them or leave them as you will.  My purpose is simply to share with you some of my hard-learned lessons in the hopes that you might avoid some of my missteps.

If I repeat myself or seem to overemphasize certain points, please consider that my memory is not as sharp as it once was, and that it’s been several months since the last post to you. So here goes:

  • Follow your dreams!

When you set out on a path that leads to your dreams, do not be swayed by short-term failures, missteps or naysayers.  There will always be those who stand in your way of reaching your goals, (because they have their own ideas for you,) but they cannot live your life.  Friends, lovers, family, and others who do not support you may need to be set aside while you follow your dream. Some of these will pick up the pace and choose to support you – embrace them; others will continue to call out from behind – ignore them.  You need positive people in your life, not drama queens with their own agendas.

  • Do not stop doing something new out of fear

Fear of failure or of the unknown or fear of “what people will say” often are unfounded fears that stop us from doing exactly what we need to do (to move forward in our life).  We are raised in negativity (I apologize for continuing this cultural trend!) Did you know that by the time a child is two years old, on average he/she has heard the word “no” over 67,000 times?  This is not a good trend for later life! 

If you entertain thoughts about failure, balance them out with the joy of outstanding success — and you’ll find that the fear subsides.  And, if you hold a fear of “what people will say,” then you are not the daughter I know. You always try new things, challenge the boundaries, and succeed beyond all expectations.

This mom-ism is more intended for me!  I need to overcome my childhood where the constant reminder was “don’t do that – imagine what the neighbors will think!”  I now no longer care what my neighbors (or anyone else for that matter) think, and I relish in the independence and freedom that comes from this new insight.  I find that the best experiences in life come when you are doing what you want to do, not what others expect.

  • Be confident that you are exactly where you are meant to be

I love that you did not marry the first person you fell in love with, and that you are waiting until you find the right person (and are not settling for less!)  I also know that we do not choose who we fall in love with, but it is up to us to make sure that we take care of our own well-being first before we dive into a full relationship with such persons.  If someone you love wants to change “you” to suit their needs, know that this is not true love – it is controlled or conditional love.  The love that I wish for you is a love that is unconditional, pure, giving, and accepting, where you can keep up both yourself and your integrity.  The potential for co-dependence, unfortunately, came with your genes (I apologize!) and as with all hereditary traits, takes vigilance to keep at bay. You are a whole, complete, and perfect person just as you are, and your choice of a partner should complement the true you!

  • Forgiving does not mean forgetting

The saying that “forgiveness heals the forgiver” is absolutely true and I urge you to forgive as often as you can to stay emotionally sane in an insane world. People will disappoint, hurt, be cruel, and inflict pain on you – and often do so ignorantly or without caring about the impact on you.  The act of forgiveness allows you to move forward and realize another’s missteps, without necessarily allowing them back into the same place in your life.  Forgiveness means saying “I feel hurt by you, but I forgive you and can move on” but it does not mean “I will forget that you ever did this to me.”  Serial forgiveness of an habitual hurt is a different story — remember the adage “fool me once, shame on you… but fool me twice, shame on me” .  I believe this means that we should forgive an offender once (giving them the benefit of the doubt that it was an accidental occurrence), but a second time requires vigilance and a memory on our part.

Pride, arrogance, and vanity are not the same as self-esteem, yet they were interchangeable for many of our childhoods.  Self-esteem is confidence in oneself that comes from within, and cannot be gained from the approval of others.  If we encouraged our youth to have better self-esteem, we would see gang problems decrease (as people would no longer need gangs for approval) and bullying would drop dramatically if insecure people did not feel the need to prove themselves.

Safeguard your self-esteem and keep it fully charged – it is like the story of the cookie jar I’ve mentioned before. Keep your own cookie jar brimming with cookies (take care of your own needs first) before filling the cookie jars of others (giving your time and energy to others).  When you have high self-esteem, everyone benefits because you can give freely without resentment, and you can face disappointment because you understand that the reactions of others have nothing to do with you.

  • Relationships of all kinds depend on a symbiotic give and take

If you find yourself in a relationship (love, friendship, family) where you are giving or taking more than 50% over a long time, it’s time to re-evaluate whether the relationship is healthy for you.  When one person gives more than their share (more than half) and the other takes more, it is only a matter of time before resentment sets in. The giver will one day wake up to the fact that they have given too much and resent his or her own part in this over-giving and resent the other party (even if they love him or her) for over-taking.  Neither over-giving or over-taking is a healthy situation, and as a former over-giver I can attest that it takes a long time to get over the tendency to over-give and to forgive myself for doing so much over-giving in past relationships.  I want more happiness for you in your relationships!

  • Understand that it takes many people many more years to arrive at their “Truth”

We all find what we believe to be “the truth” of life almost as if it was a paragraph inscribed in a stone tablet. Our Truth embodies our values, our principles, our precepts, our boundaries, and sets a level above which we expect all others to adhere.  Unfortunately, your truth is strictly yours alone and just as no one else in the world has the same life experiences as you or I, no one else will have discovered this same truth. Some people never discover a truth at all and amble along in their life like a “pinball” in a pinball machine – being tousled by outsiders who tell them what he/she ought to feel or do according to the outsider’s truth.  Others come to realize their truth based on their life experiences or lack thereof and become entrenched in a belief system that negates all others who do not uphold their truth.  You can see evidence of this everywhere with extremism even in our society.  Value and hold dear the truths that you discover, and know that no one else will share the same truth or be as passionate as you are about it.  Respect and understanding go a long way in life, and really hold off the disappointment I often feel from others.

  • In closing…

I hope that you can glean one or two nuggets out of this mountain of words I wrote to you today.  Hindsight is 20/20 and I hope that your life moving forward can be a wondrous adventure filled with sights, sounds, and experiences that take your breath away.

In love and kindness,

Mom

p.s., It is a wonderful achievement to say that I love my life!  And it’s stellar with you and your brother in it giving me moments that take my breath away every day!

There is no “Secret” to Life…

14 Jul

Have you ever purchased a self-help book in the hopes of gaining some insight about yourself and the people in your life?  If you have, then you are on the positive side of life!  Your pursuit of answers beyond yourself shows that you are open to new ideas and open to change.

Those who never consider anyone else or who never look beyond their own limited knowledge of life, unfortunately, don’t see their own culpability in the how they behave.  You know these people in  your own life – they run the gamet from self-centered to sociopaths to narcissists to simply being ignorant in the world.

You may have heard of one of the best-selling self-help pop-culture books to come out of the last decade: “The Secret”.

The premise of The Secret is the Law of Attraction – it promotes the idea that we attract what we “want” or desire in our lives.  I agree that positive visions inspire (and produce) positive outcomes in life, but I’ve struggled with the notion that we attract every person and experience into our lives through our thoughts – it just doesn’t make sense.  I believe that we are magnets for all sorts of energy – some positive and some negative and it is what we do with this energy that influences our future.

I never fully embraced all of The Secret – and I believe it inspires delusional thinking of sorts:  such as, when bad things happen to good people, the followers of The Secret purport that these good people manifested the bad things to happen… and that is just plain wrong. (In fact, some followers support the premise that all the people who die in a plane crash manifested it to happen and that they were all vibrating at exactly the same frequency of energy at the same time).  I say B.S. and I just don’t believe it!

I think that The Secret is really no secret at all – it has a good premise (positive thinking = positive results) but it is overly simplistic (and dangerous) in how it represents life.  In fact, one of the main speakers featured in the movie version of The Secret – James Ray – was actually found guilty of three counts of negligent homicide in the deaths of three of his self-help followers in June 2011.  (See the full London Guardian story here: At the Temple of James Arthur Ray). Hmmmm, did he manifest a jail term and deaths, as his presence in The Secret might support?  I think not – I believe that life transpires in spite of our best intentions at times.  We can control aspects of our life, but we live in an interconnected world with others!

On my delightful (and still somewhat uncomfortable) journey of my own secrets to life and happiness over the past 5 years, I’ve come to realize that

There is no “Secret” to Life!

Here is what I know to be true about (my) life:

  • I believe that the universe is energy and we are all part of the cosmic energy force, however, some people have more negative energy than positive, and thus we need some people who are more positive than negative to balance it all out;
  • There is no reciprocity in people.  Some people are givers, some are takers, some are bullies, some are abusers, some are generous, and there is no guarantee that the people you “attract” into your life will be necessarily good or wholesome;
  • Just because you are a good friend does NOT mean that people will be a good friend to you;
  • One never needs to tolerate abusive behavior from others;
  • We meet all sorts of people in our lives – it is up to us to CHOOSE those we want to keep and those we wish to discard;
  • Just because something negative happens does not mean we “MANIFESTED IT” to be;
  • Love does not mean giving up one’s identity for another;
  • Love should not be painful;
  • People are unpredictable – no matter how long you might “know” them, you can never predict behavior;
  • Many people do not know themselves but are happy to project on others;
  • Expectations lead to disappointment – but a lack of expectations can result in some good surprises;
  • No one can ever “should do” something -“Should” inflicts judgment and criticism on another’s choices;
  • A kind word can heal a broken heart;
  • Everything is temporary (good, bad, fun, sorrow) – change is the natural state;
  • Chaos is a relative term;
  • Friends are the family we choose for ourselves – just because you were born with siblings does not make them “kin”;
  • I am the best judge of what is best for me – not someone else;
  • My intuition works far better than I give it credit;
  • My perceptions are as valid and correct as anyone else’s;
  • An opinion or advice is just a viewpoint of another – and it is my God-given right to ignore them all;
  • Acquaintances come and go — often they are disguised as friends;
  • I will never again be with anyone who is demeaning to others;
  • I deserve true, unconditional love;
  • Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me – but I may simply be kind and you took advantage;
  • Friends follow through;
  • Friends don’t abuse friends;
  • Life is like an ocean full of waves – sometimes things build up to great swells of positive or negative – but eventually things will calm down;
  • Envisioning your future can help your dreams come true;
  • Be careful who you share your dreams with – those without dreams will take yours away;
  • Never make anyone a priority for whom you are only an option (a favorite!);
  • Friends (and family) who are there only when you support THEM are not true friends;
  • Be careful what you wish you – you just might get it!

I do not believe for a minute the incredulous lies of a Landmark Forum salesperson who purported that he had a friend whose travel plans were “never interrupted because he manifests it so” – all I can say is that the guy obviously never travels on commercial aircraft or lives in the real world.

The only secret to life is that there is no secret.  Life is what life is – and the best we can do to bring about a positive future is to envision it, embrace the journey, be happy with who we are, and enjoy the ride as best we can!

Have a great week!

Carol

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