Are You Entitled To Happiness?

August 29, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog

Photo by Angie Rubin

Do you believe you are entitled to happiness?  Now take your time answering this question because in the answer lies much of the reason for your current quality of life.

Many of us unconsciously believe we don’t deserve to live whatever life we profess to want.  The reason for this phenomenon is usually low self-esteem.  We think we are not worthy and then we punish ourselves by thinking negative thoughts and attracting difficult situations into our lives in order to prove our point.

I know this scenario too well.  I have spent a great part of my adult life afraid of negative things happening while at the same time creating situations where the only possible outcome was bad.  While after much soul searching I came to understand the reasoning for my psyche to have reached the point of never ending negativity, I still needed to come up with ways to change.

As each one of us have their own reason why we get trapped in the negative merry-go-round, getting out is a bit more universal.

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Embracing Forgiveness

August 27, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog

Photo By Angie Rubin

I have great capacity for forgiveness.  And so I’ve had numerous partners and friends tell me I’m wrong when I forgive.  I’m told I act like that because I don’t have enough self-respect.  As I result I have tried holding people accountable for what they have done and the consequences, but felt unhappy.  Recently I’ve figured out why. I realized that it is okay to hold people accountable for what they do, but it is also okay to forgive.  But most important; it is also okay to hold people accountable if we are coming from a place of love and not hatred.

It’s interesting how we get the true meaning of strength and self-respect mixed-up.  We have bought into the folklore that if we let others “have it” then we are strong.  I now believe that is a misnomer. We are strong when we don’t need to show or prove anything to anyone.

Stating how we feel from a place of love, takes a lot more courage than yelling.  Stating how we feel with calmness makes us vulnerable.  It makes us human.  But most important if we come from love we are actually trying to be heard and to listen.  And we are trying to mend not destroy.  Even if people move in their own separate ways by coming from a place of calm the healing process will have room to exist and thrive.

Living in love and forgiveness is our way to happiness and contentment.  There cannot be happiness where there is resentment.

We are beings of communities.  We must relate.  We must coexist. We must learn to forgive.  In forgiveness we find our own freedom.

“When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is strong than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.” – Catherine Ponder

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Pat Summitt’s Courage

August 24, 2011 by  
Filed under Inspiring People

The winningest college basketball coach in history announces she’s suffering from early onset Alzheimer’s.

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How To Overcome Stress

August 24, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog

Photo By Angie Rubin

Sometimes it seems to me that the last few years of my life have been mostly about overcoming obstacles and stress.  This big cycle started in 2006 with my late husband’s cancer diagnosis.  From that point on I dealt with a transplant, health insurance, losing Chris, losing my savings, my father’s serious illness, and family turmoil.  So to me all those years were sink or swim.  I chose to swim.

In choosing to live, to thrive and find contentment in very tough times, I’ve had to change the way I dealt with feelings and situations.  I’ve learned to:

  • Take deep breaths throughout my day.  It helps release stress energy and it grounds me.
  • Be fully in the present.  Thinking how life used to be or thinking ahead doesn’t help any.  It only creates more stress.  I focus on now.
  • Deal with one thing at a time.
  • Realize although my difficulty and pain are unique to me, they are not unique to human existence.  Every single one of us goes through difficulties in our lives. That helps me stop feeling like a victim.
  • Step outside the situation at hand and realize that everything that happens in our lives – whatever it is – creates the opportunity for change and wisdom.  So what can I learn from what’s going on?
  • Rely on myself.  I’ve learned to listen to my own voice.  I have a better idea of what matters to me, what I can tolerate, and what brings me contentment.
  • In solitude, I’ve learned I’m never alone.   I have always myself and with that knowledge I can create situations that bring happiness and sooth the struggle.

Of course difficult times are just that; difficult.  But if we can find ways to better navigate them, we don’t have to lose hope and despair.  Keep the other side in sight and the journey becomes a path to wisdom and contentment.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle

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Meet Your Best Friend- YOU

August 22, 2011 by  
Filed under Featured

Interesting post below discussing self-abandonment.  It basically states – and I agree – that no adult can really abandoned by someone else except by their own selves.  That’s because as an adult we physically no longer need someone to feed and shelter us.  We must do that for ourselves. We won’t be discussing physical abandonment but psychological and emotional.

I know a lot about self-abandonment.  I have loving parents who for many reasons didn’t do a lot of parenting.  When things at home turned to being impossible for me to grow and thrive, I left.  But what followed were decades of self-deprecation as a way of me “paying” for having been “bad” and having left my family.  The results were devastating: abusive relationships and financial turmoil.

It wasn’t until a real disaster happened in my life – the loss of my husband – that I stopped to think why I had let depression and anxiety be my constant companions.  I took a long trip inward, got to know myself, and realized it had been I who had abandoned my life.

If you are in touch with your real feelings and desires than you must have compassion for yourself because you know how you have struggled and overcame all the difficulties in your life. You know where you have been, who you were and who you are.

Compassion is a door to love.  You open that door and love comes out.

If you love yourself than you know no matter what happens and who walks in or out of your life, you will always be there for you.

People always say we come into this world alone and we leave alone.  That’s mostly true but what is missing is pointing out that in having our own companionship we keep depression, anxiety and a sense of loss at bay.

No one is truly alone when they have themselves.

Please read on.

Self-Abandonment

By Margaret Paul Ph.D.

If you feel alone, empty, anxious, depressed, hurt, angry, jealous, sad, fearful, guilty or shamed, you are abandoning yourself. In this article, discover the ways you might be abandoning yourself.

The Encarta® World English Dictionary defines “abandon” as: “to leave somebody or something behind for others to look after, especially somebody or something meant to be a personal responsibility.”  Continued…

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Anyone Can Find Contentment Today

August 19, 2011 by  
Filed under Featured

Posted below is an interesting post about the meaning of life. The central idea is there is no meaning out there to be found, but only the meaning we make.

I fully agree with the post. You can give two different people a set of circumstances and they will feel and react differently.  One person might find meaning in the situation.  The other may not.  So what makes these two people feel differently? Who they are.  What they bring to the experience.

Meaning is a very personal experience. I may find meaning in writing while someone else could experience it as sheer hell. That is why no one can tell another how to live their lives in order to find meaning and contentment.  Actually to me meaning equals contentment.

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Sometimes Letting Go Is Best

August 17, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog

Sometimes no matter what we do, a relationship doesn’t work out.  It is terribly painful when after trying all different ways of being and relating we come to the understanding a particular dynamic will never be satisfying or even civilized.  Once we get to that point the next hardest thing happens; we need to let go.  This scenario happens in friendships, in family and romantic relationships.

Yesterday, talking to a friend she shared she had come to the end of trying to have a minimally positive relationship with her husband of fifteen years.  In her case, her husband went from being a recovering alcoholic to being an alcoholic.  And no matter what she says or tries he continues on his path of self-destruction.  She has decided to ask him to leave; a very painful decision as they also have kids.  But she has come to the point where she understands there can’t be a relationship between them beyond her being his caretaker.

I understand her decision.   I too recently have come to the same point with a family member.  It is not easy, but when you realize there will never be a good outcome, the only thing you can do is remove yourself from the equation.  Now I didn’t come to this point easily.  We are talking of an entire life time of trying different approaches and a lot of pain as a result.  But sometimes we have to be humble and recognize it really isn’t up to us.

Ending or withdrawing from a relationship is not a perfect solution, especially if it involves a family member.  In these situations one must understand there is no satisfying outcome.  There is only the healthier path. It doesn’t mean you have stopped loving them.  It just means you realize a relationship is not possible.

Letting go of people is never easy, but sometimes having them in our lives causes us more pain than good.  And that goes for the other person as well.  In those instances center yourself, take a deep breath, wish them well, and let them go without anger or recrimination.

Some think it’s holding on that makes one strong; sometimes it’s letting go. — Sylvia Robinson

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Living A Non-Stressful Life

August 14, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog

‘Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis
on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without
rushing toward the future. Live the actual moment.
Only this moment is life.’ ~Thich Nhat Hanh

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines stress as: a - a physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation B : a state of bodily or mental tension resulting from factors that tend to alter an existent equilibrium.

We all have stress in your lives, that’s a fact.  We worry about money, health, relationships, and tasks.  These issues will not go away, but how we deal with them is the difference between living a stressful life and a healthy life.

In a world where we are bombarded with information and so much is asked of us, not taking conscientious steps to diminish the effects of stress is not an option.  If we just let ourselves go into this ocean of time constraints and demands we will certainly drown.

Below are five steps I believe can help anybody live a more satisfying life:

1 – Coming to terms that we are only human with limited amount of time and energy.

2 – Realizing some things are out of our control.

3 – Taking deep breaths throughout our day.  Breathing helps to ground us.

4 – Be fully present in everything we do.  If we concentrate on one task at a time the feeling of    being overwhelmed will diminish substantially.

5 – Include some pleasurable in our everyday lives.

These five steps are simple and together create a new way of being where we are in charge of our time and contentment.

Imagine not feeling 100% responsible for everything that happens to you and to the people around you.  Imagine not feeling pressured to do a million other things while completing one task.  Imagine feeling grounded.  And imagine that every day you can do something pleasurable for yourself which re-energizes and fulfills.  That’s what a life without uncontrolled stress is like.

We can all do it.  It just takes wanting and committing.  Happy stress free life!

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Love Kitchen

August 13, 2011 by  
Filed under Inspiring People

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Finding Wisdom In The Dark

August 11, 2011 by  
Filed under Featured

I write a lot about embracing challenges and pain.  I think this concept became really clear to me after my husband passed away and I was left with the devastation of losing a two and a half year struggle to keep him alive.  The first question that popped into my heart was: “What do I do now?”  The second was: “There has to be something to be gained out of all this pain otherwise it is just too brutal.” And so I embarked in trying to figure out what good could I find in my loss.

What I found was through embracing my loss, I found me.  And having found me has transformed my life.  Now how does one embrace their pain? By not shying away from it. By not side-stepping. By having the courage to look the loss in the face and with humility know it is a life experience.

Life is about gaining wisdom through experiences without any quality being attached to it. Experience doesn’t care if it feels go or not.  It only cares about opening doors to wisdom. Understanding this concept is what gives pain meaning.

Now I don’t look for difficult experiences in order to grow. I’m not a masochist.  But when difficult moments present themselves to me, I accept them and remind myself it is part of life and part of my personal journey. We must all learn to love, to lose, to laugh and to hurt.

Below is an interesting post I found on the Huffington Post on the same subject.

Good Things Can Grow In The Dark

By Dennis Merritt Jones

“All growth is a leap in the dark, a spontaneous, unpremeditated act without benefit of experience.”
~ Henry Miller

As I opened the door and stepped into the darkness of my kitchen pantry to grab my box of Cheerios this morning, I looked down and noticed a bag of potatoes, which had been sitting on the floor for a few weeks. Upon closer examination, I could see that most of the potatoes had begun to push out little sprouts...Continued

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