First Steps Towards Finding Contentment

October 18, 2010 by  
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By Angie Rubin

I can’t tell you how to live your life.  Actually nobody can.  I also can’t tell you how to find contentment.  Again nobody can.  But I can share with you, life tools I have had to learn to live and thrive.   As I share, take what makes sense to you and leave on the computer screen what doesn’t.

Accepting ourselves and our lives as they are today is the first step towards appreciating life.

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How To Accept Our “Mistakes”

August 20, 2010 by  
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I am someone who is really tough on myself.  Somehow somewhere I have bought into a notion that I have to be “perfect”.  I know that is not only an impossibility but not a fair request because what I am after does not exist.

I have used quotation marks on the word perfect because there isn’t just one kind of perfect.  Each one of us has a “perfect” for what the right answers or outcomes would be for each situation.  The result being that in each relationship or experience we have to negotiate our kind of “perfects”.

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Going Through The Five Stages of Grief

June 22, 2010 by  
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The more we define ourselves as part of a specific group or type, the more we can relish a shared reality. ~George A. Bonanno

I look around and see a world full of hope. Friends dealing with life, looking for direction, wishing they had a blueprint for which way to turn. I have nights when I can’t go to sleep, then mornings I don’t want to get up. I pray for my family, friends, and for myself, to have courage, confidence, wisdom, and balance.

Psychologist George A. Bonanno has written a book based on research for those going through the death of a loved one. “The Other Side of Sadness: What the New Science of Bereavement Tells us About Life After Loss” talks about one’s capacity for resilience, the ability to thrive in the face of adversity. Filled with the words of bereaved individuals, the reader can’t help but be touched and learn from their journey through loss.

I knew that Helen Kübler-Ross’s five stages of grief model was initially developed for helping dying patients cope with death and bereavement. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. For years those five steps have been linked with grief support counseling, as well as emotional response to trauma. Definite stages of emotion that I experienced when my husband got sick. I dealt with denial, anger and bargaining especially when his congestive heart failure accelerated and he was accepted as a candidate for a heart transplant. Depression, absolutely.  Acceptance? Now this is challenging. I do accept that he’d physically gone, yet is “he” gone?

I had an experience a few nights ago as I was looking through my husband’s cds.  He always talked about having to listen to an entire cd to hear one or two specific songs. So on February 2007 we burned two cds, of songs by his favorite male and female artists. I had totally forgotten about this but listening to them now has given me a sense of comfort. This happened at a time when I had been reaching deep inside for strength.

There are times I feel my husband is still protecting me. He always told me I was hurting myself through often compromising my needs and continually tried to teach me how to set limits. Recently I’ve gone through several situations that made me think how he would suggest I handle things and I found myself having confidence, to take action, and stand up for myself, focus and expand my capacity for resilience. Something I know I desperately need. I think we all do.


Honesty, A Path To Freedom

September 16, 2009 by  
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Honesty is speaking truth and creating trust in minds of others. – Wikipedia

I would also add that honesty is a way of life.  I’m not talking about giving money back when someone gives us the wrong change or returning a wallet we found on a sidewalk -although these are honorable actions – I’m talking about the honesty of exposing our humanity; showing and sharing our mistakes and fears as well as our good qualities. 

Being honest has become really hard because the world we live in does not want truth.  Our reality is full of illusions.  The representations of peoples’ lives we most see in the media are of beauty and richness.  Even the ugly affairs are portrayed with a certain pizzazz, so no wonder we the more common folks feel the pressure to also pretend.

We all live in fear that if others knew the truth about us that we would be looked down on.  So we hide that we have been dumped, or don’t have enough money, made a mistake, had a bad thought, or even had plastic surgery to look younger or better.  We even lie about our ages.

All of this pretend causes us a lot of anxiety because by hiding the truth from others we acknowledge to ourselves that there is something wrong with us.  The result being that we end up with no one to truly share our lives with and we become very lonely people.

I was once loved and fully accepted as I am.  That was the biggest gift ever given to me.  This acceptance gave me the self assurance to go out into the world as I am as well as a whole other way to live my life. That’s what love and honesty can do; give us the self assurance to be who we are. That’s a huge concept and one worth pursuing.

If we stop having to waste time making up excuses or hiding that which we think is not attractive and we start sharing our shortcomings, we create space for ourselves and others to have truthful and trusting relationships. 

Honesty brings compassion and so we start seeing each other and ourselves for who we really are; imperfect beings searching for happiness.

I know for myself that the more honesty I bring into my life the more freedom follows.  And isn’t that what we all want, freedom?

It takes strength to be vulnerable but at least to me that is the only path to be taken. 

We, as a society, have experimented with all types of excesses and somehow that hole within each one of us stays empty.  I think the only way to fill the hole is by relating in honesty and embracing our humanity. 

All of us, the rich, the poor, the powerful, the young, the old and the weak want the same thing: to be loved and to belong.  And on the day we get to say goodbye to this life, I believe all the differences and pretending we played out in our lives will be seen for what they really are, distractions.

What is uttered from the heart alone, Will win the hearts of others to your own.“  – Goethe


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