The Truth About Positive Thinking

January 16, 2012 by  
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Positive thinking sells book, newspapers and magazines.  That’s it.

I’m not down on being positive. I’m down on a simplistic approach to finding greater contentment in life. Let me explain what I mean:

I don’t believe repeating I’m beautiful time and time again will actually get me to feel beautiful unless a lot of other personal work gets done.

I don’t believe posting notes all over the house with the words “I’m happy” will actually get me to be happy.

But I do believe in hoping for the best as it takes as much effort to dream of things coming out to our satisfaction as it does the other way around.

I also believe in not attaching such absolute qualities as good or bad to everything that happens. Life is more complex than that.  In every “bad” situation there is a possibility of good. But if we only see it as bad, then that possibility is not available.

Building a sense of gratitude, appreciation and connection with the self, I believe, will give anyone more satisfaction than the old “Don’t worry be happy.”

Repetition in and of itself is just that; repetition.

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Figure Out What You Want, Then Take Action

January 11, 2012 by  
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The first step in getting what you want is being clear about what you want.  Statements like “I just want to be happy” are useless because they do not include a specific goal or a specific method.

Now, if I said I want to be happy by finding a partner then I would be able to start strategizing how to go about achieving what I want.  I could tell my friends if they know anyone to introduce me to or I could join a dating service.

If I said I want to be happy by improving my living conditions then I would know I would have to find a job that would give me higher earnings so I could improve my living conditions.

In essence the clearer we are about what we want the better we arm ourselves with ways to go about getting them.

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The Three Most Powerful Words: I Love You

January 9, 2012 by  
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The below post by Dennis Merritt Jones talks about the importance of saying of hearing the words I love you.  In his blog, Dennis points out that the impact of these words is great even if they come from complete strangers.  I couldn’t agree more.

While reading it I was reminded how much a touch, a nod or a word from a complete stranger while caring for my terminal husband helped me.

I was reminded of the kindness I found in various waiting rooms or treatment centers of hospitals. Sometimes the gestures were as simple as the handing of a tissue but its impact profound and transformative.

As people we have an innate need to connect to share happiness or sadness.  We want to connect to feel we belong.

The words I love you carry such meaning in them as to make both the giver and the receiver instantaneously feel connected.

So why don’t we say it more often?

Sometimes because we believe those words should only be uttered to others that make our hearts skip a beat.  But what if we thought of love as a way of being? Wouldn’t we then have love for all?

How happier wouldn’t we all be if we heard often that we are loved?  How happier wouldn’t we all be if we could tell others we love them?

Changing the way we all relate can start with each one of us.  It can start with us feeling love within and wanting to share it with all that cross our paths.

What if every day of your life you heard I love you.  What if every day of your life you said I love you.  What would your life feel like? Take a minute to imagine it before you respond.

I know what my answer is:

I LOVE YOU.

Please read on…

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Don’t Travel Alone The Aging Process; Learn From Others

January 4, 2012 by  
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I have always liked having older folks as friends.  I’m talking about people in their 80s and 90s.  The reason is pretty simple: they’ve been there and done that.

At some point in our western social and cultural development the pendulum of wisdom swung from the elders to the young.  Experience became secondary to the glow of youth and in the process we – young and middle aged – lost plenty.

In our shortsighted view of the world we have forgotten that regardless how many diets we follow or how much cream we buy, we will all age or die. But instead of having a road map from the people that have gone through the process before us, we end up having to discover the way all over again by ourselves. Questions like: is life still worth living when we look like prunes, can we still have fun when we have to move a little slower, can we love, can we have intimacy, what are the things in my life now that when I get to be in my 80s I will realize were not worth losing sleep over, go unanswered.

My neighbor is 87 years old and she lives by herself.  She travels either to Hawaii or Vegas once every two months.  She flirts and her social life is intense.  I ask her questions.  From her I learned it is possible to be content at any age.  It is possible to still be curious about life. It is still possible to want to love.  And it is still possible to be physically active.  I look at her and I realize – unlike what I hear and see from the media – that life is worth living at any age.  She inspires me.

I hope I will have her around for a long time so I can continue to get directions as I travel through life’s journey.

Please read on…

Get Happy: 5 Surprising Resolutions from the Wisest Americans

By Karl A. Pillemer, Ph.D.

Work. “Ask yourself: Are you glad to get up in the morning?” When it comes to your job, the elders propose a diagnostic test: How do you feel when you get up on a workday morning? You may be ambivalent about your job and have your ups and downs. But when it comes down to it, how do you feel when you are having that first cup of coffee?

Are you at least in a tolerable mood, looking forward to something about work? If instead you feel dread and foot-dragging, the elders say it may be time for a change. As Albert, 80, put it: “It’s a long day if you don’t like what you’re doing. You better get another job because there’s no harsher penalty than to wake up and go to work at a job you don’t like.” …Continued

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Mindful Living

December 7, 2011 by  
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The below post by Anne Peterson discusses the process of letting go of grand dreams – the ones often found in glossy magazines – of our young lives to embrace the lives we actually have.

We live in a world where our sense of self-worth has become so intertwined with the idea of youth and high levels of financial success, that not being pretty, young and rich has become a sentence all of us “normal” people have to endure till the end of our lives.

Being young is just a matter of time – all of us will grow old someday.    Being pretty or beautiful is a matter of in whose eyes plus genes.  Becoming amazingly successful is probably 1% talent and 99% great luck combined with a type of personality that can put everything aside in order to succeed.

The reality is most of us will never achieve what is glorified and promoted in magazines, TV shows and films.  So how do we get over not being one of the successful ones and just being regular people? How do we cultivate our sense of self-worth?

The most basic desire of all humans is to be loved, to belong and to find content.  The truth is we don’t need to be known by millions of people or to fly in private jets to achieve that.  All we need is to be open to see others, to be seen and to appreciate our surroundings.

Finding contentment also has nothing to do with success.  It really has more to do with being able to appreciate the small things in life.  If a beautiful day, a kind word, or the touch of a loved one is appreciated, contentment follows.

Lastly, so many people who dedicate their lives to helping others seldom are recognized in our media obsessed world.  Are they less worthy than a movie star? Are they more?

Think about it.

By Anne Peterson

Learning To Love A Life Unextraordinary

For the past year I’ve been grappling with dreams I’ve watched die out like an insignificant ember in a campfire of despair. I fantasized of being a worldly professor, but not before I made my debut as a feature filmmaker, which naturally I would achieve by my 30th birthday. My vision was directing a magnificent opus that would cause the world to strew gilded rose petals at my feet. By the age of 29, being a professor happened, but my opus didn’t…Continued

 

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Embracing Resilience

November 29, 2011 by  
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Even though Thanksgiving is behind us, I wanted to share the below post with you.

“A Lesson in Resilience” discusses developing a positive attitude to change and obstacles using the pilgrims as an example.

Life is made out of good moments and not so good moments.  Of course if it was up to us there would be no bad moments.  But it isn’t.  And so the next best thing we can do for ourselves is to create and live an attitude that will help us navigate the ups and downs.

I believe the first step to embracing life in all its colors, is by limiting our judgment on the situation at hand.  It is easy when something bad happens to feel victimized or as if we are the only ones that go through pain and suffering.  Once we are able to do that, next comes taking the stigma out of “bad” and looking for the growth and the wisdom the situation brings.  Third would be dealing with whatever is happening in a calm and objective way.  It really isn’t personal – it is life.  Next is never losing sight that life is always in flux.  Whatever is happening good or bad will give birth to a new way of being.

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Uncaring Behavior Often Has Nothing To Do With Us

November 16, 2011 by  
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Interesting post below; it divides coming to the understanding that other people’s behavior often has nothing to do with us in a two step-process.

The first step of course is to realize we are not the center of the universe — although many of us would like that to be the case.  The second is seeing people’s reactions in a deeper way; compassionate, understanding and a reflection of how they see their world.

The first step is easy the second can be a little harder and most likely a lifetime endeavor.

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Learning To Forgive For Our Own Well-Being

October 31, 2011 by  
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I’ve been thinking a lot about forgiveness as it is something I have had to deal with plenty in my life; I’ve been hurt deeply by people very close to me.

To deal with the aftermath of the hurt, I have gone through many thought processes such as:

 

 

  • Denial– It didn’t happen.  I’m making it up.
  • Superiority – I’m better than they are.  I don’t need them
  • Victimization – Why does this always happen to me?  Why do others feel they can treat me like that?
  • Punishment – It’s all my fault.  I’m an idiot.
  • Martyr – It doesn’t matter.  I can take it.
  • Ego – I’m never apologizing for this.  I’m right and they are wrong.

Needless to say none of these lines of thoughts are satisfying.  They all leave one still upset and in anger and actually reveal more about our own flawed psychology than about a solution for betrayal and forgiveness.

After going through all these different processes I realized the only way to forgive is by recognizing, accepting, and letting go.  It is only after that last phase (letting go) that love and compassion will then replace anger and resentment.  And why is it so important to do that? Because anger and resentment hurts us and nobody else.

In recognizing and accepting that something bad or wrong has happened to us, we get to validate the feelings we are having.  They are real feelings and we should give them space to exist.  Not as a tantrum but as a hurt. So denial, victimization, punishment, martyrdom, and superiority are out.

In letting go we accept that others sometimes cannot see us or deal with us in a loving way. We simply don’t have control over them.  When we let go the hurt stops and when it stops we are then able to see others with love and compassion. That is not to say we will be open to be hurt again.  That is to say we are in touch enough with ourselves not to let anger towards others poison our own existence.  In this phase we can communicate without our ego getting in the way and we can say how we feel without expecting anything in return.  At that point we are able to move on.

Please read on.

How to Forgive Anyone—and Why Your Health Depends on It

By Harriet Brown

What, exactly, does it take to move past a lifetime of hurts? Harriet Brown goes on a mission to discover the true meaning of forgiveness.

Fred Luskin wants me to forgive my mother. And, while I’m at it, my father, my third-grade teacher, my passive-aggressive coworker, the woman who cut me off on the highway, and the guys in Washington who’ve made such a mess of things. Not for their sake, but for mine: Luskin is convinced I’ll be less anxious, more upbeat, and healthier if I do.

After studying forgiveness for close to 20 years, he should know...Continued

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Learn To Enjoy Your Successes

October 24, 2011 by  
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We all need to work towards something.  That something can be just about anything; a house, a job, fitness, relationship.   It just needs to be something we can gather our energy and work towards.

These goals are important because they lay out our paths and help us focus.  It is in their pursuit that we will make our choices and gain knowledge.

Having goals is an end into itself.  Succeeding is a whole other ball game; nice but not necessary.

If my dream is to be a writer then as I write, create, and try to get to the next level, I fulfill my dream.  I strategize, I learn, I share. f my goal is to be successful and nothing else, then I don’t get to appreciate the process and most likely will feel like a loser if I don’t achieve a level of success that I find acceptable.

We don’t have control over outcomes.  We only have control of process. Attaching a sense of happiness and fulfillment to an outcome is a recipe for sadness.

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How To Use Emotional Intelligence

October 20, 2011 by  
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Photo by Angie Rubin

I was thinking about forgiveness – for oneself and others – when I came across the below post which discusses emotional intelligence which are the two sides of the same coin.

It is easy to get angry at others.  After all people think and feel in different ways.  But if we react negatively to every frustration we will most certainly end up alone.

So how do we deal with the gut reaction that wants us to confront others and take them to the mat? By using emotional intelligence and forgiving.

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