1. Understand that sustained happiness rarely comes from outside circumstances. Your wealth, beauty, power, or acquisitions have far less to do with happiness than your appreciation for what you have this very moment and your loving relationships with others.
2. You can live your life by design, but you must acknowledge your power in that, plan for it, and take the necessary actions.
3. You can’t have it all, but you can have enough to be very happy. Prioritize and focus on the top 3 or 4 most important areas of your life.
4. Stop focusing on what you don’t have or don’t like. Focus on what you do have and do like, and create a plan for what you think you can improve and change.
5. Abandon perfectionism. It is a useless pursuit with no end. It creates stress and unhappiness. Learn to find the balance point between good enough and peaceful living.
6. Put your own deepest needs first. If you are living for others before yourself and pushing your own needs aside, eventually you will crumble in some way — through depression, anger, anxiety or destructive behaviors.
7. Your choices may disappoint or offend others. That is sometimes necessary in order to grow and live authentically. Those who love you and want the best for you will accept and support you.
8. Count your blessings. You probably already have many of the things you want for your life. Don’t take them for granted.
9. Address personal issues head-on. Don’t use these as an excuse for not having what you want in life. If you have a wound, a personality or relationship problem, or an anxiety, go work on it. Resolve it. Weak people don’t seek help, but strong forward-moving people do.
10. Pick one small problem or irritation and resolve it. Feel how much personal power and energy that gives you. Imagine how it would feel to resolve one of your bigger problems or concerns.
11. Consider disengaging from people who bring you down or drain your energy. Build relationships with people who are positive, action-oriented, and supportive.
12. Pick the one change that would make the biggest positive difference in your life. Begin visualizing your life with this change implemented. Practice this regularly throughout the day.
13. Take this one step further and begin writing some specific action steps that might help make this change happen.
14. Strengthen your strengths. Make yourself indispensable in your area(s) of interest and expertise.
15. Always leave time for fun. Make fun happen in your life.
16. Don’t neglect your relationships. Don’t take them for granted. Find out what makes your loved ones happy, and do that for them.
17. Learn to let it go. Worry is the most fruitless expenditure of energy on the planet. Very little is worth worrying about. If you must do something, take action instead.
18. Don’t assume that you can’t do something. Prove that you can’t, and if so, try something else.
19. More often than not, your fear is the culprit for inaction. More often than not, your fears are unfounded or at least out of proportion. More often than not, your fear will go away once you take action.
20. Focus on the task at hand. When you feel overwhelmed and pulled in many directions, just pick an important thing and do it without distraction. Then do another one.
21. Life is short. You have a limited number of days on this Earth. There isn’t time to waste your days in worry, anger or frustration. Make the most of this moment and the next and the next and the next . . .
Happiness is not the absence of problems,
it’s the ability to deal with them.
When your mind wants to bolt, but your heart hangs on, it is because you don’t know with absolute certainty what the truth is. When you waste so much time on something that you want to believe is true, you begin to over think things. Eventually, something obvious becomes twisted into something absurd, which keeps us from believing a simpler answer.
Over time, you believe your own lies and fantasies to shield yourself from hurt, when following what is logical would have been the quickest way to healing. It is through your own self-imposed delusions that you lose your perspective. The world then becomes different to you when in fact you are different. Why? Because your own ego gets in the way.
Everyone wants to feel special. Everyone wants to have faith in others. Everyone wants to believe in fairytales, happy endings and have all bad interactions with others explained. It is easier to sit in denial with your delusions and pray God will intervene, not realizing he has. He gave you commonsense and intuition, but you didn’t like how it made you feel. This is what true mental illness really is: Following your gut instinct through hell because you want to prove you are right, either to yourself or others. You sacrifice choosing to do right, in order to avoid pain. However, you don’t realize that you have been in pain for a really long time and believed this was how happiness felt. Shannon L. Alder
Reposted from July 28, 2011: In retrospect I clearly see a much different past view of myself than the one visible to me today. Now when glancing in my mental “rear-view mirror” my old behavior is much easier to explain and understand. Back then were the days when my feelings were frequently about not measuring up. No matter what I accomplished it was rarely good enough. Achievement usually felt flawed. I frequently nitpicked what was good until there were defects in them I created.
In the past I spent so much time wanting to be loved and hoping love would find me. My yearning was engulfing. I did not see the special love I sought even when it was before me. I searched past it for something else. I felt empty and lost. The reason that love I so desperately sought eluded me was because I wanted someone to fill me up with love, which is not how life works. What I needed had to happen from the “inside out”.
Those were the days when being alone for more than a few days made me crazy. I was like some battery that needed to be recharged, but could not charge itself. The shortage was because I did not love myself. The energy… the feeling… the charge… I wanted so much-needed to come from within myself. But I did not know how.
Today I know that loving my self is mainly about self-respect. It’s the only dependable way I have control over creating love for myself. In the past when expecting love from an external source, and what I got did not fill my void I felt even worse. No one could love me until I loved myself. I am able to receive no more love than the amount of love I have for me.
Attending church in my youth was just something I was made to do. Thought I got little from it. Turns out though, there was a bit retained. Once thing I remember comes from the Bible and the book of Corinthians:
Love is patient,
Love is kind.
It does not envy,
It does not boast,
It is not proud.
It is not rude,
It is not self-seeking,
It is not easily angered,
It keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil
But rejoices with the truth.
It always protects,
Love does not fail.
In secular expression, similar thinking is found in the poem “I Must Love Myself” by J. Earl Evans:
Before I can begin
to love anyone else,
I have to find a way
to first love myself.
Loving myself should be
an easy thing to do.
If I can pat you
on the back, I can do
the same for me too.
I have to learn to love myself
this is true.
Because no one can love me
as much as I do.
I must find a way
to give myself a break,
and be able to love myself
no matter what it takes.
I’m not alone
feeling the way I do.
I hope to one day love myself,
just as much as I love you.
I imagine if I thought for a while I could create a fairly long list of the ingredients I used to fall in love with myself (most days anyway). Highest on the list would be: forgiving my self! Only by letting go of wrongs done, failings and mistakes could the blemishes I placed on myself begin to fade. It took saying “I’m sorry” to a lot of people. Too, I learned in some cases there is no good to come of trying to express regret to those wronged. For some it only makes things worse (a difficult lesson).
As I think of what I am grateful for this morning, what is on the top of my mind is how I feel about myself today. It has been a rough and painful path to get here, but I am grateful to have found the route. I feel the best about myself I ever have. There is a good measure of peace inside me I never knew before. My life has been blessed in many ways, but none more so that learning how to love myself. Many helped me get here. To all those who have and do love me… thank you for kindness and support that kept me on this path of learning to love myself.
The most terrifying thing
is to accept oneself completely.
Carl Gustav Jung
Open Letter to the Universe to exercise the Law of Attraction.
Subject: What type of woman is and is not a good match for me.
NO drama queens… Every life has some drama in it, but I am not interested in someone who specializes in it. The scary thing is almost all who live life drama filled, don’t realize it. If you have lots of secrets or live some sort of dual life with a good bit of you hidden away, please stay away.
NO active mental cases… If you need anti-depressants, PLEASE take them. If you need counseling, GO and don’t stop going as long as you need it. If you have faced your demons and have them under control for the most part, wonderful. It’s not what you’ve been through that matters. It’s how it currently effects you. Difficulty either shreds or smoothes. Which has it done for you?
NO physical wrecks… I have taken care of myself, am physically healthy and in good shape. If you didn’t treat your body well in the past, I’m sorry, but I am not up for taking care of you right now. Too much life to live (God willing). If you’re healthy now for your age and we fell in love I would gladly be there all the way through old age.
NO “I’m all about being a Granny” … no offense. I don’t like olives either, but know many people do and they’re good for you. If life is 90% about your grand kids, family, little else and that’s all you need to be happy… you’re a lucky woman and blessed to be a Grandmother… just not my type.
NO fiscal messes… I have squandered too much, but saved too. I can take care of me. Can you take care of you financially? Not meant to be harsh, but I am done being the one who supports two people. Sorry. Do you have decent credit? Do you have a job or excellent short term prospects? Are you financially comfortable as you are? Do you manage well within what you’ve got? “Yes” is a good answer to all those questions.
NO party poopers… I am introspective and somewhat of an introvert more often than not. But soften I want to go out and have a good time: concerts (old and new stuff!), movies and popcorn, Canes Ballroom, BOK and Brady Theater, good food leaning to the healthy side or sometimes eating lots of yummy bad food at the fair with a beer. I don’t dance well, but like doing it anyway. Mixed in is a love of plays, live performances and a learned appreciation of the ballet.
NO dummies… if you hated school, we probably won’t get along. Do you read and if you do, does your reading include something other than romance novels? Not looking for a genius, but someone who had made some effort to educate themselves, formerly or otherwise.
NO “old” people… If you call yourself “old”, talk about being “old” and have taken up the habits of someone “old”… then find someone like you and be happy. I am not that. My doctor says I am physically fit as someone 15 more years younger. Does Burning Man interest you? Are you still a bit of a rebel? Are you adventurous? Are you still truly open to learning and growing? Two “Yes” answers and we share commonalities.
NO hoarders or really messy women. My style is collectively cluttered. I collect antiques and such. But it’s organized and you can walk through any room swinging your hands with ease. I have a problem when stuff thrown here and there which stays where it was dropped for weeks. Again… do what makes you happy, but if you’re the messy type, we are not compatible.
NO, I am not obsessed with younger women. It just happens that seems to be who I have more in common with. In the last decade I’ve dated a one late 20’s woman, one in her late 30’s and three 50-something’s, but seem to fit best with women within the 40’s and 50’s realm. There are exceptions I’m sure… I just haven’t gotten to know her yet.
NO near helpless types or women who need to be constantly taken care of or catered to. Are you mature enough to know when to let your guard down and when to keep it up? Do you express your feelings openly and appropriately? Do you know how to be in love? Does love make you strong, and not weak? Can you make a commitment and keep it? Are you faithful because you know it is a gift you give yourself? Only yes answers please.
DO YOU like to travel? Take a meaningful trip a few times each year? With a international destination thrown in here and there? Are you comfortable traveling in unfamiliar places with extended lengths of travel once in a while? Weekend visits to family don’t count… tack on a few days somewhere before or after, then cool.
DO YOU like sex or at least at some point in your life you did? I am not obsessed with it, but adore sexual sharing and closeness when love fuels the fire. I don’t sport F#$%! I am not compatible with any woman who can’t passionately let go with someone she’s in love with. Exceedingly far from a prude, but not an anything goes type either. I’m very opened minded to the vast majority of what a man and woman might enjoy together. Are you?
DO YOU like Kids? Yours? Mine? I have a son I’m proud of and close to. He’s grown (early 30’s) and self sufficient on his own 700 miles away. We talk on the phone every day or two and see each other several times per year. I will be openly accepting of your offspring, BUT not looking to get involved with a family whose household has late-20 or 30 something year old “children” living at home who are long term still “finding them self”. And if one of your children’s behavior has caused you to become too familiar with the court system… not a chance.
DO YOU look good for your age? Do you think are attractive? I do and am not vain about it and would not want to be with someone who is. In all directness, not a fan of very skinny (hugging a bag of bones is a turn off) and prefer a little meat on the frame. Now if your physique has top to bottom features like the Michelin man I can’t do that either. Attractive is more in attitude and the way one carries them self more than anything else.
DO YOU appreciate your physical self? Are you comfortable both dressed up or in jeans and a t-shirt? Can you dress it up or down, and get ready in less than an hour? Do you have a personal sense of style, whatever it is? Do you know how to dress appropriately for whatever occasion? Two or three yes’s would be good.
DO YOU like following sports a lot? It’s cool if you do, but know that is not an interest we’ll have much to share about. It can just be one of the differences that makes up a relationship. Once upon a time I was a fan of professional and college football along with pro baseball and hockey. I gave up all the time and energy I spent on it about 25 years ago for more rewarding and fulfilling interests. PS: I never learned to play golf either.
ABOUT ME: I’m 61, but told I don’t look it. I have my own sense of style and am not stuck with the same wardrobe I had 10 years ago (not even five years ago). Although I’m no accurate judge, I’m told I have the attitude and condition of someone mid 40’s to mid 50’s or thereabouts (past all the midlife BS!). I’m tall (6’3″), weight about 215 lbs and still have hair (wavy gray hair.. but not as much hair as I once had). My eyes are hazel and my face sports a well trimmed goatee.
ME: I have three tats… a triquetra and Chinese symbol for “honor” on my left upper arm and Buddhist Sanskrit (“Oṃ maṇi padme hūṃ”) with a Lotus blossom and small butterfly on my upper right arm. I have no piercings although I have no aversion to tasteful ones.
ME: I’m a spiritual man, but not particularly of the church type although I attend a Unitarian church with decent regularity. I believe living in line with some basic Buddhist tenants like the “Eightfold Noble Path“. My goal is to meditate and work out at home regularly and I am true to those intentions more often than not (got to have a day off now and then).
ME: I’m a gentleman raised in the deep south. I open doors and say please and thank you. I tip well and am never unkind to service people. I smile at strangers and have been known to leave anonymous notes in retail establishments to cheer up folks and give hope to people I will never meet. My belief is what good I give comes back multiplied.
ME: I was born curious and like learning new things. I can “drive” or just as easily be in the “passenger seat”. Depends on the situation. Balance is the key. My music taste is not stuck back there somewhere. My taste buds are fairly conservative and basic although I like discovering new foods once in a while. I adore Asian food, Mexican food, soul food, fried chicken, vegetables, fruit, salads, coffee, a glass of wine (but far from a wine snob as I drink what tastes good to me) and I don’t get drunk (never have been even once) and love a good margarita (but two of anything is about all I ever have).
ME: I own my home (well the bank and I do), drive a nice car, and have friends… close ones are my Tulsa family (grew up in Alabama, have lived in eight states and a foreign country). I like to eat out, but enjoy cooking in just as much. I am professional person and worked as an executive in media for a LONG time, but switched to being a therapist recently (truly want to help people) .
ME: I’ve been married twice and was more responsible than my partners for screwing up the marriages (last one ended in 2006). I’ve learned from my mistakes and experience has taught some tough lessons. The last eight years have been spent largely focused on becoming a better man. While it took lots of walking straight into storms and resolving old issues, I am proud of who I have turned out to be.
CONCLUSION: If I have pissed you off or offended you, I’m sorry. If I appear to be too picky and persnickety, I apologize. If it appears I have hang ups, well, I do. We all do, most just won’t admit them. If I have made you smile or even laugh out loud once… that’s a good sign. I’m just casting what I hope for into the universe with humble hope to attract it. It’s impossible to find what one does not go looking for.
Love is not really a mystery.
It is a process like anything else.
A process that requires trust, effort,
focus and commitment by two willing partners.
Saying “NO” is one of the greatest gifts I can give myself! That was brought to the forefront of my attention through reading a couple of meaningful on-line articles this morning. I want to share what I came across.
A starter list of the benefits of “no” put together by Ron Edmondson points to just some of the advantages:
- Saying “no” is the power to help resist temptation…
- Saying “no” keeps you from the stress of overcommitting…
- Saying “no” protects family life…
- Saying “no” provides adequate time for what matters most…
- Saying “no” preserves energy levels for prioritized work…
- Saying “no” allows others opportunities they wouldn’t have if you always say yes…
- Saying “no” permits you to control your schedule for an ultimate good…
- The value of learning when to say no, and actually practicing it, is immeasurable!
In the “Health and Wellness” section on the website http://www.sheknows.com John Khoury made another list of benefits of saying “no” appropriately:
- More energy. Not only will you be saving energy, the fact that you are now in conscious control will add extra energy.
- More time. There are only 24 hours in a day, but from now on, more of them are for you.
- More confidence. Saying “no” to others can often amount to saying “yes” to yourself. This is a back-handed “I love you” to the most important person in your life. Take it as a compliment and feel good about it.
- More control. Saying “no” means you are behind the steering wheel and can go wherever you want.
- More respect. You’ll respect yourself more and so will others. They might not like you as much, but if they were trying to step over your boundaries before, they probably didn’t like you much anyway – not really. At least you’ll have their respect when you show them your clear, no-discussion limits.
- More fun. Yes, life is here to be enjoyed. When you stop working for others, you start working for yourself and start fitting in the fun.
What I need seems to appear on its own a good bit of the time. All I need to do it remain open and pay attention to what is brought into my path by a power beyond me. I feel no need to quantify that source. It is sufficient to me to instead express my gratitude. Today the message I received was saying “no” is frequently best and often a sign of love.
…there are often many things we feel we should do that,
in fact, we don’t really have to do.
Getting to the point where we can tell the difference is a major milestone…
Elaine St. James