Posted in Communication, Motivation, Personal Development, Positive Thinking, Potential, Self Improvement

The Dimensions of Beauty

“Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.” – Ashley Smith

What do you consider beauty and what dimensions do you think it adds to your life ?

I see beauty everywhere. Certainly you see beauty in a child’s face. I see the beautiful light and grace in the face of a child and the wonderful possibility of life.

There is also beauty in the face of the aged; their endurance showing in the lines of their face, the shape of their hands and the bend in their back.

Walk outside and breath in the smell of rain and damp earth. See the bright yellow daffodils and the flowering trees, Hear the birds waking in the early morning and the peepers filling the air with their sound by the pond in the evening.

Watch the cat and dog, such good friends, bound outside together and follow each other through the yard.

Hear the sound of the little voice of your grandson and listen to your teenage granddaughter as she talks about her new interests and share her talents with you.

Listen to your favorite music. Music adds so much to your life. It is a wondrous thing. Calming and exciting. soothing and motivating. Beautiful.

Each morning welcome that first cup of coffee. Bend and flex, stand up straight and enjoy the movement. Relishing that you are alive and dream about what you will do today.

These are all beautiful to me. What do you find beautiful ?

“Give every day the chance to become the most beautiful day of your life.” – Mark Twain

People are beautiful. I think all people have beauty in them. Some will be physically beautiful and some will be emotionally beautiful. We may not be aware of each person’s beauty or we may not accept that they are.

If you smile at someone and they smile back I truly believe you have just experienced beauty. A smile lights someone’s face, their eyes and their spirit. Part of the beauty is that you both have shared a little piece of yourself.

When you go online and look at photos of people, and I mean all people, you will see all forms of beauty. I like the fact that we are all different. The shape of someone’s face, their beautiful eyes, the color of their skin and the way it all fits together. There is a piece of beauty in all of us. All we have to do is look.

“Flawed, we’re truly interesting, truly memorable, and yes, truly beautiful.” ― Justina Chen Headley

Beauty exists in what we do. We have a choice each day to decide what we will do with our time. I wish all of us could make one, just one, effort each day to help someone else. The smallest thing can be powerful. What a beautiful world it would be if we did.

Of course, the wonderful smile, the sincere hello, making eye contact even if you wonder if you should. Asking someone if they need help, buying someone a cup of coffee.

Volunteering at a hospice center, a pet rescue, a pre-school or library.

Paying it forward….what can you do. I always donate money at the checkout for families in need, contributing to food drives, the United Way. I can’t afford much but I always give what I can. I often think I hope someone would do the same if I were in the same situation.

Offering to shovel snow or mow someones lawn, taking someone to a doctor’s appointment. Taking a plate of cookies or a whole meal to someone who is in need. Small things but they will make you, and them, feel better. A simple act of kindness is beautiful.

So what are you going to do today ? Make it beautiful !

“Beauty can be consoling, disturbing, sacred, profane; it can be exhilarating, appealing, inspiring, chilling. It can affect us in an unlimited variety of ways. Yet it is never viewed with indifference: beauty demands to be noticed; it speaks to us directly like the voice of an intimate friend. If there are people who are indifferent to beauty, then it is surely because they do not perceive it.” – Roger Scruton, Beauty

As always, like you for reading my blog. Have a beautiful day !

Posted in Communication, Motivation, Personal Development, Positive Thinking, Self Improvement

Gaslighting -Are You Being Manipulated At Work ?

Gaslighting is a psychological term that refers to a very specific pattern of behavior where one person manipulates or attempts to manipulate another’s perception of reality. While it’s often applied to individual or romantic relationships, it can occur in a variety of settings—including the workplace.

When I first saw the term, Gaslighting, I was doing research on relationship abuse. I had never seen the term before but I certainly recognized the description. Usually I think people relate the term to a personal or romantic relationship but in reality it applies to any relationship between two people. I had not thought about it being used in a business setting, but it certainly is.

Have you ever heard the term “Gaslight Tango” ? I had not. I first saw the reference in this article written by Leslie Glass:
https://reachoutrecovery.com/recovery-topics/abuse/gaslighting-tango/

As in any tango it takes two to do the dance and one is the leader or controller. That is exactly the case with gaslighting. In a work relationship there will be one person who has more authority, quite often the boss or your direct supervisor. It can also be a co-worker that wants to manipulate you in such a way that they perceive themselves as the winner.

Gaslighting is done to decrease someone else’s self esteem and self confidence. It is a tactic used by someone to gain more power for themselves. It is done to demean another person, to make them feel powerless and worthless.

.If you are a victim of gaslighting you may start to wonder if you are wrong or maybe you are being too sensitive. You may automatically start to apologize when you really have not done anything wrong.

In the business world it is much more common than we think. The individuals who practice gaslighting are either psychopaths or narcissists. As a article published in INC. by Jessica Stillman explains:

“They walk among us in offices everyday, appearing at first like normal colleagues. One study found that a small but significant portion of business -3 to 4 – percent meet the clinical definition of a psychopath.”

Hers was a very good article which I recommend reading; you can find it at the web address below.

https://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/10-popular-techniques-used-by-manipulators-and-how-to-fight-them.html

Psychopathy is defined as a mental (antisocial) disorder in which an individual manifests amoral and antisocial behavior, shows a lack of ability to love or establish meaningful personal relationships, expresses extreme egocentricity, and demonstrates a failure to learn from experience and other behaviors associated with the condition. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/psychopathy

When you are in a work environment you may find someone who will at first present themselves in a very positive way. They are cordial, they exude confidence, they may be funny and they may appear to want the best for you and for the company. It is a disguise.

Over time you will find that their actions will change. They will be covert; you will not easily recognize what is happening. Then after working with them for an indeterminate time period you may start to question if you are misinterpreting their actions.

You may experience some of the following:

  • You may be given a project to do and then find there have been changes made to the requirements on what to include, what needs to be done, or the completion time, but you were not informed of the changes. When you finish you turn it in and are told that you did not complete it correctly, that you left something out or that you did not complete it on time.
  • You are sure you did everything as told and when you defend your self you are told you wrote it down wrong, you did not listen, you are incompetent.
  • There may be a meeting scheduled but when you arrive the meeting has already started because you were told a different starting time. Then you are reprimanded in front of everyone or the boss makes a joke that you can never get anything right.
  • It could be the same scenario as above but it was a co-worker that is trying to manipulate you, not the boss, and they tell you the meeting time has changed and afterward they deny it and say you are imagining things.

After awhile you will begin to wonder what is wrong with you. You feel like you cannot do anything right and begin to feel incompetent. You may feel uncertain and start to question everything you do. You may become withdrawn and not participate in meetings. You will not volunteer your opinion or ask to be included in any projects. You may even begin to suffer anxiety.

If you, or a co-worker, start to suspect that you are being set up, or gaslighted, there are some things that you can do to protect your self.

  • Start to keep all emails, all written assignments, and make notes.
  • Verify the information given you with others who are involved in the same project.
  • Ask them to notify you if there are any changes made so that you are aware of all changes.
  • If you question any portion of any project ask for clarification in front of someone else. Put in writing what you understand the project plan to be and then ask your boss to initial it, preferably in front of someone else for back up.

If the gaslighting continues, confide in another co-worker that you trust and verify all information with them. If they are present when any of the manipulating occurs ask them to document what happened. If possible, ask them if they are willing to go with you to Human Resources regarding the problem you are having.

When you have all your documentation of the manipulative behavior , make an appointment to file a complaint against the person who has been manipulating you. If you are not satisfied with the results then I would consider looking for another job. When you work under those conditions it is not worth it to continue working there. Your well being is what is important.

“Gaslighting is a manipulation strategy that makes someone question their self-worth and sanity. ”

Now that you are aware of this type of manipulative behavior guard against it, not only for your self, but also for others. If think you are being victimized address their actions and your response to it right away. Do not wait, take action to protect your self now.

As always, Thank You for reading my blog.

Posted in Communication, Motivation, Personal Development, Positive Thinking, Self Improvement

Recognizing Verbal & Emotional Abuse

Verbal abuse is when a person forcefully criticizes, insults, or denounces someone else. Characterized by underlying anger and hostility, it is a destructive form of communication intended to harm the self-concept of the other person and produce negative emotions. Wikipedia


Psychological abuse, often called emotional abuse, is a form of abuse, characterized by a person subjecting or exposing another person to behavior that may result in psychological trauma, including anxiety, chronic depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder. Wikipedia

Both Verbal abuse and Emotional abuse are insidious and may not always be easy to recognize. We often hear about Abusive relationships but they usually refer to Physical abuse. Physical abuse is what makes the headlines and what people are arrested for; that is what restraining orders are given for.

If you hear someone talking about their partner and how upset they are, they don’t know what to do and it is so difficult, you may ask what is wrong. When they try to explain it to you it may be difficult for them to express it in such a way that you will understand the trauma they are feeling. Quite often we may not take it seriously.

We may be inclined to think it is just someone having a bad day or going through a “rough patch” in their relationship which will pass by and everything will get better. It is easy for us to give them easy answers telling them it will get better, just give it a little time and then it is over in our mind; we move on. Sadly, we may never ask them about it the next time we see them or talk to them. Sadder yet is they may feel we do not care or they are embarrassed and don’t want to bring it up again.

Even worse is when they do not even realize themselves that anything is wrong. They never mention it, we do not see the effects it is having, and life and the abuse goes on.

When you start a new relationship everyone is on their best behavior.

It is new and exciting. We are happy and we want it to work. It is very difficult to recognize someone who has the tendency to be abusive because they are very good at not showing that side of them when in a new situation. They will usually be on their best behavior when out in public.

” They may, in fact, speak very kind words to you.  And appear nothing but supportive to those around you.  Their covert abuse is administered in small, cunning ways over time.  So the impact is gradual, not fist-to-the-eye immediate.” Augusten Burroughs

As the relationship evolves that is when the abuse will slowly seep into our every day normal activities. Something as simple as not putting a dish in the sink or not putting the cap on the toothpaste is enough to be criticized for. We brush it off and try not to do it again. If we make light of it and make a laughing retort their response will be much stronger and turn it around to blame you. Something like, “Are you making fun of me ? How dare you laugh at me.” “This is serious, do as you’re told; don’t act like a child”.

As time goes by this type of verbal and emotional abuse will continue and get increasingly worse. It will be a progressive, continual process where you become gradually used to it, so much so that we do not even realize it is happening. We may secretly question it once in awhile but quickly brush it aside.

To the person who is being abused, especially long term, they do not truly recognize what has happened. They may not feel well sometimes, have headaches or problems with their overall well being. They may lose interest in doing things they once loved to do, they may lose friendships and not realize why. Things that were important before do not receive the attention they once did. You may lose or gain weight. You may get passed over for a promotion at work because you are no longer able to put in the same quality work effort.

Quite often the abused person ends up losing their self esteem; their self confidence is gone. A once vibrant person who was happy and enjoyed life slowly turns into someone who does not smile and may find it difficult to complete things they once thrived on doing. They may be the happiest, most secure, when they are home and away from other people. Sadly, they will likely feel dependent on the person that is the abuser. That is just what the abuser wants.

“Emotional violence is another kind of abuse … it’s not about words because an emotionally abusive person doesn’t always resort to using the verbal club, but rather the verbal untraceable poison”   – Augusten Burroughs

So how do you recognize that you are in this type of abusive relationship ? How do you end the relationship ?

Sadly, some people will never recognize they are in an abusive relationship. If someone else does not recognize the situation and step in to help them they may live the rest of their life with the same person and the same abuse.

Depending on the type of person you are, or used to be before the abuse, something may happen that makes you realize. It may trigger something inside you that you says’enough is enough”. I cannot live this way any longer.

Maybe you have a child and the abuser starts to abuse the child. You recognize what is happening and understand the effects. You could not see it in yourself but you can see it in your child.

Perhaps someone who cares does recognize that something is wrong. It could be a parent or family member trying to step in to help you. It could be your priest or minister who recognizes that something is wrong and questions you.

When that happens what do you do ? It will be different for each person and it may be a very difficult decision. You may want to try to “fix” it and that is certainly an option but one that should be taken with great care. If you want to fix it you should seek professional help for both people. Both people are broken at this point so they both need to be fixed. You may never know or understand why the person became an abuser and it may not be possible to fix them.

Quite often someone who has been abused long term will be “programmed” to the abuse and will have to guard against entering into another abusive relationship. That is another very good reason to seek professional help. You will need to understand the abuse, the cycle it takes, and the signs to look for. If you see them, you should run as fast a you can to get away from another abusive experience.

Usually, it is better to end the relationship and to do so quickly. Walk away and end all contact. It will be too easy to be drawn back in because the abuser is usually a master manipulator. They will know you well and they will know how to control you. Do not give them that opportunity. You may be fearful; particularly of the abuser. That is normal.

Take back control of your life. Move if you have to, change your phone number and all your social media. Talk to your friends and family and tell them, beg them, not to give the abuser any information about you, nothing. Build a new life. Take time, be careful of your choices, and be happy.

You are starting a new chapter in your life and you are the one to decide what you want to do. What activity did you really like to do before ? Maybe you can do that again. Maybe it was something creative, like drawing, or physical, like Yoga. Do that or try something new. Go on vacation; where have you dreamed about going ?

When you are ready to talk about what happened; let it all out and get rid of it; just like throwing out the trash. By doing so you are also building something brand new. You. Maybe you can talk to a support group with other people who have experienced the same thing. Maybe a circle of really good friends, or just one, who you would be comfortable sharing you story. Maybe writing it all down in a journal if you are not ready to talk about it yet.

Be positive. You have an opportunity to rewrite your life. Something that most people will never have, or take the opportunity, to do. You are strong, you are a survivor. Congratulations.

As always, Thank You for reading my blog. Have a wonderful day.

Posted in Motivation, Personal Development, Positive Thinking, Self Improvement

Stronger Than Yesterday -Develop Your Plan

“Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today.”– James Dean

Everyone wants to be strong and we should always strive to be stronger in every aspect of our life. Stronger physically, mentality and emotionally.

So how do we do that ?

First do an inventory of you. How do you feel ? What bothers you ? Did you have a dream or dreams that you have put on the back burner or have you totally given up the idea of doing them ? How is your health, both physically and mentally ? Are you depressed ?

Is there something that happened in your life that you have not been able to accept, that really bothers you and you have not been able to bounce back from. Something that changes your outlook or makes you decide to do something different. Perhaps you decide to start a new career path or just add a new element to your life that makes it more meaningful.

Life throws us curves and some curves we are able to accept, or adapt to rather easily, and sometimes not so much. When that happens and you just can’t deal with it, or think you can’t, take some time to think about something you did before that helped you to move forward more easily. Write it down, what did you do that worked, and what didn’t. Can you implement those same tactics now.

To improve in any area of our life it is important to have a plan and set some goals. When you make a decision to do X, Y or Z, you need to be realistic.

Is the goal attainable ? Can you actually accomplish it ? Do you have the knowledge right now or are you physically able to do it. Is it something that will make you feel better, make you happy and overall improve your life?

Examples might be designing a web site. Do you have any knowledge or expertise to do it or will it require going to school to learn how, or will you have to hire someone to do it for you. Do you have the money to do that ?

Another example would be writing a blog like I am. Anyone can start a blog but do you have the writing skills for it to be successful ? Do you have the knowledge needed to understand how to promote the blog such as what the heck is SEO ? Answer: Search Engine Optimization. What and how is the best way to use it. I am just learning about all the ins and outs so trust me there is more than just writing involved.

How about Fitness ? The vast majority of people either are physically active or want to be. I have mentioned before that I have a love/hate relationship with exercise and I know there are many of you who feel the same way. If I do not have a plan or a major goal it is almost impossible for me to even start and then be consistent. I am going through that right now.

One thing that stops me, or I use as an excuse, is the proper way to do something. Like using hand held weights. Sure any one can pick up a weight but it is how you actually perform the movements that will give you the best results and also prevent injuries.

So yes, there is also a proper way to form your plan or set your goals. First realize that there really isn’t a perfect plan that exists that everyone can follow because everyone is different. My plan may not work for you and vice versa.

A plan should include a time frame. When do you need to complete your plan ? It creates in your mind the belief that what you are doing is important, you really want to do it and it moves you forward into the action needed to actually execute your plan.

It should be straight forward. When your read your plan does it actually show exactly what it is you truly want to accomplish ? Does it make sense ? If someone else reads it will they be able to understand your intent?

When reading your plan does it motivate you to follow through ? The reason you want to complete your plan must be written in such a way that when you read it you will want to take the action needed to achieve your goals.

Do you have an easily understood action plan ? You should be able to look at your plan and understand the steps you have to take to reach your goals. What is step number one, step number two and so on.

Be flexible when putting your plan into action. You may come to realize that something just is not working and you have to eliminate that portion and possibly introduce something else that will be more effective. It is important that you and your plan is adaptable.

If you research goal setting on the internet you will see the term Smart Goals. I have seen that reference several times and it is a good format to follow. Here is one example:
https://www.briantracy.com/blog/personal-success/smart-goals/

I strongly believe we should always have a plan for self improvement.

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to Fail” Benjamin Franklin

If we do not constantly evaluate and adjust our way of thinking we limit ourselves greatly. We become stagnant. It is important at any time in our lives and I believe the sooner in life we come to realize this the better, the more fulfilled and enjoyable our lives will be.

When I look back at my life I often wonder what the heck was I thinking ? Why did I do this and why didn’t I do that ? If only. I do not know statistically how many of us just sort of float through life but I think the percentages are high, much higher than they should be. Why is that ? We do not plan, we take things for granted, we do not have high expectations. We should.

I have come to this point in my life where the possibility of dying is more possible than not. There is still so much I want to do. None of us, at any time in our life, knows how much longer we have; there are no guarantees. I have a plan to do as much as I can now but I wish I had made a plan for my life when I was 20, 30 or 40.

We place limitations on ourselves, knowingly or unknowingly. Our tendency is just to think everything will work out. Please do not do that. No matter what age you are make a plan. Do not limit yourself. Dream. How can you improve ? Read and then read some more. Take a class. Learn another language and how to play a musical instrument. Laugh, smile and share. Think about yourself and your family and friends but also think about others. Help yourself and do something to help someone else.

Make your plan and be stronger today then you were yesterday. Live well and Prosper.

“Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today.”– James Dean

As always, Thank You for reading my blog. Have a wonderful day.

Posted in Motivation, Personal Development, Positive Thinking, Self Improvement

Do Not Give Up On Yourself – “Miss Me More” by Kelsea Ballerini

Lyrics

I retired my red lipstick ’cause you said you didn’t like it
I didn’t wear my high heel shoes
‘Cause I couldn’t be taller than you
I didn’t wanna lose my friends, but now it’s hard to even find them
It’s what you wanted, ain’t it?
It’s what you wanted

I thought I’d miss you (when it ended)
I thought it hurt me (but it didn’t)
I thought I’d miss you
I thought I’d miss you

But I miss me more
I miss my own beat, to my own snare drum
I miss me more
Miss my own sheets in the bed I made up
I forgot I had dreams, I forgot I had wings
Forgot who I was before I ever kissed you
Yeah, I thought I’d miss you
But I miss me more (I miss me more)

I put on my old records that I hid in the back of the closet
And I turn them up to ten
And then I played them all again
I found my independence
Can’t believe I ever lost it
What you wanted, ain’t it?
It’s what you wanted

I thought I’d miss you (when it ended)
I thought it hurt me (but it didn’t)
I thought I’d miss you
Yeah, I thought I’d miss you. I miss me more.

This song is obviously about a love relationship and I can so relate to it. For years, much too long, I was in a very negative relationship and it was the pits. Worse decision of my life which played over and over in my head after I finally discovered the courage to walk away. I literally moved to the opposite side of the country to get away and to feel safe and secure. Not always having to look over my shoulder, not hear the negative messages on my phone, or have him bother me at work.

The sad thing about most people, especially women, but men do it too, is we let go of who we truly are. We think we love them, we thought we were lonely, we think it will improve, we think we can fix them or help them change. While we are trying to selvage a BAD relationship we are losing bits and pieces of ourselves. We do not realize it but we are the ones changing.

When we do realize, it is just a hopeless mess we do not think we can break away from. We feel frozen in place. I remember laying in bed at night thinking, “Please God help me because I do not think I can do this”. How bad is that ? Here I was a strong, intelligent woman who had accomplished so much and I let someone into my life who was weak and manipulative. Someone who was mean spirited, did not give a hoot about me and my feelings but only for himself and what was in it for him.

We become a shadow of ourselves. We make excuses, we defend our choices to others and to ourselves until finally we realize that we do miss who we were before the relationship. When you walk away you are relieved, you are grateful, you realize you can become who you truly are again. You can move forward. It will not be an easy transition but you can do it.

I do not know of any thing that someone can do to keep themselves from starting a bad relationship. So many people do it. I did, friends and other family members, acquaintances and customers from work, The daughter of the man I had the bad relationship with endured both emotional and physical abuse. Go figure. She grew up with the influence of an emotionally abusive father so she was “primed” to form, and accept, the same type of relationship. When I walked away from her father she let me know she found strength from me and she walked away too.

When we meet someone, we both put on our best appearance, put our best foot forward, we fool ourselves. It does not happen to everyone but it happens to more people then we realize. Emotional abuse is very common and in many ways it is more psychologically harmful than physical abuse.  Emotional abuse is frequent and will occur most, if not, every day. The effects are more harmful because they happen so frequently.

I could not find any current statistics regarding emotional abuse and there appears to be more information regarding the effects of emotional abuse of children. There is more information available for domestic violence. Here is a link to domestic violence statistics from 2018: https://www.socialsolutions.com/blog/domestic-violence-statistics-2018/

According to an article in Healthline these are some of the effects of emotional abuse. The first thing we will do is deny that we are in an abusive relationship.

Short term effects we may experience:

  • Confusion
  • Fear
  • Hopelessness
  • Shame

Long term effects include:

  • Anxiety
  • Chronic pain
  • Guilt
  • Insomnia
  • Social withdrawal
  • Loneliness

https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/effects-of-emotional-abuse

I experienced most of these effects; I did not experience chronic pain but I did experience feelings of not being well. I felt sick and thought something was wrong but it was difficult to express exactly how I felt or understand what was really wrong.

If you find your self in an abusive relationship what can you do to leave ?

  • Make the decision to leave and make the commitment to actually do it.
  • Enlist the help of friends and family.
  • Make a clean, quick, break. Do not hesitate or be wishy-washy, do not try to be friends. Do not get sucked back in, do not feel like you have to help the other person. You are not responsible for them.
  • Keep busy, find something else to do. Think about what made you happy before this relationship, what was you favorite activity, what did you do with friends. What have you dreamed of doing.
  • Reestablish your friendships. Make new friends but do not rush into a new romantic relationship.
  • Take the time to heal and to know yourself again.

You deserve more, you deserve the best, so do not settle for less.

As always, Thank You for reading my blog. Have a great day.

Posted in Motivation, Personal Development, Positive Thinking, Self Improvement

Finding Your Spark – What Ignites You ?

…We are designed to be explorers, and when we explore, our brains light up with pleasure. It is the novelty, not the outcome, that most delights our brain and activates our neuroplasticity. Our brains are never “happier” than when we are learning new things, stretching just beyond our current capacities. This is where we build new circuitry and develop mastery.

Transformed! The Science of Spectacular Living

Life gives us so many opportunities, sometimes we recognize them and sometimes we just do not see them as opportunities. We may feel for some reason the opportunity is not for us. We make excuses, I’m too old, I don’t have enough knowledge, I can’t take the time, I’m not good enough. We feel we can’t take the necessary steps required to complete, or use, the opportunity

Somewhere in each of us there is passion. We may not even realize it, but it is there. Something that motivates us, something that makes us happy. As Jennifer Lopez often says, It gives me the “goosies”. Those goose bump moments when you see some one do something that wows you, or even better, when it is for something that you have done.

Think back in your life to something you have accomplished that gave you that wonderful “goosie” feeling. Number one for me was the birth of my two sons. The best feeling in the world; big goosies. On a more normal, day to day, occurrence if I think about it it still relates to my children and their accomplishments. I am proud of them and that gives me such a warm fuzzy feeling.

But what about me and what I have done. Going to college and completing my degree as a working adult while raising my sons certainly qualifies. Working hard and being promoted and recognized for my hard work. Being named the employee of the year and being a speaker, twice, at the annual meeting of the organization I worked for. Definitely “goosie” worthy.

Reconnecting with my high school sweetheart after a span of 38 years and getting married definitely qualifies. Major “goosies”.

So now here I am, retired, a “little” older. I have done a few things I really enjoyed like reviving my interest in antiques. Buying them, refurbishing them and selling them. Joining an Antique Mall and selling there. I loved it ! Loved the hunt for treasures and learning. Doing research and gaining knowledge. What era, what kind of wood, how to do minor repairs and how to refinish wood when necessary. The different kinds of products, and the best techniques. So that was a passion.

A Fitness Center opened in town and I joined right away. Zumba was the rage and it was so much fun. I developed a love of Yoga. Yes, that was a passion and I went almost everyday; quite often multiples times. Then they closed. Then I stopped. There were no other options close by and I found that part of the appeal was exercising with a group of like minded people.

Then I found myself in a slump of sorts. I had settled into a routine with my husband where each day was the same. We both sell on EBay, he more than myself, so each weekday we drove into town to the Post Office. We had a schedule for shopping. My live was pretty monotonous.

There were things I thought about doing, things I want to do, but there were always reasons or excuses not to do them. I would visualize how I might do them, when that might happen, but I was holding back.

So I needed a “Spark”. I knew it and I was just sort of fantasizing about it and then doing nothing. So what happened ? This blog.

My sons inspired me. I knew little about Social Media in any form and really had not been very interested in learning. Then I saw both of them interacting and doing different things that were so interesting, so inspiring. It intrigued me more and more. Could I do something too ?. There was my spark.

I did a great deal of thinking about just what exactly I would do. Could I take some of my hobbies like gardening or quilting, refinishing antiques and do You Tube videos ? That was interesting but required a different set of skills which I did not have, some expense, and it did not have the same appeal.

So I turned to writing. I had some experience although somewhat limited. I had taken a writing course in college and really enjoyed it and done well and also written my speeches and presentations for work. So here I am. I found a new spark to carry me forward in my life. A way to express myself, to push me forward and accomplish more and more. To give me a sense of not letting life pass me by.

So how do you find your spark ?

What are you dreaming about ? I think everyone dreams about wanting to do something. Do not let those dreams fade; I think we need to dream. Think about what you would do if you could do anything you wanted to do and then visualize how you can do just that. Take baby steps and then bigger steps. As my granddaughter told me once when she was little and I said I did not think I could do something. She looked at me with her big brown eyes and said “You Can Do It Grandma, You Can Do It”.

It does not matter what your age is, young or old, do not give up. Do not settle for less than you deserve. I think we sell ourselves short. We limit ourselves. Everyone needs to stop doing that. We all deserve to move forward in our lives. We should not let someone else limit us and we certainly should not limit ourselves.

Is it risky? Maybe, I suppose you could look at it that way. But why ? If it is just your time then what would you be giving up. What are you doing now and is it something you could spend less time doing ?. Do you really want or need to keep doing those things.

Your life will change sure, but is that a bad thing ? Will it make you happy, will you life be fuller and richer emotionally. Will you feel better about your self , will your confidence increase ? If you can say yes to any of those then I think it is a risk worth taking.

You Can Do It ! Take The Risk !

As always, Thank You for reading my blog. Have a Wonderful Day !

Posted in Motivation, Personal Development, Positive Thinking, Self Improvement

Happiness – Do You Hold The Key ?

“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”– John Lennon

When I started writing my blog I had the purpose of assessing my life, looking back at what I had done and also looking forward to what I still want to do. Life is short and I do not think we truly appreciate that until we are a little older. We are not mindful.

We are too busy living our life to step back and appreciate it. What a gift ! There is so much joy available in virtually most any experience. The simple things that are there everyday if we would just slow down a little bit. To me it is like Spring, that wonderful season when everything is new and fresh. The “greening effect” of the buds on the trees, flowers popping out of the ground, the sound of a Robin, the “peepers” sounding by the pond. Glorious !

All those things make me happy and there are so many other common everyday things like my first cup of coffee and the second cup in late afternoon. My cat waking me in the morning and then leading me to the outdoors to start my day. My happy little dog who always brings me something he loves; one of his balls, a worn, chewed stuffed animal or his favorite squeaky.

Hearing the voices of my children and the wonderful “little” voice of my grandson. My teenage granddaughter who offers me so much hope for the world watching her grow and mature. See her forming her opinions and values and developing her wonderful artistic talents.

So why do we have a “problem” being happy ? We all have bad days and that is understandable. We work hard and we get tired. Something will happen that is discouraging and ,yes, bad things do happen. The loss of a good friend, an accident and someone is injured, you, or someone you love, is diagnosed with cancer. Just turning on the nightly news can be disheartening.

But why are we not happy with our day to day life, when it is not filled with the real bad stuff, but just those ordinary days. We get up, we have breakfast, everyone goes off to work or school, we come home, spend time together and then it’s time to go to bed. Those kinds of days, normal days. The feel good days that we take for granted.

When someone asks how are you and you want to answer honestly and tell them you are depressed, you are not happy, you feel lousy, life sucks. Do you even know why you feel like that ? Sometimes we wake up that way. You did not sleep well and you are tired but what is the real reason behind it.

Sometimes I think we expect too much or we try too hard. Everyone has expectations of how you will feel when you finish doing something; like planning a vacation or completing a big assignment at school or work. When you are home from vacation or you have completed that assignment you expect to feel good, really good, and then you don’t.

Kind of like the Peggy Lee song from 1969, “Is That All There Is?”.
https://songmeanings.com/songs/view/3530822107858823646/

So what can we do to be happy ? I think it is possible to change our way of thinking about what we do each day and to adjust our way of doing things, change our perspective. Some refer to this as mindfulness.

Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or be overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.

I read an article by Paige Oldham for Simplemindfulness;
https://www.simplemindfulness.com/how-to-set-goals-that-will-increase-your-happiness/ . A great article which I recommend reading.

I really like how she expressed it, ” Living authentically and intentionally, doing what we love, and expressing our feelings with the people we love – these are the most common things people deny themselves of throughout their lives. ”

So how do we practice Mindfulness ? Like with most important things you have done in the past, or what you perceived as important enough at the time to put in the effort, you make a plan and you set goals and you form new habits.

First things first though, you have to decide what is important. What do you value, what makes you feel good, and at the end of the day you know it helped you feel happy ? I go back to those simple things in life that make you feel good and add value to your life. The things we usually take for granted.

If you are working there will be decisions to be made so you can balance your work and your happiness. Learn to schedule in little breaks whenever possible to do something that will bring joy and alleviate stress. Get up from your work area and move around, get some coffee, read a quote that makes you feel good, look at pictures of your family, make a quick call home. There are many things you can do to relax even when doing an important task at work. When in doubt just smile; it will make you feel better.

Whenever possible take a moment to do a mental scan of how you feel. Close your eyes and slowly think about each part of you. Are you relaxed ? Are you clasping your hands tightly in a fist, does your neck or any part of your body feel tight ? If the answer is yes then you are showing signs of tension or stress. Do an evaluation of what you were doing that made you feel that way. By doing so you are learning more about what causes you stress and you can look for ways to change.

I like to write things down. Make a daily journal about your day and how you feel. Make a list of what you do each day and break it down into pros and cons. Decide what it is that makes you feel good and what makes you feel bad. Then think about what, and how, you can change. Decide how you can spend more time doing what makes you feel good and how you can eliminate those things you spend time on that really do not help you or that make you feel bad. Make it a habit to once a week take some quiet time, read your journal for that week, and keep working on your plan.

We all push ourselves to move forward and make ourselves better and to make a better life for our families. Is that important ? Yes, of course, it is. But at what cost ? There is a balance that we have to learn and most of us ignore. There may be something in our subconscious mind that tries to tell us that we are out of sync but we usually ignore it and keep pushing forward. We are not being mindful.

We are competitive beasts and we always want more and that has become quite normal. Many people when they retire have a problem dealing with the changes retirement brings because they no longer have anything to strive for. They never learned to have a balance in their life and now they have nothing to turn to except maybe regret. They come to realize that what they had worked so hard for did not have the value they had thought. At the end they may ask, “Is That All There Is?


Learn to live in the present. Learn Mindfulness.

As always, thank you for reading my blog. Have a great “mindful” day.