A lofty goal, indeed, but one the empathetic INFJ in me has always endeavored to attain for those in the deepest recesses of my heart. . .
The temporal confines of the human existence are but man-made constructs. . .
Depending on what is happening at any given moment in our lives, a single instant can feel as an eternity – both a gloriously utopian endlessness, or a perpetual hell.
Let not the prospect of enduring some abhorrent permanence frighten you, though… We DO have some choice in the matter. (Certainly the White Rabbit would say we do)!
Regardless of our situation, or the fervid pursuit your deepest fears make upon your wavering mind…we have the choice to still ourselves and focus on the positives in our lives. (And I’m willing to bet there is much to be thankful for). When we take a moment to breathe…to recognize we are still able to breathe…we give our system a chance to value “time.” We can tap into the present and either enjoy the pure bliss of it…or ground ourselves in the midst of fury, allowing our hearts, minds, and bodies to recognize “this too shall pass.”
I personally believe we are where we need to be, that life is ever presenting us with gifts in the form of lessons and experience. And though some moments are tougher than others, we find a way not only to survive…but to be stronger as a result.
Sometimes a moment is but a second in the eyes of – or at the hands of – the great clock. . . Sometimes a moment is so beautiful that we wish to capture and bottle it whole, to cherish for every new day we are given. Others are so dark we try to hold our breath in a prayer that it will vanish as quickly as it came…
In either case, the “deep breath” and a positive thought can help us to attain either… The elongation of the beauty, or a swift, but manageable end to tribulation. All in one split second.
I love resets, and January 1 represents a nice, fresh restart. I don’t actually *believe* in New Year’s “resolutions,” though, because – while typically made in earnest and followed by a full-bore (albeit (also typically) short-lived) burst – they are so often abandoned, left to fade into the rush of life…until maybe a year later. When, of course, the same thing happens again.
What I DO believe in, however, is that we have the opportunity to make life changes at any moment, on ANY day we so choose – you can take January 1 if it’s nice and tidy, or just go for it at any time that best suits you. (We just need to make sure we PICK a time, not procrastinate). The decision is generally a great deal easier than the follow-through…but then everybody knows that! But, if we can find a way to work towards something meaningful and realistic…the rewards are worth the price.
We all have areas in which we’d like to improve – sometimes strictly for our own well-being, and yet in others, for the impact it will have on those around us, and even the world. One of the most important things we can do for ourselves (and others) is to choose to be “happier.” Happier is something we all must define on our own – there’s no one size fits all when it comes to what makes each of us “happy” inside. And, PS, it is an inside job. But I can guarantee you that whatever the goal posts, if you do make it to “happier” (even if in tiny increments), you will see a marked change in the world around you.
Life is precious. We don’t know how much time we have, neither can we be certain of that given to those we love, so happiness matters. We all deserve the blessing of “happiness,” and no matter how different that may look to each of us, it is more than achievable.
Amidst an undoubtedly hefty resolution list, this one is an “overall makeover” that can both help us to reach many of our other goals, as well as be manageable enough that we can have some real success. It also happens to be a relatively realistic goal because we don’t have to be at the pinnacle of perfection…rather we are aiming for more “happy” in our lives, which can come in smaller increments (the “-ier” suggests it is more than our current state not necessarily a massive jump—> those baby steps are worthy)!
Short-term boosts are great, but I’ve seen too many resolutions fail because they are not appropriately backed by an equally ardent “I really want to make a lifestyle change”…which, let’s be honest, is the only way any achieved result will still with us long-term. We need to think about how we can incorporate our goals (and the steps we need to get there) into our daily routine withOUT it feeling like torture (torture = not going to do it. Period).
Any life change – or the endeavor to make a lifestyle change – requires the following:
- We truly want the change ourselves (we honestly want it, we aren’t being coerced, or forced, or guilted into it).
- The change is realistic (for example, we can lose weight or be healthier, but we can’t suddenly look like someone who is an entirely different body type than we naturally possess).
- The change is one we can maintain over time (we aren’t instituting so rigid a plan that we fail to account for human error and natural, flexible fluctuation).
That’s really it!
Well, then what gets in the way…?!
- Our “resolutions” and hopes for a new way of living are sometimes at the mercy of temporal constraints.
- As above…excuses are insidious. It’s easy to find reasons why “ohhh, I’ll do it tomorrow – I’m just too tired / don’t have time.” Or, “well, I’m already down hill so may as well keep going!” That kind of thinking will derail anyone!
Okay…so then how do we DEFEAT the roadblocks?
- Promise yourself that you will make time. Time is limited for us all – sometimes I’m amazed how much other people fit into the day, and how much they know! Well…they’ve got the same 24 hours so that means I need to figure out – if I want to fit something in – how I’m going to do that.
- Our excuses need to be exposed for what they are. They need to be acknowledged and nipped in the bud AS SOON AS THEY APPEAR. Keep tabs on yourself and be honest with you. If you need to write them down, do it. If you want to post goal pictures or positive affirmations around the house, do it. If you need to recruit a partner, do it. Whatever you need to squash those pesky excuses…DO it. You are NOT alone. We all make excuses. But…
- Remember that a tiny effort each day WILL get you headed in the right direction. Baby steps are still progress and it is SUPER important that you notice your efforts and any progress you make (again…little steps are still steps)!
“Happy” is something that we all can make strides towards. We owe it to ourselves to put it on the top of the priority list not only because we deserve to enjoy life, but also because being “happier” contributes to the overall picture. When we FEEL happier, so much more falls into place – we feel motivated, we feel invigorated, our mood and attitude improves…and we find more of that self-confidence that we both deserve and need to be successful in life.
- Make a list of what contributes to YOUR happiness. Try to incorporate more of THAT into your day.
- Look for the little improvements…and pat yourself on the back.
- Force a smile when you don’t feel like it (sometimes – it’s also okay to need time to “feel”).
- Make a gratitude list…
- Be yourself, and be proud. You’re worth it.
Blessed 2019 to all…
Once upon a time, in the wee stages of life, the darkness felt too vast and terrifying to bear – my heart would shudder at the thought and I needed some external source to light the way.
And yet, as I grew older, I began to realize there was nothing within the inky blackness that had the power to hold sway over me. For indeed there was a light inside of me that shone brighter than the sun and moon…and it is a light that does not extinguish, no matter what night…neither life…has to say.
For a long time I believed that respect was earned – its value is simply too high to just hand out, I thought. But over the years I’ve changed my tune. Why suddenly such a shift? Well…it wasn’t really sudden at all…
I grew up believing that doing unto others is the appropriate way to behave – I certainly have my moments of deviation, but they are – by a long shot – the exception and not the rule. I’ve always, therefore, subscribed to the notion that what we give out comes back to us, multifold – Karmic law, Law of Three, whatever you want to call it…I’ve seen it far too many times to have any doubt at all. Add some painful and challenging experiences – and don’t we all have our stories? – my subscription to the idea that “rising above” is the right way to be has multiplied exponentially.
Hate is a good example. I don’t sincerely “hate” anything – in my mind it is a wasted emotion, and it gives far too much power to something I really don’t like (people, places, OR things.) Hate takes as much – or more! – energy than love. . .so if I’m giving that kind of attention to a “dislike,” I’m wasting precious resources, time included!
It took some time to understand that, though. As children we love to say, “UGH! I HATE HOMEWORK!” or “I hate so-and-so!” “Hate” just falls into the two categories of #1, a word, and #2, a negative. Over the years, however, I learned that it was an extreme expression, that it carried too much of a negative vibe to carry around, and that the act of hating in and of itself reflects poorly in my own conduct.
As with hate, respect is something I am putting out – it is part of my conduct and behavior. It occurred to me, then, that believing that respect was something other people had to earn was a really narrow-minded view. I can go around being a tyrant but that reflects on me only. I could also go around being a sycophant or victim-worthy subservient…but that too reflects on me (not to mention gets me into trouble.)
Treating others with respect doesn’t mean I have to give out free passes or put people on pedestals, let’s be clear. What it means – to me – is that I treat others with decency and kindness.
Now…let me also say… I live in a tough city. Even MY buttons are pushed at times, and that says a lot! But I am constantly checking back in with myself when feeling irrational, upset, frustrated etc… If I can’t be respectful (and in certain moments, I don’t feel I can live up to it) I simply do not engage. Easy as that. The only person accountable for what I put out is me, and if I put out something negative…it’s going to get me into trouble in one way or another.
As my behavior is my own, how other people behave is their business. In the modern world (and in a tough city), people might argue that others “don’t deserve respect.” Conducting myself in as positive a way as I can doesn’t mean I don’t see the poor behavior of others, that I dismiss it, that I allow it, or that I’m saying “go ahead and continue acting that way.” It just means that I am putting a positive energetic spin on myself.
When dealing with someone I see often, simply rising above allows me to move forward through my day without the burden of taking on his or her attitude, and neither the weight of being a nasty person (which I don’t want to be.) If, however, it’s someone I’ll likely never see again, I still can move forward knowing that I’ve been upstanding in spite of someone else’s conduct.
Do I do this perfectly? Hell NO! I’ve learned that I’ve got plenty of limits, and that I’m just as subject to bad moods, grumpiness, and don’t-play-well-with-others as some serious offenders. BUT…I know that, deep down, I don’t want any part of drama or negativity. That fact in and of itself means that I can do a lot to avoid it – namely, work on my on attitude, and approach interactions with respect. How others respond to that is totally on them (and the great news there? TONS of freedom not having to take that on!)
It is always up to us how we want to feel, what we associate with, what we allow… Acting disrespectfully reflects negatively in every possible way, and speaks volumes about one’s character. To show respect even when it doesn’t feel warranted, however, also says rather a ton about a person. I aim to be the latter, if for no other reason than to me it is a noble pursuit energetically, as in terms of self development. I have a ways to go too but you can be sure I try to check myself. Often.
It never ceases to amaze me how much we miss the animals we’ve bonded with in life, no matter the time that passes… I was blessed to have this (big) little guy’s trust and love and I will forever be thankful.