I’ve often wondered… if I could get one message across with my Self Help blog, what would I want it to be? In addition to raising everyone’s consciousness about the treatment of animals and children, I’d want most of all to help people find happiness. True, lasting happiness. The kind that you feel washing over you so abundantly that you find it difficult NOT to smile.
I was (as I often am) watching a baseball game a few nights and a favorite player and possibly the best the game has ever seen, Albert Pujols, hit a home run. He caught sight of one of his coaches as he rounded third and couldn’t help smiling. He approaches the game maturely and professionally, but he also enjoys the heck out of it, so smile he did.
“One filled with joy preaches without preaching”. – Mother Teresa
Smiles are beautiful things, aren’t they?
It occurred to me then, I HATE the thought of anyone not having a reason to smile. You’ve heard the saying, “He (or she) lights up a room when they smile.” right? Well I’ll let you in on a little secret, everyone lights up the room when they smile because smiles are beautiful. The beauty isn’t in the teeth – it’s in the joy.
You can be as happy as you want to be. You can be as fulfilled as you want to be. You can be as successful as you want to be. You don’t have to be lonely, sad, blue, overwhelmed, or angry. You’re at the wheel of your own life! Take control of your mind and you’ll take control of your life.
One way you can do this is to STOP saying negative things to yourself. When you engage in self-negative-talk, you’re creating a destructively negative environment. Below are some “trade offs” that’ll help:
- When you’re alone, whether at home or in your car, instead of saying, “I’m lonely” and focusing on the sadness that would come with such a statement, say, “This is relaxing!” and focus on the peacefulness that comes with such a statement.
- When your husband or boyfriend loses himself in a game (whether it’s golf, tennis, baseball, or video games), instead of saying things like, “He’s so immature,” focus on how glad you are that he’s healthy and young at heart! SO much better for your relationship. Bonus advice… and this one’s a deal maker… have your own interests and hobbies. Never, ever, ever rely on someone else to entertain or amuse you.
- When you begin to berate your appearance, switch your focus immediately to your best trait. When I was growing up, I never had a problem with weight. Ever. Three children took care of that as well as my husband takes care of a cheeseburger. GONE! After my third daughter, for whatever reasons, I had t-r-o-u-b-l-e losing the “baby weight” and actually kept picking up more. I was in my mid-twenties and feeling very self-conscious about my weight. Even as a baby self-help diva, I realized that I needed to stop focusing on the hips (though they were becoming almost impossible NOT to focus on!) and focus instead on a trait I liked. So, whenever a thought like, “I’ll never get back into a size 8..” popped into my head I’d follow it up with, “But who cares, look at those dimples!” I even stopped myself once in the middle of a self-destructive thought and said out loud, “Yep! I still have those dimples!“
We all have trials and tribulations roll into our lives. We have our share of valleys and sometimes those valleys seem to be haunted with evil clown zombies. But the simple truth is our attitude and our disposition will determine how deep the valley goes. What’s more, they know the secret passage out of the valley. Do I have to point out how important it is to keep them close at hand? Happiness is a secret power that can get you in and out of more places than fame and fortune combined.
Smiling when it’s the last thing you really want to do is an art, but it’s one that’ll serve you well. A funny thing happens when you smile, you trick your brain into thinking all’s well in Dodge. It’s as though your brain says, “Oh, a smile, things must be good!” Try it, it sounds odd, but it’s true. Of course, the effect is even sweeter if you can find a reason to laugh.
A final happiness tip: Watch out for things that are Happiness Zappers. A common culprit is the news. Even the commercials that tell you what’s coming up on the evening news can leave you feeling down all day! Thank God for mute buttons. Surround yourself with things that give you joy and make you smile. Everything else? Kick them to the curb.
Eden is that old-fashioned house we dwell in every day
Without suspecting our abode until we drive away.
– Emily Dickinson
Andrea Sholer says
I love this post – I can so relate to wanting to be that person who lights up a room with my smile. I have done that in my life, but not nearly as much as I would like to, so I really appreciate the reminder in your words, thank you!
I would add to your list of “Happiness Zappers” any of those little things you are likely to do when you are bored: Surf Facebook, mindless channel/website hopping or watching ‘conflict-based’ media, eat when you are not hungry, TV, TV, TV… (but you already said that one!) I find that participating in these low-energy activities decreases access to the passion, interest, and joy which is the at the core of who you really are (and is the key to happiness!)
Next time you are bored, try taking out a piece of paper and making a list of 25+ things that you really love to do, or spending 5 minutes imagining yourself doing something really fun, or start to create a bucket list – those things will get your juices pumping in a good way!
Thanks for a great post,
Andrea Sholer says
By the way, I didn’t mean you, as in you-Joi, but rather you, as in any one of us, all of us, or anyone reading who resonates with the ideas. Thanks Again!