Maya Angelou was interviewed by Oprah on her 70+ birthday. Maya really is a marvel who has led quite an interesting and exciting life. Oprah asked her what she thought of growing older. And, there on television, she said it was “exciting.” Regarding body changes, she said there were many, occurring every day…like her breasts. They seem to be in a race to see which will reach her waist, first. The audience laughed so hard they cried. She is such a simple and honest woman, with so much wisdom in her words. “I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow…I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights… I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you’ll miss them when they’re gone from your life… I’ve learned that making a “living” is not the same thing as making a ‘life’… I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance… I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back… I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision… I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one… I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back… I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn… I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Sometimes, the harsh realities of life can weigh us down with doubt, confusion, depression, and anxiety. Overtime, these patterns of thoughts and feelings will have a negative impact on our health and well-being. To combat this, I want to give you 10 simple steps that will transform your outlook in life.
1. Count your blessings. Name 3 things that went well today.
2. Consider what you have. List 3 things that you appreciate about your life.
3. Express thanks. Write a letter to someone who made an impact on your life.
4. Play to your strengths. List your top 3 strengths.
5. Make love count. Set aside time to spend with your partner.
6. Look on the bright side. Write a story about your ‘best future self.’
7. Find meaning in your work. List 3 reasons you feel passionate about your work, or how your work contributes to the greater good.
8. Do a good deed. Practice acts of kindness to those you care about as well as to strangers.
9. Make positive connections. Smile at someone you pass on the street or in the elevator.
10. Do what you love. When you do something you enjoy, you will naturally drift into a satisfying ‘sense of flow.’
Take your time with this list. I encourage you to focus on one or two of these steps of a day. And work your way through all of them over the next few weeks. After you’ve completed the list, repeat the steps, cycling it over again in the coming months. Eventually, your positive outlook will become second nature as you see the brighter side of things, in people and in life. It’s not to say the dark realities will vanish from our lives but we’re choosing to see the better side of things, which puts it into perspective. Here’s to a happier you and a brighter world.
© Susie Lee 2012
To insure good health: eat lightly, breathe deeply, live moderately, cultivate cheerfulness, and maintain an interest in life.
– William Londen
*10 Steps to a Happier Life was written by Michele Cohen Marill (From Pink Magazine 2008)
The reason people find it so hard to be happy is that they always see the past better than it was, the present worse than it is, and the future less resolved than it will be.
– Marcel Pagnol
Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people they don’t like.
– Will Rogers
Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.
You are not in this world to live up to other people’s expectations,
nor should you feel the world must live up to yours.
– F Perl
Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim.
Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.
– Harvey Fierstein
Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.
– John Wooden
The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love,
and let it come in.
– Morrie Schwartz
Happiness is like a butterfly. The more you chase it, the more it eludes you.
But if you turn your attention to other things, It comes and sits softly on your shoulder.
– Henry David Thoreau
It’s impossible” said pride.
“It’s risky” said experience.
“It’s pointless” said reason.
“Give it a try” whispered the heart.
Your task is not to seek love, but to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.
Being happy doesn’t mean that everything is perfect.
It means that you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections.
As life gets busier, sometimes it’s easy for couples to unconsciously let their relationships slip to the wayside. But it’s possible to keep it strong even in the midst of busyness. Here are 10 simple ways:
- Spend time apart
- Let small things slide
- Fight fair
- Stay intimate
- Say thank you (and please)
- Keep it surprising
- Make the effort
It’s helpful to write these down where you can see them; post-it on your computer, fridge, bathroom mirror, dining room table, kitchen sink – somewhere where you’ll see it as a daily reminder. Of course, this is in no way an exhaustive list but it’s a simple and practical list that will get you back on track towards intimacy.
Have fun and enjoy each other. Always. Love and laugh lots.
© 2012 Susie Lee
*10 simple ways were taken from Today’s Parent February 2006.
To read the full article: click here
It is never too late to be what you might have been.
– George Eliot
All our dreams can come true – if we have the courage to pursue them.
– Walt Disney
Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon ‘em.
– William Shakespeare
Don’t go through life, grow through life.
– Eric Butterworth
In any situation, the best thing you can do is the right thing; the next best thing you can do is the wrong thing; the worst thing you can do is nothing.
– Theodore Roosevelt
Keep on going and the chances are you will stumble on something, perhaps when you are least expecting it. I have never heard of anyone stumbling on something sitting down.
– Charles F. Kettering
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
– Mark Twain
There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them.
– Dr. Denis Waitley
Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.
– John Wooden
In my home, I have a number of houseplants scattered throughout the windowsills, floor, tables and stands. I love having them around because they bring life and color into a room. But they take work. Every few days, I check to see if the soil needs water. Every few weeks, I give them plant food. And every few years, I transfer them into a bigger pot. Over time, I’ve learned my plants have preferences, some like to be in direct sunlight and others like to be in shade. I’ve also found they tend to flourish in health and strength when I talk to them sweetly… so I talk to my plants often.
Just like houseplants, relationships bring life and color into our lives. But it takes work. We need to put physical time, emotional energy and mental capacity into it. Without this effort, our relationships resemble an artificial plant – fake and lifeless.
Usually when people are dissatisfied with their relationships they may use the term the grass is greener on the other side. The ‘other’ side being happier, fulfilling and abundant. But I believe if they channel that energy in maintaining their own lawn, it would be just as vibrant and green too. But I understand that sometimes, it’s easier to compare and complain rather than put the work into it.
Every relationship takes a lot of work, sacrifice and love. Strong, healthy, long lasting couples and friendships don’t just magically ‘happen,’ they take time to cultivate and flourish. Here are a few ways to build your relationship:
Make right choices despite how you feel
Accept them without trying to change them
Be there through the ups and downs – good times and bad
Choose to love them especially when the feelings aren’t there
Talk, listen and engage actively
Be honest with them even though it’s hard
Patiently figure out the heart of the issue in conversations
Accept and understand the other person’s point of view
Have fun together
Have common interests
Make time for each other in person, by phone or by computer
Physical, emotional, spiritual, psychological, or intellectual connection
Honor them by accepting who are
Celebrate the things that matter to them
Look out for their best interest and well-being
Meet spoken and unspoken needs (emotionally or practically)
Relationships are like investments that will grow over time. And the return will be substantial as it will nourish our souls and enrich our lives. It’s the connection we make with another soul that draws us deeper mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
May your days be richer and fuller because of the colorful relationships that bring life, love and joy to you. And in turn, may you paint a colorful canvas on someone else’s life.
© 2012 Susie Lee
Whenever you’re in conflict with someone, there is one factor that can make the difference between damaging your relationship and deepening it. That factor is attitude.