“It is easy when we are in prosperity to give advice to the afflicted.” ~Aeschylus
Earlier this year I got some feedback from the ‘tween magazine I wrote for: “It sounds like good advice, but kids probably won’t do any of that.”
In my head it all sounded logical but I didn’t consider whether I’d have taken that advice as a kid. Or now, for that matter.
People do it all the time: look at a situation from a removed, non-emotional place and hurl suggestions that are far easier said than done. And sometimes, just plain unrealistic.
I’ve listed five …
“It’s really important to be able to receive love and receive compassion. It is as important as being able to give it.” ~Pema Chodron
Yesterday morning two of the correspondents on the news in Boston (where I’m home for the holidays) had an interesting conversation about the classic It’s a Wonderful Life.
One of them said he’s not a big fan of the movie, which instilled a sense of complete outrage in me.
How dare he take George Bailey’s name in vain! It’s such an inspirational film! From saving Harry’s life to finding Zuzu’s petals, every scene gets my …
“Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” ~William James
There’s this saying I used to love that doesn’t resonate with me anymore:
“Go big or go home.”
I understand the allure of doing big things.
Life seems more meaningful when you’re pursuing a passion that could feasibly improve life for masses of people; and at the end of the day, most of us want to create a legacy—something that lives on beyond our own ripple-in-the-ocean life spans.
I’m not arguing the benefits of going big if that’s what you want to do, especially since I have …
“Friendship isn’t a big thing. It’s a million little things.” ~Unknown
This hasn’t been an extravagant holiday season for me. Like everyone and their mother, I lost a lot of income last year and I just don’t have the means to give expensive presents.
Yet I feel I’ve received a lot of gifts this year. Most notably, I’ve realized how many of the people in my life mean more to me than any of the things I’m trying to accomplish.
The friends and family members whose love and support far eclipse the achievement of any goals I set. The people …
“When you live on a round planet, there’s no choosing sides.” ~Wayne Dyer
Research shows that rooting for a team, identifying with a group and enjoying the camaraderie you feel with other fans, can increase your sense of personal happiness.
While it’s satisfying to feel a sense of belonging, it can be dangerous to carry this us-against-them philosophy into other areas of your life. We do it all the time.
A man connects so deeply to his heritage that he puts up walls with people from different backgrounds.
Or a woman believes something with so much conviction that people who …
“Instead of complaining the rose bush is full of thorns, be happy the thorn bush has roses.”~Proverb
Complaining can be a bonding experience.
You meet up with your friends after work and immediately start rehashing frustrations with your boss. You have dinner with your siblings and commiserate about confrontations with your black-sheep uncle. Or you release tension on a blind date by noticing the wait staff’s shortcomings.
Commiserating is a great way to immediately establish rapport. In that moment you feel connected—you both have grievances, problems, and wishes for a better world.
It’s even easier to do in a challenging …
“When we get too caught up in the busyness of the world, we lose connection with one another and ourselves.” ~Jack Kornfield
In today’s virtual world, considering regular mail can feel rather absurd. Why would you send a postcard when you can instantly send an email or an e-card conveying your thoughts and good wishes, right?
But what happened to the charms of opening your mailbox and wondering what lies within? Hasn’t the walk back from the postbox become rather boring with only bills and flyers to expect?
Though the digital age has done a marvelous job at getting the …
“Being right is highly overrated. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.” ~Unknown
We all know someone who always needs to be right.
She turns everything into an argument worthy of a courtroom, complete with counter arguments and below-the-belt accusations. She finds holes in everything you say, even if you were actually agreeing with her. And in the end she needs the last word, even if means belittling you or ignoring your feelings.
Not everyone acts this righteous all the time, but we’ve likely all tried to win in an argument at least once before.
Maybe it’s the …
“We must never assume that which is incapable of proof.” ~Unknown
You can never truly know someone else’s intentions.
If a coworker offers to cover your shift, she may be trying to ease your stress—or she could be vying for your job. If your sister-in-law offers to pay for your meal, she may want to help you out during tough times—of she could be trying to remind you that you’re inferior.
You can always find a negative assumption that allows you to believe the worst in people. Or you can give that person the benefit of the doubt and believe …
“Be what you are. This is the first step toward becoming better than you are.” ~Julius Charles Hare
I admit, I have a beautiful life. I don’t mean to brag, but I love the life I have and there is no other life I’d rather live. This wasn’t always my truth.
Many years ago, I didn’t think I would one day have a beautiful life. I had a terrible attitude, a soul-sucking job that I occasionally enjoyed, superficially at best, and I pursued things that would always leave me feeling empty. It took me a long time and a lot …
“Make finding the good in others a priority.” ~Zig Ziglar
One of the most exciting parts of writing about happiness is getting the opportunity to connect with people who make sharing joy a priority.
If you’re looking for it, you’ll find positive people everywhere—in your office, along your morning commute, on blogs you follow, and within your Twitter stream. They won’t be the only type of person you see; there are plenty of people out there who walk around holding onto a lot of pain, and knowingly or unknowingly spread it.
But an uplifting person—someone who believes in the good …
“The biggest problem for humanity, not only on a global level, but even for individuals, is misunderstanding.” ~Rinpoche
Someone cuts you off in traffic.
What a jerk!
A date stands you up.
She obviously doesn’t like you.
Your colleague gives you a dirty look across the room.
Your last email must have really pissed him off!
In so many places in our lives, we see a behavior and automatically make a meaning out of it. Everything from a glance to an email gets snappily run through our minds and attached to a reaction or feeling.
Part of this is biological. …
“Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.” ~Voltaire
There are a lot of impressive people in the world. Some innovate and invent things that help masses of people. Some use art to tell powerful stories that move viewers to action.
Others make the world a better place by being helpful within their own sphere of influence, however small or large it may be.
Those little things define people.
The way your neighbor asks how you’re doing and really listens for the answer. How your coworker supports your ideas and gives …
“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” ~Dr. Seuss
As children we’re taught to just say no, and we do it with abandon.
Want to come inside and get ready for dinner? No! Want to shut off the TV and go grocery shopping? No! Want to wear the glittery holiday sweater grandma bought you last year? You know where this is going.
Then we get older and learn about etiquette. We get that sometimes we need to do things that we don’t want to. We understand …
“Old friends pass away, new friends appear. It is just like the days. An old day passes, a new day arrives. The important thing is to make it meaningful: a meaningful friend, or a meaningful day.” ~Dalai Lama
Some sociologists argue that weak ties, the type you form with colleagues and online friends, for example, are the bane of modern life.
Instead of having meaningful conversations that bring us closer to people, we spend much of our time networking with a vast sea of strangers. We keep many interactions peripheral, failing to form the type of intimacy that benefits us …
“The kindest thing you can do for someone else is listen without forming an opinion.” ~Lori Deschene
I was standing on Tremont St. looking for a cab, feeling euphoric after a fun night on the town. I had a couple glasses of wine—okay, several glasses of wine—so I was a little buzzed on top of that.
This guy walked by me with a dog, both looking scraggly and unfortunate. He asked me if I could spare some change.
I immediately said, “Sorry I can’t.” He’d probably just spend it on booze, I figured. That’s what they all do, right? Then …