Category Archives: Happiness
Merriam-Webster defines hate as intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury.
There are very few things I hate for one primary reason. It takes too much energy to work up all that fear, loathing or anger. I see it as a total waste. But, I do severely hate something that made this past week more difficult than most others: birthdays.
I don’t fear growing old though I have difficulty embracing it at times. My anger about birthdays has subsided with time, 30 years to be exact but the deep scars of hurt linger. Each year with the arrival of my birthday, the wounds reopen. Each year I struggle to find a way to erase the memories that I hold onto as if they were all that I have. Well, they nearly are.
My 10th birthday party my Dad threw for me was the most awesome birthday party I ever had, ever attended or dreamed about. I saw him the following year but my 12th birthday came and went without any acknowledgement. Lost, confused and dejected, I turned the anger and disappointment on myself.
I’ve hated birthdays ever since.
Many topics this week had one common theme that I feel compelled to attempt to write about in a logical framework. This is always a personal challenge given my propensity of classical logic. Let me see if I can gather my thoughts more succinctly.
One conversation I encountered this week was someone not happy with the way someone else treats them. Most unfortunate is the fact that they have let it happen, never having set the parameters to which others can identify where they stand with this person. Isn’t it obvious that you have the power, the right and the innate ability to teach others how to treat you?
Dr. Death, Jack Kevorkian, died this week. He was world-renowned for his end-of-life assistance. Some say he was a murderer, assisting those who wished to die due to their medical realities. Some say he was a humanist, helping people find a peaceful end to their pain and suffering. Some say he played the role of God, helping people take their life that doesn’t belong to them in the first place. Is the decision to live or not live your own? This is more of a moral question than the first to apply self-empowerment to and one each of us has to answer for ourselves.
A couple of articles about overmedication was not surprising to me. One article focused on the military and the VA system not adequately tracking contraindications for multiple medications they prescribed to current and previous soliders. Another article spoke to the overmedication of seniors in nursing homes, specifically to antipsychotics prescribed to deal with issues surrounding their medical and life realities. But, this is where I don’t understand why people think they are powerless.
Unless you are strapped down and given an injection, you can make the decision not to pop that pill. The power of your own life over someone else’s instructions as to what you should do is infinite. We have been indoctrinated to succumb to authority, especially highly educated, trained specialists of things we are less knowledgeable about. You don’t have to trust or obey at the sacrifice of using your own brain. Maybe I’m just a little more rebellious than some.
Finally, I read a co-workers blog post about choosing to affect others. It is human to be self-absorbed. It is also human to look beyond what is going on in our own daily whirlwind and see what others are dealing with. We are empowered to make our day better by way of making someone else’s day better because we are social creatures. Sensing what we need from other people can be turned to providing that to them. Truly what goes around comes around.
We naturally seek control of our destinies at various levels. Our frustrations with the seemingly lack of control play out all too often and momentarily fool us into thinking we are not empowered with choices. Our lives are nothing but a long series of choices, made or avoided, to re-create our present and future each day.
Choose to make your day, your life what you will and take the world by storm. I have a quote in my office that helps me choose almost every day. Maybe it will help you: “what would you attempt to do if you knew you would not fail?” It has empowered me to attempt a goal I’ve had since I was 12 years old. Find what is holding you back, beat it with a stick and make that decision. You are empowered.
I rarely read something that changes me fundamentally. This just did: Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford Graduation Speech
The road we call life is different for each of us yet we all too often relax and follow the footsteps of someone else’s road. Either we get lost, nervous, worried or lazy and don’t stick to our own path. But I think it is natural for humans to group together to do this, or strike out on their own when they think the time is right.
Where Jobs talks about listening to yourself, trusting instincts, I think that is where we often fail. We can’t listen because we are too busy going ninety to nothing or are worried about paying the bills. That is why we need vacations, but not to go to Disney World or fly across country. We need the type of vacations that simply break us out of the mold of daily routines to help us see the world differently, and to listen to our instincts.
Last November I took a little vacation from the ordinary that changed goals, views and expectations. Jobs’ speech reminded me of it. I am on my own path. My goals are more clear because they don’t belong to someone else.
Are you on your own path? Or are you lost? Sit. Be quiet. Listen. What does your gut tell you?
Everyone has bad days. I had a rare one today. It happens. Being overwhelmed with work didn’t help either so I thought I would go home at the end of the day and crawl into bed. But, something else happened; something that made my day.
I got my iPhone4, my first iPhone, exactly two months ago today. And, like most new iPhone owners, I can’t image what I ever did without it. During this time, I’ve read books on it, my Kindle, my laptop, and on paper (I can go vintage at times). But, I haven’t downloaded any new items to my Kindle since April. I have a serious backlog of material to read. I bought a paperback book in June I haven’t even cracked!
A co-worker brought a book to my attention late in the day called Empowered: Unleash Your Employees, Energize Your Customers and Transform Your Business by Josh Bernoff and Ted Schadler. For only one week, it’s a free Kindle download. After properly greeting my family when I arrived home, I went straight to my Kindle on my nightstand.
I turned on my Kindle and found where I left off in a book a couple of weeks ago (with a sweet message about how I had read to a particular point in the book on my iPhone app and asking me if I wanted to go to it. Okay, that was cool). I hit the menu button so I could turn on the wireless access (saves battery life to keep it turned off). When the menu came up on the screen, I did what I have learned to do in the last couple of months: I touched the screen. I immediately busted out laughing. I laughed so hard at myself, I cried. It felt so good because the day had been so bad.
Oh, how quickly the iPhone’s touch screen has spoiled me! If you know anything about a Kindle, you know it does not have a touch screen. Thus, you can see the humor of the situation and why my day ended on a better note than I had hoped. Oh, I needed that laugh!
Who knew laughter could release so much anxiety and tension? The Mayo Clinic does and writes online about how laughter can relieve stress. Laughter produces endorphins and neuropeptides, and increases oxygen intake. Good stuff to stock up on for rough days.
I don’t plan to have another bad day any time soon, but if I do, I hope I’ll remember touching the screen on my Kindle and laugh out loud again.
(Thanks to James, Apple and Amazon for bringing this humor together for me!)
When a day starts off beautifully and ends badly it always seems the world is conspiring against you. If things get off to a bad start but end fantastically, almost unrealistically perfect, has the world decided to be nice? I don’t believe so.
A day, or just a moment, is what you make of it. Call it karma, good vibes, God, Vishnu or whatever; it doesn’t matter. How the world is and how your day turns out, is part reality, part perception and part reception. How you perceive and receive reality is how your day will go.
The key is to stay positive even when something less than perfect happens. If you hit a bump in your day, smile. The gods just might smile back at you.