We all live lives rich in relationships and punctuated with emotion. Lovers arrive, bringing gifts of passion and tenderness, and then exit, marking their passage with anger and sadness. Children flash into being, evoking previously unimaginable exhilaration and exhaustion. Friends and family members tread parallel paths, sharing our emotions, and then pass on, leaving grief and memories in their wake.
Across all our relationship experiences, what balances out our anger and grief is our joy. All human beings share the capacity to relish intense joy and the desire to maintain such happiness in an impermanent and ever-changing world. Also universal is the fact that our personal joy is determined by the quality of our interpersonal connections. When our relationships with family, friends, coworkers, and romantic partners are happy, we are happy, and when they’re not, we’re not.
Yet, joy doesn’t drop magically from the sky into our hearts and minds and stay there. We create joy – through every decision we make and every thought, word, and deed. When we manage our emotional experiences and communication poorly, the interpersonal sorrows we wreak on others reflect back on us in the form of personal unhappiness. When we steadfastly and skillfully manage our emotions, the positive relationship outcomes we create multiply, and with them, our happiness and the joy of those who surround us.
I encourage all of you to keep this thought in mind:
We create joy – through every decision we make and every thought, word, and deed.
There is no small act of courage. You can’t compare the courage it takes to battle cancer with the courage it takes to become a doctor.
Both are very brave acts. You can’t compare the courage it takes to become an Olympian with the courage it takes to raise a physically or mentally challenged child.
Both are incredible feats. You can’t compare a firefighter who saves a life to an eight year old child who consistently stands up to a bully. Both acts are heroic.
Most of us don’t think of ourselves as brave people. Yet that’s exactly who we are. If you reflect on your life, one decade at a time, and write down your bravery, I’m sure you’d be surprised.
I think every brave thing we do in life counts. It’s time we claim our bold and audacious selves.
It’s time to celebrate our fearlessness. As we do, we can begin to think of ourselves as bold people who are sometimes fearless instead of fear-filled people who try to be bold.
Everyday acts of courage to practice and celebrate:
It takes courage to admit when you are wrong. It’s a bold act to admit when you make a mistake. Apologizing takes you out of your comfort zone and enhances your relationships. That’s big.
Don’t imitate anyone. Take off your mask. Allow yourself to become vulnerable. Share your flaws with others. See perfection in your imperfections. Who you are is a gift to the world. Allow yourself to shine.
You are where you are in life because of the choices you make. If you don’t like what you see, change it. One question I ask myself often is, “Is this the life I want to create?” If you don’t exercise, make a change. If you need to get out of debt, spend less. Responsibility brings freedom.
Keep your commitments.
Write down everything you say you are going to do. Write down the promises you make to others. When you keep your promises, you build self-respect. Others respect you as well.
Rock the boat.
Speak up. Make a difference. Share your feelings when you witness an injustice. Practice sharing your opinion. Don’t allow someone to take advantage of you. Learn to say, “no.” Refuse to hold back when your gut says to move forward.
Let go of the past.
Stop wallowing over what could have been. Forgive yourself. Forgive your parents. Forgive everyone. What happened is over unless you keep it alive by reliving it in your mind. When we know better, we do better. It takes courage to move on.
Learn something new. Step into the unknown. Change the way you do things. It doesn’t matter if you get it the first time. Try again. Give yourself permission to be a beginner. Seize the opportunity. Growth brings new opportunities.
Listen to people who disagree with you. Listen to family members who think you are wrong. Listen to the elderly person in the coffee shop. Listen when you only want to speak and give advice. Listen and thank the other person for sharing.
Help someone who doesn’t help you. Help others when you don’t have the time. Help someone who can’t pay you back. Help someone when you are the one needing help. Learn to be of service. That’s why we’re here.
Turn the other cheek. Overlook annoyances. Be kind to each other. Be truthful. Accept differences. Love is a verb. Spend time together. Act like a loving person. You can love difficult people as well. Forgive them and wish them the best. Let them go with love.
Practice gratitude. Count your blessings. Tell the people in your life “thank you.” Be grateful for the people you love and for the people who love you.
Choose to be happy.
Make a decision that you will think happy thoughts, speak kind words, and spend time doing things that bring you joy. Have a good attitude. See the glass half full. Look at the bright side. Expect the best. Choose to focus on what’s good.
Learn from your mistakes.
Reflect on what went wrong and what you could have done better. Look for your lesson. Choose to grow forward. Be gentle with yourself. Make a new plan. Try again. Refuse to give up.
In our intense and fast-paced world, it’s easy to feel like you’re missing out or being left behind. You do too much, work too much and miss the joy of everyday living. It’s bold to step back, take a break and relax.
Follow your dreams.
Take action daily toward your goals. Ask for help. Network. Research. Plan. Take more action. Adjust your plans as you go along. Be open to something even better. Never give up. Adjust. Push on.
Enjoy the small things.
Take time to revel in a flower blooming, the taste of a glass of cold water, the different shades of green, a child’s smile or an elderly person’s worn hands. Enjoy the smell of clean clothes and the taste of a fresh slice of bread. Enjoy a brisk walk, a quiet morning, or a star filled night.
Go the extra mile.
Allow someone to go in front of you in traffic or at the grocery store. Do more than what is required of you at work and at home. Hold a door open. Surprise someone. Don’t keep score. Leave a big tip and help someone believe the world is a generous place.
Ask for help. When you are stuck, addicted or unhappy, seek professional help. Hire a coach, a therapist or join a support group. When you are overwhelmed at work, ask for assistance. When you don’t understand something, ask for an explanation.
Put family and friends before stuff.If you value your loved ones, make them a priority in your life. Work less and play more. Laugh. Create traditions and rituals. Find hobbies and activities that everyone enjoys. Have fun. Experiences bring more meaning than needless shopping.
Love Yourself. Accept your imperfections. Be your own best friend. Show yourself compassion, understanding and respect. This is the most courageous act of all.
After you look and/or listen to these songs, let us know what song(s) you would put on this list. Let me know if you agree/disagree, what song is missing that I didn’t put on the list. Have fun! And remember, don’t worry, be happy!!!
I want to know what you, my dear readers, think is going on here. What caption would you use to descibe this photo? Write a sentence or tell a brief story of what’s going on…be creative! I’ll post all of your replies!
There once was a seed that lived for a long time just being a seed. It knew no other way of being, no other way doing, no other way of experiencing, just a seed never changing. It had many things done to it, many insults to its existence as a seed. The seed was unaware of living any other way. The seed was not alone, as it was amongst many other seeds. They were placed in confined spaces with just enough resources to survive as the seeds they were. The seeds were all bounced around from one confinement to another…packaged, boxed. Not going forward or backwards in life as there didn’t seem to be any other way of living; after all, being a seed is all they knew. Continue reading Hope, I have found you at last!