Lord make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred … let me sow love
Francis of Assisi
Another short one today. It really is a simple and yet vital. We humans are a social species that absolutely cannot survive without each other. Literally! Yet every day we see hatred being expressed and acted out against “others”. Others are humans that have what we want, or are different in looks and/or beliefs, or are keeping us from our beliefs and activities … and so on. You know what I am talking about.
So how do we address differences? Start by acknowledging them. Then look for commonalities. Focusing on the commonalities, find ways to help each other live your lives in peaceful pursuit of contentment and happiness. I wrote a bit about this some time ago in “Universal Guidelines to Live By“. Another item that puts forward how we can live together is “Everything In Life Is Negotiations-pamphlet1.
We can disagree vehemently with others but do not make it personal with trolling and personal attacks. Attack the issue and put your views forward in ways to convince. Don’t sow hatred or personal ridicule … sow love and personal acceptance.
Just this picture of a list for you to consider today. Please, read it through and do as many as you can this week.
And last but by by no means least, live well, love always and laugh out loud every day!
There have always ways been different opinions about almost everything. Probably from the best way to approach a mastodon in order to kill it for food for the others, to the best way to use social media to market an idea. But, as you can see from my hint about social media, these days we are absolutely bombarded with statements that purport to be the real truth.
Social media is all pervasive, but only if we let it be. We do have choices to make. And this takes me back to an article that I posted way back in 2009. The irony is not lost on me but GIGO is worth another read. Then we were being bombarded with all sorts of negative, violent and confrontational stuff in the news and on social media. My advice then was to unplug for a while and focus on yourself and your immediate family and friends. Pay attention to what you really want in your life.
Way back in 1956 Earl Nightingale produced an amazing record called “The Strangest Secret”. That secret was relevant then, as it has been all through history, and as it is today. It is quite simply ‘we become what we think about’. We need to take a minute out of our hectic lives and just think about that. What are YOU thinking about? What are you focused on? What is at the top of your mind? It matters. If it is always checking on the craziness of the next tweet from that person, you will be growing feelings of ridicule, resentment, anger, despair and so on. If you are hoping for more money because you do not have enough, the main thought there is that you do not have enough and that grows.
I recently realized that I was not really much engaged in life and was just treading water. I put out the thoughts that I wanted to be doing more and being more active in the community. I did not know what that would mean but wow! Within the same week I was invited to a general meeting of a Riding Association and became a Board member with a specific responsibility that will certainly broaden my knowledge, horizon and connection to my community. In addition, I was invited to be part of starting a business venture. Careful what you think about because things happen. 🙂
What I want to recommend to you is that you pull back just a bit and focus on what you can control. About the only thing you can really control is what you think about. We have heard it said that live is about 90% what happens to us and 10% of how we respond/react to the things that happen to us. Get out front and start thinking about what you really, really, really, REALLY want. We want world peace because we will be safer. We want more money because we want to help others and to provide comfort and security to our family. We want safety and security where we live. But, overall, we REALLY want to be happy! Anyway! So focus your thoughts on contentment, happiness and inner peace. My partner always says “prepare for the worst but plan for the best”. In other words, know what the worst can be, acknowledge it briefly and then let it go and focus on the best.
“Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.”
— Norman Vincent Peale
An interesting quote. The first thing you need is an awareness of your own powers. What does that means? Quite simply, what are you good at? What do you like to do more than anything else? What makes you feel happy when you are doing it? We often wonder what it is that we should be doing. Fortunately, life is well designed to help us along the way if we just pay attention.
This is not the time to be humble. Think and be honest with yourself. What are you good at? Make a list. Brag to yourself!! Now make another list with the activities that make you feel happy. This list might be a bit short at first because we do not often think this way. Stick with it. What makes you feel happy.
Now, put the lists together and see which activities are on both. Those are your real powers and are where you should be focusing your attention in doing. You can make a great contribution to the world if you focus on those activities.
I said that life is well designed to help us know what to do in most situations. If we feel good, we are doing the “right” thing. If we are not, then examine what you are doing and change. Feeling good is the signal we need to be watching for all the time. We are not feeling good when we are berating a cashier for something. Rather, switch and figure out what you are really looking for. As a minimum, understand that you are venting at the wrong person and usually for the wrong thing. As your Mom said, take a deep breath, count to 10 and move on! Mom was always right.
So, have a realistic confidence in your own powers and you “Can be Happy Anyway”.
It’s a question we find we ask ourselves at difficult times in our lives. We know intellectually that we will die at some point and all that we know will be no more for us. So, what is the point?!
Incredible opening for my blog that focuses on being Happy Anyway isn’t it? But really, it is the issue at its very basic level. Can we really be Happy Anyway? Why not? What is happiness all about? It is about now. It is about enjoying the very moment we are in, not the past which cannot be changed and not the future which has not happened yet. Now.
But wait a minute. This feeling of “what’s the point” is very real and all consuming at times. Especially when the news you just got is not very good at all. Bad news focuses our attention enormously. As I have said elsewhere in this blog, you need to acknowledge and experience the feelings that are happening with no guilt. BUT, you also need to set up a deadline for when you will move on and return to the state of happiness. Sounds weird but I mean that you need to set a time when you will look at your new reality and develop some plans to put you back on the journey that you have been on.
What is it that we all really really really really REALLY want? When you start to answer you need to put the question why in at each stage. Money? Why? So that I can have a nice place to live, drive a nice car, dress well, eat out at fine dining places and so on. Why? So I can help others to experience these same things. Why? It makes me feel good. Why? I like to help others and live a good life. Why? It gives me a purpose and a reason to get up each day. That is what makes me happy, having a purpose – a reason to be.
So, back to that tough question – what is the point? It is different for each of us and it is even different for us at different stages of our lives. But it boils down to; “What is my (current) purpose”? It can be to get that promotion and earn more money. It can be to give my children all the help and experience that I can so that they can have a good adult life. It can be to retire with comfort and security. It can be to see grandchildren graduate. It can be to make sure the house is cleaned and organized from top to bottom before I die. (That is a story I recall about a person who was told that she had about a month to live. So she decided to make sure her home was spic and span for the wake. It took her some 10 years to get it just right!)
We simply cannot be happy if we are not actively living on purpose. We need a reason to get up each day that means something to us. Please don’t get caught in the trap of “should“. I am not talking about what you and/or others think you should have as a reason to get up. Rather, what is it that YOU feel is right for you? And then take steps along that road. It is your journey after all. Enjoy it.
Be Happy, Live Well and Laugh Out Loud Every Day!