Look To the Western Sky

A blog about single life as a parent & the dreams of a writer by Margo L. Dill

Category: Happiness

What Happens When You Surround Yourself In Positivity

I really like this post below, which came to me as a contributed post. What I like about it is that they aren’t really telling you HOW to be positive, but they are showing you that if you can manage to have a positive attitude, here are the benefits. And I agree with everyone of these below. It’s not easy to always be positive–that’s for sure. And no one is saying that. What KT and I have been trying to focus on lately is our blessings. Every night, we are saying three things we are thankful for, and it really makes us examine our day–often we have more than 3!

Life has a nasty habit of getting negative. No matter where you go or who you meet, there are always things to see and be down about. The weather. Your job. Debt. All of these things allow a cloud to hang over your head and sometimes that cloud can be all consuming. The thing is, no one wants to walk around all day long with a cloud over their head. No one enjoys feeling unhappy or unmotivated; not only is it not productive for your day-to-day life, it’s just downright miserable, isn’t it?

You should instead be spending your life feeling happy, secure and motivated to achieve whatever it is that you want to achieve. The key to this is people. People and positivity. If you’re surrounding yourself with positive influences, then you’re going to feel that happiness and uplifted spirit leech into your own life. You cannot have a life that is positive and happy if you’re dealing with negative emotions all the time; it just doesn’t work that way. So, what will go down if you start to surround yourself with positivity? Let’s have a look below and see whether you can live a fulfilled and healthy life.

New Attitude. Living a life of negativity can often lead to crutches like drugs and alcohol being used. Deciding to move away from these destructive behaviors isn’t easy, but choosing to surround yourself with sober companions instead of destructive ones will change your life for the better. Time with healthy people will change your attitude and allow you to feel happier and more positive every day.

New Accomplishments. People will always work better and harder when they feel happy – it’s the nature of productivity. When people are oppressed in the workplace, they don’t concentrate, and working is like moving through quicksand. When you surround yourself in positive people, you are giving yourself a chance to achieve more than you ever thought possible.

New Friends. When you’re in a low, you often feel too sad or depressed to speak to new people. When you are feeling positive, new people don’t seem so daunting, and you’re far more likely to be welcoming with new people around you. New friends can bolster your confidence and allow you to feel happier and contented in your life.

New Success. Successful people are motivated, driven and confident in what they do. None of that is prevalent with negative people. People want to spend time with other happy people, and it’s this that will draw the right people to you in a good way. Successful people take their time to get to know others, talk and carve out their own opportunities. And if you are feeling happy and positive, that’s exactly what you will be able to do for yourself.

Taking the time to surround your life with positive influences is only going to serve you well. Don’t be afraid to reach out and choose happiness: it’s all in your power.

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Finding My True Self: A Work in Progress

Your only obligation in any lifetime is to be true to yourself.

~Richard Bach

I’ve been doing a lot of reading about the subjects of shame, belonging and authenticity. This is not light, beach reading, obviously, and sometimes, it takes me to places that I’ve been avoiding, well, my entire life. But I also know that these books, journals, reflections, and meditations are leading me closer to my “true self.”

We all have an ideal self–someone who we wish we were. This person looks perfect, acts perfect, and is perfect. And this person will never and can never exist because we are human, and no one is perfect. But our striving to be this person, this version of whatever we think is perfect, is killing us–it leads to depression, anxiety, eating disorders, drinking too much, and a whole host of other unhealthy things.

So to find my true self, I’ve been trying to recognize when I’m comparing myself to this ideal image . When I look in the mirror and I say to myself, why didn’t you use more sunscreen when you were younger? Or maybe you should skip that dessert tonight! Or even: why can’t you make more time to work on your novel–look at how successful your friends are? Why are you so impatient with your daughter whom you love more than anything else in the world? When I do this, I am being hard on myself, and I’m comparing myself to this ideal image of the way I think I should be.

Look, we’ve been doing this since we were kids. It’s why when we aren’t married to Prince Charming by the time we are 25, we start freaking out a little. It’s why when we get let go from a job we thought we would retire from, we feel defeated. It’s why when our book doesn’t make the bestsellers list, we think we have zero talent.

I would venture that many of us don’t know our true selves. I’m working on knowing mine. And the way I’m doing it, thanks to this book to the right and journaling, is by recognizing a few things:

  1. When I’m not sleeping at night because I’m analyzing my behavior during the day and wondering if I was good enough. Did I do everything correctly? Is anyone going to be upset with me in the morning? Now, I’m reframing this and saying: Of course, I wasn’t perfect, but I did some of these things correctly and next time, I might do this instead. Then I think of my blessings and go back to sleep.
  2. When I’m not authentic. One of the examples Darlene Lancer gives many times in the book is to ask yourself: do you find yourself accepting blame or saying you are sorry when you don’t really mean it? Do you say things at work or in your family that you don’t really feel to keep the peace? Sure, we all do this, and there is a fine line between always saying what you feel and respecting other people. But as Brene Brown pointed out in her book, Braving the Wilderness, we can listen with an open mind to everyone, and we can respond with kindness. It can still be authentic, such as, “I’m sorry I just don’t agree with that point, but I see where you’re coming from.” If we can learn that sentence, we may be closer to our true selves than we ever have been before.
  3. When I feel joy: I think since I’ve been thinking about this subject more than I ever have before, I’m actually feeling more joy and more peace. I think I’m sillier with Katie. I feel more in control.  I feel like I can do this single parent thing. This is not to say that I’ve got it all together. But there are more positive moments filled with joy than before. I’m not always doing something because I think I should (like planning an activity for Katie every day–some days, we’re staying home and she’s figuring out what to do herself). I’m prioritizing what brings me joy and what I need to do to feel organized and good about myself, and then doing those things.

As I’ve written about before, this journey I’m on is filled with imperfect progress. I don’t have any of this mastered yet, but I thought I would share because you might be on a similar journey, or these words might inspire you to join with me in finding our true selves.

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You Don’t Lose Until You Quit Trying

Today I have this lovely guest post from B. Lynn Goodwin, who wrote the book, Never Too Late: From Wannabe to Wife at 62. A little more about the book and the author is at the bottom of this post!

 

You Don’t Lose Until You Quit Trying

My husband introduced me to his favorite phrase, “You don’t lose until you quit trying” from the driver’s seat of his Mazda back when we were first dating. He used it to tackle business problems, used it when he was dating a woman before me, and still uses it as a reminder that bolsters my confidence.

The only time it didn’t work was when he was dating a woman who loved him but wasn’t “in love” with him. Come to think of it, maybe he did win, because he wouldn’t have found me if she said, “Yes.” We met each other after I met my husband, and she’s glad we’re together.

How does this philosophy work?

If you can’t open the lid on a glass jar, try again. Try harder.

o Put on more pressure as the left hand goes one way and the right another
o Run the lid under hot water
o Look for a tool to help
o If necessary, ask a neighbor with stronger hands to help.
o Eventually the lid will open, and maybe you’ll make a new friend in the process.

If you can’t turn the key that you’ve put in the lock, try again. Still no luck?

o Move your fingers so the pressure on the key is redistributed.
o Take the key out and spray the lock with WD-40.
o Push in against the door and try again.
o Maybe even ask for help?

Both are real-life scenarios. I’ve used my husband’s hands and my next-door neighbor’s screw-top opener to get a lid off a jar of caramel sauce so I could finish making a dump cake. I’ve twisted a key in the lock of an old sticky door near the bay, and when nothing worked, I knocked on the back door. Trying differently often solves the problem.

“You don’t lose until you quit trying” is meant to inspire people. Make the philosophy work for you and let it help you examine alternate methods for getting what you want. Here’s one more example.

How does a 62-year-old woman who’s never been married use this philosophy with a two-time widower seeking his third wife on . . . Craigslist?

You’ll know if you read Never Too Late: From Wannabe to Wife at 62. It’s available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and in Indie Bookstores, who can order the book through Ingram.

Our best advertisement is word of mouth. If you like the story, please tell your friends and colleagues. Want to do more? One or two sentences on Amazon, telling people why you recommend the book, would be fabulous.

And why am I promoting my book here? Because you don’t lose until you quit trying.
+++

B. Lynn Goodwin owns Writer Advice, www.writeradvice.com. Her memoir, Never Too Late: From Wannabe to Wife at 62, was just released by Koehler Press.

She’s written You Want Me to Do WHAT? Journaling for Caregivers and Talent, which was short-listed for a Literary Lightbox Award, won a bronze medal in the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards and was a finalist for a Sarton Women’s Book Award.

Goodwin’s work has appeared in Voices of Caregivers, Hip Mama, Dramatics Magazine, Inspire Me Today, The Sun, Good Housekeeping.com, Purple Clover.com and many other places. She is a reviewer and teacher at Story Circle Network, and she is an editor, writer and manuscript coach at Writer Advice.

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Build a Brighter You

contributed article

Do you ever feel like you’re losing your confidence? Perhaps you have days where nothing seems to be going right; and no matter what you try, you just can’t seem to build up your mood. Well, the good news is that everyone has days like this at one point or another. The better news is that there are lots of ways to build back up your confidence and feel better about yourself.

Shop ‘Til You Drop

If shopping for outfits or accessories builds up your confidence, this doesn’t make you superficial. It makes you completely normal. There’s something about putting on a gorgeous new dress or a stunning piece of jewelry that immediately refreshes confidence. If you’re not one for traipsing around town, diving in and out of stores on the high street, you’ll be pleased to know there are plenty of places online to shop for what you’re looking for. According to sites like http://yourdiamondguru.com/reviews/james-allen/, James Allen is a great option for buying dazzling, deluxe jewelry that will make you glisten and sparkle. It just depends on the type of budget you’re working with.

You might think that to buy a beautiful outfit or a new selection of jewelry, you need to be going somewhere or attending a party, but you don’t. Dressing up on a day that you’re staying in can be just what you need to build up your confidence and self-esteem.

Night Out

Of course, that doesn’t mean that a night out on the town won’t help. It certainly could, and it doesn’t matter whether you’re married or single. If you’re single, you can head out and have fun with your friends. If it leads to something, great. If not, who cares? You’ll have a blast anyway. If you’re married, you can still head out for a night with the girls and make sure you don’t get too out of control. Even just getting a few looks across the bar from a tall, dark, handsome stranger can be enough to build up your self esteem. Or alternatively, you can head out with your partner and make sure you spend some time building up the foundations of the relationship.

Smile A Little More

Did you know that by smiling you actually make yourself just a little happier? You can learn more about that on http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/smiling-happy.htm.  If you are smiling, you let other people know you’re happy, which leads to positive interactions. Of course, it’s not always easy to grin when you’re feeling blue, but it could help you lead to a brighter day.

Take Some Time With Your Favorite Person

Of course, this is all about you, so why not take a trip, take a drive or even just sit and relax in your home by yourself? A little me time may be just what you need to build back up your confidence because it allows you to get in touch with yourself and find out what’s bothering you. Ask yourself: what’s going wrong and how can you fix it? Whether you’re climbing a mountain or heading on a spa day, you might just come home feeling refreshed and ready to be a brighter better you.

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Getting Rid of the Anger Caused by Ego (Guest Post)

When KJ wrote to me and asked if I was interested in the guest post below, I had been (and still am) thinking a lot about happiness and about how my beliefs and attitudes affect my day-to-day happiness. I posted a link to this article, “10 Ways You Are Making Your Life Harder Than It Has To Be” on my Editor 911 Facebook page.  In this article, many of the “ways” we make ourselves less happy and give ourselves a harder life concern our ego, as KJ discusses below, such as ascribing intent when none was actually present, making ourselves a star in our own movie, and having unrealistic and uncommunicated expectations (I had an a-ha moment at that one!).

So I invite you to read the short post, written by KJ,  full of examples, which will have you thinking about your own behavior and thoughts on anger and happiness and how you can control so much of it.

Immediate Reduction in Ego
(c) KJ Hannah Greenberg

Soothing anger is one reason folks overeat. So if the behavior of eating to sooth is to be abated, then anger has to be snuffed out. The other day, someone shared an amazing thought with me…anger is about ego.

Normal folks get indignant about all sorts of things: being passed over for a job, not getting invited to a party, receiving fewer hugs from a child than anticipated, flipping an omelet only to find lunch land on the floor, and so on. Our hurts, real and imagined, come in all sorts of kinds and types. Too often, we react to those actual or seeming injustices with the feeling of having been wronged.

Yet, truly, those scrambled eggs mixed with vegetables had no moral compass. Likewise, invitations get lost in the mail. What’s more, it’s possible, believe it or not, that the person promoted, “in our stead,” actually better deserved the position.

Regardless of whether the hurts we think we endure are intentional or accidental, good for our fiber or disastrous, it behooves us not to own them. If we can be just a tad less conscious of ourselves, we can experience less anger. If we can experience less anger, we can reach less to food or to other substances for “compensation.”

In my own life, I reflect that it did not really matter that a certain university turned me down for a position; I would not have invested (and BH succeeded) in creative writing, otherwise. It did not matter that a certain caterer served spoiled food at a party where I was a guest; the celebration, which was NOT about me, was as wonderful as it might have been had fresh comestibles decked the tables.

It does not matter than one of my children wears a rainbow of nail polish colors. What other folks think of me, in general, and of my parenting, more specifically, is palpably less important than is my interpersonal communication with that child. It’s up to me, as the mom, to bolster her.

Why should I care that a bus driver slammed close his door just as I was in a position, in the queue, to board the vehicle? My ease was not more important than was the comfort and safety of the hundred or so others folks who had already boarded.

It doesn’t really matter that a lady pushed me to reach in front of me to grab the last pair of discounted socks. It’s not for me to determine the ultimate destiny of a store’s merchandise.

KJ Hannah Greenberg © Yiftach Paltrowitz, 2010

In short, when I reduce my self-importance, it naturally follows that I reduce my anger. That’s quite a project. Fortunately, at present, there’s a lot for me to work with.

KJ Hannah Greenberg’s whimsical writing buds in pastures where gelatinous wildebeests roam and beneath the soil where fey hedgehogs play. She’s been nominated four times for the Pushcart Prize in Literature, and once for The Best of the Net. Hannah’s essay collections are: Dreams are for Coloring Books: Midlife Marvels (Seashell Books, 2017), Word Citizen: Uncommon Thoughts on Writing, Motherhood & Life in Jerusalem (Tailwinds Press, 2015), Jerusalem Sunrise (Imago Press, 2015), Oblivious to the Obvious: Wishfully Mindful Parenting (French Creek Press, 2010), and Conversations on Communication Ethics (Praeger, 1991). In the next few months, look for others of her essay collections; Tosh: Select Trash and Bosh of Creative Writing (Crooked Cat Books), Simple Gratitudes (Propertius Press), and Rhetorical Candy (Seashell Books).  http://www.kjhannahgreenberg. net/

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