Thursday, June 17, 2010

What Makes Us Happy...

From "Delivering Happiness" by Tony Hsieh:
The 4 Factors that contribute the most to our happiness, along with my interpretation of each:

1) Percieved Control
None of us are really in control of anything, of course, control is an illusion. However people that feel in control of their lives are happier.

2) Percieved Progress
Seeing progress in our lives. Promotions. Graduations. Engagement. Marriage. Acquiring things. Learning. Acheiving Set Goals.

Having a group of friends, family, people to share our sucesses, people to support us, to cheer us on, to be witnesses to our lives. People to laugh and cry with, people to validate our feelings and our existence.

4)Vision/ Meaning
Feeling a sense of purpose. Feeling a sense of belonging. Feeling a sense that we are part of a bigger picture. Feeling unique and important.

This really opened my eyes....all of it is so true. Think of the happiest people you think of the unhappiest.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

One of my favorite poems....

Still I Rise by Maya Angelou

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history's shame
I rise
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I rise
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise

the unspoken compliment

Someone once told me withholding a compliment is a sin. I researched this theory and found a blog by Rev. Ronald Knott reiterating this belief:
"The main reason for withholding compliments comes from an internal perception that if I praise you, I will not appear to be as good as you. A second reason for with withholding compliments is a passive-aggressive way to punish you for some past behavior. Maybe you were slighted or you feel that the other person is getting way too many compliments, so you withhold the good you could do. Married couples often commit this sin against each other. Love is about building up your partner, not just refraining from tearing them down."

It is absolutely amazing what a small compliment can do for a person's self-esteem. I have had a healthy amount of confidence for most of my life, but because of my crumbling marriage, I have found my self-esteem at the deepest recesses of the lowest gutter. I avoid social situations, I avoid eye contact with strangers. I am self conscious beyond reason. My self esteem has spiraled into oblivion. The part about "withholding compliments as a form of punishment" hits a little too close to home. When you have a partner who was, for half of your entire life your biggest fan, but suddenly stops loving you and begins to completely reject and destroy you with their criticism, harsh words, and indifference, it does things to your self-esteem. Even to the strongest, feistiest, most confident among us. "The bigger they are, the harder they fall" true!

Lately I have realized that from this unfortunate place I am in, each kind word spoken in my direction is an absolute blessing; affirmation, a reminder of my worth as a unique human being. Technically, each of us should posses enough self-esteem and confidence to where insults roll off us like water off a duck's back, and compliments are humbly accepted but not taken too seriously, but let's face it: life can absolutely pulverize us. And when we find ourselves feeling low, low, low, the smallest compliment can help us keep our head held high.

It may just be a temporary need, a band-aid on an open heart surgery. But how could we ever know who is serious need of a compliment? Sometimes the people who are the most put together from the outside, haughty, or even the most cantankerous are possibly the most unappreciated, insecure, deprived of kindness, and therefore the most in need of a damn compliment already! So whatever that positive observation is that crosses your mind...say it!!! Spread the love.... you have nothing to lose and everything to give!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The War Is Over

Today, I woke up with an image in my mind. It's of Shoichi Yokoi, the Japanese man found hiding in the jungles of Guam 27 years after the war was over. He didn't know the war had ended. He continued to hide in the jungle because in his mind, there was danger. There was a threat to his existence. So for 27 years, he merely survived. Life passed him by.

This image has come to me because that is how I feel my husband has been living for the past 6 months. No doubt, there definitely was a war. The two of us were at war. Day in and day out. There were weapons, casualties, injuries, and destruction. There was great loss. But the war ended. We survived. We sought help, mediators, counsel. We acquired the tools to live in peace. We figured out why the war started and we identified the crimes that were comitted by both sides. I know the war is over, but does he?

He is living like Yokoi. Surviving. Hiding. Letting life pass by around him. Choosing to stay away from his family and be alone. Perhaps he is afraid of another war, but the war we were fighting is truly over. Maybe Yokoi did hear that the war was over, but refused to believe it too....maybe. Maybe Yokoi feared that at any point in time he could be taken prisoner. How can you ever believe that there will be peace again? It IS possible. The majority of the soldiers did belive it and went back to their lives, injured, traumatized, but wiser and more aware of the gift that was their life as they knew it. But Yokoi stayed in that jungle imprisoned by his fear. Imprisoned only by his mind and what he did not know. And he emerged an old man in a world that had continued without him.

Read more about Shoichi Yokoi here: