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The Gift of Happiness

Every gift from a friend is a wish for your happiness.   Richard Bach

I had to really sit and think about this quote.  At first I was like, no when I give a gift, I’m giving someone something that they wanted that they wouldn’t get for themselves.  Then I really started thinking about when I give a gift.  Of course I want the person to like it, but mostly what I want is their happiness.  It’s why I (and most everybody) agonizes over gift giving.  We want to find the “perfect” gift for each person…something that will make them happy.  But the thing is, when I get gifts, I don’t really care about what I get, it’s the act of receiving from a friend that is special.  They cared about me.  The real gift isn’t the gift itself, it’s the caring and thought that went into the gift.  The implied wish of happiness from the giver to the receiver.  Try to remember that during the holiday madness.  Nine times out of ten, the person your giving to is happy because it’s YOU, not the gift.

Words Have Power

I wish more people would understand just how much their words and actions affect others. Karen Salmansohn

Our words have power.  They have the power to help, and they have the power to hurt.  How you use them is up to you.  I’ve seen words lift someone’s spirits and make them feel as if they were capable of conquoring anything the world throws at them.  I’ve also seen words totally decimate somebody’s spirit.  Sadly, I’ve probably done that myself to people.  It’s something that we have to watch.  Our words can hurt so much, but we have to be careful, because while the physical scars may heal, the scars left by a verbal attack may take months or even years to heal.  So choose your words wisely, and kindly and use them to build rather than to destroy.

Challenge Your Limits

I am always doing things I can’t do, that’s how I get to do them.~ Picasso

I didn’t share this quote with my students today.  Most of them would look upon it as carte blanche to do whatever the heck they wanted, and we don’t want that.  This quote today makes me think of bumble bees.  Technically, bumble bees aren’t supposed to be able to fly.  Something about their wings not being able to support their body (I’m not a science person, obviously).  But still, they fly.  I guess they never got the memo saying they shouldn’t be able to fly.  I sometimes think we tend to define ourselves by our limits.  We focus so much on what we’re NOT capable of doing, that we don’t bother trying.  Forget the limits, forget I can’t and just do it.  I bet you’ll accomplish some pretty great things if you do.

Count Your Blessings Not Your Things

 If you want to feel rich, just count all of the things you have that money can’t buy. – Anonymous


I can sometimes get caught up in the “Things” race.  I forget quite often to be happy for what I have and instead get stuck in an endless quest to get more.  A better car, more clothes, a bigger tv, the list is endless.  Don’t get me wrong, I need to have a car.  It’s how I get to work, go grocery shopping and all the other minutea that makes up my day lol.  However, the other day I was thinking seriously about getting a NEW car.  Why?  My car works.  Yeah it has a few quirks, but nothing horrible that makes it a death-mobile.  I just wanted a newer car because mine is getting on in years.   I also recently found myself looking at new flat screen televisions to replace the behemoth that currently resides on the dresser in my bedroom.  Guess what, the tv in my bedroom works, I don’t need a new television, I just found myself wanting a newer more streamlined model.  If the tv died, I’d probably replace it because I do enjoy snuggling under the covers and watching tv at night, but for right now, the one I have works fine.  I need to remember to be happy and grateful for what I have in my life and not the things that money can buy.  I have two WONDERFUL and AMAZING kids who are doing very well at their respective colleges.  I have great friends who are their if I need them and a job that I love.  I am so fortunate, and actually I am rich.  Maybe not in monetary things but in all the things that matter.  Maybe it’s time we all take a good long look at our lives and at all the things we do have.

Talent and Effort

If you can’t excel with talent, triumph with effort. ~ Dave Weinbaum

My talents are limited.  I can write – I’m not an amazing writer, but I can usually get my point across via the written word.  I have absolutely NO artistic talent and my misuc ability is limited.  I can carry a tune in a bucket provided it’s in a wheelbarrow, but that’s about it.  So why am I so busy listing all the things I can’t do?  I’ll tell you, it’s because no matter what, I NEVER stop trying.  I’ll probably never have a piece of my artwork hanging up in the Louvre, but does that mean I never draw?  No it does not.  I’m never going to be singing on stage at the MET, but I still sing.  We’re not all gifted in the same things, but we all have the ability to try – to put effort into things.  And it is that effor tthat will help us succeed.

Live with Gratitude.

When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude. – Gilbert K. Chesterton

I seem to be very gratitude focused this week.  Maybe it’s because of Thanksgiving.  I think a lot of us take a lot of things for granted every day.  Honestly, I don’t sit there and think, “oh I’m breathing, I should be grateful.”  But maybe I should.  I should be grateful for every breath of air that enters my lungs, and for every drop of water that I drink.  This life I’m living (and the one you’re living) it’s a gift, and we should celebrate it and be grateful for it.  Don’t take it for granted.  Fill every second of the day that you can with feelings of gratitude.

Don’t Complain

Be grateful for what you have and stop complaining – it bores everybody else, does you no good, and doesn’t solve any problems. – Zig Ziglar

We all complain…it’s human nature and to say don’t complain is pointless.  But when your every conversation becomes a litany of complaints, it may be time to do some self-reflection and make some changes.  The other day, I was talking with a co-worker and I found myself not just complaining, I was down right WHINING.  I literally caught myself mid sentence and turned it around and ended my whine with, but I’m grateful because….

That’s what you have to do.  When you’re sad, or upset, or life is just getting you down, don’t let it consume you.  Yeah, you’re going to vent about what’s bugging you, but try to tack on something good, or something for which you are grateful.  It works surprisingly well and I bet you’ll find that your complaints are slowly being replaced with feelings and thoughts of gratitude.  :)

Gratitude Starts Within

Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul. – Henry Ward Beecher

My students today had a hard time with this quote because they don’t know what gratitude is.  They also don’t seem to know how to look at the root word and figure out the meaning that way, but that’s another story.  Gratitude is so important….feeling grateful and expressing feelings of gratitude is should be such a large part of our lives.   I know there are many people who say they have nothing to be grateful for, and to that I say “Well, you’re alive, right?”  Start with that….be happy you’re alive.  Celebrate that fact.  Be grateful that you have clothing to wear, or food to eat.  Maybe you don’t have enough, but you have some.  I really believe the more gratitude you express, the more things you’ll have to be grateful for.  It’s kind of a circle :) and a good circle at that.

Happiness for All

The most worth-while thing is to try to put happiness into the lives of others. – Robert Baden-Powell

I admit to being more than a little conflicted when I first read this quote.  My immediate thought was that it is more important to make yourself happy first.  Then, I started thinking, really thinking about the times when I’ve gone out of my way to make others happy (actually I do that quite a bit) and I realized something really important.  When I can inject happiness into the lives of other people, I automatically feel happy. It makes me feel GOOD to make other people happy.  So I’m seeing this as a kind of win-win situation.  When I make others happy, I’m also making myself happy.  It’s all good in the end.

Take Some Time

Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy. Guillaume Apollinaire

The pursuit of of our goals is important.  We need goals, otherwise, we’d just be aimlessly living our lives.  It’s important to have something to shoot for.  One of the goals that many people are reaching for is happiness, but while you are pursuing that goal, don’t forget to take some time to stop and enjoy the happiness you are experiencing right then and there.  Sometimes it’s okay to just live in the moment and enjoy it.  So sit back and take some time to enjoy the happiness that is your life.  You’ve earned it and you deserve it.

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