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Find Your Happiness

Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, or worn. It is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude. – Denis Waitley

Don’t ask me why, but in my my head, I have the Partridge Family singing “Come on Get Happy” while I read this quote. What can I say, I’m old, and David Cassidy was my first crush.  I really wish I could just hope on that very colorful bus and Mrs. Partridge could just drive me to my happiness.  find your happinessHowever, it doesn’t work that way, much to my everlasting chagrin and dismay. You have to find your happiness, and chances are you’ll find it within yourself.  It’s not something you can drive to, or that anyone can just hand you.  It would be so much easier if that were the case.

Happiness is very subjective, and it’s very personal.  What makes me happy may not make others happy. I think we find our happiness when we’re with people that we love, or bring us joy, or when we’re doing something that we love or brings us joy.  It’s not the money that we have, or the things that we buy.  Money makes life easier, but it doesn’t make it happier.

Happiness also comes when you are grateful for what you do have.  I live in a very small condo, but guess what, I have a place to live.  My student loan debt is about as big as the gross national debt of the United States, but I have an amazing education.  I can focus on those negative things, but I’m not.  I’m grateful for what I DO have instead of focusing what I don’t.  Gratitude is a big step to take on the path to happiness.  It’s also a very challenging one because it’s easier to be ungrateful rather than grateful.

So when you’re looking for your happiness, find it within yourself.  Do things that you love, and spend time with people that bring you joy, and express gratitude for what you have rather than focusing on what you don’t.  Remember, happiness is closer than you think, it’s within you!



Just Wait – It’s Worth It

Even if our efforts of attention seem for years to be producing no result, one day a light that is in exact proportion to them will flood the soul. – Simone Weil

Once again, a quote that I chose almost a week ago is having a profound impact on my life right now. I feel like I’ve been putting so much effort into a project without seeing the results that I want.  I need to remind myself to just wait – it’s worth it.  It may not seem like it now, and it may not be just wait - it's worth ithappening as fast as I would like, but it is happening.  Sometimes you just have to give it time.

I’m not a super patient person, and I really want immediate gratification.  I’m really bad about that, and I admit it completely and totally.  I’ll get disappointed if after hitting the gym for a week that I’m not skinny.  Logically I know that’s not how it works and I know that.  But when I’m standing there all hot and sweaty, and looking at myself in the mirror, I get so depressed that I’m not all skinny.  I have to keep reminding myself that things take time.

Things take time, and they’re also worth waiting for.  There is something to be said for anticipation, too.  Remember when you were little and you were counting down the days until summer vacation, or your birthday or Christmas?  And that feeling when it finally got here?  The anticipation is what made it so special.  So don’t get caught up in the wanting it right away or expecting it to happen right away. It’s going to happen.  It will.  And when it does, the wait is going to be so worth it!

Have Faith in Yourself

Believe in yourself. Have faith in your abilities. Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy. – Norman Vincent Peale

Belief in yourself is a powerful tool.  If you don’t believe in who you are and what you are capable of, you cannot accomplish anything. You have to have faith in yourself.  A strong belief in yourself can hold you steady when the course you are plotting gets rough.  It can also anchor you when it have faith in yourselflooks like you’re about to get blown off course.

It can be super hard, thought, to have faith in yourself. Especially if you let other people get in your head and bring you down.  There are a lot of people out there who take pleasure in treating others poorly, making them feel like they’re unimportant or their ideas don’t have value.  And sometimes it seems like the harder you try, the harder they try to get in your head and trample your confidence.  Don’t let it happen.  Believe in yourself, believe in who you are and what you want to do.

Have the confidence to know you can accomplish anything you set your mind to.  Just remember to temper  that confidence with some humility.  Don’t let the confidence become arrogance.   Your own arrogance can become more of an an enemy to yourself than those who try and bring you down. Find the happy medium and go out and crush your dreams and find your happiness, and above all, have faith in yourself!

Be Better Than You

Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself. – William Faulkner

I have a love hate thing going on with this quote.  I love the idea of being better than yourself.  In fact I love that idea with a passion. It’s true, you just be better than youneed to be better than you!  It’s the don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors that is bothering me.  I don’t think you need to worry too much about being better than anybody else, unless your an Olympic athlete or something.  Generally the only person you need need to be better than is the person you are right now.

Competition is normal, and natural, and I guess it’s even necessary.  But when it comes right down to it how and what everybody else is doing doesn’t really matter.  You should be your own benchmark.  When you reach your goal, set the bar higher. Don’t concern yourself too much with those who came before you and don’t worry about those around you.  So don’t get so hung up on how everybody else is doing.  Focus on yourself, and you’ll be that much happier.  Set those goals, and then go out and CRUSH them.  Be better than you, that’s all that matters.


Use It Or Lose It

Iron rusts from disuse, stagnant water loses its purity, and in cold weather becomes frozen; even so does inaction sap the vigors of the mind.- Leonardo da Vinci

Use it or lose it.  That doesn’t sound very positive, does it?  Well to me, it is, and it’s something that I need to take to heart.  I’m probably not wrong in guessing that many others need to take it to heart as well.  I’m not just taking about your mind, but about your heart, your body and the gifts that you have.

use it or lose itIt’s important to exercise our minds.  That doesn’t mean we have to put in hours of rigorous study every day.  I think it’s more important to read, and be open minded to new ideas.  Exercising your body doesn’t mean you have to spend hours in the gym bulking up.  Taking long walks, or short walks work just fine.  And your heart, don’t forget to use your heart by being kind and compassionate.  Be accepting of others and open to those who are different than you.

And the biggest of all is use the gifts that you have.  You do have them you know.  So many times we overlook the gifts that we have, or worse, ignore them.  So many of us say we don’t have any gifts because they’re not ones that are going to make us rich or famous.  Your gift may be to make a cheerful living environment, or you may be a great teacher.  Perhaps you have the ability to put distraught people at ease, or you’re someone that people choose to confide in.  There are many different kinds of gifts, so don’t sell yourself short!

Use it or lose it.  As I said, it doesn’t sound positive, but it really is, when you think about it.  We are all special and unique in our own way, and it’s up to use to use the special gifts that we have.  Don’t hide your light under a bushel, instead, use them and let your light shine out into the world.


Don’t Let the Stress Get to You

Our fatigue is often caused not by work, but by worry, frustration and resentment. – Dale Carnegie

Oh how true this is, especially for me.  I work very had to not worry, and to not feel frustrated.  On the logical level, I know that these emotions are pointless.  They don’t fix anything and they usually make me feel worse.  But it still happens, and when it does, I just feel so dragged down don't let the stress get to youemotionally.  It’s like I’m trying to walk through water carrying 100 pound weights.

Worrying about things doesn’t make them any better, but neither does ignoring them.  You kind of need to look at what’s worrying you as objectively as possible, make a list of possible solutions and have at it.  I’m dealing with a work situation right now, that is frustrating the heck out of me.  Now, I could stew over it and fret, but that’s not going to fix it, and it’s not going to accomplish anything rather than fixing the frustration deep within me, and I don’t want that. So I talked to someone, got some ideas, and then I did something I NEVER do.  I reached out for help.  Will I get the help?  I don’t know, but it’s a positive step.  And do you know what?  It made me feel 100% lighter.  My problem isn’t solved by any stretch of the imagination, but I made a step in positive direction and it helped.

I won’t say don’t worry, don’t feel frustration, resentment or stress.  That would be pointless and unrealistic.  Instead, try to look at what’s bugging you as objectively as possible and look for solutions.  If none come to mind, talk to someone.  You’d be surprised at who may have some ideas or suggestions that will help.  You don’t have to deal with everything on your own.

You Get What You Give

What I know for sure is that what you give comes back to you. – Oprah Winfrey

I almost wasn’t going to write today because you get what you give.  This is just a common sense thing.  Then I came to school today and I had a kid in an absolutely foul mood giving me a huge amount of attitude.  I didn’t give it back – it’s wrong, and it’s not going to solve anything.  I was calm, compassionate and polite, and still I got attitude.  Why?  I wasn’t giving attitude, I was getting it back.  Well sometimes, we have to take into account you get what you givewhat may have happened prior.  Which is what was going on in this case.  The student in question had an issue with someone else and I was the next person to come into contact with them.

How do you deal then?  When you’re getting back exactly opposite of what you’re giving out?  To me, that answer is super simple.  You keep giving out the good stuff, because in the end, you will get it back.  It may not be today, it may not be tomorrow, but it will happen.  Please don’t think I’m little Mary Sunshine walking around with a smile on my face and the Disney birds chirping around behind me and putting wreaths of flowers in my hair.  Please, I suffer from resting bitch face, I’m sarcastic as hell and an evil bitch monster of death in the morning.  But I always try to treat people nicely.  Even when they’re giving me crap, I try to be nice, especially in the face of crankiness.  I don’t always succeed, but I try.

When it comes right down to it, you see it every day.  If you treat someone nicely, chances are they’re going to be nice to you.  If you present a positive attitude to the world, you’re going to get positive goodness right back.  It doesn’t cost anything, and it’s just as easy to be happy as it is to be cranky, so why not go for happy?  After all, you get what you give.

Love Really Is Life

Love is life. And if you miss love, you miss life. – Leo Buscaglia

I purposely chose this quote for Valentine’s day.  Not because I have a valentine.  Quite the opposite in fact.  I am what I think of as terminally single.  And yes, I jokingly put up a Happy Singles Awareness day on my facebook this morning. But the fact of the matter is, love is love.  It can be passionate love, familial love, or the love between friends.  Heck, it can even be self-love, which is a pretty important type of love if you ask me.  It can be love love really is lifebetween yourself and your deity, or the love of a devoted pet.  Love isn’t limited to passionate or romantic love.  So many people today are talking about how miserable they are because they don’t have a “special someone” in their lives.  Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, focus on the love you do have.  Because love really is life, and if you live a life without love, I don’t really think you’re living at all.

When it comes right down to it, the most important love in that list is self-love.  Think about it.  If you’re not happy with who you are and what you’re doing in life, how can you be happy with anybody else.  I would even go so far to say that if you don’t have a healthy case of self-love, any relationship you are in will never be as fulfilling as it possibly could be.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not overjoyed that I’m not in a romantic relationship, I miss that part of life.  But that doesn’t mean I’m sitting around sulking about it.  I go out, I do things, and I’m living a great life.  If a romantic love is in my future, that’s great, but if it’s not, that’s okay too.  I am not defined by my relationships, and nobody else should be either.  Define yourself by who you are and what you do, not who you are with!  Get out there and live your life, and live it to the fullest.  Celebrate the love that you do have and allow it to fill up your life.

Make Sure You’re Happy

Whatever you decide to do make sure it makes you happy. – Paulo Coelho

Because I work in a school, I see a lot of kids on a daily basis trying to decide what they want to do with the rest of their life.  In fact, I have two kids of my own who are struggling with the same issue.  They’re figuring it out, and in my mind, they’ve figured out the most important thing.  It’s not something the kids at school have caught on to yet.  You have to make sure you’re happy!

make sure you're happy

daily positive thought

When I talk with kids at school about career choices and their future, they only care about one thing.   Their mantra tends to be “Show me the money.”  Now don’t get me wrong, money is awesome, and I love money.  In fact, money kind of rocks. But you don’t choose a career based upon how much money you can make.  Because that old adage of money not buying happiness is 100% true.

I’m super fortunate, I love my job.  I don’t get paid a lot but I do love what I do.  In an ideal world, I’d get paid a lot of money to do this job, but that’s not the way it worked out.  Teaching generally isn’t at the top of the pay scale, which is a shame, but that’s the way it is.  I sit and listen to these kids tell me they’re going to be basketball stars, or rap stars, and that’s great.  There is only one small problem with their plan.  Not everybody gets to be a sports star, or a rap star.  I’m all for having dreams and goals….but a certain degree of talent tends to be needed as well.

So make your plans, and and set your goals, but make sure those goals and plans are leading you toward happiness.  Because at the end of the day, when all is said and done, you need to make sure you’re happy.


Fake It ‘Til You Make It

Whatever we plant in our subconscious mind and nourish with repetition and emotion will one day become a reality. – Earl Nightingale

Title credit goes to my friend Sarah, who asked on Facebook today if this were a more polite way of saying fake it ’til you make it.  When I shared the quote, I hadn’t thought of it that way, but it really is.  While I don’t condone pretending to be something you’re not, I do believe in pretending to be fake it til you make itsomething you want to be in order to make it happen.  Now obviously, you can’t pretend to be a doctor and poof you’re a doctor.  But if you’re studying to become a doctor and you keep telling yourself that you’re going to be a doctor, you’re going to make it happen.  It will help to give you the extra umph you may need to get through all the grueling hours of study.

The same could be said for being more confident, or out going.  I am not an outgoing, confident person.  In fact, I am a very introverted person.  I don’t like standing out in any way shape or form.  I’m also fairly uncoordinated, can’t do a cartwheel and I can’t do a split.  What does any of that have to do with anything?  Well, at one point in my life, I, the uncoordinated introvert was a college cheerleader. You may wonder how that happened.  Seriously, I faked it til I made it.  I slapped a smile on my face, I never gave up, I kept trying and trying and at the end of try outs, I still couldn’t do a cartwheel or a split, but I made the squad. Why?  Because of the smile and the “I’m a cheerleader” attitude I wore.

So when there is something that you want, imagine that you have it.  Act like you have it, and convince yourself you have it.  It may be a new job, it may be a relationship, it may be fitting into a smaller sized jeans.  Do what you have to do to achieve your goals, but also continue to fake it til you make it!

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