I’m slowly reading this great book called Resilient: How to Grow an Unshakable Core of Calm, Strength, and Happiness, by Forrest Hanson and Rick Hanson. I wanted to share these awesome bullet points about gratitude. I need to remember these!
- We seek to feel good in the future, but this is often stressful in the present. Poignantly, the pursuit of happiness can push it out of reach. With gratitude, we feel good already.
- Giving thanks for what is beneficial does not prevent us from seeing what is harmful. In fact, the ways that thankfulness supports physical and mental health make us more resilient and more able to deal with challenges.
- Pleasure is easy to dismiss, but it is a rapid way to lower stress or to disengage from an upset. Wholesome pleasures crowd out unwholesome ones. The more you feel already full of pleasure, the less you’ll strain for it outside yourself.
- Because of the negativity bias, we notice when we fail to reach a goal while missing the fact that meanwhile we’re succeeding at hundreds of other goals. Look for opportunities to feel successful many times each day. Take in these experiences and use them to compensate for and heal feelings of failure or inadequacy.
- If you can be happy about the happiness of others, you can find a lasting happiness.
I am an Oprah groupie. I am not ashamed to admit it. I have been watching her broadcasts of Super Soul Sunday and Oprah’s Lifeclass on her OWN network since its inception. Integrating some of the great ideas that have been brought to my attention through these shows has been an awesome, fulfilling and a truly joyful experience. I enjoy exploring ideas that might shift my perception, and allow me to arrive at a new appreciation of life as a human being.
One of the things related to Oprah that I am entertaining currently is a “O-Course” called “Thrive.” The instructor is Arianna Huffington. Many of the things we have covered so far make me feel proud of myself. I didn’t need the instruction to know that plentiful sleep is important or that working until you fall over is not success. Today’s assignment was to identify three goals, and then to let go of goals that aren’t a priority and that you can’t realistically include in your life. Completing this assignment gave me the opportunity to clarify and re-affirm three key areas of focus in my life. I’ve decided to share these with the biosphere of the internet. Here we go…
Living life by being present and full of love. Using this presence to cultivate awesome relationships with myself, my husband, my son and each person I encounter each day. Removing mindless and numbing things I do out of habit. Practicing gratitude and making decisions made from love. Being aware and fully experiencing all the joy in my daily experiences.
Getting my “house” in order: removing chaos and providing management for my daily life. Employing self-care strategies to feel great physically: improve diet, increase exercise, increase physical touch and massage and remove unnecessary stressors. Employing strategies to make household chores and administrative tasks more manageable and less stressful…and get them completed to create an environment of peace and harmony instead of worry about what needs to be done. Letting go of self-judgment regarding the things that I realistically don’t have time to do.
Using my employment opportunity not only to help support my family, but as a fertile training ground for helping others while achieving personal growth. Monitoring the amount of energy I allow my career to consume. Continuing to cultivate a positive, curious and helpful attitude while working. Cherishing those with whom I get to spend so much time each work day. Doing excellent work by focusing on one task at a time and maintaining a slow, steady way of being.
I am grateful for the plastic ring that results as you open a gallon jug of milk. It wasn’t always this way. I used to get irritated with my husband for leaving the “milk ring” on the kitchen counter. Why couldn’t he just turn around and throw it in the trash? Is that so difficult? I personalized this to the ridiculous extreme. I felt disrespected because he would carelessly leave this trash behind in my path for me to clean up. What was he thinking? Well, at first he wasn’t. He had no evil intent. Instead of using my powers for good, I used them to turn a harmless little action into a personal attack. I had the amazing power to turn what should have been an insignificant event into a heaping helping of negative feelings.
Once my husband learned about my ridiculousness, he began to teach me a lesson about life. He began to leave the milk ring on the counter on purpose. Sometimes he even puts them in my purse or in the pocket of my jacket for me to find unexpectedly. Through my ability to stop taking this thing so seriously, and through his gentle and constant reminders, the milk ring has become a symbol of love, acknowledgement and humor. Now, when I find a milk ring on the counter, it makes always makes me smile. It reminds me of the lovely journey we are taking together. It reminds me to laugh at myself when I am taking things too personally. It reminds me that my husband is thinking about me, and that he loves me even when I’m being crazy.
I finally started a blog last night.
It’s kind of a big deal for me because one of my goals is to be brave and to speak my truth. I am still speaking through my writing, but my hope is that it will eventually lead to my actual spoken word, face-to-face with other people, most or all of the time. That is not to say that I’m going around lying all the time. I am actually a very honest and truthful person. But my trick is the things I don’t say – the things that I keep to myself. I have thoughts, feelings and responses about topics that can be controversial, or spawn judgment from others with strong opinions, that I keep to myself because of my fears of conflict, judgment and rejection. I love, and I am inspired by the song “Brave,” sung by Sara Bareilles, from her fourth studio album, The Blessed Unrest (2013). When asked about the song in interviews, Sara shares that she thinks that “there’s so much honor and integrity and beauty in being able to be who you are, [and] it’s important to be brave because by doing that you also give others permission to do the same.” These are things I want in my life: honor, integrity, beauty and the people around me (including myself) to feel willing and able to stand up and be and share who they truly are. In the end, it’s all about love and acceptance.
But I wonder what would happen if you
Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly, I wanna see you be brave.
— Sara Bareilles and Jack Antonoff
Here’s where the gratitude comes in. My expectation is that I would write and no one would read it. And, because I am fighting some fear, I was OK with that. But within hours of my first post, I got my first “Like.” It was from a blogger named Eddy, whose writing has those courageous qualities I hope to achieve for myself. And because of this simple form of acceptance, my needy ego is very happy. I’m so grateful for the positive feedback and the speed in which it was delivered. This will motivate me to share more.
A thankful shout-out to a brave and kind blogger, Eddy, for my first “Like”: http://eddybcruz.wordpress.com/