“Change your thoughts, and you change your world” Norman Vincent Peale Experts say that if you have real gratitude for everything in your life, you will never want for anything. Is this true or even possible? For some of us, thinking positive thoughts doesn’t come very naturally. We may be worriers by nature. Gratitude and positivity are something that we need to practice in our everyday lives. If we can wake up each morning and learn to see all of the wonderful things that we have going for us, we can live much happier lives and good things will come to us in abundance. There is a woman that I see at the gym on a regular basis in my yoga class. I was a little down about my upcoming birthday last week and she told me that she was turning 80 in March. She takes no medications for any ailments. She is in fabulous shape and can do more than the 20 and 30 somethings that are there. I told her she is my hero. I would love to think that when I’m turning 80, I will still be going to the gym. She has such a positive attitude about her it’s infectious. This is amazing to me. And I believe that part of her exceptional health is because of her positive outlook on life. I’m sure her life hasn’t been perfect, but she hasn’t let the speed bumps that we all experience slow her down. She is a perfect example of gratitude and positivity. You may be asking, how can I learn to be more positive? Embrace your passions. Do what you love and celebrate what makes you unique. Force yourself each day to think about all the good things in your life and be consciously grateful. The latest book from Chicken Soup for the Soul: Think Positive is a great inspirational read. And be sure to check out The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. At www.thesecret.tv you can sign up for periodic email messages of inspiration and gratitude.
We all have mentors and role models in our lives. We see character traits in people that we admire and strive to emulate them. When we are young, we tend to look up to older siblings or teenagers in the spotlight. As we get older, our goals shift a little.
When I think back about who has influenced me over the years many people come to mind. One person in particular is my Great Grandmother. She was an amazing, classy and beautiful woman. I still think about the many values that she instilled in me. She will forever be part of who I am. There are also people that I’ve had less intimate relationships with but who have had great impact on my direction in life. Such as my high school English teacher, Mrs. Brown. She will never know how much her encouragement affected me. Of course, I wouldn’t have had the guts to be who I am today and make the tough decisions that I’ve made the last couple years without the support of my best friend, Cindy. She is so confident in who she is. That trait showed me that it was ok to be me.
I think by now everybody knows Betty White. I remember her from the Mary Tyler Moore show and Golden Girls. She played the neighborhood nymphomaniac. When I think back to that era, it amazes me that she had the balls to play that role with such gusto. Her expert use of the double entendre had audiences blushing and laughing uncontrollably. And as she says, not everybody “got it” but those that didn’t, no harm done. I ask myself the question, why is she still such a hot commodity today? The 89 year old woman who hosted Saturday Night Live and did a skit talking about her “hot, juicy muffins” isn’t afraid to live life. It’s her ability to just be herself. She says she wants to taste every moment. I love that!
Betty White embraces change and loves trying new things. Her ability to live in the moment at any given time keeps her young and energetic. I wish we could all have her positive attitude and outlook on life. She’s such an iconic symbol. She fits in anywhere she lands.
I sincerely hope that when I reach that age that I’m still open minded to change and enjoying whatever life brings my way. She’s LIVING her life not waiting around for it to happen to her. She claims that she says “yes” to most everything that comes her way. What a great outlook. I wanna be like Betty! I might not ever get the chance to talk about my hot, juicy muffins on national TV but if I do, I want to be brave enough to pull it off with no regrets. Betty, you’re my hero!
I have come to the realization that our problems in life can be the very thing that ultimately brings us happiness. When we face tragedy, dig through our pain, and eventually come out of it on the other side, we are renewed. In a way, it’s the pain that helps us feel joy. I believe that sometimes God has a radical way of showing us what is important. There are millions of people in the world that have what we think we want, who are in rehab, prisons, and divorce courts. We really should be careful of what we wish for. “Good fortune” can have bad side effects.
Having problems is thought to be a bad thing. But if you think about it, solving your problems makes you stronger. Having problems at work may be just the push you need to step out of your comfort zone and explore other opportunities. Being in a bad relationship can help you understand what love really means. It’s the growth that we experience during times of heartache, hardship and stress that makes us stronger, better people.
As a society, we believe that success is the opposite of failure. Not true. Failure leads to eventual success. It teaches us to persevere through life’s trials. Studies show that people who worry about mistakes shut down, but those who are relaxed about doing badly soon learn to do well. Success is reached through past failures.
We are also told that we should be happy. Don’t get me wrong, happiness is a desirable emotion. But to think there are never going to be times of sadness or depression isn’t reasonable. We need to give ourselves permission to feel these difficult emotions sometimes. It’s normal and healthy.
Occasionally, we can fear change so much that we abandon ourselves in order to keep things stable. We resist rocking the boat. We float around smiling with a smile that doesn’t reach our eyes, trying to fool the people around us because we want them to believe that we are happy when we are truly miserable. But the heart and soul have a cycle of breaking and healing. So face your unhappiness and disappointments. Make the changes that need to be made in order to achieve the joy that you deserve. Yes, this is easier said than done, but have faith that God has better things in store for you. Embrace the journey and believe that the path you are on is the right one for you. It’s ultimately what makes you unique and helps you to grow to be a better person.