Monday, September 2, 2013

Spread the LOVE

"The people who need the most love often ask for it in the most unloving ways." 
Have you ever met someone who is starving for love so badly that they reject all that is around them?  I know I've met a few people like that in my life.  There have been a hand full of them.  The ones who spew hate in ways that are almost incomprehensible.  THOSE are the people who actually need the most love and acceptance.

I've been watching some reality tv lately, and it seems like there are an abundance of "unhappy to the point of cruel" characters being portrayed.  Its difficult for me, because society likes to beat those people to a pulp with their comments and judgements.  I used to be extremely judgmental too.  I know what it feels like to look at a person who is acting out and think to myself how awful they are and feel the need to point it out to them.  Since I've been on this journey of self growth, self acceptance, and self love, I realize that those people we like to judge are really the ones who need the exact opposite.

When I was morbidly obese there were a couple people who felt the need to point out my weight in hopes that I would be so ashamed that I would do something about it.  It never worked, and only helped push me further into my self destructive behavior.  Its the same for those people who are "mean".  By calling them out, and giving back what they give out, you are not helping them grow, but increasing the likeliness that they will continue their poor behavior.  When I discovered SELF LOVE, I made the change.  Love is what motivates people to do better, not judgement or self depreciation.

Just like someone who is prejudice, racist, or bigoted, people who attack another person based on their character need to be educated in kindness and love.  They need to know that they are the equal of all man, not inferior or superior.  We are all made of the same stuff, just different presentations.  The beauty of the human mind is that we all have the ability to change for the better.  Anyone who wants another chance to make a change is absolutely allowed to do so, and they should get the recognition for it.  Its never too late to become the person you know you're capable of being.  And as human beings, we should always be supportive of the growth of those who wish to seek it.  There are always second, third, fourth, fifth, and more chances to be a good spirited person.  You never lose your chance.

So next time you hear someone say something mean spirited, don't judge them or return their behavior, but give them unconditional love and acceptance.  Tell that that they are good enough exactly the way they are, just like everyone else.  Let them know that its never too late to be kind and loving.  When you stop letting poor behavior rub off on you, you can experience a whole new level of happiness you've never thought possible!

Peace, Love, and Happiness
The Happiest Woman Alive.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Using your words in kindness

I've been thinking about what I wanted to write on this subject without straying too far.  Its very easy to go into each and every scenario that may arise in your life and discuss the proper response, but for the sake of my time, and yours, we're going to skip that.

What I want to talk about today is your words, and how you use them on other people.  Growing up, we were taught to say "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me."  That was a good attempt from our parents to teach us that we don't have to take things personally, but as an adult, we've all learned that its not easy to stop taking thing personally.  As children, our words are our biggest weapon, but as we grow, we must learn that we do not need weapons, we need to protect our spirit.  That's when we must learn how to use our own words to better the words of other people.  

Being kind to others in any situation is a difficult task, but completely possible.  In the human world, we use our words as our main source of communication.  It is how we let other people know whats going on in our world, so we can connect with them on a more personal level.  Yes, we can use body language, but often times others cannot pick up on our subtle hints unless we use our words.  We all know from personal experience that words can be a weapon, as they are often used to harm one another.  What I am going to try and get across to you today is that you don't have to use harsh words to effectively get your point across.

When you speak harshly to a person you are not only letting them know how you're feeling, but you are also conveying how you feel about them specifically.  By speaking harshly to a person, you are conveying the message that believe you are above them.  We need to, as common beings, understand that we are the equal of all men.  You are no more, or less, than any other person you come across.  You may have more experience in some situations, but that does not make another person less worthy than you.  All humans have emotions, feelings, and beliefs that may differ from your own, but that doesn't mean that they are wrong.  When you speak unkind or attacking words to another person, you are harming them on a spiritual level, but you are also harming yourself.  By being unkind to another person, you are making it possible for others to be unkind to you.

If someone harms you with their words or behaviors, you must first remember that they are human.  There is probably something going on in their life that is causing them pain, and they are so wrapped up in it that they have lost the ability to disassociate you with their pain.  This is the first lesson in not taking things personally.  When someone is unkind, your mind needs to first go to trying to understand that their emotions do not need to be your emotions, therefore you do not need to reply with their same emotion, but with your own.

In the book, The Four Agreements, don Miguel Ruiz teaches us to be impeccable with your word.  This means we must always speak in truth and love.  This isn't something you can accomplish in a day, in fact it can take a long time to develop this skill, but to live in true inner peace and happiness it is necessary to make the effort.

We must get rid of our desires to complain, vent, gossip, or speak cruel to or about others.  I've found in my life that the most unhappy people practice these bad habits.  They see the world for what it hasn't done instead of what it HAS done.  They are the pessimists, the "WHY ME" people.  You are going to come across them often in life, those who think they are above others.  This is not a healthy lifestyle, and if you find yourself acting on these emotions, you really need to step back and be more mindful of yourself, the good in your life, and the spirit of others.  

Sarcasm is something that I've perfected over the years, but lately I have found that it doesn't suit me anymore now that I am a happy person.  Of course, there are still those people in my life that love sarcasm, and together our conversations are not harmful to one another, but more in joy and happiness and our way of connection.  When you use sarcasm on someone who does not understand, you are harming their spirit, and its not a kind form of communication.  

In a business sense, I've seen many times that there are people who believe because they are more experienced, they can speak down to others.  This will never get you far.  In fact, those people who are condescending are most likely not the ones who will advance in a company.  You must remember that each person is there simply to do their job, and just because you feel you know more than they do doesn't mean they are any less of a person that anyone else.  If there is a situation where you know you are correct and another person has made a mistake, there is a way to approach it with truth and love, and not harming another persons spirit.  You must develop the ability to share your knowledge as a teacher and not as a judge if you'd like to progress.  Kind honesty always overrules condescending communication.

The point of this whole topic is karma.  You don't have to be religious to understand the rules of karma.  What you give out, you get back.  If you are unkind with your words, others will be unkind in return.  If you want your life to improve, improve the words coming out of your mouth.  Be respectful of the spirit of others, for they are living in their own world, not yours.   Be understanding and mindful about how you treat others and they will almost always do the same in return.

The last part of being kind with your words is learning when NOT to speak.  Silence is a tool we use to improve our thoughts, and should never be used as punishment.  If we are unhappy, we must be truthful about it, but always in kindness and love.   We need to use silence to understand how another person in feeling within themselves, by allowing them to speak, connecting to their words, and understanding why they are feeling the way they do.  There will be people you come across that are unable to speak kindly due to their circumstances, and we need to practice silence.  We cannot change how another is feeling, we can only give them space to work through those feelings.  Offering a kind word to someone in emotional pain is always a good idea, but then we must be silent and sometimes walk away.  If someones unkind words are threatening to harm your spirit, and are unable to see how their words effect others, its perfectly acceptable to leave the conversation, but it is never okay to return their emotions, because that brings negativity onto your spirit and can cause you unhappiness.

In closing, I want you to be more mindful of your words, and how they effect others.  When someone approaches you in anger or threatens your spirit, try to understand their circumstances, offer a kind word, then if necessary, disengage.  Do not allow negativity to alter your words.  Give a smile, a hello, when asking how someones day is, really listen, and in the end, you will have a more positive experience on this planet.  

I wish you the best, and always be kind.


Peace, Love, and Happiness
The Happiest Woman Alive

Friday, August 16, 2013

Past-Present-Future You; Living In The Present

Last night I was sitting on my porch with a really good friend.  She and I have been close since we were in High School, and she's always been my biggest supporter in life.  We were discussing things that happened when we were teenagers that have lead us to the point we are today, and I had the most amazing realization.  I realized that the reason I am so much happier now then I was 3 years ago is because I no longer associate with the pain of my past.  So for today's blog, I want to write my thoughts that I had last night that will explain what it means to let go of past trauma and stop worrying about the future.

The  best way I've found to be more present now is by realizing that there are 3 people inside of you.  There is the "PAST" you, the "PRESENT" you and the "FUTURE" you.  Most of our emotional pain comes from "past" you.  Remembering what it felt like, and holding on to that memory.  Other pain comes from "future" you.  Worrying about "getting it right" for future you.  I've read quite a few books now that talk about leaving the past in the past and not worrying about the future, but I didn't realize until last night how I actually achieved that.  What I did was I assigned my negative feelings of my past to my former-self.  I look back at the person I was at 17 and understand that things happened the way they did because that girl was unprepared and confused.  She acted the way she did because she didn't know any better at the time.  She dropped out of college, a few times, because she was indecisive.  She was emotionally hurt because she didn't know what love was.  None of those feelings are mine anymore, they are all hers.  She is just a small version of who I am, and I no longer relate to her anymore.  I have empathy for her for the hardships she had in her time, but I understand that many of those hardships were caused by her own lack of knowledge.

I am older, and a little bit wiser now.  I can look at what happened with new eyes as a new person and have a whole new understanding of the situation.  But I also understand that I can't fix anything that happened to that girl.  I can't save her, make her feel better, or change her decisions.  I only have to look at her as I do my own children and say "Its okay, I'm not upset, I forgive you."  By assigning your "past" self its own personality that you no longer relate to, you can effectively leave the past pain for that person to deal with, because its no longer your concern.  You get to start over, right now.  You've held onto that stuff for so long that its time to become your "present" self and concern yourself with only what surrounds you today.  Letting go of the past is liberating.

As for the "future" you, think about it this way.  Do you think that the person you were 10 years ago could get through a day of your life today?  That "past" self would probably have a lot of issues trying to navigate through your life today.  In fact, that past you probably couldn't even comprehend what's happening in your life now.  Well, that's how you need to look at "future" you.  In the future you will have more knowledge and experience than you do in this moment.  Even a week from now, your entire life can change, and you wont know until it happens.  When you start worrying about things that are in the future, just trust "future" you to handle it when it arises.  Just like you've handled every other situation up until this moment, you'll be able to do the same for anything that comes your way.  Give yourself credit for the things you haven't learned yet, but will in the future, and leave the decision making to "future" you who will have more wisdom that you do in this very moment.

I hope that helps you see how I did it.  Anything that has hurt me in the past, didn't hurt me today, but hurt the person I was THEN.  I left her in the dust a while back, and I will never turn around.  She dealt with it how she knew best, and I am free to enjoy my today.  As for the future?  I have goals, and hopes, and dreams about what I want to happen, and I am going to move myself in the direction that I think will get me there.  If I hit a road block, I'll figure something out when the time comes, because I'll be more prepared in that moment then I am today.

So for now, I hope you spend a little time enjoying yourself, today, in the present, and have a wonderful weekend!

Peace, Love, and Happiness
The Happiest Woman Alive.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Be Happy

As I sit here on my bed contemplating the documentary, Happy, I just watched, I wonder how I am going to express to each of you what it means to be happy to me.  Its difficult for me to explain to someone how unhappy I was for so long.  It almost seems like a different lifetime.  I try to think of the REASON I was depressed, and I can bring up different scenarios that I viewed as negative and depressing.  The truth is, those things are still there, in my past.  I still can feel them, hear them, and remember them, but no longer do they make me sad or depressed.  I didn't change my life, I didn't change my past, I just changed my focus.

For example, there was a time in my life where I was depressed about the passing of a very important person to me.  I let her death make me bitter and angry, because I was sad that I didn't have her anymore.  I cried for her so many times that I lost count.  She was more than family, she was one of my best friends, and we talked for hours.  She passed right around the time of a huge change in my life, and I was upset that I didn't have her support or guidance anymore.  For years I let my grief manifest into other feelings such as disappointment, anger, and sorrow.  I was not living my own life, I was craving the days when she was still with me.  Because I had been happy with her around, I didn't think it would be possible to be happy without her around.

As time went on, my depression became a personality of its own.  I stopped enjoying any aspect of life.  Whats sad is that this was also during a big time for me.  I had a baby, I got married, and my husband and I had a life we were trying to start, but I was so consumed in this negative mindset that I didn't enjoy anything around me.  I found every possible "bad" experience and I held onto it.  I consumed every negative emotion that was pushed my way.  I reached back into my childhood to things that I wasn't depressed about at the time and I created a whole new memory based on my new demeanor.  I effectively changed my whole consciousness to be focused on the "BAD" things that I believed were happening to me.

As I write this, its like I am talking about a different person.  Back then, in my deepest darkness, I was completely unable to see how miserable a life it was.  I had my family telling me that I wasn't pleasant to be around, and a husband who was on the edge of running because I was never kind, but I didn't recognize it.  I really thought they were all wrong, and that I was the realistic one.  I was the only person who saw how bad things were, and they were pretending that everything was okay.

Then I woke up.  I can't tell you the exact moment that it happened, because it was a process, but there was a moment that I realized that everyone around me was dealing with the same LIFE I was, but I was the only one that was foreboding.  I was so consumed in what horrible things were going on, that I completely lost sight of the wonderful parts of my life.  I couldn't change the fact that my loved one was gone, but I could embrace those hours sitting on her bed watching daytime soaps, and have faith that one day we would be together again.  I couldn't change my situation, but I could be grateful for it.  I had a husband who loved me unconditionally, two beautiful happy daughters who saw nothing but joy in life, a close knit family that I LOVE being around, and amazing friends who I could sit and talk to for hours and not even realize the time had passed.  I had nothing to be depressed about anymore, because my mind was focused on all of the beauty around me and no longer on the things that I couldn't control.

In watching the documentary Happy*, I realized that the happiest people in the world are the people who focus their lives on compassion, love, and kindness.  The happiest people have intrinsic goals focused on bettering themselves spiritually, and working towards their personal growth.   The least happy people are those who focus on extrinsic goals and focus their lives on reaching materialistic or financial goals.  More money and success doesn't increase your happiness, and until you change your perspective it never will.  You'll always want more.

I don't know if my parents taught me this on purpose, but throughout my life I've learned that the most important lesson we can teach our children is to never harm anyone physically, spiritually, or financially.  Always live in kindness and compassion, even when others don't.  The happiest people are those that do good for each other, even in times of desperation.  We as humans are not meant to be competitive, but to be cooperative.  We are meant to work TOGETHER, not against each other.

If you want to be happy, I challenge you to do these three things every day for one week, and I promise you will be a happier person.
1. Practice compassion for all living beings.  Do no harm physically, spiritually (emotionally), or financially.
2. Be grateful for all that you have.  Count your blessings at the end of each day, and let go of all of the things that didn't bring you joy.
3.  Do something that you love.  Be playful at least once a day.  Laugh, joke, and smile.  Let go of any discomfort in the efforts, and really really enjoy something.

I wish you the best in improving your life, from this moment on.  Remember that all it takes is a shift in focus.

Peace, Love, and Happiness.
The Happiest Woman Alive

*I watched this documentary on Netflix on instant stream, but you can also rent it from the website.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Building Up Your Willpower; 10 Tips For Following Through

What you have to do and the way you have to do it is incredibly simple. Whether you are willing to do it, that’s another matter. Peter F. Drucker.


We all know what it is.  Its that mythical magical pill that gets your butt up and makes all of your dreams come true.  The truth is, WILLPOWER is a muscle, that just like any other muscle, you have to build, develop, and strengthen it to get the most out of it.  Just like any other muscle in your body, your willpower will weaken through the day depending on which circumstances you find yourself in.

Here are 10 great ways to practice building up your willpower each and every day.

1.  Set goals for yourself.  If your goal is to lose weight, to quit smoking, or to make more money, you have to set clear goals for yourself.  The best goal setting method is the SMART goals.
 You need to decide what your goal is specifically.  When you will accomplish it by.  What you will do to accomplish it.  And add in how you will feel emotionally when you complete this goal.
For example, instead of saying "I want to lose weight" a better goal would be "I will lose 10 pounds by November 1st by eating clean and working out 4 days a week, and I will feel AMAZING."  By setting your goals with the SMART method, you are making a plan instead of stating a desire.  This will increase your likelihood of accomplishing this goal.

2.   Make difficult choices in advance.  If you're having trouble making conscious decisions while going about your day, you need to decide early on what would be the best choice for your goal.  If your goal is to lose weight, and you find yourself struggling every day when it come times to chose what you eat for lunch, you're more likely to make an unhealthy choice.  If you decide that each day you will have the same lunch, a salad from your local deli, you have taken away the stress from making the decision.
  A good way to do this is by using the If/Then strategy.
IF I am offered a piece of cake at the birthday party, THEN I will decline and have a piece of fruit.
IF there are doughnuts in the lunchroom, THEN I will say NO THANK YOU, and choose Greek yogurt.
By making these choices in advance, you are removing the stress from a situation that is likely to pull away from your willpower.

3. Don't make choices when your willpower is low.  This is a simple statement that is sometimes difficult.  If your goal is weight loss, to increase your willpower, don't go grocery shopping when you're tired, hungry, or stressed.  If you want to work out more, don't plan to go to the gym after work when your body is tired and sore.  When you leave these difficult decisions to the time of day when your willpower is at its lowest, you are more likely to make poor decisions and avoid progress.

4.  Use the 5 MINUTE RULE when attempting something that you would usually avoid doing.  If you want to exercise more, decide when you will start, and commit to only 5 minutes.  I decided this morning I would spend 5 minutes on this blog, and here I am 2 hours later with PAGES of notes.  When you commit to doing something for 5 minutes, its easier to start, and you tend to get so involved with it that you continue to do it long past the 5 minute mark.

5. Be accountable for your actions.  If you decide to work out, but don't tell anyone about it, then you are more likely to NOT go through with it.  If you tell someone your SMART goal, then you are much more likely to accomplish that goal because you will be held accountable for it.  The best way to be accountable is by having a partner.  Work out with a buddy, diet with a coworker at lunch, hire a coach, or if you're an avid internet user, use the website Stickk

6. You also need to BURN THE SHIPS.  In 1519, Hernan Cortez set off on a journey from Spain to South America with the goal to conquer the land and attain mass amounts of gold.  When he arrived on the shores of the beaches, and all 600 men were on the ground, he ordered them to burn the ships.  He did this because it took away their ability to give up and committed them 100% to their mission.
  Removing temptation for failure is always going to be a big boost into improving your willpower.  For me, my distraction is Facebook.  (If you know me, that is not a surprise!)  Now I use the app StayFocusd to avoid the temptation of Facebook while I am working.  I use the Nuclear Option to shut off access to distracting websites while I work.  If your temptation is Ice Cream, take it out of the house.  If your temptation is smoking, avoid being around smokers.  When you remove temptation and distraction, you give yourself more time to achieve your goal.  By changing the route you take home, you can avoid that fast food that you usually stop and get.   Removing temptation and distraction is the best way to increase your success when your willpower is low.

7.  Meditate.  I know this is my solution for everything, but when your willpower is low, and you are just overly stressed, it is a great way to refocus on what you want.  By calming your mind, its like you're getting a reset to start over with your decision making.  If you haven't started yet, you need to start meditating TODAY.  Take 5-15 minutes in a quite comfortable place and really let your thoughts settle like the white stuff in a snow globe.   To read my blog on Meditation please CLICK HERE.

8.  Tackle the difficult tasks first.  When you wake up, your willpower is at its all time highest, and you are more willing to tackle the hardest obstacles of the day.  Every morning when you wake up, make a point to do the 2-3 most difficult tasks of the day first.  If you struggle to do laundry, work out, grocery shop, or clean your house, the best thing to do is do it first thing in the morning.  Once you tackle the most difficult parts of your day, the rest of your day will be easier, and it will become easier for you to make progressive decisions later.   Pareto's Law says that 20% of your efforts will improve the other 80% of your life.  If you tackle the most difficult 20% of your day in the morning, the other 80% of your day will be a breeze.  Put all of your efforts into doing the BEST you can for that 20% and watch your life change.

9.  Create Daily Rituals.  When you have daily habits, routines, and rituals it removes the need for minimal decisions, and increases your stock of willpower for the day.  Just like getting up in the morning and brushing your teeth, showering, getting dressed, and making a cup of coffee, when you create habits in your daily life, they no longer become decisions.  Repeating good behavior creates a habit, just like repeating bad behavior creates a habit.  If your goal is to exercise more, do it every day, at the same time, until it becomes a habit, and you no longer have to make the decision to do it.

10.  Remember that nothing is EASY.  Increasing your willpower will not make it easy to succeed.  I am only telling you that anything is POSSIBLE, and with enough determination, willpower, and education, you can achieve any goal you set your mind to.  Once, there was a little boy who looked at the moon and said "One day, I want to go there" and he did.  There is not a goal you could this of that is unattainable, as long as you set your mind to reaching it.  When you put your mind to it, anything is possible.

AIM HIGH!  Where there's a will, there's a way!

Peace, Happiness, and Success
The Happiest Woman Alive