Be nice – always

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This week’s mission:
Say something nice to a horrible person.
Yes, that is what I said.
It’s a difficult mission especially when you have spent so much time fantasizing about revenge but stick with me here.

First you need to understand that there are many reasons that a person would be horrible to you:
1. They are genuinely horrible and nasty and they get pleasure from upsetting you.
2. They are indifferent to other people’s needs so they seem horrible but they just don’t notice what others are going through nor do they understand others emotions.
3. They are really stressed and their irritability is making them moody and nasty.
4. They feel bad about themselves and can’t handle anyone else being happy so they pull you down to their level to feel better about themselves.

So how does it help to be nice to any of these people?
If they are genuinely horrible, you counteract that by being genuinely nice. You are not going to change them but you can change your own attitude towards them – killing somebody with kindness?
If they are indifferent, you might be the one person to show them that the world and people in general might be better than they thought and give them a more positive outlook in life.
Somebody who is stressed needs love, care and attention. Be the one to show that you care and that you understand that they are actually nice and this is not their true self. You disarm their anger with kindness and might make a difference in their life (or at least in their day).
And for the person with a low self esteem, by being nice you are showing them that you are ok enough to be yourself. You won’t allow their negativity to pull you down because you are a nice person and you are happy with yourself.  Maybe one day they will be too.

You might learn something about somebody who you previously had disliked. They might learn something about you that they come to like.
Always choose the nice option.
Always be nice.
No matter what. Trust me on this one.

Am I free?

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Happy Easter and a good Pesach to everyone!
As usual, when Pesach (Passover) comes along, so does the conversation about freedom.  During Pesach we discuss what it meant for the Jewish people to be free from slavery in Egypt and we compare it to our lives now.
The question is are we really free?
We may not be actual slaves although many people express that they feel like slaves to their kids, to their partners and to their jobs.  Are we free to spend quality time on our own without limitations?
Are we free because we have a lot of material things or are we slaves to our phones and our possessions (and what it takes to pay off the debts that those possessions create)?
Are we free to express ourselves without being labeled or put into a box by stigma?

We can focus on all the reasons that we are not free or we can learn to appreciate all the reasons that we are free.  So many of us are free from hunger and cold.  We are free to be the person that we want to be if we stop worrying about what everyone thinks of us and we stop worrying about pleasing other people.

We need to create a space to be free.
Whether it is just going outside and taking a deep breath or going for a walk and watching the world go by.
Pause to appreciate what you have.
Celebrate the little things that make your life a bit better (thanks Haagen Dazs salted caramel ice cream).
Remember how far you have come and how truly fabulous you really are – even if nobody can see it and no one acknowledges it.
You are amazingly perfectly imperfect just the way you are!

Find the good

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This week has truly been a world class horrible one.
I mean horrible!
But despite all of the horrible things, there have been such amazing moments too.  There have been people who have been so kind.  There has been amazing support and care.
And there have been ‘coincidences’ that have been nothing short of miraculous – the kind of things that make me believe that there has to be some kind of higher power intervening at some point.
Nobody should have to go through horrible things and nobody deserves to go through difficult times.  I don’t, and you don’t.
But if you can look beyond the difficulties and the hardships and notice the amazing things, you feel a little bit better and a little bit brighter.  Good things do happen in bad times.  You just need to learn to look for them.
No, you are not here to be punished.
No, bad things don’t always happen to you.
Yes, you deserve a better life but if you open your eyes, you realise that there is a little spark of greatness in everything that happens.
Just believe it.

 

Knock on new doors

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Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I had done things different.
How different would my life be if I had said yes instead of no or no instead of yes.  What could have happened if I had taken a different career path?

Even the smallest decisions can push your life on a different path.
Meeting someone randomly, being in the right place at the right time, being in the wrong place in the wrong time, choosing to stay home, taking a different route…
Everything has potential consequences – and they could potentially be life altering ones.

You can’t drive yourself crazy with could haves and would haves and what ifs.  There is no way that we could ever know if things were meant to happen because of fate or by pure chance.  And we definitely have no idea about the consequences that our actions in the present are going to have on our future.
But you do have the ability to knock on new doors and to expose yourself to experiences that maybe you wouldn’t have tried before if you are open to the fact that every thing that you do could be an opportunity.  Don’t let fears from past experiences stop you from creating new opportunities.
Don’t be afraid to try new things, meet new people and step out of your comfort zone.
Be prepared to kick that door down and shout out “Life! Here I am!”

Fear of failure

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I never loved school – when I look back at my schooling, the one thing that always comes to mind was my fear of failure.  That was probably because we were constantly being taught that failure is a bad thing and we not only had to avoid it at all costs but also to always work harder.
As children we are often told by our parents and grandparents what we are not allowed to do or say or touch.  To avoid risk and potential failure or hurt and pain.
So we stick with those beliefs.

The negative reputation that failure gets follows you into your adulthood where you still feel that fear is a bad thing.
More often than not, you are not taught that failure might actually open up new doors for you.  You are not taught that failure is an opportunity to learn and grow as an individual.  You are not given the chance to discover what your strengths and weaknesses are and to really build on your strengths because you spend so much energy and time trying to fix the weaknesses.

If you could let the fear of failure go and bravely enter new places, discover new opportunities and take chances, you may just find something that you never even knew existed.
As uncomfortable as it is to fail, the fear of failing or avoidance of failure just holds you back.  It makes you want to stay in your comfort zone.
And you are worthy of doing so much more than just holding yourself back.
Jump in, try it, take a risk – great, great things might happen!

Big small blessings

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In a rough moment this week I was feeling very sorry for myself because my son was so sick… again.
So I was in the pharmacy… again and looking pathetically at a mother with her daughter picking out shampoo.  And I had a moment of jealousy (and anger) that they could be doing such a ‘normal’ thing when I spend so much time in doctor’s rooms and queuing for medication at the pharmacy.
Then I turned around and the woman behind me was with her really ill daughter who was recovering from heart surgery!
I very quickly shut up my pity party anthem that was playing in my head and wanted to cry at how lucky I am that although my son is ill, he doesn’t have a life threatening illness.
I got home feeling more peaceful and just wanted to hug the boy – except that he told me to give him space and let him concentrate on his very important game of Plants vs Zombies (I have no idea….)

It would do us all well to remember that our lives may be far from perfect but they are far more perfect than somebody else’s.
Be grateful for the blessings you have – even though they may seem small, they are huge to another person.

Fighting mediocrity

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mediocre
ˌmiːdɪˈəʊkə/
adjective

  1. of only average quality; not very good.

Mediocre is my worst word – I hate the idea of mediocrity.  I think it is because being mediocre shows no commitment.  It is neither good nor bad, just in the middle.
I truly believe that people who are the most stressed are the least mediocre people.  You get stressed because you are passionate about something and often people stand in your way.
They stand in your way because they are comfortable with their mediocrity and your passion, excitement and commitment are a serious threat to their comfort zone.  If you are not strong enough in your self belief, you will find it easy just to fall back and join the mediocre people.
Please don’t.
You are so amazing, interesting and unique.  You have so much to offer.  Don’t let anybody else destroy that!
Stop trying to fit in to please other people.
Start asserting your right to be an individual.
You are wonderful just as you are!great-spirits

Appreciating breathing

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I have been absolutely knocked down this week with bronchitis which made my asthma flair up as an added (no frills) bonus.
So I have to nebulise twice a day which means sitting still for 15 minutes, twice a day with a mask on my face doing deep breathing (and no talking).  Those of you who know me know that I never sit still – or if I do sit still, I’m usually doing something while I am sitting still.
Every time somebody tells me to breathe deeply and just be still and meditate for a few minutes, I reply to them that it is impossible for me to do that – I can’t sit still (or keep quiet but that’s another discussion for another day).
And now I am forced to do that – and I can’t even fold laundry while I’m doing it (yes, I tried!).

So now thanks to an illness, I am a convert to quietly sitting and breathing and I really think that once I don’t have rely on that horrible machine, I am going to carry on doing it anyway and call it meditation. I think it can be done and I would encourage everyone to just take a few minutes for silent breathing.

Life works in strange ways – sometimes you go through something bad or uncomfortable in order to learn something good.
I often preach that message but it is not until I actually experience it that I can really appreciate it.  I hate getting bronchitis but I cannot even start to tell you how much I appreciate a simple thing like being able to breathe when I get better.
And I never knew that I could meditate until I had to nebulise.  As horrible as these experiences are, they definitely leave us with a lesson.
The most responsible people who manage their finances well are often those who have been in debt.  Great relationships can come out of hurtful experiences.  Brilliant leaders are mostly people who have had to overcome a lot of obstacles.

Find grace in your own experiences and the lessons that you can gain from them.
You never know that you can do something until you are forced to and hopefully you will never have to look back from here.

Meeting a righteous person

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Jewish tradition states that at any one time in any generation there are 36 righteous people living on earth.
It’s a bit sad that it is only 36 but that is apparently how many there are.  The thing about these righteous people is that they are hidden – nobody knows who they are and even the righteous person doesn’t know that they are one of the 36.

Does it make a difference?
Maybe it does, because something that I learned while watching an episode of Transparent is that if we don’t know who these people are, we should treat everyone that we know and everyone that we meet as though they are one of these 36.
Okay so sometimes it is very clear who is not one of the 36 – or so we think – but it is not up to us to make that judgement.
It is up to us to be kind, gentle and caring to those around us.
Everyday you have the opportunity to make a difference in somebody else’s life or even in your own life if you can just shift your attitude to a more positive and hopeful one.

There is a great saying that it doesn’t matter if the glass is half full or half empty, the important thing is that it can be refilled.  Having a positive attitude towards people (even if you don’t really like them) can have a huge impact on them and on you.
You never know how that person is going to have an impact on you somewhere along the line.

So here is your mission:
– Be nice!
– Tell your nasty boss how much you like her shoes
– Tell your nagging mother that you appreciate that she cares
– Compliment your annoying colleague on their new hairstyle
– Ask the cashier how their day has been
– Smile at someone who frowns at you
– Challenge yourself to get somebody in the traffic to smile or wave back at you

You are going to be feel wonderful for doing these things and maybe, just maybe, you touched one of the 36…

Let them go

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This is something that you should never forget:

bad-people


If you have issues with people, the majority of the time it is because they have issues with themselves.
A person with a low self esteem can either work on building themselves up and improving their sense of self or they can bring others down to their level. Unfortunately, this is often the case and you are often on the receiving end of their sabotage.
This is not your issue.
As difficult as it is to do so, don’t allow it to become your issue. Don’t waste time hating someone who doesn’t deserve your time and energy.
Pick yourself up and don’t go back for more abuse. You are worth so much more than that!
Keep being the wonderful, beautiful and brave person that you are.