Tag Archives: Happiness

Positive Thought Positive Action Equals Successful Life

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Can you name one negative person with a successful life? Every successful person has had either a very positive person behind them or they had a very positive attitude. We need to start instructing or teaching our children the values of goal setting and planting or having a positive attitude. So many parents don't present a positive outlook or instill a can do attitude.

We have so many problem finders. We need more problem solvers. It's just a matter of how you look at it. The negative and the positive approach. It is so easy for so many to sit back and say,
"whoa as me". Those are the negative peoples that fall deeper and deeper into failure.

A positive person will accept the situation and go right into solving the problem. The whiner is to busy complaining to look for a solution for their problem. They will usually blame everyone else for their problems or troubles. Every single success story had obstacles that had to be overcome. Successful people just solve the problem and move onto the next. The whiner fails because he doesn't believe he can solve the problem or succeed. They just give up. That's where the BIG SIN is!

You stop and think, look back in your life. I bet you can find times where something came up and you said NO PROBLEM and you solved or fixed it. Then other times you just said awe what do I do what do I do? Then the minute you got back on the horse you solved the problem in no time.
I think it's a Universal Law. Success comes from belief and action and failure from doubt and inaction. If you do nothing, nothing will come from it. If you act upon it you will find an answer.

This is where we need to start teaching or instilling within our young people that anything canbe accomplished with positive thought and action. Even a mountain of dirt can be moved one shovel at a time. Sometimes some of us give our children and young people excuses so they don't keep trying.
Instead of telling them them can do it they can figure it out, we let them slide on many things that they actually could have down. So instead of making them stick to it or at least saying okay lets do it together then. You just let it slide.

The kids that are inspired to do well usually will. There are always exceptions to the rule. The kidsthat are slammed or knocked all the time, you can't do it, you won't do it. You will never be anything.

Most the time they won't. Now then again there are the ones that do turn things around, but it is because they became a positive person themselves for some reason. But it still goes back to being a positive person. So important to understand Attitude is success or failure.

 

Self Improvement Advice And Free Tips

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I am sure that I am not alone in the fact that I have a large army of demons in my head. These demons are always talking to me and trying to advise me about how to react to different situations. For many years I listened and took their advice, these years were not exactly happy ones and I have now come to realise that these demons are not my friends but are actually my enemy.

I had many issues in my life that had a negative affect on my levels of self-esteem. The demons used these issues to get to me and to play their mind games. For this article, I am going to describe my stuttering demons and how I eventually destroyed them. The advice can be used for whatever type of demon you may have.

At the age of four, I developed a stutter which would continue to affect my speech for the next eighteen years of my life. I was aware of what I could and could not say and was also aware of the social situations in which I was more likely to stutter.

If I was asked a question by for example a friend, I would think of the answer but before I would have a chance to say it, a voice would appear. This voice or what I call my demons would advise me not to say that word and to substitute it for a different word.

If I was invited out to say a party, my demons would advise me not to go, as there would be a lot of people there that I did not know. They would remind me that I found it difficult talking to people which I did not know.

At one stage in my life, I decided that I wanted a career change as I was not happy in the role that I was in. My demons reminded me, that to find alternative employment meant going through the whole interview process again. They continued that I had always struggled to talk fluently at interviews, due to the pressure factor.

I would be able to speak quite well when I was drunk and this is when I would have the confidence to talk to the ladies. On several occasions a woman has given me their phone number and I would tell them that I would call them to arrange a night out. The next day though, when sober, the demons would remind me that making a phone call is what I find the hardest form of speech task and to simply not bother.

As previously stated, I used to listen to these demons. Things had to and were about to change. After reading many self-help books, I realised what I had been doing wrong. I should not be listening to these demons, in fact what I need to do is the opposite of what they tell me. Don't go to that party, OK then I will. Don't phone that lady up, OK I will, etc.

I am not trying to say that this is easy to do. I am happy to say that I have eradicated my speech demons and am now fluent, however I do still have demons in other areas of my life. There are not nearly as many as there have been in the past and I am slowly hopefully killing them all.

I treat it like a war. There are many battles and I have to say that I do not win them all. I talk to my demons all the time and especially when they win one of these type battles. I tell them that they may have won this particular battle but that I will win the overall war.

You may possibly think that I am a bit of a freak after reading this article. I frankly do not care, I am happier now than I have ever been.

Good luck in your quest to improve your own life.

How To Increase Self Confidence

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Are you looking into ways to help you to gain more confidence? Have you a lack of self-belief? Do you think that you are a weak person? Would you like to be more care-free person? If you have answered yes to any of these questions, this article may well be worth a read. I am going to write about how people can go about increasing their self-confidence. This advice is what I have used to help myself turn from an often depressive person to a now happy and relaxed young man.

My name is Steve Hill and I have to admit that for the first twenty-two years of my life, I did not exactly live life to the full or in the correct manner. I was basically like a scared rabbit, I worried about almost all aspects of life and was a very negative person. I needed to change this approach as I was not exactly a happy chap. Ten years ago I went about making this change by reading literature about self-confidence and by trying to learn how other people coped with their problems compared to me.

One of my many weaknesses was that I was very paranoid about what other people thought of me. I was desperate for people to like me and would easily get upset if people criticised me or made fun of me etc. In a way, I tried to hard to earn this type of respect and would do things and attend functions which I did not really want to, just to please other people of course.

I have now realised and accepted that it is important for me to be truthful to myself. I should be doing what I want to do and if people do not like me for whatever reason, then that is fine, I have enough people who do.

I have also decided to stop worrying about things like the future, money, relationships and work. Stressing about these and other things does not make life an easier, in fact it makes it a lot harder. There is no time in life for this type of fear, I should be spending this time trying to improve and enjoying my life. If something goes wrong which of course it will from time to time, I will deal with it when it happens, in a very positive and dynamic way.

As an example of my new found inner confidence was something that happened during a recent evening out I had with some friends of mine. We were all drinking quite a lot of beer and it was clear that most of my friends were intent on becoming very drunk. I like a drink but not half as much as what other people seem to. At around nine o'clock I had basically had enough of drinking alcohol and started to drink diet coke. My friends gave me some funny looks and made some comments, they were suggesting that I was not a true male. I did not care what they thought of me and told them so. If I want to drink diet coke then I will.

I am happy with my latest approach to life and am determined not to go back to the way I used to think and live. I do stress at times but quickly attempt to snap out of it by thinking in a more positive way.

Keep Thinking Positive For A Happy Life

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I have met many people in my life who are very negative. They moan about seemingly everything and walk around with the weight of the world on their shoulders. I was also like that until the age of twenty-two, at this age I decided to have a new approach to life.

For those first twenty-two years, I was forever feeling sorry for myself. My friends all appeared to have so much more than me, and my life was one long hard struggle, compared to theirs. I was caught up in a web of negativity and needed someone or something to help me to escape.

During an afternoon at work one day, aged as I say twenty-two, a colleague I was working with started to talk to me. What he said was a shock to me, however would have a profound effect on my future. He said to me:

"Your are somebody who always thinks in a negative way, you a right depressive person, aren't you?"

"Am I?"

I said in a shocked voice as I believed I was no different to anybody else. He continued:

"Yes you are. You very rarely smile, you are negative about most issues and you always seem to be carrying the world on your shoulders".

This man was aged around fifty three and continued:

"I used to be like you and then I was given some advice, of which I am now going to relay to you. When you feel down, depressed or sorry for yourself, read the newspapers or watch the news on the television. You may then realise that you are in fact one of the lucky ones."

I had a long think about what he had said. I had never been a big reader or watcher of the news, but decided to give it a go. The advice he gave me was totally correct, the news from around the world and even my own country was quite shocking. I realised that the worries I had were actually quite trivial and that I needed to cherish everyday and start to look on the bright side of life.

 

Learn How To Love Yourself

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I'm sure you read a lot of times this sentence : you need first to love yourself.
But what does that mean? Is it about getting you a hot chocolate when you are cold? Is it about getting you a new dress when you feel like it? Is it doing whatever you want when you want it? Is it about putting warm clothes on when it's freezing outside?

Loving yourself means to learn to treat you like a loving parent would do with his child.

When you are an adult, and I assume you are, you still have an Inner Child inside you. These are your emotions. At that level you still react like a child of 3-4 years old. Your emotions can not get older or mature. But you can get mature. You can learn how to respect them and how to handle them. You can learn how to take care of this Inner Child.

When you are not aware of your Inner Child, you try to live in an adult world like a 4-year old boy or girl. You feel all alone, afraid of the big nasty world there outside, not knowing what to do, where to ask for help, how to protect you. This is a very difficult way of doing. You will always feel afraid, fearful, doubtful, tired. It is hard to try to survive as a child in a grown up world. You will feel angry and afraid most of the time, and lost.

Why is that? Because nobody takes care of that Little Child inside you.
Let's say your name is Charlotte. You are 42 years old. Inside you lives the little Charlotte. She's four. When you are busy in the outside world taking care of other people, of business, of getting around, of doing a thousand things every day, the little Charlotte will feel overlooked. When you're always running to help others, to make sure their needs are fulfilled, you will be exhausted every night and cry in your bed. Sometimes you will get temper tantrums. You will feel very angry without any reason (but still there is one, a big one!).

All these big emotions are attempts from your Inner Child to get your attention.
Imagine you have, besides your children, husband, collegues, parents, friends, a little four-year old girl named Charlotte. Nobody ever notices her. Nobody takes care of her. Whenever she tries to tell something and get some attention, you shout to her "Shut up!". You say "I have to take care of my parents, my work, my husband, my paperwork, my friends, my other children, my house… I don't have time for you!"

How do you think she will feel? What do you think she will do? First she will try to get your attention by showing big emotions. She will cry a lot, she will scream and shout, maybe she's getting aggressive from time to time. You think you're angry at the outside world, but it is Your Inner Child that is angry with YOU! She's sad and angry because you don't care about her! You act as if she doesn't exist! Nothing is worse than acting as if our Inner Child doesn't exist. This means trying to live as if WE don't exist.

The worst feeling in the world is being unloyal to one's self. Nothing is worse than this!

How many times did we ignore what we felt, to please someone else. How many times did we say to our Inner Child "Shut up, you are not important, the other one is far more important than you are, go away, I don't want to hear you, I don't want to see you"? Awful isn't it? And we do this every time we let come the desire of the other one before ours.

This little Charlotte inside, what will she do? She will give up after a while. After trying a long time to show her emotions, she will give up. She will get very tired of all this and she will say :"It doesn't matter, she doesn't love me, she doesn't want to take care of me, I'm not worth it", and she will get depressed.

Of course you will think you get depressed because of others, because of your work, because of your children, because of your husband or parents.
It is nobody's fault. But you have to learn how to take care of this Inner Child which is suffering from your lack of attention to her.

When, after getting depressed things still don't change, there's one weapon left to catch your attention : little Charlotte will get sick. Or she will get an accident. Maybe that way the adult Charlotte will learn to give finally attention to her Inner Child, which is as real (if not more) as a real child of flesh and blood.

You need to learn how to be a loving parent for yourself.

What does that mean?

First you need to develop an Inner Mother. If you were lucky and had a loving caring mother, you can take her as an exemple. Otherwise you need to invent, to create this Inner Mother, which is your feminine caring energy. Everytime you have an emotion, your Inner Mother should ask your Inner Child : "What happens, my darling?" Listen to what your Inner Child has to say. Than you go on with the dialogue. Inner Mother says : "Come here. Come in my arms, I love you as you are. I love you with what you feel."
Doing that, the heaviness of the emotions will drop pretty much. Than you say these words : "I understand". These words are very important, because most of the time we don't feel very "normal" having the feelings we have and we try to ignore or suppress them, which makes them heavier. "I understand, my darling, come here in your Mothers arms, I love you."
Stay with these words and feelings for a while, and than ask :" What do you need?"
Whatever the Child answers, you say : "We will ask this of your Father".

And here starts the task of your Inner Father, who is there to protect you and to act for you in the outside world. You would never send a four-year old asking for a raise at work or getting to resolve a conflict at school or with the neighbours, would you? So why do you try it? Send out your Inner Father to take care of whatever you have to do in the outside world. Your Inner Father is your male energy, which enables you to make decisions, to take action, to follow your inner guidance (which is located in you Inner Child, also called Intuition) and to manifest your Child's desires in the world.

When your Child has a need, for instance to call someone or to go somewhere to arrange something, imagine that your Inner Child stays at home with his Mother who takes care of his feelings ("I understand you're afraid…") and that your Inner Father (another part of your being) goes out there to act. Your Inner Father is that part of you which is able to handle stress, to take action, to arrange conflicts and all other stuff that has to do with the outside world. If that part is missing because you didn't have a good model when you were little yourself, you will have to create and develop it.

Of course your Inner Child, Mother and Father are all parts of you. It is all you. It is just a model to understand what is happening inside you and how you can learn to love yourself.

Loving yourself is listening to your Inner Child, taking his emotions seriously, understanding what he feels and taking action in the desired direction. Loving yourself is having this dialogue with yourself every morning when you open your eyes, every evening when you go to bed, and every time you have an emotion.

Loving yourself is building a strong inner connection with yourself.
It is creating your own loving family, inside you. You will never feel alone anymore. You are already three! Call it your Trinity. Wherever you go, from now on you go with your Inner Family. Your are not alone. You are loved and you are protected. You listen to yourself and take care of that precious little Child that has been waiting for so long to get your attention and love.

This is inner healing.

Free Tips To Increase Self-Esteem

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I have had many confidence issues in my life, all of which I have either dealt with or overcome. I have written about some of these issues below.

1. The Bald Patch

2. My height

3. My weight

4. The stutter

5. My lack of belief in myself

6. My career

THE BALD PATCH

Even though to some people it may seem trivial, I was born with a bald patch the size of a ten pence piece. As I went through childhood and especially the teenage years I became more and more self-conscious and paranoid about it.

It was especially noticeable when it rained or when I went swimming as my hair would become wet. People at school would ridicule me and I was forever trying to hide and cover the bald patch even though most people knew about it.

It hurt when people laughed at me and eventually I stopped going swimming altogether.

MY HEIGHT

Out of all of my close male family and friends, I am the shortest at 5ft 4. This probably should not influence my confidence however with people continually looking down on me it did. I have been called many names, the nicest being "Shorty".

I was always jealous of other people taller than I was. I hoped that one day I might have a late spurt. This never came.

My height affected me with sport. I wanted to be a striker at football however the coaches only wanted people over 6ft tall. At snooker I am constantly have to use the rest which makes it difficult to play up to the best standard and at tennis I was constantly being lobbed. It also meant that I only felt comfortable dating women 5ft 3 and under which reduces the available market considerably.

MY WEIGHT

During senior school I was very thin. This may have been the result of my parents turning vegetarian when I was twelve. At the time there were very few replacement foods and it seemed as though we went from having meat and two veg to just two veg.

As my parents cooked the food I had little option but to also turn vegetarian. After a few weeks I approached them and told them that I missed and wanted to eat meat. They were understanding to a degree and said:

"If you want it, you cook it"

At this age I could only really be bothered to cook properly a few days of the week and that gradually became less and less.

People at school would call me names like skin and bone and my weight became another area of paranoia for me.

THE STUTTER

At the age of four I developed a stutter. This became gradually worse as I became older even though my parents were told that I would grow out of it.

For what fluent people would class as simple tasks like reading from a book at school, answering questions, saying my name and address, ordering items at the bar or in a restaurant, and speaking on the telephone became a constant battle.

It was a very frustrating impediment, as I seemed to be able to talk quite fluently to people I knew well and whom I felt comfortable with, but at other times especially under any form of pressure could not say a word.

At the age of twenty two after about eleven months of sheer hard work and practice I managed to overcome the stutter and I now help other people who stutter to achieve fluency as well as helping people with confidence problems.

MY LACK OF BELIEF

I always had a lack of belief in certain areas.

I would notice a female in a bar for example and would want to go over and talk to her but would have the negative attitude of I'm not good enough, why would she be interested in me? I stutter, I have a bald patch, I have a menial job and I am very thin.

Even if I approach her and am successful, I would then be expected to buy her a drink, possibly phone her, possibly meet her parents, and maybe even get married! The thought of attempting these things with a stutter and with a lack of social confidence was far too daunting for me.

I left school at sixteen mainly due to a lack of confidence and the stutter, but then had the problem of finding a job. Again my lack of belief came shining through. Who would want to employ somebody with a stutter, who has a lack of confidence and who is shy around people?

MY CAREER

After leaving school at the age of sixteen I now had to find employment. Suffering with a stutter and a general lack of confidence meant that work involving the phone or regular interaction with other people were not really an option.

I decided that I could probably cope with filing duties in an office and eventually gained a position at an insurance company.

I started at the lowest grade, a grade two and the work was routine and mundane. The average time to stay at this level before being promoted was six months. The grade three post involved sharing a phone and this is something I found very difficult to use.

To become upgraded you had to apply in writing to the personal officer and then if you passed the interview were then promoted. My attitude was that if I don't apply I would stay as a grade two, which is what I wanted. I was probably the only person in the country who did not want to be promoted.

My boss would ask me at regular intervals why I was not applying and I would make up an excuse. To keep him happy I took the insurance exams. After three years I had completed the first qualification which was a set of five exams. To my horror my boss congratulated me by stating that he was upgrading me to a grade three starting Monday without the need of an interview.

This promotion should in effect have given me a confidence boost however with my stutter out of control under the pressure and some of my colleagues mocking me I became more and more withdrawn and depressed.

I would be invited to social events and would make up excuses of why I could not go as I had a lack of belief that I could cope with the occasion and all the socialising involved.

Happiness Takes Work: 5 Choices to Create Happiness

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All of us have met people who just seem to be happy most of the time. Perhaps you have assumed that these people are just naturally happy, or that they are the lucky people who have an easy life, or they had really loving parents. Most of the time, nothing could be farther from the truth.

Happy people are making specific choices regarding their thinking and behavior. Happy people consciously choose to think and behave in ways that result in happiness. Unhappy people are unconsciously thinking and behaving in ways that create unhappiness.

Following are five of the specific choices that happy people make:

OPTIMISM

Happy people see the glass as half full, while unhappy people choose to be pessimistic -- to see the glass as half empty. Optimistic thinking does not just happen - it is a choice regarding how you see life. Optimistic people are optimistic because they CHOOSE to be optimistic. Instead of allowing their ego wounded self to be in charge with all its doom and gloom, happy people put their loving adult self in charge and open to the wonderful possibilities that life has to offer. Happy people realize that their thinking is the beginning of a creative process that leads to manifestation. By thinking in positive ways, they move themselves to act in ways that manifest their dreams.

KINDNESS

Happy people choose to be kind and compassionate toward themselves and others. Happy people have learned that how they treat themselves and others determines much of how they feel. Happy people do not wait to be happy before being kind to themselves and others. They realize that their happiness is the RESULT of their caring behavior, not the CAUSE of it. They are kind, caring and compassionate whether or not they feel like it. They have chosen this way of being, and their happiness is the result.

FORGIVENESS

Happy people do not harbor resentment toward others, even others who have been mean and hurtful toward them. They realize that resentment makes them unhappy, so they choose to allow people their humanness and forgive them their hurtful behavior. Because happy people tend not to take personally others' uncaring behavior, they don't get their feelings hurt in the same way that people do who take others' behavior personally. Happy people recognize that another's behavior is really about that other person, so they move into compassion toward themselves and others rather than into judgment.

ACCEPTANCE

Happy people realize what they can control and what they can't. They live by the Serenity Prayer, accepting the things they cannot change and changing the things they can. Unhappy people are constantly trying to change people and circumstances and do not accept their lack of control. As a result, they are constantly frustrated. Happy people realize they cannot control others and outcomes, so they focus on what they can control -- their own thinking and behavior. Acceptance of what they can and cannot control leads to happiness and inner peace.

GRATITUDE

Finally, happy people are consistently grateful for what they have, rather than complaining about what they don't have. They notice the many gifts and blessings that come their way and they frequently express gratitude for the everyday things in their lives -- the beauty of nature, the food they eat, the smile on a friend's face, their ability to see, hear, walk, talk. Even many disabled people who may not have the blessings of eyesight, hearing, speech or legs are often happy people because they focus on what they do have and what they can do, rather than focusing on what they are missing out on.

If you want to be happy, then you need to recognize that happiness is the result of your thinking and behavior, not the cause of it. If you choose to focus on becoming conscious of what thoughts and behavior make you feel happy, you can become a happy person -- regardless of your present circumstances. Happiness does not just happen -- it takes work!

 

It Costs Nothing To Smile

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I like to be around positive people, people who tend to be happy, who look on the bright side of life. Far too many people walk around in what seems like a depressed state. Come on people, it costs nothing to smile.

I must admit, I used to be one of the ones who walked around in a depressed state. I had many things on my mind, many things I was not happy with, I used to feel so sorry for myself. Even when I write about it now, I laugh about how pathetic I used to be.

Things were about to change however. At the time a new employee joined the company where I worked, his name was Stuart. Now this may seem cruel but Stuart did not have a lot going for him. I won't go into details but lets just say I did not feel jealous of his life. I became quite good friends with Stuart and we would go to lunch together. I would meet him in the canteen at 1pm and would be waiting in my gloomy state of mind for him to arrive. Arrive he certianly did, always with a beaming smile on his face. We would sit down and talk whilst eating our lunch and he never had a negative word to say. When he talked, he talked with passion, about sports and films. One day it dawned on me, if Stuart (who from what I know of him, seemingly has nothing) can always be positive, happy and smiling, why can't I?

This was the beginning of a new era in my life. An era of being positive, appreciating what I have got and more than anything else, plenty of smiles.

Finding You in Healing the Hidden Self

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People today are starting to recognize the value of self-talk. At one time people thought of those that talked to self as someone with a mental ailment. This is not true today. Experts are recognizing that self-talk is a healthy tool that we all can use to find answers to our questions and resolve many problems.

At one time, people thought outer appearance made the person. However, today, people are starting to realize that beauty is skin deep, while inner beauty is to the bone. Today people are running to find ways to develop self.

Recently, personality development courses opened to help these people find their way. Now, people are not spending countless of dollars on improving their looks, rather they are spending more time and money to find ways of healing the hidden self.

The hidden being is decided on the inner conscious. We all have several hidden personalities that we do not recognize. These personalities often come out, usually when feelings are expressed.

To understand one's feelings, one has to use his or her self-talk tools. Most of us can manage our job tasks on a daily schedule, but when it comes to managing our feelings and emotions, often it becomes a struggle. Using self-talk tools can change this behavior.

As humans, we often struggle to abandon bad behaviors, or habits. The common problem we face today is greed. We see this by examining human behaviors. You probably noticed that on several occasions when a person made a small lump sum of cash, they often want more. Instead of accepting that they have what they need, many people will thrive to make more money, and often find themselves down and out at the end; Life seems to be nothing more than the almighty dollar, i.e. most people's goal in life.

People tend to believe that they can attain happiness and love by making more money. The fact is these people often find themselves stressing, because they failed to realize that finding love, joy, and peace is the true road to self-development. Success or failure is not what makes a person. What makes a person is fighting through the hidden messages in the subliminal mind to discover self.

We all battle emotional responses, such as anger, sadness, joy, et cetera and these emotions ignite from failures, depression, and success and so on. We all feel down at times. There is no way that we can escape the feeling of sadness, joy, anger, et cetera, but there is a way we can all take control of what we express and feel.

Another problem we face is dependency. Many people in the world today depend on others to pick them up when they are down. This leads to major problems, simply because not one person has the power to heal you, but you.

To work through all of these problems, we must depend on self, and develop a winning attitude to build confidence. By changing our approach, we can see that the world is our own based on how we accept it. If a body is unhappy, then the world will seem like a miserable place to live. One of the common sayings today is, "Life is a B, and then you die." This entire negative is causing them to miss the benefits of living.

In each of our lives, some of us are fortunate while others are unfortunate. We must realize that everything we endure takes place to help us learn. For instance, a severely traumatized person may have lived a life of overwhelming violence. There is a point to be made here. Of course, this person is the victim and has no responsibility of what has occurred in his or her life, yet the point is made clear at the end of this person's journey.

We can all live and learn from each other. Despite what type of life you have lived you can develop a positive attitude and win the game of life. By holding onto negative thoughts, you only defeat the purpose of living. Life is too short, so develop a winning attitude and healing the hidden self will fall into place.

 

Happiness Is About Connection And Gratitude

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People complain. They're complaining all the time about everything. As a child, I was innocent enough to believe what people were saying. I really thought there were plenty of valid reasons to complain: the weather (most often), lack of money (runner-up), the neighbors, husband or wife, the children (me, in this case), civilization (or the lack of it), bad health, etc. I assumed the world just turned out to be like this and there was nothing much we could do. It was called "fate" or something.

The thing to do was to pray. Not to ask for a better life. No! I learned to pray to ask God to forgive me for my sins. I was a nice little girl, doing very well at school, polite with the neighbors, helpful at home, so it was rather difficult to keep finding sins for our weekly confession. But because human beings are profoundly sinful by birth, they told me, I had to go confess anyway. The nuns at school came up with a solution to help us out: they "prepared" our sins for us. Every Wednesday, on confession day, they gave us a pink paper with our "confessions of the day." I remember feeling sorry for the poor priest, hidden in his little black cabin, spending the entire day listening to the confessions of 600 little girls, endlessly repeating the same sins over and over…

Growing up, I figured something was missing. Pretending to be sinful by repeating sins someone else had cooked up for me, that could not be what life is about. I refused to further confess sins that I had not committed. I refused to believe that I was the cause of my misery, and that I had to pray every day without things getting better!

When I was 26, I went to Africa. There I met my husband (he's from Belgium) and together we had a wonderful time, with plenty of sunshine and plenty of money; circumstances people usually don't complain about, right? According to my childhood logic, people only complain for a reason: lousy weather (too cold, too much rain), lack of money, etc. But what I discovered over there seriously opened my eyes! My "white" friends just went on complaining: about the weather (too hot), about the service (5 servants and still they were complaining) or about how things were too expensive -- while they were earning 5 times as much as before!

I discovered there and then that the complaining was not based on any objective reasons. I also noticed that the black people, who were living in their villages with close to nothing, were not complaining. I got interested in this phenomenon: they had nothing except a big smile on their face, while we had everything and were still complaining! How could this be?

It became crystal clear to me that the complaints had nothing to do with the outer circumstances. It was an attitude, a habit. Next, I wanted to find out where this habit came from. So I examined the way of life of the local people and compared it with our way of life. When I finally came up with the explanation, it changed my life forever!

There are two important differences between them and us. The first difference is that they have a social network to help everyone in the village. They stick together. They don't push out people who don't fit the norm. In our society, everybody who is a bit different is sent to an "institution." An institution is a place to collect those individuals who cannot follow the fast pace of society and thus fall out of the boat. Most institutions have great walls to prevent us from "seeing" that these people really exist. They look more like a prison than a shelter.
Who are these people that don't fit in our society, put away behind walls so we don't have to confront them? They are the disabled, the diseased, the dangerous ones, the mentally retarded or disturbed, those who are too slow (they go to special schools), too difficult to handle (they go to educational institutions) and those who are too tired and too old (we put them in expensive homes).

There in Africa, everybody stays in his own village and is accepted and taken care of (except the really dangerous ones, they go to prison). Everybody has a natural social network and access to help. You are not isolated from society merely because you cannot walk or because you are mentally slow. They stick together. I figured out that inner loneliness and isolation is one of the main reasons why we are complaining so much.

The second difference is that all of these people are connected to something "greater" than themselves. They have a strong faith in a god who takes care of them. They spend a lot of time performing rituals to please their god(s) and get good health and harvest in return.

I gave these two differences a lot of thought and concluded that creating social networks of people and a solid relationship with something bigger than ourselves, are vitally important fundaments of human happiness.

It's all about "connection." Connection to each other. Connection to the Universe. In the meantime I found out that good things can happen only when we stay connected to each other and to the Universe. I started studying the Laws of the Universe and spent a lot of energy helping people establish a connection to each other and to the Universe. In fact, this became the very purpose of my life.

Many people think they are alone, without help, and have to do everything by themselves. This is not the case. You are guided, you are loved by Something Greater than your little personality. Try to feel this connection. Take time everyday to connect to the Source. Do like the African people I was lucky to meet so many years ago: create a real connection between yourself, the Universe and people around you, without being overly dependent on others. You will never feel alone again and you will be able to spread a lot more love around.

Living this kind of "connected life" will make you forget about your former complaints. What's there to complain about? Your complaints will be replaced by gratitude! Say "thank you" to the Universe for all the things you already have, and for all the wonders that may still cross your path. Express your sincere gratitude for all the love you have received and will keep receiving throughout your life. Be grateful for the clean water coming out of the tap by a simple gesture of your hand, while many people spend six hours every day to get a little bit of water, and others die of thirst. Be grateful for the light you switch on with a simple flick. Large parts of the world have to do without electric power! Say "thank you" for the variety of food that is available to you every day -- a lot of people have to get by on one scarce meal a day, or are simply starving.

There is so much to be grateful for. I felt so ashamed there in Africa, at 26 years old, hearing my white friends, bathing in luxury but still complaining, while my black friends, who had close to nothing, were laughing, friendly, grateful and most of the time quite happy with the little things in life.

It's all in the mind. Gratitude and happiness are an attitude, a state of being. It has nothing to do with circumstances. The attitude is gratitude.