No Man (or Woman) is an Island.

“No Man is an Island” is a phrase in a poem by John Donne.  It speaks to the fact that we are part of a larger world or community.  Some people think that they have to do everything themselves.  And that asking for help is a sign of weakness.  Acknowledging that we need help and that we are all connected in some way is part of how I stay positive.

Oil Painting by Martha Kremer – No Man is an Island

Like many people, when I have felt alone and unsupported, I isolate.  This is what many people do and it is actually the opposite of what we need to do to feel better!  We are NOT ALONE.  Whatever you are going through, I guarantee that there are others out there dealing with the same struggle.  Reach out to others and know that you are part of something greater.

This doesn’t mean that everything will be sunshine and roses.  But it does mean that you will have people to be supportive and listen to you. In the world there are also people who will not understand your struggle or your point of view.  That’s okay!  They are human beings who have struggles different from yours.

Your journey in life is just that – YOUR Journey.  No person can do it for you.  But you are not on that journey alone.  There are companions out there on their own journeys that will cross paths with yours.  You can get to know others and share some of what you have in common.

You would be amazed that the person who works in your office, live in your neighborhood, works out at your gym – only a few feet away – has had pain, joy, anxiety, silliness, beauty, heartache, love, concern, fear and confusion … just like you.  Why is that?  Because you are a human being and guess what? They are too! Talk to people… and you will find it to be true.

We are all on this journey of life together.  Find those who understand and let them know that you understand too.  No Man – Or Woman – is an Island.  We are in this together.  Stay Positive.  Positively Inspired.

You are special.

Have you ever heard of Fred Rogers, from Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood?  If not, please see a movie that I highly recommend called “Won’t you be my neighbor?”  If you do know who  he is, what comes to mind when you hear his name?  For me it is kindness, patience, smiles, friendly, positive and the “land of make believe”.  His show came out the year that I was born and I watched it all the time.  Many of the things he spoke about and taught to children through his shows, apply to all of us as human beings. He was a living example of inspiring people with being positive.

Mr. Fred Rogers – You are Special.

He told people that they are special.  When it comes down to it, we are special.  We are unique.  There is no one else exactly like us in the world!  Even if you are a twin, you have your own thoughts, feelings and ideas.  When you have a hard time being positive, remember that.  It is a wonderful thing to know that you have special talents that you bring to the world.  Don’t hide them.  Don’t keep them to yourself.

Could you imagine if someone like Thomas Edison had kept his talents to himself? Or how about Alexander Graham Bell? Those talents led to lights and telephones!!  If your special talent is listening to others who are in need, who are struggling — share that talent.  There are many people who feel that no one understands and that no one listens to them.  They need your special talents.

Some people feel that telling others they are special leads to a feeling of entitlement.  I don’t agree at all.  Entitlement comes because people don’t learn how to appreciate what they have.  That it totally different from being told that you have value.  You matter.  You are special.  If you are struggling to find the positive in your life – remember that there is always another chance to turn things around.  A chance to choose to be positive and happy.

I challenge you to look in the mirror once a day and tell yourself, “You are Special.”  At first, you may think this is silly and you may laugh or joke about it.  But if you keep this up, overtime, YOU will believe you are special.

Thank you Mr. Fred Rogers for bringing such a positive attitude to all of us who watched your shows, sang your songs and loved you.  May we carry the positive message to others, that you are SPECIAL – JUST BECAUSE YOU ARE YOU.

Success! How do you measure it?

Everyone has a different definition of what success means to them. Some focus on the financial. Others on a particular job. Some have a particular goal like running a marathon. Success for me is all about being the best human being I can be. Of course I have career goals. And things I would like to achieve in my life. But am I a human being that I would like to spend time with? If you had to spend 24 hours a day with someone just like you would you do it? Just so you know you do that already!

I’ve heard many celebrities who have an obsessive goal of achieving success through winning awards, possessions and money beyond their wildest dreams. And that most of them found that those things did not bring them happiness. In fact they were waiting for a particular feeling that they thought success would bring – but it felt kind of hollow.

I think it’s important to look at how we pursue success. Are we kind? Or do you treat others as stepping stones that you walk all over to achieve your goal. I think it’s important to achieve goals ethically and to be kind in the process.

I know a lot of our world measure success as having a big house with a swimming pool and a luxury car in the driveway. And if that make someone happy I am not here to judge them for that. But I am actually happier since we downsized from our house to a condo. Less than a mile from my house as a community center with a swimming pool. And I love driving my little Honda Civic! To me material things give a fleeting feeling. But the real deep down things in relationships is what makes me feel successful.

Being a success in whatever you do requires a commitment. Sometimes others will not agree with you. Sometimes others will doubt you. Sometimes others will be watching for you to fail. In the end it’s not what others say or do it’s how you handle it.

reba

The great country music artist Reba McEntire said “To succeed in life you need three things: A wishbone, a backbone and a funny bone.” I agree with her completely – we need to have a dream, stay committed to it and keep our sense of humor.

Stay positive! If you can stay positive that in itself is a success!

Being positive isn’t always easy!

If you are someone who follows my blog you may notice that periodically I take a few weeks off. That’s usually when I am having a hard time staying positive. Disappointment, irritations, resentments and things not going my way prevent me from staying positive. That happens when you’re a human being. The important thing is to not stay there in the negative feelings. Choose to turn your attitude around to being positive.

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I have also come to appreciate that you can’t enjoy the view from the top of the mountain unless you have also been in the valley. What I mean by that is that you can only appreciate the positive when you have experienced the feeling of being negative. When I feel negative it is like a feeding frenzy! Everything feels like the worst thing ever. When I feel negative even good things feel bad. But when things turn around in my thinking and I go back to being positive, everything feels good. Like everything is going my way.

Have you ever been having a bad day and and then you stub your toe? And then your coffee spills all over your white shirt? And you’re carrying the groceries into the house and the bags break? And then you forget that you missed an appointment that you made months ago? Everyone has those times! I promise you that they don’t last.

But you have to look for the good! Make a list of all the things that are good in your life! Remember that “this too shall pass”. No bad day lasts forever. It is up to you to make a change in attitude. Some people will say – but you don’t know my situation – an attitude change is not enough. If that’s the case, remember you have choices! Think long and hard about what you choose to do in your life. Make choices that will give you a happy life, joy and positivity. It’s up to you to make that happen.

Even I get down and feel negative. I get it. Life is hard. But this is MY Life – I get to choose. I choose to be Positively Inspired. How about you?

Admit that no one’s life is perfect!

No offense to Norman Rockwell but his artwork usually depicted an ideal and perfect situation. It was a snapshot of a moment in time. Many see that as perfection. Being perfect is an illusion. Some people try so hard to achieve it that it makes them sick, anxious and depressed. I believe in focusing on making progress and not giving in to the perception of perfection.

If you live in the US you have already been inundated with commercials, emails and conversation about ways to give Mom the perfect gift and perfect day for Mother’s Day. I love my mom very much and I’m blessed to have a positive relationship and that we can spend time together.

However, that is not the case for everyone. Some have mothers that were and are very hard on them – maybe they ridiculed, belittled or abused them. Some mothers may have neglected their children. Some mourn the loss of a mother gone too soon. Some mourn that they will never be mothers. Some are mothers who had children who have lost their way or have passed away. Others are desperately trying to have children. There are so many different experiences that are happening to so many people.

What I am trying to get at is that there is no perfect anything. Life happens to people in different ways. For me – Mother’s Day is two things. One – It is a wonderful celebration of the woman who gave me life. Two – it is also a day where I acknowledge that being a mother will never happen for me and my wonderful mother will not get to be a grandmother to my children.

But this is not the end of my world. Anyone going through any of the pain I’ve already mentioned – there are support groups to help you. I attend a support group called Gateway Women. We talk about having a fullfilling life even though we weren’t able to have children and really wanted to.

I know this is hard to believe- but it is also true for father’s day. The “perfect” situation is an illusion. Be kind- realize that the world around you is full of people with a variety of experiences- which may not be the same as yours. Being compassionate and kind – keeps me positive.

Hey – have a great day!! Not a perfect one – a GREAT one!!

Celebrate milestones!

Today I celebrate my one year anniversary of working at the Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park, in the best job I have ever had. This year I turned 50! My husband got a new job! I went on a Pilgrimage to Israel. One of my friends was in a dance competition! And I reached the 1 year anniversary of this blog! These are just a few examples of milestones.

Oxford Dictionary defines milestone as ” a stone set up beside a road to mark the distance in miles to a particular place.” I always thought of a milestone as something Big that needs a gigantic celebration! And sometimes it is! But I like the idea of it being something that is marked on the way to a particular place.

It’s the journey. It’s the events in our lives that build memories. They help me feel good about my progress and my path in life. Frankly, they are the moments that mark steps in my journey of life.

Some people just let life happen to them. They always feel like a victim. Never happy. Always the sad face and a disappointed look on their face. I think if they looked at the milestones in their lives, they would see a cause for joy!

Life has many ups and downs. Some might call them hills and valleys. On that hike through life stop to see that rock at the side of the road that marks your mileage on the journey. That in fact is what your life is – a series of milestones on the way to what you have created- a great life meant to be enjoyed.

Be positive. Positively Inspired!

Trying vs. Doing — a Positive Perspective Shift…

I’ve always thought that when someone says they are going to “try” to do something, there is no commitment in it.  That they aren’t really going to do what they say they will “try” to do.  I have found that to be true in my life.  And a conversation I had with someone recently reminded me of that.  It is definitely a commitment when you say “I am going to do it.”  It is a way of stating that this is now your goal and you are actively going to pursue it.

For example, have you ever invited someone to a party or an event you are hosting and they say, “I’ll try to make it”?  Does that person ever attend your event after saying that?  No. Very rarely does try mean do.

It is good to “try” new things.  But it is not a good thing to “try” someone’s patience.  This is all very trying… okay I digress.

All of this reminds me of the character Yoda’s comment in the movie “The Empire Strikes Back”.  He is talking to a young Luke Skywalker who says that he is trying to do something but it is hard.  Yoda responds “Do. Or Do Not.  There is no try.”

Copyrighted – Lucas Films

Where I am going with this is that when you are ambivalent about a certain course of action it is hard to stay positive.  When you commit to a goal and a course of action, make a plan and then execute that plan – it is easier to stay positive. This doesn’t mean that the path is easy or even clear for you to see where things are going.  But it does give you a light to work towards that is bright and positive.

I am doing what is needed to have a positive life.  I am taking my opportunities to be joyful and active in my own life.  It is a choice to look at life from this point of view.  It’s a positive perspective.  To have this perspective you have to make a shift from Trying to Doing.  Give it a … Try? NO!  DO IT!.

Be Positively Inspired!

 

How to make friends- be one first!

There are many amazing people in my life. Some I have just met recently and others I have known most of my life. Regardless of the length of time we’ve known each other, I find that the quality of our relationships is what keeps me positive.

I love my friends. I try to show them how much they mean to me by keeping in touch and building great experiences together. I definitely have fun with my friends. We laugh! Boy do we laugh! But we have also cried together and have had our share of pity parties. There is nothing like a hug from a friend when I’m down.

I have learned that being a friend is a two-way street. I check on my friends to see how they are doing. I listen. I help them. I invite them to do things. I text. I leave voicemails when I can’t get ahold of them on the phone. We talk things through. I have also learned that in order to have good friends I have to be one first.

I have also learned that being a good friend to myself is important too. If a friendship is toxic or unhealthy for me – I end it. It is the best thing for me and that other person.

Building and keeping positive friendships is what keeps me positive. When you think of your friends- tell them. When you miss your friends – tell them. Tell them how they make you feel, what you appreciate about them, what they mean to you.

To have a friend- be one.

Celebrate every day you get!

On Monday, I will turn 50 years old.  There are so many people who dread celebrating any birthday or dread turning a certain age.  Mostly the reason they feel this way is because they are getting older.  I look forward to my birthday and I usually talk about when it is a month or two in advance.  I feel blest to get another day, month and year with those I love. I get chances to try new things, enjoy new people and experiences and LIVE!  Looking back at my life, there are many reasons why I value that I am going to be 50.  I will share them with you.

I treasure the time I get with my two amazing and loving parents and their relatives. My fantastic brother and his wife are awesome.  And of course my husband and my wonderful friends.

But when I was 19 – I couldn’t see any of that, all I could see was that I was going to flunk out of college and that my goal of perfectionism was falling short.  I did the unthinkable.  I didn’t want to let all of those people down – so I attempted to take my own life – I attempted suicide.  Now I know that it was due to dealing with depression.  Depression is a real and medically treatable illness.  On that day I couldn’t see that there was more to my life than those grades.  Don’t get me wrong, grades are important.  But they are not worth a life.  They weren’t worth mine.

I have come to believe that my life being saved – was a miracle and it was saved for a purpose.  To let others know that nothing is bad enough that you can’t hold on for another 24 hours. PLEASE talk to someone, a friend, a relative, a therapist, a spiritual advisor, a hotline number, just don’t stay alone in your thoughts.  YOU have VALUE.  I HAVE VALUE.

You should know that I was raised to know that I have value – my parents are very loving as were my grandparents.  No one ever told me that I wasn’t.  It was my illness telling me that.  I am so grateful to God that I was not successful.  Because of this experience, I make sure to tell people that they matter to me and that they have value.  But I also tell them that therapy is important, a support system and spiritual life is important.

After having this blog for over a year, I thought I would share part of my journey to being positive.  I have been referred to as “Miss Mary Sunshine” before by people.  Always so positive.  Always so focused on the good.  Looking for a silver lining in everything.  It’s because I have PERSPECTIVE.  I don’t ever want to forget that I am BLEST to have another day on this earth with all the people I love.

Why am I so glad to be turning 50?  Because the alternative sucks.  I love my LIFE.  LIVING it – really LIVING it – takes work, patience, love and a positive attitude.  There are so many people who don’t get to live this long. If my suicide attempt had worked, I would have missed 31 years of AMAZING experiences and people.  I am grateful to still be here and feel that it is my purpose to share that with others.

DON’T MISS OUT on the Miracles!  CELEBRATE every day you get!  Be Inspired.  Positively Inspired.

PS.  Happy Birthday to me!

You are stronger than you think.

Have you ever felt like you couldn’t handle one more thing? I feel like that sometimes. It’s human. It’s important to remember that those feelings are temporary. Take a deep breath and remember that this too shall pass. It can feel exhausting and hopeless when you are overwhelmed. Remember that you are actually stronger than you think.

We all have strengths. Make sure that you celebrate them. Own that you are good at certain things. Sometimes it’s easier for other people to see your strengths. I would bet if you ask your best friend to list five or 10 things that you are great at they would be able to do it quickly.

Try that out with a friend or colleague. You may be surprised that you are known for bringing certain strengths to the table. Thank those friends and colleagues for the feedback. Take a look at that list and realize you are stronger than you think.

Now – make your own list. Where do you excel? A strength is something that you are good at. It feels as natural to you as breathing. Self-confidence and strength are not the same as being conceited or a braggart.

To maintain a positive attitude it is important to acknowledge our own value. Acknowledge that we are unique. Acknowledge your strengths.

Once you’ve got that going – – start sharing with others the strength you see in them.

We are stronger together.