Perspective. A positive one.

Now and then I will look at something and another person will see it differently than I do. You may remember the whole internet sensation in 2015 where people argued about the colors of a dress.  Some said it was black and gold and others said it was a blue and white.  At the time I thought, “Who cares?!?” But I was curious – was it just a matter of perspective? Is that how it works with being positive or negative? Do we just need to look at things as positive?

Do you see a bed with towels or a smiling face?

I do believe it is a decision to decide how you want to look at the world and your day-to-day life.  When you look at the picture above, do you see a bed with sheets and a towel on it…. or do you see a smiling face?  I see a smiling face! Score one for team positive!

My husband and I were in Eze, France which is located between Nice and Monaco.  The city is built into a rocky hill above the sea.  It is so beautiful there . They built narrow cobblestone, pedestrian-only streets. One of the most famous people to live there was Frederich Nietzsche who, in the 1880s, used to walk up and down a hill path to the sea thinking about his philosophy on life.

At the top of the hill, just above the village, is an exotic garden. Filled with statues of goddesses, cacti, winding paths and wonderfully relaxing spaces and lookout points.  It is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen.  Ever.

Did I mention that there are ONLY stairs and NO ELEVATORS? To get water delivered to the shops and restaurants, the man in the picture below takes this huge container up every large stone step with a cart. Do you think he is happy and positive about this?

Happy water delivery guy? No elevator – only stairs!

YES!  He told us as he smiled and laughed, that there is only one way to get the water up there!  And this is it!  He said that people appreciate his work so much and it’s a good work out!  AND that the trip down is A LOT easier!

He is happy and positive!

We have choices about how we look at life. We can be the person who complains every step of the way.  But I think instead that life is more enjoyable when we are the person who says: I see the smiling face! I see these steps as a good workout! I see a beautiful dress and so do you! (Who cares what color it is?).

As Friedrich Nietzsche said “There are no facts, only interpretations.” Something to think about… Interpret your life to be POSITIVELY INSPIRED!

Embrace your greatness.

If you want to be a positive person it is critical to know what your strengths are, use them and be proud of them — embrace them!

Some people feel negative or down because they don’t believe they have anything to offer. Or that the strengths they do have are not used or acknowledged.  I believe that every human being has value and strengths. We just need to know what they are and find ways to use them.

 

Once I was working in human resources for a global company. One of our division HR leaders introduced me to employee development tools created by the Gallup Organization. We used their tools regarding employee engagement (which measures how “engaged” someone is at their job/company). Shortly after this we started using their Strengths-Finder tools.

The idea behind this tool is to assess people’s greatest strengths. It sounds pretty obvious to say do the things you are strong at. But not everybody does. I know my strengths. In addition to being positive, kind, funny and empathetic I am also an excellent speaker, trainer, mediator, consultant, and business analyst. I try to use my strengths as much as possible.

Of course there are times when we have to do things that we are not skilled at but I wouldn’t recommend making that your full-time job. And if you can’t use your greatest strengths in your work there are other ways to use strengths. You can use them with your family, in volunteer work and other creative outlets.

It takes work to be positive, start with being positive about YOURSELF.  YOU are AMAZING.  You have incredible STRENGTHS.  EMBRACE THEM!

Love. You can do it. Just Love.

Love. There are a countless number of songs, movies, books, poems and more written about love.  What am I going to say about love that you don’t already know?

As a teenager I imagined that love was what you see in the movies.  I thought that “Gone with the Wind” was a romantic movie. I thought it would have been great to be Scarlett O’Hara. And have Rhett Butler scoop me up in his arms and carry me -like in the picture…  But as I got older, I found that there is much more to love than romantic love.

I love you Rhett Butler! (Sharon O’Hara… LOL)

I learned over the years that I deeply love my family and friends.  And it is entirely different from romantic love.  It is about connection, support, trust and  being there when times are tough.

My relationship with God is a completely different love. My God is patient, kind, understanding and there for me when I make mistakes and forgives me. God is also my confidant who I talk to when I feel like no one in the world understands what is in my heart.

I also learned that sometimes people are scared to love because they can get hurt. But I believe that the same place in our heart where we feel pain – is the same place we feel love.  If you put a barrier between yourself and others to avoid pain – you can also miss out on love.

Love is sitting side by side.

When love is real you are in it TOGETHER.  With your friends, family, significant other, your God and YOURSELF.  My view on romantic love has changed now that I am a grown woman.  I love God, my husband, parents, brother and sister-in-law, our extended family and my wonderful friends .  I know that it takes hard work and kindness to make love work.  It takes effort to truly “see” the other person and letting them know they matter to you – every day.

Love. You can do it.  Just Love.

Laugh! It’s good for you!

So here is a nice clean G-rated joke you can tell people... "What did 0 say to 8?"  "Nice belt!" They say that if you have to explain a joke, then it's not a good one.  But just in case someone missed the joke - the drawing below will explain. Laughing is good for us! And helps us to stay positive!

Laughter is good for the soul!

When we feel negative and down in the dumps, there is nothing like a good belly laugh to turn things around.  The problem isn't gone, but our attitude  shifts from negative to positive - at least for that moment. How you handle a situation is entirely up to you.  You can enjoy it or you can be irritated by it.

Take my birthday in 2008.  A great friend, we've known each other since high school, sent me a singing telegram at my office.  She knows I am an Elvis fan, so she sent me an Elvis Impersonator.  My coworkers thought I was going to be embarrassed and irritated.  Instead, I LOVED IT!  I laughed and sang a lot with Elvis and my coworkers joined in and danced too!

"Elvis" visits Sharon at Work on her birthday - 2008

In the end, "Elvis" asked if he could serenade me and had me sit on his knee while he sang to me... as you can see, I was still laughing and enjoying the moment.

Life is short!  LAUGH!  Make yourself laugh. Make your friends laugh.  A genuine laugh makes you feel better. It helps to lighten your mood and the mood of those around you.  Who knows you might end up having fun!

Susan G Komen walk in Cleveland, OH - Sharon Berezne

This last photo was when taken when I participated in the Susan G. Komen Walk for Breast Cancer. It helps raise money for research to prevent and cure breast cancer.  While that is a very worthy cause, many people still die from breast cancer every day.  It is devastating for the families.  But, would you believe that there were hundreds of people wearing pink boas, pink wigs,  crazy pink hats, pink outfits, you name it!

While life can be very serious -- we don't always have to be.  Enjoy life! Laugh a little. Or A LOT!  Be Positively Inspired.  Oh... I almost forgot - Thank you, thank you very much!

Prayer and Faith

There are so many different religions and spiritual paths in this world.  It is often a topic that people avoid because they don’t want to argue about their religious or spiritual life.  The amazing thing is that all religions have something in common – prayer and faith. They may use different names for them but they all have it. Each religion also has their own version of a Higher Power – or God.  But at foundation of all religions they encourage us to be good, caring, kind and positive people.

To the Heavens – Sharon Berezne 2015

When I pray, it can be in my Church, home or even when I am driving my car.  There are times when I have been so completely inspired by the nature around me that I feel that God is present at that moment reminding me that all will be well. And that all is well if I just believe.

Is this my path? Sharon Berezne 2015

We all have times in our lives when we question what step to take next and which direction to take on our path in life. That is where I believe that FAITH comes into play.  Not a blind following but a sense of well being about my life.

Close to Serenity

I say this prayer every day and it helps me.  It’s called the Serenity Prayer and was written by Reinhold Niebuhr.

God, Grant me the Serenity

To Accept the things I cannot change

Courage to change the things I can

And Wisdom to know the difference. 

Prayer 2015 by Sharon Berezne

But you know, it’s not so much what we say when we pray, but what we are thinking and feeling.  Knowing that there is relief and comfort in praying can be a great feeling.  There is also great JOY when I pray to thank God for all the blessings in my life.  Prayer and Faith are something that each person can  choose to include in their journey or you may not. But I am sharing it as one of the ways that I stay positive. Blessings to you!

Is Your Glass Half Full?

Most people know that when looking at the same glass of water, three people may see it differently.  The optimist will see it half full, the pessimist will see it as half empty and the realist will say “here’s a glass of water – I was thirsty” and they drink it.

It’s Half Full – Sharon Berezne 2017

Based on what you have read in my previous blogs, I am obviously an optimist.  That doesn’t mean that I blindly follow along and say everything is great – when sometimes it isn’t.

But something occurred to me – Balance.  Viewing life in only one way to the extreme is not healthy.  Being a pessimist sometimes isn’t a bad thing.  When you are critical regarding something, it gives you time to think.  On the other hand, being a realist isn’t bad either – you are dealing with the facts.  You are dealing with exactly you believe the facts are at the time. For me being an optimist has been a good thing (of course it has – LOL).  Always looking for the silver lining has served me well in life.  I find I am a happier person as a result.

How often do we focus on the negative and expect to feel positive? Do we focus on the things that we don’t have so much that we can’t appreciate what we do have?  I have spent time in my life thinking about what I want. I have goals and ambitions.  But I also am filled with gratitude for what I already DO have. I am blest.  I have people in my life who I love and people who love me.

Life is too short to focus on what is not happening. Focus on what IS happening.  I love my life and choose to be positive. How about you?  After looking at this picture, I’m thirsty.  I’m going to drink a glass of water.

Butterflies – work hard.

I have always thought butterflies were beautiful and brought me peace whenever I saw them. But I never really thought about the painful process they went through to gain this peace and beauty. Who wants to feel pain? Often the feeling is why me – what did I do to deserve this?
Butterfly – Sharon Berezne
There are painful experiences in life of one kind or another that everyone goes through. Accepting that this is part of life helps us to grow. When you take the time to acknowledge your pain and work through it there is beauty on the other side of it. I know when I follow this process I feel lighter than air. As light as a butterfly.
A Catapillar does not look forward to the pain of breaking through a cocoon. But they feel beautiful when they have broken through it.

Next time you see a butterfly remember- they worked hard to achieve that feeling of being lighter than air.

With my compliments…

A compliment only takes a moment, but can make someone’s day. Sometimes it can be as simple as noticing that someone has a new haircut. Or it can be more in-depth — letting someone know that their welcoming personality made you feel at ease with a new group of people.  It doesn’t cost anything but a few moments of your time.

What a nice smile!

It has made a HUGE difference in my life to GIVE compliments to others.  Not only do I feel good personally, but I can see in that person’s reaction that they feel good.  A GENUINE compliment can remind someone that you “see” them.  Of course you can see others with your eyes — but to REALLY see someone — is to let them know that they mattered to you – even for a moment. It is an amazing gift that you have the power to share.

We are all travelers on a journey each day.  Navigating our way with others who are dealing with things that may be difficult and painful.  Be that bright spot that gave them hope in humanity.

Be a Thinker.

In front of the Cleveland Museum Art  is one of Auguste Rodin’s statues, “The Thinker”.  If you look closely at the photo you will notice that the feet and original base that the statue sat on are missing.  This is due to an act of vandalism that took place on March 24, 1970.  There were no human casualties as a result but the statue itself was damaged.

A limited number of these statues were created by Rodin who lived from 1840-1917.  The Museum (located in Cleveland, Ohio in the United States) put a lot of thought into their decision about whether or not to repair the statue or to leave it in the damaged state.  It was finally decided that by leaving it this way it bears witness to a time of unrest in our country.

The Thinker, Auguste Rodin (Cleveland Museum of Art)

Sometimes there is a tendency to overthink or analyze things. Suddenly everything can look like a storm that is cloudy and bleak. Others can be thoughtless and unkind to you.  But that does not mean that we have to be!

Thinking. Storms ahead?

Before you speak – Think. Your words can hurt or they can help. That is your choice.  Before you act – Think. Your actions show your true intentions. The actions of a few people in 1970 damaged the statue in these pictures and are still impacting people today when they see it in person.

Your words and actions matter.  Be positive. Be kind. Think first.  Be a thinker.

Patience is a virtue… Hurry up!

I know that patience is a virtue. But I can’t wait to have it! For those that struggle with being patient, you get the joke.

It’s hard to be patient when you really want something to happen. I have been through many experiences like that in my life. But I want to share a little bit about my dog, Luke.  He really wants to go for a walk right now. He doesn’t want to wait because I am typing this.  In fact, he knows that if he looks at me long enough like this, whines a little and scratches at the front door — he’ll get his way.  But he really doesn’t want to wait.

Luke 2017
Luke 2017

I know that when it comes to human beings, we do the same things.  When we are waiting for things to happen we have all kinds of reactions.  We might give someone “the look” — like “let’s go!”  Or we have our own version of whining. It might be less of whine and more of a heavy sigh.  (You know who you are! Because you probably just sighed.)  But we don’t scratch at the door. Instead we might cry, shout, give the silent treatment or just complain outright that we want things done now and the way we want.

Does being impatient, make things better or happen faster? Sometimes it can move things along.  But it comes at a cost.  We waste the time we spent complaining and miss out on the present moment.  When the moment comes and we got what we want it often is not enjoyed as much.  Mostly because we are thinking “Finally!”  “It took long enough!”

Luke in the backyard. Waiting patiently.

When my dog was in the backyard one day, he was smelling the grass and flowers.  He was just running around having fun.  No whining, no scratching and he wasn’t giving me “the look”.  In fact, I think he looks pretty relaxed in this picture.  The more we can be patient in our lives, the more enjoyment there is in each moment.

Take a tip from Luke – relax and go for a walk!