Posts Tagged ‘happiness’
What would it take to make you happy?
Freedom from health problems? Restoring a relationship? Being with a lost loved one again? For some the answer is easy, for others there is no answer.
Lest we forget, life is unfair. When a friend is diagnosed with a terrible disease, when we learn of an untimely death, or when we witness the devastation caused by natural disasters, like Hurricane Sandy, it is clear our fates are often determined by things we cannot control, things that have nothing to do with who we are, or how we have lived.
Those whose lives were changed by Sandy, know nature can be cruel. There was nothing fair when families watched Sandy wash away the material evidence of their lives, while other homes were spared. The injustice of this will cause some victims to be angry and bitter longs after the debris has been cleared and their homes have been rebuilt. Yet, even in the midst of great suffering, there are always those who find a way to smile through their pain.
How is it that people can experience the same kind of tragedy, yet some emerge stronger, while others remain mired in the pain of the past? How is it that some have the strength and optimism to focus not on what they’ve lost, but on what remains? Read the rest of this entry »
Water pressure issues required a house call from the utility company. The serviceman was a 40-something. He was well-built, handsome and had dreamy green eyes, but when he left the thing my girlfriend & I couldn’t stop talking about was his teeth. His mouth was full of uncommonly white teeth, a study in symmetry, surpassed only by the sincerity of the way he showed them.
Everyone finds certain traits appealing. I have a weakness for a good smile. Always have. Back in college, on those odd occasions (like Sadie Hawkins Day) when I had to ask a guy for a date, I always chose the guy with the nice smile. I didn’t realize it back then, but it was a smart move, as those who smile are generally better company.
I wrote about teeth several months ago, and have sometimes regretted it. (Oral Fixation) Since that post, some of my guy friends have become apologetic about their teeth. I love good teeth, but also realize everyone isn’t lucky enough to have them. Many factors can prevent us from having the smile we’d like, but because a pleasant smile is about so much more than just teeth, even those with imperfect teeth, can have a charming smile.
A few years ago, a change in my outlook caused me to start smiling more. It wasn’t anything I did intentionally, but as I evolved into a “smiler“, I realized the impact. Smiling does more than change one’s expression, it changes one’s life.
I started paying more attention to others who smile. During that time, I learned things. People who smile look younger and age better. (Smile lines are much more pleasant, than frown lines on a mature face.) People who smile are perceived to be more friendly, approachable and likeable. Smiling makes it easier to meet people and/or make friends. Smiling alters the voice, making us sound more animated and pleasant. When we smile, the body reacts with a mood-enhancing effect. In other words, smiling makes us happier.
Recently, my mood & personality were feeling flat, and I couldn’t figure out why. It was hot & humid, but not enough to sap my energy. I wasn’t tired or stressed. Everything around me was great, yet, I was feeling very blah. Then it hit me–it was the braces. All the new stuff in my mouth had made smiling less natural. I didn’t feel myself, because I hadn’t been smiling as much.
It might seem insignificant, but to those who recognize the complicated mind/body connection, it’s hugely significant. I started to think about the biology of the smile as the subject of a blog post. Writing that post would require delving into the science of stuff that isn’t fully understood. So I turned to the guys at The Perfect Male Blog for help. They expertly decipher the science & psychology of behavior on their blog. Fortunately, they were kind enough to agree to write about this topic for de blog. This made me so happy, I almost forgot about the braces.
Deb’s Note: I am in love with The Perfect Male Blog. The Perfect Male’s perspective is a perfect compliment to the imperfect female’s perspective as given on de blog. Just as de blog attracts many male readers, The Perfect Male Blog, though written for men, is great reading for women too. I am sure you’ll agree when The Perfect Male visits de blog next week. Check out their site and be sure not to miss their take on smiling, next week on de blog.
Another election cycle has ended, causing us to wonder if we can expect any change. Currently, we are facing controversial social issues and a shaky economy; the cost of health care is at the forefront of our minds, and as if that weren’t enough to make us all nervous, we face the unknown consequences of this year’s flu strains.
In addition to the seasonal flu, and the dreaded “swine” flu, Americans are also vulnerable to the aftermath of the recent wave of another disease–the strain known to some as Affluenza.
Affluenza is a strain that has been growing, largely unaddressed. Our materialistic society has allowed this once-rare affliction to quietly mutate and spread. Some areas of the country are on the verge of devastation; and unless you have developed a resistance, you may be at risk. Almost everyone is born a carrier, but not everyone will succumb to the affliction. Susceptibility to it, crosses economic and class lines. Affluenza begins with a feverish desire to have. Two parallel strains have been identified, by the populations they affect. The have been classified as Affluenza H1, which affects “The Haves” and Affluenza HN which affects “The Have Nots”.
Apparent differences between these affected populations are easy to see, but the line separating them is not easily understood. There are many factors which will determine one’s classification. These may be present at birth or caused by environmental factors such as dumb luck.
Having been fortunate to have always had “enough” classifies me as an H1 aka a “Have”. I could say I’d earned everything or that it’s possible for anyone to be a “Have”, but I’ve benefited from things which had little to do with me. There is no understandable reason why some people end up at the end of the blessing stick, while others are continually battered by the baton of misfortune. Therefore, lest I take credit for things, for which I deserve no credit, I preface all other remarks by saying I am humbled by and grateful for all that I have.
Many wrongly believe money is a problem solver. It can be; but many problems cannot be solved by money. If a “problem” can be solved by throwing great amounts of money at it, it’s not a very serious problem. A wrecked car can be restored with money–a person killed in that car cannot. Think of the people you know who struggle with addiction or disease, you can throw money at those things all day long, but it won’t fix them. Those are real problems.
Ironically money-problems are rarely fixed by money. Those with money-problems often erroneously believe having more money would solve their problems, but this is rarely so. Because most money problems are the result of behaviors or beliefs which cause people to live outside what they can realistically afford, more money usually feeds money problems. If you don’t believe it, examine the plights of lottery and sweepstakes winners.
Money is a looking glass which reveals who we are. It is a magnifying glass which exposes our values and priorities. Many people say they would give money to the poor, if they had more. Others say they would save more, if they had it to save. These things are rarely true. Savers save and givers give regardless of how much they have.
Having more money means different things to different people. It can mean more to spend, more to invest, more to manage, more to share, or more opportunities. Any of these can be legitimately good things.
The very rich and wise Solomon said “Love of money is the root of all evil.” Because I love money, I would refute that. I don’t love money a lot, but I love it enough. I especially love having enough to share–even if it’s only enough to pick up a girlfriend’s latté. I don’t really care how much I have, as long as I have enough to be able to live without fear–and enough after that, to be able to share how blessed I have been..
I worked very hard as a younger gal. Long hours, several good pairs of shoes and a half-dozen bars and restaurants were the source of my college fund. Those were hard-earned dollars. Back then, I didn’t understand money as well as I do now, but the aching feet which came with the paycheck did much to educate me.
I viewed money like a fashion accessory. I naively believed that money would make me more attractive in some way. I spent stupid amounts of money on expensive clothes and other whims. I spent lavishly on food and entertainment. Realizing how much faster one could spend, than earn, was the beginning of my appreciation and understanding of money. Here are a few of the things I’ve learned.
1. Unless you are very lucky, money comes hard-earned. Many people wrongly see money as the result of luck. They are usually the same people who believe those with the most money are the happiest.
2. Money is much better than many of the things we spend it on, because it keeps. Fashions go out of style, food gets eaten, cars get old, entertainment is quickly over, but money keeps well. Knowing this, one would do well to hold on to more of it.
3. Holding on to money is a good thing, but only to a point. If you insist on holding on to everything you get, you will be be disliked for your stinginess and you will probably be miserable. Realize that having money is a good thing. Sharing good things is fun!
4. Sometimes with money, comes status. In lieu of status it can be used to buy symbols of status. Status symbols will elevate your self-worth, but only in your own eyes. If you live in such a way that your status comes from within, you will soon realize status symbols are no substitute for the real thing.
5. The very best thing money can buy is freedom–freedom from hunger, fear, stress or debt. Using money to avoid becoming a slave to debt, will also prevent becoming a slave to worry.
6. There is such a thing as not enough money. I don’t know, or care to know, if there is an amount which is too much. I like having enough. I have lived on very little and found it to be enough. I have more now and find it to be more than enough. However, there isn’t enough money in the world to make you happy, if you cannot be content with less than you’d like. Ask anyone who has lived among the poor, and they will assure you there are people with far less than you, who are as happy or happier than you.
7. Some people think that the “rich” have too much money. Don’t be fooled. Being rich is expensive and there are just as many rich people in bankruptcy courts, as there are poor.
8. If you believe that money can buy happiness, the process of finding out will probably make you miserable.
9. Not having money is humbling, but many without end up being wiser than those with plenty, because they have a pretty good understanding of what money can’t buy.
10. If you should be lucky enough to have lots of money, you would be wise to be kind. Even if you are kind, many people will resent you, simply because they can’t relate. The more money you have, the more important it is to remember a reversal of fortune could have you looking up at the people around you, instead of down.