words by nerissa

…observations, thoughts and questions

Archive for the tag “happiness”

Choose your words wisely

words behaviourHow do you speak to your boss?

How do you speak to your kids?

How do you speak to yourself?

I bet you are a lot kinder to your boss and your kids than you are to yourself.

When you talk to your boss, what kinds of words do you use? What kind of image do you want to project? Is it an image of efficiency, following the rules, doing a good job, showing your initiative, proving yourself? What kinds of words do you use when you speak? Most probably positive, affirming ones.

What about your kids (or friends, if you don’t have kids). How do you speak to them? If you’re like most parents, you probably use words that encourage, praise and build them up. You use words to help them become confident and resilient. You use words to reassure them, and to teach them valuable life lessons. When you need to, you can be firm, but you do it with love.

Now what about you. How do you talk to yourself?

Do you use positive, affirming words or words to praise, encourage and build yourself up? Do you speak to yourself with love?

I’m willing to bet if we could listen to most people’s internal dialogue, it wouldn’t be very pleasant. It would probably be full of self-loathing, put-downs, limiting beliefs and chastisement.

Do the following phrases sound familiar?

“I’m so stupid”

“I’m so ugly”

“I’m so fat”

“I’m hopeless”

“I can’t get anything right”

“I’m not good enough to do that”

“I can’t”

It is said that the average person has anywhere between 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts every day. When the majority of those thoughts focus on putting yourself down or talking negatively to yourself, what do you think will manifest in your life?

Children who are constantly told that they are useless, a waste of space, no good, dumb, won’t amount to anything, often do go on to be these things, because that’s all they have ever been told and that’s what they come to believe as the truth.

Would you ever speak to your children like that? Then why do you talk to yourself like that?

When you believe you can’t do things or you are not worthy, then your thoughts become your actions. You don’t do things and you act like you are not worthy. People (especially your children) see someone who doesn’t believe in themselves, who isn’t achieving to their full potential, who has given up on their dreams, who has given up on life. They see someone who is miserable, and bitter and negative.

Words are powerful things.

To look at an individual word, it doesn’t look like much. After all, it’s just a bunch of letters put in a particular order. But change a few letters and it can make a world of difference.   Choose your words wisely

For example:   “I can’t” can easily become “I can”.

“I am not….” can easily become “I am…..”

See the difference?

Words are powerful things. They have the power to build up or to tear down. They have the power to make you smile, or make you cry. They can be the difference between doing and not doing. They can be the difference between failure and success.

If your life isn’t where you want it to be, maybe you need to change some of the words in your vocabulary.

It may just make all the difference.

Write to the Point CommunicationsNerissa Bentley is a Melbourne-based freelance writer at Write to the Point Communications.This blog is just one of the things she writes in her spare time.  

She also specialises in writing for the health and well-being market. As well as writing thoroughly researched articles, she can provide assistance with press releases, copywriting, editing, proofreading and communication strategies.  

So if you would like her to help you, contact her at writetothepoint@hotmail.com  

How many jellybeans do you have?

words by nerissaHow do you spend your time?

How valuable is it to you?

That’s something I have been challenged by lately, especially in the last month before Christmas.

As we all enter the ‘silly season’, time seems like such a precious commodity. All of a sudden, our time seems to be eaten up by attending extra events — school Christmas concerts, sporting club breakups, work Christmas parties, etc. etc.

When you add to this the list of things you need to do to get ready for Christmas itself, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Your catch-cry becomes “I don’t have time”.

However, the beauty about time is that it doesn’t discriminate. Whether you are rich or poor, single or married, old or young, we all have 24 hours in the day. It’s what we do with our time that matters.

Recently, I saw this video. It really made me think about what I do with my time.

Take a look.

As the video says, we all are given a set amount of time. Some of us have more time than others, but we really don’t know just how much time we do have.

And yes, it’s true that we need to spend a great chunk of time doing certain things such as going to work, household chores, preparing and eating food, sleeping and travelling. After you take out all of those things, it really doesn’t look like we have that much time left.

But really, we do. I think the key is to find enjoyment in all the things we have to spend time doing. If you have to spend time preparing food, then prepare food that you enjoy, that will nourish your body and soul. When you eat that food, make it special — set the table or light some candles. If you have to travel in the car, then listen to the music you love, or take time at the traffic lights to look at your child’s beautiful face. If you have to go to work, then find something you love.

And while we can’t really control what happens during our sleep, we can make our bedtime rituals a relaxing and blissful experience. Maybe having a bath, reading a novel, or simply curling up in your favourite pyjamas with a cup of tea is what takes your fancy

Many of us, particularly at this time of the year, stress out about ticking the next thing off our list. But as the video above shows, none of us know how much time we have left.

When we rush around and forget to live, we are really rushing towards the end of our lives.

How valuable is your time? And what would you do, if you only had one jellybean left?

Find your bliss

IMG_0001

My daughter made this for me last year.

As I sit here and write this, I am surrounded by a myriad of things.

There are reminders of my children — photos of them when they were younger, their first drawings, paintings they did for Mother’s Days past, handmade coasters and little notes they leave on my desk from time to time.

There are also books. Lots and lots of books on my desk. Some I have read, some are in the ‘to-read’ category. Some of them are related to my work, and some of them are for pleasure. Books give me a lot of pleasure.

I also have calendars, a diary, planners, paper, journals and lots of pens.  I love to plan and be organised. And being an old-fashioned girl, I like to do it the old-fashioned way — using pen and paper.

My favourite coffee cup sits on my desk, next to my hand cream, a candle and my ipod — things that I use on a daily basis.

Also sitting on my desk is my training program for the next 12 weeks, along with the goals I have set myself.

QUESTION: What do they all have in common?

ANSWER: They all make me happy.

One of my most favourite pictures of my kids, which sits on my desk.

One of my most favourite pictures of my kids, which sits on my desk.

Each day, we have choices to make. Very few of us are free to do whatever we like, whenever we like. We all have responsibilities and things we have to attend to on a daily basis — whether that means going to work to earn our living, raising a family, caring for loved ones, ferrying kids back and forth.

However, there is something that ALL of us can do to bring a little happiness to our days. Even if it is only having a coffee in your favourite cup, or listening to your ipod while you clean toothpaste off every surface in the children’s bathroom.

We all have different things that we love. Things we use, things we do, life choices we make that keep us happy.

We may not always understand why something makes someone else happy, but that’s okay.

For example, I don’t understand what part of bike riding is enjoyable. All I seem to get from it is a very sore backside. However, friends of mine are avid bike riders. They just about live in lycra. It’s their thing, their passion. One of my friends rides “Around the Bay in a Day” every year. That’s 250km in a day ‘for fun’. And he rides his bike from home to the start line, and then home from the finish line. So that’s more like 300km. I don’t get it. I admire him, but I don’t get it.

Just like some people don’t get why I love to lift weights. In some ways I don’t get it either. In my younger days I hated weight training. I would start a program but I would perform it half-heartedly, always having an ‘excuse’ not to do it. As I got older I knew I really should incorporate it into my exercise routine, if I wanted to stay healthy but I kept putting it off. When I was ready to tackle it, I told my trainer that I hated weights and that she would have to make it interesting if I was to stick at it.

IMG_0002

I had to include my son’s art work.

More than two years later, I now lift three times a week (soon to be four – WHOO HOO!) and I love it. In fact, I live for it. I love getting strong. I love feeling my muscles working. I love setting goals and working towards them. I love the place I have to go to in my mind before I lift something heavy. I love the feeling of accomplishment I get from lifting something that I thought was too heavy. And the masochist in me loves the sore muscles over the next two days.

(Some of you won’t get it. That’s okay.)

It’s part of my bliss. It’s also something new that I have found that I love.

But it’s not all of my bliss.

There are lots of other things that make me happy, some of which have made me happy for years.

Bliss for me is reading a book while enjoying a good red wine.

It’s a good coffee and some dark chocolate.

It’s planning and making lists and writing with pens and paper.

It’s a day on my own, just for me.

It’s a relaxing massage. Total bliss!

It’s cuddles in the bed with my kids.

It’s a great conversation with a good friend.

It’s sitting at my computer, free to write what I feel like.

My favourite beach.

My favourite beach – Caloundra.

It’s watching the ocean crash on the rocks.

It’s sitting in front of a campfire and laughing with friends.

It’s a warm bath at the end of a busy day.

It’s sitting on the couch, watching a great movie with my husband.

And it’s definitely all the reminders of the two little people in my life.

Bliss can be different things for different people. It’s not our job to judge whether the things that make others happy are good or bad, right or wrong. We just need to accept that sometimes other people do ‘crazy’ things because it makes them happy.

We all have a chance to have bliss in our days, even if it is only for 10 minutes.

The trick is working out what makes you happy, and working it into each day.

Where do you find your bliss?

follow your bliss2

cropped-twitterpic.jpgNerissa Bentley is a Melbourne-based freelance writer at Write to the Point Communications. This blog is just one of the things she writes in her spare time.

 She also specialises in writing for the health and well-being market. As well as writing thoroughly researched articles, she can provide assistance with press releases, copywriting, editing, proofreading and communication strategies.

So if you would like her to help you, contact her at writetothepoint@hotmail.com

7 secrets to weight loss

scales2If you’re reading this, you probably need to lose weight.

This is not a judgement about you, rather a statement based upon obesity statistics in Australia.

You see, the prevalence of overweight and obesity in Australia has been steadily rising for the past 30 years. The latest statistics from the National Health and Medical Research Council, indicate that around 60 per cent of Australian adults are classified as overweight or obese and more than 25 per cent of these, fall into the obese category.

Did you even know that?

Even more worrying is the obesity rates of our children — our next generation — are increasing too. It is estimated that around one in four children aged 5-17 years, are classified as overweight. Six per cent of these are obese.

However, I believe there is something even sadder than being overweight.

And that is the lengths — at best, ridiculous and at worst, dangerous — that people will do to shed extra kilos.

Now I am no expert in medicine, nutrition, exercise or weight loss. I don’t hold any official qualifications in any of those areas. But there are some secrets surrounding weight loss that you may not know.

Today, I am going to share them with you.

Secret No. 1 — Weight loss is not about weight loss

“What do you mean?” I hear you ask. Just that. Losing weight shouldn’t be about ‘weight loss’. Too many people focus on a number on a scale and think if that number is going down, they have lost weight. Hooray!

But what have they lost? Certainly weight. But is it the kind of weight you want to lose? If we are honest, we want (or need) to lose FAT. But most of us avoid using the word fat, because it has lots of negative connotations. So we use the word ‘weight’. It’s a bit more touchy-feely and less confronting, isn’t it?

But when you focus on losing weight, as opposed to losing fat, then you tend to focus on a number on the scale. A decrease in number on the scale can mean fat loss, but it can also mean fluid loss and muscle loss. This is more so the case, when following a fad diet or a ‘quick-fix’, (more on that later). So change your thinking and focus on ‘fat loss’.

Secret No. 2 — Weight loss is not about the scale

Losing weight (and you know I mean losing fat), should never, ever be about the scale. Sure, your doctor may have recommended you lose 20kg to improve your health. But if you lose 19.7kg have you failed? Will you still be striving, obsessing, doing whatever it takes to lose that extra 300g?

I would argue that if you are fixated on a scale, then yes, you would. Why? Because your focus has been on a number on a scale, rather than the health benefits gained by losing excess fat. Is an extra 300g going to make a HUGE difference to your health? I’m not a physician, but I would hazard a guess and say “no”.

So stop obsessing about the scale and the numbers on it. Instead focus on your health, how you are feeling, how your clothes are fitting and how much more energy you have. These are all much more positive things to think about.

Secret No. 3 — Too much weight is put on a scale (pardon the pun).

When you are on a mission to lose weight, what is your focus? I mean, your main focus? Those darned scales, I bet. You jump on them when you wake up to see how much you weigh. You get on them after breakfast to see how much you ‘gained’. You have a sneaky weigh after going to the toilet. Hooray! You’ve lost half a kilo! You have a final weigh-in before bed to discover, (gasp!) you have gained a kilo since lunchtime! And if you are going to a weight loss meeting, you check your weight all day long and avoid drinking in case it ‘shows on the scales’.

Sound familiar?

How does weighing yourself make you feel? I’ll tell you how you feel. One minute you feel ecstatic, then next concerned, then you are happy again, but that soon turns to feeling overwhelmed, depressed, worthless, angry, frustrated and disgusted with yourself. And then the cycle starts again the next day.

Instead of reveling in and celebrating the fact you are making positive changes for your health in your life, you are instead riding a roller coaster of emotions, all day long. scalesAnd there are usually more downs than ups.

Our personal worth should not be caught up in scales, and nor should the value of making a healthy lifestyle change. Scales don’t congratulate us for drinking more water. They don’t clap when you avoided chocolate all day. They don’t say “well done”, for going for a walk. They certainly don’t reflect all the positive things about you — like what a good mother you are, how kind-hearted you are, what a creative thinker you are, how organised you can be or how your sense of humour makes others feel happy.

So the secret is out — get rid of the scales.

Secret No. 4 — To lose weight, you need to eat…and drink…and move!

“No, no, no!” you say. “You have to cut kilojoules to lose weight!”

Well, yes — and no!

Too many people think that cutting back on their kilojoules, omitting food groups and eating smaller portions is the way to lose weight. Wrong.

It might work in the short-term, but just how long can you avoid bread or potatoes? Are you prepared to eat entrée serves of steamed veggies and rubbery chicken for the rest of your life? Prepared to give up chocolate and ice-cream forever, in the quest of being ‘thin’?

Yes, it’s true you do have to cut back on your kilojoule intake if you want to lose fat. But you shouldn’t be eliminate food groups or reduce your food so much that you barely eat a thing. What this will do (along with leaving you tired, lethargic and cranky) is slow your metabolism down. And when you start eating again (because you will), you will gain anything that you lost and then some — only to start the process over again. Sigh!

Focus on eating whole foods that will nourish you, and get rid of processed foods. And don’t vow to live the rest of your life without the foods you enjoy. Seriously, no fat-free, sugar-free, preservative and chemical-laden food will replace the sensation of eating real chocolate, so eat the chocolate for heaven’s sake, if you really crave it. You’ll be satisfied and less likely to trawl through your pantry munching your way through a multitude of substitutes, only to end up eating the chocolate anyway.

Don’t be afraid of food. Eat it, enjoy it, be creative with it and savour it. Our bodies need REAL food for energy, for nourishment and for enjoyment. Food is your friend if you want to lose fat. And so is water. Don’t be afraid to drink it. After all, it won’t ‘show on the scales’ now you have ditched them!

And don’t forget you need to move. I am not a qualified exercise physiologist or a personal trainer, so won’t be giving advice on exercise. The only thing I will say is our bodies were designed to move. They were not designed to sit in a car, sit at a desk and sit on a couch for the majority of the day.

So seek the advice of a professional as to how to exercise, and then go and do it. The only pre-requisite…you need to enjoy it.

Secret No. 7 — Eating is never about the food

Believe or not, eating is not about food. That’s right. Eating is NOT about food.

Yes, we eat food, but our reasons for eating are purely about our feelings. We eat to celebrate, we eat because we feel hungry, we eat because we feel thirsty, we eat because we are angry, or sad. We eat to mask our loneliness or our boredom. We eat because we feel it’s the ‘right thing to do’ and we don’t want to offend people.

One of the secrets to fat loss is taking the emotion out of the food. This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy eating. But instead try to focus on your reason for eating. If you are physically hungry, then eat, ensuring it is something nourishing that will take you closer to your goals. A whole packet of Tim Tams does not fall into this category!

If you want to eat (but aren’t actually hungry), then stop and  identify the real reason you want to eat. If you are bored, find something to do. If you are sad, phone a friend. Doing these things won’t mean you won’t eat . It just means you are more aware (and are consciously choosing whether to eat or not).

Secret No. 6 — Weight loss takes time

You might think you already knew this, but how many ‘quick-fixes’ or fad diets have you done? Be honest! “I’ll just do the shake diet to kick-start my weight loss” or “I’ve got a wedding in three weeks, and I have to fit into my dress. I’ve heard those body wraps give really good results.”

Seriously, get real. No fad, no gimmick and no quick-fix will work. Accept this as fact. Save your money and your sanity and accept that you didn’t gain 15 kilos in 2 weeks, so you’re not going to lose it in that time.

The best thing you can do is accept that it is going to take time to reduce your girth and then put your head down and get on with it.

secret to weight lossSecret No. 6 — Quick-fixes, fad diets and gimmicks don’t work

Now, use a bit of common sense for a minute. If all of these magic pills and potions and shakes and wraps worked, wouldn’t we all be a healthy weight?

Some of those quick-fixes out there are just plain ridiculous. Some are dangerous. For example, I saw a post on Facebook the other day advertising body wraps as a way to lose weight. Firstly, they cost a bomb, secondly they claimed to “go into your pores and attack your fat cells, releasing toxins which you urinate out by drinking lots of water”. Seriously, that doesn’t happen. And there is no medical or scientific evidence to prove it.

But here is the dangerous bit. While ‘wrapping’, you are supposed to drink half your body weight in water. Yes, that’s right — half your body weight. So if you weigh 80kg, then you need to drink 40 litres of water. Firstly, that’s impossible. Secondly, that’s fatal.

Your long-term health is more valuable than fitting into a little black dress, or having a ‘beach-ready body’. If something sounds too good to be true, then it’s not worth the piece of paper it’s written on. Please, please, please say “no” to these fads and gimmicks and put your health first.

Secret No. 7 — Losing weight won’t make you happy

Finally, you need to know that losing weight losing FAT will not make you happy.

“Sure”, you say. “I’ll be happier when I can do my jeans up,” or “I’ll be stoked to be seen on the beach this summer”.

While that may be true, I am willing to bet that if you are not currently happy with your life and happy with whom you are, then having a body like a model will not make you any happier.

Yes, you might slim down and have people stopping you in the street telling you how fabulous you look. But if you don’t already believe that you are fabulous, it won’t mean a thing. You see, the voice in your head that already tells you, you are useless, will be telling you that you’re a fake, that you don’t deserve these comments. And then any results you have achieved will slowly, but surely disappear as you comfort eat your way through a tub of ice-cream and you will still be the same, unhappy person you already were, only you would have gained back all the weight (fat) that you lost.

This is probably the most under-rated secret of them all. I believe you need to love yourself as you are NOW, to be successful in changing your weight.Weight does not dictate your health or your worth

This is probably the hardest thing to do as well, particularly if you have loathed or at the very least, disliked yourself for a while.

If you love yourself, you believe you deserve the best. You believe that you should take care of yourself. You believe you are important. You believe you are unique. You believe you are worth something and can offer something important to the world.

When you really, truly believe all these things, then you will be happy, regardless of what your body is like. No number on the scale, no size tag in your jeans can make you value yourself for the remarkable human being that you are.

 

As we move out of winter and into spring, advertising for weight loss companies will begin in earnest. Distributors will begin spruiking the benefits of their latest, crazy and ridiculous products, “guaranteed to help you lose weight”. Magazines will be filled with menu plans and ‘diets’ that the rich and famous have been on with “remarkable” results. And you will be feeling the pull, the temptation to jump on one of these bandwagons, hoping that it will take you into ‘slim-city’.

My hope in writing this post, is to encourage you (if indeed you need/want to lose fat) to go about it sensibly.

Don’t get caught up in the hype. Don’t invest your time and money in something that won’t work. Don’t get obsessive about your weight. And don’t forget this about being healthy, not thin.

Most importantly, remember you are worth something, no matter what your body shape.

cropped-twitterpic.jpgNerissa Bentley is a Melbourne-based freelance writer at Write to the Point Communications. This blog is just one of the things she writes in her spare time.

 She also specialises in writing for the health and well-being market. As well as writing thoroughly researched articles, she can provide assistance with press releases, copywriting, editing, proofreading and communication strategies.

So if you would like her to help you, contact her at writetothepoint@hotmail.com

 

 

The path to success: a leap of faith and a whole lot of trust

leap of faithTrust is something I have been thinking about a lot of late. When you really think about it, all of us exercise varying levels of trust every day. We trust that our train will get us to work without incident.  We trust that the school will take good care of our kids.

Without trust, we would probably spend most of our days incapacitated with worry.

Obviously, there are varying degrees of trust. Yet the ability to trust seems to be related to the consequences of the trust being broken, or the likelihood of something going wrong.

For example, if you trust that a chair will hold your weight, and it doesn’t, then the repercussions are likely to be fairly minor — maybe some bumps and bruises and a bruised ego to boot. So it’s a risk worth taking.

However, one thing that I have realised, is that it can be a lot harder to trust ourselves than to trust other people. Yet in order to begin to trust ourselves, we sometimes need someone to believe in us first.

About seven weeks ago, I completed a 12-week body transformation. It was a fantastic 12-weeks (overall). There were times when I wanted to throw in the towel and just blob on the couch and eat ice-cream. There were times when I really didn’t want to get up at 4.50am to get to the gym for my workout. There were even times when I wanted to quit because I couldn’t see any changes happening, no matter how hard I was working out and how spot on my nutrition was.

So in order to keep going, I began to trust more. I stopped thinking and analysing and began to trust the process. I trusted the advice my trainer Mel, was giving me, especially when it came to nutrition. I trusted my body would respond if I kept following the plan. And during my training sessions, I trusted my partner to ‘spot me’, especially when I was lifting weights where I knew the likelihood of getting out all my reps was low. Trust was becoming more important the further we got into the challenge.

The most important person I had to trust in, was myself.

Trusting in ourselves is sometimes easier said than done. Too often we doubt our abilities and our intuition, only to find that if we trusted in ourselves in the first place, we would have been a lot better off. Often this inability to trust ourselves can render us paralysed with fear, rooted to the spot, afraid to take the next step.

I clearly remember a training session towards the end of the challenge. Six of us were in various stages trying to master three sets of 12 push-ups on our toes. When Mel found out that I could already do a full three sets she told me to get a weight and put it on my back.

“What! A weight?,” I thought. “How much?,” I asked, expecting her to say 1-2kg.

“5 kilos,” she said.

“5 kilos? That’s heavy!” I said in shock.

“There are heavier ones,” she countered.

So off I went to get the 5kg weight plate, pretty sure that I wouldn’t be able to do one push-up with that extra weight on my back. After all, push-ups on my toes had taken a while to achieve. Besides, push-ups were always the last thing in our training sessions, and I had already increased my weights for every exercise. I didn’t trust my body’s ability to push much further than I had.

“Even if you only get out three or four,” said Mel. “Just try it!”

So the weight went on my back. And I began to push them out. 1-2-3-4-5-

“Keep going,” said Mel.

6-7

“Keep going”

8-9-10

“keep going”

11-…

And then I collapsed, ecstatic but shocked that I had done so many.

I then went on to do another two sets of 12 push-ups with that 5kg plate on my back.

My trust in myself (and my body) was restored because Mel, whom I trusted when it came to exercise and training, believed that I could do it. She felt it was safe for me to attempt it. She also gave me permission to ‘fail’ at getting the full set out, yet encouraged me to keep going in my attempt to get my push-ups out.

Somewhere along the line, we all need people like that. Someone who can see the potential in us that we often fail to see. Someone to help us believe in ourselves when we find it difficult. Someone to encourage us to ‘have a go’. Someone to be there beside us to support us and cheer us. Someone whom we can rely upon to help us out if things go wrong. Someone to say ‘it’s okay if you fail’. Someone you can trust.

success isn't linearThe road to success is never smooth sailing. It’s a bit like a dance where you take some steps forward and some steps back. Sometimes your steps take you back to the start and sometimes they go way off course. At times your steps may be stumbles and may cause you to fall. And depending upon the dance, you may need to take a giant leap of faith.

However, if you have someone beside you guiding your steps, picking you up when you fall, believing in you and giving you the confidence to take that leap of faith, then your chances of success are that much higher.

The question you need to ask is: “Do I have someone like that in my life?”

If you don’t have someone like that…

I don’t wish this blog to sound like an ad, but if you don’t have someone in your life to help you reach your goals (particularly if they are related to health, fitness and wellness), then I really encourage you to contact Mel Cook.

Not only is she a Lifestyle Transformation Specialist and Director at Run With Life, but she is a friendly, positive and happy person who brings out the best in people. It doesn’t matter if you are young or not-so-young, or whether you are fit or not-so-fit. If you want to become a happier, healthier version of yourself, then take that leap of faith and give her a call.

You can also find out more information about our next 12-week Transformation Challenge.

 

cropped-twitterpic.jpgNerissa Bentley is a Melbourne-based freelance writer at Write to the Point Communications. This blog is just one of the things she writes in her spare time.

 She also specialises in writing for the health and well-being market. As well as writing thoroughly researched articles, she can provide assistance with press releases, copywriting, editing, proofreading and communication strategies.

So if you would like her to help you, contact her at writetothepoint@hotmail.com

 

Instant smile

Ok, I’ll admit it. I play Song Pop.

For those of you who are closet Song Pop fans, there is no need to explain the game. Just skip down to paragraph 7.smile

But for you who have not yet discovered the delights of Song Pop, it can also be titled “Guess that Song” or “Title and Artist”. Basically, you get a snippet of a song and you have four options to choose from. The options could be the title of the song or the artist (or the TV show or musical that the song is from). And there are different playlists to choose from — all centring around a theme.

One of the playlists is called “Instant Smile”. I can only assume it’s because when you hear the snippet of music, most of the songs bring a smile to your face. For example, “Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina and the Waves, “Mamma Mia” by Abba and “I’m a Believer” by the Monkees.

However, I do question songs such as “Kung Foo Fighting” by Carl Douglas and “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard” by Paul Simon being on the list. Who smiles at those?

But I digress.

The very title “Instant Smile” seems to be, for the most part, a good description of the songs. Which led me to wonder….

What else gives me an instant smile?

You know, those smiles that just come out, without effort. I’m not talking laughs. I’m talking genuine, eye-crinkling smiles.

So here are some of the random things that bring an instant smile to my face:

  • A warm, sunny spot on a cold winter’s day
  • The smell of freshly mown grass
  • Getting into bed at the end of a long day
  • Little notes and drawings from my two children
  • That first cup of coffee for the day
  • Improving on my PB at the gym
  • Showering after being at the gym!
  • Rainbows
  • Glorious multi-coloured sunsets
  • My son telling me he loves me
  • Dark, foreboding clouds of an incoming storm
  • The sound of waves crashing on the rocks
  • A cup of tea and my current book
  • Watching my daughter dance
  • Listening to my daughter sing
  • The thought of spending time with good friends
  • A bunch of roses
  • Going to sleep when it’s pouring with rain outside
  • My husband offering to rub my feet
  • A beautiful piece of music
  • Cuddles with my kids
  • The knowledge of a job well-done
  • Birthdays
  • The promise of a sleep-in.

Oh, and beating my Champion Friend on Song Pop! (You know who you are!!!)

What gives you an instant smile?

Who are you?

On the surface, it seems like a straightforward question. I mean, we all know who we are, don’t we? Or do you think you know who you should be?

Because to me, there is a difference.

Many people don’t like who they are. They don’t think they are good enough. They don’t feel they deserve success. They don’t believe that they are capable of achieving or being more than what they are. They put down any success they have as ‘luck’. Furthermore, they are often jealous of other people’s successes, without even thinking about the sacrifices required for that success. They compare their ‘inner stories’ with the perception they have of someone else’s life. They are simply not happy people.

It’s so very sad.

But why is it like this for so many?

Perhaps they had abusive parents who only put them down. Maybe they have a physical disability that limits them in some way. Perhaps they were bullied as a child. Maybe they tried to do something once but failed, and then were taunted because of their failure.

Or maybe nothing has happened. Perhaps they have just been bombarded with unrealistic images in the media telling them how they should look or dress; where they should work; how they should interact with their family; how they should spend their spare time; how they should spend their money; what their house should be like; or how happy they should be all the time (cue ad of well-dressed housewife smiling as she goes about cleaning an already spotless house).

No matter what your circumstance, there is one universal truth — we are all good at something. Actually, we are all good at many things.

While we can’t be the best at everything, we are all born with different gifts (or abilities if you prefer). Some people are great at listening. Others are natural athletes. Some are brilliant cooks. Some people’s minds (not mine!) are wired for complex numbers. Other people are creative. And on and on the list goes.

What is it for you? What are you good at?

It’s probably the things you do without effort, things you like doing, or things that, (heaven forbid), people actually compliment you on!

When you find something that you are good at, notice it, nurture it, and keep looking until you find another. Because the more good things you see in yourself, the more you will be able to find. And the more good things you find, the more you find yourself. Your true authentic self.

Sure, you have weaknesses. We all do. But don’t let them be the focus of your life. Don’t let the negative things define who you truly are.

Stop comparing yourself with others. Stop focussing on what you can’t do, or wishing you could do what someone else does. Because when you do that, you start to paint a picture of who you think you should be. And that leads to unhappiness.

Dare to be YOU. The very best version of yourself.

To quote a wise man:youer than you

“Today you are You,
that is truer than true.
There is no one alive
who is Youer than You.”

By Dr Seuss.

Are you brave enough to let others see who you really are?

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