When Does Different Mean Better?

We all know someone who views the world differently than we do, don’t we? There is always someone in every group who tends to be the funny one, the sensitive one, the logical one, the illogical one, or something else that differentiates them. Does the fact that they are different, in whatever way they are different, matter? It takes everyone to make the world go around, as the saying goes, yet the news is full of people fighting each other because of differences, so is being different good or bad?

It is human nature to notice the differences between others and ourselves. From a sociological standpoint, it is quite clearly demonstrated demographically, geographically, culturally, and otherwise. Having grown up in Europe, lived in different parts of the US, and traveled rather extensively around the world, I may view the world a bit differently than many. That experience has taught me, not only about the differences in people around the world, but I believe more importantly, about the similarities.

quo_gandhiWhen we notice differences, and if we then create an “us versus them” mindset, we foster a competitive, and potentially alienating environment. When all we see are differences, and when those differences are viewed as “bad” or “wrong,” it is impossible to create an environment of trust and goodwill. Clearly there are some beliefs and political systems around the world that are difficult for us to agree with or even comprehend. But this isn’t about that. How do we, as the kind and generous people we are, live our lives genuinely and joyfully? Think about people you know, and think about what you know about them that differs from you. Then think about what you and they have in common. Which makes you feel more connected with them?

We have all felt joy, pain, sorrow, adoration, anger, jealousy, and more. We all love our children and want them to be happy and healthy. We all want to feel valued and to be treated with respect. Our blood is red, and we need food and water and shelter. From Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, we know that we all share the same needs. The difference is where we are in the hierarchy. The truth is, we have much more in common with each other than differences that drive us apart. What might happen if we all concentrated on the things that we have in common, those things that connect us all? When we realize that we share more than just the air we breathe, that we share feelings and dreams and needs, then we can begin to feel more connected, more a part of the good that we share. Once we embrace that, the possibilities are endless. How cool is that?

How to Stay Positive No Matter What

Is it really possible to stay positive regardless of the circumstances?  Wouldn’t that be awesome if that were true?  I’ve met some really positive people, and I remember wondering if they were actually being honest or if they were just pretending to be so positive.  I remember a coworker who came to work the morning after her vehicle had been stolen, and she had the same smile and sunny disposition she always had.

So how can you stay positive regardless of the events you face?  Much can be revealed by how we react to the weather, traffic, and other rather routine events.  Listen to your own internal dialogue next time.  We have all dealt with adverse weather or traffic jams, and though they aren’t typically dramatic (absent the recent winter storm), we usually don’t let them get us down.  We just deal with them and look forward to another day.  We all know people, however, who tend to look at the negative side of things or who complain about nearly everything, including things they can’t control, which is the perfect formula for misery.

Our behavior and mood are reflections of our internal dialogue, which is based on our model of the world and our beliefs.  Those who seem negative most of the time, may believe that the world is a scary or mean place or that everyone is out to get them.  This could have a foundation in a more fundamental belief about their own worthiness, but the gist of it is that they see the world in a negative way.  So, the inverse is also true.  Those who are more positive have a positive, joyful model of the world and themselves.  The most positive and successful people also have what I believe is the most empowering belief  for having a positive perspective and leading a successful life.quo_edickinson

What would happen if we knew that when negative things happen in our lives, they actually result in a positive outcome no matter how negative the event seems at the time?  If nothing could happen that would result in a long term negative outcome, there would be no reason to have a negative outlook.  I realize this sounds far fetched, but think of it this way.  If you knew you were living the life you were meant to live and that everything that happened was so that you could realize your fullest potential and joy and dream, in every way, wouldn’t you look at life more positively, no matter what happened?  You would indeed! How cool is that?

The Present is a Gift You Give Yourself

Whenever you think of your life and your situation, do you always take full responsibility for it? When the economy is in a mess, as an example, isn’t it okay to blame external forces for our lack of joy or income?

There is no doubt that external forces have some influence on us. That being said, I think we must also admit that we often take the path of least resistance. Isn’t it easier to blame others (including the economy or some other external forces) than it is to take full responsibility for where we find ourselves? Surely if we are honest, the answer to that question must be, “Yes.”

What we believe (about ourselves, the economy, etc.) is more responsible for determining our future, and therefore our present, than all the external forces. When you find yourself unhappy and blame an external force, you are marginalizing your own power. That may be convenient and easy to do, but it doesn’t help your current situation and, in fact, will only prolong the situation you don’t want, will support and strengthen the disempowering belief, and will prevent you from having the life and joy you do want.

The best way to have the life you really want is to know that you deserve it, to believe you can achieve it, and to do all that you can, including believing in it and yourself, to make it come true. You may want to make a “Treasure Map” of all the things you want. Create a collage on poster board or simply keep a list of what you want your life to be like, including what you want to have (more than just material things). Imagine yourself living that life, and when something external happens, remember that you have the power to live the life you want regardless of external forces.

Eleanor Roosevelt said, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” Those dreams and your belief in them and yourself create your present. You can give yourself a wonderful present by dreaming and believing beautiful things. How cool is that?

The Present is a Gift You Give Yourself

Whenever you think of your life and your situation, do you always take full responsibility for it? When the economy is in a mess, as an example, isn’t it okay to blame external forces for our lack of joy or income?

There is no doubt that external forces have some influence on us. That being said, I think we must also admit that we often take the path of least resistance. Isn’t it easier to blame others (including the economy or some other external forces) than it is to take full responsibility for where we find ourselves? Surely if we are honest, the answer to that question must be, “Yes.”

What we believe (about ourselves, the economy, etc.) is more responsible for determining our future, and therefore our present, than all the external forces. When you find yourself unhappy and blame an external force, you are marginalizing your own power. That may be convenient and easy to do, but it doesn’t help your current situation and, in fact, will only prolong the situation you don’t want, will support and strengthen the disempowering belief, and will prevent you from having the life and joy you do want.

The best way to have the life you really want is to know that you deserve it, to believe you can achieve it, and to do all that you can, including believing in it and yourself, to make it come true. You may want to make a “Treasure Map” of all the things you want. Create a collage on poster board or simply keep a list of what you want your life to be like, including what you want to have (more than just material things). Imagine yourself living that life, and when something external happens, remember that you have the power to live the life you want regardless of external forces.

Eleanor Roosevelt said, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” Those dreams and your belief in them and yourself create your present. You can give yourself a wonderful present by dreaming and believing beautiful things. How cool is that?

Patience and Trust

Have you ever wanted something so much that you actually tried to hold onto it so tightly that you pushed it away? Have you ever wanted something so much that you wanted it, “Now” instead of allowing the natural flow of life to allow it to happen in perfect time? I know I have, and I have also been told that I was, “Too patient.” If they could only see me now (smile). Carl Jung said, “What you resist, persists.” I believe that the opposite is also true, “What you persist, resists.” We push away that which we hold too tightly. Siddhārtha said, “You only lose what you cling to.” Even modern day philosophers like the guys of 38 Special, Barnes, Carlisi, and Peterik wrote in their song, Hold on Loosely, “Hold On Loosely but don’t let go, If you cling too tight babe, you’re gonna loose control….”

The Universal Law of Attraction says, in part, that what we concentrate on is what we get more of. So how might that apply to the above question? How might holding on to something push it away? One reason we may hold on tightly is because we are afraid that if we don’t, “it” will go away. We don’t trust the flow of life enough to believe that without our control, things won’t turn out the way we want. So the fear, “If I don’t hold on, it will go away,” is attaching all the energy to the belief that, “…it will go away.” Since we get more of what we focus our attention (and energy) on, “it” will go away. It is one of the hardest lessons we learn.

Have you ever heard the expression, “If you love something, let it go?” It doesn’t really mean to “let it go” in the sense of actually letting it slip away, but rather to trust the outcome to such a degree that you need not control it. Let go of the need to control, of having all the answers to questions that may not have answers, yet, and when you let go and, “Let God,” the truth will become clear, the outcome will be perfect, that which you really want and that which is mean to be, will be. There is a natural flow of things and all that is, is perfect. We simply have to trust, to have faith.

This Universal Law of Attraction also applies to things we are afraid of, or things we don’t want. What happens when you hear, “Don’t think of a pink Cadillac.” You have to think of a pink Cadillac before you can “delete” it, so even though I said, “Don’t….” you must. Same goes for things we are afraid of. If I’m afraid that something bad will happen, I will create the situation to make that come true. It will likely have nothing to do with the person involved, but the situation will appear to be one in which they fulfill my fear, just because I created it. And, the reality is, that all this happens at an unconscious level (may also be karmic or at a spiritual, soul level), so if someone were to say that I was the one creating it, I might think they were crazy. I mean, really, why in the world would I create something like that? Right!

Nathaniel Hawthorne said, “Happiness is like a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.” At this moment, I sit quietly, I trust that the outcome, that all my dreams are coming true, are forming perfectly for the highest good of all, and that in my trust and faith in my belief that all will be perfect, all my energy is calm, and all will be perfect. I hold on loosely, but don’t let go. I will never let go. ♥

Blessing and Love!

Possibilities

For those of you who have been to or who are thinking of visiting my web site, you may notice some quotes on each of several pages. One of my favorites is by Emily Dickinson, in which she says, “Dwell in Possibility.” As simple as this is, it is a profound thought, one more powerful than she may have ever imagined. Another favorite quote is by Eleanor Roosevelt, who said, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” Both of these quotes cause us to think beyond our daily routine, beyond our lives as we see them, and that is powerful.

It is perfectly understandable that because our lives are so busy, so hectic, we have little time to dream. Actually, we have time, but most of us won’t take or make the time to dream. What if you took the time to dream, to dwell in what might be possible for you? What might you dream about, and what new possibilities could open up for you to accomplish?

When you were young, quite young, you may have had some dreams, and along the way, life happened. You may have shared your dreams with a family member or teacher or a good friend. It is possible that some of them may have been something less than enthusiastic and supportive. At some point, you may have begun to believe that maybe they were right and that you should be more realistic and practical and get on with your life, to do what normal people do. Perhaps you could no longer see yourself in that dream, and you may have forgotten it altogether.

That scenario has played out for many of us, and there is really nothing wrong with it. We have all done the best we could with what we had available to us (knowledge, wisdom, maturity) at the time. Those who were negative were so because at the time, that was all they knew. I know some parents may have seemed negative, not because they were really negative, but because they didn’t want their children to be disappointed upon a failure. Looking back, they may now have a different perspective.

The truth is that everything that exists today, even every convenience we take for granted and can’t imagine doing without, started as a dream, a glimmer, a mere possibility, often just a dream, a thought. So, what are you going to dream about? What might be possible for you if nothing else could get in the way? If you could imagine that everything you thought you had to do has been done, that now it is your time to create your life the way you want it, what might you dream? Dream big! When you shoot for the moon, even if you miss, you’ll be among the stars. How cool is that?

A Lesson Learned – More About Lessons

Each of us has a story to tell. Each of us has endured hardships, experienced wonderful moments, and has fallen down to then get up. It is the power of the human spirit, or is there more? I believe there is more, but for now I’d like to share some of what I’ve learned that may help you navigate your life with more joy.

I grew up in Denmark and The Netherlands, even though I was born in New York. I learned how to read and write English as a ten year old, and it wasn’t easy. During a good part of my childhood, I felt like an outsider because no matter where we lived (we had moved nine or ten times by the time I was 12), I was the new kid or the foreign kid. Suffice it to say, I always felt I was on the outside looking in.

Without going into detail about what happened during those years and later, what I have realized is that each and every experience I had, whether it was pleasant or seemingly devastating at the time, allowed me to grow into the person I am today. I am still growing, still learning, and I am quite happy with who I am. Most of us realize that we learn from the experiences of life, but do we use that knowledge? I believe the most powerful lesson of all is to believe, especially when in the midst of what seems like something devastating, that what we are experiencing is actually a blessing, a gift. If you believed that to be true, how might that change your life?

When we change the way we look at our world, then the way we experience our world changes. If everything that happened to you were, somehow, for your benefit, would you respond differently to any given situation? When we experience an unpleasant event, we might feel hurt or despair. We tend to not think about how wonderful we’ll feel and how much we will have learned once the event is over. If, on the other hand, we acknowledge the experience and our emotions and then focus on how much we will have learned, how much stronger we will be, and how much better our lives will be once we have moved past that event, then we can feel hopeful, perhaps even excited about what is to come.

Sometimes we are reminded and tested, and it may not be easy or comfortable. It may even be hard and evoke painful emotions. The blessing is, that when we are able to be true to who we really are and to get to the other side of it with our most loving intentions intact, we can be proud of lessons learned. What comes next is the realization that there is nothing we cannot manifest. Your wildest dreams are but a few winks away. How cool is that? ❤

The best is yet to come!

Karl