Posts Tagged ‘happiness’

What Is On Your Name Tag?

December 5, 2013

I get to wear a lot of name tags. Every time I speak at a conference, I get another one and that is a good thing; because as I get older, it is helpful to have a reminder of who I am. On these name tags is also written my title, which I have provided for the conference leaders. This is usually either “Speaker” or “Owner of For the Good Times Programs”. However; sometimes the meeting planners have labeled me in different ways. For instance, one group decided that since I was speaking about the healing power of humor, I should be billed as a Humor Therapist, but something went wrong in the spacing and when I picked up my tag, I was surprised to read “Linda Henley-Smith, Humor The rapist.” Hmmm. Another time, I was one of three women speakers who were to present on consecutive evenings. We were the only women at this conference and were known as “The Ladies.” On my appointed speaking night, my name tag designated me as “Lady of the Evening.”

So, that started me thinking about name tags and how, if we wrote our own, we would define ourselves. In one of my seminars, I gave each of the participants blank tags and asked them to write their names and a word or phrase which they felt would describe them. Some used words like Optimistic, Happy, Hopeful and Friendly. Then there were those who wrote Depressed, Angry, Fearful or other words with negative connotations. One woman sadly had printed the word LUPUS under her name. When she introduced herself, we learned that she had the disease well under control and her prognosis was excellent. Yet, she had allowed herself to let lupus override any other words that she might use to describe who she was.
It is dangerous to let fear or past failures or even an illness to dominate the other parts of us! I can be a person who is going through a tough time without thinking of myself as a tough time with a person attached!

Maybe we should all put on new name tags every morning, and label them with a word expressing an attitude that we want to have that day. Then, we might be more likely to try to live up to that description. Perhaps that is why I have a license plate which reads DIVA. Of course, that stands for Delighting In Victorious Attitude. Yeah…that’s what it means.

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“Just Tell Yourself, Ducky…You’re Really Quite Lucky!”

September 13, 2013

I think that Dr. Seuss was one of the world’s finest philosophers. What he wrote for children actually serves grown-ups quite well! Take, for instance, the quote that I used as a title. It says a lot and packs a powerful punch when you think about how many of us are dissatisfied with what we have and always seem to want more.

I admit that I am sometimes guilty of saying things like, “I would really be satisfied if only……” Maybe you have those thoughts, as well. I think we all do, but we just have different wishes to fill in the blank after “if only.” The truth is that possibly, for most of us, what we have now is probably what we once wished for. But, when we achieve our “if only,” it somehow isn’t enough and we once again become discontented and unhappy with our lot in life. By doing this, we run the risk of spoiling what we do have by constantly desiring something more. We lose the little joys in life by searching for what we believe to be the ultimate happiness. If we spend most of our time focusing on what we think we lack, we will never feel that we have enough.

There is certainly nothing wrong with having aspirations and dreams; those are good things! And when we work toward a goal and finally reach it, we have reason to celebrate and enjoy the fruits of our labor. But I have found that if I am not content with what I have, chances are I wouldn’t be content with what I would like to have! Why? Because genuine joy comes not from things that we acquire or from any outside source; rather, it emerges from a sense of inner peace, rooted in the knowledge that we probably already possess everything that we need….maybe just not everything that we want. Striving to improve things is a positive action, but living in constant dissatisfaction with where you are in life, is a very frustrating way to spend your days here on earth!

“Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” —Lao Tzu

The Six Saddest Words I Know

December 2, 2011

I think the six saddest words that can be spoken are, “I have nothing to laugh about.” It seems to me that I’m hearing those words more often these days. With the world getting smaller, due to technology, we are constantly bombarded with bad news from all around the world. Every now and then, you’ll see or hear a news report about someone doing something good for another person or read about a happy event somewhere in the land, but it seems that bad news is what sells. We used to be able to hide from it, but now it’s in our faces every day. It’s good to know what’s going on, but I think a steady and constant diet of doom and despair is causing mood poisoning!

While we can’t hide our heads in the sand, neither do we need to spend every last brain cell focusing on what is wrong in the world.  There are still some righteous and humorous goings-on out there and I think we all should take a pledge to look for them…and once you program your brain to seek them out, you’ll find that they are really not that hard to find.

I heard myself uttering those toxic words just last week! The snarky side of me woke up in a complaining mood and I spent a few morning hours contributing to global whining.  Interestingly, nobody really cared to share in my mood of mass destruction, so I had to quickly call upon the happy me to snap the snark out of my psyche!  My dark side had lamented that I had nothing to laugh about, so it was up to the light side to prove otherwise. I took a notebook with me and just started jotting down funny things that I saw out in the world.

First, I saw a sign at Wendy’s which read, “Come Visit our Drive-Thru Salad Bar.” I’m assuming that Wendy’s had a drive-thru and a salad bar, but they were not one in the same and someone just goofed up the spacing. Combining the two would have been messy because you’d get lettuce on your windshield.  That made me smile and I started to lighten up a little.

The next thing I saw that was smile-worthy was on a menu at a restaurant. Someone didn’t proofread very well because instead of “Chicken grilled with savory spices,” the entrée description read “Children grilled with savory spices.”  I have always loved children…I’ve just never tried them cooked with spices; savory or otherwise. That made me chuckle and I lightened a little bit more.

I was beginning to feel less toxic and I was beginning to enjoy looking for things that were funny. My next stop was at a hardware store.  It was there that I saw a warning tag on a table saw. It read, “Caution!! Keep saw away from fingers and genital area.”  That made me laugh and I lightened up a lot! And the more I thought about it, the funnier it became. Just the thought of why the manufacturer thought it necessary to warn people of the dangers of holding body parts that were dear to them anywhere near a sharp rotating blade, seemed hilarious.

I wrote these three experiences in my notebook and reflected on them several times that day. Every time I read them, I laughed and by the end of the day, I realized that I DID have something to laugh about. The world, with all of its woes, is still a funny place. You just have to look at it with eyes that are searching for humor.