Waiting To Be Happy? Really?!?

Enlightenment, joy and peace are inside you

Have you ever said to your spouse, children or a friend; if you would do “this” I would be happy? Come on, be honest. If you didn’t say it out loud, you’ve thought this at one time or another. Or maybe you have only applied this type of statement to a work environment. When the company does this, I will be happier about working here.

I started thinking about this because I’ve allowed a personal situation to steal my happy recently. I strongly disagree with some decisions a family member is making. When I discussed it with my husband, he said I was being negative about that person. Although I don’t see it that way, I understand his point. The fact is I’ve spent far too much energy thinking about the situation, worrying about the individual and trying how to get them to recognize what they are creating. No matter how much we love someone, we can’t live their life for them and they must deal with the results of their decisions.

A few months ago when my book, It’s Your Life…..Own It! was released, a classmate reached out to me. Bob and I had attended junior high and high school together. We hadn’t spoken in a decade but he wanted me to know he was proud of me. What was interesting is, he told me he wouldn’t be purchasing the book because he was already very happy with his life. Unlike most, he was grateful for all areas of his life. He used the words satisfied and happy multiple times as he described his life.

Yesterday Bob had a heart attack and died. I was shocked and saddened when I read the post on FB. Naturally, I recalled our last conversation and realized Bob was content and happy with the life he lived. Isn’t that the best that we can ask for? To be happy with the life we’ve lived?

My friend’s death gave me a different perspective on my personal situation. The question for me as well as you is; why are you wasting any time on things that cause you distress, anger or worry? Life is meant to be joyful. Why waste time or wait to be happy? Just as I can, I’m sure you can find plenty of people or circumstances in your life to be happy about. I have a file saved on my computer called “Gratitude Journal”. Sometimes I open it up to remind myself of all the wonderful things in my life but today I’m going to add to it, starting with “I have been blessed to have had Bob as a friend, because he was a living example of happiness.”

RIP Bob, I will miss that easy smile and the man behind it.

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Normal vs Extraordinary

The most wonderful thing about this life is the fact that you continually have an opportunity to create something different.

It doesn’t matter what circumstances you woke up to this morning. You have the opportunity to create something different than you experienced yesterday, if that is what you choose. Unfortunately most of us don’t recognize that fact. We feel stuck. We’ve accepted that our lives are what they are and we need to suck it up and just learn to deal with it.

Nothing could be further from the truth and I’ll share why. First, can we agree that whatever circumstances we become accustomed to become our normal? We continue to do the same things until they are such an ingrained habit, we don’t give them much thought. We become complacent and comfortable and live inside our little box where we feel safe and protected. Thus we continue to react in the same manner and achieve the same results.

Have you ever thought about what would happen if you broke the chain of habitual thinking and did something different? Of course you have. We daydream about making different choices and what would result from those choices all the time. Most of the time we talk ourselves out of it, whatever it is, because we think it would be irresponsible to do anything that isn’t consistent with how we’ve been living.

If we could accept that we are responsible for all of the circumstances in our lives, would it influence our decisions? I think it would. I find it amusing that it usually takes a big slap upside the head from the universe to get us to recognize that our habitual thinking and behaviors aren’t going to produce something different than we’ve already gotten. This happened to me twice within four years. One of those circumstances resulted in my divorce which I’ve written about in prior blogs so I won’t repeat it here.

The second situation involved my job. I’d been writing more and more in my spare time and talked about writing a book with my family. However I felt it would be downright ridiculous and irresponsible to leave my job so I could spend more time writing. I had deeply held believes about what I was responsible for but there were gaps in my thinking so I never took it all the way to being 100% responsible for my results. That said, I felt stuck. There was something I wanted to do however I believed that I needed my job to survive. Much of this had to do with my beliefs about how to make money. In walks the universe with a giant sense of humor. The company I worked for announced a change in the geographic location I would be responsible for and my windshield time was going to triple. I saw this as the universe forcing me to step out of my comfort and make a new choice.

When we step away from our normal way of thinking and doing things, the possibility of creating something extraordinary becomes a reality. It may not be world changing however any shift outside our normal will result in dramatic changes in our lives. That can and does feel extraordinary to us. Once we are able to examine our beliefs, make a change in our thinking and take action, something interesting happens. We begin to look at other beliefs and habits. That increase in awareness is not something we can ignore and that comfortable box we’ve been living in becomes uncomfortably small. All it takes is a change in one area to get the ball rolling toward a fuller, more satisfying life.

It’s Your Life….Own It! shares exercises to assist you, should you decide you desire changes in your life. The book and my other work is available on my website

Recognizing A Poor Choice

best choice brings relief.

I fucked up! Normally I keep my language pretty clean in my writing but sometimes the best word for a situation is blunt, to the point and leaves little room for interpretation. Whether you know me personally or not you’ve already figured out that I made a decision that didn’t work out as I’d intended it. You don’t even have to know what the situation or circumstance was to figure out I’m not happy about a choice I made. Three words was all I had to share for you to understand how I’m feeling and I bet you thought of a time that you used those words and felt what I’m feeling.

All of us make life choices that we believe are the best thing to do at the time and later when we acquire more information, we realize there was a better choice. My fuck up was ignoring my internal guidance system. Rather embarrassing for a writer who focuses on being aware of your emotions. By day three after my initial decision I was noticeably less happy. Even though I recognized this, I didn’t want to admit I was wrong. On day five I was downright negative and became critical of others. That finally got my attention.

We human beings want to be right. We go to great extents to justify why we are right, especially when another is pointing out that we are wrong. Think about a time that someone else pointed out you were wrong. It’s likely that even if you thought their argument was valid, you began by justifying your position. It’s a process we take ourselves through before we are able to admit we are wrong. If we pay attention to how we feel, the time this process takes can be shortened.

Once I realized I was being negative I knew I had to make a decision. I had to either find a way to be happy with my decision or completely reverse it. Sitting on the fence of indecision I waffled for several minutes as I thought about the possibilities from a logical space. Then I focused on my emotions. Thinking about a complete reversal of my initial decision brought a feeling of relief. It didn’t bring me great joy, just relief, however that was moving me in the right direction. Once I made the involved parties aware that I was changing direction, I felt more relief and within hours I began feeling more upbeat, more like myself.

You hear people say “life is short” all the time in reference to how we spend our time. I will never get back those five days however at least it wasn’t five months or five years. I learned from the experience and if a similar circumstance arises, I will be better equipped to gather more information in the beginning to make the best choice possible. Most important it was a reminder to pay attention to how I feel. Our emotions exist to assist us on our journey so we can recognize if we are in alignment with our true self. Invalidating your emotions so you can be right will backfire in the end. For me, reaching for happiness each day has to be more important than always being right.

christiebakeman.com

 

My Top 10 List For Raising Happy Children

prime purpose is to help others Dalai Lama

As parents we provide the best life we can for our children. I believe most of us want our children to become happy and responsible adults. This is my top 10 list to achieve that. You may have your own list however I’m thinking our lists have much in common.

  • Teach children they are energy and connected to everything by energy
  • Tell children they are intelligent and demonstrate you believe it
  • Teach children their thoughts produce tangible results
  • Teach words can hurt or encourage and to choose wisely
  • Demonstrate that kindness brings joy to both giver and receiver
  • Teach that moral courage and integrity are the basis of good decisions
  • Teach that collaboration improves every situation
  • Teach children that they control how they feel and can change it
  • Demonstrate that life is fun and full of opportunity
  • Teach by example what happiness is because they witness happy parents

No matter the age of your child, every parent knows the feeling of your words falling on deaf ears. For those of you feeling a bit of discouragement over this, let me assure you that anything that is repeated often does sink in.  You may have to wait until your children have reached adulthood to get verification but the important lessons will stick. Here’s an example that had me laughing out loud. My youngest son, Ryan, was a slob growing up. It was normal not to see his bedroom floor beneath the discarded clothes and sports equipment. Dishes had great difficulty finding their way back to the kitchen. You get the idea. I tried to teach my children that an organized space helps you to feel more in control of your world (not in my top 10). A couple of months ago during a phone conversation, Ryan was telling me what a slob his roommate was. He described dishes with food on them under the bed, clothes dropped wherever and the inability to wipe off the kitchen counter. Evidently Ryan has turned into a neat freak since living on his own. I, of course, was LMAO at the irony. My point is, eventually your kids recognize lessons from childhood.

Although I could turn my top 10 list into a book, I want to address what I believe is the most important — being a happy parent. The fact is what you say doesn’t matter nearly as much as what your children observe in the household. Think about it. The reason so many adults have mental blocks about money is we grew up hearing “money doesn’t grow on trees”, “we can’t afford that” or “our last name isn’t Rockefeller”. We witnessed our parents arguing over money or financial decisions. Even though conversations may not have been directed at us, we developed beliefs based on the sense of lack that was prevalent in the actions of our family.

If you want your children to be happy, find a way to be happy with your life, the way it is right now. Find the joy and gratefulness within the day to day living. Let your children see that there are reasons to be happy even when there is a challenge. Allow them to witness you doing things that you love and the joy it brings you. Pay attention to both your actions and words as you teach them by example that this is a friendly and loving universe. Do this and they will know that happiness is an achievable result of the choices they make coupled with how they think.

You can read more in my book, It’s Your Life….Own It! available on Amazon

Finding Yourself After Divorce

Working on self divorce

When I found myself living alone for the first time in thirty years, it was as though I’d entered a virtual world. It had components of my previous reality, yet I walked through the first few months in a bit of a fog. My old habits continually exerted their influence and I found myself stopping mid task and asking what the hell I was doing. For example, the first time I went to the grocery store to stock my kitchen, I found myself picking up a bottle of ranch dressing.  When I put it in the shopping cart, I stood there staring at it for a full minute before I took it out and put it back on the shelf.  I hate ranch dressing.  I bought it for years for my husband and children. These are the type actions that you don’t think about, until you do.

The most difficult and time consuming change was changing how I felt about myself. I was no longer getting daily feedback about how I looked or what another didn’t like about what I was doing. When you live in an environment that is continually critical, no matter how strong you are, eventually you begin to take that criticism on as part of your truth. As I started noticing thoughts that made me feel bad, I had to examine each one for the origin….was it my initial thought or one that I’d taken ownership of after hearing it from another?  Recognizing that a belief about yourself actually was something you adopted is the first step in liberating yourself from those beliefs.

Once you identify a belief that is no longer part of your truth, or isn’t beneficial to you, you need to create a replacement belief.  It’s one thing to say I’m not going to believe that anymore, but that isn’t how our minds work.  Think of a toddler with a box of crayons who colors on the wall.  Taking away the crayons could be a short term solution however replacing the surface for coloring teaches what is acceptable.  “Susie, we color on these papers then we can hang them on the wall.” Hopefully you see the difference. For me, the thoughts I had to replace ran the gamut from my feet are ugly to I’m too controlling.

Here is the actual exercise I did to help me begin to change those beliefs about myself. First I wrote down the beliefs that made me feel bad about myself.  I did this in pencil and I left a couple of blank lines between each belief.  I filled a couple of pages on my legal pad as negative thoughts flooded my mind and found their final resting place on the yellow paper with the blue lines. The next part of the process took much more time.  Using a pen, I wrote replacement thoughts in the blank lines between those non-beneficial thoughts. The reason this took longer is I had to find a thought I could believe without that constant battle that occurs when you try to convince yourself of something that is out of your acceptable level of what’s possible. For example I replaced I’m too controlling with I make thoughtful decisions and being organized helps me keep my life in order.

You probably guessed the reason for writing those negative beliefs in pencil, so you can erase them. If you do this exercise for yourself, I’d encourage you to only erase the old belief once you’ve truly switched how you think about that particular topic. That means, dealing with one at a time. It doesn’t matter if it takes months to adjust your beliefs, after all it probably took years for you to take on those negative beliefs. Be gentle on yourself as you work at changing them.

Learning to live on your own after being part of a couple can be difficult however if you’ve gotten to the point that being alone would bring you more personal happiness, I understand that feeling. Although my book is about multiple areas of life, life partners fills a chapter. For more information, you can check out my author book site. No matter what you do, I want you to know that if someone else is deciding how you think about yourself, it’s worth examining.

The Toughest Decision I’ve Made

Sometimes you don't feel the weight

christiebakeman.com

When I came to the conclusion that my marriage was over there was a strange combination of relief and fear.  I was over 50 and had been married for 27 years.  I’m not one that jumps onboard the bandwagon of my mind when a contrary thought skitters through it.  I’m contemplative.  I examine most issues from multiple perspectives and often this takes some time.  Just so you know up front, I’m not trying to wash my dirty laundry here.  My intent is to allow you to understand the process for such a weighty decision, should you ever find yourself in a similar circumstance.

Our beliefs about marriage greatly influence both the effort we put forth and the level of what we will tolerate.  My intent in the beginning was till death do us part.  I grew up thinking that was how it was supposed to be.  Even though my parents divorced, I still believed it was possible to stay with that special someone until the very end of this life.  My brothers and I frequently discussed how all of us had been married longer than our parents.  There was a collective pride that all of us were achieving something our parents couldn’t.  Those beliefs kept me stuck like a piece of toast hung up on the side of the toaster.  Knowing there was a purpose beyond the edge but requiring something to prod me above the lip.

That nudge came in the form of recognizing I was unhappy.  I write about this wake up call in my book, It’s Your Life….Own It! so I’ll leave the details out.  However I will explain why I didn’t know I was unhappy.  Whatever we are used to on a daily basis becomes our normal, this is especially true when you’ve been living the same way for years.  We develop habits and behaviors that allow us to cope.  Many of us are busy with careers and family so we simply don’t take the time to ask if it could be different.  We accept our lot in life as situations repeat themselves producing the same results.  At that time I wouldn’t have described myself as unhappy but I was and I was doing my best to cope with it….until I couldn’t.

Once the lid of recognition is open, you can’t just close it again and pretend you are unaware.  A choice must be made.  I had to examine if I could get a different result if I put in more effort and really made my marriage a priority.  Of course that would require the other person to be just as willing.  In short order (a few months) it became obvious that wasn’t going to happen.  When I made the decision that divorce was my best option, it brought me some relief, actual physical relief.  That is how I knew I was headed in the right direction.  As I started making a mental action plan and began taking small steps, I continued to feel better.

The key to knowing if you are making the best decisions involve recognizing how you feel.  The emotional guidance system we all have works for us, if we listen.  The true you holds a grand picture of who you are and the more in alignment you become, the better you will feel.  A decision that makes you feel worse is only pointing out that you are moving away from being in alignment with yourself.

As the fears of my decision began to surface, and there were several, I had to deal with them one at a time.  My biggest fear was damaging the relationship with my children.  I’d seen too many circumstances where the children were used as pawns or forced to take sides.  My goal was for my sons to understand my choice, not necessarily agree with it.  Honest conversations where I allowed them to ask pointed questions resolved that fear.  Had they been younger, it may have been different. Of course our children are aware of the disfunction of our relationships, far more so than we give them credit for.

My next biggest fear may seem silly to those who knew me but I was afraid of living alone.  I’d been part of a couple for over half my life and honestly I didn’t know who I would be outside that unit.  It wasn’t about being able to support myself, I could easily do that.  It was about figuring out who Christie was as a person and what I wanted out of life.  Vague concepts like being happy and fulfilled were goals but the details were a blur.  I knew I wanted something different yet that step into the unknown was scary.

The next blog will share steps I took to feel whole again.

 

Finding Daily Inspiration

Never know who needs you  Christie Marie Sheldon

Have you thought about the correlation or the common link of the things that inspire you? Do you know why such things as quotes, videos or particular people make you feel like being a better person or trying harder to reach your dreams?  I believe that the things that inspire us are at a higher vibrational frequency than we are at that point in time.

We are beings of energy and all of us have a frequency that is normally where we function. If this is a new concept for you, think about different people that you come into regular contact with.  Is there someone you dread dealing with?  That person is operating at a lower frequency than you are.  The phrase “she’s a downer” could apply to such a person.  At the other side of the spectrum are people that always make us feel better when we are in their presence.  They bring us up.  Think of a time you saw a motivational speaker.  Immediately following that encounter you felt better, more energized and that feeling may have lasted hours or even days.  Your vibration raised because of the exposure to someone with a higher vibration.

Even though you have a normal frequency for you, that doesn’t mean you have to stay there.  You can do things each day that move you up.  You will recognize this is happening because you will feel better.  Although reading inspiring quotes or watching a positive video on social media can help, there is one thing that will make the biggest difference.  Surround yourself with people that make you feel better, happier, more alive.  If these types of people aren’t part of your daily life, than take the time to reach out and call someone who is. Hearing the upbeat tone in someone’s voice is much more effective than a text or an email because your brain picks up on the vibration they are emitting.

Another way to increase your vibration is to express gratitude.  Even when life is handing you lemons, there is something you can be grateful for……find it……and remind yourself of what is good in your life.  The people you love and what they mean to you is a great way to start.  For me, any time I’m feeling off or uncentered, I reach out to my youngest son.  We live on opposite sides of the country so our phone conversations are precious to me.  At 21, he is one of the happiest people, and best at manifesting, that I know.  When our daughter says that everything just comes easy to him, I have to point out that he follows his heart and focuses on his own happiness which pulls people and circumstances to him that are in alignment with how he is feeling.  Like attracts like.  A fact we tend to forget.

My third suggestion is to focus on lifting up someone else.  When we put our attention on helping another, we tend not to focus on our own issues so much.  We can be the person who raises another’s vibration.  So what will inspire you today?  Or will you provide inspiration to another?  It’s all about the choices that you make.  Decide well.

If you want to find other ways to increase your personal vibration, go to my website and sign up for the free newsletter.  christiebakeman.com