THE MAGIC PHRASE

THERE ARE SO MANY PHRASES WE USE DAILY. WE TELL OUR SPOUSE AND THOSE WE CARE ABOUT THAT WE LOVE THEM. WE WISH OUR NEIGHBORS “GOOD MORNING” TO SHOW AND EXPRESS THAT WE WISH THEM WELL. WE SAY “THANK YOU” TO THOSE WHO HAVE ASSISTED US IN SOME FASHION. HOPEFULLY, WE DON’T RESPOND “OF COURSE” TO THOSE WHO THANK US, BUT THAT IS A STORY FOR ANOTHER DAY.

WOULDN’T IT BE GREAT IF THERE WERE A MAGIC PHRASE THAT WE COULD USE? A PHRASE THAT COULD BE USED WITH MANY DIFFERENT PEOPLE, IN MANY DIFFERENT SITUATIONS. TO BE A TRULY MAGICAL PHRASE, IT WOULD ALSO HAVE TO FILL THEM WITH A FEELING OF JOY, SIGNIFICANCE  AND RESPECT AND ADMIRATION NOT ONLY FOR THE PERSON SAYING IT TO THEM, BUT FOR THEMSELVES AS WELL?

WELL THERE IS SUCH A MAGIC PHRASE AND I AM GOING TO SHARE IT WITH YOU. FEAR NOT, YOU DO NOT NEED A TOP HAT OR WAND TO USE THIS. WHEN YOU DO USE THIS PHRASE, MAGIC WILL BEGIN TO HAPPEN. YOU WILL FIND YOUR PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS WILL GROW CLOSER. YOU WILL FIND PEOPLE ARE DRAWN TO YOU AND GENUINELY WANT TO BE AROUND YOU. YOU MAY EVEN FIND YOURSELF RECEIVING BETTER SERVICE.

WHAT IS THIS MAGIC PHRASE? THREE SIMPLE WORDS – “I APPRECIATE YOU” THINK OF WHAT THAT PHRASE MEANS. TO BE APPRECIATED MEANS THAT SOMEONE RECOGNIZES THE VALUE IN US AS A PERSON. IT MEANS THEY VALUE NOT ONLY WHAT WE BRING TO THE WORLD, BUT WHO WE ARE. SAY THIS GENUINELY TO YOUR SPOUSE WHEN YOU GET HOME. SIT ACROSS FROM THEM, LOOK THEM IN THE EYES AND SAY “I APPRECIATE YOU” TRY TO THINK OF THE THINGS YOU APPRECIATE ABOUT THEM BEFORE AND DURING THE ACT. WATCH THE EFFECT IT HAS. TRY IT ON YOUR FRIENDS, THE PERSON WHO HELPS YOU AT THE COFFEE SHOP AND ANYONE ELSE YOU APPRECIATE. YOU DON’T NEED TO EXPLAIN WHY, JUST TELL THEM THEY ARE APPRECIATED. I GUARANTEE YOUR LIFE WILL BE FILLED WITH MAGIC.

THE SECOND STEP TO HAPPINESS

Welcome to your second step to happiness. Sadly, the first day of this series did not get the amount of engagement that I had hoped. I think this is was in part due to some problems on the social media end of things. I am truly hoping more of you enjoy and get involved starting on day 2. Remember you can always go back and do day one as well. A quick reminder, we are starting from the bottom of the staircase and climbing up.

Before we begin day 2, allow me to share my experience with day 1. Complain less, appreciate more was our instruction on day 1. The day after I wrote that post I found myself on the way to work complaining (in my head which may be the worst place to complain) about having to leave my beautiful lady at home. I was noticing how wonderful the weather was that day. This had followed 3 straight days of rain. I was feeling envious of the people I drove past who were out taking a leisurely walk, or sharing that walk with their favorite furry friend.

My very next thought was enlightening, but not in the normal way. I believe it went something like “WHAT THE -” fill in that last word at your discretion. I couldn’t believe that I had just wrote about complaining less and appreciating more and here I was doing the opposite. Proof, that when it comes to working on developing an amazing life and amazing mindset, there is no finish line. I immediately looked around determined to change my perspective. I had a job to go to. In this crazy time, there are many who are without. I would be able to work at least a portion of my day outside. I had the pleasure of driving through a nice neighborhood and watching people walking, with or without a dog, in a nice setting. I had an amazing lady that I did have to leave, true, but that I would be able to come home to as well. I must confess I did all of this appreciating because I didn’t want to be a hypocrite. The benefit I got was an instant change of state. I felt lighter, colors began to pop and become deeper. I recall this from doing an exercise where you look for things you love as you travel on. I went on to have a much better day that if I had continued focusing on what was wrong and not what was right.

Watch less, do more. That is today’s step to happiness. Watching can sure lead to some happiness. Watching your favorite romantic movie can give you that warm fuzzy feeling. How much happier would you feel if you applied some of those same romantic gestures to your own relationship? Watching the big game on television? That can certainly be fun. Going out with some friends or the family to do something active would not only make us feel happy, but be a great deal better for us physically. Lastly, one of my favorite examples. I enjoy watching nature programs on big game in Africa, or the wildlife in our oceans. Granted, I take far too few tropical vacations to explore the ocean, and have never had the pleasure of visiting the great continent of Africa yet. What I can do is get out and explore nature in my own town. I go for walks through parks with my mom looking for nature. Even while at work doing some landscaping I can appreciate nature. Margie and I love going birdwatching. I must confess to wanting to increase my knowledge of our local feathered friends.

How about you? How can you get off of the sidelines and start being more a part of the game of life? I am looking for great ideas and to enjoy some of your stories in the comments below!

10 STEPS TO HAPPINESS

Here is a challenge for us all, myself included. I found this great picture and we are going to spend the next 10 days taking steps to happiness and discussing our actions and results right here on this blog. I am excited and I hope you are too! At the end of these 10 days we will have taken a great leap to expanding the level of joy and happiness in our lives. Consider it a staircase to enlightenment. Not that after 10 days we will find ourselves sitting blissfully on a mountain top breathing deeply supplying the world with all the answers it seeks. We just might smile a little more and stress a little less.

We are going to begin today by taking the first step. Ironically, we are going to start with number 10 and work our way up to number 1. As you can see by looking at the photo above, step number 10 says Complain less, appreciate more. As we set out today let us look for areas in our lives that we often complain about that we can find things to appreciate about.

Take the morining commute as an example. It can be easy to get frustrated with drivers who seem to either have no connection to, or little regard for reality. Just the other day I saw a wonderful driver crawling along down a mainstreet at about 10 miles per hour when suddenly they felt compelled to turn left from the right lane. This means they esentially cut across four lanes of traffic at the same brisk pace in which they were traveling to their desitinations. In this particular event we can often apprecitate our creative nature to discover different titles to attach to that driver or colorful adjetives to describe their driving. We here at secret2anamazinglife.com like to keep things a little more positive, however. Instead we could appreciate the fact nobody was hurt by this driver using the force more than their 5 senses. We could also appreciate the fact there are not more drivers like this on the road. I do suppose we could appreciate that this safety-impaired individual was unable or unwilling to put more weight on the gas pedal.

Another area in which it is all too easy to find ourselves complaining these days is the grocery store. We complain that we occasionally have to wait to even get in the store. Once inside we complain about the atmosphere and how full of fear it is. To, of course, the lack of available products. We lament the fact that our own personal hygiene may be compromised due to the advanced planning of the 20 year-old purchasing enough toilet paper for the rest of his natural life. Yes, we would like some yeast, but find ourselves relegated to enjoying pitas because some folks may be planning to bake until they fall over. All very understandable reactions. We must remind ourselves that in most cases there are alternatives. Maybe a cheaper brand of toilet tissue. Yes, this is not ideal, but we should appreciate those lovable Charmin bears as we wait for their return. We can appreciate the fact that although we have to wait, at least we are assured of an open store and that they are taking safety precautions to help us. Yes, people are full of fear, but we can appreciate how much more our smile and friendliness will mean to other shoppers and especially those hard-working souls there to help us.

These are but a few examples. I invite you to continue throughout your day looking for areas in which you can transform complaints into appreciation. You will notice a decrease in your own stress as well as an increase in your joy and connection with your fellow humans. Tomorrow we will get together to discuss the next step and share our results with the last one. Feel free to share any ideas you may have currently and stop back for the next post to share your results.

DEAR VALENTINE, I LOVE YOUR…

Today we celebrate Valentine’s day. It is, traditionally, a day to express love to that special someone in your life. As anyone who reads this website would know, I advocate doing so everyday of the year, but it is nice to have a day that is dedicated to love. Some of you may dismiss this as a ‘Hallmark holiday’, and if you only express love once a year and make this day all about buying cards and gifts, then I suppose you are correct.
To me, however, having a day set aside to remember love is a great thing in this busy world. To that end, we are going to discuss one of the greatest gifts you can give your Valentine, or anyone for that matter. You can give this gift not only today, but each and every day you want to spread love. That gift is a genuine and sincere compliment. It is my opinion the best compliments involve something the person truly did. This is where a lot of my gender goes wrong. Telling a lady she has beautiful eyes, or a nice smile is great, but they have little control over those with the exception of how often they show that amazing smile.
Now, if you were to compliment your lady on how well the outfit she picked out for your special evening looks, or what a great job she does applying her make-up, that is something she did. It was her effort and skill that made it possible. It also shows the thought you put in and the fact you appreciate her. Thus, it is almost as if you are giving her several gifts all at once.

Speaking of appreciation, that is the next great place to go for expressing a genuine compliment. Above is a picture of my valentine, my lovely Margie. There are so many amazing things she does that make me love her that no Valentine’s day would be complete without letting her know they do not go unappreciated. In addition to telling her some of those tonight, I am going to share a few here with you. She works very hard. Not only does this allow us to have a house in which we can love, but it gives me a woman I can be very proud of. On the other side of the coin, she is silly. I cannot tell you the times she will send me silly pictures, or I come home to find the silliest things going on. I often just shake my head and say to myself “That is my baby.” Recently, she told me she thought I did not really appreciate that about her. What a wake up call. Those pictures, those silly memories keep a smile on my face each and every day as my co-workers at the Postal Service can attest to.

I urge you today to begin a practice of slowing down, noticing and appreciating out loud to your partner the things they do to make your life special. This not only holds true with romantic partners, but friends, family and others we love. There is no greater gift than to feel appreciated for who you are and what you do.

Let us not treat this as a Hallmark holiday, but a reminder to refresh our practices of love that we share in our life. Love is one of the few gifts that can be as good for the sender as well as the receiver. Take today to think of more ways you can express love. Start with the two we mentioned here and feel free to share your ideas with our readers in the comments below.