2 SECRETS TO AN AMAZING RELATIONSHIP

Here is a subject on which I feel I can speak with great authority. I say that for two very good reasons. One, I have a relationship, that although is far from perfect, it is amazing and we are working on making it better every day. The second reason is that I have screwed up so much in the past I have quite a few ideas of what doesn’t work in creating an amazing relationship. In this post we are going to unlock two insider secrets that if you put them into play, I promise will not only improve your relationships, but will improve your life. As an added bonus, it will also improve your most important relationship. That is the one with the person in the mirror.

In this blog we explore ways in which you can live a more amazing life. There is no greater area of your life that influences whether your life is amazing or not than your relationships. Although we are going to look at this from the point of an intimate relationship, you can apply these two secrets to any relationship from friend to coworker and watch them blossom into something very special. In fact, if you honestly give these two secrets I am about to share with you an honest try for 30 days, I promise you that your life will be better than it has ever been. One of these secrets will not only make you more popular, but will give you the appearance of having an almost supernatural power to make anyone feel special and appreciated. The other secret will not only take your relationships to a whole new level, but will have you happier, healthier and more full of inner peace than you thought was possible! Sound like a lot of hype? I promise you that it is not. Remember, I have been on both sides of the coin. I know what doesn’t work and have made most of the mistakes. (Sorry baby, but I am sure there are still some I am have yet to get to) and I have also used these tools, and continue to use them, to create some of the most rewarding and dynamic relationships I have even had. Are you ready to learn these simple yet powerful secrets so you can put them to use in your own life? Before we jump in to what they are and how to use them, a quick warning is needed. These secrets are deceptively simple. You may hear them and assume you already are using them. Let me assure you that odds are you are not. You may also assume that since they are so simple they will not work. Not only am I living proof, but the countless people I have shared these two secrets with can attest to their magical quality. Heed these two warning as you read on and I promise you that your life is about to transform.

LISTEN

The first amazing tool is to listen. Before you start telling me how you have been listening to your spouse complain for years, let me stop you. This is a different kind of listening. This type of listening will help you get inside your partners head. It is active listening, or as I like to call it, listening with a purpose. The picture above is of myself and my love Margie. Fear not, her tongue is not normally blue. I want to share a quick story about how listening changed my relationship with this beautiful young lady. Early in our relationship I found my self at the grocery store wanting to bring her home a little something to let her know I was thinking of her. The sad part was I did not know what she would like. What kind of cereal did she like? I didn’t know. What fruit might she enjoy? I was clueless. I made up my mind to focus on what she seemed to gravitate towards next time we were at the store together. When I did the information was overwhelming. As we walked and did our normal shopping I suddenly heard her tell me about her passion for black olives and why Lucky Charms should be considered a healthy cereal.

I was so happy and excited with all of my new found knowledge that I couldn’t wait to go to the grocery store again and be able to pick out something she would like. I must confess that I almost missed the true value of this. It does not just have to be limited to the grocery store. I began to listen to find our what made her happy. I watched as she seemed to brighten up around certain flowers. I learned that when she is stressed shopping at the craft store is good for her. Not so good for the bottom line, but I digress. If you listen to your partner to discover what they like and what they don’t, what makes them happy and what makes them mad. Recently, I recall hearing Margie mention she wanted a water bottle that broke down how much water she should drink by certain times of the day. Without saying I word I looked online and found one in colors she enjoys. The effect on your partner is the true reward here. They will not only be happy you are doing more of what makes them happy and less of what makes them mad, but they will feel listened to and valuable. For your benefit, you will now have the ability to bring joy and happiness to your relationship almost at will. The great thing about this is that the more you listen and learn, the better you will be at making your partner feel loved.

BE THE BEST VERSION OF YOURSELF

This secret I have only really come across recently. When things seem to be struggling in your relationship, focus on yourself. It may be true that your partner is treating you unfairly. It may be true times are just rough. What is a certain truth is you have no control over your partner nor outside circumstances. Trying to get and maintain control over either of those things will not only drive you crazy, you probably will end up a jerk as well. What you do have complete control over is yourself. Why is this important? If you are working on improving yourself, it is pretty hard not to win the admiration of your partner. If you work on getting in better shape and becoming healthier you will have more energy to bring to the relationship. Maybe you could work on expanding your knowledge base (Learning new things). That will provide more stimulating conversation in your relationship. How about working on your relationship skills in general? There are plenty of fun and amusing guides on how to become more romantic, adventurous, charming and whatever else you may wish to be.

What if you do all of this and your relationship still falls apart? Believe it or not, this is the best part about using this tool. If you truly work to become the best version of yourself and things do not work out, you can be confident in two very important things. First, if the relationship did not work when you were the best version of yourself, than it would not have worked at all. The worst thing about the end of a relationship is saying the ‘should of’ and ‘what if’. If you did the best you could, you should have no regrets. The second thing is even better. If you continue to work on yourself to improve every day and things do not work out with your partner, you are going to be in a far better position to start your next relationship. I enjoy learning new ways to make my love smile. Everyday at the gym I know I am working to be a healthier and happier version of myself. On the days I do screw things up, I am always eager to learn something new about improving myself and what I bring to our relationship.

In the end, becoming someone who can listen with a purpose and constantly improving ourselves will not only benefit our relationship, it will make us better and more powerful people. Being able to listen to someone, not to reply, but to learn and understand is so rare it could be considered a super power. Developing the drive to work on ourselves everyday will not only set us up to have our partner falling in love with us all over again, but at the end of the day we will be a better person. Practice these two relationship tools. They really are the secret to an amazing life.

WHAT TO SAY AT A FUNERAL

One of the most difficult times in anyone’s life is when someone they love passes away. Two years ago I lost a great deal of people I cared about. As it so happens I was asked to say a few words at several of their services. What an honor that is. At the same time it is a lot of pressure. When you are selected to speak at a major life event a good deal of trust is being placed in you to capture the moment in five to ten minutes of time. These are moments when words fail to live up to the gravity of the situation. How can you possibly do justice with words the feelings that are in the hearts of someone at such an occasion? Everyone is feeling a wide range of emotions from anger and sadness to loss and regret. How can you possibly speak to all of those?

I am going to give you two extremely valuable lessons I have learned that will help you in what can be very trying times. Let us first talk about being asked to speak at these occasions. Most of you reading this may never be asked to speak at a memorial or celebration of life event. That is probably a good thing. In recent studies, people placed the fear of public speaking ahead of the fear of even death. Which means, in a nutshell, most people would be more comfortable being the person the service is about than speaking at it. Still, there is questions like, “What do I say to the family and friends of the person who has departed?” and “What could I possibly write in this card that would do any good? In a way all of these questions can be answered using the same idea

When I was about to speak all these crazy thoughts came into my head. “What if they don’t like what I have to say?” “What if I break down and cannot finish what I have written down?” These were all legitimate concerns, but only to me. Realizing I was focusing on my concerns and worried about if I did something wrong how it would be received. What I had to do was change my entire mindset. Whether it is filling out a card, giving a heartfelt words to family and friends or standing up in front of a large gathering filled with emotion to give a speech when you are also filled with that same emotion, the answer is the same. When Albert Einstein was asked why we were here his answer was quick and simple, “We are here to serve others.” That is what we need to focus on during times of sorrow.

When I changed my mindset to one of service and began to ask myself what can I say that can give a little comfort or solace to those who were gathered there, the rest took care of itself. Was I emotional at some? Yes. Did I have to take a moment and compose myself before continuing? Yes. I believe that is of some service too. Knowing that your words come from a place of love and respect mean just as much as the words that are being said. I am generally thought of as a positive chap who promotes motivation and positivity. I thought things like that had no place at a memorial. What I have learned is being yourself and speaking (whether that is in person or in a card) words from the heart is all that matter.

Another thing to remember is that losing someone sucks…big time. This may seem like a no brainer but we must remember death affects everyone differently. We must also remember each of us grieve differently. People will be sad and that is alright. It is not our job to try to lift that sadness. Leave that to a power much great than yourself. Our job as fellow humans is to offer a bit of love and light to those who are hurting and to do so in our own particular way. To let everyone know we care. The way to do so is by being the wonderful caring people we are. We may stumble over our words and even get mixed up and say things completely wrong. That is okay. What matters is the love we have and the service we give. One day we will need the same.

ARE YOU A GOOD NEIGHBOR?

Even the casual follower of this blog, not to mention anyone who knows me personally, knows that I am a big fan of Mr. Rogers. A host of a children’s television program, but also a modern day teacher and philosopher who mastered the art of human fundamentals. That is to say he could break down the most complex subject so that children could understand. Divorce? He had a show for that. Senseless violence? He was able to talk to children about that. In doing so, he took subjects that were multi-layered and broke them down to the most basic aspect.

By doing this to benefit children, I think it had the unexpected result of benefiting adults as well. Just as a star athlete will practice the basic moves in which their sport is made of, we as adults must practice basic emotional and societal actions. There are steps such as finding a way to not only express our feelings in a healthy way, but allowing others to do the same that can make a huge impact on the world. Discovering what to do when you are mad. How to help yourself when you feel lonely. These are lessons that Mr. Rogers taught to children every day on his television show but that many of us have forgotten in this crazy work-a-day world.

The quotes in the two pictures I have featured represent 2 paths to changing the world. Sounds like a bold claim. Follow 2 quotes from a man who used to host a television show for children and we could change the world? Remember how an athlete becomes a star. They practice the fundamentals every day until they can do them without thinking. Let us get back to our human fundamentals. At a basic level all of humans have a great deal in common. We all want to be loved. We all want to be treated well. We all would like to be significant in some way. We want to feel like we make a difference.

Let us look at these two pieces of advice. The first one is to “offering, as a matter of course, just one kind word to another person.” He implores us to imagine what our real neighborhoods would be like. Can you imagine what your neighborhood would be like if everyone offered just one kind word to another person? If people walking around complimenting each other makes you think of a ‘neighborhood of make believe’, that should tell you how far we have strayed from human decency. How difficult is it to offer a person one kind word? How much effort does that take? Even offering them one kind thought. Is that really that difficult? Of course it isn’t. So why is it that imagining people doing that seems so far removed from reality? What can we do about it? We can let it start with us. When you see your neighbors share with them a kind thought or at least a kind word. Watch the difference it makes. Become that agent of change.

The second quote is a little more complex in both thought and words, but still something even a child could understand and certainly something an adult could do. It really breaks down into 2 sections. The first is, “To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now” A few things I would like to point out. First is the word strive. We may not always be successful in our attempts to accept those who are different than us. It takes a great amount of patience and compassion. Not only with the people who are different, but ourselves who may fail to do so. What is important is that we are striving to do so. If our intent is to love and accept our neighbor as they are, more often than not we will succeed in doing so. In the times we fail, we can apologize and even ask for their help in understanding. The second part is to “go on caring through the joyful times and through times that may bring us pain.” Right now a lot of people are experiencing pain and tough times. All of them for their own reasons. It may be difficult to understand what they are facing if we ourselves have not faced similar situations. It is for that reason it is so important that we go on caring for our neighbors.

It is the basic things that will allow us to become a united people. It is being loving and caring for each other. In this global world and economy that will live in, it is understand that we are all neighbors. We have the unique ability to affect people not only in our direct neighborhood, but in our world neighborhood as well. Will we use that power to divide or will we use it to show love to our neighbor and bring us closer together?

TIME FOR REAL CHANGE

In the wake of recent events the pace of change is accelerating today faster than it has in a long time. In many respects that is good. Giving those who have not had a voice a platform to speak. Addressing issues like racism and inequality that have plagued our nation for far too long. Unfortunately, there are many cases when people searching more for revenge and less for equality dominate the headlines. Violence and vandalism distract from what is a very important message.

I would like to see the world begin to create some real change. Peaceful protests are needed to bring the attention to issues that some may have ignored and others may be ignorant to the fact they have even existed. Now that many of the issues are on the table, we need to move forward in a constructive manner to institute real change. Toppling statues of leaders that were cruel and unjust is one thing. A more powerful route is to topple senators that still are. For the world to see real change, for people of every color, creed and sex be treated fairly we must educate ourselves and take action. What can you do? Learn where your elected officials stand on issues that are important to you. Make sure you are registered to vote and encourage, and assist if needed, others to do the same. Vote out of office those that seek to divide us and vote into office those that are pushing for the world to come together as one. Vote for peace, vote for love, vote for what you believe in, but whatever you do, vote.

Enough of this political banter. There is an even more powerful change that I have witnessed a lot more lately. What is that change? LOVE. Throughout all of the violence and negativity we have seen on the news, I have seen a different sort of change. I have seen many more people displaying a love and respect for others who may be different than them. A great example – The other night I had ventured to my local coffee shop to create some of these blogs. There were two young African-American ladies there studying for what appeared to be some exam. They were hard at work but still sharing some laughter. Shortly after I arrived, an elderly white couple came in and began to play bridge. With the social distancing in the coffee shop, there was not many tables to choose from. This created a rather ‘cozy’ atmosphere among the three tables I mentioned. I was lost in the world of my typing, which happens quite often. The next time I looked up the elderly lady had walked over to ask the young ladies what they were studying and to compliment one of them on their outfit.

This story may not seem like anything to mind-blowing, but it was heart-warming. Why? It is the way the world should be. From what I have seen in the past, people from different worlds do not often communicate with each other. Whether this was out of fear, a perceived lack of things in common (trust me we all have a lot more in common than we think) or some other reason, it prevents us from really getting to know each other. In a world where there needs to be some tough conversations, it is vital that we respectfully communicate with each other. If you think of tough conversations you have had in your personal life, you know how difficult that can be.

One of the most powerful ways that we can foster change is to simply love one another. Not only does this make sense from a social perspective but it has been the theme of almost every spiritual belief system as well. The golden rule. Below you will see how that very axiom is promulgated in nearly every spiritual text. Yet again, something we all have in common. No matter what belief we follow, we should all do our best to love one another.

Let us change the world. Let us change it with love. Let us change it now.

WHAT IT IS

Romance is a very important aspect of the relationship I share with Margie. In fact, I would say we both try to ‘out romantic’ each other. This not only forces us to use our already creative noggins, but if we want to really ‘outdo’ the other we really have to do something else very important. In this case outdoing your partner means making them feel even more loved than they did before. In that case it is a win/win situation. To do this we must really listen to what the other enjoys and to some extent what it is they do not enjoy.

A great example was on display these last few days. Margie wanted to do something special for my birthday. This becomes tricky because we are always doing little things to make each other feel special on a daily basis. When holidays come we really have to search and think of ways to take it up another notch. Margie knew I needed some time away from working as I have been pushing very hard at several projects lately. She thought “What would be a great place to take the man I love.” From what she told me she considered many different factors to make this decision.

We spent 2 wonderful days at a place called “Lazy cloud lodge”. Which, as the name would dictate, is predicated on doing…well…not much of anything. There was a Jacuzzi tub and fireplace in the room. She took me out for dinner at a wonderful Italian restaurant on my birthday and for a delicious breakfast the following day. We did a little shopping. We went for a walk down by the beach. All of this was great but it is not what made me the happiest.

What made me the happiest was the little things. Before we left she was so sweet as to call my mom to make sure that she did not mind if we were out of town on my birthday. Then, she melted my heart by shopping for and packing some snacks for us to enjoy as we drove along and to eat in the room. Then there was all of the effort that went into planning what she did. She knew I would be tempted to work, or at least workout, and picked a place that was focused on relaxation. She thought about the fact that I love nature and this place had a nice patio with woods behind it, a waterfall with large fish in it and many other natural aspects. She ordered some happy birthday balloons. Let’s face it, everything is happier with balloons. On my birthday when she would have liked to been with me the entire time, she made a sacrifice. You see, I love the sitting in the sun soaking it in. Margie, on the other hand, can get sunburn just by thinking of the sun. She told me, “You go enjoy the sun.” She stayed in the cool air-conditioned room. I sat in the nice swinging chair until missing my lovely lady on my special day just became too much.

She doesn’t know this part, although she will when she reads this, but the whole time we were gone I had an image stuck in my head. We have a little wooden sign above our television that reads, “This is my happy place”. All I could think about when relaxing on the patio, sitting in the hot tub, enjoying the wonderful dinner and breakfast or walking through the shops was this sign. Not because all of those places made me happy, which they did, but because of who I was with. You see, being with Margie is my happy place. Even when things don’t go quite according to plan, if we have each other I am happy. Yes, she is romantic ( I always try to outdo her in that category but don’t tell her that) That is important and impresses me, but it is not what makes me love her the most. In this case it was the thoughtfulness and considering others. It was the fact that she listened to what I like and tried to work that into what she had planned. It was all of her adorable actions to make sure that we not only had a good trip, but that I felt special.

If this weekend reminded me of anything, it was these two things. First, that Margie loves me. She not only said it this weekend, but even more important, she took actions to show it. All of the things she had planned, and even some things we did that she didn’t have planned showed me that. Second, it reminded me that regardless of where we are geographically, being with her is my happy place. Even if I was on a beautiful tropical island I wouldn’t be happy. (Maybe for a little while) That is what love is. Love is having someone special to share all of those memories with. Not only loving memories, but silly memories. Memories of when things didn’t go so well but you faced them and made it through them together. Love is not only romancing each other, but laughing together, being adventurous together, crying together and just sharing life with each other.

To my special love of my life – Thank you so much for making my birthday special. Not only for taking me on an amazing trip, but for sharing it with me and for just being you. When all is said and done, you are my favorite gift. Not only on my birthday, but each and every day.

THE FINAL DAY OF OUR CHALLENGE!

Today is our final day of our 7 day challenge. This challenge was to begin the month of July by posting nothing negative and at least one thing positive a day. The hashtag they recommend using is #7daysplus. Meaning it does not have to end here. For the sake of this challenge we are going to take a look back through the week and see what hopefully we have accomplished. My week began with the eager anticipation that many of you would join me on this challenge. In this way we could start a ripple effect of positive throughout our communities and throughout the world. We would start to change the narrative on the social media sights we belong to and begin to turn it to one of positivity and hope.

My positive thought for the day is that to some degree this has happened. In my own community, a childhood friend of mine named Jason took up the challenge and it has really generated some loving and supportive comments from family and friends on his posts. In Italy, a follower has offered me some great compliments and insights into this challenge and my blog in general. There have been new friends and followers made in the countries of Kenya and Finland. In a small way I feel as though I am doing my part to make this world a little more positive place than had I not have been here. In the big picture, I feel this should be a part of all of our life goals – to leave the world a better place than we found it.

I am filled with such gratitude for all of you who have participated. For those of you who did not, or maybe discovered this post a little late to do the first week of July, why not start today? Do your best to go a week without posting a single negative thing and at least one positive thing a day. It will truly help those in your social media circle, but it will also help you to change your focus to that of a more positive world. I cannot convey the peace of mind and heart this will give you. I know it was a great reminder for me to keep my focus on the beautiful things this life and world have to offer!

For those of you who did participate, please share what effects this challenge had on your life. Is there anything you would suggest to make it better next time? If you have an idea for a positive challenge that we can create on this blog please let us know in the ‘contact’ section or in the comments below!

DAY 1 OF THE 7 DAY JULY CHALLENGE!

Our first day! 7 days, all positivity, no negativity!! Giving our souls a little vacation. If you are just joining us, for the first 7 days of my birth month we are going to 1.) Cease from posting anything negative and 2) post one thing positive each day. By the end of the week we should have raised our vibration and begun to not only change ourselves but the world around us.

Here is mine. It is my sincere desire these 7 days begin to change the narrative. The more we change the focus to that of love and gratitude, we will inspire others to do the same. In turn, perhaps they may go on to share a smile or kind word to another. Thus, creating a ripple effect of kindness.

Can you ‘catch’ love from another person? I think you know the answer to that is yes. How do you feel when someone pays you a genuine compliment? Let’s you know how proud they are of you, or best of all, says they love you. You chest swells a little and joy seems to radiate from within.

The great thing about love, the more we share, the more we create! Putting more love into the world not only creates a more loving world, but a more loving you! Thunk of how you feel when you tell someone how wonderful they are, how proud you are of them or how much you love them? You feel better inside!

That is my positive thought today let us start a pandemic of love and let us share it wherever we can!

HERE’S YOUR NEW JOB!

As most of you know, I am a big fan of Mr. Fred Rogers. For the younger generation that follow me who may not have ever heard of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, it was a children’s show on public television. On this show Mr. Rogers taught kids very valuable life lessons. Things like how to express your feelings. The importance of maintaining a positive attitude. He also spoke of complicated things like death and divorce. He discussed these topics in a simple way that children could understand them.

In my mind, this had to be a very difficult thing to do. As adults we tend to over complicate nearly everything we do. Taking a complicated subject, such as divorce, and breaking it down to help children understand what is going on takes a lot of work. Mr. Rogers also broke down many barriers before their time. When people of different races were not allowed in the same swimming pool and tensions were high, Mr. Rogers invited his neighborhood friend Officer Clemmons, who is African-American, to soak his feet in the swimming pool with him. They sat and talked. Not about Racism or even the current pool segregation. Instead they talked about how hot it was. When Officer Clemmons remarked he did not have a towel, Mr. Rogers quickly volunteered to share his.

This may not seem like anything so remarkable on the surface, but in 1969 when the episode aired, it was. People of different colors were not supposed to swim together and certainly not share a towel. Now take time to think that this was on a children’s television show. People in their formative years were watching this. They were not hearing an argument as to what was or should be. They were not being preached at. They were being shown an example of how people should treat each other.

Leading by example was something often seen on Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood. I recall an episode where he visited a restaurant to show children what that was like. He was courteous, and well-mannered. He didn’t say, “Now this is how you behave here.” He just did. Another thing I recall from both that episode and others, was how he seemed in awe of everything and everyone. Some may take a person making a sandwich for granted. Not Fred Rogers. He genuinely complimented the people throughout his entire visit. He also seemed entirely grateful. He seemed to find joy in the smallest things. From everything I have seen and read, Fred Rogers was this type of person off the screen as well.

Here is where you and your job comes in. Mr. Fred Rogers died in 2003. He was a dynamic man with a heart bigger than most people I can think of. His ‘Neighborhood’ was a fictitious place, but it doesn’t have to be. Each one of us can be the Mr. Rogers of our own neighborhoods. We can teach by example. We can treat everyone we meet with reverence and respect. As one of my other mentors, Earl Nightingale, said, “We do this because that is how people ought to be treated.” Treat each day and thing as a miracle – because they are. Foster an attitude of gratitude. There is always so much to be thankful for. When others try to divide us, love one another. A loving example can be just as powerful as a speech, sometimes even more so.

This piece of advice was given by Mr. Rogers during many crisis. It couldn’t hold more weight today. In this social media driven world we can tend to see and focus on only the bad and negative. That is very easy to do, it is plastered all over the place. One way we can be like Mr. Rogers and help us all to have more ‘beautiful days in the neighborhood’ is to look for the helpers, the people who are helping. Find the people helping to clean up the environment. Find those trying to help the old and sick. Find those who are trying to bring people together instead of driving them apart. Join these people. Support these people. Most of all – become one of these people. In short – become the Mr. Rogers of your neighborhood.

WORK ON YOUR DIET AND CHANGE THE WORLD

Here is one of those fabulous things I happen across on my social media viewing. I was blessed to have many friends who shared this exact picture. More importantly, I believe they also genuinely feel that way. Once again, I must mention how grateful I am to have people in my life that feel and act this way.

In a world where many people may feel confused or concerned how to speak to and treat one another, there is one guiding principle that can make things a little easier and a lot less stressful. That principle is to have a genuine love and appreciation for all of us sharing this planet. It can be a hard thing to do at times, but if you can show love to everyone, including those who may seem not to deserve it, you will have a truly amazing life.

I know you might be thinking, “That sounds great Neil, but how can I learn to do that?” A first great step would be to watch your diet. You might be wondering how watching what you eat can help you to become a more loving and compassionate individual. Your diet is not only the food you consume. Your diet also consists of the music you listen to, the books you read, the people you hang out with and everything you consume not only physically, but emotionally and spiritually as well. At the end of this post I will give you a little healthy treat for your diet. Make sure you read on for that.

If you spend your time in fear of what words or phrases may be acceptable these days, or you just are concerned with saying the wrong thing, there is a simple solution to that as well – become an encouraging. This world that can seem crazy and chaotic is woefully short on reasons to be encouraged. Help someone heal. Help them believe in themselves. If this is your intentions, your heart will guide you to the right words.

By having and more importantly showing love for each other, we do something wonderfully important – we help people believe in themselves. There are many great agents of change, spiritual and cultural leaders that have doubted themselves at some point. Without their contribution, the world would have been a darker place. The great thing about this is that there is always opportunities to help someone believe in themselves and in turn help them change the world.

Don’t believe it? Think of some of these examples. You encourage a young lady who is learning the art of cake decorating. Instead of giving up when her wedding cake looks more like abstract art than a culinary masterpiece, she tries again. She remains confident and goes on to create edible works of art. How does this change the world? Imagine the joy that adds to every special occasion her cakes are a part of. They will add something special to every event. A heart-melting sigh when the bride and groom see their cake on their wedding day. The ear to ear grin on the young child when they see their favorite character sitting right on top of their birthday cake.

Perhaps it is a young writer? Maybe pondering if the words he shares truly impact the lives of others. How would an encouraging word help this young fellow and how would it then change the world? Perhaps it would encourage him to continue to develop his craft and keep sharing his words knowing someone is listening. Then those words could reach a lost and lonely soul halfway across the world and bring them joy. Those words could then be shared from Armenia to Zimbabwe. Changing the day for many.

These are totally random and hypothetical examples, but they hold true just the same. We never know what someone is facing in life or where their heart and mind may be at. Maybe it is encouraging someone singing on a microphone for the first time, or the lonely kid sitting by themselves at lunch. Just letting these people know that you have love for them will make their world brighter, the world as a whole brighter and just might save their life.

As promised I am going to give you a little something good to add to your diet and will help you to remember to encourage and have love for people of all kinds. If you click the link below you will be treated to a great performance by the artist Michael Franti. Not only is Michael a great ambassador for love and peace, he represents a lot of us. He was adopted as a young child. His mother was European and his father a mix of African and Native American. He has a sister who is a lesbian and a brother who is a police officer. Well-rounded you might say. I strongly encourage you to click on the link below to listen to this song for yourself. Feel free to leave your comments and suggestions for encouraging and having love for each other below.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW AND LISTEN TO THE GREAT MICHAEL FRANTI SONG

YOUR 3RD STEP TO HAPPINESS

Welcome to day 3 of our happiness journey! As a quick reminder we are starting from the bottom of staircase and climbing our way to a happier and more amazing life. A quick review of day 2. Watch less, do more was our guide. As we discussed, watching can have a great deal of benefits but nothing compares to being out in the arena taking action!

Now let us get to today, day 3! This day may be one of the hardest days for a lot of people. Judge less, accept more. It can be hard for many of us to accept those who live their lives in a different manner than we feel is right. The one fact we must keep in the front of our mind is that it is their life to live. We may disagree with how they are spending their days, but it is their time they are spending. Often, some of our most passionate beliefs such as spiritual, sexual and political can be the hardest to accept someone that is different than us. One of my main goals as a writer is to help the world be more unified and accepting.

One fact that people often confuse is they feel one way can only exist in humanity. I have friends who have different sexual preferences than I do. Never, have I felt that either one of us would have to change how we are in order to be friends. Never have I thought less of them because they do. I have friends of many different spiritual beliefs. I feel their differences often show me ways to enhance and deepen my own beliefs. Politics…I seldom see the benefit to judging or trying to change anyone in this arena. As long as there exists love, I feel any other difference can be overcome. Which leads me to conclude that to limit our judgement, we do not need to work on increasing our acceptance, but on increasing our love.

One area in which I struggle with is watching others live a life that is far less than I know they are capable of. I see people act and speak in ways that often bring chaos and unhappiness into their lives. All I see is the beautiful person inside that has so much to offer the world. It can be tempting to relieve some of this frustration by offering to help them by sharing things I have learned that allowed me to turn my own life around. I must remember that this path is not for everyone and that some people are more content to live their lives in the manner in which they do. As an odd twist of fate, I found that loving and accepting those people can help them even more than the words and ideas I can share. Like I said, it is something I am working on.

If you feel comfortable sharing some of your struggles in turning judgement into acceptance in your own life, I think we all would love to hear them. Sometimes that might give others the strength and inspiration to do the same.