SEE THE SIGNS

When people find that I am an advocate for positive living, the same question seems to pop up, “Why bother?” They want to know why you should bother being nice to people. Why is it important to stop and greet strangers with a smile? Why is it important to check in with friends even if you really have nothing else to say? Why is it important to keep courting the love of your life, long after they have agreed to the ‘happily ever after’?

These are all very good questions. Some people who may fit into the pessimistic lifestyle even ask me questions such as “Why bother being nice to people when all they will do is end up taking advantage of you?” No doubt this question has arises from some past experience they have had. The funny thing about that is it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. When you treat people with the forgone conclusion that at some point they are going to take advantage of you or do something hurtful, you withhold certain things. You may not give them the full amount of trust. You may not be completely open and vulnerable with them. Perhaps you may even skip doing the little extra things that may inconvenience you but mean the world to them. After all why would you go out of your way when sooner or later you are going to end up with the short end of the stick?

The ironic thing here is by doing these actions you perpetuate those very circumstances. How? If someone makes you feel like they can’t trust you, how would that make you feel about them? If they never seem to share about themselves and seem guarded would you feel close to them? Trying to keep yourself from getting hurt ends up pushing people away.

Here is another reality – no matter how hard you try at some point you will get hurt. Your paths will cross with some malevolent people, and even good people on occasion do things that hurt us without meaning to. Especially if they don’t know you well enough to know what might upset you.

So why be nice? Why go out of your way to do the things mentioned in the first paragraph? Here’s why. In the picture you see both a sign and a card. The first my lovely Margie left the sign on the mirror while she was shopping with her daughter and I was at the gym. How do you think that sign made me feel as I left for work? Loved? Grateful? Happy? All warm and fuzzy inside? Yes to all the above! The reason she did it she told me was because of how I was making her feel.

The card is an even better story. I shared with Margie how hard it is for me when the Wisconsin State Fair ends. It is not only the end of that festival, which I have loved since a child, but the end of my vacation that year and summer coming to a close. Three things I enjoy coming to a conclusion all at the same time can leave me feeling a little blue. Knowing this the love of my life bought me a ‘get well’  card of sorts. Cheering me up and reminding me of good times to come.

Do you think that would’ve happened had I taken or relationship for granted? Assuming your relationship is ‘handled’ because it is going ok is one of the biggest mistakes a couple can make. Love is one thing you should never put on autopilot. Let me be clear, the reason I put in so much effort in making my lady understand how much she is loved and how beautiful she I find her is not so I can see what creative and wonderful surprises she can leave me. I do it because I am the man in her life and I believe that is what a real man should do. I work as hard as I can to give her a man she can be proud of. I also do my best to not only tell her, but show her how beautiful she is to me and how loved she is. As you can see, the rewards I receive are well worth it.

Here is a wonderful thing I have done with both the card and the sign. I put them inside my laptop and every time I write I open it up to find examples of the love she has shown me. This not only helps on the days when a reminder comes in handy, but each and every time that I see them. It has taken two single very thoughtful moments from my love and made them gifts that give me joy every time I open my computer to write. This not only has me feeling loved it puts me in a great mood to write. It also fills me with gratitude for the amazing woman I have.

How do you think having these reminders serves our relationship? When we are not seeing eye to eye on something, having an example of how great our love can be creates an urge to get back there. When I am away writing, looking over and seeing these reminders helps me stay focused and get my work done so I can come home to the wonderful lady who created them. They are gifts that continue to keep on giving.

Take the time to share with the one you love. The only way for them to love all of you is if all of you loves all of them. That might be tricky to read, but it certainly will make your relationship a glorious source of joy and growth like Margie and I are blessed to have. It also helps to carry reminders of your love with you when you go somewhere.

STOP WAITING!

Last post we discussed enjoying the process. That is, whatever goal you are chasing, whatever you are trying to accomplish, whatever outcome you are working towards, remember to focus on the enjoying the journey. Celebrate small victories. Understand challenges and what may seem as temporary failures are really learning opportunities and stepping stones to where you wish to go.

Why is this so important? It is paramount! Up to 90% of our life is spent on the journey from one point to another. If you catch yourself uttering phrases like, “I will be happy when..” Stop right there. By stating that you will only be happy when the goal is achieved, the destination is arrived at, you are postponing your happiness. Who decides when you should be happy? You do! You do this by assigning meaning to daily events. The difference between happy, successful people and those who feel life is hard are whether or not you do so consciously.

We do not get to decide what circumstances arrive daily, but we do get to decide 100% on what it means to us. It is the difference of life happening to you or you happening to life. If you are living in reaction you are giving up control of your emotional well-being to other people, other circumstances, the weather and a million other sources. It is our decisions, not our circumstances that should control our life. Do not wait for the weekend, do not wait for graduation, to not wait until you are married or get that dream job. Decide to be happy starting today, starting right now.

If you wait to be happy in your relationship until you are married, you may never get there. Decide to create as much happiness in your relationship starting today and when wedding bells chime, your heart will be exploding with more joy than you can imagine. Postpone your happiness until that dream job arrives and you may not only be passed over for a more enthusiastic and cheerful candidate, you may even lose the job you are not enjoying now. Decide to find even the smallest things to enjoy and be grateful for in the job you are in now, and you will find yourself receiving praise from those around you and you will find in a short time you will have outgrown your position!

The most important benefit of this decision will be the improvement in the quality of your life. You will have good days and bad days. What is for certain, when you adopt this attitude, you will grow on each and every one of them. You will also find your hardest days will be your greatest blessings. Develop an attitude that says ‘Either I will win, or I will learn’

ARE YOU PSYCHIC ?

This post has very little to do with the answer to that question . Still let us take a look at the question. Do you even believe in psychic ability? If so, how much do you think you have? How much do you think others have? How developed is it? You have to admit, if you are one of the people who do believe, the amount of people who have developed psychic power is far and few between.

So what does all of this have to do with living and amazing life? Plenty. It is one of the basic fundamentals I teach people in dealing with others. See if this sounds familiar to you. Have you ever heard someone complaining about their friend/coworker/spouse not knowing what they want? My first question to these people who are complaining is “Did you tell them?”. They often respond with a blank stare followed shortly by such phrases as “Well they should know” or “any idiot would know”. A lot of people assume because of their actions people should know. Maybe they have even told this person in the past. Still I remind them that most people do not have the time or energy to walk around pondering what people are ‘trying to tell them’.

How many disagreements or hurt feelings in your own life have arisen out of the fact that the two parties involved just were not clear on what the other wanted? I know in my own life I am victim of this more often then I would like to admit. I assume people know more about my desires than they do. If someone hurts you or offends you in some way because they were ignorant as to your feelings on the matter that is on you. That might sound a little harsh, but remember they cannot read our minds.

Let’s look at situations where you have told someone in the past about a situation that hurt you. In this situation we are looking at two possible scenarios. One, the person knew this would bother you and took the opportunity to do so. If that is so, perhaps we need to rethink their position in our life. The far more likely scenario is they forgot. It slipped their mind. This can only add to the frustration especially if it is something you are passionate about. It is not easy, especially in the moment, but we must remember people have a lot going on in their heads far more than just what upsets us. Again, personally I confess this is something I am still really working on.

Here is the takeaway. If there is something that is bothering you, or even something that would make you extremely happy that someone can do. Tell them. Once you share with them “This is what I like, this is what I don’t like” then the responsibility is on them. When and if they forget that or fail to do what you desire do your best not to get upset. Instead remind them that you told them and ask if there is a better way to communicate your desires or if there is anything you can do to help them remember for next time. Trust me the response you will get is far better than just getting upset.

Also remember to look at the other side of things. How fair do you think it is that people expect you to know everything that makes them happy or upset? Make being around you easy and enjoyable. Be upfront with what you do and do not enjoy. Chances are your relationships will improve and all parties will be happier.

Feel free to share your communication secrets below as well as sharing this post. Most importantly remember to share your feelings with the parties that can do something about them.

THAT IS NOT FUNNY!! OH WAIT,YES IT IS

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This is something to think about. It is always important to find and have something in your life that can make you laugh. It is even better if you have people in your life that can assist you with this. Life is truly a never-ending source of comedy once you are determined to find it. How hard can that be? Let me share a recent example in my own life with you. Because we are a bartender/dj couple on most nights, my lady and I have to grocery shop at some odd hours. Last night, or should I say at four o’clock this morning we found ourselves picking dish soap and things for dinner for the week. In the middle of all the food some previous shopper had left a toy pig that grunted when you squeezed it. My lovely lady found this quite amusing and proceeded to carry it with us as we shopped finding different noises she could create. It had us laughing as we went through the aisles and even startled a few other shoppers. the point is that is was just a random thing we had found in the grocery store and used it to create a evening of laughter. Now besides the benefits listed above, we also created a great memory to share between us. As mentioned in yesterdays post, it is very important to stock pile fun, loving and silly moments with those you care about in your life, both friends and spouses. So do yourself a favor and pick up that movie that makes you laugh, grab a joke book from the library or whatever else brings a smile to your face. The benefits will amaze you. Not to mention it feels amazing.

RENEW YOUR MARRIAGE LICENSE

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While at the fair I happened to catch a stand-up comedian’s act. To be honest he wasn’t very funny, but one thing he said got me thinking. After spending far to long on a joke that came at the expense of his wife he quipped “Have you ever noticed that your marriage license is the only one that doesn’t expire? Like every four years the court doesn’t ask you if you still want to be married to this woman?”. If she had heard his jokes I can only imagine her verdict would be. At first I just thought it was as goofy as the rest of his humor. People get married because it is a sign that they intend to stay by each other’s side for the rest of their lives. Still the more I thought about it, the more good I saw in such an idea. I think a lot of relationships tend to get ‘comfortable’ once the marriage certificate is signed. I’m not sure if the thinking is “This person agreed to be stuck with me so I don’t have to try anymore” or is it more of the thought that the prize has been one, the peak of the mountain has been reached. Fill in whatever analogy you care to use. I am all for marriage. I love to see love celebrated and I am a fan of committing to one person to honor and respect for the rest of your life. Still, would 50% of marriages end in divorce if you knew you had to keep trying? Would things be so comfortable if you knew in four, six or however many years you were going to be asked if you still wanted to remain married? How would you act different if you knew your partner were to be asked the same thing? Would you work harder to keep your partner happy and loving if you knew they were going to be asked if they still wanted to stay with you or walk away? I am sure we have all known couples who stay together simply because of the cost and legal issues with divorce. Even this keeps them from trying to improve their situation because they feel comfortable their partner will not leave them. This is also why I am a fan of renewing vows. Telling your partner that you would marry them all over again can be even more romantic than the first time. So ask yourself, or if your brave enough ask your partner, “Would you renew our marriage license?”. Even if you are not married, do you think if your partner knew all they would have to go through and the current state of your relationship would they choose to get together with you in the first place? If not, you should probably consider what had you fall in love in the first place and how to get back there. Even if you think they would, ask yourself what can you do to keep things loving and passionate? You might want to start by renewing your vows, or telling them you would want to get together with them all over again if given the chance. Do yourself and your partner a favor and renew your marriage license today.