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Note to Self

    Rules

These ideas have all been expressed before, in list form even. Probably even all together in the same list. But suddenly, today, standing in the bathroom just before bed, they seemed to come to me in language I understood. I need to repeat them. Once or twice. Daily.

1. Don’t allow yourself to be such a perfectionist that you forget to allow yourself to be good at and dedicated to the things you choose to be.

2. Do not allow yourself to be so guilty that you truly don’t see the difference between certain oft-judged behaviors that you truly enjoy and ones that are truly harmful.

3. Do not allow yourself to be so replete with thee, that you forget to be truly you (Or, you know, whatever that poem by Sir Thomas Browne says…).

4. Do not give your thoughts so much credence. You needn’t perceive every negative thought as a failure to be grateful.

5. Do not devalue your contribution to the world, no matter how small.

6. Do not feel that you need to numb yourself to get through the day – YOU ARE HAPPY NOW.

7. Don’t waste any more time imagining the person you should be.

8. Don’t listen to the fears in your head – They are lying to you! All those bad things won’t happen.

9. Embrace your happiness today, not when you think you deserve it at some point in the future.

10. Stop thinking that there are any requirements to happiness other than the ones you’ve already got.

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“Talk about your Blessings more than your Problems”

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photo credit to Sun Gazing

I just saw this on Facebook (I know, I know… Why even go on Facebook anymore?) and my first thought, as it always is, was: “Don’t tell me what to do!” After I laughed at myself, as I always do, however, I got angry. I am so sick and tired of all of these pithy posts about the wonders of being grateful and positive. Because you know what? If I talked about my blessings more than my problems, I would probably already be one of those shiny happy, joy-filled hippies who goes around giving out free hugs. But I’m not. I’m far too negative and therefore, I need to do something drastic like create a blog that sort of loosely forces me to talk about my blessings.

Is it a good idea? Of course. Does it make sense? Of course. Do I need Facebook to remind me that I suck at it? No. Especially when that reminder comes in the form of Jim (sans Huck) on the raft playing with doves. Seriously; WTF?

My real problem, of course, is that it’s perfectly sound advice that I should follow. Particularly fitting is that I just spent an hour on the phone with my mom, complaining about my problems. It should be noted also that I did this whilst the cleaning lady I just hired cleaned my whole house and my husband and sister-in-law took my son to the zoo. Oy vey.

The thing is that these sort of simple one-liners make it sound so easy. Oh, right. If I just focused on my blessings… I hadn’t realized that focusing on my problems made things worse. Well, duh. Of course I realized that. Everyone realizes that, don’t they? What I need is a step-by-step method of actuating it, not a one-liner that I can just like on Facebook to seem wise to all my friends and acquaintances (or to annoy them, as is probably more accurately the case).

Hmm… buy a self help book, you say, rather than sitting around in my pajamas eating cheese, watching Master Chef and tooling around on Facebook? Do you have a step-by-step method of actuating that? If not, probably not going to happen…

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Why rainy day gratitude?

I have been trying to find a journaling/blogging/writing style that will result in my being: A, an excellent (and quite possibly published) author and B, a happy, successful and, while we’re at it, thin individual. As you will note, this is my first post on this blog (that I started months ago). So far? Not published. Not successful. Not thin. Sigh.

In 2011, I tried listing three things I was grateful for every day, in the hopes that I would magically turn into one of those people who wakes up every morning beaming sunshine instead of wanting to punch my morning-person husband in the face. I think I made it about 66 days or so, which is pretty damn good, in my opinion. I still, however, want to punch my husband in the face in the mornings (or more so now, my 1 year old child – which I’ve heard is an even bigger no-no). I also noticed a pattern; A slightly disturbing one, if I’m being honest. I would say, generously speaking, at least 60% of the things I was grateful for were food or food related. hmm… Not really helpful for that whole “thin” thing, for starters.

Now, was I grateful in the “Thank you, Lord for this food which nourishes my body and gives me energy to take on my day with zest and joyful intention”? No. It was more like “Yay, pizza!”. Don’t get me wrong. I love me some pizza and am truly grateful for the Domino’s man that brings it to me on Pizza Fridays (Yeah, that’s how we roll around here). But there’s something seriously wrong when your husband takes you on a weekend trip to the glorious city of Milan to see the spectacular Tori Amos in concert and all you can write about is the freakin pasta (mmmm…. pasta).

So, what’s my problem? Well, my issue with the Milan trip is that I was 2 months pregnant and terribly nauseated the entire time (and let me tell you, that bus ride from the Milan airport into the city center is NOTHING to be grateful for). My issue currently is that I live in a country where I don’t have many friends, I don’t speak the language and it rains. A lot. My “bigger picture” issue is that I have battled depression and anxiety for most of my life. (And, after all, what’s the best way to deal with a social anxiety disorder? Why, move to a country where you know no one, don’t speak the language and have to deal with new and horrible situations every day. In the rain. Of course. SMH.)

Am I here, then, in this blog, going to try to rectify all that by again trying to make grandios declarations of my gratitude for all to bask in how wonderful I’ve dealt with this ridiculous situation I’ve put myself in? No. Here, I am going to be real (finally). Sans “shoulds” and “should nots”. I’m going to acknowledge the striving towards true gratitude I have always had, but I’m also going to allow for the rainy days, even if they come weeks in a row (which they do – seriously, this country sucks).

I am also NOT going to feel bad for being extremely happy and grateful about pizza.