happiness

What Does It Mean To Be a True Friend?

Lately I have had more than my share of friends and acquaintances ask for my opinion on sensitive subjects, or just share with me a situation they are facing. These are work related, relationship related and family related…all very personal.

My first thoughts tend to be, “Do they want to just vent, do they want me to validate their choices, or do they want my honest opinion?”

I find most people just need to articulate their dilemmas and are simply looking for confirmation that they are reading the situation correctly. These people seem grateful to hear a different perspective regarding implementing what they already know. Sometimes just receiving validation that you are in fact on the right path is very empowering.

Lucy-Giving-Advice

The really challenging situations are when friends confide in me that they are doing something causing my brain to yell in big red letters, “RUN AND DON’T LEAVE A FORWARDING ADDRESS!!”

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The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result. Yet whether due to guilt, hopefulness, regret or any other emotion, the reality is that most every human being walking the face of the earth has occasionally experienced this.

So, what does it mean to be a true friend? Do you sit quietly as you watch a friend enter a tunnel hoping that the light at the end isn’t an on coming train? Or, do you tell them that you hear the whistle and see the smoke?

No one wants to rain on a friend’s parade or burst his or her bubble. No one wants to see their friends choose a path that is certain to cause heartache and sadness. We are faced with many situations in our lives where there isn’t a clear and right answer. I watched a TV show last year where a singer accused his former wife of giving up on their love. Her response was, “How could I know that the 9th time you went to rehab it would work”? She gave up on the 8th time.

My point in sharing the above story: No one really knows if this time the outcome will be different, even if the odds seem stacked against it.

Since I don’t have a crystal ball, I have decided to do the following: Unless I am asked my honest opinion, I will keep my thoughts to myself, although wondering whether I am indeed being a true friend. I welcome all comments.

crystal-ball

My book, 12 Ways To Discover What Makes You Tick is filled with practical exercises and suggestions regarding growth through awareness of how and why we react the way we do.

Use this convenient link to buy it or go directly to Amazon to get your copy. http://amzn.to/1T2u4sr

Aren’t you worth investing a few dollars in order to make healthy changes that will ultimately give you the perspective needed to improve your interpersonal relationships? Lots to gain, little to lose!

For more inspirational thoughts and videos, please sign up at my website www.ronikugler.com. If you find value in my articles, please share them with your friends and family. #lessons#choices#self-awareness.

Forgiving Ourselves

I had lunch yesterday with a friend of many years.  This is an extremely emotional time for her.  She recently lost a former husband who was a dear friend, and she is racked with guilt regarding decisions she made over 25 years ago.
We are taught at a very young age to say we are sorry and to forgive those who push us, grab our toys and say unkind things to us.  But, we are never taught to forgive ourselves.
Many of us take on burdens that we don’t own.  Things we do in our youth that might be selfish, self-serving or just plain surviving. Does that make us responsible till the day we die for the actions and choices of the people in our lives?
Most parents spend years blaming themselves for the decisions their children make as adults.  But, the reality is we really do the best we can with what we have at the time.  Wisdom comes from experiencing, acknowledging and hopefully learning.
Forgiving others and moving on is an important part of life.  Forgiving ourselves?  This is truly the best gift we can ever give ourselves.  We all make mistakes.
I was going through a relationship break-up several years ago.  I was feeling so guilty and sad.  I knew I made the right decision, however, I couldn’t get past that I was hurting someone who I cared about.
One of my best friend’s husbands said to me “Roni, take whatever responsibility you want, then forgive yourself and move on.”  This was not as difficult as I thought.  After all, I am human and we all have flaws.

Don’t Sweat What You Can’t Control

In the movies, the holidays are presented as a time when families and friends get together to eat, laugh and share their blessings.  Even if things start out tense, it always ends up with brotherly love and picture perfect memories.
Real life, especially these days, and the movies we watch aren’t always in sync.  With blended families and his, hers, theirs and ours, it is virtually impossible to please everyone.
There is one day called Thanksgiving, one day called Easter and one day called Mother’s Day, etc.  It is challenging at best to be everywhere at once. 
 
Isn’t the important thing that no matter when we get together, even if it is the day before Thanksgiving or the Sunday after Mother’s Day that we enjoy our family and friends?
Isn’t the important thing that we make memories and cherish our times together when we can?
Instead of making our children feel guilty, instead of getting our feelings hurt, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could open our hearts and our minds to not look at a calendar, but instead look at the people around the table and be happy for the time we do have?
I think so!

 

Judge and Jury

After posting a blog called “When I Lose 5 Pounds”, I received a very nice email from a very close friend of mine.
She wrote: 
“I wish that more people could focus on and foster the good and fortunate in their lives…. and that leads me to all the people that are so judgmental…. I know that human nature is to judge, but don’t people realize that we judge ourselves enough? There isn’t enough room or time to consider their judgments of us.”
I think this is a subject worth repeating and repeating and repeating.  There is a new device that Google makes.  It allows a person to wear glasses so they can see their emails, maps, movies and anything else that for some reason we feel we need to see while walking outside and hanging with friends.
I guess we need this because we certainly don’t get enough time in front of an electronic device.  Ok, enough of my sarcasm.


Actually, what I would like to see is someone invent a mirror that we can wear so we can look at ourselves as we go through our day.  Maybe if we looked more closely at our own behavior and actions we might actually pay more attention to how we treat other people.  We might actually get a chance to observe the struggles that others go through and then perhaps we might learn to be more compassionate and understanding and LESS a judge and jury.
Wouldn’t that be a wonderful thing?

When I lose 5 pounds!


Does this sound like you?  “I will be happier when I lose 5 pounds?”  Or perhaps, ‘When I get a boyfriend, when I get married, when I get a raise, when I graduate school, when I buy a house, when I retire…”

The list can be endless.   The reality is that all the above doesn’t actually make someone happy.  We think it does, but for many we pass right up on the happy factor on our way to yet another goal.
Consider the concept of accepting ourselves and being happy with whom we are, right this minute.  Yes, a few pounds overweight, credit cards in the red, the house without the pool and the anything else you could throw in.
Most studies validate that happy people actually get their happiness from inside themselves and not the things that can be purchased.

I am not underestimating that money, great looks, or a perfect body isn’t appealing.  What I am trying to say is many of those people aren’t happy.  Hard to believe because most of those who don’t fall into that category can’t understand why not.
The reason?  They too want to lose 5 more pounds, have even more money in the bank, and would love to do whatever they feel is out of their reach.
Try finding the things in your life that you can be happy about right now.  Healthy children?  A loving spouse?  Your pets?  A job that pays your bills?  A bed to sleep in at night. 
Whatever it is for you, think about what really is important.  Or, no matter what you have, will you spend your life looking for yet one more thing that prevents you from being happy right at this very moment?

 

Life’s Little Challenges

I play Words With Friends with someone whom I used to work with.  Many years ago she moved to the East Coast.  I got a message from her this morning that she locked herself out of the house.
While I was suggesting she call a locksmith and several other concrete ideas, she had a different take on it.  The weather is nice.  She is outside.  There’s no reason to panic, and she planned on waiting for her neighbor who comes and goes to give her the extra key she made for him.
Although it isn’t the worst of circumstances, someone else might have become unglued thinking of all the negative things this could cause.  Instead, my friend accepted that it would be awhile and is using the time the best she can.


I worked for someone who was always saying, “Affect what you can and don’t obsess about the things you can’t change.”  While this isn’t always easy, it is good advice.  It doesn’t mean that you sit back and do nothing; it just means that the negative, angry energy is a waste.  It doesn’t change anything, and in most cases will impact you and not the situation.
When you accept that things don’t always go smoothly, do the best you can to go with the flow.  This way you don’t deplete yourself when you are faced with larger, more pressing challenges.

Make sense?

Energy

Interesting thing about energy.  It can give you a boost, or it can bring you down.  When you are excited about your day, your job, your life there is a feeling that anything is possible.  And when your day isn’t going well, your job isn’t fun or challenging and your life seems dismal, your energy will be one of feeling depleted.
There are things we can’t change.  Sometimes the job is just work.  Sometimes the day is frustrating and boring, and sometimes our lives seem like there is more bad than good.
So, my thought is what can we do to keep our spirits up, our mood elevated and our overall outlook rosier?
My good friend shared with me that she did something today that she hasn’t done in quite awhile.  She sat in a quiet room and listened to a few hours of classical music.  She wasn’t productive.  She didn’t accomplish anything.  She did however, come away feeling upbeat, and rejuvenated and said to me, “That was good for my soul.”


So, what are you doing that is “good for your soul?”  Think about what things you can incorporate in your day, in your week, in your life that gives your energy a boost.

I Know This is Bad For Me!

I have heard many conversations this past week about people wanting to make changes.  Of people knowing that what they are doing isn’t working for them, AND YET!!
My hairstylist has a son who smokes and acknowledges it is bad for him, but he doesn’t stop.  Another friend chooses a toxic relationship over a healthier one while admitting it is insane.  And a friend who really wants to be more active and yet can’t seem to motivate herself to give up some of her more sedentary activities.

There are some experts that feel you can’t change what you don’t acknowledge.  Although all of these people will freely admit and acknowledge that they are very aware of what they would like to do differently, they can’t or don’t.
Changing one’s lifestyle isn’t easy.  Giving up what is comforting and comfortable isn’t easy.
Many stay in jobs they are unhappy in.  Many stay in relationships that no longer work.  Many choose unhealthy lifestyles.  And many have a difficult time making other choices with their leisure time.
What if you were to look at life as a blank piece of paper with the ability to make the picture any shape or color you want?   In one hand you hold the brush and in the other an eraser to recreate or start over when you need or want to.  Many people tend to think that once they have started or even finished the picture they should or have to live with the result.  What if you changed your thinking here?
I believe that the mind first needs to change.  Then perhaps we have a better chance of changing the behavior.

Easy?  Not always.  Worth it?  I guess time will be the best judge.  Would love to hear some of your experiences and thoughts.

Those People

I was talking with a friend the other day.  It was the weekend and all she really wanted to do was kick back, watch TV and basically do nothing.  She got several invitations to go for a meal, a party and a movie.  She was telling me that she really didn’t want to do any of those things.  She also told me she thought she should.
I asked her if she was depressed.  She said no.  I asked her if she was happy with her choice to just be a ‘slug’.  She said yes.  So, I asked her “Why do you feel you should accept these invitations?”  Basically her answer was because she thought she should.
I would like to know who decided how much time we should devote to work.  How much time we should devote to play.  And, how much time we should devote to being productive.
We all should be monitoring ourselves.  Not defending or apologizing for how we allocate our time.  Of course, if all we are doing is working, or all we are doing is playing, then our lives do get out of balance.
But where is it written that the percentage of how we make these choices ‘should’ be a certain number?
I have to say that it is a pet peeve of mine that so many judge the activities and choices others make when it comes to down time.  If I want to play Words With Friends for hours, who is it hurting?  If someone else prefers to watch mindless TV shows during their relaxing time, who is it hurting?  And, if someone wants to take an afternoon nap?  Who is it hurting?

I believe we need more rest and relaxation time.  Time to let our minds wander.  Time to use our imagination.  Time to get lost in a good book.  Who said we have to be productive all the time?  That is, UNLESS we choose to.

The Simple Things

There have been many studies on what makes people happy.  Is it money?  Is it love?  Is it security?  Is it faith?  Or, is it something that comes from inside of us?
I personally know people who are happy even though they have more than their share of problems.  I personally know people who can’t seem to be happy even though it appears as if they live without many challenges.

I understand that one person’s opinion of challenges, problems and a carefree life is different.  I also understand that we all bring our childhood, family issues and personalities into the equation.
And yet, it seems to me that happiness is a state of mind.  As in, “if you think you are happy, you are.” And, “if you think you are unhappy, you are.”
I make a choice pretty much every day to find something to be happy about.  I do this because I know there are many who have it worse than I do.  I feel blessed for what I have.  I don’t concentrate on those who have more.
Lying in a hammock makes me happy.  Not a lounge chair, not the grass, but a hammock.  So, today as I search the Internet for a hammock, I feel happy.  Sometimes it is the simplest of things. 

What makes you happy?