Learn to Laugh About It

January 29, 2013

“Above all else, go with a sense of humor. It is needed armor. Joy in one’s heart and some laughter on one’s lip is a sign that the person down deep has a pretty good grasp of life.”

—  Hugh Sidey
Source: Oprah.Com Newsletter E-mail 
 
Some of us are just serious people. Everything needs to have its place, things need to get done in a certain order, and life can get a bit drab and boring. It gets this way because we forget to laugh at ourselves. We forget to make fun of ourselves. We think of our flaws as something that needs fixing instead of just something that makes us who we are. It’s easy to not feel so great when everything is looking broken and in need of a tweak. 
 
Instead, write a funny poem about the people around you. Laugh at their eccentricities. Share it with them if you want. Let them laugh with you. It’s inevitable that life is going to throw you some tough stuff to deal with. Just laugh. Just do the best you can. 
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Remaining Open and Making Choices

We’ve all been there at some point– paralyzed by fear and self doubt. Making choices that aren’t the best for us because we were either listening to the wrong people instead of our instinct or because we just were protecting the image we so foolishly made for ourselves. Drop the facade and get real. Get as real as you can be. If you knew that the universe was going to bring you something you’ve been dreaming of tomorrow, would you do everything you are doing now the same exact way? 

Odds are, probably not. You’d move in the direction of your dreams and pursue them. So what’s stopping you now? The need to pay your bills? Fear of rejection? Feeling not good enough, worthy enough, smart enough? Is it your perspective that achieving your dreams and having more than someone else is selfish? Are you afraid of success? 

You have to be willing to fail, to succeed. We’ve all heard it before. But still most of us sit around waiting for the right time, the right circumstances, a windfall of resources. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there never is a right time. The time is now. You have a choice to put yourself out there. You have a choice to accept what you’ve been accepting and you also have the choice to change it and want more. You’re allowed to want more. 

In fact, the more open you are to abundance, the more it will show up in your life. If you’re afraid of it or timid about obtaining it, you might as well be content with what you have. You’ll never go for what you want because you’re so busy in your head about offending someone with your gumption to try. Don’t you know that everyone gets a piece of the pie and if your pie is bigger you share? WRONG. 

If you have the balls to go after your dreams and truly follow what moves you…. then you keep your piece of the pie. Enjoy it. Be open to what your instincts are telling you. 

Shutting My Eyes

All I wanted to do today was crawl into a ball, shut my eyes, and sleep. Did I do that? No. But I had to fight to keep my eyes open. I didn’t sleep very well last night. I had a weird dream that I woke up from. I fell back asleep. Then my husband woke me because he got sick to his stomach last night. After that, it took a good hour or so to fall back to sleep. It wasn’t a deep sleep and I couldn’t get comfortable. 

I then woke up to find yet another rejection e-mail in my inbox from a job I had just applied to. In retrospect, it was probably a blessing in disguise and saved me from my old ways of smiling through hating something. However, it still was a blow to the ego. If a job I wasn’t even that passionate about rejected me, then how will I react to a job I really want? But that’s exactly the thinking that landed me where I sat eight months ago. So that thinking needs to go right out the window. 

No one gets very far without pushing their comfort zone just a little bit every single day. I have recently made a lot of personal changes and with change comes emotion. Waves of emotion that threaten to come in on you fast and knock you on your ass. In the past, I would have avoided change, ignored and numbed my emotions. But with my new perspective and way of life, this isn’t how I cope anymore. So I have to find a new way to cope. Every inch of my body was screaming to just sleep and collapse in a heap today. 

But I didn’t. Instead, I did my normal morning routine. I took the dogs out for a walk. I got a shower. I went to an appointment. I went to the track. I made myself lunch. I read a book. Now I’m writing. I didn’t allow myself to shut my eyes and wallow in self pity. It never got me anywhere. It will never get me anywhere. So instead of feeling sorry for myself, I can keep doing what I know will make me feel better. I even sent out some resumes today, so take that rejection! 

 

Volunteering

I’ve recently been doing training to work at a local animal shelter for Los Angeles County. It’s amazing, rewarding work. I’m glad I decided to go all in and do service this way instead of doing it  with a rescue like I had originally planned. When you volunteer at the shelter, you’re not seeing the dogs that have already been groomed and are ready for homes. You’re seeing the reality of neglect, abuse, and just poorly educated owners who either turn their animals to the streets or into the shelter. 

It’s raw. My heart aches when I go in there. My heart soars when I leave knowing I did something to help. Any little bit to help alleviate whatever needs alleviating. A simple act like putting blankets into kennels makes me smile. When the dog goes back into his kennel and sees the blanket and sniffs it as if to say, ” This is for me?” I get a cheshire grin going. 

I’m amazed at some of the potential adopters and how little they know about animals. I can’t turn them away, but I can educate them. 

This is the act of service I was born for. I encourage you all as tomorrow is Martin Luther King, Jr’s Birthday and Holiday to look for a way to give back. It is the people who know that suffering occurs in all walks of life and to never turn a blind eye or cheek to this suffering that advance society. 

Enjoy. 

The Best Revenge

The best revenge is being the bigger person. I’ve had moments where I wanted to say, ” I’ll show you” and then carry out an even bigger transgression than ones that people have done against me. But ultimately, that isn’t my personality or true self. I’m a caring, compassionate individual, sometimes to a fault. I try to build people up even in the midst of them tearing me a new one. I often hold people on crumbling pedestals. It’s just my nature. 

I’ve had many an opportunity to screw someone over who has screwed me over and yet… I decided to take the high road. I do this not just because I’m trying to be a good person (we’re all judged in the end) but because I know it will bother the person more to know that I’m not going to stoop to their immature level. I’m going to live my life a happy, growing, peaceful person. Ultimately, I win. 

I will always win. The Revenge that others seek out of spite will only hurt themselves. I’m done hurting myself. How about all of you?

Now go on and live your absolute best life and let the others sit with their own misery. We win. They lose. End of Story. 

 

Hecklers and Critics

I was able to watch a documentary on Netflix today called Heckler. The documentary interviews comics, studio heads, and actors about hecklers and critics. If you are someone who buys into the critics’ reviews and bases your own opinions on theirs, this film is for you. If you are someone who enjoys going to comedy shows and knows better than to open your mouth when a comic is telling a joke, this film is for you. 

What is wrong with hecklers and critics? Simply put, their EGO. It’s one thing to have a snarky, arrogant nature about you but it’s entirely another to use that personality to tear down others. Others who are more talented and creative than you. Ask a critic what screenplay they have written, what book hit the NY Times Bestseller list, or what film made millions and they have done none of it. Instead, they try to bring an over-exaggerated intellect and wit that obliterates the creativity invested in the piece they are reviewing. 

This is something that drives me insane. Now with the internet and the anonymity of any troll; it can bring about a false sense of security to tear another human being from limb to limb. I’m sorry, but if all you can do in life is to say something sucks…. then YOU SUCK. Not everything in life is going to resonate with every single human being. Sometimes you just have to take things with a grain of salt and realize that it’s entertainment. It may not be your cup of tea, but it is someone’s. 

This applies to all things in life. Critics barely know you. They barely know themselves. Usually if someone is going all out to point out the flaws in you, they are dealing with hating their own flaws. If they can beat you down and heckle you and get a response, they will continue. Go through life confidently and creatively and realize that it’s a cop out to be negative. One of the easiest defense mechanisms is sarcasm and negativity. It takes a much better person to put out material that enhances life. 

Hecklers can go f&!k themselves. 

It Gets Messy, Before You Can Clean

Nothing ever stays clean forever, eventually it will get dirty or messy again. We know this and yet we don’t always take time to clean out skeletons or obstacles that hold us back. You can’t gain clarity without first getting into the dirt and grime of your thoughts, emotions, and life. Even now when I’m feeling optimistic, I still have that doubting voice that is a part of me that always has to throw in its own judgments and paranoia. The voice comes from not ever feeling like I was doing enough, being enough. 

This is the messy part that no one likes to talk about. No one likes to admit that they aren’t what they always seem. I’m the queen of smiling through discomfort and pain ( both physical and emotional) and a lot of people I have come into contact with would never know the extent of my truth. I liked to keep that smile plastered on my face and my life in a neat little box: get married, have a job, get promoted, pay bills, etc. Everything was about appearances and not the truth. 

No one can be fake forever. It takes its toll on you and it takes its toll on those around you. There were a lot of things that I wasn’t willing to admit in order to save others’ feelings. There was a lot of stuffing things down in order to be the agreeable one, the one who pleased everyone, the one that was okay with not getting what she wanted. Except that it wasn’t. It wasn’t okay. It all became very distorted and one sided. I became so dull and so depressed, that I wasn’t even sure who I was anymore. 

But through all that, I’ve gained so much clarity. I now know who I am. I now know what I’ll tolerate and what I won’t and don’t have to tolerate. I now know that it’s much easier to have a conversation when you’re just being you and not trying to be impressive. I now know that I don’t have to take a job that isn’t the right fit for me. I also know that I’m extremely capable of accomplishing all my goals and intend to do just that this year. 

Allow it to get messy. You will be glad you did. Sometimes digging up all the dirt is more cleansing than trying to hide it. 

It gets better. 

When You Know Better, You Do Better

I’ve always been a bit of a sponge, soaking up any tidbits of knowledge that come my way. One of my favorite past-times is observing people. Another is reading. From these two, I’ve gained some  very interesting tidbits in this brain of mine. That’s why I’m convinced, the more you know, the better you’ll do. This applies to all aspects in your life: Social interaction, communication, career, relationships, intimacy, and finances. 

Hindsight is always very telling. There are always situations we look back at and palm our foreheads. Did I really do that? Say that? Wear that? Yes, you did. But now that you know that it wasn’t the best thing for you, don’t do it again. That’s the part that most of us forget. If something didn’t work out, it’s likely to not work out again if you apply the same energy, mindset, and way of approaching it. Take a new route, try a different way. 

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been banging my head against the wall waiting for things to change but still behaving the same exact way. This goes for other people, too. I know what I can expect from them and yet I keep expecting something different. People don’t change much, so if they aren’t serving you in your life NOW, maybe you need to move on. You are creating your own misery by expecting a different outcome. Miracles do happen, but this is likely not one of them. 

So if you have an area of your life that seems stuck, first look at yourself and your behaviors. What are you doing to stall yourself? For me, it was fear. Fear of Success. Fear that I’m not going to be the fat, unhappy girl anymore. Fear that if I get my finances together and my life on track, that I might want more than I have now and that might be selfish. Then, look at the people around you. Are they creating obstacles for you? Are they feeding into your fear? Are they not sharing resources with you readily? Are they not supportive but instead judgmental? Are they afraid that if you succeed, you’ll leave them behind? 

Explore these things as you move into the new year. I know I am and it has served me well. 

When you know better, do better! Don’t keep doing the same thing expecting different results. After all, that’s insanity. 

Addiction- It’s Not About Willpower

If there is one word I loathe, it is willpower. You’re probably smirking to yourself right now thinking, ” That’s because you don’t have any.” Wrong. There have been many things in my life that I’ve had to push through and overcome. Addiction isn’t one of them. The reward centers in your brain aren’t overpowered by a thought to not do something. Trust me when I say that the activity or chemical that has it’s power of you will WIN every single time. 

I was watching the news this morning and they were talking about addiction. A very successful man ( I believe he worked in the financial sector) said he had to physically leave his public life to get well. Recovery is hard to achieve when you still have all the stressors triggering your behavior. Adding back in the stressors slowly can help. But mostly, you have to get well. You have to realize that the reward and payoff you get from whatever substance you are abusing is NOT as great as getting sober. 

There were so many times I’d look into the mirror and say, ” Why are you doing this to yourself? You look disgusting. You feel disgusting.” But yet every single time there was something I didn’t want to feel, I turned to food. NUMB > feeling. I knew that my outside appearance was vastly different from the person I knew myself to be. I was still succeeding in my work life, but my relationship and my social life were a disaster. Why? Because addiction has a way of isolating you, making you feel not worthy, and wanting more and more to reside within yourself. 

This is actually funny to me now because I’m realizing that more people struggle with some type of addiction than do not. We all think we have some big secret and we struggle ALONE. There is no need to. Throw a rock and you’ll hit about three other addicts of some kind. We think that we’re not like other addicts. We’re not disrupting lives. We’re not laying in the gutter after a night of drinking like a fish. We’re “handling” our addiction just fine. We must be better, stronger. 

WRONG. Addiction doesn’t always have to affect other people. It does most times. But ultimately it destroys the person who is the addict. It rips any shred of self esteem out from under them and leaves them feeling like the only way to live is to reach for the abusive substance. Are addicts weak? No. Addicts have poor coping skills. They need to learn how to express themselves instead of destroying themselves. 

Step One: Admit that you are powerless over the substance. 
Powerless doesn’t exactly get resolved with willpower, now does it?