How Comfort Has Made Us Petty

How Comfort Has Made Us Petty

For most of history, mankind has filled the majority of all waking hours dedicated to survival. There was food to find, shelter to build and predators to outrun. Then they went to sleep, got up the next morning, and repeated the same tasks as the day before.

This left very little time for pondering a person’s appearance or gossiping about what the neighbors were up to.

Even a few decades ago most people’s lives still revolved vocations such as farming, which is a lifestyle more than a job. This was true for many, many families circling the globe.  Much of the rest of the world worked within the confines of the industrial revolution with its notoriously grueling work schedule. Both situations usually entailed rising before sun up and working until after sun down. Again, this left little time to worry about insignificant things –  but people were beginning to have more of what they needed  for survival and at least some of what they wanted.

Fast forward to today, and it’s a totally different situation. Now, I know many will read this and immediately say we have homelessness and joblessness to a huge degree today, and I will not argue against this. However, the overall standard of living (especially in the United States) is the highest it has ever been. And many of the people considered to be living under the poverty level in the U.S. would be considered to be doing quite well in other countries around the world.

But here is the kicker: now that we have all of our needs taken care of (and probably way too many of our wants), we have time to think about things other than survival. This leads to us spending time on social media and other things that we never would have been able to do in the past. And being on social media apparently leads to people being mean, rude, nosy, and way too opinionated about other people’s lives.

Basically, this has the propensity to make us petty, spoiled brats.

I simply can’t believe that is the best thing we can do with our extra time. If every person on social media would refrain from posting anything negative for just one day, can you imagine how different things could be?

Now, don’t get me wrong, there are some wonderful things about social media. And there are also other ways that people spread pettiness and ugliness in this world besides the internet. However, people seem more judgmental than ever since the advent of cutting someone down from the comfort of their own home while not having the physically face the target of their attacks.

Qualities such as kindness and respect have been derailed in our current social climate. In fact, these have been replaced by mean-spirited qualities that get more attention. Think about many reality shows that exhibit selfishness and other bad behaviors. There is a reason so many of those shows get such high ratings. Apparently, most of society not only condones bad behavior, but finds it entertaining. What ever happened to manners?

And maybe the worst part is that many people maintain their status and income just from being petty and mean. That is their only “talent”.  Celebrities, politicians, and influencers have rubbed off on much of society, and most of the time it is not a positive thing. They are called “influencers” for a reason, right?

So how do we stop being so petty?

First, we start by evaluating our own behaviors and see where we can do better.  Can could all be nicer, kinder, more genuine. If that means we have to abandon our social media profiles for a while, it certainly wouldn’t kill us.

Second, we try to influence others by our actions and words. Encourage others to spread positivity, good manners, and kindness wherever and whenever possible. If you have children (or have influence over any children around you), that is a wonderful place to start.

Third, and I think this is probably the most important – we stop comparing ourselves with everyone else. Be happy when other people do well and earn something new. Their lives are not perfect. No one’s life is. So everyone should count their own blessings and be happy with their own lives.

Lastly, I have to recommend the cure that I suggest for almost everything: gratitude. When any individual takes the time to stop and give thanks for the many blessings in their lives each and every day, something amazing ALWAYS happens. They become very happy and cease to be petty about insignificant things.

If you don’t believe me, then try it for just one week and see the difference in your life.

Have a happy, wonderful day!

Every Minute Counts

Every Minute Counts

A couple days ago I was standing in front of the microwave heating some leftovers when it suddenly had an epiphany: that was 60 seconds of my life that I would never get back again. This made me reflect on all of the time we spend doing mundane or even negative things. In fact, I thought about that for the rest of the day.

Obviously we all have to do repetitive tasks in our lives such as brush our teeth, sleep, take out the trash, or even reheat food in the microwave. There is a certain level of comfort in these tasks because they breed familiarity and structure to our days. So, when you think about it, even these things are positive.

However, it is amazing how easily negativity can slip into our lives without our overt permission.

Like most people I can think of many times in my life that were wasted with negative thoughts and negative actions. Of course, I would like to have that wasted time back, but all I can do is work toward doing today and in the future.

Every evening I find it helpful to reflect on my day and make some plans for the following day. With this I have added a new component: I list all the positive and negative things I have done (or thought)that day. It is amazing how much this has helped me curtail the negative in my life, even though it has only been a couple of days.

If everyone would strive to be positive (and spread as much positivity as possible), then the world would be a better place. By implementing this one small thing into my life I feel like I am helping to do my part.

Every minute counts!

Social Responsibility In the Age of Coronavirus

social responsibility coronavirus

The coronavirus pandemic has brought up many questions concerning social responsibility versus individual freedom, but there is a clear answer to this dilemma.

Life as we know it has been turned upside down in a manner of weeks. Everything seems uncertain: jobs, retirement funds, everyday supplies – but all of that comes after our most important asset, which is our health.

On this subject there seems to be two opposing camps: those who who believe we should all quarantine and those who don’t.

Of course, there are some exceptions, but for the most part it seems that most people who choose not to do so are in the younger generation. Now, before you think I am over generalizing all young people, believe me, I am not. I realize there are many conscious minded younger people out there doing their part to help the cause.

This article is about the other people, no matter what their age.

There are many people who are watching their financial security go right down the drain, but those don’t seem to be the ones who are out in public, living it up. It is difficult to see how partying and socializing could be more important than people dying, but that is how some people are prioritizing things.

This is especially important when health care workers and other community workers are putting their lives at risk every single day while others flippantly dismiss everything that is going on.

For some reason those of the younger generation seem to feel they have no civic or social responsibility for their family, their community, their country, or the world. America is definitely a society that has been built on the chops of the individual, but we all hold a certain obligation to the people around us.

We should all remember that not so far down the line, we will be the older generation and will also be dependent on those around us to do the right thing during any future epidemics. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is a philosophy to live by, whether we are religious or not.

But some of the same people who volunteer at homeless shelters and give money for those suffering around the world are also refusing to quarantine during this time of stress and fear.

Not so long ago, younger people were expected to be full contributors to the fabric of our communities in every way. Even children were expected to contribute (think Victory Gardens during World War II), but as the decades have passed the age that individuals are expected to be socially responsible has risen. First, it was children, then teenagers, then twenty-somethings, and now it has risen to those in their thirties.

If we do not stop the slippage, soon no one will be expected to be accountable for their actions in the world at large. Where would that leave us when searching for the next generation of leaders?

Blame it on helicopter parenting, the rise of social media, the decline of organized religion, or anything you like, but the end result is the same. These young people have become victims themselves because they have not learned basic good will toward others. We must get back to love and compassion for our fellow man. If we all sacrifice a just a little for the greater good, then this world will be better for us all.

Remember, there are no bad people, just bad decisions. And those can always be changed.

Wishing everyone health and happiness!

 

Protect Your Vibration

Protect Your Vibration

Each person has their own special vibration. It is the essence of you and everything that you are, so it can be negative, positive or somewhere in between. 

Happy people generally have a positive vibration, and unhappy people have a more negative vibration. So obviously we should all strive to be on the positive side of things.  However, that is not always as easy as it sounds, right?

Our happiness and health both depend on our ability to stay positive. There are several things that can affect us negatively. Here are a few of them:

  • Reading too much news
  • Watching negative movies or television shows
  • Interacting too much on social media

However, one of the worst ones for me is dealing with negative people. It is difficult to stay in your positive mindset when people around you are constantly complaining about the weather, illnesses, politics, their spouses, their unruly children etc. 

Now, the most obvious thing to do here is to avoid any person who is bringing negativity into your life. But we all know there are some people and some situations that cannot be avoided. Sometimes it is a coworker or a family member, for instance.

If fact, I have a family member who constantly complains about how awful it is to get older, how retirement is terrible, how miserable their health is, and generally how life is not worth living. 

And I talk to this person almost daily. 

Let me tell you, I find myself dreading the interactions because it always brings down my good mood. But I have learned a few things to help me cope with it. 

LImit the Interactions

I allow myself one interaction with this person per day. This means that if they call me a second time on the same day, then I don’t answer the phone and call them back the next day. I also don’t speak with them on the phone if I have physically seen them that day. 

Set a Time Limit

This person loves to drone on and on about the same problems everyday. They also like to revisit the same issues repeatedly in the same conversation. I have made it a habit to allow only so much time for this. For phone calls I will talk to them for no more than 20 minutes. For visits I limit the time to an hour and a half.

State Your Positive Purpose

I recently told this family member that I had decided to  have a positive outlook and only say positive things. They readily agreed that was a good thing and stopped asking me to agree with their most recent negative statement. So far, I have had to remind them of this choice every time we have talked since, but they still respect it when I point it out. 

Learn to Redirect

A negative person will always return to saying negative things. That must be some universal law or something. So inevitably, I must direct the family member back to being positive. One of their favorite sayings is, “If it wasn’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all. You know it?” My response to that is always, “I’m only saying positive things, remember?” I simply refuse to agree to any negative statements. Then I point out some positive things about the person’s life. 

So far, this has worked. It has also helped direct our conversations in an overall  better direction, because after that interaction, the family member doesn’t want to appear to be the “negative one” so they find lighter and happier things to talk about.   

Now, I can tell you from experience that it doesn’t always work with everyone. I have another family member who never seems to cooperate with this strategy, so I just limit the interactions with them and go on about my day. 

I’m sure there are other ways to deal with negative people, but these are the strategies that work for me. Never let anyone else (and anything else) affect your positive outlook. Protect your vibration and you protect your whole existence.  This is part of How To Be Happy In Every Area of Your Life.


Freedom From Busy Work

Busy Work

Lately, I have been thinking a great deal about busy work. It seems our lives are filled with it these days. You might even say we are consumed by it.

What do I mean by busy work? Let me start by what it is NOT. Busy work is not the repetitive things we do in life that are necessary or make our life better. For example, cleaning our home is not busy work because it is beneficial to our health to have a clean living space, not to mention the mental benefits of living in a comfortable, organized home.

Rather, busy work is comprised of the many thoughtless, meaningless activities that fill our lives and do not make our lives, or anyone else’s, better.  This would include mounds of paperwork that are sometimes required in our jobs (some of that is just ridiculous), the endless meetings our bosses require us to attend, moving piles of “stuff” around our house because we can’t make the decision to part with them, or the countless hours spent on social media. (Yes, I count count social media as busy work because we are using up valuable hours of our lives that we will never get back again.)

I realize that we sometimes have little or no control over the demands of our jobs, but we can definitely exert more power over our personal lives. And, actually, we control our working environment more than we think. Maybe you could make some suggests for streamlining tasks or other improvements (you are probably not the only one who hates all the paperwork and meetings). Or maybe it is time to pursue a different job or start your own business.

It is beneficial to loosely plan your schedule for the day, then examine it to see if you are using your time wisely. If not, find ways to cut out the meaningless activities that offer your life no added value. When doing this, be sure to think about ways to simplify tasks in the future in order to spend more quality time with family and friends.

My sister in law has undergone a metamorphosis that has allowed her to downsize her life in many ways. Her house is smaller than some apartments I have lived in. She made the decision to downsize to this degree because she wanted to spend more time with her children and grandchildren instead of cleaning, organizing, and maintaining her home. Incidentally, her smaller home also came with a smaller lawn, which she now pays someone else to maintain. She simplified her life, and she also gave a nice young man some paying work. It’s a win/win situation.

I, too, have been working on the journey to freedom from busy work. It can be easier said than done in practical daily life, but here are a few things I have done around my home that simplified things tremendously.

  • I bought this jewelry organizer that is so large it holds everything I own and also doubles as a pretty, full length mirror.

 

  • I added this jewelry organizer to my dresser for the things I wear most days so I never need to hunt for them.

 

  • I got some shoe organizers to get all of my shoes up off the floor of my closet.  Amazon no longer carries the ones I bought, but this shoe organizer looks good according to the reviews.

 

  • We installed wall to wall wire shelving in our pantry. This allowed for lots of light to filter through the shelves and also cut way down on how dusty the shelves could get.

 

  • We bought these bamboo trays and now use them in three of our kitchen drawers so we have stopped having to rummage for everything we needed.

 

  • We bought two magnetic knife strips from Harbor Freight (much cheaper than most on Amazon and designed for heavier objects). We installed one in our kitchen and also one over the range in our camper.

 

  • Last Christmas I ordered these organizing hooks for my car and put them in my own stocking. I use them for countless things including my purse. Just love them!

We are still working on ways to organize and simplify our home and our lives. I have found that as our children get older it gets much easier, but I believe it is a process that’s never really completed. Luckily, I really enjoy streamlining and organizing, so this is not a problem for me.

Remember that you are the captain of your ship and life is a journey that we only take once. Don’t allow the precious minutes of your life to be spent on meaningless tasks and busy work. Live your life intentionally instead of blindly being lead around by circumstances.

Do Something Today That Your Future Self Will Thank You For  

American Perceptions and Lack of Happiness

Happiness

Americans have a perception problem. In fact, Americans have SO MANY perception problems that you are probably considering which one I mean.

So here it is: happiness.

It does not come with a new job, house, car or vacation. It also doesn’t come with having more stuff than your family/friends/neighbors. And it doesn’t matter how many reality shows or Instagram posts tell you so.

I could say that I was a bird 200 times a day, but that simply won’t make it true.

One of the strangest things about this is the news. Media outlets of all types seem to push this mentality with their attempt to grab our attention with headlines. Since when did this sort of thing become news? And lifestyle sections….don’t get me started. Who cares what dress someone wore to an awards ceremony when there are hurricanes and starving people on this planet?

We think we know what will bring us happiness. Most of us are wrong. Including me.

It is a perception thing.  All my life have been taught to achieve and acquire.  Now, don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with either of those things – as long as the pursuit of them doesn’t get in the way of being happy.

The recipe for a happy life (in my opinion) can be summed up with the following bits:

  1. Having friends & family I love and who love me
  2. Enjoying freedom in life to do what I love
  3. Being financially secure (out of debt & with savings) to sleep well at night
  4. Feeling as healthy as possible

Most of us would agree with the above list in theory, but I have found it can be difficult to implement in my life. There are two books that helped me to drastically change my perceptions about money and success. I love these books so much that I reread them often. I find these keep me grounded and my head clear.

Here they are: The Millionaire Next Door and The Millionaire Mind. I recommend reading the Millionaire Mind first. It contains more of the straight forward information. The Millionaire Mind builds on those concepts and give more statistical information. Both are incredibly interesting if you are into money, human behavior, or any combination of the two.

While these books deal mostly with money, each also touches on the other things that make life worth living. The millionaires are not always who you think they are. They are usually hiding in plain site. This book proves it.

People want to take control of their finances and their lives again. This is a good place to start. I found that when I switched over to a saving mentality instead of a spending mentality, that was the biggest step. Everything after that was easier. And I have never found a better tool to motivate me to change gears more than these two books.  It’s difficult to dispute the numbers when they are right in front of you.

This worked for me. It will work for you.

More happiness is right around the corner waiting for you. Today is a great day to go after it.

“Do Something Today That Your Future Self Will Thank You For”  

Angela Christian PopeAngela Christian Pope is a teacher, author and creator of Happiosity.org. Check out more on Twitter and Facebook.