My eighteen year old daughter recently texted from college telling me that she was so excited for Valentine's Day. Next text ---Everyone else here hates it---. This got me wondering, since my gal has no love interest or expectation of a secret admirer, what exactly it is that allows her to love a day that most chicks love to hate?
When I was her age I was dating a 32 year old. He was the "man of my dreams" and I spent most of Valentine's Day miserable. He was pretty wealthy and I was anticipating a good gift. (I know- don't judge me...I was 18!!!)
We had booked a dinner at our fanciest local restaurant but I was certain that Prince Charming would send me dozens of long-stemmed roses or at least a box of chocolates prior to our date. By 3:00pm I was despondent. I had spent all day at home waiting for a delivery that hadn't come. By 4:00 I was teary- maybe he didn't love me. At 5:00 he called me to say he was on his way to pick me up. He spoke in a clipped tone sounding distracted and distant. My worst nightmare was coming true- he was going to dump me on Valentine's Day!
Then the doorbell rang and a beautiful glass vase filled artistically with my favorite flower, tulips, was delivered with an apology for the lateness. My date arrived and I thanked him profusely. He continued to be cold and our dinner was a semi-silent disaster.
Here's what I later discovered...my guy had ordered these flowers to be delivered by noon. He had spent all afternoon waiting for a call from me thanking him for his thoughtful attention to detail. When none came he imagined I didn't like the flowers, I didn't care enough to thank him, and that I was a spoiled brat, proving what all his friends had been telling him "she's too young".
The stories we had both made up about what we thought a good partner would give as a gift, how a good partner would respond to getting a gift and what a "perfect" Valentine's Day looked like had allowed us to ruin what could have been a great night. My date gave me a thoughtful gift and took me out for a romantic meal. I was impressed, thankful and in love.
This brings me to my point. Most Valentine haters hate it because the reality of the day cannot meet their imaginary expectations. I suggest, on Valentine's Day (and every day);
1) Be present.
2) Don't ruin what is with what "should be".
3) The story you are telling yourself is imaginary. Make it a supportive one.
4) Understand love languages are different.
5) Love is always worth celebrating. When you don't feel you are receiving love, GIVE MORE LOVE!
If you have a Valentine-gone-wrong story, or even better, a Valentine-gone-right, I'd love to hear it! Love never decreases when shared so put your story in the comments.
I hope you have a beautiful Valentine's Day...here's what it has looked like at our house over the years.
Kellyanne Conway is a new pioneer in the psychological field of lying. She made the news a few days ago when she described the number discrepancy at the Trump inauguration as alternative facts. This post IS NOT about politics. No matter what your opinion, we need to understand what is fact and what is fiction.
When does the black and white between truth and lie become grey?
If you are like most people on the planet, at some point you have stretched the truth or perhaps even told a blatant untruth. Here are the straight facts about truth.
Lying is an automatic response designed to protect the self from harm.
Where the grey area comes into play is when the liar thinks they are being truthful. This can be when someone doesn't recognize their true feelings. It can be a story that someone has told again and again until they believe it. It's not so much a deception of others as it is a decption of self.
I'd love to hear if you think there is ever a right time for not telling the truth. I know my opinion and sharing yours can help others to form theirs. Please comment below or email me email@example.com.
I'm a happiness expert. This doesn't mean I am happy all the time. It also doesn't mean I run around spouting positive thoughts and hugging strangers.
Happiness gets a bum rap sometimes. Educated people believe that happiness is a sign of lower intellect and creatives feel that creativity is heightened by angst. Virtually everywhere you look you are being told that it's okay to be unhappy.
When I first began delving into happiness 20 years ago, I thought that learning to be happier meant that I was failing somehow when I experienced sadness or anger.
Over time I have come to see that happiness is always a choice and that it is equally okay to choose happiness as it is to choose any of the other emotions. What I am suggesting about happiness are two things:
1) Just because you look happy doesn't mean you are. You don't need to be obnoxiously perky to be happy. (I know, that statement has a whole lot of judgement wrapped up in it AND it's true). I am a really happy person. To the core or my being. I am calm in chaotic times and I take pleasure from the little moments every single day. I don't jump up and down much and I rarely squeal. I don't talk quickly or loudly and I don't use hand gestures that could be mistaken for interpretive dance. There are some people who do all of these thing from their heart, naturally. Then there are others who think they need to do all of these things to embody their happiness. Usually, someone who is trying this hard to look happy might not actually be happy.
2) Just because others tell you you shouldn't be happy doesn't mean your happiness is wrong. We are surrounded by rules, judgements, and societal norms. "Death is sad". "There is a time and a place for fun". "Becoming angry when I see violence shows I have morals".
All three of these statments sound true. But in some cultures death isn't sad, rather a time of celebration. Fun is internal and can be had at any time and place. Meeting violence with anger is similar to hitting a child to get them to stop hitting. No matter what the popular opinion, if you feel happy then it's okay to be happy.
Happiness labelling can be part of the problem. In troubled times, when suddenly there is hope, it can feel like happiness. In a work situation where we get "in the flow" it also feels like happiness. No matter what anyone tells you if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck and waddles like a duck, it's probably a duck.
Science cannot even decide on a definition for happiness. If you ask ten positive psychology experts you will get ten definitions. Is it any wonder that happiness is so confusing?
It seems that an abundance of happiness is more of a problem to the people around the happy person than to the happy person themself. Or the person in constant pursuit of happiness who can actually become unahppier as they place an unbalanced focus on being happy.
So perhaps, to answer the question "Can you be too happy?" is simply NOT IF YOU DON'T WANT TO BE.
Do you have a story about being happy when it felt out of place or do you know someone who oozes happy in a manic kind of way? I'd love to hear your stories about being "too happy". Comment below or email me at tamara @ahamoments4u.com.
January 1st is a day for reflection and planning. I am counting my blessings and mapping a course forward.
My one word theme for the year is upgrade. It reminds me that I am already doing great things with inspiring people so to upgrade keeps me on the same path with the added bonus of luxury and ease.
I am creating a vision board, a process that gives me a visual reminder of how I want to feel, where I will be and what I prioritize doing in the year ahead. The thing about a vision board is that without action, it's just a collage. when the board is complete the actions need to begin.
i know my action list this year will include lots of love, travel, creativity, awe and curiosity.
this year i will be collaborating with some great people, i will lend my skills to the corporate world to edit websites and tweak the messaging that companies use, I will mentor teens and tweens on kindness, compassion and self-awareness, I will keep writing and speaking and teaching and on fridays i will tap dance, because it feels like play and we all need a little more play in our lives.
if you want to dance with me, if you need a coach/guide/mentor or kick in the butt to get you on a path to happiness, I am here.
if 2016 was less than wonderful, the only way 2017 will be better is by changing.
ABe Lincoln said “Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.” Start 2017 deciding to be happier. #Happier2017
I am fortunate to be spending my Christmas holiday on the Big Island in a beautiful home overlooking the Maunau Kea Beach Hotel and the Hapuna Prince. We drift from beach to beach looking for turtles and dolphins and having a wonderful time. Yesterday my son and I made a dribble castle, something my grandmother taught my mom and her sister to do and they, in turn, taught me, my brother and my three cousins.
I have always enjoyed making sandcastles but yesterday I was reminded of how engaging in a creative activity in nature is perhaps the best possible way to be present outside of an actual meditation.
The dribble castle is made by digging until you get wet sand then dribbling the wet sand of your fingertips into a peak. Sometimes you dribble too much and the tower collaspes, sometimes what you inted to make turns into something entirely different.
A powerful reminder to accept what you get and embrace the present moment.
Maybe you've noticed someplace in your day where being present is easy or important. Please share. The more opportunities we see the more we can stay in the now.
Choose a single word to use as a theme for the year. Words like curious, declutter, family, healing or growth come to mind. The word is used like a map when making choices about what you want to do, in the moment, in planning the future or as an anchor to hold on to when things seems confusing or unclear.
I'm choosing the word UPGRADE for 2017. It serves to remind me that everything I have right now is wonderful and if I upgrade, I still get to where I'm going but in a more enjoyable way. It's like icing on a really decadent cake.
It also serves as a reminder to me that I don't need to change what I am doing, but how I am doing it. Streamline, work smarter not harder and harness pareto's law (look it up ;) )
Please share your themes.
Happiness never decreases when you share it.
PS When I wrote this blog, I looked up to the top right corner of my screen and a litle button read "upgrade".
Coincidence? I think not. :)
Every day we are faced with choice; what to wear, what to eat, who to lunch with, when to work out. We have practiced making choices our entire lives. Nothing else we do requires such constant effort with such varying results. Sometimes choices are simple, sometimes they aren't. What is the difference and how can you make every decision with as much ease as possible?
Tools for making any Decisions
HEART - Your choice must fit in with your most positive emotions and avoid negative ones.
EGO - Your decision must match who you are as a person.
HEAD - Your decision must accord with your long-term goals.
SURROUNDINGS - Your decision must be compatible with the situation you find yourself in.
When 1 or more of the tools are at odds, then what?
Every gut instinct comes with a physical sensation. Our challenge is correctly interpreting the sensation; knowing whether that butterfly in your stomach is telling you to back off from something truly scary or telling you that something exciting is about to happen.
Good decisions feel expansive and optimistic. They're not based in fear, anger, or greed.
Successful choicemaking depends much more on who you are than what you do so if your decision is compromising who you are it's ultimately not going to be the right choice. This can become a challenge is when someone else is involved.
What can you do when your decision involves others whose opinion is different or even opposing?
And when that difference comes down to a core belief belief about love self-worth safety and feeling a whole conflict resolution can become difficult.
If one partner is prioritizing money where another is prioritizing lifestyle or one person needs adventure where another prefers stability, who gets their way?
Listen, list make, leave it
Have a conversation when you have plenty of time in a place that is free of distractions.
Make a pro and con list together. Tally up your pluses and minuses.
The rule- things can only make the list that you both agree on.
Example- Choosing between public school and private school.
Private School Pros
small class size
cutting edge facility
strong preparation for college
Private School Cons
not in our neighborhood
Things That Get Left Off The List
feels elitist (only to one partner)
better sports teams (debatable by one partner)
better University Counselling (debatable by one partner)
If you have the luxury of time, let your emotions settle for a few days. Allowing emotions to settle can help you to discuss your options with less of an emotional charge.
If after all the debate, you have to agree to disagree, setting up a system where one partner gets their way this time but that means the other partner automatically gets their way the next time can be an option.
I choose living in the country over the city but you get to choose our house.
A thought from Brene Brown...
When emotions flare, Brene advises her readers to ask what is the story I am telling myself.
Write down what you imagine will happen if you don't get your way. Quite often this can help to uncover fear that is lurking below our rational thinking and hijacking our ability to see the other person's perspective.
If you just can't chose?
Flip a coin. In the moment right before it lands, you will wish for an outcome- that's what you truly want- so go for it!
I'd love to hear what choices you find most challenging. Comment below, email me, or weigh in on my Facebook page.
Always learning is a descriptor I often use when asked to describe myself. Here's what I have been looking at this week...
The One You feed ...Listen
I love this podcast and if you haven't heard the tale of the two wolves, it's a great lens to start dialogue. This one really speaks to me as it's all about habits and questions, 2 things I love.
Tai Lopez...Ted Talk
You can learn something from everyone. I had to open my mind after I heard Tai Lopez on The School of Greatness. I initially thought the only greatness he had was great big ego, however, he has a point in this talk. I'm glad to say I opened my mind to this guy, but I still wouldn't want to have dinner with him.
Reading- Mindset, The New Psychology of Success