Growing up I was surrounded by a brother Jonathan whose name meant “gift from God”, a best friend Lara(“one who is famous”) and a best friend Andrea (” beautiful lady”). When I excitedly researched the meaning of my name, Tamara, I was crestfallen as only 10 year old girls can be to discover it meant “palm tree”. In the world of 10-year-old popularity, palm tree did not feel like a very cool name. I wished fervently that my mother had named me something more sophisticated like Tiffany or Jenna or more memorable like Raven Rogerson (channeling my inner Marilyn Monroe). But I was stuck with Tamara or Tammy as most of my close friends call me.
My father had always chosen to refer to me as Tamara and my mother used Tammy. My teachers and my classmates used Tammy. As an adult, every time I moved to a new location or started a new job I would begin by introducing myself as Tamara. Even though I didn’t love my name, using Tamara felt more grown-up. No matter how many times I introduced myself Tamara, people would gravitate back to calling me Tammy.
As life went on I became attracted to places that had palm trees. I love San Diego, California, I love tropical islands and I even live in Canada’s palm tree capital- Victoria British Columbia. I even heard a biblical verse referenced telling readers to be like a palm tree, but what exactly did it mean to be like a palm tree?
In hurricanes palm trees are able to bend to become almost parallel with the ground without breaking. I, like most people, have had a series of challenges in life that threatened to break me. Whether my hurricane was when my youthful aspirations of being a ballet dancer were thwarted by injury or when my oldest daughter was diagnosed as severely autistic at 2 ½, when my marriage ended in a confrontational divorce or when an investment bottomed out leaving me with nothing, I was still standing after the storm.
Being a palm tree suits me perfectly I can be calm amid chaos, I am unflappable, and I have finally grown into my name.
If you can relate to this I would love it if you shared it. Or if you’d like to harness a little palm tree power, it would be my privilege to coach you along the way.
Ready to channel your inner palm tree? Click here to learn more
Sleep is key to living your best left. The more you "try" to sleep, the worse your sleep patterns become. Here are a few quick tips to help you get a good 8 hours nightly.
The more we learn about our brain and sleep, the more we see how essential a good night's rest is.
If you know someone who could use a better sleep habit, please share this with them. And if you want a link to a free sleep meditation, please email me email@example.com.
Authenticity has two parts. One is the willingness to show up as yourself and to be brave and vulnerable but the second part (the part that seems to be practiced less) is knowing when to share your full story and when not to. Authenticity without boundaries isn't authenticity, it's oversharing.
In the 2010's many people are making the choice to eat in an intentional way. The authentic person knows it feels better for them to eat gluten-free and eats that way- the end. The less authentic person, the one whose ego identifies with being a gluten-free activist, doesn't say "I had pizza for lunch" they say "I had a gluten-free pizza for lunch" and it's usually followed by a lament that eating this way is soo time consuming and difficult.
I took a course many years ago called "Radical Authenticity". The week was designed to push people to identify their beliefs, own them, and live a life empowered by them. I remember one exercise where participants walked in a circle until the facilitator said to find a partner. At this time you were to gaze into the partners eyes for a period of about one minute then starting with the taller partner, you whispered an authentic truth about yourself into the ear of your partner and they did the same in return. Over the course of the session we shared with about 10 different people and at least eight of these people shared random facts about their sex lives or admitted that they picked their nose. TMI!!! Sharing a fear or something you feel vulnerable about makes it less powerful over you but random sharing of this type without a filter or purpose beyond shock value wasn't useful other than as a tool to remind me of intention. So how does one discern between times to fully disclose and times to hold back?
It comes down to two things for me.
2. What is my purpose this communication?
Sometimes we share sensitive information as a way to bond more closely with a friend. Sometimes it's to establish our role as an expert. If I'm a financial adviser with anxiety it doesn't serve me to tell my client "I am scared shitless that I might be in over my head here" if I still want a client tomorrow. I could share this with a mentor who can help me instead.
One question that comes up with many people I work with is "Is omission the same as dishonesty?" If you use the two questions above it helps to clarify. Of course omission can be dishonest if you are keeping an affair from your husband. But if a friend gets a haircut that you hate and you don't volunteer that you hate it are you dishonest? Did they ask your opinion? What was their purpose in asking?
Social media allows us to take our authenticity to a whole new level and share the intimate details of our lives with the world. I use the same advice I give my kids as a guideline. Before posting ask yourself:
I am sharing this article despite the fact that many would accuse me of over-sharing. I am not trying to force happiness on anyone, just shining my light so brightly that no one is left in the shadow.
Like what you've read? I would love it if you would comment or reply or forward this to a friend. Happiness only increases when you share it.
It's almost Valentine's Day and with this holiday comes a whack of beliefs, judgments, and expectations around love and whether or not you are lovable. It's easy to get confused thinking that if you don't have a partner it means you aren't worthy or good enough. None of this is true, all it means is that you haven't found the right person yet or that you have found the right one but it is the wrong time,
One of the best quotes I've heard recently is
"If I could love that much when I was with the wrong person, imagine how much love I will have when it's the right one. "
Before this valentine holiday gets you down in the dumps (if you are alone or you are with the wrong partner) I want to remind you that you are valuable, you are lovable, you are worthy.
Keep these mantras in mind.
Happy Valentine's Day
You might wonder what a happiness expert knows about moving on. Even the happiest people experience other emotions like grief, sadness, fear or anger. Being happy isn't an absence of these feelings. In fact a healthy person experiences a full range of emotions. So what is the difference between being a happy person and just being happy? The ability to move on from these feelings before they take control of your life.
Why do we get stuck in an emotional rut? Part of this is ego. Maybe you are really attached to the idea of being married even when the relationship hasn't worked for years. Perhaps you feel that if you stop grieving it means you are letting go of the love you shrared with your spouse. The story you are telling yourself about why you should feel the way you do has great power to keep you on a downward spiral away from the more positive emotions like hope, joy, enthusiasm or love.
Here are a few quick tips to help you over the hurdle of your emotional habit that has become overwhelming but can feel impossible to change.
Sometimes I wonder how our world has become a place where an article entitled "How To Be Yourself" is needed. If you aren't being yourself then who are you being? And perhaps more importantly, why aren't you being you?
On Thursday, the happiness habit I practice is being authentic. This means two things.
1) Knowing who you are.
2) Having the courage to share your unique self with others.
Below are some links to great resources for knowing yourself. Like these ones? I have tons more. Self-knowledge is a key to happiness.
Once you recognize your unique characteristics, quirks, strengths and weaknesses then it's time to show them to the world.
As I share in my bio, I am an ENFP, type 7, upholder who loves learning, entertaining and beaches. I love small cars, travel to places without Wal-Marts and clever one-liners like Mitch Hedburg was known for. I avoid structure or hierarchy and am put off by rules. The only thing about me that stays the same is my love of change.
I'd love to hear your quirks and strengths. Let's celebrate ourselves by sharing them in the comments or on facebook, twitter or instagram