“If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands, if you’re happy and you know it clap your hands, if you’re happy and you know it and you really want to show it if you’re happy and you know it clap your hands”
Thinking about this song brings back joyous memories of dancing around my family room singing it with my children and perhaps, even having it sung to me as a child. The lyrics are simple and yet so profound – if you’re happy and you know it, show it (feel it, live it, experience it).
This past weekend I tried something that I had never done before. One of my friends invited me to a Tarot card party where an expert would offer private readings. Intrigued, I agreed to attend. During my reading, the woman said something that really struck a nerve with me; she told me that I don’t know when I’m happy.
Interestingly, this thought has been on my mind ever since I interviewed Dr. Rick Hanson, the author of Hardwiring Happiness. As a result of our discussion, I have been contemplating whether or not I truly feel happiness.
Recently, a friend who was contemplating separating from her husband gave me a call and asked my advice. A few years ago when my emotions were spinning out of control and I was in the throes of my marriage breakdown, I would have shouted, “Divorce the bastard!”
Now, six years post-divorce, I have gotten off the emotional rollercoaster called relationship breakdown and a cooler head prevails. My advice to her: slow down, you move too fast!
Have you ever had the opportunity to meet someone and before you met had an expectation of what you thought would occur or how that person would behave? It’s natural to worry about how an encounter will play out, especially if it is with someone you admire. It’s easy to make judgements based on assumptions, but I have found that more often than not, assumptions are wrong.
One of the questions that I am often asked by email, via Facebook, or during my lectures, is how to permanently end a relationship with someone that is a negative force in a person’s life. I have heard many terms to describe these types of people, but one of my favorites is energy vampire, because the person zaps the life out of you.
A relationship doesn’t have to be romantic to fall into the toxic category.
Ending a relationship can be one of life’s greatest challenges. We all have a few people in our lives that we allow to treat us in a manner less than we deserve. Cognitively we know that if we don’t change something, the result will be the same, but once that music starts, we jump right into the same old dance.
Communication is an important part, if not the most important part, of any relationship. The way you communicate has a major impact on your ability to get along with the various people in your life – spouses, children, coworkers, friends, and neighbors. When communication breaks down, relationships suffer. According to recent research, poor communication is the number one reason why couples (and friendships) break up.
Any relationship worth having experiences conflict at some point. The conflict isn’t the problem (conflict is a natural part of intimacy), how the situation is handled is the determining factor in whether the relationship will deepen or be torn apart.
I was watching television recently when it happened … I saw the first commercial for the Valentine’s Day diamond collection – you know, the gift that every woman will treasure. As I listened to the music and watched as the camera panned the romantic setting, waves of emotion overcame me like a tsunami. At that moment, in my mind, everyone in the world was in a loving, committed relationship and I was going to be the only person sitting home alone on February 14 (most likely eating ice cream).
Realistic assumption? Of course not. But for a few minutes the drama queen in me took over and my emotions ran wild. Fortunately, I was able to reign them in, but the feelings I experienced are very common.
This morning I had a conversation with a colleague about the topic of loss and grief and in it we shared intimate details about traumatic experiences that we each have survived. During the discussion, she made an interesting statement. She told me that there was a time when she knew she had to leave the “waiting room”. I have never heard the phrase “waiting room” used in relationship to grief so I asked her to explain. She told me that “waiting room” describes the space between the horrific pain of an experience, and the life of possibilities that can be lived. She added that many people spend their entire lives in the waiting room.
She got me to thinking about all of the time I spent hanging out in the waiting room. Simply existing. Staying in my comfort zone longing for what will never be. Not truly living or thriving!
For most of us, checking our social media accounts is as much a part of our daily routine as bathing and brushing our teeth. A touch on a screen instantly connects us to people we may not have spoken to in years.
It’s easy to get caught up in the social world. Popular sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, plus a host of many others, provide the opportunity for us to witness family vacations, a friend’s momentous occasion, and even traumatic situations such as divorce, sickness and death.
While viewing photos of a friend’s precious new baby, a relative’s recent exotic trip, or a co-worker’s romantic wedding, may not appear to be an activity that can bring a person down, research suggests otherwise.
Recent studies have shown that social networking is linked to depression and social isolation, and it has been shown to create feelings of envy, insecurity, and poor self-esteem. One study reported that one in three Facebook users feel more dissatisfied with their own lives after browsing the social-media networking site than they did before logging in.
The holiday season is upon us. It’s a time when people gather to celebrate with those we love. As the song states, it can be the most wonderful time of the year, but, it also can be the loneliest. If you have lost a loved one or suffered a breakup with a spouse/significant other or friend, the holiday season is a constant reminder of the pain.
I know that pain all too well. It wasn’t that long ago that I spent most of my time grieving the loss of my mother, sister and marriage (all within a period of six months). During the holidays (and to be honest most any other day), I would scroll through social media posts, watch TV shows and commercials, and long for the fun and love shared by friends and family. Everyone appeared to be living Hallmark moments, except me.
Grief at any time of the year is painful, but it feels especially traumatic during the holidays.
I recently had a conversation with grief expert, David Kessler, in which we spoke about the stages of grief and how the feelings that accompany a loss can be heightened during the holiday season. While it’s natural to try to suppress the painful memories, according to David, “Healing doesn’t mean forgetting, it means remembering with more love than pain.” And, he says, that happens with time.
To better understand what you may be feeling, David explained the stages of grief, which were created and adapted by he and Elizabeth Kubler Ross. David cautioned that these stages do not necessarily occur in order and they may repeat.
Waking up to reports of people being gunned down while enjoying a night out sickens me. It sickens me like every other horrific, tragic story we have heard before.
I don’t understand what is happening; it seems like our world is upside down. I don’t pretend to have the answers. I don’t how we got here, but we have arrived. All I do know is that we must do what is within our power to enact change, even if it is only within our small piece of the world.