Do you ever sit and ponder what went well in your life?
No other agenda. You are at peace. You invite your mind to wander. You savor with acute interest and curiosity whatever pops up. Not necessarily during meditation, but rather as a human being whose thoughts and feelings flow like a lovely river. You basque in the wonder of the the goodness like rippling waters over centuries old smooth rocks. You meander into your field of 24 flowering strengths (www.viacharacter.org to discover them.) You focus on who you are and what you do in your world. You celebrate the wonder of it. You take joy in each strength that energizes your journey.
Hope this true story about a coaching client helps you open the doors to believing change is possible when cultivate your inner worth via investing in the gifts of your strengths and positive emotions.
My client is a kind, generous, accomplished woman who had always successfully managed her large family, busy rewarding career, and volunteer work. She confessed she was feeling as if she was not doing enough. She was also languishing in blah-itis. She knew she “had it all,” but something was missing. She was not depressed, but she was in a funk. She was game to put her curiosity, critical thinking, hope, gratitude and perspective strengths into gear. Now there is a powerful constellation of strengths stars waiting to shine.
I asked her a coaching powerful question, “What do you celebrate about yourself?” She paused and looked at me if I were nuts. It had never crossed her mind to take a magnifying glass to herself. After some inquiry and internal meanderings, she realized she rarely took time to look for the good in her life. Celebrating herself, who she was and how she was showing up in her life, was non-existent. She was too busy taking care of everyone else. Giving to others but not celebrating her authentic self was her default mode. A huge “”AHA!” for her. She also realized she was overusing her humility strength. She would readily pat others on the back, but to sing her own praises was a foreign language. We began by celebrating her newly found awareness. But now what to do?
With her new keen self-mindfulness, she began to understand how she was driving through life with a very dirty windshield.
She decided to power up her windshield wipers and to really see her life with clarity. No more fog! She began to look for the good things everyday. Not that she forgot her duties, but she opened her eyes up wide to be aware of the little happy things. She ignited awareness of her five senses. She began to listen to her body and to use her brain, heart and gut instincts to focus on appreciating herself and her gifts. She learned to celebrate many times a day. To make it a meaningful part of her daily journey. She learned to take herself less seriously. Interestingly, she noticed others were noticing her newly found way to live. One even asked her what had happened to her. She journaled everyday or whenever she chose. This helped her cement to good stuff. And to let go of all the crap that did not serve her. She looked for the good and found it. And she caught herself smiling.
We celebrated every tiny detail of positivity. Some days it was her noticing the billowy clouds. Another day she cheered when her daughter scored in a soccer game. She smiled when she told her hubby she appreciated he emptied the dishwasher. Little things added up to a slew of positive emotions. She learned to mindfully notice and appreciate them. Then to smile and celebrate. And to write them down for the tough days when she needed a reminder life is good.
My client noticed she was feeling better. Lighter. She no longer expected herself to meet all the needs of others. She began to take time for herself, not always easy with a hugely busy life, but with new razor sharp awareness, she celebrated all the little things that elicited her favorite positive emotions: Joy, love, awe, inspiration, interest, hope and more. Yippee! She also noticed she laughed at herself more often. She learned she was indeed good enough. With her focus on celebrating her journey, her life had more meaning, purpose and fulfillment. And her kids started to appreciate her more, too. They even leaned to understand when she told them she needed Mom time. That was a huge shocker. It taught them to look at their own lives and helped learn learn independence. What they were BEING as well as DOING in their own lives. She became a great role model Mom!
Now she transcended being a doer and opened the doors to being a be-er, a feeler, and a happier appreciator.
We laughed when she initiated a question about balance. She laughed as she told me this concept was now bogus. At least to her. Some of her days were mostly for others and that was OK, Why? Because some days she also began to gift herself with herself! She savored her own time to be the best person she could be. Her way. She began to embrace the importance of creating her own special memories. She celebrated her victories. She no longer kept score. She was finally a winner in her own world. Amen!
Increased hope, a terrifically powerful positive emotion and strength, blossomed beautifully for her. When times got tough or she became weary, she reminded herself this was temporary. To help re-frame normal negativity to optimism, she would allow herself to experience the negative. She accepted it. Next, she looked for the good RIGHT NOW. Like her good health, for example. Next she unpacked happy memories. Lastly, she added a punch of positive visioning, the good she imagined and knew was awaiting her. She loved priming herself for the good that awaited her.
These days, she celebrates every day. She especially likes to use the phrase, “Harness Hope.” She reminded me that for her, hope was a little word with a powerful punch of positivity.
How about you, when you read her story, did a special accomplishing moment or a feeling-good scene brightly appear on the big screen of your life?
If so, I hope you smile and take a moment to relive and celebrate your joyful mindfulness and happy memories. Noticing is key! So is savoring what went well and celebrating it.
When I perused what went well, the first thing my mind unveiled was nature. If you ever journey to Puerto Vallarta, MX, and I hope you do, an absolute must see is the Vallarta Botanical Gardens. It’s magnificence serenely blesses you with vibrant colors, indescribable vistas, flowers and plants that ignite oohs and ahs, and exquisite creativity. I can’t forget the palate pleasing gourmet restaurant where you take joy in watching feeding birds showing off their fancy feathers of every color in the rainbow as you sip your margarita or yummy vanilla mojito.
Funny, I thought, how many positive emotions your place of wonder and ease offers up to you…If you only take a moment to notice and appreciate. Yes, to put your awareness in high gear. Add a dollop of positive motivational mindset to savor.
Feeling positive emotions is terrific, and I hope you offer yourself opportunities to let the pleasure of them wash over you. Woo hoo, feeling great is healthy for you, too!
Did you know happier people actually lives years longer?
What about what you do?
Do you celebrate the ton of things you get done each day? And/or how you showed up emotionally? How you were being as well as doing?
The other day, thinking of pride and gratitude as positive emotions, I asked myself, “What did you get done this summer (OK, I am a project/organizer type!) that engendered happiness, meaning, and a sense of purpose? Note I had a very quiet summer. No major trips anywhere, other than a few delightful, busy days in Kentucky and Indiana that I wrote about last month. They were grand in their camaraderie. Joy in meeting new women I learned to admire. Humor in our learning. And sometimes a bit of madness thrown in to sweeten the pie.
In general this summer was peaceful. Amen to that. And that was a gigantic gift. No surgeries. No major illness. No Ken health issues. Yup, the older we get the more we relish appreciating the gift of health and wellness. Of peace and calm. Joy, another positive emotion, in the small stuff. And oh, how gigantic is the pleasure of little things. If you notice them and give them a high five salute!
I remember one of my favorite all time book, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff ~ P.S. It’ s ALL Small Stuff by Martell. Great reminder to let go and focus on the good. And celebrate what life’s WWW: What Went Well!
What were your little things that lit up your fires of fun this summer?
Maybe you had a huge big experience like the birth of a grandchild or you traveled to your dream destination. If so, hope you took the time to sit into the pleasures of it. Nothing like positive reminiscing the experiences. Doing this helps your brain forever imprint them into your positive memories. You know I hope you took a ton of photos to gift you with smiles as your life tallies forth. And don’t forget the grandeur of the precious little things, too. Frosting on life’s cake.
As I mused about my summer, I made a list of a few of my favorite activities and experiences. Why write them down? Because writing or journaling your good stuff reminds you to celebrate yourself. You might even catch yourself smiling and giving yourself a pat on the back.
I hope my savored experiences help you smile and prime you to remember your own experiential fun to celebrate.
Here’s some of my favs:
1. Spray painted many garden decorations, benches, large flowers, a huge heron sculpture and trellises. If it didn’t move, I sprayed it in marvelous colors. Neon rocks fun! I even sprayed my feet a terrific turquoise blue when I wasn’t paying attention!
2. Waited for the monarch butterflies to appear. I first spied one in June and was blessed with their fluttering frolic till the beginning of Oct. Sweet splendor.
3. Lovingly lopped a ton of trees on our 3.5 acres, and had our tree guy remove doomed limbs after huge storms. Lake Michigan visioning is now better than ever.
4. Watched more movies than I had since high school, talked to girl friends, shared photos on FB, and savored chats with my two grand daughters next door.
5. Prayed for my dear friend, office manager, Robyn, battling lymphoma. Prayed for eight friends who had major surgeries. They reminded me how lucky I am.
6. Daily stayed in contact with our Nepal family. Their smiles sweeten life. Spiritual son Hari is the best celebrator of life and always so very loving.
7. Baked and cooked like I used to do when I was young. My waistline proves it! Bit it was fun to put old recipes into savory action again.
More chosen summer Judy joy? Remember to celebrate your fun as you are experiencing it, too. Mindfulness matters:
8. Cleaned the garage twice. I can be a real slob! But I love re-organizing it. Our asphalt construction crew congratulated me. Now that was cool.
9. Gazed out the window many times a day giving thanks to happy winged wonders. The hummingbirds, finches, cardinals and various butterflies. I can’t forget the deer scampering across the lawn, even if their damaging nibbling destroyed many bushes and flowering plants. They are still beautiful to behold. Indoor viewing and savoring were especially celebrated on those long days when the dastardly mosquitos dive-bombed me making garden pleasure impossible. I also watched the wind whip and the beguiling clouds forming fluffy and/or ominous warnings. Nothing like nature to blast you with opportunities to celebrate an upcoming storm.
10. Purged files, cleaned out closets and drawers, organized and deleted photos. A relief. More goals done to celebrate.
12. Made sure my Fitbit was fed over 10,000 steps a day. I enjoyed the sumptuous scent of Yankee candles as I trotted around our kitchen island, sometimes watching a movie or chatting on the phone to double dip into enjoyment. I stood up to do computer work and stretched instead of sitting for hours. That felt good.
13. Re-arranged some of my house decorations and replaced everything that had graced our living room mantel for too many years. Nuance awakened my soul.
14. Celebrated the life of our grand dog, Fido, family pet to our son, Jason and family who live next door. Gulp. Though it broke my heart, it was a joy to hold him and be with him as he crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Bittersweet, but no more suffering. Hugs I hope eased the heartache. Family love at the best and worst of times. But happy memories prevailed. Positive reminiscing helped and so did our resilience.
Yes, I am still working, and I love my coaching career immensely, but this summer for the first time, I let work simmer on the back burner. My other life as a human being continues to ignite my happiness and meaning.
It doesn’t matter how much you did this summer.
What matters is you celebrate yourself. Better yet, celebrate with a family member, friend, co-worker, or even an acquaintance. Please ask them to share their experiences, not that humble you would blab incessantly about yourself. No narcissists here. Other people matter!
Wouldn’t it be fun and joyful if you sat down with yourself and made a list of all the experiences recently that have ignited fireworks for you? Maybe even a few sparklers is enough. Whatever makes you smile. Smiles actually contribute to your feelings of well-being. How wonderful is that?
I celebrate you and your life. I am very grateful you are here to celebrate our lives together. Thank you!
Big hugs of shared experience,
And if you need/want to learn how to discover and savor and spark more adventure in your life, that is what a positive psychology coach will help you navigate. Please call, text, FB message or call me. I would love to explore your strengths, positive emotions and purpose-living life with you!