Reflection

A lot can change in a year.  I mostly started this blog to express my opinions and concerns in regards to mental health/stigma and the tragic loss of someone like Robin Williams.  Then, a friend passed away unexpectedly in a very similar fashion.  Now, I am about to move across the country in a few days to a large city in the Midwest.

I’m excited at what the future holds, eager to explore a new city, but sad to leave behind loved ones and my dog Ella.  The death of Robin Williams is still just as sad, albeit a little more bearable.  I would say the same about my friend, the only difference being I miss C. on a much more personal level, anytime my husband and I experience something we know he would have liked it is especially difficult and we imagine what it would have been like if he were there with us in person.

I don’t have any good answers for why someone chooses to end their life or magic ways to try and stop it.  Unfortunately, if someone is committed to hurting themselves they will ultimately find a way.  But I’d like to think by showing someone love and support it might help them to feel heard and understood, if only for a moment.  Whether they simply need to vent some of the painful emotions they are feeling or just need the listening ear of a friend, I think it is essential that we all try and be as kind as we are able to one another.  We are human, so of course we are not perfect and will have slip-ups, but at the end of the day we are all more human than otherwise.  People need love, support, and kindness (with or without mental illness), the more we show this kind of affection to others the greater the ripple effect will be.  How wonderful it would be if we created a society in which it was okay for someone to admit they are feeling depressed, anxious, psychotic and maybe even suicidal and not have our first reaction be to judge them but to try and help in whatever small way we can.  Something as simple as a smile and a few minutes of your time can do more than you’ll ever know.

A Smile

I regularly frequent a place that has a yoga studio on the second floor.  On my way into the building, the genuine, heartfelt, and happy smiles these yogis greet me with is truly uplifting.  It may sound silly, but you can just feel the happiness and warmth behind many of their smiles.  It helps set the tone for my entire day.

There is something truly wonderful about a smile.  Especially a smile from a stranger.  There is nothing more behind it than kindness… A smile costs us absolutely nothing but can certainly help improve the mood of those around us.  Energies are contagious, is yours worth catching?

The next time you see a stranger or someone who is struggling, try simply offering them a smile.  Peacefully observe the reaction you get, whether positive or negative, and notice the shift within.  The simple act of smiling improves our own happiness as well.

Have a good day! 🙂

Making Happiness a Priority

If you are unhappy, do something about it.  Nothing is worth being unhappy for.  In fact, my favorite quote is “Life’s too short to be anything but happy.”

Take the time to determine what things make you the most happy in life and set out planning a life you enjoy.  One you don’t need a vacation from.  If your job makes you miserable, find a new job.  If you’re unhappy in your relationship, try your best to work on things, and if at the end of the day certain issues are unfixable for what ever the reason – Take stock of things and determine whether or not staying in an unhappy relationship is in your best interest.  In any of your relationships, be they romantic, friendship, familial, etc…, the single most important factor is whether or not you leave feeling happier after you spend time with that person.  Do you genuinely enjoy their company?

The energy you put out there is what you attract.  And in a similar vein, if you are spending time with negative people, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, make sure to make your health and happiness a priority.  We all have certain situations or people we may not enjoy being around, that is life, do your best to recognize this and limit your time with these people if possible.

As someone who is a happy, optimistic person, I am often left feeling drained when I am around negative people for too long.  With clients, I know how to manage this.  In fact, it is part of the reason they are in your office and is something they are usually willing to work on.  That is something to be commended.  Having the foresight to know that you are struggling with a certain issue and to be actively taking steps to change it.

If someone is treating you badly, it is simply a reflection of how they feel inwardly.  It is up to you to choose how you handle it.

And remember, it is often those who are the most difficult to love that need it the most.

So for today, take the time to do something that makes you happy.  Whether it be a walk in nature, reading, or drinking a hot chocolate.  Take time to enjoy the beautiful fall foliage and appreciate the good things in your life.  There is always, always, always something to be grateful for. ❤

Grief

Having recently experienced an unexpected trauma (and I guess that’s the point, who ever expects this kind of thing), I have learned a thing or two about how others respond to it.  In wanting to talk about the trauma itself, other people get uncomfortable.  It is like no one knows how to handle any real pain any more.  If someone is mourning the loss of a loved one, the advice “Stay strong!” really is not helpful.

Someone I love died.  It is OKAY and NORMAL to be sad he is dead.  He’s not coming back.  It IS a loss.

Let me freaking grieve it.

When someone is grieving, simply say something compassionate like, “I’m sorry for your loss.”  Then take the cue from the grieving individual as to how to proceed.

Say the same kinds of things to them that you would if you saw them at a funeral.  And if they want to talk about it, heck, if they need to talk about it (which everyone does) – LET them.  Don’t tell them to “stay strong” as if feeling your feelings is weak.  It is normal and healthy to process the loss.  What is unhealthy is to continue to act like it doesn’t exist.

Show compassion.  Always.  Even when it’s hard.  Even when you don’t feel like it.  Love one another.  It’s that simple. ❤