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Kiss the Frog: Creating happiness through the power of appreciation

The fear of being stuck with happiness

Everybody wants to be happy.

Even though we all want to be happy in theory, we don’t always give ourselves permission.

Why would we do that? Because happiness is considered to be dangerous.

Although every one wants to feel good, we fear that being happy will pacify us and ultimately destroy us.

Unhappiness is like an abusive lover that we’re afraid to leave because we don’t believe in our ability to get through life successfully without having him in our lives.

We’re afraid to love our lives as they are because we fear being stuck with an unwanted condition.

If we allow ourselves to be happy NOW, even though we have some things going on that we don’t like, we fear we might become complacent.

To many people, being happy no matter what sounds identical to settling for less. On the surface, it seems so much more responsible to analyze what’s wrong than to appreciate what’s right.

Appreciation might be the moral thing to do, but who wants to get stuck with a mediocre life? So we dismiss appreciation as a waste of time and dive right into the bad stuff. After all, that’s what we’re trying to get rid of, right? So WHY NOT focus more on the bad stuff?

Rethinking the concept of appreciation

 
Well, contrary to popular belief, appreciation is not just an act of maturity. It’s an act of creativity. When we highlight and emphasize what’s good about our lives, we ascend to a level of consciousness that empowers us to create more of the same.

There are some who would have you believe that you shouldn’t be happy as long as there are things wrong with your life or the world. This idea is based on the notion that happiness is just a fleeting emotional sensation. At its deepest level, however, Joy is a creative force. When you feel good, you are in alignment with the very energy that creates worlds. And no state of being is more powerful or productive than that.

Waiting for your life to improve before you choose to be happy would be like the princess waiting for the frog to turn into a prince BEFORE she kissed it. It doesn’t work that way. At some point you just gotta pucker up and love all the ugly aspects of your life. Because you enjoy kissing frogs? No! Because your prince is trapped inside of there and you’re not going to let “being grossed out” keep you separate from him.

But you’ve gotta kiss the frog FIRST.

“I aint kissing that bleeping frog”, you may be thinking.

Well you don’t get to see the prince of your dreams until you chuck it up and kiss that ugly thing sitting over there.

“I’ll really live life once it becomes lovable” we think. But you have to love your life until it becomes livable.

That’s what tough-minded optimism is all about!

What are your thoughts?

Cheers 🙂

T.K. Coleman

Perkiness & positivity are two different things

I have a pet peeve.

Well, it’s not really a pet peeve because I find it far more amusing than annoying. So let’s just call it an observation.

Here it is:

Whenever I’m in deep thought, someone always asks me “Is everything okay?”

The positive philosopher and the sad singer

Those who are closest to me know that my one of my most cherished pastimes is the process of wrestling with a challenging philosophical conundrum. I routinely toss around paradoxes and riddles in my head throughout the day to keep myself entertained. If you catch me in the middle of one of these thought experiments, you’d see that my problem-solving game face can be quite intense. These moments, however, are among my times of greatest joy.

But, as much joy as I derive from serious in-depth contemplation, someone always checks in on my emotional health whenever my game face goes on. Here’s the funny thing; I love to sing too. I also walk around singing as much as I walk around thinking. Sometimes I’m in a horrible mood and am singing the saddest of songs, but people usually assume the exact opposite during those moments. “Wow, you’re really happy” a woman said to me, once, as I sadly strolled along singing “One Last Cry” by Brian Mcknight .

There’s no happiness like showbiz happiness

The association of seriousness with sadness and perkiness with positivity is highly understandable. I totally get it.

It does, however,  prompt me to make an important point about optimism and happiness:

When many people think of being positive and happy, they are referring to what I call “showbiz happiness.”

Showbiz happiness is when you walk around with a big grin on your face looking like you’re ready to break out into a tap dance routine or give everyone you see a hug.

There are people who express their happiness in the showbiz way and that’s quite a fine thing. But others question their capacity to be happy and positive because they don’t walk around whistling all the time. There are even some who shy away from any efforts at becoming more positive because they fear it will turn them into a one-dimensional “turn your frown upside down” cheesy clown character who annoys all of their friends.

Well, for all of you who’ve ever wanted to be more optimistic, but feared that positivity wasn’t for you, I’m offering you these two cents:

Being perky and being positive are two different things.

Optimism is diverse and happiness is multi-dimensional

Not all people who are perky are positive. Some of them have just had too much espresso.

Not all people who are positive are perky.

A positive person is simply someone who maintains a commitment to doing the best they can with the cards they’ve been dealt. 

 Some optimist are highly energetic, but some are very laid back, mellow, easy-going people who are at peace with themselves even though they have no interest in giving you a hug.

You don’t have to smile to feel satisfied

A psychological state is different from the facial expressions, tones of voice, and physical mannerisms various people use to express themselves. Words like “happiness” and “positivity”, ultimately refer to psychological states.

You don’t have to fit into a cookie cutter behavorial mold in order to live joyously. You don’t have to become a stereotype. In fact, by making an effort to be more optimistic, you’ll be pleased to find a more full version of your personality available to you.

You have a right to be happy and healthy. The opportunity to develop a positive psychology and live an extraordinary life is a real option for you.

So don’t count yourself out just because you don’t have a perky personality.

At least that’s my two cents.

Cheers,

T.K. Coleman

P.S.

By the way, for all you perky folks, I’d still appreciate it if you check to make sure I’m okay when you see me looking serious. You never know when I could use an uplifting word of encouragement or, better still, a good laugh.

Don’t be tardy for the party!

“If you want to be respected by others the great thing is to respect yourself.  Only by that, only by self-respect will you compel others to respect you.”  ~Fyodor Dostoyevsky

One of my best friends just recently celebrated a birthday. Lots of party goers from all over gathered together to express appreciation for a life passionately lived and much-loved. This makes me think of the words of Mike Murdock who once wrote “Go where you’re celebrated not where you’re tolerated.”

Who’s celebrating you?

Although we all cherish moments when cheers are said to our name, not everyone in life feels celebrated. Many feel overlooked, some slighted.

Too often in life we try in vain to win the affection and praise of people whose interest in us may be casual at best.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting others to feel excited about you. But when you look to any particular individual or institution as the source of your validation, you’re always bound to end up disappointed and frustrated.

Party of one

When you recognize your social life to be a mirror of your psychological life, you can begin to create the changes you’re currently hoping others will provide.

Cultivate the habit of falling in love with yourself. Practice the art of emphasizing your own positive aspects. Develop a deep and abiding consciousness of self-respect. Get excited about the “man in the mirror.”

When you choose to be more fascinated with the story of your own life than you are with any tabloid, television drama, or CNN headline, you begin to witness firsthand the…

The power of being your own biggest fan

To the degree you prove willing to celebrate yourself, you will attract people into your experience who will reflect back to you your own self-love.

The Universe will match you up with those who find it easy to see your light and natural to praise it. If you want others to celebrate you, then you have to be willing to throw a party for yourself.

“Don’t be tardy for the party!” Start radically loving yourself right now!!!

That’s today’s two cents.

Cheers,

T.K. Coleman

Sometimes there’s no lesson to learn

Have you ever trusted someone only to have them disappoint you?

Have you ever failed to close on an important business deal?

Have you ever been in the middle of a great day, only to have drama spring up out of nowhere?

Have you ever asked for something and been told “no”?

Have you ever taken a risk and fallen flat on your face?

Have you ever tried ANYTHING that didn’t work?

Do I sound like a commercial that’s getting ready to sell you something for the low low cost of $19.95?

The unanticipated life

If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, then welcome to life. Life is a place where the unanticipated happens and I don’t anticipate that changing anytime soon. Our experience of the unanticipated is not inherently problematic. The good and the bad of it all comes down to how we choose to process the experience. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, then you’re already familiar with two personal convictions I have:

1) Accepting disempowering beliefs leads to a quality of life that is unhealthy, unproductive, and unfulfilling.

2) Cultivating empowering beliefs leads to a creative, peaceful, and satisfying experience of well-being.

But today, I’d like to deviate a bit from my usual efforts at dismantling negative beliefs and defending empowering ones.

Today’s lesson is a non-lesson

My lesson today is simple:

Sometimes there’s no lesson to be learned.

Not getting what you want doesn’t ALWAYS mean there’s something you need to change or figure out.

Life is a process and everything isn’t meant to work out the first time around. Analyzing a situation or working extra hard isn’t going to change that simple fact.

No amount of therapy, pills, self-help courses, friends, advice, prayers, motivational speeches, sermons, effort, or thought will save you from the risks, mistakes, failures, and so-called “set-backs” that are built into the life experience.

What I didn’t learn from an experiment with failure

Back in college, as part of an ice breaker group routine at a retreat, some friends and I were faced with the difficult task of physically carrying each member of a group to a certain location without anyone’s body touching any of the objects that were deemed “out of bounds.” My friends and I figured out the perfect way to adjust our physicality and maneuver our bodies so we could outwit the rule makers and successfully accomplish the task. Our performance was stunningly excellent. Everyone was impressed with the way we navigated around inconveniently placed obstacles without letting them touch us. Then, at the very end, we failed.

 Because our time hadn’t run out, we still had a chance to start from the beginning and attempt completion. So we all huddled up and went into strategy planning mode. Everyone threw out a few suggestions for what we could do differently. After about 5 minutes of this, one of the group members said “hey, I think our approach was fine. It just didn’t work that time. Maybe we should just get out there and try the exact strategy again. We did and we succeeded.

Here’s the lesson I learned: There was no lesson to be learned from our failure. We had a great plan. It just didn’t work the first time around. That’s simply how life is. 

Maybe you’re doing just fine. Perhaps the only thing you need to do is not stop.

That’s my two cents.

Cheers,

T.K. Coleman

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