My hope is to pleasantly surprise, not confuse. Creating happiness is unique to you, but there are some things we all need to focus on. Even if you might not think this is important to you, I hope to change your mind by the end of the post.
As I was saying in my “Back to School For You” post, I found myself reflecting on my life and trying to get back to things I used to enjoy. One of those things for me was beauty, style, and fashion. I wondered why my style and fashion sense seemed to have escaped me. Rarely did I get a chance to watch t.v., however this one particular morning I grabbed a laundry folding chance to watch a morning show. I happen to catch Bobbie Thomas being interviewed about her new book (at that time) “The Power of Style”. I decided to buy it that morning. What I got was so much more than makeup and fashion tips.
“Style is the way we speak to the world without words.” Bobbie further explains how important it is that we really understand ourselves inside and out. Her first career began as she pursued graduate studies in marriage, family, and child counseling. She begins the book by explaining the significance of our feelings and view of ourselves. She writes how women (in particular) tend to look in mirrors and focus on the flaws instead of appreciating the beauty. Focusing on flaws leads to feeling sorry for yourself which usually leads us to lifting our spirits with sweets and treats (not a healthy coping skill). On the other hand when people feel great they are motivated to take care of themselves which leads to confidence and self awareness which strengthens us to make the changes in our lives that we need to make.
This is so similar to the point Shawn Achor makes in “The Happiness Advantage” regarding the importance for us to try to focus on the positives. In both instances we need to focus on both the positives occurring in our lives and about ourselves. I would like to address the negatives here. There are experiences in our lives that are negative which do need our attention and respect. In that you don’t want to deny some of the happenings in your life because they are sad or frustrating. There are moments you need to feel the sadness or the anger, but don’t allow it to be the only thing you can think about. Also, help yourself move through it without it always casting a shadow on your present.
Back to “The Power of Style”. Bobbie includes simple strategies, like leaving yourself a sticky note with inspiration where you will see it daily. I liked this idea of writing song lyrics, quotes, or a simple reminder to smile. Remember the simple act of smiling sends chemicals to our brain which help us to feel good? She included a quote by George Bernard Shaw, “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself”. This quote is one of my favorites and it turned up in my life again, very randomly, on a magnet which is now on my fridge. I try to live that one.
She also very genuinely and honestly reveals that the reflections in our lives don’t just come from mirrors, but from the people around us. The people in our lives reflect back what they see in us, sometimes accurately and sometimes inaccurately. Just like those fun house mirrors, people in your life who might be concave or convex themselves, may reflect back their own imperfect idea of you. It is important to take in what the people in your lives reflect back to you. Once I began to do this and really listen, I usually found something about myself I could work on and improve. This, I think, helped my relationships. Of course, there have been times when I knew the reflection was not accurate, then I took time to figure out whether to work on that relationship or let it go. Surround yourself with positive people who see you and reflect back your true self.
To be continued…..