Creating Happiness

My Thoughts Are Mine!

ID-100231796As I have gotten older I have really become more open minded and much more layed back. I realized that it is perfectly fine if peoples beliefs are different than mine. This is what makes each of us uniuque.

The more I thought about it, I realized that without even being aware of it, I wasn’t thinking for myself for most of my life. And worse many of my belief systems were not my own.

Here is what I mean.

I think that a lot of what people believe and have believed for years are beliefs that were taught to them as small children by their parents, teachers, preachers, grandparents.

And many of the beliefs that we have are good and true to us. But some may not be true to us.

So I made a decision in my early 40’s to become a critical thinker.

A critical thinker is someone who is able to clearly look at a belief and come up with the honest answer to the question “Is this true?”. I like to ask myself this question…

Is this something that was taught to me? Or do I really find this to be true.

Many of my beliefs didn’t even make sense and I don’t know who I learned them from. But in changing my beliefs, I have been able to become free.
For example, I had a belief growing up that I was poor. And through most of my life I believed this. My parents never once said we were poor, but their actions and comments they made my entire child hood gave me the belief that I was poor and probably would always be poor.

I picked up on the fact that money was really tight. My Mom always reminded us that preachers, like my Father, didn’t make much money. Some of the things I heard as a child were,

  • “I’m making a poor man’s meal for dinner.”
  • “We can’t afford that.”
  • “I don’t have the money for that.”

Without even relizing it, I would hear myself saying the same things to my kids. And I realized that I had a belief that I was poor. And this certainly isn’t true.

I think it is true with many people who believe certain things. I think what may have been true for my parents were not true for me.

When kids are young they pick up on the beliefs of their parents.

Here are some beliefs that are taught to kids without parents even realizing it. A child only needs to overhear a conversation to pick up a belief.

  • “If you are over weight, you are ugly.”
  • “My race is better than another race.”
  • “I am not worth loving.”
  • “Money is the root of evil.”
  • “If I don’t go to college, I’m not smart.”
  • “I’m not smart enough.”

I am learning to embrace the differences in others and I want to be open to changing my thoughts. I realize that my beliefs may not necessarily be true for my soul.

When I became a critical thinker I realized I opened up so much more of an opportunity to find happiness. Think about your life. Do you have a belief that may not be true? Or is it something you were taught by an authority figure?

 

 

 

Creating Happiness

It’s None Of My Business What Others Think Of Me

For many years, actually most of my life, I spent people pleasing. I wanted to be the perfect friend, wife and employee. I wanted to be liked and appreciated. I spent many years trying to make others happy. And worked really hard to live up to their expectations.

In the long run, I ended up really unhappy. It was hard work trying to make everyone’s life better. And instead of people giving back, I often found that I was taken for granted and used. Which of course ended up with resentment.

I ended up very bitter and depressed. I didn’t like where my life was or the person that I had become.

I had such anxiety all the time. I was constantly worried about what people thought about me. It took a lot of work and effort to try to be perfect all the time.

image courtesy of http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/
I Own My Life! Choosing Happiness!

About 10 years ago I had a friend. Really, he was more of a mentor. He was a successful business owner who started out broke and is now a millionaire. He and I spoke on the phone and connected over the internet. He did a lot of training for network marketers. Long story short, he really helped save my life.

One day we were talking about my problem with trying to please everyone and my worry about what they thought of me. His response wasn’t something that I expected…

He said, “Honestly, Wendy, It really isn’t any of your business what others think of you.”

But I disagreed. Of course it is my business if their thoughts are about me. But then after a lot of back and forth it really started to sink in.

Someone else’s personal thoughts really are none of my business.

Then he said something that made me laugh, but made perfect sense. He said, “I bet they are thinking the same thing about you.”

So I decided right then and there to stop the worry and anxiety. This became my mantra. I know longer care what others think. I only focus on me and what I can do to make myself happy.

I know it sounds selfish. But remember when I said how unhappy I was trying to please everyone? Well I discovered that when I focused on what felt good to me and made me happy, I ended up making the people around me happier. And people began to treat me differently. They respected me and my time.

I became a stronger woman. I am the one in control. Today I am creating my own happiness.

So, It is none of my business what others think of me!

Today I own my life. I’m the one in control and I don’t care what others think. What about you? Have you ever had to change your way of thinking? I would love to here from you.

Creating Happiness, Middle Age Challenges, Midlife Crisis

How To Find Yourself When You Feel Stuck

Right in My Soul by Philippe Sainte-Laudy / image courtesy of allposters.com

Uncovering And Embracing Our Authentic Selves

For me, entering into midlife was a time for me to begin to find myself. Like many women I was feeling really stuck. I felt like my entire first half of my life was dedicated to others. It was about making people happy. And often, it meant sacrificing my own happiness.

I put my family first. And that was fine with me. I wanted a large family and I feel like my kids gave me everything that I always wanted. I had a wonderful time raising my kids. And I have to say they turned into terrific adults.

So as I moved into midlife and my children got older, I found, they needed me less. And it was then that I decided to focus on my life. I wanted to figure out who I was and what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.

I love midlife because for the first time in my life I got to be a tiny bit selfish. It was uncomfortable at first, but I realized that I needed to take care of me. I needed to put me first in my life.

So I took some time and reflected back on what I have accomplished so far in my life. And really looked hard at what was in my heart. I had to really get into my heart and soul and figure out what I really want and need in my life. I realized in order to find your authentic self you need to really go within.

Once I found my authentic self I decided to focus on what is really important and what feels good. I have to say this time in my life is so happy and fulfilling. I am really content.

If you are entering midlife and feeling like your life is a bit out of control, then know you are completely normal. ūüôā Look at this time as an amazing spiritual time to really find yourself. And you can have fun doing it.

 how to finally really grow upFinding Meaning in the Second Half of Life: How to Finally, Really Grow Up

A book that helped me and I highly recommend is Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life: How to Finally, Really Grow Up, by James Hollis.

This book will help to guide you on your journey of really finding your true self. It gets you to ask questions of yourself that you may have never asked.

Here are a few that really got me thinking…¬†

“What does the soul ask of me?”
“Who am I apart from my roles, apart from my history?”
“What does it mean that I am here?”

Has anyone else experienced feeling sort of lost during midlife? How did you find your true self or are you still seeking?

 

 

Creating Happiness

What you need to know about happiness in Midlife

Listen up, because I am going to tell you a secret.

This is a secret that took me many years to get. And it took me even more years to trust it. Now I do. Now I’m living my life to the fullest.

Want to know the secret? It is pretty simple.

Happiness is a choice… Yes it is!

ID-10046795It sounds simple, yet it is so true.

The problem is we spend so much time going to work, taking care of the family and doing for others that we forget to live our life.

And as a mid-lifer I know how fast life goes by. I don’t know about you, but I want to live my life to the fullest.

Here is that I learned that helped me to find happiness.

I learned to Listen to my inner voice. Believe it or not, this is hard for many people. We have so much chatter going on inside that we cant here that little voice inside that has something to say.

So how do you hear that little voice? You do it with silence. Meditation is popular because it quiets the mind so you can hear what your soul has to say. But the word meditation tends to scare many people. So let me just say find a quiet place, your car, a warm bath, your back yard….and be silent. Just be with yourself.

After you do this a few times, you will begin to hear that little voice and you will begin to find the answers you seek.

And of course the other side of this is to stop Listening to the Chatter and noise. This was difficult for me. Because I spent most of my adult life doing for others. I spend most of my time making other people happy. I made sure my husband and children were taken care of. And somehow I lost myself.

Stop doing what others want you to do, and do what you want to do. Do what is right for you.

This step is about taking care of yourself first. Do something nice for yourself. It is okay to let others take care of themselves as well.

The most amazing word I learned with this step was “no”. It was a freeing word for me. I love my family. But as a woman of 50 with grown adults as children, I realized I was hindering their happiness by not letting them find themselves.

It isn’t my job to create happiness for others. I can only create my own happiness.

Learn to love yourself. Know that you are unique and beautiful. You are a blessing. Love yourself and you will find happiness.

A few years ago, it was suggested that I look in the mirror at myself every day. And look deeply into my own eyes. I started doing this and then I say to myself. “I love you”.

At first it was hard. I cried. I realized that I didn’t love myself first. But I can do it now. It took time to realize that I really deserve happiness. I realize that I am me and I am the perfect me. I am not perfect but I am unique and I am me.

We I came from the other side I came by myself. And when I go back to the other side I will be by myself. I can’t take my parents, kids or lover with me. It will be about me. And that is why I think it is so important to listen to my soul.

I have learned that in finding myself, but listening to my voice I am truly happy. And although at first my family thought I was being selfish. ¬†They quickly saw how happy I was and enjoyed being around me more. I am much lighter and care free. I like being selfish. Because really my life¬†is about me. I’d rather be selfish than self-less.

I am a happy woman, who is living each day to the fullest. I am creating my own life and living it the way I want. Today I am blessed.

Are you selfish? Or Self-less?

Creating Happiness, Women's Issues

What is the Age Women Go Through Menopause?

For the last 5 years I have been asking the question, At “what is the¬†age women go through menopause?”. ¬†I had a hard time getting the answer. All the older women in my life seemed to have a hysterectomy so I had nothing to compare it too.¬†

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My mother informed me that her mother went through the change in her 50’s. My doctor told me it is anywhere between 48 and 55. ¬†She told me, that it isn’t consider complete until you have been a year without a period. Over the last year, I I noticed my period become less regular. Some months would be heavy and some months, very light. Finally I had my last period in November and turned 50 in January. So I would say for me, 50 is an exciting year! I am going through the change. If you are reading this article, you may have been looking for an answer to the question. Hopefully this will help you.

But here is the thing about Midlife for women and the change:

Are you ready for it?

Change is good.

I mean if things were always the same, life would be so boring. Somehow the years went by and we (women) have aged, but we are far from being old. I think it is important to embrace being middle aged. And embrace all the changes that come along with it. We are here, we can’t go back, Why not embrace it?

As someone who is in midlife, I realized that I am not the same person I was in my 20’s or 30’s. I’m different on the inside as well as the outside.

On the outside, My skin is different. It feels much dryer than it used to. And I am discovering age spots, you know those darker patches of skin that were not there before. My body feels softer and not quite as firm as it used to be. I can’t wear the same kind of makeup and clothes that I chose when I was younger. It just doesn’t look flattering. Actually it isn’t right at all.

So I have learned to find my natural beauty. And I realized, I am beautiful. I wear very little makeup. I have found that less is more. I wear very natural colors that are just enough to give me a bit of color and glow. I want people to look at me and think “Wow”, she looks good for 50. I want them to see me, not my make-up.

So generally I only wear foundation, lipstick, blush and mascara. That is it. And guess what?! I don’t get my yucky period any more. Yippee to that. As a bonus to midlife, I can have sex when ever I want and actually enjoy it. There is no worries about getting pregnant.

Most importantly though, as a midlifer I realized most of the change has been inside of me. My outlook on life is so much different then it was when I was younger. I find that the little stresses don’t seem as important anymore. I tend to focus on things that feel good and make me happy. I realized that I don’t care so much about what people think. Actually I really could care less. I am happy and I focus on positive stuff in life.

What about you? Have you noticed lots of changes in midlife other than just losing your period?

PS. If you are looking for a good book on Menopause, check out The Wisdom of Menopause (Revised Edition): Creating Physical and Emotional Health During the Change.

Creating Happiness, Sex Midlife

Is Sex Good During Midlife?

ID-100177346One of the greatest things about Midlife is the sex. I absolutely love where I am in my life right now. And I love my age!

So I have to answer the question, “Is Sex Good During Midlife?” with an enthusiastic YES!

If you are like me, you have probably read that men hit their sexual peak in their early 20’s and women in their late 30’s. If this is a fact, I’m not sure. And honestly I don’t care.

I think Midlife is where all the fun is!

Oh Yes! Midlife can be very fulfilling for both men and women for a number of reasons.

I have found that most men and women find sex during midlife much more sensual and relaxed. We have way less inhibitions and seem to be way less rushed.

First of all if a woman has gone to menopause, then there is no longer a worry of pregnancy. This in itself makes sex much more relaxing and care free.

Another nice thing about midlife and sex, is that often you have an empty nest, which means lots of privacy and alone time with you sweetheart. It is nice to reconnect with your partner. Being able to reconnect and put your partner first is so nice.

If you find that you are in midlife, and you are not experiencing the sexual experience that you want, don’t be afraid to explore using things to make the experience better. Oils and toys can add some extra enjoyment.

And if you want to have good sex but are having some medical problems that prevent you from exploring your sexuality during midlife, please talk to your doctor. There is lots of help for people these days.

I find that sex in midlife is more about connecting with each other on a deeper level.

Is Sex good during midlife? The sex is good and it will only get better.

PS. If you want to enjoy more good sex in midlife, I highly recommend the book, Sex & Love at Midlife: It’s Better Than Ever.


 

Creating Happiness, Empty Nest

Preparing For an Empty Nest

ID-100186801I’m preparing for an empty nest….

As a Mom with one already out of the nest and two ready to leave, I know a little bit about what it feels like when someone experiences and empty nest.

Our natural instinct as a parent is to be scared for your child. You want to protect them from hardships and hurt.

But here is the thing. The best thing we can do is let them go and know they will be fine. You know this, because you raised them. You set an example and prepared them.

Now it is time to sit back and let them live their lives. And yes, that means letting them make mistakes and learn from those mistakes.

But empty nest isn’t just about those that are leaving or have left. It is about those left behind. It is about the Parent.

As a Mom, I spend 20 years doing for others. Loving and nurturing everyone and often neglecting myself.

So it is expected that I will be a bit hesitant to be alone and on my own. Especially after recently ending a 24 year marriage.

But I choose to look at this precious time and my next step in my life. This is my time to find myself. Create some new dreams. And make amazing things happen in my life.

Here are some of the things I am doing to prepare myself for an empty nest…

  • Letting Go: Even though I still have children at home, I am working on stepping back and minding my own business when it comes to their lives. I step back and let them make decision on their own, yet I let them know I’m here to help in any way. I only offer advise when it is wanted or I feel it is really needed.
  • Be Healthy Emotionally and Physically: I am taking care of myself. I am making a real effort to focus on myself and my happiness. My life is no longer all about my kids.
  • Make New Friends: ¬†I am getting out in the world more and reconnecting with some of my old friends that I have lost touch with and am also focusing on making new friends.
  • Find a New Hobby: For me this also means getting back into doing some of the things I used to enjoy doing in the past. For me, it is writing and also arts and crafts.

What about you? How did you handle and empty nest?

Creating Happiness, Women's Issues

Two Huge Reasons To Meditate in Midlife

One of the nicest things about midlife is that I have much more time to myself. Yes, I miss all the activity but I enjoy the quiet as well. I’ve been using the time for myself to be nice to myself. I have been able to really spend some time meditating and reflecting on my life.

ID-100114092Meditation does two important things for me:

Meditation is Calming

First meditation helps to slow down all the chatter in my mind and calm me down. Which is what I need to keep me stress free. I am a pretty hyper person anyway, but when you add the fact that throughout my day there is lots of activity. I work in the mall so there is always music playing and people running around.

And with technology, it seems that there is always a phone ringing, or a television playing. There is always chatter going on.

I find it really calming to simply unplug from technology and the humans around me and just enjoy the silence. Quiet is calming for me. Meditation and just being in the quiet is a huge stress reliever. There is simply nothing like it.

Knowing

You may have heard people say that all the answers are within. And for me it is so very true. When I meditate and slow down all the chatter in my mind, I get this “knowing”. I don’t know how to explain it other than saying often if I am having a problem, a solution will come to me through or after meditation. It is amazing what you can solve when you meditate.

It is like all the answers are within you, but you can’t here the answers until you quiet down all the chatter in your world. Silence brings answers to problems. It is really neat getting the answers.

Meditation is easy…

If you have never meditated you may be thinking it is very difficult to do. It is actually much easier than you may realize. I generally meditate in my recliner, I sit back and relax my body. I focus on each body part starting with my toes and work my way up my body until I am relaxed. Then I visualize a white light surrounding me. Then I usually feel all nice and warm and relaxed. Then I ask the universe what I need to know. I don’t try to think or even listen. I just let myself just be. And I always end up getting the answers that I need in my life at the moment.

But early on I simply found meditation really difficult. I couldn’t let myself go. I couldn’t relax. So I did Guided Meditation. I found listening to audio tapes of guided meditation helped me learn how to relax enough to let go. I highly recommend meditation to anyone but especially those going through the stresses of midlife.

Here are some of my recommendations:

Best Guided Meditation Audio CD’s:
Guided Meditations: For Calmness, Awareness, and Love

Guided Imagery CD Relaxation Meditation For Difficult Times

The Calming Collection – Goodbye Worries. ** Guided meditation to train your mind to quiet your thoughts – Train your mind to quiet your thoughts CD – Hypnotic Guided CD **

PS. What is your experience with meditation? Do you meditate?

Creating Happiness

My Decision to Stop Watching Too Much TV

When I think of Midlife I look at it as the second better half of my life. I mean okay the first half was awesome. I had 3 terrific kids and many wonderful memories. But in the second half I am going to create an amazing life.

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image courtesy of http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

I believe that the life we have good or bad is a choice. And I choose to live my life to the fullest. I know I want to enjoy every moment living my life exactly as I want. And I’m not going to waste time on things like watching TV.

Over the years, I realized that one of the surest ways for me to get depressed was to watch the news. So I stopped watching the news a few years ago and I discovered that I really don’t miss anything. When something major happens, people always let me know. And really, what can I do to stop all of the killings and bad things that happen. For me, living in Baltimore, the evening news is nothing but negative things. And it is certainly the last thing I need to hear about before going to bed.

But I’m going to really shut down the TV and focus on really living my life.

Yes, I have a TV in the house and I think it is fine to watch an occasional television show or movie. But when I look at some of my older friends who seem sad and lonely, I look at their life. And sadly it seems that their number one activity is sitting and watching television. I know some unhappy people who watch TV from morning until bedtime.

I don’t want that. I’m sure I must have a great purpose.

I want to live my own life, rather than be in the life experience of a fictional character. I think over the years, I watched way to much TV and tool television shoes way to seriously.

So I have made a commitment to only watch 2 hours of television a day. I know this may still seem like a lot to most people but over the years (I’m embarrassed to admit) that the tv would go on first thing in the morning and stay on all day long until bedtime.

What will I be doing instead? I’ll be doing things that bring me real joy. I’ll be taking walks, writing, reading and hanging out with good people who have positive energy.