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Newsletter Dated: 6/1/2005 3:00:43 PM
Subject: Happiness Tips from Tina - Into Every Life
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Happiness Tip: Into Every Life
As a parade went by, one of the horses pulling a float entry left a memento in the middle of the road, right in front of where we were watching from the sidewalk. From that point on, every band or group that came marching down the road marched bravely on, right through the pile of horse manure. The image struck a chord in me, one that the band was not intentionally playing.
We all know the parade of life does not always go smoothly. Any one of us can be marching along, happily playing our tune, and suddenly be faced with a little mess which is not of our making. Friends can be unkind, intentionally or not, and, as Bobbie Burns wrote “The best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men, /Gang aft agley.” Those of us who can keep focused on the goal, and march right through, deserve applause.
My mentor, Rev. Denton Roberts often said “You are not responsible for what happens to you, but for your response to it.” In other words, you don’t need to feel guilty for problems in your life, but it’s important that you deal with them. When there’s a messy pile in your road, after you get through it, it’s valuable to consider how it got there, what to do about it and how to make sure you don't participate in the creation of new ones. Rather than just dwell on the problem, move your focus to the solution.
Today, I was talking to a client, and the metaphor of walking through the "road apples" of life came up again. There's no doubt about it, we're going to encounter unpleasant obstacles in our path from time to time. Just because we have to walk through it, doesn't mean it's our fault it's there --but, it is our responsibility to clean off our shoes as soon as we can, and do whatever we can (like getting the parade committee to put a bag under the horse’s butt) to make sure we don't go through it again.
Above all, it's important to remember it's only a little pile. It has an end, it's temporary, and we'll probably survive it. Blaming ourselves or someone else never helped anyone get through it faster, it only makes the slogging more unpleasant. There is nothing to stop us from playing "Hey, Look Me Over" at maximum lung power all the way through. On the other hand, ignoring it won't make it go away, either. Somewhere in there is a fine balance, between letting go and taking responsibility. Pretending that all is well, and the problem is non-existent, or pretending that we don't need the rest of society, or that critical, difficult or angry people will go away by themselves, is foolhardy. Staying in isolation, so we don't encounter hassles, means we’ll miss the parade. When there’s a problem we must slog through it, and then scrape the leavings off our shoes. Like it or not, we must take responsibility for turning our experience around. This means minimizing reaction and maximizing effectiveness. Taking an objective look at where we become part of the problem and where we succeed are part of the solution makes a critical difference in how life goes on.
On the other hand, self-flagellation and blaming won't get us anywhere either. The key really is respect. To have respect for ourselves is the key to getting others to follow suit. I do believe that loving ourselves is the key. I believe that people who love and accept themselves will naturally do what is necessary to create a positive life. Learning how to center myself through prayer or meditation and knowing that I don’t have to be in charge of anyone but me frees me up to get through the messy stuff and on with my parade.
Life is not always easy
It hums along, sweet and low-key
and then the tsunami – real or imagined,
wipes our smug snugness away.
Devastated by loss, we weep,
We gnash teeth, we grieve, we’re angry
At God, at life, at lack of control.
We regain calm, then lose it, lose it, lose it.
Slowly, slowly, normalcy returns,
creeping back in like the daily tide.
The dawning of another day, bereft of the old,
but blessed with the new,
First shows itself in the smiling eyes
Of dear friends, still here, still offering love.
Life, after all, is worthwhile
And love and gratitude trump grief.
I wish you minimal piles to slog through, and the patience and courage to keep playing your own special song. © 2005 Tina B. Tessina
I hope you’re enjoying my "Psychology Smarts" column in First for Women magazine, I’ve enjoyed answering readers’ questions.
"Dating Guidelines for Single Parents" excerpted from the UG to Dating Again is now online at News For Parents website http://www.newsforparents.org/expert_dating_single_parents.html
My article, "Sex and a Sense of Humor" is now featured on SheKnows.com http://sheknows.com/about/look/5604.htm
You can find me on the Internet, as the "Dating Doctor" on www.couplescompany.com, "Dr. Romance" on Yahoo!Personals at http://personals.yahoo.com/us/static/content_date, a designated Marriage Expert for Redbook Institute and I'll also answer your questions at http://www.tinatessina.com.
Monday, June 20 11:00 AM EDT I will be a guest on "The Gospel Express" with Morgan Dukes in Atlanta GA. The show airs on WPOL am1340 Winston-Salem 11:00am - 12:15pm and WKEW am1400 Greensboro 11:15am - 11:30pm
Catch my radio show on the web: "The Psyche Deli: delectable tidbits for the subconscious" every Sunday 6-7:00 PM PT on www.wpmd.org and on the Leisure Talk Radio Network at www.leisuretalk.net every 12, 4, and 8 a.m. & p.m. EDT. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. For more information: www.tinatessina.com
Through my website, you can get CE credits online based on my books: It Ends With You; How to Be a Couple and Still Be Free and The Real 13th Step To sign up for classes or browse my books, visit www.tinatessina.com.
I welcome your feedback and support, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wishing you joy,
Tina B. Tessina, PhD
Re: Green-eyed Monster
Interesting stuff, Tina! Thanks. I like being on your E-mail list. Julie B.
Thanks, Julie! And I like hearing from you.
Just had an opportunity to read this and thought it was excellent. Now I know why my sister
behaves as she does :). I truly did find it helpful. You are doing wonderful, meaningful work
- for which I thank you. Arline
Yes, Arline, the green-eyed monster haunts families, too.
Thanks Tina for keeping me informed. Love your work. Keep at it
girlfriend...... Love to you as always, Eddie
Nice to hear from you, Eddie, and thank you.