Monthly Archives: November 2017

Noodle on This: Live with Gratitude

Noodle* on this …a lift of what I am grateful for live-with-gratitude

Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude. ~ Denis Waitley

In a few days, Americans will be gathering with family and friends for the annual Thanksgiving feast. But with all the food, football and parades, we sometimes forget what this day is really about. So, before the feasting and fun, let’s take a few minutes to briefly review the concept of gratitude.

What is Gratitude?
Gratitude or thank you is an appreciation for what one has received. When someone helps us with no strings attached, we express our gratitude by saying thank you. According to Robert Emmons, Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Berkley and an expert on the topic:

Gratitude is an affirmation of goodness. We affirm that there are good things in the world, gifts and benefits we’ve received. We recognize that the sources of this goodness are outside of ourselves… We acknowledge that other people – or even higher powers, if you’re of a spiritual mindset – gave us many gifts, big and small, to help us achieve the goodness in our lives.

In fact, gratitude is a universal human notion. It exists in all cultures, and history is filled with discussions of gratitude. Gratitude and references to giving thanks appear in Christian, Jewish, Islamic and Buddhist texts. The Greek philosopher Cicero (106 – 43 BC) said, Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.

live in gratitude thank you in manylanguagesWhy live with gratitude?
Living in gratitude offers a variety of benefits. According to a 2012 study published in Personality and Individual Differences, people who live in gratitude are healthier than those who do not. They have fewer aches and pains and are more likely to take care of themselves through regular exercise and doctor’s visits. Also, they are more likely to have better control of their emotions and experience less depression than others. Grateful people sleep better.

People who regularly express gratitude:

  • Have better interpersonal relationships at home and at work;
  • Are more empathic and less aggressive;
  • Have increased self-esteem;
  • Are more resilient; and,
  • Have lower stress levels.

A life satisfaction study conducted by Seligman, Peterson and Park (2004), found that gratitude is “robustly associated” with life satisfaction (along with hope, curiosity, love and zest [approaching life with energy and excitment]).

Being Grateful
According to author Neale Donald Walsh, The struggle ends when gratitude begins. Recently, I spent time with a woman in a stressful situation – her 28 year old son was very sick. I was helping her with a complicated problem that took a while to resolve, but through it all, she was the epitome of patience. She did not get frustrated, impatient or complain. When I thanked her for her patience, she said, “I don’t have much, but I have patience.”

a mother patiently waiting live-with-gratitudeI looked at her, saw a caring mother in pain and said, “I’m guessing that you have much more than just patience.”

She was silent for a moment, and then said. “Yes, you’re right. I have my son, his sisters and brother; wonderful friends and neighbors. We have a roof over our heads, food on the table, money to pay the bills and a car that runs. I have my heath.” She smiled and said, “I have a lot. Thank you for reminding me.”

She was right. Sometimes we just need to be reminded of all that we have and to take the time to appreciate and be grateful for it. It helps us keep things in perspective, which helps us manage our emotions.

When I remind myself of what I am grateful for, the partial list reads as follows:

  • I am thankful for my family, my friends, and my silly dog Curly.
  • I am grateful for the people in my neighborhood and that we look out for one another.
  • I am thankful for the trials and obstacles I encounter and the lessons I learn from them.
  • I am grateful that I live in a place where I can ride my bicycle all year round.
  • I am especially thankful for you, my Gentle Readers – for your support and encouragement.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Your Noodle Challenge…
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. ~ Melody Beattie

two glasses one half full, the other half empty live-with-gratitudeWhat are you grateful for and what will you do to live in gratitude? Make a list and share it with us in the Comments section below:  I’ll go first.

I will live in gratitude by:

  • Saying thank you every day;
  • Doing my best work;
  • Doing all I can to support my loved ones, friends, and associates;
  • Seeing the glass as half-full, not half-empty; and,
  • Treating everyone I meet with respect and kindness no matter how brief the encounter.

Consider this…
Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough. ~ Oprah Winfrey
Riddle Me This…

Q: What kind of key opens the door on Thanksgiving?
A: A turkey!

* To noodle: A verb meaning to mull over, think about, contemplate, ponder, puzzle over or brainstorm … make a plan and then act!

Reference:

Park, N., Peterson, C., and Seligman, M. E. (2004) , “Strengths of Character and Well-being,” Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology 23:5, pp. 6603 – 619, retrieved November 1, 2017,

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Noodle on This: Are You Authentic – The Real Deal?

Noodle* on this…
orange stick with 100% real deal printed on it

You are the real deal!

Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen – Brene Brown

Do you sometimes feel like you are playing a part in life or that you are hiding behind a mask – “going along to get along;” “telling people what they want to hear;” “keeping your head down;” or “flying below the radar?” Probably, you have used these or similar clichés at one time or another. This is not what being authentic means.

Authenticity takes courage and there are definitely risks to being truly, completely authentic. I know, I have always “marched to the beat of a different drummer” – another cliché – I told the unvarnished truth; I was a lone ranger at times when I should have been a team player. All these things caused bumps in my road of life.  My mother tactfully described my life as a result of taking the road less traveled… (Robert Frost, The Road Less Traveled, 1915.)

The decisions I made in my personal life and on the job made some things more difficult than necessary.  This is the downside of authenticity. There is no guarantee that things will turn out as we had hoped or planned. Sometimes, the truly authentic you may annoy others. Friends and co-workers may pressure you to conform and you may be perceived by family members as “the problem child.”

Defining Authenticity

The origin of the word authentic is the ancient Greek word authentikos, which means principal, genuine. French philosopher and mathematician René Descartes (1596 – 1650) described an authentic person as one who follows a moral inner voice that drives that person to act and think responsibility. As an authentic person, you live and act based on your values, purpose and goals, regardless of the pressure put on you by others. Sue Fitzmaurice, the author of the book Purpose (2015) identifies the following characteristics of authenticity

Being authentic means:

  • Being more concerned with truth than opinions;
  • Being sincere and not pretending;
  • Being free from hypocrisy – to “walk your talk;”
  • Knowing who you are and being that person;
  • Being unafraid of others seeing your vulnerabilities;
  • Being confident enough to walk away from situations where you can’t be yourself;
  • Being aware to your own feelings;
  • Being free from others’ opinions of you; and,
  • Accepting and loving yourself. 
Benefits of Authenticity

The nice thing about being authentic is that there is nothing to “reveal.” This does not mean that you “overshare” or tell people your deepest, darkest secrets. It means is that you are exactly who and what you appear to be. There is no role playing, no mask or facade. People don’t have to worry about your “hidden agenda” or what you “really want.” Comic Flip Wilson (1938 – 1998) gave us the best definition of what it means to be authentic when he said, What you see is what you get! In other words, wyswyg.

Being authentic means being real. When you are authentic, you don’t waste time and energy worrying about what you said or didn’t say because you are honest; treat others with courtesy and respect; and communicate openly and honestly. In addition, being authentic creates a safe space for the people around you to be authentic too. So, there is less posturing and fewer misunderstandings.

Your Noodle Challenge
Statue of Socrates at the Athens Academy

Statue of Socrates at the Athens Academy

The earliest reference we have to being authentic comes from Socrates (470 – 399 BCE) who said, the unexamined life is not worth living. So, now is the time to examine your life. Are you being authentic? Here is a brief authenticity exercise:

  • Write down a belief or thought you have about yourself.
  • Is the thought or belief true? Can it measured or observed objectively?
  • Does this though or belief help you, or does it cause problems for you? If so, in what way(s)?
  • Does this belief or thought accurately reflect who you really are?
  • Would your family, friends or co-workers be surprised to know that you hold this belief or thought?

Based on your answers to these questions; what will you do to be more authentic. Share your experience with us in the Comment(s) section below.

Consider This…

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.  ~ Dr. Seuss

Riddle Me This…

Q: What do you call cheese that is not yours?
A: Nacho Cheese

References

  1.  Madera, J.M., King, E.B., Hebl, M.R., (2012) “Bringing Social Identity to Work: The Influence of Manifestation and Suppression on Perceived Discrimination, Job Satisfaction, and Turnover Intentions.” Cultural Diversity & Ethnic Minority Psychology, 2012 Apr;18(2):165-70.
  2. Ménard, J, and Brunet,L (2011) “Authenticity and Well-being in the Workplace: a Mediation Model”, Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol. 26 4, pp.331 – 3.

To noodle: A verb meaning to mull over, think about, contemplate, ponder, puzzle over or brainstorm… and then take action!

Image courtesy of The Entrepreneur’s Mentor Program.

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