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Newsletter Dated: 12/1/2008 2:49:22 PM
Subject: Happiness Tips from Tina: The Courage to Hope
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Happiness Tip: The Courage to Hope
Weíve heard a lot about hope recently, but one thing was not said. Hope is scary. Anyone who dares to hope runs the risk of disappointment and feelings of failure. With the overwhelming focus on success in our culture, the threat of failure and disappointment is blown out of proportion. In my counseling practice, I see a lot of people who are afraid to follow their dreams without a guarantee.
On the other hand, hope is what keeps us going, gives us the courage to pursue our dreams, and draws us into creating the future. Without hope, we fall in to depression and despair, and we have no way of getting thorough lifeís disappointments and problems.
Optimism works - - research has shown that people who are optimistic have better lives. Expectations, on the other hand, are like demanding things of others, and of life . Itís like beginning with the thought, "If I don't get what I want, I'll be upset,Ē which is throwing a temper tantrum. A life full of little emotional temper tantrums is not a pleasant life. Remember the old saying "Prepare for the worst; hope for the best"?
Certainly, we are happy to the extent that our expectations and needs are satisfied, and so we have a better chance at happiness if we donít have unreasonable expectations, especially of the people in our lives. If I expect my husband to smile every day and tell me how much he loves me, and thereís a day when that doesnít happen, I could let that make me unhappy. But if I understand that Iím married to a human being who will have variations in his mood, I could more easily roll with it when his mood doesnít suit me. If I expect my children to have perfect behavior every day, without a fight between them, I will certainly be disappointed. So, to the extent that limiting unrealistic expectations of other human beings can enhance happiness, I agree.
If I expect and demand more of myself, and I push myself to accomplish something that is really important to me, I will feel happy about that accomplishment. If I encourage my children to expect great things out of themselves, and to understand how amazing they really are, they will feel better about themselves - - as long as I donít set them up to be failures because of impossible standards.
If you are afraid to hope, you may become bored. Boredom is avoidance. That is, you're bored because you're trying not to do something, rather than focusing on what you can do. The alternative to boredom is action. Try something new - - get involved in a local book group, take dancing lessons, try a sport, go to church, go out for the evening, take some walks on new pathways. Get out some old board games - - like Parcheesi, or Trivial Pursuit Ė and play with your family. Plant a flowerpot, or a garden. There is no real reason to be bored, and all kinds of opportunities to learn and grow.
Expectations are not wrong in themselves. We wouldn't get into a relationship, or any other unknown venture, without some expectations, or hopes, about what will happen. Especially for people who are facing their first committed, living together relationship, these expectations can be quite unrealistic, of the "happily ever after" variety. In my counseling practice, I see many people who have been disappointed in life, relationships, career or family, because their expectations were unrealistic, and this disappointment keeps them from trying again, or hoping they can do better. Here are some steps to begin to be hopeful again.
I: Dare to Hope
Hoping and getting disappointed can be painful, but if you take the risk, you can learn to bounce back from disappointment, and going through the failures, mistakes and problems is how you learn to get what you want from life. When you risk hoping, you begin to learn who you are, what you want, and what will make you happy. When you take your idea of self from the definitions, suggestions and opinions of others, you wind up denying and not even knowing who you are. Taking the risk and learning to hope and dream makes you encounter yourself. Knowing who you are inside will help you learn what you need to feel good about yourself and your life.
II: A New Map
Once you begin to dream, you get the information you need to create a plan. Then you can begin to break down that information and create a realistic plan from it, with small steps that you can follow to achieve success. It's a process, and in many ways it takes some excavating, because you may have long forgotten dreams or plans, and you have to unearth interests and hopes that have been buried under years of hiding or years of mind - dulling work, or simply years of passive television watching!
III: Making Contact
Once you know what you want, the next step is to begin making contact with others who can help you build your dream. You need to find people who are also willing to hope, and the best way to do that is to share your dream. Begin by sharing it with yourself, then a few people close to you, and keep on sharing, until you find that what you need is coming to you.
IV: Finding a New Balance
After you test the water in various ways, youíll get a sense of how well your plan is working. You are making adjustments and changes in your plan and the steps as needed, slowing down or speeding up. There are likely moments of back - sliding, especially if you get sick, too tired, or life throws you some curves - - but you can get your footing again and go right back to where you left off. Just as with a diet - - if you fall off the wagon and eat a whole cake, you can still start your diet again the next day. If you hole up and watch TV or lose yourself in internet land for a weekend, you can still grab hold again on Monday and do something that jars you out of the old habit again.
V. Celebrating Your Life
By the time you've reached this step, you'll be getting a lot of results that tell you you're on the right track, and it's time to celebrate. If you celebrate your accomplishments, no matter how small, you can keep yourself motivated and on - track. Celebration + Appreciation = Motivation
Lift our heads from the worries and the do lists
and focus on the possible.
Lift our eyes from the struggles and the sorrows
and focus on the future.
Lift our minds from the noise and the jabber
and focus on the silence
We lift our dreams to a higher level
And Hope will lift our hearts.
(C) Tina B. Tessina, 2008
ďI will lift mine eyes unto the hills, whence cometh my helpĒ - psalm 121
Happy Holidays, 2008
May we all be blessed with
The Spirit of Hope ~
Within our lives,
Within the world.
A Blessed and Joyful
(C) 2008 Tina B. Tessina
It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction (New Page) ISBN 1 - 56414 - 548 - 4
© Tina B.Tessina, 2008
If you want more, here are some related articles you can download from my website at http://tinatessina.com/monthly_column.html
Asking for What you Want
Attitude: From Negative to Gratitude
The Colors of You
Comforting the Little Orphan Girl
Coping with Critics
Creating Holiday Magic
Getting Out of Your Way
How to Have Happier Holidays!
Humor & Hope
Into Every Life
Intuition or Inner Knowing
The Meaning of Life
Mirrors and Teachers
Motivation And How to Create It (Good Boss/Bad Boss)
The Power of Purpose
Response - Ability
Season of Blessing
Surviving Loss & Thriving Again
Year of Peace
You Are a Gift
Your Heartís Desire
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Please look for my newest book: The Commuter Marriage: Keep Your Relationship Close While You're Far Apart (Adams Media, June 2008) ISBN # 1 - 59869 - 432 - 4
The Dr. Romance blog: http://drromance.typepad.com/dr_romance_blog/
You can find me on the Internet as "Dr. Romance" on Yahoo!Personals at http://personals.yahoo.com/us/static/content_date;
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Wishing you joy,
Tina B. Tessina, PhD
Re: Your Job on Earth
always inspirational,,,I wish everyone could read your newsletters and meet you...Blessings, Greg
Thank you, Greg, you inspire me!
Good morning and thank you for your amazing insights! I have been searching for my true life's path for half a century. In the process, I have discovered that I have a gift of encouragement, both verbal and written. Finding the proper venue for following my heart's purpose, while making a living, has been a challenge but I keep searching for the proper balance. To encourage and uplift the spirits of my fellow man is a personal goal.Thank you so much for sharing yours with me!
Thank you, Michael. Good luck on your path. You might want to comment on my Dr. Romance blog at http://drromance.typepad.com/dr_romance_blog/ and direct people to your own writing.
Tina, As usual, a very informative email. Thanks so much. You're the greatest and I've always appreciated how much you helped me at a very difficult time in my life. Love, Tom
Tom, thanks for remembering me. Iím happy to help any time I can.
Dear Tina. I received your news letter, very helpful information, a little food for thought is useful.Pls can you write about Values. People quote this word but few realy know what they are. Sorry to hear that you were sick, I greatly thank you support in our daily up's and downs. Henry
Henry, thank you and watch here for an upcoming article on values.
I would like to keep getting your newsletter, so please update your address book! Thanks and take care, Kim DeVane
Thanks for keeping me informed of changes, Kim! I wouldnít want to lose touch.
How odd that I have not really read an email of yours in some time and I opened this one and it spoke to my heart like a million stars in the sky. Thanks,
Krista, I know that we receive what we need, and thatís how.
Thanks Tina. Inspiring! Steve
Thank you, Steve. Itís nice to know Iím making a difference.
I really liked your last newsletter. Because of it I'm going to find "that room". I also plan to finish and do the family exercises about my old family's dysfunctions in your book It Ends With You. More hugs to you Tina. M
And hugs back to you, M. Let me know what you think of the book.
hello dr. tina i am tina from Iran i read your nice article (your job and Earth ) .I understood it completely . It had two points for me , first I got your article and The way of the wizard by Deepak Chopra same time and I found it is a sign and a clue . Second ,I found out one of my questions that had occupied my mind why I feel loneliness .It is two days I have begun to meditation to connect to my inner power .I am reading another article Aspect of love .Dr. tina I pray for you because people such you help me to go on this level of awareness . Thanks
Thank you for your prayers. I was sad for the terrorist acts in India, and I hope you are well and keep learning about yourself.