Optimism: not buying into any “I can’t”.

optimism

Isn’t this picture awesome? I love the expression on the duck’s face… which is entirely my own interpretation, as ducks don’t really “make faces” or have expressions. But I like to imagine that from the gesture you can actually feel the “energy” of the feeling that animates it – it’s fun, it’s playful, it’s pure optimism that doesn’t give a rip about “But what if I can’t do it?” or “What if I fail?”. Go duck! I need to put this picture over my writing table… and my teaching table… and my cooking table… and… and…

Here’s one good feelings exercise to try:

Go to Google or any other search engine and type in “bird”. Look at the pictures that show up – and try to name the feelings that those images evoke in you. You will be flooded with freedom, joy, fun, playfulness…

Sunny skies,

Christine

Quora: “How do I overcome my self-esteem issues?” Answering a question on not feeling beautiful enough.

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I feel like I’m that “ugly friend”. All the girls in my social circle are attractive and frequently get attention from guys. In my case, boys usually make sarcastic comments about me like “OHHH SHE’S SO HOT”, which I guess are subtle insults.

ANSWER:

Hello there,

I completely understand and feel for you – as a teenager I used to feel like the “ugly duckling” a lot. I had a face full of freckles, I am of average height and I thought I was the ugly friend.

The thing is… in the story, the ugly duckling GROWS UP and she becomes a beautiful swan!

This is how it can happen for you:

  1. Your body will transform and when you will stop growing you will end up with radiant features. The features in and of themselves are not even that important, as what shows up on them. (Have you known “ beautiful” people who are really ugly because they are mean and dumb?)
  2. Because you are smart and self-aware (your question shows this), you will invest in your education, you will empower yourself by making great choices and you will build yourself a nice life, full of passion and meaning. This is INCREDIBLY attractive to real men (which you will meet then), not boys who are dorky enough to make sneering comments in front of everyone. And by the way, they are as insecure as you are – if not more. Trust me on this one. Don’t fall for the show they put on.
  3. With your life experience and knowledge of the world, you will develop your unique sense of style – you will also get educated and have access to hair stylists, nice clothes etc. so you can take care of yourself and enhance your natural beauty.

I used to know a young woman who told herself “It’s not important to be the most beautiful, it’s having that “Come here, you!” thing that matters!”.

It may feel uncomfortable right now, but take heart. Think long-term.

The other thing to consider is this: some people peak in high-school in college, then slowly decline (and say those were the best years of their life). Others bloom later – and do so with grace and power, staying attractive all of their life and saying “This, right now, is the best time of my life!”. Which one do you think you are? 🙂

Read. Develop yourself. Choose friends – and boys – who care for your heart. Looks matter, yes, but do you want them to matter to EVERYONE or to the right person?

Christine

(blissfully married to a man who thinks I am very attractive – and to whom I am very attracted even though he is not the sex-symbol of his generation either. But masculine, he is – and very kind and super smart.)

Insecure and uncertain about your calling and life purpose (especially as a healer)? Watch this!

I’ve known Martha Beck for… hm… almost twenty years now! When I first discovered her, she had just published “Expecting Adam” – her memoir of getting pregnant while doing her PhD (in sociology, I believe) at Harvard and then discovering that the baby had Down syndrome. It blew her whole academic, rational and orderly world out of the water. Not that Martha is all academics and run by her reason… she is all heart – with a good, healthy blend of practicality for hanging around the tangible world. And she has humor. And kindness.

Every time I hear her or read something of her, my heart gets squeaky clean and full of good feelings.

Over the past twenty years Martha has built a powerful practice as a life coach. She is a fine blend of worldly knowledge, accademia, street smarts and a mother’s heart. She is wild, too! Literally. She has broken free.

In the last few years (perhaps five or so?) she has started taking people to Londolozi, a private game reserve in South Africa. Looking in the eyes of free, roaming elephants and other wild animals heals the human soul – and sets it free.

I have been reading Martha’s newsletters on and off as of late. I don’t have as much time these days, what with my writing and my family… But tonight I happened to click on the link that led me to a video that I needed to watch.

If you are unsure about your life purpose, if you feel insecure, inadequate and small, if you think your past will forever haunt you and drag you down, then you need to watch this too.

If you feel called to be a healer but are not sure you are good enough, you double-need to watch this.

www.marthabeck.com

Rock on, wild soul!

“Feel your life while you are in it” – quotes that make it on the fridge

i-want-to-feel-my-life-while-i-am-in-itWhen the soul speaks…

I’ve been a fan of Meryl Streep for a very long time. I like her as an actress – but I also like her as a person. Not that she and I have heart-to heart chats… or any kind of chats… (I wish!). But what transpires of her personality from her movies, interviews and other appearances makes me think and feel that she’s a mensch (“The Apartment” anyone?).

Inc. Magazine has published an article on 17 Meryl Streep quotes to inspire success and happiness.

Here’s a preview:

“I want to feel my life while I am in it.”

Meryl Streep

The other favorite:

“Don’t give up or give in in the face of patronizing ridicule, amused disdain, or being ignored.”

Read the article on Inc. Magazine’s website.

Feel good,

Christine

Remarkable, wonderful STABILITY and its guaranteed path to happiness

acrobats-78047_1920For most of my adult life I’ve had the impression that my inner life was a yo-yo. It started at some point around puberty. But it lasted a while…

I also had the impression that the wild mood swings I suffered came and went like the weather – on a whim of their own, upon which I did not have much control.

Of course, when I was in a “down spiral”, I struggled hard to get back up. Sometimes that struggle included beating up on myself for allowing myself to get so low.

By the way, do you notice the madness in this kind of thinking? On the one hand, I had the impression that my wild mood swings and changes in emotions had control over me. On the other hand, I beat myself over ALLOWING myself to go there… as if I actually HAD control over my feelings… Such is the landscape of inner war, of inner criticism and of inner instability.

In a country, economic stability is vital. It is also understood that things fluctuate. The point is to make the fluctuations small and manageable. Yes, there is a degree of control. A high one.

In the flight of birds and other air-borne critters, the stability achieved by their two (or more) wings allows them to soar. Again, two sides. Working in harmony.

In a relationship, stability looks like respect, trust and a solid foundation for a life together.

In a garden, stability comes through consistent work – the pulling of the weeds, the watering, the shading…

Whenever we think of happiness, we have the impression that it has to be off the walls, spectacular and glitzy.

Stability isn’t glitzy. But it makes everything grow – and thrive. It is not glitzy in the same way that breathing isn’t either.

Stability is the path to happiness – and it IS happiness itself.

Sometimes we mix up stability with boredom. They are certainly not one and the same. Stability is somewhat predictable, yes – but, to stick with the breathing example, you really want it to be.

Also, it takes great wisdom to know when and how to go back to the center.

So look at your life and see where it is stable. Appreciate this great blessing.

If things are not going as you want them to, in some ways, think of how you can create some stability there – emotional or otherwise. Perhaps you can come to peace with something – that’s stability.Just one example.

Stability is in the parent showing up every single day. It is in unwavering love for someone or something. It is in the changing of the seasons. It lives in the eyes of a devoted dog – and in the deliciousness of doing something, over and over again, knowing that it will always make you feel good. Over and over again.

Constantly yours,

Christine

“The Happiness Switch” – featured with an author interview

the-happiness-switch-1My book, “The Happiness Switch“, has been featured on a very interesting blog:

“A blog about creativity,designs, books, music and poetry. An experiment with spirituality through the shadows of my mind…”

Shashi, the writer of the blog, is the CEO & Partner at ICUBE Projects. He is also a speaker and a Haiku poet.He is the author of “Songs of the Mist“.

The feature of my book is part of a new initiative that Shashi calls “Spotlight”: he is showcasing new and independent authors, through an interview that he conducts – on a book the author submits but also much more.

The selection process is quite thorough. Shashi asks writers to fill out a questionnaire – and then answer a few, quite detailed (and very interesting) questions about their writing philosophy, their motivations and other details related to the writing life.

I had no idea that he was actually going to make the answers a part of the Spotlight Feature so I answered the questions in a casual tone and without worrying about “being read”.

I sincerely hope that you enjoy it.

SPOTLIGHT: ‘The Happiness Switch’ by Christine Ellis

 

How successful do you really feel? A short test.

woman-1245840_1920One of the most common pieces of advice for success is “Find someone who is already successful and emulate them”.

By this people usually mean “Do what that person does – and you will become successful too.”

As always, the focus is on the doing. But how about the “being” and the “feeling” part?

If we stop for a few seconds to think about it, the “doing” is just not enough. How many people do you know who do all the right things and yet don’t become as successful as they want to be? Or, conversely, you know people who do all the wrong things and yet they find success that makes their relatives bite their nails…

What is the difference between the first set and the second set?

To me, the difference that makes a difference is this: how those people FEEL… about everything really: themselves, others, the work, the world, their “chances”, failure, setbacks and on and on and on.

Which one do you think is more likely to succeed: a person who does things correctly but is profoundly insecure, or someone who messes up here and there but has an unshakable feeling of self-confidence?

Self-confidence is just the most obvious example but there are a million others, of course.

To go back to the beginning of this post, have you ever asked yourself this question: “How does my idol/role-model feel on a regular basis?”

It would be helpful to mull a little over that one. While doing so, you will discover your own “areas for improvement” – if you are not as successful as you would like to be.

me-vs-my-idol-1The good news is that you can cultivate the feelings of a successful person before you actually have that success. Your own story will be different, of course and your own “constellation of successful feelings” will be different too.

For example, some people feel an immense sense of relief when they “make it”. For others, it is pride. For others still, it is contentment or ease.

By cultivating the “it feeling” that represents success for you, you will put yourself in the right mindset.

I’ve written a book with 33 such feelings. It’s free for download today.

success“Success is an Emotions Game”

Sunny skies and good feelings,

Christine

Want to see the result of a good childhood? Take a look at this 17 y.o. guy.

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When he got to the ripe ol’age of ten, he decided that public schooling was not for him. He “dropped out” and was homeschooled thereafter.

When he was about thirteen, he decided that he was going to be a self-published author – a successful one at that. He achieved that goal in less than a year but he says that for two years he struggled because he wasn’t making much money with his writing. But three years later he started making (are you ready for it?) $4,000 a month with his best-selling books. Yes, four thousand. That is not a typo.

He is seventeen now and when you see him, you have the impression you are in front of a real, live case of body snatching: the words coming out of his mouth sound like they are coming from someone who is forty or older. But he is still a teen – clearly looks like one.

He credits his success to never giving up – he made up his mind he wanted something and then just went for it. He says he’s made lots of “mistakes” on the way but he has no regrets, because he had fun and he’s learned a lot.

I saw Mark Messick in an interview online. He baffled me with his eloquence, his sense of confidence and his results. Yes, I am impressed with his career but I am blown away by his upbringing.

As far as I am concerned, he really proved ALL of the points I was making in “Your Inner Child is a Winner“. Every single one of them!

  1. There is an inner “sap” inside us humans that guides us towards whatever is good and nourishing for us. If nurtured, this connection will lead to a happy, thriving life. If thwarted… we have depression, anxiety, mood-swings, violence, acting out… and on and on.
  2. Children are born naturally confident. There are no self-esteem issues because the self has a healthy esteem for itself! It is so natural that it is not an issue. Of course, to most adults (whose sense of self has been thwarted), children seen overly confident. Which is why they often try to bring them down.
  3. Children are wired for adventure and they are not afraid to “fail”. They are not afraid to jump in and try – and try again. This is how they learn to walk, talk, eat and just about everything else. How does it become so wrong to try and (gasp!) “fail”?
  4. Human beings are flexible creatures. This kid, Mark, wants to be funny too. Because nobody’s told him yet that he has to pick and choose, he does his writing AND he’s trying stand-up comedy.
  5. Kids are not afraid of the world. They think the world is fun. Fun, in fact, is the name of the game.

You can find Mark at www.torchtherules.com.

Christine

What do you do with all that cardboard from Amazon?

cardboard farm dog house

‘t is that time of the year – the time to be jolly, to be happy and to be looking for presents. Lots and lots and lots of presents.

With lots and lots and lots of presents come lots and lots and lots of cardboard boxes. Especially if you do your holiday shopping on Amazon.

It can be a problem! The space in the garage is already taken by the two cars, the wheelbarrow, the tractor and my husband’s motorcycle. The pile of plastic bottles is already pushed in a corner.

Really, there isn’t much room for all that cardboard.

The other day I had an idea though. I took a couple of boxes, a pair of scissors and a tape gun. I asked my son if he wanted to make a farm. He looked at the cardboard, then at the supplies, then at me and he said… nothing. He is three. He did not understand.

I set to work. The moment I sunk the scissors in the cardboard, his eyes lit up. He loved that “scrush-scrush-scrush” sound so that was joy reason #1. With squeals on top.

Then, I made shapes. Two rectangles, a triangle, a circle…. Joy reason #2. Who knew cardboard could be so interesting?!

I set out to make the building of a railway station. He loves trains and we have some wooden tracks that could have gone very well in front of it. Thomas the Tank Engine included.

But when I got done with the “railway station” my son squealed (joy reason #3): “Farm! Farm, mama! Farm!”

Okay. So it turned out to be a farm.

After the farm house came the dog’s house. Oh, the screams of joy for that… you can not imagine! (joy reason #4)

IMG_3344After the dog house came the shed for the tractor (joy reason #5).

We had so much fun the whole afternoon that I wondered why we bothered buying him toys at all!

I’m joking, of course. Toys are good. But joy out of “nothing” is part of the miracle and wonder. Blessed be.

Sunny skies and good feelings,

Christine

The ultimate foundation for happiness, joy and fulfillment

girl shhhI wrote about this a lot in Your Inner Child is a Winner – How to reclaim your natural confidence and self-esteem”.

People with self-esteem problems know this as a fact. So do people with depression or anxiety. Or other health problems. Or any other kind of problem.

This is the fact:

Self-love is the very foundation for our well-being.

And yet, many people think that it is wrong to love ourselves. That it is a narcissistic sport that will lead to loneliness because others will ultimately repel us, egotistic / egoistic monsters that we are.

But I am not talking about narcissism when I say “self-love”. That, by the way, is not self-love but the opposite of it. I actually think that Narcissus must not have loved himself very much if he sought constant validation for his looks. Makes sense… doesn’t it?

What I mean by self-love is this:

  • having a warm relationship with yourself, like you would have with a dear lifelong friend. It doesn’t mean there won’t be mistakes necessarily, but there is respect and there will always be the benefit of the doubt. Patience too..

People who love themselves are okay with the fact that they (and everybody else) are a work in progress. Failure is a moment in time (although failure itself is only a point of view).

People who love themselves enjoy life. They are kind because they love more.

Happy people love themselves. Or at least like themselves.

Then, why does self-love have such a bad reputation?

I’ve just asked the question but I’m really not interested in the answer.

I’m more interested in cultivating this thing, this constellation of feelings towards self.

In the book I talked about in the beginning of this post, “Your Inner Child is a Winner”, I said many times that children have no problems with love – or with self-love. They come wired with a very healthy sense of self and they have no reservations in showing it.

I have seen this in all my years as a teacher, having worked with hundreds of children in different countries.

The younger they are, the stronger this feeling is. It is like the sap inside the plant – it loves them and guides them towards what is good and nourishing for them. It also alerts them when something is not good for them.

The younger they are, the more natural the feeling of self-love. They don’t know to call it that. They are simply home there and they live from it.

But then, something happens with some children. This feeling gets thwarted. Somehow, somewhere, they get the idea that it is wrong to love yourself, or even like yourself.

That they are bad. Guilty. Irresponsible. Worthy of punishments…

The connection to that source of love for their very being is twisted and diminished. That is when the problems start.

In a plant, you see the leaves turning yellow.

In humans you see the children starting to act up and act out.

If the connection is not restored, the problems get bigger. The self-hatred begins. And, with it, self-sabotage and maybe even self-destruction.

I was on that path for many years. I know many people who are on that path.

I have gotten off of it. Now I write books about how I did it.

Sometimes I write about how to heal depression and anxiety. Other times I write about love and success. But these are all ways in which self-love appears in one’s life.

I have written a book about self-love itself. Called it “The Nourished Soul”, because this is what self-love does: it nourishes the soul. It keeps it fed and healthy.

The Nourished Soul self-love

In it, I talk about approaching self-love slowly. If the connection is diminished, it can’t be hot-gunned back.

But there is a way.

And the way is this: understanding that “love” is a constellation of feelings. It is kindness, gentleness, patience and others.

Never mind “love”. Don’t even call it that. It’s a big word.

Go, instead, for being a bit more patient with you. Or cutting yourself a break by being gentle instead of harsh when you think you “messed up” (or whatever thing you do that makes you beat yourself up).

For me, “kindness” really does it all. You can be a little kind to yourself, every once in a while. And if you keep it up… you will change. You will remember how you felt… and you will realize that the sap inside of you has always felt that way.

And, shhhh, don’t tell anyone, but kindness is love in action.

The Nourished Soul self-love “The Nourished Soul” is free for download until this Sunday, Dec. 11th, 2016. 

CLICK HERE

 

Sunny skies and good feelings,

Christine