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The Glass Is FullTHE SECRETS TO BEING HAPPY AND STAYING HAPPY
By Gigi G.
Balboa PressCopyright © 2012 Gigi G. (Jehane I. Ghabrial)
All right reserved.
Chapter OneLaying the Foundations
The first building block (foundational stone) to support this monument we call our happy life is the understanding that out of what appears to be adversity comes strength and direction.
Every experience moves us forward to the next experience.
That move forward to the next step can be a great journey when we embrace the lessons learned from previous experiences. No matter what those previous experiences were, they will always provide additional strength for your foundations and direction in your life. Each experience will be just another block that you can add to your foundation—and each will allow you to build your life and establish who you are.
The next building block is to realise and believe that the world actually is a great and amazing place—you just need to be open to it, stay positive, and always keep the faith. This part of the building process is to develop the skill of pushing aside negative thoughts and changing each of those thoughts into a positive one.
Another key to the strength of your foundations is to accept others as they are and to live every moment with gratitude.
My mother, who is always giving me great advice, says, "Accept others as they are, and you will always be happy because you will never be disappointed." Another of my favourites is, "Without expectations, you will never experience disappointment. Just live in the moment and enjoy it for what it is."
Even better is a quote my five-year-old child has been saying (how much we can learn from the simplicity and beauty of a child!): "Get what you get and don't be upset." As simple as that might sound, it is actually a great piece of advice. And this came from my five-year-old child! If you don't have expectations and just accept everything you have in this life, you will never have reason to be upset or disappointed. It is only when you fill your head with expectations of how you think your life should be that disappointment can arise when you don't get what you expect.
As I grew up, my mother also taught me two very important things (which also serve as building blocks for life): "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all" and, "If you have something nice to say, say it! But don't just say nice things unless you are sincere. Flattery is not sincere. Never resort to flattery. Sincere appreciation and flattery are two very different things. One comes from the heart, the other from the teeth out."
The next building block is a combination of sincerity, honesty, and kindness in actions and words—when dealing with yourself and others.
Avoid using words that radiate negativity; find a way to express what you want to say using positive words. Remember that the glass is full. There is always a way to see any situation positively and describe it using positive words.
It's like I said before: sometimes the positive is easy to see, and other times, we just have to look a little harder to find it. Maybe a magnifying glass would do the trick! Increase the size of the picture and look for the positive. The best way to do this is to sit down with a pen and paper and make yourself write down as many positive things about the situation as you can. The more you do this, the more skilled you become at doing it. Eventually, when there is a situation that everyone sees as disastrous, you will see a small glimmer of goodness and hope and positivity in it.
Always remember that everything happens for a reason—even if you don't know what that reason is then and there, even if you don't know what that reason is until much later. When you trust that there is reason in everything that happens and go with the flow (like the foam on the water, moving with the waves in the sea), you won't feel like your life is stuck in a traffic jam. The journey will feel more smooth when you know that—no matter what—your destination is always going to be there waiting for you. After knowing this, you start enjoying the journey there. And before you know it, the journey there becomes the best part. It is from the enjoyment of your journey through life that you will get your happiness.
Another building block of your life is the knowledge that positive, accepting, and gentle communication is an amazing thing. Only greatness can come out of goodness. Miscommunication, misunderstanding, and lack of appreciation for each other's perspectives or points of view can create barriers between each of us. Before making negative assumptions about what the meaning of people's actions are, face them and find out whether your interpretation of their actions is correct. I mean, how silly would it be to waste your energy feeling negatively about someone because of the person actions or words?
Always remember that, although we are all humans, we all act and behave very differently. And we extract the meaning of another's behaviour based on our own interpretation of that person's behaviour. This process of interpretation is usually infected by our own views of the world. We might be completely off base. How do you avoid misinterpretation? One good way is to check with the source of the information you are interpreting. You could be losing the chance to know someone simply because you are too embarrassed or stubborn to find out whether the person means to convey the message you receive.
Having faith that there is goodness in everyone is the starting point. Only then can you put yourself in that person's shoes to try to figure out what that person needs to bring the goodness out.
Sometimes, we might not bring out the goodness straight away. This doesn't mean it is useless trying—it just means you haven't quite figured out what that person really needs to bring his or her goodness out. Sometimes it takes a little imagination and research. If we keep trying to reformulate new ways of reaching that person, the goodness will shine out eventually. One day, all the hard work will pay off because that goodness finally shines through.
Always remember that there is good in everyone—and greatness comes from goodness. In this, you can have complete faith.
Sometimes, you just have to keep all of that in mind when things or people seem bad. You must have faith that dealing with things with goodness and a positive heart and mind will eventually produce the greatness we desire—not only from ourselves, but also from those around us.
Another building block is the understanding that you can be your own worst enemy. Self-criticism, self-doubt, and lack of self-acceptance can be soul destroying. And sometimes people can feel stuck in a pattern of self-sabotage and self-destruction.
The minute you understand and realise that you hold the key (the power) to change it all—to rise above it and blossom—you will shed those old ways and move towards happiness.
Another thing you need to know and accept is that there is no such thing as perfection! What you think is perfection—what you think is the ideal—doesn't exist. It is only what you think it is, which is based on how you were brought up to see the world (largely materialistically). Sadly, many of us in the capitalistic West have been told that success is measured by what objects we have. But true success in life stems from who we are as people, not what we have.
If you accept and love yourself for who you are—not what you think you should be—and you see the world as a positive and wonderful place, you will be happy with yourself and your life. There can be no greater success than this. Wouldn't you rather have happiness than a life full of stuff (and self-doubt, negativity, and unhappiness)? How could you possibly enjoy your stuff in that sort of state? It defeats the purpose of having the stuff in the first place, doesn't it? You might feel happy for a moment after you get something new, but unless you fix what is inside of you and accept that you are who you are, you won't be happy. Without self-acceptance and self-love, whatever feelings of happiness you have when you get something new will disappear in no time. You will be left with yourself again.
Unless you accept that you are just how you are supposed to be and everything in your life is as it should be, you can never be happy—regardless of what you have or don't have in terms of material goods.
When you strive for something that doesn't exist, such as perfection, you are bound to fail. There is no peak to reach. It is an ever-changing beast because it only exists in your mind and changes with how you feel each day (and how others tell you it should be).
Try this analogy: imagine being the first person in the world to climb a mountain. No one in the world knows whether this mountain has a peak. It just keeps going. People look at the mountain from afar, and the top is always covered in clouds. Everyone assumes that the peak of the mountain is in the clouds. You also think it has a peak because everyone else tells you it does. The more people say it, the more you believe it. You set off and keep going, waiting to get to the top. But you never get there. Slowly, you become discouraged and upset with yourself.
What's wrong with me? Why haven't I reached the peak yet? you think to yourself. You start to get depressed. You keep striving, but you are never happy because you have not reached the peak yet.
You have spent your whole life climbing to get to this peak, focused on the task ahead of you. You have been moving one step at a time, always looking for the peak through the clouds. One day, you die. All you have been doing is climbing and climbing towards something that never existed in the first place. You have been looking forward, all the time missing out on the amazing view around you and the experiences you could derive from it! That is how many people live their lives.
The trick to living life is not to worry about reaching the peak; otherwise, you miss out on actually living and enjoying your life. Rather, you should enjoy taking each step and remember to take in the view. You should celebrate and congratulate yourself on each step you take. That's the secret to happiness.
Just because others tell you that the peak exists, it doesn't mean it does. The art of living is to forget what others tell you about life and to live each day with joy. You shouldn't worry about where you are going and when you are going to get there.
Don't get me wrong, it is great to have goals in life—things to work towards—just understand that the journey on the way there is the best part. And enjoying the journey there is the most important part. Even if you don't reach the goal, you are still happy because you have enjoyed the experiences working towards it. This is success. This is what happiness is about.
Another building block in the foundations of your life is remembering that loving yourself is the key to all happiness. Once you appreciate all the goodness in yourself and focus on the things you are happy with, you will live and enjoy life with love. Only then can others truly love you in return.
Another key building block in building your foundation is remembering that forgiveness is a great gift you can give yourself. Forgiving yourself for your mistakes is crucial—after all, you are only human (and humans are imperfect).
Forgiving others for their wrongs against you is also important. That forgiveness of others is the greatest gift you can give yourself. When you forgive others, you let go of negative feelings, such as resentment and anger. By forgiving others and yourself, you give yourself the greatest gift of inner peace—the negative feelings that attach to the things you forgive fall away.
This is the ultimate key to happiness: letting go of the negative and being positive.
The building blocks I have stated, which form the foundations of your new life, are the starting point. They are the tools you need to start building your new life—just like the tools of a builder.
Let's start building!
The Next Step Forward
With your foundations laid, you can move forward. The other tools in this book are techniques to keep you going. They will help you continue building on your foundations.
Just like any structure, when the foundations are laid, the rest of the building can start to take shape.
There are so many ways of living your life in a way that will make it positive. The key is to keep building your life in a positive way with a positive view of the world (and a positive view of everything that happens in it and around you). Always remember the basics: everything is as it should be, everything happens for a reason, and there is always a positive in every situation.
With your foundations in place, the only way is up!
Say "Thank You"
Be thankful for everything in your life—even those experiences you don't view as positive initially. Those challenging experiences will teach you something, and the positivity that flows is the lesson learned.
If you are always thankful for your experiences and everything else in your life, you will always succeed. You will see the results as a positive outcome.
There is always something to be thankful for every day.
Remember to be thankful no matter what appears to be going on in your life at any given moment! This is one of the bricks that will make your "life building" strong. In fact, you should make sure that you have at least one of these thank you bricks in each of your storeys as you build your life upward. For each storey you go up, that element is there. The more thankful you are for every moment in life—and for every experience you have—the more positively you will see life. You will have no reason not to be happy.
"But," you say, "what about all the bad stuff that happens to me?"
The first rule is that nothing "bad" happens to you. It is just another experience, from which you can grow and learn. Learning and growing are positive things. In that sense, you already have a positive to this experience you call bad.
If, in a moment, things don't feel like they are going the way you had hoped they would (or in a way which would ordinarily make you feel positive), be thankful for something. Change the feeling.
Be thankful that you are alive. Life is a miracle itself. Even if your health may not seem to be the best, you have life! This, in itself, is something to be very thankful for.
By acknowledging the good in every situation, the good multiplies. This happens because your focus is on the good. The key is to focus on the good in every moment of every day in your life. That way, you will always be happy.
This may sound really simplistic, but it's true. Just think about it for a moment. If you only focus on what is good in your life—even the basic fact that you are alive—you will always have something to make you feel good. It is incredible how this can affect your existence every day.
Saying "thank you" for every moment of every day is an essential building block in your life. With this building block laid, happiness will come because you can only feel happy when you see good in everything. From this happiness will come healing—not just in terms of your health, but also in terms of those emotional and spiritual blocks that have stopped you from seeing life in a positive way. And from that healing will come freedom. And from that freedom will come everything else good that this life has to offer emotionally. And to think it all starts with two very simple words—thank you!
Admitting you are not right about something is a great strength. It builds your character. It is another building block on which your most positive life is built.
We are not perfect. Sometimes we get it wrong, and the sooner we recognise this and apologise for it, the sooner we can let go of that negative emotion and keep moving forward in life.
Admitting that sometimes you think in a way that holds you back from being positive is the first step towards doing something about those patterns and thoughts. By recognising that we engage in negative thoughts, we can work each day to face them, challenge them, and grow from them.
"How is knowing I've taken a position that is wrong holding me back?" you ask.
When you know you are looking at something incorrectly—but you dig your heels in and battle on—all you are doing is entrenching yourself deeper and deeper into a place of wrong. And that is not a positive place to be. It is like digging yourself deeper and deeper into a grave. One day, your hole is so deep that no one (not even yourself) can see you in there—and someone will start filling it with dirt. And then getting out is so much harder!
When you hold on to negative feelings (such as knowing you are adopting a position on something that is not right), and you don't let go of them by saying, "Hey, I'm wrong," you keep digging yourself deeper and deeper into a negative place. Ultimately, your world turns dark, and it is harder to find the way out.
Saying "sorry" is actually about recognising that sometimes you just get it wrong. It allows you to let go of the guilt you hold onto in knowing this fact.
You might think, Isn't that a negative thing to say? It depends on how you look at it. It's like checking your car's tyres and recognising that they might need some air put into them. It is the same for you as a person.
There will be moments in your life when you will need to recognise that you might be a little sensitive about things people say or do. You might misinterpret things, and you need to work on being less sensitive so you can see and interpret things with a clear, emotionally unattached mind.
There might be times when you are prone to viewing things in a negative way, and you have to work on viewing things more positively.
There may even be times when you are stubborn about an issue, which means you need to work on recognising there are other ways to approach or deal with the situation.
This is the sort of thing that I mean. It is not a weakness or flaw, per se. It is a recognition that there are times when you will have to work on making the things that hold you back more positive.
Excerpted from The Glass Is Full by Gigi G. Copyright © 2012 by Gigi G. (Jehane I. Ghabrial). Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Laying the Foundations....................1
The Next Step Forward....................11
Say "Thank You"....................12
Is Your Glass Full Yet?....................28
Look at the View from the Penthouse, Not the Basement!....................35
If You Believe in Life, Life Will Believe in You!....................39
Freedom. What Is It?....................41
Take Steps Forward with Courage....................72
"Things Don't Matter, People Matter"....................77
Every Childhood Has Its Ups and Downs....................85
Live Life in the Moment! Make the Most of the Now!....................87
Forgiveness Is a Healing Gift You Give Yourself!....................92
Change the Label!....................95
Sweep away the Anger!....................98
Take Responsibility for Your Existence—Take Charge!....................104
Say "Sayonara" to Shame....................114
Letting Go of Desires for Revenge....................124
Life Is Like a Big Bowl of Soup!....................133
Smile and the Whole World Will Smile with You....................137
Be Kind to Yourself and to Others....................140
Slow Down and Enjoy the Journey....................143
Sing Your Way to Freedom....................150
The Classical Effect....................153
Let the Light in!....................159
Life's a Beach!....................164
Be True to Yourself—Dare to Follow Your Dreams....................167
The Allegory of the Frog: Run Your Own Race....................169
Seize Your Opportunities ... Now!....................172
Be Your Own Best Friend....................178
Get up off the Lounge and Live Your Life!....................180
Change It Up!....................183
Get Your Own Endorphins into Gear!....................188
Turn down the Heat!....................194
Treat Others as You Want Them to Treat You!....................203
Every Life Experience Is Positive....................206
You Are Never Alone!....................209
Trust Yourself, Your Inner Guide, and the God within You!....................213
Let It Be!....................215
Gather Yourself and Pull Your Life Together....................218
A Look at Gigi G....................220