Everybody wants sunshine, nobody wants pain, but you can’t have a rainbow without a little rain. Anonymous.
Loyal followers – who don’t know me personally – may be wondering why my blogs went from full happiness focus to a focus on happiness during times of adversity. It’s like one day I woke up and while the element of happiness was still there, it went from being happy and bouncy to tackling some pretty serious issues with a theme of maintaining happiness during tough times.
Two years ago, when I started Happiness Weekly, I was a very happy person. I was also very naive. I believed that there was only good in this world. Not only that, I believed that as long as you believed that there was only good this in this world then that’s what you would attract – just like The Law of Attraction, right?
Since then I’ve learned first-hand that psychopaths, sociopaths and narcissists exist. And even if you don’t want to believe it, they’re very real and they roam the planet just as a normal healthy human being. It terrifies me to not only know, but to have experienced first-hand, that some people feel empowered by making other people feel miserable.
I’m not tainted. I’m not jaded. I’m not bitter.
I’ve learned quickly to accept this.
But instead of promoting happiness as a way of life, I decided I wanted to equip people to survive times of adversity and to facilitate their happiness and assist their inner glow to shine through during these harder times.
Through surviving my own adversity, and getting back up, I finally know who I am. I stand tall. I’m confident. And I share with others from a place of confidence and sympathy.
So Happiness Weekly has evolved as I have.
My posts for the next little while will be filling in the dates I missed while I was away, as well as posting so that we’re back up to date. Each week I will try to release two posts until I’m back on schedule – I apologise if I miss a week, my priority is now on the next chapter. To stay on top of what has been released, you’re welcome to follow my blog by email, you can keep an eye on the Facebook page or you’re always welcome to contact me.
I want to leave you with this: never stop learning. Never give up. Once you think you know, you’ll discover there’s more to know.
Stay in the driver’s seat of life and keep moving forward.
I’m really excited to announce Happiness Weekly is back online! Our Facebook account is now active and we’re set to go with some very exciting news to share, new blogs, a different writing style and more!
During the break I actually received a submission for Happiness Weekly from my colleague, Craig, who saw something on the way to work one morning and it reminded him of Happiness Weekly. That afternoon he returned to the spot to take photos of it and I wanted to share the Happiness Hero’s action-packed version of events:
Pulled up my car in a side street…
Walked to the bus stop where the chair was…
When I took the photos I was standing in the middle of a bus lane – pretty wild – cars traffic…
Some chick called out “Are u a reporter?”
Well I could not resist the opportunity: “Yes I replied – I am on an assignment for “Happiness Weekly.org.”
For a minute I really thought I was a reporter – till a bus tooted me and shocked me back into reality … Doooohhh!
Have a good day!”
Here are the photos he took for us:
Thank you, Craig the Happiness Hero!
If you have a submission you would like to make to Happiness Weekly, email it to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll put it up for you or you can post it on our Facebook page and we’ll share it for you.
Happy Independence Day everybody – catch you on Monday!
Unexpected kindness is the most powerful, least costly, and most underrated agent of human change. Bob Kerrey (1943)
The kindness of strangers has the power to improve our wellbeing and increase our feelings of happiness more than our normal friendship circle. How do I figure this? Imagine you have been hurt or let down by someone you trusted and thought you knew. You’re just looking to vent and for someone to listen to your story.
First you talk to a friend, they listen, and offer you their opinion and give advice in an attempt to try to lift you back up. You can sense their empathy and genuine care in their response which makes you feel somewhat better and your day continues as normal.
Now imagine the same scenario, but this time you’re talking to a complete stranger. You tell them your story and they listen. They then respond in a way that shows they identify or can relate to your situation, they offer you their opinion based on what they have heard and understood, and advise you accordingly. All of a sudden you feel less alone and your faith in humanity is restored and it’s like the sun has started shining through a grey sky – your day almost feels better, more fulfilled, than when you spoke to your friend. The happiness you feel as a result of the correspondence with the stranger barely compares to how you felt after communicating with your friend about the same issue.
This week Happinesss Weekly looks at why strangers can have a greater impact on your happiness than your friends.
Why strangers do it better
There are several reasons why strangers have the power to make us feel happier than our usual circle of friends – this could be why internet dating is becoming more popular and a more acceptable way of meeting someone and finding love. Here are some of the reasons why strangers can appeal to us more than our friends:
- Our expectations
The fact is we expect our friends to care about our wellbeing and therefore subconsciously depend on them to listen to us, side with us and support us unconditionally through all turbulence. It’s a part of friendship that almost all of us take for granted.
In the case of a complete stranger, we have no expectations. When a stranger is entirely removed from a situation and shows us kindness, we appreciate the time they take to actively listen to our story more than when our friends show us the same courtesy. Then if the stranger passes judgement that validates our feelings or actions, we start to feel better understood and less alone.
Although a stranger may have responded the same way as our friends, they exceed our expectations because we didn’t have any to begin with.
- The “stranger danger” belief
Strangers may also have an advantage over our friends because as children we were made acutely aware of “stranger danger”. These messages shaped our beliefs that strangers are a threat and potential danger.
Even now, despite statistics showing that someone we know who is a greater threat to us than a stranger, the media often highlight stories that demonstrate the opposite. When a stranger offers us kindness, our receptors instantly flick on warning us to be wary and we begin to question their motives and what could be in it for us.
It is when the kindness of a stranger is proven to be genuine and consequence-free, despite what we were programmed to understand, we often find ourselves pleasantly surprised.
As adults, neglecting or rejecting the kindness of strangers can force us to be confined and limited, so if we challenge this “stranger danger” belief, it enables us to work together to make a positive difference in each other’s lives.
- The selfish world we live in
Society often finds people first looking for the “what’s in it for me” before taking action in any situation. We all do it, whether it’s because we’re all time-poor in this fast-paced world or we’re simply becoming more selfish by the generation.
You may even notice that marketing campaigns are starting to lean towards commercial bribery as they become more aware that if they can’t convince the consumers that there’s something in it for them, it’s nearly impossible to motivate anyone to take action, let alone convince people to try a new product.
We are starting to value time more than ever before which is why when a stranger takes a moment to act selflessly towards us it leaves us feeling good because they have given up time to be thoughtful.
- About the kindness movement
This theory that strangers can have a greater impact on us than our friends isn’t new. Catherine Ryan Hyde’s novel Pay It Forward published in 2000, which was adapted into the film starring Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt and Haley Joel Osment in the same year, may have inspired the movement that encourages random acts of kindness towards strangers.
Whenever it began, adults are now being actively encouraged to be more mindful of each other and to demonstrate random acts of kindness where they can. The stigma associated with strangers being dangerous is deteriorating as more people embrace the “Pay it Forward” movement.
How you can make a positive difference to a stranger
The purpose of the following activities is to do something nice for someone without expecting anything in return – It doesn’t have to be expensive and there’s no need to go above and beyond when you choose to demonstrate a random act of kindness for a stranger.
- Buy someone’s coffee in the coffee shop
- Help a student with their tuition
- Teach someone something new
- Volunteer for a charity
- Let someone in front of you in the grocery store line
- Hand-write a letter to someone telling them how important they are to you
- Speak up for someone – sign a petition, write a letter, be a referee for a job
- Work pro bono where your skills are needed
- Compliment a stranger
- Give up your seat when taking crowded public transport
- Listen to someone without interruption
- Greet someone in the elevator
- Hold the door open for someone
- Explain the Pay it Forward concept to someone
- Take part in Pay it Forward Day on 22 April. Find more information here.
For more ideas on how you can show kindness to others, follow the free Thrive Happiness Challenge application.
On Wednesday, 7 May 2014 Australia observed National Domestic Violence Remembrance Day to remember those who have died and the ones left behind due to domestic and family violence.
Happiness Weekly will be observed the day by educating people about Narcissistic Personality Disorder and narcissistic abuse which is what often leads to these tragic ends, but it barely acknowledged. Narcissists don’t feel empathy but in its place have this amazing sense of grandiosity which enables them to live a life that almost parallels the life of a psychopath or sociopath. They walk the earth as any other human being, but their abuse behind closed doors is so subtle and manipulative you’ll barely hear a thing. Victims of narcissist abuse suffer emotionally, physically, spiritually and financially. Narcissistic abuse is known to be the most silent form of domestic violence that is fast becoming a global phenomenon.
Over the past couple of months I have been working with a series of highly qualified experts and victims of this abuse to pull together enough information to release a mini post series about Narcissistic Personality Disorder and narcissistic abuse. Each day a new chapter will be released to assist in educating people of this condition.
This series will be released to align with Mental Health Awareness Month and Domestic Violence Awareness Month, both of which coincide in October 2014. The post series includes:
Day 1 – All about Narcissistic Personality Disorder
- Where narcissism began
- What a narcissist is
- How someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) affects others
- How to tell if you have NPD
- How does a narcissist continue their path of destruction
- Why did they develop NPD?
- The narcissist as the perfect person
- Lies and manipulation of a narcissist
Day 2 – The typical rise and fall of a relationship with a narcissist
- We see details of the typical rise and fall of a relationship with a narcissist
Day 3 – No one wins from narcissistic abuse
- Signs and symptoms of narcissistic abuse
- Understanding trauma bonding
- After narcissistic abuse
- Are you at risk of narcissistic abuse
- Recovering from narcissistic abuse
- Moving on after narcissistic abuse
- How you can protect yourself
Day 4 – Understanding someone with NPD
- Life through a narcissist’s eyes
- Why you may attract narcissists
Day 5 – Memes about narcissism
- Laughing at narcissistic abuse to aid recovery
There are currently no statistics on narcissistic abuse. This may also be because narcissist’s manipulate their victims so badly that they often don’t realise they are abused until well after they have been discarded.
For anyone who wishes to leave a narcissist my only advice is this: be very sure when you make your decision to leave, and for your safety and protection don’t ever look back, because they will make sure you pay. The only way to heal from narcissistic abuse is to begin NO CONTACT. Be patient, this may not always go to plan but if you’re determined, it’ll happen and it’s the only way you can take your control back.