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Acceptance – are you taking it too far?

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My happiness grows in direct proportion to my acceptance, and in inverse proportion to my expectations. Michael J. Fox

 

The other day I saw a quote on Facebook I want to share with you:

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What do you think?

I lost it!

This was this exact thought process that encouraged a dangerous level of “acceptance” towards a narcissist I was entangled with, who was abusing me – and it made me angry that they were actively encouraging it.

I used to tell myself: “It will get better, he’s not like this all the time, he loves me most of the time, he cheated – but he came back so he obviously loves me, those flowers are gorgeous – he is really sorry, he won’t do it again…” The excuses and rationalizing were endless. At my lowest point I went to the doctors to try to get medication to toughen my skin “so I wouldn’t bruise so easily”. When I tell people that, they look at me stunned. How can you get to that point? How can you stay? Meanwhile the excuses went on as I “accepted” this ‘man’ and his treatment of me. What I was actually doing was masking the abuse: I wasn’t admitting it to anyone – least of all myself. (By the way: that medication to toughen the skin so it won’t bruise so easily? Doesn’t exist. And since I left that relationship, my “bruising problem” has resolved itself, in fact, I haven’t had one bruise. Magic.)

Now, let’s get real: what was dangerous wasn’t the above quote (though I still don’t believe it’s a healthy way of thinking) – but the risk was that I had mistaken my thought processes for acceptance, when really I had reached a state of “cognitive dissonance” in order to remain in the relationship. While I think my experience was quite extreme, it’s not unusual in domestic violence partnerships or particularly where there is narcissistic abuse for these behaviours and excuses to evolve.

This week Happiness Weekly looks at acceptance – are you taking it too far?

 

What is acceptance?
According to a quick Google search, acceptance is “the process or fact of being received as adequate, valid, or suitable”.

We decide what is acceptable and unacceptable to us at a very young age. Each of us has a little voice inside, which tells us if a situation is acceptable or not – generally we can be guided by our intuition. As adults, we have the power to override this inner voice and choose selectively what we want to accept and what we don’t. Unfortunately we can choose this to our detriment – as in my case – and it’s when we choose to accept something against the guidance of our inner voice that we generally start going down a bad path.

When we go through a toxic or abusive relationship, and perhaps even choose to stay in it, we also stop trusting ourselves. Instead of dealing with it we go into denial, we “accept” it for what is, we look for small flickers of love from the abuser and respond with great gratitude in order to hold on.

Hold on to what?!

If this sounds like you and you have in this moment made the decision to get out of what you’re in, please check out All about toxic relationships and how to let go. If your intuition is telling you to get out of your relationship, I urge you to take the steps needed to follow through.

Setting personal boundaries is essential in any relationship but particularly healthy ones. If you’re in an unhealthy relationship you’ll find your boundaries are spongy or just continually fall by the wayside, but your intuition still lets you know if something is happening that you don’t want. Part of setting boundaries is knowing what is acceptable to you and what isn’t and your boundaries are generally put in place according to this. Seems straight forward.

At any time we are able to adjust our beliefs and change what is acceptable to us and what isn’t – it is up to us if we make these adjustments in a positive or negative direction. When you continue overriding this inner voice and your personal boundaries drop off because you’re choosing to accept something deep down you know you shouldn’t, it’s extremely detrimental to your trust in yourself, and believe me when I say it makes the journey to recovery a lot longer and harder than it needs to be. No matter how experienced or inexperienced you are with life or relationships – your intuition knows best – not your partner, not your friends, not your family, not your therapist: you! You know best.

I also wanted to share this – there seems to be a cycle for everything these days (a control cycle, an abuse cycle etc) there is also an acceptance cycle, which is very similar to the stages of grief. Every time we accept something, this is what we go through (and in looking at this we can also see how easy it is to fall into the trap of cognitive dissonance):

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What is cognitive dissonance?
According to Victims and Survivors of Psychopaths “cognitive dissonance is a powerful self-preservation mechanism which can completely distort and override the truth, with the victim developing a tolerance for the abuse and ‘normalizing’ the abusers behaviour, despite evidence to the contrary”. Some people break it down to doing the right thing for the wrong reasons or vice versa. In my experience I continued to tell myself that if I just ignored the bad and focused on the good, everything would be alright – right? And he was abusing me, so as long as I stayed I could possibly change him back to being the person I had known at the start (common in narcissistic abuse), then I was the better person – right? NO! WRONG! NOT ALRIGHT!

How did I get confused?

Acceptance seems to be the answer to all our questions, everywhere we look. The message we’re given is if we just accept things and people exactly as they are, we will be happier and magically live a stress-free life. The fact is, extreme amounts of acceptance lowers our expectations, and in the process makes us forget what is acceptable to us and what is not – this can then lead us directly into cognitive dissonance.

 

Why can’t you just leave an abusive relationship?
The reason it’s hard to leave an abusive relationship once we reach this state of cognitive dissonance is the way it closely links to trauma bonding. According to Victims and Survivors of Psychopaths “traumatic bonding is strong emotional ties that develop between two persons where one person intermittently harasses, beats, threatens, abuses, or intimidates the other. (Dutton & Painter, 1981)”. Generally there is a power imbalance, the abuse is sporadic, and the victim engages in denial for emotional self-protection and one form of this is dissociation – where the victim distances themselves from the abuse as though it’s not happening to them.

“Since the victim feels powerless to change the situation, they rely on emotional strategies to try to make it less dissonant, to try to somehow make it fit. To cope with the contradicting behaviors of the abuser, and to survive the abuse, the person literally has to change how they perceive reality,” Victims and Survivors of Psychopaths said.

Many people will accept abuse by rationalising it away to themselves, staying in denial, or simply because they feel like the better person for staying. It sounds silly – but the thought process is often because the victim is not the one abusing, it makes them feel better about themselves and their situation. This leads into another example of where begins cognitive dissonance in an abusive or toxic relationship.

“Trauma bonding makes it easier for a victim to survive within the relationship, but it severely undermines the victims self-structures, undermining their ability to accurately evaluate danger, and impairs their ability to perceive of alternatives to the situation,” Victims and Survivors of Psychopaths said.

“Once a trauma bond is established it becomes extremely difficult for the victim to break free of the relationship.  The way humans respond to trauma is thought to have a biological basis… Many victims feel the compulsion to tell and retell the events of the trauma in an attempt to come to terms with what happened to them and to try to integrate it, reaching out to others for contact, safety, and stability.  Other victims react in an opposite manner, withdrawing into a shell of self-imposed isolation.  The trauma bond can persist even after the victim leaves the relationship, with it sometimes taking months, or even years, for them to completely break the bond,” the site said.

For more information about cognitive dissonance click here or check out Victims and Survivors of Psychopaths page.

 

Deciding when things are unacceptable
There comes a point when someone is hurting us that we need to WAKE UP and see the situation for what it is. Accepting a scenario that doesn’t align with us, as it plays out over and over again, is really unhealthy and there needs to be a point where we stop accepting a situation as it is and start taking action for our own self-preservation.

Often people in domestic violence situations are under a lot of control and feel their options are limited, it’s not that they don’t want to get out – it’s that they don’t know what steps to take in order to do it safely. If you feel trapped in this sort of situation, please call 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732) if you’re in Australia (it’s 24 hours), or contact White Ribbon for assistance (they’re very active and helpful on their Facebook), or refer to How to escape a controlling person in a domestic violence situation.

 

The turning point: how to stop accepting the wrong things
Over the years I have become guilty of being a serial-accepter as I found it easier to accept and say “yes” than to reject: “no”. The more I found myself going along with things, despite my intuition and better judgement, the more I lost sight of what I felt was acceptable and unacceptable. What we need to realise is there does come a time when it’s ok to get angry, take a stand and walk away – as long as you keep going.

It was only recently that I realised we spend so much of our lives being told to show gratitude for every little thing and to accept things for what they are, that we stop expecting the big things to happen. The consequence is our expectations drop dramatically and the wrong people appear in our lives. To find out how you can make yourself happy and avoid this trap you can refer to last week’s blog How to make yourself happy.

In the process of losing our expectations, we forget what behaviour towards us is acceptable – the little signs of kindness feel so much more important than what they actually are, and we clutch to them through adversity, making it easier to draw attachment to another person. This is where we often open the door to the wrong people.

Instead, what we should be doing during times of adversity, trauma and grief is re-learning to depend on ourselves, focusing on how we can make ourselves feel special and empowered – and how we can move ourselves forward. This lifts our expectations, and the higher our expectations are, the more you’ll find the right people are drawn in because they need to work harder to be with us. So, despite what we’ve been taught in recent times, happiness doesn’t come from acceptance and gratitude, it comes from within. Self-belief. Self-love. Self-nurturing. Seeing the pattern here? The turning point all starts and ends with self!

 

Acceptance, forgiveness and gratitude in their place
Many of us would agree with the Michael J Fox quote I selected to accompany today’s blog post.

However, when we choose to accept everything in an attempt to be happy, the irony is that the things we have accepted against our better judgement and intuition, won’t actually make us happy at all. In the short-term we get to go “Yay! I got this!” and maybe we have something to show for it, but longer-term it won’t impact our happiness and if anything, it will more likely make us unhappy because of the way we have acquired it. Anything acquired in a negative way will often be toxic to us. Also, despite cognitive dissonance as a real condition, long-term we can’t fool ourselves into believing something makes us happy when it doesn’t. We can’t lie to ourselves. We can’t hide from what we believe is right or wrong. This is why it’s important to always be authentic when choosing to be accepting, forgiving or put energy into showing gratitude.

Don’t get me wrong: acceptance, forgiveness and gratitude certainly assist us with living a fulfilling life, but as with everything, they have their place. We shouldn’t depend on these for our happiness or use them as a way of gaining short-term happiness. What do I mean? Acceptance, forgiveness and gratitude can often be used as tools for our short-term happiness because it’s more comfortable or easier for us to choose those rather than really soul-searching and knowing what authentically aligns with us: our values, boundaries and generally what we find acceptable.

 

A lesson for the abused
“When a simpleton abused him, Lord Buddha listened to him in silence, but when the man had finished, the Buddha asked him, ‘Son, if a man declined to accept a present offered to him, to whom would it belong?’ The man answered ‘To him who offered it.’ ‘My son’, Buddha said, ‘I decline to accept your abuse. Keep it for yourself.’” The Buddha (as told by Will Durant).

 

Challenge: Find your authentic self
This week I challenge you not be accepting, forgiving or spend energy showing gratitude unless it’s absolutely genuine. The theory is in doing this we will stop inviting lower-expectations into our lives and suffer the consequences.

So dig deep and find your authentic self. Have you been accepting people and behaviours simply because it’s easier for you? Be honest.

This week be selective about what you accept, who you forgive and when you show your gratitude to people because there are people out there who will take advantage of it.

Note how you feel as a result.

 

Moving forward by relying on yourself
The way forward from being overly accepting of things or surrendering yourself to cognitive dissonance is looking to yourself for validation. Instead of looking to others for signs of love and kindness, know what makes you feel special and validated. This varies for everyone, but start with dating yourself – inspiration provided by Ashley here, learning what you like and dislike and offer yourself ongoing unconditional self-love.

If you are going through something traumatic caused by another person (particularly a partner, spouse or lover), you may go in search of someone else because instead of dealing with something uncomfortable and traumatic, we try attach ourselves to someone as a way of coping. It can almost be instinctive because we’re looking for a knight in shining armor to save us and make us feel better during this horrible time. I urge you to resist this temptation because looking outward for happiness during troubled times in our relationships is simply a way of trying to comfort yourself and it is also how love addiction can start which will see you jumping from partner to partner. Also, your new relationship won’t last, and remember what I said about acquiring something negatively, it may also never make you happy.

Challenge yourself to stand on your own two feet. Wait until your emotions subside and you resolve the situation before you decide to take any steps with the person you’re feeling drawn to because sometimes you’re in such bad condition from the troubled relationship you have that what you’re accepting in your life is also less than you deserve. Stay true to yourself and always remember what is meant to be will be. Have faith that what you want exists and it will come to you in perfect time.

Meanwhile, if you feel that you are taking acceptance too far or even suffering from cognitive dissonance in an attempt to comprehend and/or remain in an abusive relationship, please seek professional help with a psychologist, counsellor or life coach (such as Melanie Tonia Evans) to help you through your healing journey.

Happiness Weekly’s best tips for helping others

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You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you. John Bunyan

The efficiencies of the internet are moving us towards a more insular world and it is becoming more difficult to be mindful of helping others. According to the Dalai Lama that is our sole purpose in being here on earth – to share our compassion and help others.

The Pay It Forward movement has been particularly active on Facebook this year. You may have noticed several posts that read:

“To start this year off in a caring way I’m participating in this Pay-It-Forward initiative:

I don’t usually buy into these things, but due to a recent act of generosity I have decided to get involved, this is for real.

The first five people who comment on this status with “I’m in”, will receive a surprise from me at some point in this calendar year – anything from a book, a ticket, a visit, something home grown or made, a postcard, absolutely any surprise!

There will be no warning and it will happen when the mood comes over me and I find something that I believe would suit you and make you happy.

These five people must make the same offer in their Facebook status and distribute their own joy. Simply copy this text onto your profile (don’t share) so we can form a web of connection and kindness.

Let’s do more nice and loving things for each other in 2014, without any reason other than to make each other smile and to show that we think of each other. Here’s to a more enjoyable, more friendly and love-filled year.”

So while our modern world seems to be encouraging selfishness, greed and isolation – Happiness Weekly looks at some ways that you can help others this week without having an agenda of your own. Truly helping others means there’s nothing in it for you – in fact, the person you may help may never be able to repay you and that’s the ultimate aspiration in truly helping others.

 

The benefits of helping others includes:
-          Connecting you to someone in an otherwise very lonely world
-          Enhancing someone else’s life
-          Making the world a better place to live

Things you can do to help others
-          Teach them something new
-          Smile and be friendly
-          Volunteer for a charity
-          Start your own charity
-          Make a donation
-          Share your knowledge
-          Help someone do something – e.g. cross the street, change a flat tyre, get from A to B
-          Donate something you don’t use
-          Comfort someone
-          Buy food for a homeless person
-          Listen to someone
-          Do a chore for someone
-          Send a nice email
-          Share your favourite things (movie, song etc) – if you enjoyed it, someone else may too
-          Give a loved-one a massage
-          Praise someone publicly
-          Be patient with someone
-          Tutor a child
-          Make a care package for someone
-          Speak up for someone – sign a petition, write a letter etc.
-          Offer to babysit
-          Share what you have
-          Find out what’s valuable to someone and get it for them
-          Present an opportunity to someone or make them aware of it
-          Give transparent feedback to better performance (without being too critical)
-          Introduce people to each other, help people network
-          Give someone a gift
-          Do something nice for someone without expecting anything in return
-          Welcome a new neighbour by baking for them
-          Use your power to help people around you have a good day
-          Only see good in people and treat everyone accordingly

We’re all here together and the only certainty is we have one life and we’re living it now. Help others to be the best they can be where ever you can, because if everyone surrounding you is doing the same, imagine the powerful world we would live in.

Pages that helped inspire this blog:
http://www.zenhabits.net/25-ways-to-help-a-fellow-human-being-today
http://www.forbes.com/sites/johnhall/2013/05/26/10-ways-to-help-others-that-will-lead-you-to-success
http://tinybuddha.com/blog/how-to-help-someone-who-wont-help-themselves
https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/get-started/outside-the-classroom/volunteering-how-helping-others-helps-you

Welcome to another year at Happiness Weekly

imagesWe were so fortunate this year to have a complete fresh start with the new moon on New Years Eve! I hope you all enjoyed your celebrations as much as I did.

There are many exciting things ahead for all of us this year, great memories to be made, and I’m sure you’re all busy trying to check off your New Year Resolutions.

I will be posting more inspirational quotes on Facebook and Twitter this year which are sure to keep you motivated and entertained. So if you aren’t on those, please join up!

Otherwise, I wish you all a happy, healthy and successful 2014!

Best wishes, Sarah.

8 ways to avoid the negatives in life – or at least not make them worse

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I think it’s important to get your surroundings as well as yourself into a positive state – meaning surround yourself with positive people, not the kind who are negative and jealous of everything you do. Heidi Klum

Sometimes life can seem full of negatives with an abundance of obstacles and challenges and it can become quite overwhelming. In these situations, a lot of people subconsciously spread the stress and burden into other areas of their lives unnecessarily. For example, after a tough day at work you may return home tired and feeling pressure when you pick a fight with your partner or children because they haven’t done something exactly as you asked. This week, Happiness Weekly looks as how you can avoid the negatives in your life or at least not make them worse.

It’s undeniable that negativity is toxic – whether it’s a person who is negative or a situation in your life that is negative and causing you to respond and feel negative. It’s important to desensitise from the world’s negatives and try to isolate these events, people or areas of your life so they don’t infect the positive areas. It is when we repeatedly fall in the trap of letting one negative that could have been isolated affect every other part of our lives that we become consumed with darkness, loneliness and fall into a rut as all the positive and beautiful things and people around us fall away. By identifying and isolating the negative area or person in ourselves, we are empowered to change what happens to us next.

1. Identify the area that is causing upset, hurt or concern
If you sense darkness is upon you, your instinct is probably right. It may be a misunderstanding with someone that doesn’t feel right or a situation that is bringing you down – whatever it is, it’s important to stop and identify what it is. Once you know what it is, while you are on your own, consider what you will do to fix the situation to ensure you feel better as quickly as possible. Use this negative you wish to avoid to set goals to change your focus, empower yourself to move forward and start achieving the things you want.

2. If they seem bad, they probably are
Unfortunately toxic people do exist and they can be male or female. These are the people who add stress to your life unnecessarily: maybe they’re conniving, they can’t keep confidences, they lie, they backstab, they cheat and ask you to cover for them… it’s best to cut these people from your life right now – delete their number, block them on Facebook, avoid them where ever possible. You don’t need these people in your life and without them you will feel significantly lighter.

3. Make a positive friend or lover
Invite someone into your life who will support you and encourage you to grow. Ensure they have your best intentions at heart. Whenever you’re in doubt, turn to this person and let them shower you with their positive affirmations and offer some solutions and guidance towards your problems. In every situation you always have choices, sometimes when we’re bogged down with negatives we can be blind to see them and it’s these people who can point out the alternatives for us.

4. Be true to yourself
When everything is getting you down, focus on the things you can do and the goals you can achieve, don’t assume things you don’t know. Separate yourself from the negatives by accepting them and isolating them in that space. My thought patterns tend to go “Ahhh, that’s bad – but at least I have this or that!” Focus on what you do have and be grateful for that.

5. Watch your communication with others
Don’t give anyone ammunition against you. Watch how you treat others and always communicate with kindness. Verbal communication such as tone and choice of words combined with non-verbal communication such as body language and the way we do things are a key component for this. If you don’t want to upset anyone, be careful what you say and how you do things – if it’s not kind, then don’t speak or act.

6. Do something nice for yourself
After a hard day in the office, do something nice for yourself. Self-soothing exercises will ensure you feel valued and will also help you unwind from spreading any negativity for others. Be strong in your direction, know your values and goals and go forward with confidence. If your nice to yourself, inwards, generally you will also be nice to others, outwards.

7. Go forward with acceptance and confidence
When someone treats you unfairly – accept that you have no control over what they have said or done, but go forward with confidence in what you are doing and the goals you have set for yourself. Realise there is more ahead in your life plan than the current scenario and keep on your path, don’t let others and their circumstances throw you off.

8. Assess your options and take control
We always have choices. When something negative happens or someone is negative to us, we can either take control of the situation and change it or we can assess our options and change ourselves or our circumstances to move us away from the negativity. It’s important to acknowledge that we always have some level of control that we can empower ourselves with.

How do you avoid the negatives in your life?

How to sincerely show your gratitude

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Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. William Arthur Ward

Some people get awkward when it comes to saying thank you. It may be that you don’t know how to approach the person, you may feel your gratitude will come across as insincere, or maybe you’re just one of those people who is too busy to acknowledge others. There’s no time like the present to turn over a new leaf! This week, Happiness Weekly looks at how you can say thank you and sincerely show your gratitude to someone.

How to say thank you

Choosing the words can be as challenging as finding the best method to say thank you. Let’s keep it simple – don’t think too deeply on it. The key to thanking someone is to say it at the time of the event or as close to it as possible.

Say what they have done: “Thank you for…”

Then tell them why: “You helped me to…” this will show them you have put thought into it, you have seen the results of what they have done and this will also make the person feel rewarded for helping you – and encourage them to help you again!

Now you can work out the most appropriate way to say it to the person:

Say it
A lot of people don’t say thank you out loud. Maybe it’s because they forgot to say thank you, maybe because they don’t think of it or maybe because they don’t realise the impact the person has had. Don’t be one of these people! Stop for a moment and show the person some gratitude by thanking them for what they have done.

Send an email or text
Often we think about our friends and something they have done for us, but when living in such a fast-paced world, we struggle to get around to acknowledging out loud what they have done for us. It only takes a moment while you are at your desk at work or playing with your telephone to send that person an email or text to thank them for what they have done for you.

Write a letter
It’s not often that we receive hand-written letters these days. Take some time to get some nice notepaper and write a beautiful thank you letter. Then take the time to buy a stamp, find out the person’s address and post it to them in the mail. This shows that time and care has been taken to show your gratitude. By going the extra mile, you are showing the person their importance to you.

Write a card
Whether you make it (by hand or on the computer) or buy it, giving a card to say thank you to someone is recommended when someone has gone the extra mile. They can then keep this card and refer back to it. Last year I sent a card to all my close friends, just simply thanking them for being a friend – it brought me a lot closer to many of them.

Draw it
Get creative! You don’t have to say it or write it, you could simply draw them a picture illustrating your gratitude. It could just be a stick figure picture of you giving them a flower … or a bunch of flowers. Sometimes, it’s the thought that counts and something as simple as this could go a long way!

Give it
If the person has really gone above and beyond, you could show your gratitude by buying them a present. It could be something as simple as a coffee, to flowers or chocolates, to a lunch or something bigger like a gift certificate or present. The beauty of giving is that it shows that thought and time has gone into it.

Send an E-Card
There are hundreds of e-cards on the internet that you can choose from. Have a look through them – some come with animation and sound – select one that’s appropriate for your friend and simply email it over. It’s a little more effort than just a standard written email.

Write on their wall
If you both have Facebook, why not say it loudly? Write a message on their wall. Or if you’re truly grateful and want the world to know, why not say it in a status update, tag them in it and say what they have helped you achieve. This will then be visible to all their friends and all your friends!

Return the favour
Do something for them. You may even make them a cake. Keep an eye out for any way that you can help them in the immediate future and return the favour as best you can. Sometimes we can only help in little ways, but what appears small to us may be big for other people.

How have you showed someone your gratitude lately?

For more tips on how to show your gratitude, check out the following blogs:

50 ways to show gratitude for the people in your life by Tiny Buddha

20 simple ways to show appreciation by Zen Family Habits

How to make the right decisions – it will shape your life!

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Every passing minute is another chance to turn it all around. Cameron Crowe

Everything we do and every path we find ourselves on is a direct result of a decision or a choice that we have made. In a world where opportunities are everywhere, possibilities are endless and temptation is never far away, it’s almost essential to have an understanding of your goals, values and what you want in life. This week Happiness Weekly investigates the best way to make a decision to ensure you stay on the right path!

Make a roadmap of your life with goals
Each decision we make will move us in a direction, so it’s important to have goals to guide us and move towards.  This also helps us measure if the decision was correct for us or not – for example, at a very basic level, if it moves you closer to your goals – that was the right decision for you, but if it moves you further from your goals, you may have made the wrong decision.

Set your boundaries and stick to your values
It’s important to know your boundaries and limits and to stick to your values, this also helps us decide which decision is right for us. Some decisions are simple that can lead us to a higher quality of life such as pursuing higher education, finding a better job, improving your health etc. Remember, you need to be able to live with yourself, so it’s advisable to always be true to yourself.

Be proactive
Try to plan and make proactive rather than reactive decisions. Stick with a decision – such as accepting a better job – for as long as you can before changing again. Don’t put off decisions because tomorrow will never come – when it’s tomorrow it’s today! Once you know what you want, and you’ve set your goals, you can start taking the steps necessary to reach those goals. Decide to be happy, decide to look for the best opportunities, decide to love openly… even these decisions will start moving you to a more positive life journey.

Seek advice
There’s no shame in asking your friends what they would do in the situation before making your decision. In fact, there is a fantastic blog by Tiny Buddah where they headed to a public forum to see how other people come to make their decisions. You can read about it here.

Write it down
Sometimes those more difficult decisions seems easier to tackle when they’re on paper. Try writing yourself a list of the pros and cons of each decision outcome. Think long-term as well as short-term and try to work out which moves you closer to where you want to end up.

Think it through and consider any consequences
Take your time thinking it through. Will you be able to live with yourself tomorrow? Ask yourself: what’s the worst that can happen? Look yourself in the mirror and talk it through. Consider if you do/do not do ‘x’, how you will feel. No decision is worth suffering embarrassment, shame, uncertainty or regret. Trust your gut – intuition is key in the decision making process. Consider what your grandparents would say if they knew you choice and once you decide which decision you’re going to go with, consider how you’re feeling – if you’re anxious or stressed, it’s probably not the right decision.

Make an informed decision
Gather as much information, facts and evidence as possible to see how the decision will move you on your journey. Identify the alternatives. Evaluate each choice using your values as a guide. If it hurts you or anyone else, don’t do it!

More motivational quotes about Decision Making

Thoughts lead on to purposes; purposes go forth in action; actions form habits; habits decide character; and character fixes our destiny. Tyron Edwards

There is no problem unless we choose to make it one, so think carefully before you act. David Marshall

It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities. J.K. Rowling

Life is 10% of what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. John Maxwell

Do not plant your dreams in the field of indecision, where nothing ever grows but the weeds of “what-if”. Dodinsky

Still looking for more tips about decision making – make sure you read this fantastic blog “Am I making the right decision? 10 tips for confident decision making” by Ruchira Agrawal.

Question of the week: How do you consider your options when making an important decision?

10 reasons your friends should know about Happiness Weekly

For pleasure has no relish unless we share it. Virginia Woolf

1. You can contact the author (Sarah) easily and you’ll get a response!
One thing Happiness Weekly has is a highly interactive comments feed. If you comment or ask for advice, you will generally receive a response from me quite quickly. Contacting me, Sarah (founder and chief blogger for Happiness Weekly) is easy:
- Find me on Twitter @HappinessWeekly or www.twitter.com/happinessweekly
- Find my page on Facebook: www.facebook.com/happinessweeklypage
- Email me – info@happinessweekly.org
- Comment on my blog – I’ll receive it straight away and will respond if requested.

2. It’s more interactive than any other blog: request a blog or ask for advice
Have a suggestion for a blog? Got a problem you can’t a positive solution to? Contact me through any of the above means and I will do my best to publish an article on it in the near future. It doesn’t matter how whacky or strange your suggestion is, all ideas are welcome. Maybe you’re in a sticky situation and looking for advice on how you can maintain your wellbeing and respect others in certain situations. Personal content will not be shared and all enquiries can be anonymous but I will respond to you as soon as possible.

3. It’s a great source for events and courses
Find the best self-empowering and self-motivating courses lead by inspirational teachers on the Happiness Weekly website. Most of the courses are Australian-based at the moment but I am updating this to give it a stronger global appeal as a lot of my readers are from the United States and the United Kingdom. This page is my way of thanking readers and making it easier to connect people with proactive positive activities around the world. If you have an idea for a course or would like to add something – posting is free, please email info@happinessweekly.org, with the details and I’ll update the information as soon as possible.

4. Be in the know of all awareness days
Happiness Weekly includes the Internet’s most comprehensive awareness calendar! Most of these dates are celebrated internationally. In 2013 the blogs will become more strategically aligned and meaningful as Happiness Weekly continues to grow. If you know of some more awareness days and dates that aren’t on the calendar – posting is free, please contact info@happinessweekly.org with the details and I’ll update the calendar as soon as possible.

5. Regular blog posts – it’s my promise!
One thing Happiness Weekly promises is that you will receive a highly comprehensive blog on a different topic each week. To receive it in your email inbox, please make sure you subscribe to the blog on the homepage, alternatively like my page on Facebook or follow my Twitter feed for regular updates via social media. Blogs are generally posted at the start of the week, so keep an eye out every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to see the latest from Happiness Weekly!

6. Receive weekly inspiring, thought-provoking and motivational quotes
Happiness Weekly releases a positive quote to think about each week via its social media pages: Facebook and Twitter. It is not necessarily related to the blog or any particular topic, but is generally something that everyone can relate to. That’s one of the best things about Happiness Weekly – not only is everyone welcome and everyone can contribute and have their say openly, but everyone is made to feel welcome as they can relate to everything posted.

7. Learn something new
It’s likely that you will learn something new every week – and why not share this knowledge with your friends, family and colleagues! The topics that Happiness Weekly posts about are extremely thoroughly researched to receive the best tips and guidance on each. The advice is proactive and simple for everyone to try. If you think I’ve missed anything or have something to add, please leave a comment. All blog-related comments are welcome on the Happiness Weekly page!

8. Expand your friendship circle with better communication
By sharing the Happiness Weekly website with your friends, it’s not only likely that your communication will improve but you will improve the communication of your friends around you. This will inevitably provide a shift as everyone is able to express their thoughts and feelings clearly and so your friendship circle will naturally develop and grow and you will naturally encourage new people into your life. Happiness Weekly is also a great conversation starter: it contains topics and information that are worthwhile sharing with your new and old friends.

9. Encourage the continuation of Happiness Weekly
The more popular Happiness Weekly becomes, the more likely it will be to continue.  While the writing-style may come across as easy to follow, a lot of time and planning goes into the blogs published by Happiness Weekly which is produced by a single person. The purpose of Happiness Weekly is not to raise revenue but to simply give back to the world in a way that promotes happiness and wellbeing – because it’s not hard to be happy, but knowing how to communicate effectively and respecting others is important. If you have enjoyed a blog by Happiness Weekly, you can show your appreciation and support by simply clicking “like” in the comments field.

10. Sharing is all about helping others
Now it’s your chance to give back to the universe and pay it forward. Tell your friends about Happiness Weekly by getting them to check out the website: www.happinessweekly.org! Share some blog posts on your Facebook pages, repost quotes on Facebook or retweet through Twitter. Spread the word to your community and encourage them to pass it on. Help Happiness Weekly grow so we can all live in a happier and healthier world that actively promotes self-awareness, encourages fair and assertive communication and enables everyone to make the best choices they can in their situation.

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