How to be Happy: Do Not Fear Being Weird, and Enjoy Your Failure Biscuits!

Not sure who said this, and Google wasn’t able to help me, so it’s good old “anonymous” again for the quote. Plus I slacked and did quote/picture combo, but you’ll have that sometimes.

When I saw this today in my Facebook news feed, it reminded me of several things:

1) I’m kind of weird and random at times
2) I’m okay with that
3) I wasn’t always okay with that
4) Maybe lots of people are afraid to be themselves, and how much is that contributing to their lack of happiness?

We all have to live in the world and get along reasonably well with other people to have any real hope of being happy, in my viewpoint. I know, some people are perfectly content hanging around by themselves all day long, but most of us thrive on our relationships.

In fact, there’s a little glossy book I sort of like called The 100/0 Principle and I’m certain I’ll post about it at some point, because I struggle with the concept a bit. But one of the important points made in the book is how integral relationships are to happiness and success. More on that later.

Today’s topic is more about letting go of some of that fear of not fitting in or being “normal” enough or doing things “right”, or whatever you are currently beating yourself up about these days. Sometimes the things we like to do and the ways we like to spend our time are pretty commonplace; other times they’re a little more “out there”. But you can probably find someone who is into virtually anything you can think of, and if you don’t believe me…check the Internet. Being afraid to let people know who you are makes it harder to have relationships, or at least really meaningful ones. And that makes it harder to be happy.

I had a conversation with Tween Spirit the other day about being “different” and how that is not a bad thing. She had heard the use of the word when you’re politely saying someone’s cheese has slid off their cracker…”Oh, he’s a little…different.” So she sort of thought being different was not so hot.

Then she remembered a story one of the kids in The Boy’s school wrote in response to the “PTA Reflections” contest about diversity, and how boring it would be if everyone had the same name, and liked all the same things, and thought the same way, etc. So she sort of grudgingly came around to semi-accepting that it might sort of kind of be slightly acceptable to be different.

We’re all different! And that is fine. In fact, it’s great. And what I liked about this quote/picture was the idea that hiding that different-ness might lead you to miss out on a lot in life. So let’s not.

So what about the “failure biscuits”, you ask? Well. This weekend I came downstairs from a shower to find Better Half installing a kitchen faucet (which, by the way, is AWESOME), yellow food coloring spattered across various countertops and soaked into various kitchen towels (less than awesome), and some biscuits in the oven (again, awesome).

I had been upstairs for 20 minutes, tops. But I digress. Apparently, Tween decided she wanted to make biscuits, and did all the steps properly, except she put them in the microwave. Apparently the logic was: I was upstairs, Better Half was still out getting faucet, and she knew she couldn’t use oven without permission, yet wanted tasty biscuits, so…

The Boy was the culprit on the food coloring; I still have not received a clear answer for that one.

The biscuits, as you may have guessed, didn’t fare well in the microwave. They later had to go in the oven, where they cooked to a trans-fat-filled deliciousness. Several of us sampled and enjoyed them. Later, Tween said, “Everybody liked my failure biscuits!”

First, I cracked up at the phrase “failure biscuits”. Then I was curious: Why was she calling them “failure biscuits”? (See, I find it funny enough that I want to type it again and again.)

“Because I messed up and put them in the microwave. I failed.”

WHAT??!! You thought you failed because you put biscuits in a microwave? Oh…I need to do some work here. So we had a little chat with the basic theme “all’s well that ends well” and “mistakes are how we learn” and stuff like that.

I felt quite bad that she would call it a failure, but hopefully now it’s in perspective. And next time she makes biscuits, which I hope is soon, I’m still calling them Failure Biscuits. In fact, I might just start calling all biscuits that. LIVING ON THE EDGE.


Quarky Dinnertime Convos

“When you have an intense contact of love with nature or another human being, like a spark, then you understand that there is no time and that everything is eternal.” –Paulo Coelho

Another quick and dirty post, people. I actually started this LAST week, and felt strange about it sitting around, unfinished and bereft.

So, I’ll recap the dinnertime conversation between myself, Tween Spirit (now 11 years old, mind you!) and The Boy (who is now the ripe old age of 8).  He has lots of other nicknames, but we’ll just call him The Boy for now. Tween is perusing Scientific American while she eats, as she is wont to do. This poses a bit of an issue when she asks me questions about things in the issues I haven’t read yet, which are most of them. But no matter. Tonight, she says something I actually DID know:  “Mom did you know there is something called a quark? And there are lots of kinds of quarks?”

Why, yes. Yes I did know that. I even knew that they have funny names like top, bottom, up, down, strange, etc. And then I reminded them about the whole Higgs Boson excitement of a few months past and why the scientists were all so fired up about finding it, etc.

“Quarks are cool,” says The Boy.

“So what’s inside the Higgs boson, though?” Tween queries.

“Well, I think the idea is that it it supposed to be the smallest indivisible part of matter. Like it’s Higgs boson all the way through.”

“Hmm. I don’t know about that.” She munches. She scrunches up her eyebrows a little at me.

“I don’t know about that either,” I reply (this is a very common statement for me), “but i think it’s the idea.”



And then I remind them both of the super cool website I linked in this blog earlier with the scale of the universe and she says, “And what’s all this about the “size of the known universe”. What is outside of that?”

“Hmm,” says I. (Wait for it…wait for it…) “I don’t know.”

“I don’t know either,” says The Boy. “But did you see they put Minecraft world in the website? But yeah, what’s bigger than the universe?”

And that is why I didn’t sleep that night. Thanks, Science!

Making the Best of It

“Success is getting what you want; happiness is wanting what you get.” — Dale Carnegie

Today’s post is, by necessity, brief.  But that doesn’t mean we can’t activate our brains a little…I really liked this saying in the picture below (which my 2-second Internet research tells me was coined by “Unknown”) and I think it’s true.

However, where does that leave those of us who are striving for more or to improve things? Should I just “accept what is” and be happy without trying to reach higher goals?  Nah. Where’s the fun in that?  Still, endless striving and never being content with what one has is certainly no recipe for happiness. Hmm, how about balance?

We all know the Serenity Prayer, right? God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.  Maybe that’s the key – accept it when we can’t change something–though we should really examine that assumption – there may be more we can change than we think–change what we can, and know the difference between the two.  Easier said than done, maybe, but it’s a good rule of thumb.

In Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, there’s obviously a lot of talk about acceptance – it’s the first word in the name of the therapy! But acceptance doesn’t mean embracing,  resignation and it doesn’t mean tolerance. It’s more like acknowledging that something exists, neutrally. NOT EASY!

When we refuse or are unable to accept what is, we are “struggling against the Universe,” according to Deepak  Chopra. And who am I to argue with Deepak?!  Accepting where we are right now and what is happening is the first step to determining what we might be able to change, or what we can’t. Sticking our heads in the sand, or complaining to all who will listen, bemoaning our fate, doesn’t move us forward.

It’s okay to be cranky! I said that before. But at some point, we have to decide what we really want to be doing, and get busy doing that, even if it means we have to drag around some not-so-wonderful things with us or deal with not-so-fabulous circumstances.

What can you work on accepting today?

Happy as We Wanna Be – Celebrating the Small Stuff

“The miracle is not to walk on water but to walk on the earth.” – Lin Chi

Yes, yes, I know. “Wanna” is not a word. You get the spirit though, right?  I was going to use the Abe Lincoln quote (“People are just about as happy as they make up their minds to be”) which is, of course, an oldie but a goodie. Then I saw this one, in my list of quotes and ideas I like.  There it was.  Perfect  Awesome quote to use for today’s post.  (See what I did there, showing you I almost used the p-word? Transparency!)

It’s true. We see those people who have personal trainers, assistants, cleaning ladies, etc. (well, I don’t see them myself, but I’m sure they exist) and they’re all toned and fit and organized and breathtakingly lovely/ruggedly handsome and we think: HECK YEAH I COULD LOOK THAT GOOD TOO IF I HAD ALL THAT HELP.  And we probably would, too.  It’s a lot easier to get things done when you have a huge team assisting you. But maybe we don’t have all that help. We have what we have. And we look how we look, and we do what we can.

So let’s celebrate THAT.  I’ve divulged my list-making habit, and how it pleases me to check off the items, be they big or small. Who says that the small stuff doesn’t count?  My last post had a quote highlighting the importance of accumulating the small stuff, for big changes.

It all adds up, for better or worse. Let’s give ourselves credit for all the little things that went well, or we did right, or that made us laugh today. We have a tendency to focus on the letdowns, the screw-ups, the not-quite-good-enoughs. Why? I’m all about personal improvement (duh), but let’s have a balanced viewpoint. Or maybe even tipped toward optimistic; why not? Motivation is most of the battle, really. And when do you feel more motivated, when you are telling yourself you can do it, or you are listing all the reasons why you can’t?

I used to find it hard to hold a 30-second plank. Nope, really. I did. But practicing a few times and it got to 35 seconds, 45 seconds, etc.  When I remember to do a plank, now I do a minute. I’m being honest here…the workouts have slipped lately.  A minute is not a long time to hold a plank, mind you. But it’s twice as good as 30 seconds! And if I kept with it I could do much longer. Celebrating!

Tween Spirit and I were discussing gratitude recently. I’m sure I’ll post more about that in the future, but I insisted that if she wanted to complain about anything, that was fine, but she also had to tell me something that went well or that she was happy about or that she liked, made her laugh, whatever. Something good.  At first she grumbled about it a little, but it didn’t take long before she came up with several “good things” and our conversation had veered toward those topics.  Not that we should never discuss what’s going wrong – of course we have to do that if we have any hope of changing things. But it’s so easy, as I’ve said before, to slip into the trap of the negative.

It is a miracle to walk on this earth.

What has been going right today? What made you laugh?  Here’s one that made me laugh today: