Friday, April 19, 2013

Had a Bad Day? Smell a Rose!


Helloo0O Ladies and Gentlemen!

Welcome to Graceland Ontario, your one stop location for success advice from the greats. Today, we’re going to talk about appreciation.

It’s also my Mum’s birthday, so this one goes out to her.

When, I was young, my Mum and I had very different opinions on certain things. She liked looking at pretty things in shops, I liked buying toys. She liked gardening, I liked watching television. She liked walking for exercise, I liked gluing the rug (no joke).

She’d say, “isn’t that a beautiful flower?” and I’d nod my head before quickly going on to play. I didn’t understand how you could be happy by watching a flower.

But, as years go by, though we still have disagreements once in a while, I’ve come to understand and live by her perspective.

Everything’s beautiful, even in ways we wouldn’t maybe see at first. Everything’s strong, but tender; colourful, sometimes while looking bland; wonderful while coming across as normal.

And, the more I learn about people, that they like to be liked, that they fancy someone who listens and cares about what they say, that they are, in general, inherently good, the more I thank my Mother. You see, she taught me something most people never learn. She taught me how to appreciate good things and, by not much of a stretch, other people.

Now, before you stop reading because this is either sounding way too new age-y for you or just “soft”, wait a sec.

When you appreciate life, others and yourself, you develop true kindness. You honestly enjoy seeing the best in others. Now, I’m not saying you aren’t already like that. But I am saying we’re all a work in progress and that it never hurts to put in a bit more to up your skills. Through appreciation, it becomes hard for us to be put down and hurt for, as Albert Schweitzer said, “Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate”. It helps us become stronger and more likely to go out there and live a full life because we realize at a deep level how good everything is, even the bad. You’ve gotta be part of a world like that. Sitting out is wasting all the beauty and opportunity. When you have that mindset, you realize the bounty open to everyone and, with your deep appreciation of others, it makes it that much easier to persuade and work with other people to fulfill your goals.

I don’t know how you live, but I’m sure you make a similar choice to me in the morning. You decide to have a good day, no matter what, a so-so day, no matter what, or a bad day, no matter what. Chances are, your day will turn out that way simply because you’ll only focus on the information that makes something a “good”, a “so-so” or a “bad” day. You can go, “wow, she’s looking great for eighty” or you can think, “she’s a week away from the grave”. You can breathe deeply and savour the gift of air or you can complain about pollution.

I tell you, whenever I choose the more positive, more appreciative viewpoint, take what my mother taught me and thank God for the smell of roses on a mid-August day, I always, always feel better.

And, from experience, I’ve learnt it’s not just me.

Happy Birthday Mum and talk to you all next week!

Alex H.

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