A Word Press Daily Prompt asks “In your imaginary award acceptance speech (yes, we know you have one), who’s the very last — and most important — person you thank?”
We moved many times during my early childhood. Money problems. The worse move took me to a new school where as the first new kid to arrive, when I was not made fun of, I was ignored – what horses do to the new kid in the pasture.
My Mom seeing I was lonely and had no real human friends came home one day when I was eight or nine with “Lady” Gordy. So my big “Thank You” goes to myMom. Mom had her flaws, more than one mental health professional has labeled her “emotionally abusive.” She had her moments, but they were only moments in the broader scheme of my life. She roared like a lion if you crossed her at certain times of the month; she roared louder and longer whenever anyone tried to hurt those she loved; but to say she was abusive is a gross over generalization.
Some of the greatest gifts she gave me were her love of nature, animals, children, and all in need. She modeled Practicing Kindness and for all, not just those in the family, tribe, or clan. Thank you Mom.
EMOTIONAL FITNESS THOUGHTS AND TIP
In my mind those taught to love animals are among the blest or the lucky depending on your personal definition of the forces controlling such things. I think blest captures both.
What if you hate dogs because of a bad personal experience or sadder because of the teachings of your culture? Clearly it is foolish to suggest you run out and get a dog. Hopefully, other animals add to your happiness and emotional fitness.
However, I know some shiver at the thought o f having a furry animal in their living spaces. If that is you, try birds or fish. Both provide self-soothing bonuses.
Still reluctant? Fish require the least care and watching the ones that swim slowly soothes.
Here’s an Emotional Fitness Tip for those that want nothing to do with caring for a pet of any sort: Add something to your life that grows.
Even one plant that thrives under your care brings strength. The research done by James Garbarino, a trauma expert, found traumatized children heal more even if only helping one plant grow.
I have black hand, not just black thumb; but cacti and succulents have survived my not so magic gardening touch. I have put some in a terrarium and get a small boost in my feel good chemicals when I glance at it and another small boost knowing it needs practically not care.
Jerome Kagan thinks we are shaped by hundreds of things. Put out on a limb he suggested eight things that he was willing to say almost equivalently played a role. I only found these in one lecture, which I can no longer find. Reading that lecture on line changed much of my thinking about who we are and how we become who we become.
I’ve listed Kagan’s Eight Factors before, but here they go again and in the order Kagan thinks they begin affecting our lives: Biology, particularly our genes, birth order: who we identify with,:what our parents do: success in school or socially; community size; whats going on in our world during our preteen and teen years; and, my favorite, “Chance,” luck, karma,the Force or a higher power’s intervention.
Why is “Chance” one of my favorites? Because the Happiness Gurus, therapists, parent advisors, advertisers, and even Oprah conspire to make us feel we are totally in control of our lives.
The Happiness Gurus and their followers are using a false argument called Raising the Bar, Moving the Goal Post, or Shifting the Sands. How? By suggesting happiness is always obtainable. Just not true.
As the poet Phyllis Leonard noted “Happiness is like a crystal Fair and exquisite and clear, broken in a million piece; shattered, scattered far and near. Now and then along life’s pathway, lo! some shining fragments fall; but there are so many pieces no one ever finds them all…”
We all want to be happy, so it is understandable that many promise doing it their way makes you happy. Many have good intentions and want to share what they have learned about being happy with you. I don’t mind that.
But there is a greedier use of the false promises. Shame, guilt, and sadness are known to lead to buying what you hope will make you happy. I know I buy chocolate for that reason. By promising products will make you happy, the marketers are raising the bar on happiness, but also lying.
Moreover, those of us who oppose the happiness gurus and their ilk are twigs in the forest, even someone from Harvard who is known for being a careful researcher gets much less respect than he deserves.
How can you combat those who say you are the one controlling your happiness? Sample Emotional Fitness Training’s Easy Emotional Fitness Exercises. Remembering what matters is one. and is the subject of today’s free Emotional Fitness Poster Coach.
EFTI’s poster coaches are free digital downloads designed to improve Emotional Intelligence. Best printed up in color on card stock. they can be posted almost anywhere. Their intended audience? Anyone who wants to improve their emotional fitness or anyone else’s emotional intelligence. Parents, teachers, therapists, coaches, fitness trainers, school guidance counselors, preachers, and non-preachers.
As always thank you for all you do to Practice Kindness, a major emotional intelligence boosting practice. Liking, commenting, or sharing any social media you find helpful is one way to be kind. It may seem like a little, however, doing a little matters a lot.
Links of interest
- Training a Diabetic Alert Dog (DAD) (owner-trained-service-dogs.com)
- Jerome Kagan (en.wikipedia.org)
- Kagan on Parenting (bostonglobe.com)
- Psychological value of pets (thepsychologist.org)
- Psychological value of gardening (bordbia.ie)