Feeling good about yourself and being happy

You might have noticed that some people spread cheer wherever they go. They are amazingly positive and always pleasant. This is because they are happy with what they do and most importantly, what they are. It is only when a person feels satisfied and lives a life of fulfillment, can he feel good about himself. For that, you need to have an invincible self-esteem and take pride in what you are. Humans have a malleable mind; you can whittle it any way you want. If you haven’t really tried doing that before, it is the time you mould your mind in a way to beef up your self-image and feel good about yourself. Steer clear of all negative thoughts or doings. This often has serious implications on the way you think. Frustrated, demoralised people are more prone to depression and other psychological disorders and often develop suicidal tendencies. So, it’s best to evade all negativities and make it a point to feel good about yourself. This article will help you with tips on how to make yourself  happy. Read on. 

How To Feel Good About Yourself 

Always Be Happy
You should always try to keep yourself happy. There may be difficult situations to confront, but realize that those situations are not permanent, difficult times shall pass. Optimism is the only thing that can drive your life forward. You should be aware of your thoughts—never allow any negative thought to dominate your mind and brain. 

Build Self-Esteem
Work on building your self-esteem. Remember, unless you value yourself, no one else would value you. Always make sure that you give your best to everything you do.  Build self-respect and reap good results.

Maintain Healthy Relationship
Maintaining healthy relationship is very important for happiness. Relationships are energy boosters, as they pep you up whenever you feel down in the dumps. It provides immense moral support that helps you overcome every difficult situation. Besides, relationships make you feel loved, cared for, and appreciated which is any day a big booster.

Change is Good
Dare to experiment! Changes are good. They are refreshing and always give you something new to explore. This avoids boredom and creates new relationships and contacts. You can also experiment with your looks and style. You may receive appreciations and comments on your make over and you can definitely enjoy it. People often feel comfortable with their regular activities and thus are stuck inside a shell. Break out of the shell and explore the possibilities around you.

Exercise
You are as beautiful as you feel. It is important that you maintain your body with care. You should eat healthy food and exercise regularly to maintain a healthy body. A healthy body is the abode of healthy mind. It is very important to be active in today’s fast pace world. You need a healthy body to utilize your competence, skills and ideas to the maximum. Weak body always makes you lethargic and takes away the enthusiasm and thus, you lose the excitement to achieve more.

Do Things You Are Good At
Utilize your skills and do things you are good at. This will provide you with confidence. Utilize the free time to develop your talents—dance, music or whatever you are passionate about. Hobbies are excellent stress busters, which absorb the stress in your daily life and make you feel fresh and good. You can also try something innovative like testing your cooking skills. All these make you feel good about what you are.

Take Breaks
In today’s busy world, you may not get enough time to relax. However, it is not good to remain continuously in stress for a long time. Schedule breaks so that it takes you off from the work atmosphere and gives you an opportunity to enjoy life. You can plan some trips if you like travelling or do what you feel like doing.

Spend Time With People You Love
This is an excellent way to make you feel good. Being amongst your loved ones provide you with the feeling of being loved and care for, which is very important in life.  We are social animals and so, we cannot survive alone. Busy work life may take you away from your close ones and gradually you may move on to a mechanical life. This is not good. Do not lead a mechanical life. Always make sure that you don’t lose those good things in life.

No Comparisons
Never compare yourself with others. This one mistake can destroy the happiness and peace in your life. Why should you think about others? You should design your life and live it according to your wish. Different people have different situations around. Success and failure are relative. Do not bother about them and try to be happy about what you have.

Create Your Own Style
You can always create your own style to standout from others. The only thing you should consider is that it should be sensible. If you have a good sense of the current fashion and trends, it won’t be a big task to create your own style. This experiment may help you to create a different impression in others and you will be confident enough to present yourself in a group.

Accept Compliments And Criticisms
Acknowledge your acceptance whenever someone says something good about you. If someone says that your new hairstyle suites you, just say a ‘Thank You’ just to show that you accepted it. There may be situations you face criticism. Try to take it in the right way. Respect the other persons thought and do not feel bad. If someone criticizes you, then sort those criticisms into one of the following three piles (in your mine) – “not valid,”” “not a moral fault but worth putting in correction” and “I’m not going to change that one”, This will help you deal with criticisms effectively.

Laugh
Do not hesitate to laugh. It is the best medicine that can make you feel light and happy within matter of seconds.  Also, try to cheer yourself up whenever you feel low. Listen to comic videos, watch movies, read books or do anything you like.

Feeling good about yourself is very important to develop confidence and self-esteem. It keeps your life lighter and makes you happy and pleasant every time. It relieves your tension and fills you with a positive energy. Follow the tips mentioned above and always feel good about yourself.

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Relationship Killers: Emotional Immaturity, Selfishness and Instant Gratification

Emotional maturity is something some folks never accomplish, no matter how many years they live. Immaturity, self-centered behavior, and the desire for instant gratification are three of the reasons why marriages fail. All of these behaviors combined with the attitude of “if it does not work out, we will just go our separate ways” contribute to a high divorce rate.

What is emotional immaturity? Some people live by the maxim, “I may grow old, but I refuse to grow up.” This may be humorous when seen on a T-shirt, but when people take this attitude into their marriages, they are setting themselves and their relationship up for misery. This does not mean that you have to be serious all the time; far from it. It just means that you cannot allow your emotions to rule you and to affect how you behave toward your spouse.

Being self-centered or selfish is all about the “me first” attitude. “My needs are more important than yours” is the rally cry of the self-centered person. A self-centered person tends to criticize and blame rather than looking at her/his own behavior. A self-centered person sees nothing wrong with manipulating her spouse to get her way. A self-centered person thinks nothing of putting his family in danger by drinking and driving.

What about instant gratification? For some people, if everything is not perfect and to their liking, they tend to resort to complaints about their marriage. They think of their marriage like fast food instead of fine dining. They want a ‘quick fix’. It becomes a disposable commodity instead of something to be treasured and enjoyed if the relationship is not going in the direction they have envisioned.

Like they said, ‘nothing good comes easy’. Marriage inclusive. Our relationships requires maintenance to make it successful. It will require extra work if you are engaging in these damaging behaviors. The good news is that you, too, can create a happier marriage if you are willing to begin with yourself. You have to be willing to put in the time and energy required to help your marriage become a strong one. But it all starts with you. Personal responsibility is the key. As you work on yourself, you are bound to see changes in your relationship. You must learn to look past your spouse’s shortcomings and accept him/her the way he/she is, because your acceptance of him will definitely produce a change in you first of all and ultimately, in him/her.

This is not going to be a ‘piece of cake’, but it is possible. And in an instance where you think this is too much for you, you may seek help from relationship counselors.

Let everything you do be directed towards the success of your marriage.

I left the love of my life because I thought I could do better. Now I’m childless and alone at 42 By KAREN CROSS

I saw this story on dailymail and thought it was a good read with a timeless lesson for all women out there, both the married and the unmarried. It is the story of a woman who left a secured relationship because she thought she needed more than what she was getting.
Pls read and enjoy.

Laughing and dancing with my fiance at our engagement party, I thought I might actually burst with happiness.

Surrounded by our family and friends, I looked at Matthew and felt certain I had met the man I was going to spend the rest of my life with.

Quite simply, he was my soulmate.

We were desperately in love and had our future life together mapped out.

First we  would save to buy our own home, then would come a romantic wedding ceremony and children would follow.

 So why, 20 years later, do I find myself  single, childless and tormented by the fact that I have thrown away the only true chance of happiness I ever had?

Eight years after that wonderful engagement party in 1989, I walked away from dear, devoted, loyal Matthew, convinced that somewhere out there, a better, more exciting, more fulfilling life awaited me.
Only there wasn’t.

Now I am 42 and have all the trappings of success – a high-flying career, financial security and a home in the heart of London’s trendy Notting Hill. But I don’t have the one thing I crave more than anything: a loving husband and family.

‘My father warned me not to throw this love away. But I was sure I’d find Mr Perfect around the corner’
You see, I never did find another man who offered everything Matthew did, who understood me and loved me like he did. Someone who was my best friend as well as my lover.

Today, seeing friends with their children around them tortures me, as I know I am unlikely ever to have a family of my own. I think about the times Matthew and I talked about having children, even discussing the names we would choose. I cannot believe I turned my back on so much happiness.
Instead, here I am back on the singles market, looking for the very thing I discarded with barely a backward glance all those years ago.

I know I can’t have Matthew back, and it hurts when I hear snippets of information about his life and how content he is. Fifteen years after I ended our relationship, he is happily married.

At this time of year, so many people will be assessing their lives and relationships, wondering if the grass is greener on the other side. Many will mistake contentment for boredom, forgetting to cherish the good things they have. I would urge those who are considering walking away from such riches to think again.

How different things would be for me now if only I’d listened to Matthew when he pleaded with me not to leave him in 1997, tears pouring down his face. I was crying too, and it tortured me to watch the heart of the man I loved breaking in front of me. But I was resolute.

‘One day I might look back and realise  I’ve made the biggest mistake of my life,’ I told him as we clung to each other desperately. How prophetic those words have proven to be.

‘I will always be here for you,’ Matthew promised. And I, arrogantly, thought that somehow I could put him on ice and return to him.

Matthew and I met when we attended the same comprehensive school in Essex. We started dating just before Christmas 1987 when I was 17 and studying for my A-levels. By that time he had left school and was working as a motorcycle courier.

We got on like a house on fire, and our  families each supported the relationship. Before long, we had fallen in love. Matthew was romantic but incredibly practical, something that would later come to annoy me. His gifts to me that Christmas were a leather jacket – and a pair of thermal leggings.

Two weeks later, when we’d been seeing each other for less than a month, he proposed. We were in my little Mini Clubman when he shouted at me to stop the car. Scared something was wrong, I braked in the middle of traffic and we both jumped out.

Then, oblivious to the other drivers beeping their horns, he got down on one knee in the middle of the road. ‘I love you, Karen Cross,’ he said. ‘Promise you’ll marry me one day.’ I laughed and said yes, thrilled that he felt the same way that I did.

In the summer of 1989, while out for a romantic meal, Matthew proposed properly with a diamond solitaire ring. Two months later, we held our engagement party for 40 friends and family at the little house we were renting at the time.

The following year, we bought a tiny starter home in Grays, Essex, which we moved into with furniture we had begged, borrowed and stolen. We giggled with delight at the thought of this grown-up new life.
I was in my first junior role at a women’s magazine and Matthew worked fitting tyres and exhausts, so our combined salaries of around £15,000 a year meant we struggled to make the mortgage payments. But we didn’t care, telling ourselves that it wouldn’t be long before we were earning more and able to afford weekly treats and a bigger home where we could bring up the babies we had planned.

But then, the housing market crashed and we were plunged into negative equity.

Struggling should have brought us closer together, and at first it did. But as time went on, and my magazine career – and salary – advanced, I started to resent Matthew as he drifted from one dead-end job to another.

I still loved him, but I began to feel embarrassed by his blue-collar jobs, annoyed that, despite his intelligence, he didn’t have a career. Then he bought a lurid blue and pink VW  Beetle.

Why couldn’t he drive a normal car? Things that now seem incredibly insignificant began to niggle.

I began to wish he was more sophisticated and earned more. I felt envious of friends with better-off partners, who were able to support them as they started their families.

I stopped seeing Matthew as my equal. I stopped seeing all the qualities that had made me fall in love with him – his fierce intelligence, our shared sense of humour, his determination not to follow the crowd. Instead, I saw someone who was holding me back.

‘I hated the fact Matthew was suddenly putting another woman before me. How dare she come between us! Over the next few weeks, I’m ashamed to say I vented my spleen at both of them in a series of heated phone calls’
I encouraged him to find a career and was thrilled when he was accepted to join the police in 1995. It should have heralded a new chapter in our lives, but it only hastened the end. We went from spending every evening and weekend together, to hardly seeing one another. Matthew was doing round-the-clock shifts, while I worked long hours on the launch of a new magazine.

Our sex life had dwindled and nights out together were rare. I stopped appreciating little things he did, like leaving romantic notes on the pillow or scouring secondhand bookshops for novels he knew I’d love. He was my best friend, yet I took him totally for granted.

After festering for weeks about his shortcomings, I told Matthew I was leaving. We spent hours talking and crying as he tried to convince me to stay, but I was adamant.

My parents were horrified that I was walking away from a man they felt was right for me. My father’s words to me that day continue to haunt me. ‘Karen, think carefully about what you’re doing. There’s a lot to be said for someone who truly loves you.’

‘It’s been 11 years since Matthew and I last spoke, I have to accept that door has closed’ (posed by model)

But, I refused to listen, convinced there would be another, better Mr Right waiting around the corner.

I moved into a rented flat a few miles away in Hornchurch, Essex, and embraced single life with a vengeance. By now I was an editor on a national magazine. Life was one long round of premieres and dinner or drinks parties.

Matthew and I remained close, even telling each other about new relationships. But though I’d dumped him, I never felt the women he met were good enough. I can see now I was acting out of jealousy. I clearly wanted to keep him for myself.

Our closeness was, however, called to a halt in 2000 when he met his first serious girlfriend after me, Sara.

One night shortly after his 34th birthday, I phoned to ask his advice about something.

Matthew was unusually abrupt and asked me not to call him again. ‘Please don’t send me birthday or Christmas cards any more either. Sara opened your card last week and was really upset. I have to put her feelings first.’

I hated the fact Matthew was suddenly putting another woman before me. How dare she come between us! Over the next few weeks, I’m ashamed to say I vented my spleen at both of them in a series of heated phone calls.

I was completely irrational. I didn’t want Matthew back, but felt upstaged by Sara. 

Unsurprisingly, after one particularly nasty argument, Matthew put the phone down and refused to take any more of my calls. I didn’t realise it at the time, but I would never speak to him again.

Shortly afterwards, I met Richard. It was a whirlwind romance, and within a year we were engaged and buying an idyllic farmhouse in the Norfolk countryside while I continued my journalistic career, commuting to London.

He was a successful singer and, as we toured the country, I thought I had finally found the excitement and love that I craved.

But Matthew was never far from my thoughts, and Richard complained that I often brought him into conversations, even comparing them both.

They were so different. Although outwardly romantic, Richard was repeatedly unfaithful, and I never felt secure enough to start a family with him. Eventually, after three-and-a-half years together, he walked out, having admitted his latest paramour was pregnant by him.

My life fell apart. Over the next year, I struggled to pull myself back together and did a lot of soul-searching. I finally understood what my father had meant. I realised Matthew was the only person who had loved and understood me.

When I heard through a mutual friend that he had split up with Sara, I wrote to him, apologising and asking for forgiveness – and a second chance. It was six years since we had last spoken, but naively I thought he would want to hear from me.

What I didn’t know was that Sara was still living at the house and it was she who opened my very personal letter. It included my phone number, and she left me several angry, hurtful. voicemails.

Yet again, I had inadvertently caused problems in Matthew’s life, so it was unsurprising I never heard from him, despite writing several times over the next few months. In the end, I left it at birthday and Christmas cards, thinking he’d find a way to get in touch if he ever changed his mind.

Then, I heard a couple of years ago Matthew had married his new partner, Nicola. For a few moments I couldn’t breathe, then the tears came.

Matthew and Nicola still live in Essex and, as far as I know, don’t yet have children. That’s the next milestone I truly dread.

It’s been 11 years since Matthew and I last spoke, and I have to accept that door has closed.

Perhaps he has found what  he is looking for and I am a distant memory.

I have had one other  significant relationship since Richard – with Rob – but that recently ended after four years. Rob reminded me a lot of Matthew. He was decent and honourable, the life and soul of the party but with a kind and sensitive side.

But we were each too jaded by previous heartbreak to make it work. And while I wanted children, he had a grown-up son and didn’t want to start over again.
So once again I am on my own, my mind full of ‘if-onlys’. If only I’d stayed with Matthew, we’d almost certainly be married with children.

Or, maybe Matthew wasn’t the right man. I will never know  the answer, but my decision to leave him has definitely cost me the chance of ever becoming a mother.

Now I can only look back and admonish my selfish, younger self. When I visit friends and family back in our home town, I can’t help but hope I’ll bump into  Matthew.

I’d like to think I’d say sorry. That I will always be there for him. But I wouldn’t be surprised if he turned his back on me and kept walking.

To those out there thinking of walking away from humdrum relationships, I would say don’t mistake contentment for unhappiness, as I did. It could be a choice you’ll regret for the rest of your life.

Karen stopped appreciating little things he did, like leaving romantic notes on the pillow

Karen stopped appreciating little things he did, like leaving romantic notes on the pillow

Africa: where black is not really beautiful

South Africa is marketed to the world as Mandela’s rainbow nation, where everyone is proud of their race and heritage. But for some black South Africans there is such a thing as being too black.

A recent study by the University of Cape Town suggests that one woman in three in South Africa bleaches her skin. The reasons for this are as varied as the cultures in this country but most people say they use skin-lighteners because they want “white skin”.

Local musician Nomasonto “Mshoza” Mnisi, now several shades lighter, says her new skin makes her feel more beautiful and confident.

She has been widely criticised in the local media and social networking sites for her appearance but the 30-year-old says skin-bleaching is a personal choice, no different from breast implants or a having nose job.

“I’ve been black and dark-skinned for many years, I wanted to see the other side. I wanted to see what it would be like to be white and I’m happy,” she says candidly.

Over the past couple of years Ms Mnisi has had several treatments. Each session can cost around 5,000 rand (£360; $590), she tells the BBC.

Unlike many in the country, she uses high-end products which are believed to be safer than the creams sold on the black market but they are by no means risk-free, doctors say.

Costly beauty

Ms Mnisi says she does not understand the criticism about her new appearance.

“Yes, part of it is a self-esteem issue and I have addressed that and I am happy now. I’m not white inside, I’m not really fluent in English, I have black kids. I’m a township girl, I’ve just changed the way I look on the outside,” she says.

The dangers associated with the use of some of these creams include blood cancers such as leukaemia and cancers of the liver and kidneys, as well as a severe skin condition called ochronosis, a form of hyper-pigmentation which causes the skin to turn a dark purple shade, according to senior researcher at the University of Cape Town, Dr Lester Davids.

“Very few people in South Africa and Africa know the concentration of the toxic compounds that are contained in the products on the black market and that is concerning. We need to do more to educate people about these dangerous products,” says Dr Davids.

He says over the past six years there has been a significant increase in the number of skin lighteners flooding local markets, some of them legal and some illegal. This is what prompted their research.

Local dermatologists say they are seeing more and more patients whose skin has been damaged by years of bleaching – most of the time irreversibly.

“I’m getting patients from all over Africa needing help with treating their ochronosis. There is very little we can do to reverse the damage and yet people are still in denial about the side-effects of these products,” says Dr Noora Moti-Joosub.

In many parts of Africa and Asia, lighter-skinned woman are considered more beautiful, are believed to be more successful and more likely to find marriage.

The origin of this belief in Africa is not clear, but researchers have linked it to Africa’s colonial history where white skin was the epitome of beauty.

Some have also suggested that people from “brown nations” around the world tended to look down upon dark-skinned people.

‘I don’t like black skin’

The World Health Organization has reported that Nigerians are the highest users of such products: 77% of Nigerian women use the products on a regular basis. They are followed by Togo with 59%; South Africa with 35%; and Mali at 25%.
Studies have found that men are also beginning to bleach their skin
South Africa banned products containing more than 2% of hydroquinone – the most common active ingredient in in the 1980s. But it is easy to see creams and lotions containing the chemical on the stalls here. Some creams contain harmful steroids and others mercury.

While skin-lightening creams have been used by some South Africans for many years, they have become more common recently with the influx of people from countries such as Nigeria and Democratic Republic of Congo, where they are even more widespread.

In a bustling African market in the centre of Yeoville in Johannesburg, it is skin lighteners galore.

Walking through this community is like walking through a mini-Africa: you can find someone from any part of the continent here.

I notice that many of the women have uncharacteristically light skin faces while the rest of their bodies are darker.

Some even have scabby burns on their cheeks from the harmful chemicals used to strip the skin of pigmentation.

They don’t want to speak openly about why they bleach their skin, or even have their pictures taken.

Psychologists say there are also underlying reasons why people bleach their skin – but low self-esteem and, to some degree self-hate, are a common thread.

But skin-lightening is not just a fascination and obsession of women. Congolese hair stylist Jackson Marcelle says he has been using special injections to bleach his skin for the past 10 years. Each injection lasts for six months.

“I pray every day and I ask God, ‘God why did you make me black?’ I don’t like being black. I don’t like black skin,” he tells me.

Skin lightening creams are popular in many parts of Africa
Mr Marcelle – known in this busy community as Africa’s Michael Jackson – says his mother used to apply creams on him when he was young in order to make him appear “less black”.

“I like white people. Black people are seen as dangerous; that’s why I don’t like being black. People treat me better now because I look like I’m white,” he adds.

Entrenched in the minds of many Africans from a young age is the adage “if it’s white, it’s all right”, a belief that has chipped away at the self-esteem of millions.

Until this changes, no amount of official bans or public information campaigns will stop people risking serious damage to their health in the pursuit of what they think is beauty.

Culled from BBC News

The important things in life

A philosophy professor stood before his class with some items on the table in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks, about 2 inches in diameter.

He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas between the rocks.

He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else.
He then asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous “Yes.”

“Now,” said the professor, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The rocks are the important things – your family, your partner, your health, your children – things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter – like your job, your house, your car.

The sand is everything else. The small stuff.”

“If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued “there is no room for the pebbles or the rocks. The same goes for your life.

If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take your partner out dancing. There will always be time to go to work, clean the house, give a dinner party and fix the disposal.

Take care of the rocks first – the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.”