happinessrightnow

Happiness Is the Key to Attracting Everything

Mental Health vs. Happiness

Today I want to share about my experience in the stigmatized world of mental health.

As I’ve shared in previous posts, I am a survivor of a diagnosed case of post traumatic stress disorder. It got so bad several years ago that I could either get help or die. Just like most people, the last thing I wanted to admit was that I had an emotional/mental health problem and needed help.I thought that it was a sign of weakness to get mental health care. I would almost rather die than get help. I did not want to be seen as weak or weird.

Well, thank goodness that it was “almost” because I did get help. And it was the smartest thing I ever did. I learned not only why I had post traumatic stress disorder, but why I felt the way I did and why certain things upset me the way they did. I learned why I was susceptible to being conned and most importantly, I learned what to do about it.

To make a long story short, I became very interested in helping others to overcome their own stigmas about mental health. I published a newspaper for my community that listed all of the available resources, articles to educate people and personal recovery stories by people who had successfully had a mental health recovery or were actively participating in one.

It became a mission for me to help overcome the dangerous stigma that is no more than a misplaced paradigm. I became determined to shift the paradigm, on a large scale,  into a more healthy one. I knew that in order to do that, I needed to boil it down to salt so that people would understand that mental health is not boring, its not shameful and it affects every person on earth.

I reflected deeply on what mental health is and why it has a negative stigma. I came to the realization that when we talk about mental health, we are really talking about happiness and well-being.  So I thought to myself that we need to think about mental health as happiness and the pursuit of it. People do not attach a stigma to the pursuit of happiness or the pursuit of well-being. Well there is no difference. That is exactly what we’re talking about.

I also realized that mental health can be seen as a spectrum with severe mental illness on one end and optimal human functioning on the other. We all move along that spectrum as life brings its myriad of ups and downs. As I said in yesterday’s blog on Wisdom, the wise person learns coping skills that keep them centered in their hearts and they learn to comfort themselves when life throws curve balls, sometimes one after another.

Something I love to do when life throws me a curve ball is to write poetry. I try to focus my poetry on something positive and how I would like to feel, instead of focusing on the bad thing that happened.

I’m going to leave you with a poem (actually a song) I wrote called Enjoy the Simple Things. I wrote it when life threw me a curve ball. It helped me to quickly overcome any negative feelings and get back to center. Let me know what you think.

Enjoy the Simple Things, copyright Tammy Kevwitch

I don’t know where I’m going
I only know where I’ve been
Some things I’ll never repeat
And some things I’d like to do again

I’m not afraid of the future
And I’m no longer afraid of the past
Life can be a mighty adventure
So relax and don’t take it too fast

Chorus:
Stop and enjoy the simple things
Take time to listen when the blue bird sings
Life is way too short and the miracle too great
So take in the beauty today or it may be too late

Sometimes we all get angry
And sometimes we all feel sad
But when we walk in the spirit of Love
Mostly what we feel is glad

Right now I’m feeling happy
The journey has just begun
And now that we’re together
We are gonna have a whole lot of fun

(Repeat Chorus)

I hope your future is good to you
And I hope that mine is good to me
I hope that you make a lot of friends
And that you prosper in their company

So here’s to your success
And here’s to your serenity
And here’s to peace on earth
And here’s to peace in our community

(Repeat Chorus)

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Wisdom

From the time I was a little girl, I have loved the word wisdom.

I admit that I have done more unwise things in my lifetime than many of the people I know. Luckily people who make a lot of unwise decisions can actually garner wisdom from their poor choices when they make the decision to learn from their mistakes. True happiness can only happen when we decide to try to make the best possible decisions.

Wikipedia defines Wisdom as a deep understanding and realization of people, things, events or situations, resulting in the ability to apply perceptions, judgments and actions in keeping with this understanding.

In 2008 I put myself through an intensive mental health recovery program that I participated in every day for two solid years. That was the wisest thing I could have done for myself at the time. I started to see mental health as a spectrum that affects every single human being on earth. The spectrum goes from extreme mental illness (unhappiness) on one end to optimal human functioning on the other (true happiness). We all fluctuate along that spectrum as life’s ups and downs affect how we think and feel.

Wise people are able to stay closer to the optimal human functioning end of the happiness spectrum. That is because they have learned how to stay centered in their hearts when life throws them curve balls. The power to stay calm and focused in times of trial allows one to attract more and more positive experiences into their lives. When you are calm and centered, you are capable of making the wisest decisions. Making wise decisions, acting on them and following through leads to happiness.

During the two-year time period that I underwent a mental health recovery, I wrote a lot of poetry, songs and essays. I’m going to leave you with a poem I wrote during that time called:

Mommy What Is Wisdom?
By Tammy Kevwitch, June 6, 2009

Mommy, what is wisdom? My child asked me today.
I stopped what I was doing, as I thought of what to say.
It’s when you listen with your mind and feel what’s in your heart
It’s a type of understanding that transcends just being smart.

It’s what you get when you really “get it.” It’s intuitive for sure.
You are given it at birth. It’s for the simple and the pure.
Wisdom is a form of both Love and comprehending.
It’s a powerful result of a deep soul understanding.

It loves to be imparted between a child and a mother.
It’s grateful to be shared between a sister and a brother.
A father also has a lot of wisdom he can share
To his family and to those for whom he cares.

Many of the wisest people on this earth today
Garner wisdom when they take the time to pray.
There are many among us who are very, very wise.
They’ve discovered such a great and worthy prize.

If your mind can be still through life’s many ups and downs.
You’ll live with lots of smiles and not so many frowns.
Then I took my child by the hand and said let’s sit still together.
Let’s just notice what we’re feeling while we contemplate the weather.

So here we sit, hand in hand, in tune with one another.
As we watch the rain and listen to the thunder.

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The Perfection Paradox

I love talking about perfection because I have lived through both the agony and the ecstasy of being a perfectionist.

I’ve already shared that I grew up in an alcoholic home, filled with uncertainty and a lot of emotional pain. What my little soul did to compensate for the pain, was strive very hard to always make straight A’s and do exceptionally well at academic studies and school projects. I discovered early that I could impress my parents and teachers by excelling at things.

The good news is that I became really good at a lot things, including all of the subjects taught in school and extracurricular activities as well. My favorite subject of all time was Show and Tell. I can remember doing things for show and tell that blew the minds of my fellow students and teachers. Once I remember being a little girl and telling my teacher that I was going to make a cardboard box television set to demonstrate the story of Thanksgiving. She told me that she thought it was a very bad idea and thought I should think of something else. What she didn’t realize was that I had a plan that I knew would impress the heck out of her. Sure enough, I used my drawing talents to draw scene after scene of the story of how the pilgrims and the local natives came together for Thanksgiving feast after harvesting the food that the natives had taught the pilgrims to grow. I drew the scenes on a long roll of newsprint paper and used rollers that I made to fit the cardboard TV, to scroll through the scenes. Needless to say, my teacher and fellow students were beside themselves with compliments for my project and I got the coveted A+ I was after.

Impressing people and making good grades became my reason. It became my what, my why and my how. I remember writing a poem called Storybook Land in first grade after a field trip to a park for children called Storybook Land. We were assigned to write a poem about our experience. I had never composed a poem before, and it was honestly one of the most fun things I ever did. I was happy with my product, but had no idea how much attention and notoriety I would get. The principal came in along with other teachers and by the fuss they made over my poem, you would have thought I had won the Nobel Peace Prize or something.

You would think at first blush that all of this was very good and that this striving little soul was creating healthy experiences for herself. In many ways that was true, but the self-esteem that I got from producing and impressing people, masked the pain and suffering I experienced at home.

I became literally addicted to the feelings I experienced and the attention I got when I produced over-the-top projects and aced every exam. I lived for the feeling I got from impressing others. Then I started doing something very unhealthy. I became dissatisfied with my own best efforts. Every time I accomplished a goal that should have brought a lot of self-satisfaction, I raised the bar on myself. I started judging myself very harshly if other people weren’t as impressed as I wanted them to be or as they had been in the past. I felt like a failure all the time because I wanted to impress people and I expected and demanded better than my best.

The important point to remember here, because this is true for many people out there, not just me, is that if you place your self-worth in the hands and opinions of others, you will make yourself miserable. You simply cannot please and impress everyone all the time. And if you put your self-acceptance always out of your reach because you have unrealistic expectations of yourself (perfectionism), you will never accept yourself. I’ve come to love the saying that you have to accept yourself exactly as you are, right here and now, before you can change and improve for the better.

Perfection. It is great to strive for it. And it is always great to aim for the stars. If you aim low, you are never going to fly high. But if you aim for the stars but don’t reach them, it’s okay. You tried—you did your best. And that’s okay.

I’ll leave you with a little poem I wrote called:

Perfectly Imperfect

It’s perfectly perfect to be imperfect,
In fact that is all we can be.
‘Cause being imperfect and knowing I am,
Is the powerful truth that set me free.

Up until then I constantly struggled
To be something I could not be.
I tried to be better than my best allowed
So I couldn’t accept being me.

Now I just love being happy
And I still do the best that I can
But I do not have to succeed every time
Perfection’s no longer the plan.

Now I am frolicking under a Power
Who’s force is far greater than mine.
I get to enjoy being human
Imperfection is perfectly fine.

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Welcome to the Happiness Right Now Blog by Tammy Kevwitch

It is with great pleasure that I welcome you to my Happiness Right Now blog. I am a student of life and I am excited to share success principals that result in a full, abundant and prosperous life. I have created this blog site to help others who are interested in happiness, prosperity and freedom from all manner of limiting beliefs. Having recovered from severe post-traumatic stress disorder and very low self-esteem, I look forward to sharing my personal stories and the insights that have resulted. I especially can’t wait to share the most recent success principals that I’ve discovered.

My father was a United States military officer in strategic command, who served in two wars—Vietnam and Korea. Just as they do today, many soldiers experienced severe trauma that resulted in post-traumatic stress disorder. Back then soldiers rarely got help as it was looked upon as a weakness or flaw. So like many soldiers, my father became an alcoholic and died at age 62 from cirrhosis of the liver. He became progressively more and more violent, irrational and self-righteous. Because his illness was untreated, the rest of the family suffered repeated trauma and abuse. As a result, I grew up to have very low self-esteem and a limiting, subconscious belief that I was not worthy of love, prosperity or happiness.

But that is all behind me now. My future looks bright and I’m happy! I celebrate that you are here. Connectedness with self, others and all life creates a constant renewal of passion and commitment to share this joyous path that leads to lasting happiness, prosperity and freedom.

I will be posting daily. I hope that you will come back regularly and that you will feel free to comment on any of the posts I share.

Warmly,
Tammy Kevwitch

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