Tuesday, March 31, 2009

How to Turn Bitter Events into a Sweet Life

Let’s face it – life can be hard. No matter who you are, no matter what your circumstances – bad things can happen to you. Your heart can get broken, a business deal can fall through, or your investments can go up in smoke. (Not that THAT has happened to any of us recently.) You need a boost – a way to hit your own personal reset button and get back in the game. Because that’s the secret really – you can’t give up. You have to have the hope that things will be better – that tomorrow is another chance to find love, put together a great business deal, or earn even higher returns.

I don’t think anyone can do this resetting for you – I think you have to do it for yourself. You have to find some techniques that work for you. Lately I’ve been using some techniques I borrowed from the love of my life, chocolate.

1.) Try new things (this can be read new books, listen to new music, hang out with new people, wear new clothing styles – you get the picture). Chocolate has been trying new things since it was discovered by the Aztecs. It started as a hot drink; it evolved into a myriad of candy bars, and now is an ingredient in everything from salad dressing to breakfast cereal. Chocolate is definitely a player in the game of life – always pushing the limits – even combining itself with bacon! If chocolate leads such an adventurous life, so can you.

Human nature is such that we get set in our ways, we hate change. This leads to boredom and depression. Mix it up!

2.) Have fun! Chocolate is definitely not uptight. The minute chocolate shows up – everybody smiles. Chocolate can be serious – when you start talking about dark chocolate and the benefits for your heart –that’s serious. But chocolate immediately reverts to fun. I have in my possession at this moment a grinning dark chocolate Easter Bunny. This bunny can save your life (in tiny doses) AND make you laugh. The key is that chocolate doesn’t take itself too seriously.

We get blue when we start taking ourselves and the things that happen to us WAY too seriously. We think if we make one mistake, our lives are over. We are so hard on ourselves! The truth is, if you gain 10 pounds, most people don’t even notice. But you can sure beat yourself up about it. In the grand scheme of your life – will people remember how skinny you were or how much joy you brought them? Remember how you thought you’d never recover from the loss of your first love? In 20 years, you’ll feel the same way about the loss of your invested money. Over time, very few things really matter. Have more fun – THAT is what you’ll remember and that is how we very often measure the true quality of our lives.

3.) Live unconditionally. Chocolate gives its all to you. It expects nothing in return. From the fragile cacao tree all the way through harvest and roasting and transport and preparation – chocolate goes through heck just to offer itself to you. And it doesn’t care if it winds up as a truffle in a fancy restaurant or a Tootsie Roll in a Halloween bag. It is still chocolate and still received with love and affection by all.

We don’t do this – we hold back. We worry about what other people might think of us. We don’t go to the beach until we lose weight. We don’t say what we really think because someone might not like us. As we age we get worse, we say “No” more to opportunities than we say “Yes.” Our world shrinks. Assume you are chocolate and wherever you go, in whatever form you take, people will like you and accept you. Be comfortable being you. Next time you find yourself putting conditions on your life (I’ll do it when I’m thinner; when I have a date, when the kids are older – remember – you may never have this chance again.) Chocolate ALWAYS shows up.

4.) Be flexible, but stay true to your nature. Chocolate can be a lot of different things. It can be molded into almost any shape imaginable. It can be paired with many other foods and mixed with many other ingredients. But we all know the taste of chocolate.

We humans can’t control much – not other people, not the weather, not the stock market. Very few things are under our direct control. To have any degree of happiness, we have to be flexible, to be willing to compromise, to share. We have to accept change. But, you must be true to yourself. If you sacrifice your core values, you will never be happy. If you hide your true nature and try to be something you are not, you will never be happy. Be like chocolate – be yourself. It won’t work in all situations, but when it does, the world will cheer.

I’m not saying these are easy – I think the reverse is true. But if you can force yourself to do them, I guarantee the results will far exceed the effort. And the more you do them, the easier they become. You can take bitter (the cacao bean) and make it sweet (chocolate). In the candy shop of life, you are your own chocolatier. Will you create a masterpiece? Or give up after the first bad batch?

7 comments:

Heidi said...

Denise, this blog entry was exactly what I needed today.

Today I spent about 6 hours cleaning house ... and at the end of this tirade, I looked at myself in the mirror. And you know what I thought? Instead of saying, "You go, girl," I said to myself, "You are waaaaay too FAT."

I was going to put off a little errand trip with my 5-year-old because I was feeling like I was TOO FAT TO GO OUT INTO PUBLIC.

Now this is just ridiculous.

Then I read your blog and realized, life is so short! And no one truly will notice me out there. Why am I so hard on myself? Why do I create this world in my mind where all things must be perfect in order for happiness to be present?

Thanks so much for the blog entry -- it snapped me back into myself and has given me the perspective I sorely needed.

Denise Ryan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Denise Ryan said...

If only my readers could see you, my beautiful friend - they would know you are so NOT fat!! And if you flash your gorgeous smile, they will be mesmerized!!

jeff said...

Denise, your blog is suuuuhhh-weeeet! Please consider me a fan.

Kisses,

Jeff

Denise Ryan said...

Thanks, Jeff!!!! I appreciate you reading my craziness!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you! Thank you! I love it when you remind us what is important. Not to mention comparing life to chocolate. I'm printing a copy to post by my mirror & I'm forwarding your inspiring words to others who also need the reminder. You go Girl!!!

Denise Ryan said...

Thank YOU!!! I'm so glad you all like reading this crazy blog!!!