How are You Traveling Through Life?

January 25, 2011

in Life Lessons

image of DC MetroWhen I hear about someone behaving in a hostile manner, witness rage, or read anything written that is filled with hate, I pause. I pause and remember the person attacking others is not happy. This recognition neither helps me shake my feelings of sadness for those affected, nor does it help me contain the lifelong urge I have to be a “champion of the underdog.”

Unhappy people bring unhappiness to others.

Last week I read something written and published on the internet that was hateful and irresponsible. I know the intended targets and  feel bad for what they experienced. Knowing that hate-filled, angry people who lash out are not happy doesn’t ease the pain they inflict on others though.

For those who are generally angry and unhappy, happiness is fleeting; it is something to grab onto and clutch before it escapes once more. These people travel through life focusing on negativity and perpetuate it.

Happy people bring happiness to others.

Happy people, however, look for the small miracles in life; acknowledge acts of kindness; are grateful for the smallest blessings; and believe in the good in others. These are the people we should all choose to align with in our lives. Life is too short to give angry, hateful people an audience.

Where do you measure up on making others happy? Do you make a conscious effort each day?

Make someone happy today. Here are a few ideas:

  • Hold open a door for someone.
  • Buy the person behind you a cup of coffee at Starbucks.
  • Let someone go ahead of you in line.
  • Smile and greet a stranger.
  • Give someone a compliment.

My blog focus is, in part, to be happy and help others reach that goal as well. So maybe my readers are not the people who should be reading this piece as we are all striving to be the Naked Girl in a Dress. But maybe someone who is angry or not happy will stop by and read this. And maybe there will be one less hateful blog post published as a result.

“Happiness is not a station you arrive at, but a manner of traveling.” ~Margaret Lee Runbeck

How are you traveling through life?


{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

Rodney January 25, 2011 at 7:23 pm

Great post! You are someone that brings happiness to others.

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Naked Girl in a Dress January 25, 2011 at 7:33 pm

Thank you!

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Kate January 25, 2011 at 9:46 pm

Good reminder.

You say, “For people who are generally angry and unhappy, happiness is fleeting”. Very true. And on the flip side, often the things that we’re angry and unhappy about are fleeting. What do you choose to focus on? Spilling those negative feelings on a blog or on a rant only freezes them in place instead of letting them blow off. I try to be real on my blog, but I try to keep my focus generally on the positive because that’s what I want to hold onto.
Kate recently posted..Marathon training- week 3- The one where I hit resetMy Profile

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Naked Girl in a Dress January 26, 2011 at 12:33 am

Kate,

I agree that you have a better chance of holding onto happiness if you focus on it. Good luck with the marathon training (saw your post title in CommentLuv)!

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David January 25, 2011 at 10:43 pm

Random acts of kindness go a very long way. I dont exactly try and do them, I think they just come naturally. Its a country boy kinda thing. Is it wrong to point out someones negativity? You know, the grumpy person in line at the grocery store who is angry because the line is not moving to their likeness kinda person. I like to call out their holy grumpness until they zip it. Is that bad? :)

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Naked Girl in a Dress January 26, 2011 at 12:32 am

David,

I can’t imagine you calling out someone’s grumpiness as anything other than helping the person recognize and correct their own behavior.

Thanks for stopping by!

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LBDDiaries January 26, 2011 at 11:28 am

Visiting via SITS and glad I did. Your blog title caught me first but I stayed to read this post and wow! Such a good point and I agree with it 100 percent. We each have that opportunity to be the a light or a wet blanket. You said it just right – I’ll be back to check your other posts out, too! I like your site.
LBDDiaries recently posted..Smokin HotMy Profile

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Naked Girl in a Dress January 26, 2011 at 2:54 pm

Thank you for visiting from SITS. I am glad this resonated for you.

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Squatlo January 26, 2011 at 1:01 pm

Here in Tennessee we’re sort of raised on that hospitality thing… holding doors, letting those with fewer items step ahead of us in the line at Krogers, waving people in when they’re cut off in traffic, just smiling and waving at people to let them know you mean them no harm. When I’ve taken that philosophy to other states (sorry, Ohio/Michigan, but this was my experience, and I’ve had it confirmed by others from my life who’ve made your states a temporary home) your smile and wave is seen as some kind of gay come-on, or threatening challenge, or who knows what they’re thinking when you see them furrow their brow in a look of suspicion and concern as they move away from you.

If you can brighten someone’s day, especially if you can see that person is obviously not having a good one to begin with, what’s it cost? You smile, you say something to let them know they’re not just bagging your groceries or handling your bank deposit or refilling your coffee in the restaurant, they’re a part of your day and you’re now a part of theirs.
Leave generous tips.
Compliment someone whenever you get the chance.
Look folks in the eye when you talk to them, and avoid the cliche “Have a nice day” blowoffs when you could just as easily say something they’ll remember.
Remember that EVERYONE has a life, family, concerns, worries, and hopes, and no one sees you as the center of their universe… unless you ARE the center of someone’s universe… in which case, take special care to make that person feel like the center of yours.
Being a turd is easy. Cleaning up the emotional mess a turd leaves behind takes some effort.

Just think of it as a “karma” thing. Goes around, comes around…

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Naked Girl in a Dress January 26, 2011 at 2:57 pm

Squatio~
You are becoming a regular reader! Thank you for leaving a comment. I agree with your thoughts on how to treat others so that when people come in contact with you, there is a positive experience. It is so important. And yes, you should take special care to make someone feel the center of your universe if you have been given the gift of being theirs.

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Squatlo January 26, 2011 at 4:09 pm

No need to thank anyone for coming by to read your blog, we owe you the thanks for taking the time to write.

I’m afraid my own blogsite might be way too caustic for your tastes, being a raging progressive in the Buckle of the Bible Belt. But I have made an effort (biting my lip off) to play nice of late, and I’m finding it much more rewarding to write humor columns than my usual political fire and brimstone. You’ve been a good influence, along with sites like Vapid Blonde and It’s Not Easy Being Peachy…

I’ll keep coming back, as long as I’m welcome!

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Naked Girl in a Dress January 26, 2011 at 4:39 pm

Yes, please do keep coming back. I enjoy your comments. I have been to your blog and your photography site and am sending the photo site to a friend who loves birds. You are a very talented photographer; it’s you and not the camera since you shoot with a Canon. (:

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Squatlo January 26, 2011 at 10:52 pm

I appreciate the kind words about my photography, and I’ll forgive the backhanded slap at my gear… obviously you’ve gone over to the dark side and prefer Nikon. I probably would have used Nikon myself if I hadn’t been given several hand-me-down Canon lenses when I was getting started. My sister is a photog, too, and it seemed silly to use a brand that wouldn’t peacefully coexist with her stuff, especially since she lets me borrow glass from time to time.
If I knew where to send it, I’d put a print or two in the mail for you!
My email address is in my profile, if you want to see if I’m serious! :-)

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Elly Lou January 27, 2011 at 9:00 am

Misery always wants company…but you don’t have to join ‘em. And if you HAVE to join ‘em, bring a bottle of wine and a 500 piece jigsaw puzzle of a sack of hairy balls. Unlike crying, laughter never gives you a headache or puffy eyes.
Elly Lou recently posted..I Have “These Dreams” on Continuous Loop in My HeadMy Profile

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Naked Girl in a Dress January 27, 2011 at 4:21 pm

Elly Lou,

I would add one thing to your list of “must haves” if you have to deal with negative, angry people: earplugs. Not just regular earplugs, but the type used at airports to block out all sound. That would make it a much more pleasant experience.

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When Pigs Fly January 28, 2011 at 7:44 am

I completely agree. Whenever I meet someone or interact with someone who is mean spirited I instantly think about how unhappy that person must be. I try not to get angry and instead feel some compassion for him or her. It takes a lot of energy to be miserable.

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Naked Girl in a Dress January 28, 2011 at 10:33 am

It does take a lot of energy to be angry, what what a horrible state to be in constantly. It took a lot of self control to NOT lash out at the person who wrote the piece about really great people. It wasn’t right on many levels.

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Alfred lives here January 30, 2011 at 9:49 am

Great post, I totally agree. Even when I am having a terrible youth day at work, which happens too often, I try to seek out positive people as the mood is contagious. Those people on the attack, even when their points are right and valid, are unhappy themselves and just suck the life out of my day.

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Naked Girl in a Dress January 31, 2011 at 9:07 am

Yes, avoiding those unhappy people leads to happier lives for us.

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Jules January 30, 2011 at 9:58 am

You are very wise, my dear friend. Very wise.

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Naked Girl in a Dress January 31, 2011 at 9:05 am

Thank you Jules!

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.end transmission. January 31, 2011 at 2:42 pm

I would like to offer a different perspective…. Oftentimes getting the volcano-like hatred out of your brain and on paper, or, on a blog allows the writer to “rid themselves” of such negative thoughts and energy, allowing them to read it, deal with it, and move forward to more positive thoughts. But that’s just what my therapist told me.
I would also like to add, that not EVERYTHING you read on the interweb is a true story. Many are fabricated for effect. Obviously our writer here as inside knowledge that the rant she refers to is of a personal nature.
Directing that hatred and anger, and singling out one specific person BY NAME is something that I would not find appropriate.

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Naked Girl in a Dress January 31, 2011 at 8:20 pm

Thank you for your opinion and while I agree writing can be therapeutic, writing specific details about people (even posting photos of them) that are one-sided hateful rants is not healthy for anyone. People can become so narcissistic with their own problems that they lose sight of the effect on others. If a person has emotional issues to work through, paper is the best way to handle it, not the internet. This is where we disagree.

Unfortunately, as I mentioned above, people were singled out by name and with photos. It was an unfortunate incident and very hurtful to those on the receiving end.

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Nikki Rules February 6, 2011 at 9:18 pm

I smile a lot. So much so a friend once told me that from over smiling I was passing off as a really ignorant person. I looked at her and said I’d rather be happy than appear intelligent.

She sat there silently reflecting on what I’d just said. “I’d rather be miserable then ever appear ignorant.”

Shockingly we are no longer friends. We just didn’t see eye to eye on life’s basic issues. A smile goes a long way but evidently not far enough to salvage a long term friendship.
Nikki Rules recently posted..Finally!My Profile

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Naked Girl in a Dress February 7, 2011 at 9:10 am

It is much more important to be happy in life AND to have happy people be a part of your life.

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Ixy May 14, 2011 at 8:15 am

Great post! I found the last comment very interesting as well. Being a sarcastic person I find people who are very smiley all the time quite irritating, often because I know it’s not genuine. I’d rather be stabbed in the front than the back. And it’s true, it does come off as ignorant at times. But on the flip side, I have ended friendships and deleted blogs from my reader because of consistent, excessive vitriol or dreariness. I like my friends to have a bit of an edge, but not a malicious spirit. Does that make sense? We might laugh at a stranger’s fashion choices, but never so they could hear us and never about someone we know. Not hurtful but not all that nice either. And that’s OK with me.
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PearlsGirl May 14, 2011 at 9:12 am

How true you are. You can’t let other people steal your joy. I agree that folks that sling the negatives are really not happy, and we should pray for them. It doesn’t make it easier, but I’ve always heard it is hard to dislike someone you pray for in diligence. So … I wrote a similar blog about turning Negatives Into Positives. It’s not always easy, but it is always best!

I love your site, my first visit here. I will come again. Thank you!
PearlsGirl

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Naked Girl in a Dress May 17, 2011 at 3:24 pm

Praying for someone who angers you is effective; I have also done this and it works without fail. It delivers empathy and dissipates the anger as a result.

Thanks for sharing this!

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Kim May 14, 2011 at 11:42 am

I really, really like this (and the quote!).
This is something I am trying to get my kids and husband to understand. That people treat you because of what is going on with them that day, most of the time.
I just got 2 books on bullying in the mail yesterday, and my goal this week is to read them and use them to translate this message to my kids on both ends: understand that ‘bullies’ are just hurt or sad, but also make your days full of kindness no matter what.
Came from TRDC.
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Naked Girl in a Dress May 17, 2011 at 3:21 pm

You are a wonderful mom! What a great lesson to teach your children.

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Lance May 14, 2011 at 4:44 pm

this post shows your huge heart

glad to “know” you through blogging.
Lance recently posted..Two Blondes In A BarMy Profile

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Naked Girl in a Dress May 17, 2011 at 3:19 pm

Thank you Lance.

I am so happy to know you too.

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Angie May 14, 2011 at 9:31 pm

A smile also makes people more beautiful. There was a woman checking out at the department store, and to tell you the truth, she frightened me. But I asked her if she found what she was looking for, and after a bit more silence, I made another attempt with a comment about the weather. She responded and I said something that made her smile. The difference was night and day. I think I had a glimpse of who she really was. She looked 10 years younger wearing a smile.

Great post.

PS – Can I stand behind you in Starbucks?

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Naked Girl in a Dress May 17, 2011 at 3:19 pm

Angie,

Good for you turning someone around and getting a smile! Thanks for the kind words about my post.

And if you are standing behind me in Starbucks, I am buying!

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Melissa (@melrut01) May 15, 2011 at 4:17 pm

Love this post. Found you on TRDC. We all know someone who wants company for their misery. Whether it’s a terrible boss, a mean customer or your own mother, knowing that they’re sad people doesn’t take the pain of their actions/words away. Thank you for this reminder to share some joy today.
Melissa (@melrut01) recently posted..Quinn’s Weekend Adventures- First Mothers DayMy Profile

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Naked Girl in a Dress May 17, 2011 at 3:16 pm

Thank you for visiting from TRDC Melissa! I am glad this post resonated for you.

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My Pajama Days May 15, 2011 at 7:27 pm

I love your optimism and I wish more people would use a filter when they write on the internet. That was one thing I promised myself when I started my blog a year ago – never post angry and never talk garbage about my family and friends. I look forward to rummaging through more of your words.

- Emily

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Naked Girl in a Dress May 17, 2011 at 3:09 pm

Thank you for visiting Emily! I am so glad you take a similar approach to blogging. More people should. It would be a much more pleasant experience as a result.

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idiosyncratic eye January 7, 2012 at 8:16 am

Loving the wise words of your post and those in the comments. Maybe sometimes we do have more power and control than we realise. :)
idiosyncratic eye recently posted..Murphy’s Law #4My Profile

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Naked Girl in a Dress January 7, 2012 at 8:26 am

Thanks for visiting! I truly believe we can choose to be happy.

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Deana January 7, 2012 at 2:07 pm

Great post! I have spent a good bit of the holidays dealing with unhappy people (relatives) who tried their best to bring me down. And I almost let them. But then I realized exactly that they must be very unhappy to lash out at me for no reason. I have went through my whole life dealing with people like this. And I am done. If they are unhappy let them be!! But I will not provide some temporary happiness to them by letting them make me unhappy!!
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