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Easy As Pie: A Poem On Happiness

Easy As Pie: A Poem On Happiness

The great Julia Child once said:

“One of the secrets, and pleasures, of cooking is to learn to correct something if it goes awry; and one of the lessons is to grin and bear it if it cannot be fixed.”

We might not master the art of cooking, but this quote reminded me that life works the same way. Sometimes things go awry and yet we still have to go along with it. We are the ones expected to find a way to fix it and to make it “taste” better. This is not something easy to do but we can always find solace and comfort in the sweetness of words.

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Some days, I wish life would be as easy as one, two, three. It’d be nice if life was as easy as following a recipe, but because we’re all different, it would need to leave some room for a twist, to make it personal, and add our very own flavor. It should be delicious. Life is sometimes sweet, sometimes sour, and (at worst) bitter, but then easily fixed with some spices and tasty tricks. It’s something that needs to be made by us with all the things that we are. It can’t be a take-away or a ready meal because you still have to make the adjustments for yourself – a little bit more of this and a tiny bit less of that.

I wish life was as easy as pie. If it really was, I think my very own recipe for happiness on my bad days would be something poetic like this:

The Recipe For Happiness

If happiness was a cake
I’d simply start to bake
To give my life a sweet taste to enjoy
And fill my mouth with a ton of joy.

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Yet, it happens too many times a day
That I let unhappiness walk my way
And feeling comfy in the midst of my blue mood
It decides to stay and I decide to brood.

And for too many days and too many nights
I just cry while it sneakily turns on all the lights
And casts a shadow upon my heart so dark
That sometimes I almost forget about the spark.

But then I remember what it takes
To get rid of all these painful aches.
I get up and stumble with one foot in front of the other
My inner dreamer finally finds a temporary shelter.

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And so I put on a nice apron and get going.
Indeed, I would start something out of nothing.
I take a bowl and I take a spoon
And of course, I put on a good tune.

All the ingredients are somewhere within
What’s worth cherishing and what’s worth the bin
It just takes a good scale to find the right balance
And only keep under the light all your talents.

I peel my problems away
And place them on a tray.
Then I chop my worries in pieces
And color sprinkles my bruises.

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I stir and stir and wait ’til it stops being so heavy
And when it all lightens up and my mix is ready
I let it cook up and melt all my troubles
While happiness burst like golden bubbles.

I grab a bite and say a little thank you.
Indulging in gratitude for not being so blue
And for having within me the little tricks
That somehow showed me the way to mix and fix.

Nothing can be too bad or too dark
If you do it right from your heart.
It can be easy as pie
If you just give it a try.

Your ingredients are all waiting and ready
You just need to make your own recipe.
Happiness is a cake
So simply start to bake.

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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