KEEPING MY HEAD ON STRAIGHT

Believe me, the grass is not greener on the other side of the fence. Don’t waste your time worrying about it comparing your life to someone else’s. Let’s talk about the six things I practice to help keep my head on straight.

1. Forget what the other guy is doing. Why waste time and energy focusing on what you think is a better life than yours, when you can use that energy to focus on your own life to make it better. You can work to make your own life happier.

2. It’s okay to have a bad day once in awhile and instead of hiding it, acknowledge your feelings.

This is the hardest for me to do. I always have felt that acknowledging a bad day, would make me seem weak. I always felt I had to be in control, even when I’m having a tough time. When someone says “how are you?” we generally respond with “I’m fine thanks – and you?” even when were not – internally we might be depressed, stressed, hormonal and preoccupied with problems.

It’s important to remember that it really is okay to not be in charge and optimistic ALL the time. Its fine to feel sad sometimes – my advice is just to learn to recognise and indulge in “I feel sad” and give myself a break – curl up and read a book, listen to music or inspirational podcast, or eat a pound of chocolate ( well, maybe not a pound, but you get what I mean). Allow yourself to have a bad day. Tomorrow you can pick yourself up and begin again.

3 Find joy in the moment. Of course , you might say that this is so obvious, but how often do we step back and really do this? Waking up and having a cup of coffee in your pajamas while listening to the birds outside, watching your favorite Youtube channel, a movie or in lying cozily in bed with your partner. Just slowing down enjoying real life in the moment and appreciating real life as it is. All of these ordinary things really matter and are important.

4. Eliminate negativity. When you learn to be happy, you will not want to be around people who make you feel anything less than you are.

Any aura of negativity around you is toxic. Get rid of those that create that environment. At the same time, learn to give more love to others from your end.

I’ve become better at giving more of me, my love and my attention to kind people that deserve it, rather than people that drain me – and I’m better off for it.

5. Life is short. Buy that Chanel lipstick! As a friend once advised me, “Quite simply, I think if you truly love something, you should work, save, and get it. It doesn’t matter if it’s on trend, it only matters that it makes you feel great.”

Pampering yourself by treating yourself to some luxuries and recognising that you deserve to be treated well is important for everyone’s self-esteem.

6. Be kind. The next one has been my mantra for a long time and I end all of my Youtube videos with this one. Be kind. ‘Do unto others as you would do unto yourself.’ It could be something as simple as a smile it thank you. It is amazing how just a small gesture of kindness travels from one to another as it is played forward. If you can do good every day it will come back to you ten fold in one way or another.

We are not perfect, but I try with these steps to keep my head on straight.

Copyright Sandra Hart 2018©️

DITCH WORRIES THAT DON’T MATTER

5 REASONS TO STOP CARING ABOUT THINGS THAT DON’T MATTER

“A man who knows everything knows nothing.”

1. Question your obsessions., If you think you know everything about your life then you are going to be less motivated to do something with your life.

2. Life is too short. Think about what is immediate, true and important to you. As we age life should be easier, but sometimes it gets more complicated. Money, aging partners, health, children, grandchildren are a part of our universe.

In our search for happiness and personal growth being able to focus on things that really matter to you is important.

3. If you feel stuck it’s because you don’t have, or you perceive you don’t have, the power to react or create meaning around your life. If you are sometimes angry and anxious; if you you feel bad about something, it’s okay. You may have genuine reasons to feel these emotions. These are a huge component within a healthy life. Don’t feel guilty about having these reactions to problems.

But remember struggles are not always that bad. They invigorate you. They motivate you to work through them to help either others or yourself.

Believe it or not, our struggles are the building blocks of happiness. Okay . It’s true sometimes problems are completely out of our control. You can’t always eliminate them—- but it’s finding something more meaningful in your life, or worthwhile, where you can put your focus and be in control.

Don’t focus on the negative details, Details are the enemy of growth. Focus on the bigger picture – the end goal and work toward that.

5. You have to be comfortable with who you are. It’s not being different, but it’s your acceptance of being comfortable with being different.

Copyright ©️Sandra Hart 2018

Our Clothes Are A Mirror Of Who We Are

” She had a womanly instinct that clothes possess an influence more powerful over many than the worth of character or the magic of manners.”   Louisa May Alcott

Our clothes and style are a mirror of who we really are, aren’t they?  When we wake up in the morning what we wear indicates how we feel, where we are going and our attitude about the next twelve hours.  

For men more than women, I think, sometimes dressing becomes routine as soon as their feet hit the floor. They throw on their favorite well-worn jeans, T shirt, slip on flip flops, loafers or old sneakers and are ready to face the world and what is out there waiting for them.

Most women are different animals all together. We plan, organize, accessorize and treat clothes as an extension of who we are. Our clothes don’t actually make us, but we make the clothes our own.  

Copyright Sandra Hart© 2017. All Rights Reserved

Let’s Band Together

IMG_0208-0.PNG

I was 11 years old. I was a cheerleader. It had been a great football game that Saturday afternoon and we were on our way home. I was a happy six grader full of achievements and good friends. I grew up in a Ohio Valley steel town with of all types of immigrants and religions, but I didn’t know prejudice, none of us did. We never thought about our parents bank accounts or status. We were all friends and liked each other because we were classmates, we were neighbors, we were girlfriends.

My emotional slate was clean. Every small dream I had was realized. Every goal I wanted was achieved. I loved my parents. I loved my brother. I loved my friends. I saw no fences and I knew no fences. The meaning of hate and envy was never a part of my life up until ‘THEN.’ And it was when after that football game on Saturday that ‘THEN’ happened and my life changed forever and my perfect childhood world came crashing down around me.

My girlfriends and I used to walk together the few blocks from Roosevelt School to our homes on LaBelle View after the football games together. One by one we would say goodbye as each girl would reach their house until the last cheerleader was left to walk a few blocks to her house. This afternoon was different though as all the girls walked me to my house first. As we were saying the cheerful goodbyes, all of the sudden one of the girls started saying mean things to me. Then a couple of the other girls chimed in while the rest stood silent looking at the sidewalk and their feet.

I think I have permanently blanked out a lot of the conversation, but words like ‘snob’, ‘stuck-up’ remained in my mind, permeated my clean slate and cracked it wide open. The pieces stuck in my throat and I remember having no response other than to turn and walk up the cement steps to our front porch and into the safety of my house.

I was stunned and heartbroken. I remember lying across my bed and crying for hours as though my life had ended. This was the worst thing that ever happened to me in my life since I had been on this planet. I was so humiliated that I couldn’t even share my pain with my parents. I suffered in silence. I felt my life was over.

I am a firm believer that mind and body work together to keep us healthy. So it is of no surprise that a few months after this incident of embarrassment and abandonment by those I thought were my good friends that I became very ill. Diagnosed with rheumatic fever I was bedridden for four months. This was the pendulum swing in my life. I returned to school a shy and introverted girl, never in my teens to recapture the self-esteem that was broken and beaten down by my small group of friends that I loved.

I have since shared my story with several of my close friends and at least two of them have had similar experiences as young girls whose lives have been altered by what we now call ‘bullying.’

It’s amazing, although we’ve matured and most of us have had great achievements on our own since leaving the torturous girls behind in their small dust, the scars remain.

I understand. I really understand every time I read a tragic story of a young person reacting to being bullied. And of course today it’s so much worse because of the cyber bullying that is so easy to do. It is so easy to destroy a teenage psyche because they’re thin and fragile and not yet hardened to the reality of life and have strong self-esteem.

So today I was especially delighted when I discovered that my cousin’s daughter is involved in a program, Lets Band Togetherto help stop bullying.

IMG_0209-0.PNG

Lets give peace and civility toward one another a chance.

Copyright Sandra Hart 2014. All rights reserved.

Peace. At Last

I was as bald as an onion when I was born. And when I finally did grow hair it was platinum and straight. That all changed …. well …. I don’t know exactly when, maybe about when I was ten or so. Then all hell broke loose. On top of my head. Massive frizz the color of straw.

Braids became my savior. Any solution to tame that unruly crop that suddenly appeared up there. I remember my grandma and mother making my plats so tight my head would ache. But the mess was hidden and undercover. I used to hate it. Hate it…Hate it!

Why is it we are cursed to covet what we don’t have? I have done everything throughout my life since those braids to get rid of the curls. Not the hair, just those darn curls. For me, it is and always has been ‘straight-hair-envy’.

When my mother was getting poodle perms I was embarrassed by my curly, unruly hair. I thought she was crazy to ruin her nice straight hair to look like our family pet. But she didn’t think twice about keeping mine in braids like a show horse’s tail.

At thirteen ‘The Hair War’ between mother and daughter about cutting my hair finally was won by me, and she chopped off my braids. But that’s when the next battle began. The one between me and my new short and wild hair finally escaping from its braided jail.

I struggled through high school using pony tails to normalize the life sprouting from my scalp, but it wasn’t until the mid 60’s that I found out about a cure to what ails me. Hair straightening! I had discovered my new best friend! Considering every model and movie star had beehives and straight hair, my tangled mess was anything but beautiful in the eyes of the celebrity world back then. So I was relaxing, straightening and rolling. This girl did everything measurable within the law to kill my curls.

At home and away from the public eye I walked around like a space alien in front of my children with empty frozen orange juice cans bobby pinned on my head trying, oh so trying, to look like Farrah Fawcett. This was the best method available to me at the time to murder the kink on my head.

And then something quite strange came trending out in the 80’s. Curly hair ?! It was…. It was….. everywhere! Natural, permed, short, or voluminous. Curly was in vogue. Meg Ryan, Susan Sarandon! Gosh, I hadn’t gone out in public with my curly hair in almost 20 years! What in the world?? Should I dare to just shower, fluff it dry and go out of the house?

Nuts as it sounds, that first time I walked out of our apartment onto the streets of Manhattan with my curly hair, I was a little weirded out about being so nakedly honest as to who I really was. To step out being the real me and to embrace, to accept the whole me which included that mass upon my head was hard and a long ride down in the elevator to the street.

I will forever blame it on my husband. It took the ‘hair love’ of my husband for the first time in my entire life to really, really accept my unruly wild and naturally curly hair. He made me do it. It was my husband, finally, who told me to just ‘go for it.’

So recently, when I posted a new profile picture on my Facebook page my cousin made a nice comment about my hair. That reminded me about a photo album my husband has compiled throughout the years taking literally thousands of pictures of my hair. He has always bizarrely been obsessed with my wild hair. So one thing leading to another, and with writing time on my hands today, forgive me for digressing from more important things and selfishly opening up to you about my hair woes and joys.

As a dear friend of mine who suffers from alopecia often reminds me, more is more, less is less and no fun at all.

She is right. There has been a truce. I have made peace with my hair. At last.

P. S. I still haven’t thrown away my magic wand to straightness-my long and narrow hot iron. I suppose if I were a smoker it would be like vaping or sneaking around the corner for a puff or too. Sadly, still addicted. Sometimes. But still at peace.

Copyright Sandra Hart 2014. All rights reserved.

IMG_1843.JPG

IMG_1839.JPG

IMG_1840.JPG

IMG_1848.JPG

IMG_1845.JPG

IMG_1842.JPG

IMG_1844.JPG