“I think we dream so we don’t have to be apart so long. If we’re in each other’s dreams, we can be together all the time.”
One the best things when I was a kid was to go down to the local used books store with my weekly allowance in hand.
I’d buy all kinds of things. Among them my favorite monthly comic book that collected all these odd and hilarious comics from all around the world.
And one of them was Calvin and Hobbes. I didn’t always understand it, Calvin and Hobbes had strange and serious thoughts mixed in with the crazy and imaginative adventures of the small boy and his best friend.
I still return to their adventures from time to time.
And the things I didn’t quite understand back then make more sense today.
So this week I’d like to share 5 of my favorite thought-provoking, witty and happifying tips from Calvin and Hobbes.
1. Look around you and appreciate your life as it is right now.
“We’re so busy watching out for what’s just ahead of us that we don’t take time to enjoy where we are.”
Take a few minutes to look at the next thing you need to do. A goal or dream you are focused on.
But then switch your attention to what is now. And spend most of your time in the present moment. Work and play there fully and not with your thoughts elsewhere.
And sometimes just pause during your day and be still. Take those pauses to appreciate the wonderful things around you.
The people and the moments with them, the food and a roof over your head during a rainy day.
All the big but also small and good things you may sometimes take for granted in your life.
2. Everyone has bad days.
“Some days even my lucky rocketship underpants won’t help.”
No matter what you do there will be bad days.
Sometimes you can turn them around by for example getting an energy kick and releasing some stress through exercise.
And sometimes, when such a thing won’t work, you can’t do more than accept that this is how things are right now.
And that can actually help.
- When you accept and you stop feeding the issues of that day with more energy – the energy you use when you so intensely want to control and fix the issues – I have found that many of the negative feelings and thoughts in my mind tend to weaken, fall away and disappear. It becomes easier to think more clearly again and you feel better.
- A bad day can be fuel for creativity and learning. A bad day when things don’t go so well often wind up being one of my more creative days in retrospect. I rethink things on such days. I learn from mistakes and temporary failures. I get new ideas.
- It reminds you of how life actually is. You can also see such a day as a reminder of how life will not always bend to your will and be perfect. This is very helpful to reduce the stress and pressure you put upon yourself and to live a happier life.
3. Take the time to do nothing much at all.
“There’s never enough time to do all the nothing you want.”
Life isn’t just what can be captured on a to-do list. It is not achievement upon achievement.
To me life is also about spending some time with just lazying around in pajama bottoms on the weekend. It’s about time in the afternoons just watching the summer clouds go by from my sun-chair. And about hanging out with family and friends and sometimes doing nothing much at all.
Because there is much happiness and relaxation to find in doing the nothing you want to do. And because you can in my experience often find new ideas, directions and appreciation for your life when you take the time for these things.
4. Open up and let a friend help.
“Things are never quite as scary when you’ve got a best friend.”
If you feel scared or worried about something then that thing tends to become bigger and more frightening the longer you hold onto it alone and in your mind.
So instead, let a friend help you.
Let what you are scared or worried about out. Talk to your friend about the issue. Just being able to vent and to get someone else’s perspective on things can make a world of difference. It can make you see things in a less scary light.
And maybe the two of you can even find a first practical step you can take to start resolving the situation.
5. Do what YOU want to do.
“What fun is it being cool if you can’t wear a sombrero?”
It can be hard to do what you truly want to do. Or be who you want to be.
You may think: how will people react? what will they think or say?
To just fit in is most often – in the short run at least – easier.
But the cost can in the long run become a life where you are almost always holding back. A life of sinking self-esteem.
Here are two tips that can help if that’s the case:
- Focus on the small action you CAN take. So maybe you cannot do what you want all the time. There are consequences and responsibilities and at least temporary limitations in a regular life. But do what you can with what have right now. Take one small step outside of your comfort zone towards what you want to do or be. Then another small one. And as you move forward you’ll build your self-esteem and confidence in yourself.
- Don’t focus too much on how people may react. My own experience is that in most cases they will be somewhat or very supportive or pretty indifferent. The truth is that the world does not revolve around me or you. People rarely have very much time or energy to spare for thinking much about what you do anyway. They’re too busy with their own lives and challenges.