If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. Wayne Dyer

Posted: July 18, 2010 in International Adventures, Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

We arrived in Utah, well Salt Lake City to be exact from my idea of paradise at the end of August 2008. From day one I hated it. I had severe culture shock although I completely skipped the honeymoon stage. I hated the schooling, the people, Salt Lake City, the lack of colour, the lack of beach, the lack of prettiness and gentle beauty. We moved up to sin city (Park City) in the mountains after 2 months in the misery of Salt Lake and met….. noone. Turns out people hibernate from socializing in winter and are too busy skiing and the like to meet up. Our kids started school and Chaz settled into his job and I just mourned the loss of my lovely life. Too be honest I was a complete nightmare about it all and a cow to live with.

I survived that first winter, made myself learn to ski and gradually started to meet people as spring appeared. I joined a book club and a coffee morning and started to settle in. However, I still blamed my husband for ‘making’ me move and spent more time hating everything than enjoying life.

However, a major turning point for me was chancing upon Wayne Dyer on TV. I vaguely remember that he was talking about his book Excuses Begone and I remember him doing a simple demonstration with a closed fist and an open palm – I think! I wasn’t even paying full attention but something stuck and I realized that changing this stinking thinking of mine was the only way out of this.

From that very moment I started to almost ‘act as if’ I was happy. I put a big smile on my face when my hubby came home every day, every time I started to blame him for our move I turned it around to say that he was trying to do the best for our family (which is, of course, the truth), I started to see the good in the place and the people and had a constant inner voice telling me to not listen to the negative thoughts. Do you know what – it gradually worked. Not only that but I started to use this approach to everything – I now choose to be happy. That’s not to say I don’t have the odd moment and I can spit feathers at times as I’m a little feisty on occasion ;). However, I have learnt that I can change the way I look at things and that, indeed, the things I’m looking at then change.

How do you deal with the negatives? Are there any specific inspirational people or sayings that have helped you to change the way you look at things? Do you think messages often appear when you need them?

  1. Lindsay says:

    So true! I am a firm believer in the power of positive thinking! Great post!

  2. Marion says:

    You are so right, Louise! I think positive thinking has incredible power and can change a lot of things for the better! Unfortunately, I have to admit that I’m not the most positive thinker, but I’m working hard on changing that.
    I love the quote “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change” and will try to say it to myself every morning before I get out of bed. Maybe it’ll make a difference!! And if not, I’ll just tell everyone that “being a crappy bitch is just part of my charm” ;).

    Keep those great posts coming!!!

  3. kathyalice says:

    This took me back to when my family moved from Puerto Rico to Texas, what a cultural shock that was! Half the time I wasn’t sure I even understood what people were saying, eg. I failed my driving test because I could not understand a word the tester said.

  4. Oh yes, at least I didn’t have such a big language barrier though UK English and American English can be quite different. I really like the diagram I put in the post as it shows two ways of dealing with culture shock. i clearly chose the wrong way at first – lol

    Thanks for your comment.

  5. I use this technique all the time and it works for me. Just the other day I was mentally griping about all the work involved with throwing a wine party until I stopped and realized that there was no need to gripe…I was actually enjoying all the prep work and organization.

    Wayne is the king at positive thinking. Another book that talks a lot about making the most of the situation you are in and coming out ahead is Seth Godin’s Linchpin.

    Great post…thanks for sharing.

    • yes, I love Wayne Dyer now I’ve discovered him. I haven’t read Seth Godin’s Linchpin though – will check that out.

      I still have to remind myself most days of course. Similarly to you, I have a huge event to plan at the end of September to try and find new families in our area to host AuPairs and it will be a LOT of work and I find little knots of tension creep in when I start the planning and have to remind myself to choose to enjoy it!

      Thanks for your comment.

  6. Louise, another terrific, and personally relevant, post! I always liked the saying “fake it ’til you make it”— not to say be a phony, but, like you did, to consciously put on a smile and find the best in a situation. After awhile, this new attitude becomes the default attitude.

    Your mention of Wayne also has personal significance to me. Wayne’s long time editor (since his very first book), Joanna, is my mentor and one of my closest friends. I feel eternally grateful to have such a grounded, aware, and positive influence in my life, through Joanna (and by extension, Wayne).

    • Thanks Heidi! I wish I’d discovered Wayne earlier I have to say but am so thankful that I happened upon that PBS broadcast when I did. How lucky for you to have such a friend.

      Thanks for your comment

      • Ron Britton says:

        Louise, great post! Very timely for me too. Been having one heck of a week and have been feeling rather down and out of sorts. Thanks for the reminder that no one or nothing can “make” you feel a certain way. We are always the one that chooses how we feel or react to any and all situations. I have been making not to good choices this last week on how I feel.


        Follow the Quest – MyWisdomQuest.com

      • Hi Ron, Glad it helped. These blog posts (not just mine) always seem to arrive at the rigth moment don’t they 🙂

        Thanks for your comment.

  7. Chrystal says:

    You’re only as happy as you choose to be, right? And ohemgeee I love the pic of the woman saying “being a bitch is part of her charm.” I may have to borrow that for Facebook at some point – with full attribution to you, of course. Great blog and thank you for the reminder. My sister in law gave me this tip once. When she wakes up in a bad mood or is in a funk, she does some internal talking and decides since she has to spend the ENTIRE day with herself, she is going to choose to be in a good mood. So simple, but so brilliant.

  8. Thanks Chrystal – wish I’d learnt this lesson a few years ago but better late than never. Borrow away – I love that pic too 🙂

  9. Donna McCord says:

    Great reminder, Louise, that how we “feel” is actually within our own control. I learned the hard way that blaming others for my irritability, anger or even my failures, is really an unwillingness on my part to take responsiblity for myself. Remembering that I DO have a choice as to how I react to circumstances is not always easy, but when I can do it, I am so much more able to think clearly and cope with whatever it is, and as you said, the circumstances are transformed. For me, the most powerful words of encouragement I have found are in my Bible, and that is always the first place I go when I need reminders about how I should be thinking. Your question about the messages clicks with me, too…there are so many times when I run across just the right song, words, or people I need at the right time to open my eyes. I commend you for making the choice to live in joy, Louise!

  10. ChrisLWagner says:

    I had to live for 2 1/2 years in Mesa, AZ and felt like you did in the beginning. However, I never became enlightened and learned to love it. Instead we moved back to CA and have never regretted it. I was a cow to live with too!

    I love Wayne Dyer and that quote floats through my mind a lot.

    • Hi Chris That’s not an option for me as there is no work for my husband back in Oz so then he would be miserable…. I had, therefore, to decide whether to ‘like it or kump it’ and I chose the right way I think.

      There are lots of other awesome Wayne Dyer quotes too don’t you think?

      Thanks for your comment.

  11. ChrisLWagner says:

    Good choice unless it’s being televised.

  12. Louise, what a fascinating glimpse into your life. I have moved more times than I care to count. and was unhappy for many years, till we did move to a place we wanted to be and couldn’t make a living there. When I got back to California I had learned my lesson. Life is what you make it. I decided I was going to be happy, and accept what I couldn’t change. And be grateful that we could have a life will so many trimmings, while being open to all the joys and gifts that life brings us. What a journey of happiness my life has become. I have met the most unbelievable people. Shared laughter & broken bread, and connected from my soul.
    Truly life is for the living, so we might as well indulge.

    • Thanks for that Jen. Yes, that was the problem really for us. We adored Adelaide but there was just no future for my husbands work there and he’s too young to sit behind the same desk for the rest of his life. Also moving here has given me the work that I’m doing now and all that goes with that, such as Ann’s boot camp, meeting all these new wonderful people, learning so much and growing in ways I never thought possible.

      Of course if I’d chosen to stay miserable none of that would be happening…

  13. Jean Bentley says:

    I tried to remind myself to think about what I’m thinking about. Its so easy for the negative thoughts to take over and the longer the negative thoughts contine the harder they are to fight. But, as long as the fight continues the positive will win out.

    • Thanks Jean, yes it’s a constant process and so easy to let the negative thoughts creep back in. Meeting such wonderful and positive people through things like this helps and blogging is helping me along tremendously too.

  14. Another nice blog, Louise! It brought tears to my eyes, as I could relate to your pain of the move. And I especially liked the quote by Wayne Dyer, and today I firmly believe it, because it’s true! I think it took me until sobriety… no, I KNOW it did, and many years into it, to believe this and to see it at work in my life. Now, when negative events come to pass, which they do as lessons are presented to me, my attitude is, what is the lesson I am to learn here? When I frame it like that, it becomes exciting to discover why bad things are happening. That is not to say I don’t get discouraged… I do. But it is minimal. Thanks, again!

    • Thanks Carolyn. I wondered if I was being too heart on my sleeve with this post so I’m so happy that it has received such favorable comments. It can be a positive process to say that all things happen for a reason and believe it.

  15. Wow Louise. This brings to mind the quote and I don’t know where it came from, but it goes something like this: “It’s not what you get out of it, but what you put in it that makes all of the difference.”

    I needed to remember that and hear your story. Thanks.

  16. amy donovan says:

    love this! i wasn’t naturally the most positive thinker + that’s part of the reason I got into positive psychology in the first place. i knew that adopting some of those habits would make me a better, happier Amy, and gradually fell in love with the whole science of it.

    what you talk about above is what we in positive psychology call the ‘fake it til you make it’ exercise. it’s the exact concept you mention – putting on a smile, saying positive things, acting cheery – and then, surprise surprise, after a little while of ‘faking it,’ you actually feel it! it’s a powerful positive psychology exercise that anyone can do — glad that you shared it with others.

  17. Thanks for commenting Amy! Yes, I’ve since discovered that this is the current thinking in the psychology world – thank heavens. I remember going for some counselling after my dad died and I had post natal depression (he died a month before my eldest was born) and all this guy wanted to talk about was my childhood whereas I wanted ways to deal with my grief NOW. I think this approach would have helped me no end with that – I didn’t need to rehash my childhood.

  18. Such a great reminder that we create our own reality. I’m a big fan of Gretchen Ruben and her Happiness Project. She makes a similar point about acting the way you want to feel. It works (damn! no more excuses, or at least no good ones). Although I have to say living in Salt Lake City would be a serious test of the concept. Park City – a bit easier.

  19. I think it’s in the book “The Power Story” where Jim Loehr says “how you occur to yourself and the results you get are in perfect alignment–always and without exception.” This axiom has annoyed me at times, but I think it fits perfectly with what Wayne Dyer says on stage as well. It’s the story we tell of ourselves that paints the picture we see overlayed on everything around us.

  20. What a great life lesson. You will not only live a great life but you will be a good example for your children. I had a similar revelation in my life. My husband was diagnosed with a chronic debilitating illness after only 4 years of marriage and 2 small children. I hated him when I had to do all of the running, mowing and bill paying. One day my child looked up at me and asked “mom why don’t you ever smile? You are always mad” I didn’t want my children to remember me like that. My life did not change but my attitude did. Now my daughter says I live in a Pollyanna world.

  21. Happiness is just a state of mind…someone said that, I don’t remember who…but yes it is true that how we choose to feel or act is the only thing we can control. In fact, if someone is being unkind to you and really wants to upset you, just remain unaffected, even happy and then it will really irritate the other person! Choosing to be happy regardless of where you were living is an admirable skill. I employ this on a daily basis by just focusing on the positive and ignoring the junk…some days I’m more successful, other days not 🙂 A friend once told me regarding self-pity, “it is okay to go into the pit, just don’t decorate”

  22. Bruce Barone says:

    Such honesty! And good for you! I truly believe thoughts and words create patterns. I try every day, first when I wake, and then throughout the day as needed, to speak words of affirmation. It does make a difference. It is, in a sense, my times of prayer and meditation.

  23. oviedostyle says:

    Great post.
    As a child I was often reminded that if I smiled long enough that my attitude would change. It did and does work, but I have to do more than just smile. I actually have to do an activity I enjoy or surround my self with people who are in a god mood.

  24. I absolutely love Wayne Dyer as a gift one year my husband gave me a ticket to see him in person. Wayne Dyer gave me a hug and shook my hand. I’m very inspired by his teachings, as well as Sylvia Brown, Brian, Weiss, Jack Canfield, David Hawkins. Talking about signs, earlier today I mentions Power versus Force by David Hawkins. When Wayne was doing that thing with the fist that is the source he is teaching from.

    Lisa Ann Landry – Corporate Trainer – Unleashing the Genie!

    • I love Wayne Dyer too and am reading his interpretation of the Tao on and off. He’s truly inspirational but I shall be looking up the other names you mention now, especially David Hawkins as that little nugget changed my life really.

  25. […] talked in a previous blog post and how I had bad culture shock after moving to Utah and I wanted to talk to you all today about […]

  26. […] talked in a previous blog post and how I had bad culture shock after moving to Utah and I wanted to talk to you all today about […]

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