How do we obtain a life worth living? How do we overcome adversity? How can we experience positive emotions? How do we stay in good mental health? These are serious questions and to briefly answer them would be unfair to the reader. But I can say as a positive psychologist, working in the treatment room with clients for almost thirty years, there is a kind of mental magic that you do need to be in touch with and learn how to utilize. No, it is not the same kind of fairytale magic that Cinderella, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs represent, although certainly a trip to Disney World can be good for our mental health
Rather, I would say to you, “remember the magic” — the magic that exists within you. I call this your “personal magic.” Discovering your personal magic is as wondrous as watching the magic performed by magicians. The magician appears before us and eloquently recites a magic spell. With a flick of the wrist, people, animals, and objects disappear, and then reappear. Actually, we are all magicians. We can all conjure up magical moments from our past; and reinvent them in new and different ways that will have a positive and meaningful effect on our lives. It is not as easy as when Mary Poppins reaches into her magic carpet bag and pulls out a spoonful of sugar. Yet it is not hard. It just takes some learning, effort, and time.
For example, you may have positive memories relating to the summer season. Perhaps you stayed with grandparents at the shore, collected shells and caught fireflies. Or maybe you were the child who loved to fish or filled your days playing Monopoly on the porch with friends.
Reinventing these magical moments may mean buying or planting flowers, taking a horticultural class, learning to play bridge, going camping or sailing, or even spraying scented fragrances in your home that remind you of your grandparents garden.
For some of us, finding our own personal magic is a more difficult pursuit. It is similar to the magician who attempts to escape or separate from his or her locks and chains while trapped inside the confines of a small box. Many of us have experienced dysfunction or pain in our lives that may impede or prevent us from achieving states of well-being. For instance, Cinderella came from a dysfunctional household. Within all the turmoil and abuse her stepmother and stepsisters imposed upon her, she still managed to hold onto her hopes and dreams. She could separate from her misery with the help of her animal friends, focusing on things that gave her pleasure and joy. Meeting Prince Charming may not be high on your list of hopes and dreams, but having a fulfilling relationship with a spouse or friend may be.
Let’s get back to your ‘personal magic.’ Why not call that special friend that has been on your mind or arrange an evening out with your spouse? Why not get dressed up, go out to dinner or spend some quality time with someone? And that someone can even be yourself. Summer is a lovely season to simply be outside with those we care about. Why not go for a walk with someone special? These are all ways of recapturing the magic inside you. How about going to the library or popping onto Amazon and getting yourself a read novel or inspirational book for summer reading? Yes, this is your season.
Cherish your rights to today. And whenever in doubt as to what to do to have pleasure just look into your own treasure chest of memories and grab out a gem, i.e. something you have enjoyed in the past. If you want to and can do it again, great. If not, find a way to magically re-invent the interest so it fits you now. You can do it!
Like the genie in Aladdins Lamp, You too possess magic. When You grant yourself permission to remember the magic that exists within you, you are well on the road to discovering your ENCHANTED SELF.