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  • Writer's pictureJulie Burn

Is it a Beautiful Day in your Neighbourhood?

Updated: Feb 7, 2020

Yesterday, I did something I never do. I took myself out for a trip to the movies. I asked a friend to come along and we agreed to have a bite of lunch in a nearby cafe afterwards, thus making a real day of it.

I'm so pleased we went. For weeks I'd been reading about the new Tom Hank's movie, "A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood" and it sounded wonderful: a real feel-good, uplifting movie. The movie is about the much loved American children's tv presenter, Fred Rogers, and the positive impact he has on the jaded, cynical journalist, Lloyd Vogel, who is assigned the job of writing a piece about him.

I could wax lyrical about the movie for hours and yes, I was humming the "Beautiful Day" theme tune all afternoon and evening. I smiled at everyone I passed and just had a spring in my step for the rest of the day. All seemed right with the world.

When I got home I googled Fred Rogers and discovered a vast array of his inspirational beliefs. I agree with so many of his views and for years I have tried to help many of my clients embrace such ways of thinking. Here are a few gems:

People are Precious (and that includes you!)

"Knowing that we can be loved exactly as we are gives us the best opportunity for growing into the healthiest of people"

- Fred Rogers.

We are all unique and special and we need to start embracing that fact. We also have so much to give. Rogers treated everyone he enountered, child or adult, as if they were the most important person in the world. Today, glued to our phones, following god knows who on instagram, we can miss the valuable experience of being with our people, right now, right here, today. Instead of yearning for the life of some random celebrity, put down your phone and talk to, and engage with, the people in your life.

Self acceptance should also be mentioned here. Every day I work with clients whose inability to accept and value themselves results in depression and discontent. Often my clients see value in others yet the very idea of treating themselves with kindness and compassion is incomprehensible. We are all worthwhile and valuable. When we begin to see this and act on caring for ourselves (just as I did in treating myself to a movie day), the problems in our lives can begin to seem more manageable.

It is not what we have but who we are that matters

"It's not the honours and the prizes and the fancy outsides of life that ultimately nourish our souls. It's the knowing that we can be trusted, that we never have to fear the truth."

- Fred Rogers.

Absolutely Fred! Fancy houses, big cars, a closet full of designer handbags and shoes may be very nice, but at the end of the day, they are all just stuff. What really counts is who we are at our very core. The kindness we show to others, the time we give to help those less fortunate than ourselves, embracing and enjoying the tiny moments of our lives with our precious people, rather that striving for empty materialistic highs.

And finally:

Bad stuff will happen to all of us at some time in our lives

"There is no normal life that is free of pain. It's the very wrestling with our problems that can be the impetus for growth"

- Fred Rogers

We all have struggles. Without pain and problems would we value and appreciate the good times quite so much? No. I don't think we would. All pain, all problems, offer us the chance to grow, to explore ourselves, our life and our choices. Today, many of us fear the discomfort of sitting with our pain or sadness and we try to distract ourselves with things, or work frantically to chivvy ourselves out of a down day. Yet, sitting with the difficulty, embracing the discomfort and feeling our feelings, however uncomfortable or sad in the moment, is often necessary in order to accept what is, and begin to look forwards to new beginnings.

Rogers has many more wonderful and insightful nuggets of wisdom. Check out his quotations online for many, many more if you need a boost of inspiration.

Also remember you are precious and deserving, so how will you treat yourself this week? A movie date like I had?, lunch with a chum?, a long bubble bath and a great novel?, a run in the countryside? It doesn't matter what it is as long as you like it. Go on. You deserve it!

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