This was posted in 2016 and after watching all of the ego maniacs wandering through our news media, our politicians and our celebrities, it is time for an average person to say to all of them, LET GO OF YOUR EGO! I have been amazed and truly disappointed at the brazen nature of people’s statements and acting like they are all that. I say, get off the soap boxes and get real with ourselves. Egos can get in the way of true recognition for a person’s talents. Let’s read this post again and maybe we can let it sink in…..we all bleed red and who are we to say hateful and spiteful speeches when the same spiteful person would not look so great under a microscope. Together we rise, divided we fall!


TODAY THE WORDS are LET GO EGO. This one can be a very sensitive, two sided sword subject but here we go. Ego, oh ego, I might could get something accomplished it I let go of my ego! I say, however, we have attached a label to something and given it a “not so nice” name.

e·go /ˈēgō/ Noun

  1. A person’s sense of self-esteem or self-importance: “a boost to my ego”.
  2. The part of the mind that mediates between the conscious and the unconscious and is responsible for reality testing and a sense of…
In my opinion, the reference to self-esteem is more important than the self-importance and also pay attention to the mind section that deals with reality testing. Now let’s get real as I normally do. We, as humans, need a good self-esteem or as I had rather call it self confidence to give us a boost of courage to try things, take well thought out risks, and sometimes we have to fly by the seats of our pants. These elements have to be completed in the adventure of life. So in order to do those things, we have to possess some ego. The reference to a double edge sword is because it can cut both ways. At some point in some people’s lives, and I was in my past among that count, ego can become the enemy of life. We have some successes due to the good side of “ego” and unfortunately, if we are not careful; we flip the sword of ego to the “self-importance side”. We sometimes stop using the portion of ego that gives us a reality check and we can become self absorbed. Now, we have trouble; it has to be our way or the highway; our plan or no plan; our spotlight or no light at all; or me, me, me is the theme. This is now ego on the destructive side. When self-esteem is replaced by the other side of the sword, self-importance, what usually happens is non-productive action.

Let me give us a deeper thought on this….A crossroad if you please. We travel down the road of life, we struggle to find the right path, we get lost a few times on the road. We make this trip several times and each time we become more familiar with our destination. We start feeling confident, we move faster, we make better time each trip, and finally we know this road by heart and feel good about ourselves (in other words we have a healthy ego). Another trip down the same road, and we start feeling so confident and feel really strong about our talents and have this feeling that we can travel this road better than anyone else can travel and we get a little over confident (self important). Our mind starts shutting down on the reality check and we come to a crossroad and all of a sudden, even though we have traveled this road so many times, we take a different turn and guess what, we become lost all over again. Instead of asking a fellow traveler what is the way to go, we struggle and find our ego defeated by itself. God wants us to have confidence He has given us all we need to go down the road of life without getting lost, but if we do, He wants us to check His road map and get us going in the right direction.



Proverbs 13:10 (#4 of 10 Bible Verses about Pride and Arrogance)

10Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.

(c) copyright 2012-2018 Arline Lott Miller. The material here copyrighted, use only by permission. Third party material if known is sourced to origination for credit reference.



Once in a while, I will hear from a reader who had the experience of a post really touching them. This is why I write the blog as it is not for fortune or fame, it is for moments like this one. I decided to bring it back to the forefront and see if more of you enjoy its meaning as well. Please feel free to comment on this or any blog that moves you or inspires you in your dreams…..Until We Read Again….Arline Miller, blogger


Photo courtesy of PROMGIRL
LIFE IS A NEW DRESS is the topic for the blog. I had a recent opportunity to share this thought with a young person about relationships and life. As I usually do, I compared relationships to something I can easily relate and felt you may enjoy this true to life analogy too.

Have you ever seen a dress or other piece of clothing in a store and thought immediately  this had to have been made with you in mind? As you looked at it hanging up, it was perfect. It would hang on your body exactly as it should and would compliment everything you liked about yourself. The length (or height) was a compatible match. The color was one that made you feel good about yourself and lightened your mood. It was dazzling on how easy it was to put on. It simply was the best dress and even though it was expensive and you might have to sacrifice to have it as your own, the sacrifice seemed worth it. You might have had to wait a time period before you could actually acquire it to take it home to be yours and yours alone.


While this thought may seem the ideal analogy of a relationship of love, I am not quite finished with this life lesson. Let’s go back to the store and acquire that relished dress. We buy it and with the highest anticipation, we leave the store where we first encountered this dress. The dress was placed in a bag to protect it but it got somewhat wrinkled from the bagging. You are disappointed by the wrinkling as this dress was perfect and a little resentment toward the clerk who should have taken better care of your prized possession. A little of the glittering desire seems to diminish and you have to consider how to get the wrinkles out. That is okay and once the dress has had a little time to hang, the wrinkles disappear and all is well again.

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You take painstaking effort to present yourself with proper hair, makeup and accessories to show off your newly acquired beautiful dress to anyone who will look and hear about how it was made for you. If anyone compliments your attire, you beam. If anyone doesn’t think it is the best thing you have ever put on, you write them off your friend’s list forever……and then it happens!

By accident, someone spills a drink on your beautiful dress. The stain, even though it is small, seems to take center stage and that is all you can see. You forget how the dress fits you to a tee, how everyone thinks it is wonderful, and how you feel in the dress. The stain, that dreadful stain has “ruined” your dress. Even though the stain is reversible and can be removed, do you let it spoil that perfect moment you first laid eyes on it? Do you allow this awkward moment to overwhelm you? Do you feel like throwing it away since it can never be pure and stainless again?


Now, for the life lesson and how this moment and experience is similar to a new relationship in life. We meet someone and we feel they are perfect. That same desire and longing is present and we will sacrifice and do whatever we can to have the relationship we have longed for all of our lives. We begin to spend time with this person and even if it has a wrinkle or two, we overlook them and even hang them up for a while by backing away for a little space to give our hearts time to realize we still like this person and maybe even love them.

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You introduce them to your friends and some of your friends think they are the best thing that ever happened you. You beam from the compliments and sorely disagree with those who don’t click immediately with your newly found love.  And then it happens……it can be a multitude of life accidents that put a stain on your new relationship and many times, it is a misunderstanding or circumstances you cannot control. The stain appears and it is exactly the same as I described with the new dress. The same feelings can arise. You doubt if it was that perfect. You question if it fit that well after all and in many cases, you may consider throwing it away.

Final Thoughts: All of us will experience the stains of life. We have to learn to move past those episodes in our lives to remain excited and encouraged. The dress of life or a deep relationship can survive many stains and we have to remember that we would never feel true love or existence if we shy away from acquiring a love to protect ourselves from true reality of life. A good stain remover is having a great sense of humor and not to embed our minds in disappointment but invest ourselves in those fun and loving moments A NEW DRESS can bring. LIVE LIFE; LOVE LIFE; AND KEEP A GOOD STAIN REMOVER OF LAUGHTER ON HAND.

(C) COPYRIGHT 2012-2018 Arline Miller with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material if source is known is referenced for credit. All photos are not exclusively the property of Sipping Cups unless stated


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1. Take Discovery Walks

In a piece for Tiny Buddha, lifestyle and happiness writer Izmael Arkin highly recommended taking what he calls “discovery walks” a couple times a week. “It is important to remember that there is always something new to be discovered in our everyday environments. Go on a walk and commit to finding 10 new interesting things,” Arkin wrote.

2. Take A New Class

Arkin also recommended signing up for a class in something you’re interested or curious about. “Push yourself to try new activities, even if you think they aren’t for you,” he wrote, noting that he recently took a Japanese tea-making class where he connected with people he normally would have never even met.

3. Seek Out Laughter

In a piece for MindBodyGreen.com, yoga instructor Dani Marie Robinson noted the importance of seeking out laughter in your day, whether it be texting a friend who makes you laugh, or even just checking out your favorite comedian on YouTube. “It’s impossible to feel the crippling burden of negative emotions while engrossed in laughter,” Robinson wrote. “It gives the mind and body a much needed reset and forces us into the moment. It is uplifting, energizing and oddly calming at the same time.”

4. Hug Someone

Robinson also sited studies that show a long embrace boosts oxytocin in our brains, meaning they genuinely have the power to elevate our moods. So if you’re ever feeling a little down, don’t be afraid to get a little TLC and hug somebody close to you.

5. Quit Comparing Yourself To Others

In a piece for Forbes, former journalist and behavioral expert Kare Anderson stressed that we should avoid comparing ourselves to others whenever possible. “As soon as you notice that you are feeling “less than” or “better than” others step back a moment emotionally. Save yourself from the twin pangs of torment,” Anderson wrote.

6. Say No To More Things

This is a personal tip, and it goes a little against the usual advise of “always say yes!” I have always found that one of the fastest ways to feel weighed down and unhappy is by over-committing ourselves and letting too much pile up on our plate. Pretty soon we’re a big ball of stress going from one obligation to the next, without any time to actually look around and smell the flowers. If you’re feeling over-extended, try taking one or two things off your agenda, or say no to the next thing that comes your way in favor of a little decompression time. I promise your mood will improve.

7. Schedule Self-Indulgence Time

This is another personal tip that goes hand-in-hand with the last one. If you’re a hyper-busy person, schedule in some down time for yourself! Whether it be the gym, drinks with friends, or just vegging out and binge watching some TV, make sure you’re scheduling in time for your own enjoyment, whatever that may be.

8. Phone A Friend

A study featured on Science Daily out of the University of Michigan found that while time spent on social media, like Facebook and Twitter, generally made study participants less happy, talking to a friend on the phone made them more happy. So close that laptop and pick up the phone!

9. Listen To Upbeat Music

According to a study featured in the Journal of Positive Psychology, research has shown that listening to upbeat music can genuinely make us happier. However, the study’s author notes that we shouldn’t start listening with the mentality of “am I happy yet?” and instead just let the experience take its course.

10. Get More Sleep

According to Harvard Medical School, there is a strong link between sleep and mood, but it probably doesn’t take a scientific study to tell you that it can be extremely difficult to feel good when you’re sleep deprived. I personally find it that my coping mechanisms go out the window after several days of minimal sleep, and always feel like an entirely new person once I’ve given my body the rest it needs.

11. Get A Plant

A study featured in The Guardian found that employees were generally happier and 15 percent more productive when there were plants in their work space. So take a cue from the study and add some green to your life! It’s a super small change that could make a noticeable difference.

There’s no secret formula to enjoying life. It’s often just about recognizing what’s making us unhappy and making moves to change it. So incorporate some or all of the above tips and embrace the good that follows!



I found this article to be a great reference guide on making the most out of life. One of the tips is to get a plant. At Christmas, my sister and brother in law gave us a palm tree. I researched on how to water it and was told it can grow very slowly. The first few months, I felt blessed it stayed green. Then I looked down in the middle about a month ago and saw frongs which were small and I thought the info was right, slow and steady as it goes. Well about a week ago when I went to water it, I was so shocked at the height of those new leaves. Wow, I see what #11 means as I was like a new Mom watching my baby grow.

Live Life; Love Life; and Live Life to the fullest by loving to the fullest!

(C) Copyright 2012-2018 Arline Miller with all rights and privileges reserved. Third Party Material is sourced, if known, to original location for credit references. 


WHAT SIDE OF A RAINBOW DO YOU SEE? This morning a dear friend, whose picture should be beside the word Positive, shared a thought on Facebook and it resonated me and brought some further thoughts from her message. I thought I would expand on her thought of what side of a rainbow do you see. Here is Mary Kathryn Gentry’s message and then we will discuss this philosophical thought afterwards.

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Photo and message courtesy of Mary Kathryn Gentry
I thought I would address Looking on the positive side of the rainbow of life. We choose to be happy or not. Of course we will have days that are not the brightest and some will be downright dreary but keeping a positive attitude helps get us through the dreariness and we will appreciate the beauty of the rainbow when it shows itself. Let’s look at some quotes I found on the subject:
Looking on the Bright Side – Quotes to Stay Positive

Everyone has bad days. Times where nothing seems to go right. Days where the sun doesn’t seem to be shining in your direction. But rest assure that the negativity will pass and once again you’ll have a good day. Here are some inspirational quotes to help you stay positive and carry you on to your good day.
Read more at http://www.beliefnet.com/inspiration/quotes/looking-on-the-bright-side-quotes-to-stay-positive.aspx#BBzh3wVGwVdEMBLP.99


Read more at http://www.beliefnet.com/inspiration/quotes/looking-on-the-bright-side-quotes-to-stay-positive.aspx?p=3#ShLyScUPThImQt2J.99



rainbows and balloons

Michael Jordan

“Always turn a negative situation into a positive situation.”
Read more at http://www.beliefnet.com/inspiration/quotes/looking-on-the-bright-side-quotes-to-stay-positive.aspx?p=4#xhY9H8VG3eufjDWi.99

T. F. Hodge

“Elevate your inside game. A negative attitude is below the horizon…a place for lonesome hearts.”
Read more at http://www.beliefnet.com/inspiration/quotes/looking-on-the-bright-side-quotes-to-stay-positive.aspx?p=5#tJUHSkIVL2fMGm7w.99

John Wooden

“If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything. I’m positive that a doer makes mistakes.”
Read more at http://www.beliefnet.com/inspiration/quotes/looking-on-the-bright-side-quotes-to-stay-positive.aspx?p=7#xx2d5SXdSlRYRpO1.99

Demi Lovato

“No matter what you’re going through, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and it may seem hard to get to it but you can do it and just keep working towards it and you’ll find the positive side of things.”
Read more at http://www.beliefnet.com/inspiration/quotes/looking-on-the-bright-side-quotes-to-stay-positive.aspx?p=8#ySkVK5REUdQslTXc.99

Nhat Hanh

“People deal too much with the negative, with what is wrong. Why not try and see positive things, to just touch those things and make them bloom?”
Read more at http://www.beliefnet.com/inspiration/quotes/looking-on-the-bright-side-quotes-to-stay-positive.aspx?p=9#aB1X5HY0O4k57d2E.99


  1. 1.
    consisting in or characterized by the absence rather than the presence of distinguishing features.
  2. 2.
    (of a person, attitude, or situation) not desirable or optimistic.
    “the new tax was having a very negative effect on car sales”
    synonyms: pessimisticdefeatistgloomycynicalfatalisticdismissiveantipatheticcritical;More

  1. 1.
    a word or statement that expresses denial, disagreement, or refusal.
    “she replied in the negative
    synonyms: “no”, refusalrejectionvetoMore

    a photographic image made on film or specially prepared glass that shows the light and shade or color values reversed from the original, and from which positive prints can be made.
  1. 1.
    no (usually used in a military context).
    ““Any snags, Captain?” “Negative, she’s running like clockwork.””
  1. 1.
    reject; refuse to accept; veto.
    “the bill was negatived by 130 votes to 129”
  2. 2.
    render ineffective; neutralize.
    “should criminal law allow consent to negative what would otherwise be a crime?”I


As I posted and read the definition of negative, I truly understand why I want to always remain a positive minded person. Look at the connotation for being negative:

consisting in or characterized by the absence rather than the presence of distinguishing features.
I don’t know about any of your feelings and how you lean to either positive or negative, but this is worth pondering as to whether you want to be characterized by the absence (meaning you don’t make an impact or even  a memory of anything that distinguishes your being. Hmmm???
I prefer having an impact in life. I don’t desire to be a nobody or someone who lives in the absence of life.  In other words, when you see a rainbow, look at all sides by remembering the storm before but feel alive that the storm has passed and the skies are so beautiful they have produced one of the most mystifying works of God’s artistry…the magnificent rainbow and if you are really blessed, you just might see a double rainbow. Live Life; Love Life; and Live Life to the Fullest by giving credence to positive thoughts and actions. 

(C) Copyright 2012-2018 Arline Miller with all rights and privileges reserved and to be shared with credit for Sipping Cups of Inspiration. Third party material is sourced, if known to the original location for credit reference.


Today is officially the first day of summer, but wow, here in the south and other parts of the country we have been feeling summer for quite a while. While sweltering in this humidity infused atmosphere I came up with a post idea, how prepared are you for the heat of life as much as we prepare for the heat of summer.



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Let’s start with an article  I found on some ways you can prepare for the Summer Heat.



You can go to the original location of the article by clicking on the title below:


4 Ways You Can Prepare For The Summer Heat Now

Spring is upon us and summer is just around the corner. Increasing temperatures may have your thoughts turning towards how to keep your home cool when the heat of summer is in full-force. Bad memories of your sky-high electric bills from running your air conditioning last summer may still be in the back of your mind.

However, there are ways of preparing your home for summer early, to keep your home cooler and reduce your energy bills at the same time.

Install Attic Fans

Anyone who has completed elementary school science knows that heat rises. This factor, combined with the summer sun hitting your roof means that your attic is one of the hottest parts of your home during summer. This heat can stay trapped in your attic and continue to keep your home hot, rejecting your attempts to cool your home and making your air conditioner work overtime. Attic fans are the solution to draw this hot air out of your attic, keeping your attic and your whole home cooler. Solar powered attic fans are an even better solution that can allow you to take advantage of all the cooling benefits of solar star attic fans.

Image of laptop on desk with cupholder, mouse, and cellphone, with window and closed blinds in background

Keep Windows And Blinds Shut

Radiant heat is an overlooked factor in your home temperature. Sun shining through open windows, doors or traditional skylights can rapidly warm up the surfaces and air inside your home, keeping it stuffy and hot. Where possible installing block out blinds or curtains for your windows and doors, and sealing all openings and frames will reduce temperatures. An investment in double paned windows can also help to insulate your home against heat gain. Rather than choosing traditional skylights that allow maximum heat gain and glare into your home, consider SolaTubes, which make the most of natural sunlight while filtering out glare and keeping your insulation intact.

Change Your Lighting

Small touches can make a difference to the heat level in your home. For various reasons, homeowners greatly underestimate how effective changing light bulbs can be for energy efficiency and heat regulation in the home. Regularly changing incandescent light bulbs can help maximize light and reduce heat. For the best result, opt for energy efficient lightbulbs, or natural daylighting systems where possible.

Tune Up Your Air Conditioning

Tuning up your air conditioner early has many advantages. First of all, your air conditioner is clean and maintained, ready for peak performance when you need it most. Secondly, you make sure your air conditioning is operating properly before the booking rush for air conditioning maintenance when summer starts. While nothing beats the energy and cost efficiency of installing Solatubes to naturally cool your home, a well-maintained air conditioning unit efficiently lowers temperatures by using less energy, giving you better cooling results with lower utility bills.

The hottest months of summer have not come yet, but now is the perfect time to begin preparing for hotter weather. Tending to the smaller details of your home and working on natural lighting options will remove heat for your home so you can enjoy a cooler, more peaceful and pocket-friendly summer


Now, as I always do to apply simple ideas for your life for the betterment of enjoying it more. Here is my interpretation of these suggestions for improving and making your life sizzle in a wonderful way:

Install Attic Fans:

Our minds are the equivalent of an attic fan. As you can read, the attic fan’s function is to pull the hot air out of our house, let’s apply this to our minds. When we get agitated by situations, relationships, work related issues, financial woes, and I even hate to mention this but politics. The situations get steamier and hotter if not calmed and even released from our minds. May we begin to use our attic fans (minds) to resolve by calmly breathing in fresh air or ideas. Release the hot air by refusing to argue heatedly.

Keep Windows and Blinds Shut:

Oh, I feel this topic catching on by the suggestion of keeping windows and blinds shut by avoiding getting involved in others’ business if not asked to give our thoughts. Far too many times, we add our thoughts and yes, our opinions without being asked. We jump in and give our two cents worth (and literally that is truly the worth but we think it is priceless). My Mom had an old saying that she had adopted, “If you sweep around your own door, you wont have time to sweep around someone else’s.” That saying didn’t mean not to help others when needed but tend to your own business first and if you properly care for your house and life, you don’t have time to be nosy. Keep the windows and other people’s lives shut from nosiness.

Change your lighting:

If we live in the dark or even if we try to be brightest light in our world, we sometimes miss how a conservative life can be the easiest and most beneficial. Too many times and you will probably agree, one person in the neighborhood will try to outdo all of the rest by putting up 10,000 lights. We do this in more ways than just lights, in dress, jewelry, cars, toys, hobbies, etc. We feel we have to outshine someone else, why? Turn down the watts and learn how a simpler life will be more rewarding and stop the competition and conserve your energy into a higher power outlet. Save your brilliance for the ultimate lighting of your soul.

Tune up your air conditioning:

We are now into what I consider the most important instruction on improving our lives by tuning up our minds, our bodies, and our spirits. So many times, we want the instant fix such as a perfect diet, a perfect soulmate, a perfect home, a perfect job, a perfect financial picture but it is a simple fix in proper maintaining of all aspects of our lives by tuning up what we have. This is what I mean by a simple fix for tuning up our lives:

  • Tune up our minds by adding positive input such as motivational books, audios, seminars and speakers. Determine things and events which inspire your mind. Tune out the negativity. Move away from friends and/or associates, activities which dampen your spirits. Tune down anger and forgive others frequently.
  • Tune up your body by learning how and what to eat to benefit a positive body and tune down the foods which alter your body shape and mindset. Tune your engine with an exercise and physical activity which you enjoy because you will keep it running if you enjoy doing it.
  • Tune up your relationship by adding those additives which make it run smoother and remains in the showroom condition as when you first fell in love. Tune up with dates and special trips with romantic, cuddling, and fun times.
  • Tune up your home that you have. Little, inexpensive, changes and tune up of decor will brighten your home life. You don’t have to have a mansion such as everyone doesn’t drive a Mercedes to get to the destination, but a well maintained home and yards make you want to be at home.
  • Tune up your job and/or career by giving it a shot of adrenaline of effort. Do you willingly and freely volunteer to do the tedious tasks which will make the biggest impact on the success of business? Remember well tuned parts make the entire equipment run well together.
  • Tune up your finances by idling down your spending. Think before you buy. Is this really necessary? It’s kind of like the trinket or dice hanging from the mirror, is it really something that will add to the equipment or is it something that will keep you from having perfect vision or finances.

I think you get the picture from applying simple rules or as I like to ponder “Does it make common sense?” Life is hard enough but maintaining simple rules and management can keep you cool and comfortable in the hottest seasons of life. Live Life, Love Life, and Live Life to the Fullest by Cooling Your Life with Love.



(C) Copyright 2012-2018 Arline Miller with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material is sourced to original location if known. Photos are not exclusively the property of Sipping Cups of Inspiration and sourced if known.


 This post was originally posted in 2014, but I have thought more intently on this subject and enhanced this message worthy of repetition. Enjoy the enhancements and live life with expectations of joy and happiness.
TODAY THE WORD is EXPECTATION. What is expected in life? We look forward with excitement and expectations of upcoming celebrations and holidays. The excitement builds as the event comes closer. We build up certain expectations; some are realistic and some are fantasy filled. I see peoples faces filled with pleasure and I see some people that are disappointed in what they receive as gifts. They may try to mask it but it somehow shows on their face.
Expectations in relationships; expectations in careers; expectations in child bearing; and expectations in friendships can all be wonderful or can be disappointing if either of these expectations fail. What is a realistic expectation? To me, and this may differ with some of you, a realistic expectation is one which all factors, good or bad, have been thoroughly thought and a willingness to accept its acceptance whether it comes to succession or unable to manifest itself. In other words, can you live with or without this desire or expectation? We sometimes build our expectations up only to have them shot down by outside factors and not anything we could have done to make it happen. This is what I wanted to talk with you about. I don’t need to write about fulfilled expectations; you accept those with excitement and the adrenalin is flowing. It is the unfulfilled expectations which are the hardest to accept. You were expecting a raise or promotion or you were expecting to get the new job; it doesn’t happen. You were hoping the man or woman of your dreams would ask you out for a date; he or she doesn’t. You were expecting your marriage to last forever; it doesn’t. You feel you have a great friend; you find out he or she wasn’t your friend at all.
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What is a person to do when expected expectations do not occur? Your life can either accept disappointment and move past the adverse situation. If you do; usually something better comes along. I don’t understand this rationality; but it is true. If you don’t accept it and if you don’t move past; you bury yourself in depressive thoughts. “Nothing produces Nothing” so there you sit having a pity party. Anyone who shows up at your pity party only want to wallow with you. A true friend tells you to get up and get moving. Expect and get excited; if it changes; change with it. Life is an interesting expectation but is full of changes.
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The Expectations Trap

Why we’re conditioned to blame our partners for our unhappiness.

By Hara Estroff Marano, published March 1, 2010 – last reviewed on April 10, 2017

The Expectations Trap: Perfection, Please

If there’s one thing that most explicitly detracts from the enjoyment of relationships today, it’s an abundance of choice. Psychologist Barry Schwartz would call it an excess of choice—the tyranny of abundance. We see it as a measure of our autonomy and we firmly believe that freedom of choice will lead to fulfillment. Our antennae are always up for better opportunities, finds Schwartz, professor of psychology at Swarthmore College.

Just as only the best pair of jeans will do, so will only the best partner—whatever that is. “People walk starry-eyed looking not into the eyes of their romantic partner but over their romantic partner’s shoulder, in case there might be somebody better walking by. This is not the road to successful long-term relationships.” It does not stop with marriage. And it undermines commitment by encouraging people to keep their options open.

Like Doherty, Schwartz sees it as a consequence of a consumer society. He also sees it as a self-fulfilling phenomenon. “If you think there might be something better around the next corner, then there will be, because you’re not fully committed to the relationship you’ve got.”

It’s naive to expect relationships to feel good every minute. Every relationship has its bumps. How big a bump does it have to be before you do something about it? As Hopkins’s Cherlin says, if you’re constantly asking yourself whether you should leave, “there may be a day when the answer is yes. In any marriage there may be a day when the answer is yes.”

One of the problems with unrestrained choice, explains Schwartz, is that it raises expectations to the breaking point. A sense of multiple alternatives, of unlimited possibility, breeds in us the illusion that perfection exists out there, somewhere, if only we could find it. This one’s sense of humor, that one’s looks, another one’s charisma—we come to imagine that there will be a package in which all these desirable features coexist. We search for perfection because we believe we are entitled to the best—even if perfection is an illusion foisted on us by an abundance of possibilities.

If perfection is what you expect, you will always be disappointed, says Schwartz. We become picky and unhappy. The cruel joke our psychology plays on us, of course, is that we are terrible at knowing what will satisfy us or at knowing how any experience will make us feel.

If the search through all possibilities weren’t exhausting (and futile) enough, thinking about attractive features of the alternatives not chosen—what economists call opportunity costs—reduces the potential pleasure in whatever choice we finally do make. The more possibilities, the more opportunity costs—and the more we think about them, the more we come to regret any choice. “So, once again,” says Schwartz, “a greater variety of choices actually makes us feel worse.”

Ultimately, our excess of choice leads to lack of intimacy. “How is anyone going to stack up against this perfect person who’s out there somewhere just waiting to be found?” asks Schwartz. “It creates doubt about this person, who seems like a good person, someone I might even be in love with—but who knows what’s possible out there? Intimacy takes time to develop. You need to have some reason to put in the time. If you’re full of doubt at the start, you’re not going to put in the time.”

Moreover, a focus on one’s own preferences can come at the expense of those of others. As Schwartz said in his 2004 book, The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less, “most people find it extremely challenging to balance the conflicting impulses of freedom of choice on the one hand and loyalty and commitment on the other.”

And yet, throughout, we are focused on the partner we want to have, not on the one we want—or need—to be. That may be the worst choice of all.

Disappointment—or Tragedy?

The heightened sensitivity to relationship problems that follows from constantly appraising our happiness encourages couples to turn disappointment into tragedy, Doherty contends.

Inevitably, images of the perfect relationship dancing in our heads collide with our sense of entitlement: “I’m entitled to the best possible marriage.” The reality of disappointment becomes intolerable. “It’s part of a cultural belief system that says we are entitled to everything we feel we need.”

Through the alchemy of desire, wants become needs, and unfulfilled needs become personal tragedies. “A husband who isn’t very expressive of his feelings can be a disappointment or a tragedy, depending on whether it’s an entitlement,” says Doherty. “And that’s very much a cultural phenomenon.” We take the everyday disappointments of relationships and treat them as intolerable, see them as demeaning—the equivalent of alcoholism, say, or abuse. “People work their way into ‘I’m a tragic figure’ around the ordinary problems of marriage.” Such stories are so widespread, Doherty is no longer inclined to see them as reflecting an individual psychological problem, although that is how he was trained—and how he practiced for many years as an eminent family therapist. “I see it first now as a cultural phenomenon.”

First Lady Michelle Obama is no stranger to the disappointment that pervades relationships today. In Barack and Michelle: Portrait of an American Marriage, by Christopher Anderson, she confides how she reached a “state of desperation” while working full-time, bringing in the majority of the family income, raising two daughters, and rarely seeing her husband, who was then spending most of his week away from their Chicago home as an Illinois state senator, a job she thought would lead nowhere while it paid little. “She’s killing me with this constant criticism,” Barack complained. “She just seems so bitter, so angry all the time.” She was annoyed that he “seems to think he can just go out there and pursue his dream and leave all the heavy lifting to me.”

But then she had an epiphany: She remembered the guy she fell in love with. ” I figured out that I was pushing to make Barack be something I wanted him to be for me. I was depending on him to make me happy. Except it didn’t have anything to do with him. I needed support. I didn’t necessarily need it from Barack.”

Certainly, commitment narrows choice. But it is the ability to remember you really do love someone—even though you may not be feeling it at the moment.

Commitment is the ability to sustain an investment, to honor values over momentary feelings. The irony, of course, is that while we want happiness, it isn’t a moment-by-moment experience; the deepest, most enduring form of happiness is the result of sustained emotional investments in other people.



This excerpt from the mentioned article is reflective of the trap of expectation and you might take the time to read the entire article by clicking on the title link. Interesting read. 

Bloggers note: My thought is live by expectation of adaptation and flexibility. Whatever happens today, expect to be surprised by the unexpected. Bend, shape, and mold yourself into a workable art form. Try to use materials (thoughts and knowledge) that will conform to the environment and current life standards.

LIVE LIFE, LOVE LIFE, AND LIFE LIFE TO THE FULLEST by expecting changes and welcoming the newness of those changes.

images (4)
Acts 3:5 ESV 
And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them
(C) copyright 2012-2018 Arline Lott Miller. The material here copyrighted, use only by permission. Third party material if known is sourced to original location for credit source.


TAKE CARE OF YOUR FINANCIAL HEALTH is a remedy for increasing your physical health as well as your mental health. How much do you have in credit card debt? How much savings do you have? If the first question’s answer is higher than the second question, you are suffering from financial woe syndrome. I am not a financial wizard but together with my husband’s cooperation, we figured out some ways to overcome the symptoms of over spending, impulsive spending, and living above our means. As a diabetic that gets excited when my numbers normalize because of smart choices, it feels the same excitement to first see the debt go down and then be eliminated.

I am posting this blog not to brag as it is a difficult and challenging task but I can personally tell you the joy of watching balances go down and then disappear is wor6fdce-hesitate1th every sacrifice. I would like to share our story, not the personal details but the “How” we worked toward this goal. Maybe you can clear out the financial overload cabinet and feel the freedom from shelling out money for high interest  and find ways to invest that same money instead of needless payments.

Did it happen overnight? No, absolutely not. I see the advertisements of how people got out of credit card debt in a short time and I think they couldn’t have owed what we did. It took me over 4 years to make it happen but it did. Looking back over the time it took, maybe you might ask, “That’s a long time. Would you do it again?” I would answer, “What I would do differently is I wouldn’t allow us to get sick in credit card debt.” That may be too late for several of you and you may be in the same ward of debt as we were. Here is how I worked at getting healthier in our financial world.race

Tips on how to treat your credit card sickness:

  1. Decide you are fighting an illness. Buying things when you have to depend on credit should only be used when the purchase is an emergency need and not a whim purchase. 
  2. As any illness, make up your mind to fight it and do what is necessary the same way you begin to exercise more, eat healthier, avoid the pitfalls of binge eating. In other words, begin to exercise purchase restraint, buy healthier purchases, and avoid the binge or compulsive spending.
  3. List out all balances on all cards or other loan payments other than your mortgage (that debt can be paid off quicker after you have taken care of those high interest cards or store accounts. 
  4. Prioritize the highest interest accounts as these are the cards you place in a drawer and NEVER use them again. You heard me right! That was the first thing we did was to stop using those cards and eliminate those balances first. 
  5. Forget minimum payments! Stop reading this blog if that is what you do and if you want to continue this practice, I can tell you that you will remain in debt forever. 
  6. Make a budget on your have to pay bills like utility bills, cell phone, internet, mortgage or rent, regular medications, estimate on food costs, etc. That goes on the left side of the page with a total at the bottom. On the right side, count all net income (do not use your gross as that is not applicable to this plan).
  7. Once you have the totals, find the difference in accessible revenue. This is your IV for improving your health. Once you have usable money, you can distribute this money by payments to those ugly, nasty credit cards paying more to the highest interest cards and lesser to the others. 
  8. In other words, don’t try to pay all of the cards off at one time. It is my way of saying Chip Away at the biggest weight holding you down. An example would be if you have $200 to pay the cards and you have three cards pay $100 to the highest interest and either $50 to each of the others or even $75 to the next highest one and $25 to the lower interest card. When you see the next step this will become clearer.
  9. If you are not hurting by the payments, you are not getting anywhere. I bled while I made those payments and there were times when it seemed very difficult but we were determined to accomplish a credit card freedom.
  10. Once you pay the highest card off, and this is the secret and the key to making it work……take that same amount that you paid to the first card, and choose the second highest interest card and pay that “extra” to that card. Remember the example, you paid $100 to the highest card and $75 to the second one…..now pay $175 to the second one and continue paying $25 to the next in line. Guess what, that second card will get paid a lot sooner and then what happens, you begin to pay $200 on that last one and it happens sooner. 
  11. As balances go down and no purchases unless emergency needs, you will find it tempting to stop paying the extra to those other cards…..DO NOT BE TEMPTED! This plan only works if you are determined. We know from dieting, if we are not determined, we fall off the diet wagon easily.
  12. Here is the most important tip I can give you. When the credit card debt is gone, and it will happen if you follow this plan and not purchase needlessly, do not go back in the trap of credit card debt. You will begin the next phase…Saving Money for rainy day purchases.0bafc-coins
  13. Our goal has been initiated that since we have been paying that amount out to credit cards, why not put that same amount into savings? Let’s go back to the example and for a lot of us, I am minimizing the amount but it is an example: The $200 you paid out for credit card debts can go into a savings account. This part of your savings will become your emergency purchase account. No, you can’t start spending more, LOL. Using this method, in 5 months, there would be $1000 for an emergency. If you can save $400 a month, you then have $2000 emergency purchase funds. Can you see what begins to happen? In 5 short months, you would not have to go to a card. You take care of the emergency and begin to rebuild that emergency fund without paying that awful interest.5f28a-change2
  14. When you have accomplished this part of the plan, a reward is wonderful, but I made a hitch in the reward. We have to build up whatever amount we are going to use for our reward and it can’t go on a card. I found ways to put money aside for us to have a reward trip (not an expensive cruise, or flight) but a nice long weekend getaway. 
  15. Once you get in the mood of financial health, you go on a maintenance plan using the logic I have laid out. Look at other spending and cut out unnecessary spending. It will amaze you as it did me at the wasteful spending we all do on a regular basis. This spending elimination will give you more money for your rewards and/or the savings element.b036f-grocerylist_w200

The above list are my ideas and not anyone else’s financial plan and are based on our personal goals and achievements. This year on my husband’s birthday and for Mother’s Day our gift to each other were printouts of zero balances. Best celebration we can remember.

I am not a financial expert or advisor. I found a way to take stress out of our “financial bliss” and we both feel a splurge of freedom from worry. I can’t guarantee you this will work for everyone and it is the concept not details that may be helpful. LIVE LIFE, LOVE LIFE, AND LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST by adjusting your priorities to make it happier!

(C) Copyright 2012-2018 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material, if known, is sourced to original location for credit references


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