June 25, 2018 Blog No Comments

We just returned from a lovely stay in Negril. The more I heard people talking, the more I heard Jamaican quotes: with lessons on life. I was charmed by them. Jamaican’s are open and loving with a clear view on what’s important in life. And unlike other tropical countries, they have no desire to emulate us. They expect to change us, and they do.

See if these quotes help you to see things a little differently too. If so, then they have achieved their desired effect – to share what they know is important in life.

“We Don’t Have Problems, We Have Situations”

The T shirts you see everywhere say it all. No Problem-No Worries. I thought it was hokey tourism at first, I had to shake off my western mindset to enter the vibe of their lifestyle to understand the importance of this saying.

It was Larry, our driver who told me “We don’t have problems, we have situations”. There’s a big difference. A problem is bad. Something is wrong and often there is blame involved. A situation offers a challenge, a puzzle, or a sequence of things to figure out and do. They feel different – one brings you down and sucks the air out of you and the other is slightly interesting and maybe intriguing. It’s a matter of perspective. Which do you choose? We always have control over how we think about things.

Do you want to be challenged by the situations in your life or dragged down by problems?

“Life is Meant To Be Lived To The Fullest” – “Be Happy”

Another saying I thought was for suckers is “Be Happy”. It’s plastered enough places you start to ignore it. Of course, you’re happy in paradise. It so beautiful and relaxing surrounded by warm turquoise water, waves washing in on white sand, soft ocean breezes, bright tropical flowers, doves cooing in the trees. And at night, it’s a joy to hear the deep bass of reggae rhymes drifting down the beach. If you’re not happy, there something’s wrong with you.

But it means more than that. It was Shine, who provides security at our cottages and has been doing that job for thirty years, who said to me “Life is meant to be lived to the fullest” He doesn’t mean it the way we think. Living fully is not about going and doing at a furious pace. He explained that we each have the potential to enjoy life, but it means being in the moment, being present and appreciating it. Be connected to everything around you, especially nature. Slow down, pay attention, listen, watch. Blend in with your environment. Learn to make the most of every minute so you are fully living.

Find the joy in every moment, in everything you do so you can know what it means to live fully.


While this saying may be a fad in the States, I wouldn’t be surprised if it originated in Jamaica. When you have a sincere and heartfelt conversation with a Jamaican, which seems to happen easily, it often ends with a hand bump and being told “respect”. It is a sign of being valued and recognized.

When you think about it, isn’t that what we really want from each other? To be told “respect” as an acknowledgement of your exchange with someone is the highest compliment. It means you are seen, appreciated and acknowledged. Can you sincerely say that to most of the people you deal with?

Wouldn’t life be better if we all showed each other more respect?

“If You Come Again, You’ll Be Jamerican”

A common question to us was “have you been here before”. When they learn we haven’t, they want to hear what we like and how we’re enjoying it. The pride and delight in their country is embedded in these dialogs. Sharing our joy becomes Jamaican’s pleasure.

The final quote as we were leaving was. “If you come again, you’ll be Jamerican”. I love this. It implies what I knew was happening to me. I was internalizing their way of life and wanting more of it. I was discovering their joyous, simple, easy in the moment approach to living. It changes you from in the inside out. Of course, we want to come again.

Relax, be in the moment, don’t push so hard, be happy, no problems… respect.

If you’ve been to Jamaica, you know what I am talking about here. It’s a visceral experience to be immersed in the beauty of the tropics while also being lulled by the lovely way the Jamaican people enjoy life and want to share It with you. From their declaration that life isn’t a focus on problems, that it’s meant to be lived fully in the moment, with happiness, that you can treat each other with respect simply by appreciating each other and when you do all this you will be changed. It’s a simple and beguiling recipe for changing your life for the better.

Maybe you would like to discover more of this for yourself. If you’d like to explore what blocks you from the simple joys of life, my Transformational Life Coaching and Counseling can help. Go to my website www.spectrumtransformation.com  for more information on how I work. Use my Free Consultation button to reach me. I’d love to hear from you!

Written by Connie Milligan, LCSW
If there is anything I’ve expressed that speaks to you, I’d love to hear from you. You can reach me at my email, connie [at] conniemilligan [dot] com