Actress Mary Steenburgen offers her tips for positive thinking.
- Posted on Jun 2, 2009
Academy Award-winning actress Mary Steenburgen has charmed audiences with roles in dozens of hit movies and television shows, including Elf, Joan of Arcadia, and I Am Sam, to name a few.
Mary’s real-life roles include wife of actor Ted Danson (Cheers, Becker, Curb Your Enthusiasm), mom to daughter Lilly and son Charlie, and stepmom to Ted’s daughters Kate and Katrina.
Through her many different roles both onscreen and in real life, Mary has discovered ways to live a more positive life. Here she shares four of them.
1. Laugh Like a 12-Year-Old
Onscreen, I often play refined or reserved women, but in real life, I have the mentality of a 12-year-old boy! There’s nothing I enjoy more than a good joke, and there’s never anything so wrong with me that Ted can’t make me laugh.
My dream job was the movie Step Brothers with Will Farrell and John C. Reilly because I got to hang around with these two hilarious men all day. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven! I think the key to happiness is being able to find the humor in even tough situations.
Sometimes, all you can do is laugh. It’s good for the soul.
2. Celebrate the Gifts God Gives You
Every day, I stop and consider how blessed I am to have Ted and our amazing kids. Ted and I met after we’d both gone through some really tough stuff, and I definitely believe that he was a gift from God.
Also, our kids are now adults, and they’re our best friends. Our family philosophy is that we are a gift to one another, and not to celebrate it would be almost a crime. Think about the relationships in your life that are deeply rich and rewarding and be grateful for them.
3. Light a Candle—Literally and Figuratively
With so many problems in the world today, it’s easy to feel like we can’t make a difference, but each of us has to try to play our own small part in improving things.
In other words: Just because we can’t do everything doesn’t mean we can’t do something. No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.
When my daughter Lilly and I decided to launch our own line of soy-based, environmentally responsible candles, we also decided to donate a portion of the proceeds to Heifer International, an organization that provides livestock to impoverished people all over the world.
We feel like we’re doing something beautiful on an aesthetic level and also helping other people, which is the most beautiful thing any of us can do.
4. Scare Yourself—in a Good Way
Every actor dreads being typecast. People used to think of me only as a dramatic actress, yet I’ve just made five comedies in a row!
It’s not just actors who are typecast, though: We tend to pigeonhole others—as well as ourselves—because it just feels easier. But we’re all complicated, and nobody boils down to just one thing.
When I was thinking about getting into the home-and-garden and candle-making businesses, my first thought was, “I don’t know anything about this!”
But I took the leap, and I learned. It was a little scary, but I think it’s important sometimes to scare ourselves a bit, to step outside the mold we think we fit into. Even if you fail, you grow from the experience.
And you might just find that the role you were destined to play is much bigger than the one someone else wrote for you.
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