Life Lessons Learned from Betty White

Jan 11, 2022

Lessons learned from Betty White

Photo: Jane Duursma on Unsplash

 Enjoying life to its fullest

If there was ever a person who made the most of her life, it was Betty White. She was not only our loving and caring friend, confidant, comic relief and inspiration, she loved animals unconditionally and helped them in various ways.

Her vibrant personality and cheerful, positive attitude are what made her timelessly successful in her career and beloved by literally every human who ‘knew’ her.

So, when the world found out about her soul’s transition on December 31, 2021, we were a bit shocked, and painfully heartbroken.

At 99, death is not shocking, but as her agent and longtime friend, Jeff Witjas, told People Magazine, “Even though Betty was about to be 100, I thought she would live forever.”

We all felt that way.

Betty first aired on television in 1939, which gave her the title: Longest TV career by an entertainer (female) from the Guinness Book of World Records.

She had slowed down because of COVID, but still appeared on screen, for example, to announce her 100th birthday party which will still be celebrated on January 17, 2022 in select theaters across the United States. A huge disappointment for us expats, but I hope to see the documentary soon enough. I am patient!

The Secret to Betty White’s Success

Success doesn’t always or only mean financial. It also means success in your relationships, your health, your lifestyle. We all want to achieve success in all facets of our lives and because of this, at the beginning of each year, we set intentions to help us gain this success.

The key to Betty’s overall success was that she held true to her core beliefs and positive attitude.

While setting my own intentions for this year, I wrote down five main pillars to concentrate on: gratitude, joy, abundance, ease and love and it dawned on me that these are just a few things Betty was — and still is — to us and so, my note to self is to try to live my life like Betty!

So, now I want to take a moment to honor her life so that we can empower our own and inspire others to help create a kinder, more fun world.

What are the life lessons we can learn from Betty White?

She honored her own life and was enormously successful by being:

We need more Betty Whites in this world.

There’s no formula. Keep busy with your work and your life. You can’t become a professional mourner. It doesn’t help you or others. Replay the good times. Be grateful for the years you had.
Betty White

Humbly Grateful and Genuinely Happy

Experts and those who have mastered feeling gratitude will tell you that this IS the elixir to a fulfilling and happy life.

In this article about the connection between gratitude and happiness, they listed many studies, but one result from the Tennen and Afflek (2002) study jumped out at me. They “found when people are faced with adversity or traumas; if they are able to experience gratitude, they are able to push through the adversity or trauma and be more resilient.”

Malala Yousafzai is a perfect example. Despite being shot by the Taliban when she was 15 for speaking out about education rights for girls since she was 11, she survived, continued her work and was the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize at 17 in 2014. When you see her in interviews, she is kind and extremely grateful for her own education, for her parents who taught her to be strong and determined and for all her supporters and colleagues.

If you’ve watched any interviews or heard Betty White give a speech, she relentlessly expressed her pure gratitude. For her fans, for ‘putting up with her all these years’, for animals, for alcohol, humor, positive thinking, and much, much more.

If you want to practice gratitude to experience more happiness and joy in your life, I invite you to download this free guide provided by Positive Psychology. Just scroll down to the footer and leave your name and email address to receive the .pdf.

I also suggest starting a gratitude journal. Every night (I’ve only just started mine!), I write down one thing I’m grateful for along with five reasons why to truly feel into why I’m grateful.

Let me share my latest entry on Sunday, January 9, 2022:

I am grateful for my partner because:

❥ He continuously asks me how I’m doing, how I feel and if I need anything

❥ He makes me feel important and loves me for who I am

❥ He loves Nala (my labrador) and plays and cuddles with her

❥ He supports my work in remarkable ways

❥ He doesn’t make me feel guilty for not doing as much work around the house — we share responsibilities, but he definitely does more!

Writing it down on paper and getting specific really helps you feel into the emotions. I could have just written or thought: “I am grateful for my partner” and be done with it. I started to do that, thinking that’s how you keep a gratitude journal, but then I took Marie Forleo’s advice to do it this way, and, she’s right! The old way didn’t feel as powerful, but as soon as I started to get specific, it felt amazing!

After writing this in my journal last night, I felt such a wave of unconditional love that my entire evening was beautiful and that feeling still lasts today which is why I recommend to write it in the evening, so that you go to sleep with these loving thoughts in your head and you wake up thinking about them, too.

It’s now your turn:
What are you grateful for and why? List five reasons.

I’m currently reading about the life lessons learned from Betty White and invite you to do the same!

Hilarious and a Joy to be around

Now, being as punchy and witted as Betty White is tough, if not impossible, because there aren’t too many humans who have the timeless and quick humor that gapped over every generation like her, so we shouldn’t knock ourselves down if we can’t be like one of the most talented comedians in the world.

What we could take away from her talent is to not take ourselves too seriously and embrace her positive energy which always filled the room with pure joy. I’m sure she had her days and moments of disgust or aggravation or whatever negative emotion. That’s just a part of being human, but she will always be remembered for her optimism.

Her extra sharp wit had a twist of innocent nautiness and her delivery was timely and spot on.  She added her own personalized feminine charm by throwing a punch line with either keeping a straight face and looking around the room or flashing her listeners with her pearly whites and cheery dimples. Perfected precision.

No wonder why she was asked to host Saturday Night Live three times, but refused because she didn’t want to go to New York and, it was live, but then more than 500,000 fans requested her to host in a Facebook campaign and her agent, Jeff Witjas, convinced her. “How can you refuse?” Good thing she didn’t because she was not only the oldest host ever to host SNL at 88, she won her 8th Emmy for that performance. More importantly, both her, the cast and all of us fans shared an amazing evening together. Thank you for that, Betty!

Try this one on for size: If you’re not genuinely hilarious or funny, then at least laugh at yourself.

I am a positive thinker, a cockeyed optimist. And that is why I have stayed happy all my life. You gotta get through it and you can’t change it so let’s just put one foot in front of the other and get through it.
Betty White

Empathic and Kind

Known as our ‘National Treasure’, Betty will also be remembered for her kind and caring nature.

And boy did she love animals, one of her main passions. She didn’t want to be known as an animal rights activist, saying that activism brings out too much negativity. She had a positive approach in that she showed others how loving and beautiful animals are and how our lives are enriched with them. True that!

I have to disagree with her though because any human who advocates for the welfare of animals is an activist. We really need to redefine that term! And not only that, she personally supported numerous animal-related organizations in the form of donations, volunteering, fundraising and recording public service announcements.

To me, that IS activism.

Her kind approach is by far more effective than radical activism involving shaming, blaming and harming humans, both verbally or physically because you will never inspire others to respect animals, or change their mindsets about anything, if you use these tactics.

During the two seasons of The Pet Set which aired in 1971 and 1972 and was executive produced by her beloved husband, Allen Ludden, she showcased her lifelong devotion to animals, and the people who loved them. This show has recently been re-released as Betty White’s Pet Set. I know what I’m getting myself for my birthday this year!

Her love for animals was not the only thing that made her empathic and kind.

According to a PBS biography, in 1954, during “The Betty White Show,” she was encouraged to remove tap dancer and singer Arthur Duncan from her show. He was the first Black member of a variety show cast. She politely refused and said, “I’m sorry, but, you know, he stays.”

You can’t get more charming than that. She stuck her ground and did it the most elegant fashion.

She also gives female actresses hope for a promising future in an industry which isn’t accepting of older talent.

With empathy and kindness, Betty made history! 

Self-loving and Acceptance

Self-love is not easy for many people to achieve. It doesn’t sound difficult and you may not think about it much, or you may even think it’s an arrogant way of living, but when you take a deeper look, who’s your best critic? It usually is yourself, isn’t it?

And, how is that working out for you?

We’ve been taught not to flaunt or show off, but this is not what I mean when I say self-love.

Think about what the airplane crew tells us: We have to put on our masks before trying to help someone else because if you’re trying to help and can’t live long enough to do it or fail because you’re not doing well yourself, then you won’t be able to help anyone.

The same with love. In order to truly love someone else and receive love from others, you have to love yourself.

We all believe Betty was truly happy, especially with her late husband, Allen Ludden. She didn’t go through life with rose-colored glasses on though. No, she embraced all that life gave her with a passion. The good, the bad and the ugly and this requires self-love.

This also requires acceptance of others.

We often read and use the word tolerance when it comes to creating a diverse and inclusive world.

When you think about the definition, it’s extremely negative because it means you are willing to endure an opinion or action you disagree with or dislike. Well, that doesn’t sound too nice, does it?

I never really thought much about it until my client brought it to my attention and so now, I only use the word acceptance in this case because it means embracing a different lifestyle, person or act you aren’t aligned with yourself without adding pressure on anyone to change.

It has a more open and positive feeling that allows others to be themselves which is what we want so that we can create a kinder environment.

With Betty White’s mindset about others and how they live, all I have to do is share her quote: “I don’t know how people get so anti-something. Just mind your own business, take care of your own affairs, and don’t worry about other people so much.”

With her passive attitude, she actively made people think and that’s what we can all learn in our current shaming and blaming social media world.

All that said, I know that being against a broken system has its place in this world. We wouldn’t have as much vegan options in restaurants and stores if it didn’t. As women, we may still not be able to vote or attend the university. Gay couples wouldn’t be able to marry. We may still have slaves even! SO many things!

If activism is carried out in a Betty White way (respectful and determined), we will be more successful.

Want to read more uplifting articles?

How will you celebrate Betty White’s life? Please comment below and let’s talk!

Peace and love,
Sharing is Caring

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