imconfident

I sincerely believe that it is far more beneficial and far less costly to help a child build confidence than it is to fix an adult who has little or none.

Someone is watching you

mom and girl planting seedsWe always need to think carefully about what we say and do because someone might be watching us.  Young children especially, are great imitators and they will try to imitate the actions of everyone around them.   You might notice a child imitating a bad behaviour that you have shown them without even realizing it. We aren’t always aware of what we are doing because we do many things by habit, but all of us have bad habits that we know are wrong and if we don’t actively change them, we may have a bad influence on the people around us.

We need to help build good habits ourselves and become a positive role model, so we can help children and everyone around us to build good habits.

  • If we model love, people will learn to love.
  • If we model patience, people will learn to be patient.
  • If we model kindness, people will learn to be kind.
  • If we model responsibility, people will learn to be responsible.

We don’t want to be a model of an angry, unhappy, bitter or nasty person.  This certainly doesn’t help anyone, especially ourselves and it won’t attract friends.   People want to be around those who are happy, friendly and sincere.  By providing children and other people around us, with a loving, supportive atmosphere, it helps them develop the skills necessary to overcome life’s challenges and difficulties.  It will help them build confidence in their abilities and increase their self-esteem.  It will also help us build our own confidence and esteem.

So remember – someone is watching you!  Is it your children, your family, your friends, your co-workers, other people in the community?  Are you modelling good habits?

 

 

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Build traditions

Family Standing Behind a Car at a Picnic SpotWhen I was a child, most families had traditions, but today it seems that people just don’t have time to keep or build any traditions.  Families used to eat together, play together, pray together.  Now it seems that everyone is just too busy to be bothered about having any traditions.   Family members have different schedules for work, school and other various activities, often passing each other going in or out of the house.   Traditions are no longer important to most people simply because they don’t have time.

If you don’t have time for building traditions, you are missing out on something very meaningful.   Traditions help family members connect and reassure them of how important they are.  They help people feel special, that they are loved and that they belong.   Traditions don’t have to take a long time, just a few minutes each day being together as a family is important.   Take a look at your priorities and determine what is important in your life.  Is it work, money, sports, watching TV?   These things don’t really provide you with much lasting happiness in life.  Good relationships with family and friends is much more important and fulfilling.

Take some time to build traditions and discover how rewarding it can be.  Here are some ideas:

  • special occasion family meals – birthdays, anniversaries, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas
  • weekly pizza night
  • annual camping trip
  • back to school shopping trip
  • daily walk
  • weekly games night
  • once-a-month family dance party or sing-a-long
  • weekly cookie bake
  • weekly BBQ
  • nightly bedtime story (for young children)
  • family trip to get a pumpkin or Christmas tree
  • annual family fishing derby
  • weekly church participation
  • Popcorn and movie night
  • Summer or winter vacation

There are lots of ideas for creating traditions with family and friends.  Think of some that you would enjoy doing with your family, then get together and make it happen!  Start building some traditions that will follow you throughout life.  Great traditions make life special.  Enjoy!!

 

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Today is a brand new day

Don’t you just love waking up in the morning and realizing that today is a brand new day?  No?  Well, you aren’t alone.  Many people don’t like mornings.  I used to be one of those people who woke up dreading the day and feeling just terrible.                                 

The average, healthy, well-adjusted adult gets up at seven-thirty in the morning feeling just plain terrible.  ~Jean Kerr, Please Don’t Eat the Daisies, 1957

yawning

Nothing good was going to happen, so what was the point in even getting up?  It was a constant fight with myself to get out of bed and get ready for work.  “I don’t want to get up.”  “I don’t feel good.” “I don’t want to talk to anyone.”  There were all sorts of arguments that I tried on myself.  Of course, I had to work, so I dragged myself out of bed.

I’d like mornings better if they started later.  ~Author Unknown

sleeping with teddy bear

Now, I love waking up in the morning knowing that today is a brand new day and that everything is new and fresh.    I hear the sounds of the traffic, the birds singing, a dog barking and I am thankful that I can hear.  I see the sun shining, the raindrops falling or the snowflakes drifting to the ground and I am thankful that I can see.  I can smell the coffee perking and the bacon cooking and I am thankful that I can smell.   When I get out of bed, I am thankful that I have legs to walk on.  When I hug my family, I’m thankful that I have arms to use.  There are so many things to be thankful for, I wonder why I ever hated getting up in the morning.

The moment when you first wake up in the morning is the most wonderful of the twenty-four hours.  No matter how weary or dreary you may feel, you possess the certainty that, during the day that lies before you, absolutely anything may happen.  And the fact that it practically always doesn’t, matters not a jot.  The possibility is always there.  ~Monica Baldwin

happy face with bird

How did I change from being a miserable morning person to someone who enjoys the mornings?  It is all about perspective.  If you are like many people who have a negative perspective, as soon as you get up in the morning, you will focus on all the negatives in your life and be miserable.  If you work hard on developing a positive perspective, you will be able to see the positives in life and start your day on a positive note.

Be pleasant until ten o’clock in the morning and the rest of the day will take care of itself.  ~Elbert Hubbard

singing with note

Here are some ideas on how to change your perspective:

  • practice saying daily positive affirmations
  • consciously stop your negative thoughts
  • change your negative words into positive words
  • create positive habits
  • surround yourself with positive people, places and things
  • fill your emotional tank with positive fuel
  • think about all the things you can be thankful for

For more information and ideas, visit my website at www.imconfident.com

You can also download my Caterpillar to Butterfly Self-Esteem Workbook by visiting my website and clicking on the Bookstore tab.

 

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One day at a time

Carolina's butterfly2Setting goals is easy.  All you have to do is make some plans and determine when you will reach your goal.  Trying to reach a goal can be difficult.  You know where you want to go and how to get there, but it seems so far away.

Have you been in any of these situations?

  • trying to lose 50 pounds by summer which is 6 months away and by Valentine’s Day, you can’t resist all those chocolates
  • trying to stop smoking by your birthday which is 10 months away and you get so stressed out in a few weeks that you just give up
  • trying to stop biting your nails so you can get them done for a wedding in a couple of months, but you keep forgetting
  • trying to save money for a car, but as soon as you get paid, you spend it all

Instead of focusing on the end result and when you want to achieve your goal, just focus on one day at a time.  Promise yourself that you will work on your goal just for today.  Most people can manage one day.  It is so much easier than thinking about something that might or might not happen weeks or months down the road.

Promise that:

  • I will eat healthy today
  • I will not smoke today
  • I will not bite my nails today
  • I will not spend money on anything that isn’t necessary today

Once you get through today, you can make the same promise tomorrow, and again the next day and the next day.  It gets easier as you go along and soon you will have created a brand new habit that comes naturally.  Believe me, I know some people who have followed this simple rule and they have conquered some really bad habits, including myself.  It is even easier if you have the support of family and friends.

Try it.  Just one day at a time……

 

 

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Catch them red-handed!

mouse thiefHave you ever been caught red-handed?

Getting caught red-handed is a term that originated in Scotland somewhere around the 1500’s.  It meant that a murderer had been caught with blood on their hands.  The evidence could be clearly seen and it was easy to catch them.

Today, this term is used when anyone is caught in the act of committing a crime or doing something wrong.  Someone could be caught with their hands in a cash drawer at the wrong time and it would be assumed that they were stealing.  Someone could be damaging property and be caught while doing the act.

We’ve all been caught red-handed at one time or another and usually the result is negative.  People who are caught doing something wrong are often prosecuted and sometimes charged a fine or put in jail.  Children are often caught doing something wrong and then they are punished.

Why not catch someone doing something right instead of something wrong?  Isn’t that an awesome idea!   Catch a child cleaning their room, doing their homework, exercising, practising an instrument or even helping someone.  Tell them how special they and how important they are to you and your family.  This is positive reinforcement and will go a long way in teaching them responsibility and building their esteem.  You could even go further and tell others what great things they’ve done.  This is double positive reinforcement!

So catch them red-handed but do it in a positive way instead of a negative way.  It will have much better results!

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Spread some happiness around

2 dancingPeople have the wrong idea of how to find happiness.   They try to make themselves happy through other people or by accumulating stuff.  This can create happiness for a temporary period, but it doesn’t last.

If you want to find lasting happiness, you have to do things to make other people happy.   When you do something nice for another person, it has a double reward.  It makes them happy and it also makes you happy.

Of course, there are some really miserable people in the world who don’t seem to know how to be happy, but they are the ones who really need someone to be nice to them, so don’t take it personally and just keep trying.

There are so many unhappy people in the world.  Don’t be one of them.  Just go out and spread some happiness around and you will be sure to get lots back!

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How do you deal with annoying habits?

We all have some kind of habit that is annoying or irritating to someone.   This includes our kids, our friends, our spouses, our co-workers and ourselves.    Most of the time, people do these habits without even thinking about them or even realizing that they are bothering someone.

What habits annoy you the most and who does them?  Probably your spouse, your children or a close friend, because you are with them more often.

How do you deal with these annoying habits?  Get upset or angry?  Do you continually remind the person about their habit?  Do you argue or give them the silent treatment?  Sometimes it can be easier to just deal with your own reaction than to try to change their habit.

My husband has some annoying habits that used to really make me angry.  He leaves the closet door open, clothes laying in a pile on the dresser and crumbs on the counter, among others.  I’m sure that I have some habits that really annoy him too.   When I saw the open door, the clothes or the crumbs, I would literally see red and feel my blood pressure rising.  Sometimes I would even tell him about his annoying habits which would often result in a quarrel, but it didn’t seem to leave an impression and he would just do it again the next day.

I’ve been working hard on letting go of the small things in life that really aren’t that important even though they seemed to be a huge catastrophe at the time.   I try to focus on the important things in life:  my beautiful daughters, my awesome grandson, my hardworking husband and all the other wonderful people in my life.  I’m thankful that they are all healthy and I enjoy spending time with them.   Now when I see the open door, I close it.  When I see the clothing, I pick it up.  When I see the crumbs, I clean the counter.  And I laugh!!  I can’t believe that these open doorsilly little things used to upset me and steal my precious time.

 

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The Desiderata of Happiness

Desiderata

This well-known poem was written by American writer Max Ehrmann in 1927.  It gives some great advice.  Enjoy!

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

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A marriage checkup

couple eating ice creamMost of us do regular checkups with our doctor or dentist.  We take our vehicles into the shop for a regular checkup.  We take our pets in for their annual checkup.  But how many of us do a regular marriage checkup?

I often see couples walking down the street, not talking or connecting in any way, seemingly distant from each other.  They appear to be strangers who just happen to be walking side by side.  I see couples sitting in a restaurant eating who are busy texting on their phones or reading the newspaper and not one word comes out of their mouths.  There is no communication and no indication that they even care about each other.

How does life get to this point where people are just existing and not living?  What happened to the excitement when they first met and went out on a date?  They have forgotten to do regular checkups on their relationship and have drifted apart.

Marriages require constant attention.  They need maintenance just like a car or they won’t work.  If your marriage has fallen apart, you need to start doing some repairs.

  • Determine what is missing from your marriage and what you need to make it work again.  What brought you together in the first place?
  • Communicate.   Many marriages suffer because couple stop talking to each other.  Always try to keep the lines of communication open and resolve any issues before you go to bed at night.
  • Sit down together and do a personal assessment.  What are your strengths and differences.  Determine how you can support each other.
  • Forgive each other for past hurts.  Nothing hurts a marriage more than holding on to what has been done in the past.  We all make mistakes but this doesn’t mean we should continue to hurt each other.  Forgiveness doesn’t mean you are telling the person it was okay to hurt you, it is an act of releasing you from hanging on to the anger and bitterness.
  • Agree to disagree.  People think differently.  There will be many instances where you don’t agree and this is okay.
  • Find activities that you can both enjoy.  It is okay for couples to have different interests and spend time with friends, but it is important that you have activities to enjoy together.  Try something new that neither of you have ever done.  It could be fun!
  • Spend time together.  Many couples are too busy with work and outside activities that they rarely spend time together.  This will push people further away from each other.  Try to eat together, watch a good movie, take a walk or sit and watch the sunset.  Take a vacation to a romantic location and bring back that old spark you used to have.

If you take the time to do regular checkups on your marriage, it will run a lot smoother.  You will feel better, have more energy and enjoy life.   Don’t wait any longer.  Get started today!

 

 

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We are our own worst enemies

young sad manIt is a fact, WE ARE OUR OWN WORST ENEMIES.  Who hurts ourselves more than we do?  Except for extreme cases, nobody does.  We put ourselves in situations where we allow ourselves to be hurt, we talk to ourselves in a negative way, we put ourselves down, we call ourselves ‘stupid’, we tell ourselves that we are worthless.

Other people will often hurt us and then disappear from our lives, but we will continue to repeat their unkind or cruel words over and over again in our minds, sometimes for the rest of our lives.  We will re-live the abusive actions and tell ourselves that we deserved what happened.   We create harmful habits that hurt us continually.

Self-harming has become a growing problem with young people.  Stats show that at least one in four teens are using harmful behaviours, such as eating disorders, cutting, and self-criticism.  Some young people are convinced that inflicting pain on themselves is the only way to feel alive and often this is the only thing that they are able to control in their lives.

Parents and other adults are often hesitant to discuss these topics and will avoid speaking with the young people in their lives.  This creates a feeling of loneliness that will cause these neglected young people to isolate themselves when they really need to connect with someone.   Sadly, some media sites encourage self-harm by promoting and glorifying these actions.

It is important that we take action to help young people today realize that their lives are valuable and they should never do harm to themselves.  Start a conversation with the young people around you and let them know how special they are.  Help them build confidence and increase their self-esteem.  Be a positive role model and help someone become their own best friend!

Here is an article on this topic with some information on a new campaign to address this issue.   http://www.ypulse.com/post/view/the-social-network-of-self-harm

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