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.

Who are your friends?

friendsFriends are an important part of our lives.  We all need friends and we all want people to like us.  However, it is also important that we choose our friends very carefully and make sure they are influencing us in a positive way.

Good friends are those who encourage us, support us and make us feel good.  Bad friends are those who discourage us, drag us down and make us feel bad.  It is far better to have just 1 good friend who is there when you need them, than 20 friends who spread gossip about you or are nowhere to be found when you need help.

Who are your friends?  Consider the following:

  • do you enjoy spending time with them
  • are you comfortable when you are with them
  • can you trust them completely
  • can you share secrets knowing they will never be repeated to anyone
  • do you encourage and support each other
  • are you there for each other when you are sick or in trouble
  • do you accept each other’s differences
  • are you able to disagree and not fight with each other

If you don’t completely trust your friends and are continually having problems in your relationships, you should consider distancing yourself from them and spending time building close relationships with one or two people who really care about and support you.  Also remember to be a good friend yourself.  If you want to have good friends, you have to be a good friend.

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Who is your hero?

superheroesIf someone asked who your favourite hero was, what would your answer be?  There are many past and present heroes that might come to mind:  John F Kennedy, Winston Churchill, Babe Ruth,  Martin Luther, Christopher Reeves, Mother Teresa and the list could go on and on.   Depending on your interests and where you live, certain people would stand out in your mind.

But what about the everyday heroes?  The ones that do small and often unnoticed acts of kindness right in your own community.  What about that nice man who lives across the road who shovels the driveways of your elderly neighbours for free?  What about that co-worker who looks after the children of her friends so they can enjoy a special evening out and doesn’t charge for babysitting?  What about that friend of yours who drops in with a cooked meal when you aren’t feeling well?  What about that store clerk who always has some kind words to say no matter how people treat her?

There are so many people who do continuous acts of kindness everyday and we don’t even realize it.  They don’t do it for recognition or reward, they are just full of love and have a caring heart.   They want to share their happiness with others and they really deserve a medal.  It is truly hard to be kind in a world where people are taught to be selfish and think about themselves first.

Are you a hero?  Do you think about other people before yourself?  How long has it been since you’ve done an act of kindness?  This world would be a much better place to live in if everyone would start focusing on positive thinking and making a habit of doing daily acts of kindness.  Think about it…how do you feel when someone does something nice for you?   Well, it also makes you feel good when you do something nice for others….it benefits you and the other person.  Wow, a double reward!! How much better can it get?

I just read a story on the website http://www.values.com about a couple who decided to make a difference and use their wedding money on giving love to others.  They travelled through the United States helping with a food drive and donating goods to various locations.  What an awesome way to start a marriage!  That wonderful young couple is on their way to change the world.   Click on the following link to read their story.  http://www.values.com/your-everyday-heroes/4541-Mark-Ismini-Svensson/interview

Who is your hero?  You can nominate your everyday hero and read more stories about heroes at http://www.values.com

Why not start doing your own daily acts of kindness and maybe someone will nominate you!

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Feeling depressed?

people-ThinkingDepression is a terrible illness that affects literally millions of people every day, causing major problems with their health, their relationships and their work productivity.   People with depression struggle with many different symptoms including: feelings of worthlessness, low esteem, negative emotions, lack of energy and loneliness.

If you suffer from depression, it is important that you seek help.  Why?  Because you CAN learn how to control your depression and live a purposeful life.   All it takes is a deep desire to make some positive changes in your life and make a commitment to taking action.

When you feel depressed, the natural thing to do is isolate yourself and focus on your problems, but this is the worst thing you can do.    Here are some things you can do to help yourself:

  1. ASK FOR HELP  You have to try very hard to reach out to someone you can trust and talk to them.  If your family isn’t very supportive or understanding, make an appointment with your family doctor who can discuss different options (medications and/or therapy).
  2. LEARN ABOUT YOUR ILLNESS  Another thing that is very important is to do research and learn as much as you can about depression.   Not understanding what is wrong with you can result in unnecessary stress and fear of the unknown.  Knowledge helps you deal with your situation more effectively.
  3. BE ACTIVE  Depression tries to keep you in bed and feeling bad about yourself.  Fight the desire to do nothing and be active.  Get out of bed and do something.  Go for a walk.  Do some exercise.  Dance to some music.
  4. EAT HEALTHY  Eating healthy foods will make you feel better.   Don’t miss meals or eat junk food.  Try cooking something different.
  5. FOCUS ON THE POSITIVES   Depression has a negative perspective.  Do whatever you can to think positively.  Start your day by saying some positive affirmations and keep doing this through the day.  Read motivational books, listen to happy music, watch funny movies.  Stop your negative thinking.   Don’t allow negative thoughts to ruin your day.
  6. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH POSITIVITY   Try not to be around negative people who complain, criticize and make you feel bad.  Join an interest group in an organization or church and make some friends who encourage and support you.

Depression can be controlled if you work hard every day to make positive changes.   The key is taking action.  Your life will never change if you don’t do something about it.  Other people can try to help and support you, but you have to do most of the work yourself.   Stop making excuses, stop blaming others, start taking responsibility for your own life and TAKE ACTION NOW!

Do you have a family member or friend who is depressed?   They need your love and support.  Try to learn as much as you can about depression and how you can help.  Depression is a very misunderstood illness and if you don’t know how to help, you can make the situation worse.   People who are depressed can become stuck in the habit of being depressed and feel like they will never get better.   The truth is, with the proper support, they can gain control over their illness.  It is extremely important that a depressed person knows that someone cares about them and that their life does have value.

Building confidence and increasing esteem is critical to controlling depression.  When you don’t feel good about yourself and have low esteem, you are likely to feel depressed.  In my personal recovery, I did lots of research and read some very good books on building esteem.  From the information gathered, I created a self-esteem workbook that I use in my workshops and confidence coaching.  It has 84 pages of information to help you build esteem and lots of activities to reinforce what you have learned.  Click on the following links for ordering:book thumbnail

Download a PDF file http://blur.by/185uHdh

Download an Ebook for the Ipad at http://store.blurb.ca/ebooks/380698-caterpillar-to-butterfly

Order your hard copy http://www.lulu.com/content/paperback-book/caterpillar-to-butterfly-self-esteem-workbook/13722743

 

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Are you an encourager or a discourager?

talk with cansHow do you communicate with other people?  Do you speak words of encouragement or words of discouragement?  If you are speaking words of encouragement, it will nurture and build up a person’s self-esteem.    If you are speaking words of discouragement, it will tear down and destroy a person’s self-esteem.

It is so important that we choose our words carefully, so we have positive influence on those around us.  It is equally important to ourselves because negative words can be very destructive to our own emotional health.

Before you speak, consider what you are thinking.  If you are ready to complain or criticize, try to stop yourself before those negative words roll off your tongue and do any damage.  Try to focus on something positive and be encouraging instead of discouraging.  Always remember that words can never be taken back and you want to make sure you are helping someone and not hurting them.

 

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Need a hug?

Couple HuggingHugs are a powerful way of communicating with others.  Research shows that hugs have the following benefits:

  • they show love and compassion
  • they provide support
  • they can be effective in healing sickness, depression, anxiety, stress and loneliness
  • they are a great way to show someone that you care about them
  • they make us feel loved, wanted and appreciated
  • they make us feel special
  • they can help build esteem
  • they provide positive energy

Start a new positive habit of giving out free hugs every day.   Show your family and friends how much you love them.  I’m sure you will get some in return.

If you need a hug today, maybe these will help…..http://www.godvine.com/read/10-hugs-from-animal-friends-489.html?utm_source=GodVine%20Daily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=03/19/2014

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What does it mean to be rich?

lady thinking about moneyMany people in this world believe that they are rich when they have a lot of money or possessions.   However, the word ‘rich’ means to have an abundance of something but not necessarily material things.   Being rich can mean that you have a wonderful family, a fulfilling career, knowledge, good health, sufficient food and a comfortable place to live.  It all depends on what is important in your life.

I just watched a video about a boy who didn’t feel very rich.  He lived alone with his father, who was always working hard, yet they lived very poor.   He thought his father was not very smart and didn’t like or respect him.  At the end of the video, the son saw his father from a different perspective, but it was very sad because they could have lived a much better life if the father had treated his son in a different way.  Please watch the video and then see if you agree with my comments below.

http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=WG7WKPNX&utm_source=GodTube%20Must-See%20Video&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=03/18/2014

The son grew up believing that his father did not care about him.    When he picked up the note his father had written (You will be a great man, just believe), for an instant he thought it was for him and he was very happy, but quickly his father damaged his esteem by telling him the note was not for him.   He didn’t have any problem giving notes to other children, but he seemed to have a problem giving notes to his son.  It is important that parents tell their children how much they love them and encourage them to do great things.   Some parents have difficulty communicating verbally to their children, but they can do this in other ways:  writing a note, giving a hug, etc.  The father could have allowed his son to have the note and could have written another one for the other child.

When the son was given money, the father made him put some of it in a jar, telling him it was to pay the taxes.  The father also put money in the jar.  The son asked his father why they weren’t rich and the dad told him that being rich wasn’t about how much we have but about what we give.  The problem was, the father didn’t explain what the money was for.  What was the point in keeping this secret?   The boy should have openly been taught to be generous and even gone on some trips with him to the orphanage.  This would have created a strong bond between the father and son.

The son wanted to become successful, so he tried very hard at school and ended up with a good career that took him away from his dad.  The day he left, the dad gave him some money with a big smile, but the son gave it back and both of them parted very sad.  Then when the father called to ask his son if he was coming home, he was turned aside and left alone.   It wasn’t until the dad passed away, that the son found out what he had been doing and how much other people had respected him.

This video makes me very sad, because this father had a generous, loving heart but he didn’t know how to show it to his son.  He was able to connect with strangers but he was very lacking in parenting skills and it affected their lives in a negative way.   The son went through his childhood and teen years hoping to get his father’s approval and feeling that he had no value.    This happens in so many families where parents don’t know how to communicate openly with their children and this leads to family and relationship breakdowns.

Parents need to be aware of how they are communicating with their children.   If we have come from a family that didn’t communicate very well, we need to take steps and learn how to communicate effectively so we can build strong relationships with our family and friends.   Our children don’t just know that we love them or accept them.  THEY NEED TO BE TOLD.  THEY NEED TO BE REMINDED.  THEY NEED MEANINGFUL TOUCHES.  THEY NEED ENCOURAGEMENT.  So do our spouses, our siblings, our relatives and our friends.  People can’t read our minds but they can read our body language and they can hear what we say.

So what does it mean to be rich?  As the father in this video said, “Being rich is not about how much you have but about how much you can give”.  This means we are rich if we are generous to other people – by giving our love, our time, our talents and our treasure.   When we do this, we receive something very wonderful in return – LOVE.

For me, being rich is being loved.  What does being rich mean to you?

 

 

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What is your biggest regret as a parent?

MAN AND BOY WITH LEGOParents make a lot of mistakes raising their children and often don’t even realize how much they have affected their lives.  Our children are like sponges, picking up everything they see and hear.  They pick up our bad habits, our bad language, our bad behaviour and sometimes when we watch our children growing up, it is like looking in the mirror at a mini-image of ourselves.    As parents we need to make sure that we are being good role models so we can influence our children in a positive way.   This doesn’t mean we have to be perfect because this isn’t possible.  It just means that we should be aware of what we are doing and make any necessary changes.

Think about how you raised your children:

  • Were you a positive role model?
  • How many good habits did they pick up from you?
  • How many bad habits did they pick up from you?
  • What is your biggest regret?

We would all like to say that we were great parents, I know I would, but in all honestly, I made a lot of mistakes.  I know that I wasn’t always a positive role model and I know that they picked up bad habits from both my husband and myself.  However I also know that they picked up some good habits and I’m very proud of both of my girls.

As for my biggest regret – words.  Yes, words.  Words are very powerful and way too often, I said things that I should never had said to them.   Sharp, cutting words said when they didn’t clean their rooms.  Angry words said when they misbehaved.  Unkind words said when they were caught in a lie.  Once spoken, these damaging words cannot be taken back.  Children hear way too many words that should never have been spoken.   This can destroy a child’s esteem and result in an adult who is full of fears and insecurities.  Children need to hear words that build them up and make them feel like they have value.  This is the responsibility of people everywhere that connect with children in any way – parents, caregivers, family member, friends, teachers and members of the community.

 

 

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Why do people argue and fight?

couple in pj's upsetEvery relationship has its problems.  No two people can get along all the time without having an occasional argument or fighting about something.  It is normal to disagree because we are human and we all see things differently.

Why do people argue and fight?  This is because we want something that we can’t have.

  • We want the other person to agree with us
  • We want the other person to do something for us
  • We want the other person to pay attention to us
  • We want the other person to behave in a certain way
  • We want the other person to feel sorry for us
  • We want the other person to meet our expectations
  • We are afraid of something or someone

Is it healthy to argue and fight?  Yes, because we need to express our emotions.  If we hold everything in side, it can be very damaging to our health.  However, we need to express our emotions in a positive way.

  • try not to let little things add up until they become one huge issue, make a point of discussing any issues on a daily basis
  • if you are already angry and ready to fight, take some time to calm down before you start a discussion
  • if the other person starts an argument, tell them you would like to discuss the matter at a later time when they are calmer
  • don’t bring up any past issues as this will fuel the argument and not resolve anything, only talk about the matter at hand
  • if there are any past issues that are still causing problems for you, make a point of discussing them at a time when both of you are calm, so they can be resolved
  • don’t bring other people into the argument unless it becomes necessary to see a therapist or counsellor
  • don’t interrupt, listen carefully and look at each other

If you fight fairly, a relationship can become stronger.  You will learn more about the other person, understand better how they feel and be able to resolve normal conflict without causing a breakdown in communication and possibly destroying the relationship.  Sometimes we want something so badly that we don’t even realize how harmful conflict can be.

To have a good relationship, it is important that we own our part of the problem.   It is hard to look at ourselves and realize that we expect way too much of others.  We expect other people to make us happy.  We expect other people to give us things that they may not be able to give us, and when they don’t, we blame them for our problems.  Then the fighting starts.

Why do you argue and fight with others?  What is it that you want?

 

 

 

 

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The storm is outside, not inside

untitledOld man winter has struck again!  Woke up this morning to see a blanket of snow falling and covering the ground.  As I look out the window, I can barely see more than a block away as the wind is now whipping up the snow and creating blizzard conditions.  In a few minutes, I have to go out for an appointment and I dread the drive I have to make across town.   This isn’t because I’m nervous or afraid of driving in bad weather.  I’m a tough Canadian and I’ve driven in many snow storms, freezing rain and even through the tail end of a hurricane but I’m always cautious about road conditions and I slow down accordingly.  Unfortunately, there are a lot of drivers who aren’t cautious and they drive the same way in bad weather as they do in good weather.  This is what I am dreading, being around all those other careless drivers.

Hopefully, this will be the last big storm we get.  It is almost halfway through March and spring will soon be here.  Although, we don’t always have much of a spring season anymore.  Spring was always my favourite season, but it seems that we bypass spring most years, jumping right from the cold and rainy weather right into the hot and humid weather.

Oh well, we are never happy with the weather.  It is always too cold, too hot, too rainy, too dry.   We just want things to be perfect and they never will be.  I listen to people complain about the weather all the time and then see how miserable it makes them.  Some people get really depressed when the weather is bad.  I must admit, it used to bother me too.  On a dark, gloomy day, I would feel depressed and stay in bed if I could.  I was so negative that I would even make all sorts of excuses for not getting up:  “I don’t feel good, I have a headache, I don’t have anything important to do”.  But I’ve finally learned that it is silly to allow the weather to control our moods.   I look at life with a positive perspective now and I try to enjoy the day no matter what the weather is.  Thinking about all the things I have to be thankful for is a great way to overcome any bad feelings.   

  • Today I am thankful that I am not a homeless person living out on the street in this horrible weather.
  • Today I am thankful that I have a roof over my head, a warm bed to sleep in and healthy food to eat
  • Today I am thankful that I am not a traveller stranded on the road
  • Today I am thankful that I have a car to drive and don’t have to walk in the coldmouse and snowflakes

No, the weather is not going to steal my joy today.  I don’t let outside circumstances control how I feel.  I choose to be happy today.  There is a storm outside but not inside. 

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Losing weight the proper way

Don't be overly concerned with your weight.  It's only a number!

Don’t be overly concerned with your weight. It’s only a number!

The ONLY proper way to lose weight is to eat healthy and exercise.  You simply have to burn more calories than you eat.  So if it is that easy, why do so many people continue to diet year after year and never succeed?

There are several reasons.  People today have no patience and want everything instantly.  They want to lose weight in a few weeks or months and won’t commit to any long-term plan.   People will try just about any diet plan that promises a quick fix.  We are brainwashed by a multi-million dollar diet industry that convinces us we can gain friends, fame and fortune just by using their products and services.  Companies are getting richer and we are getting poorer, both financially and emotionally.

Studies show that people who go on weight loss plans are dooming themselves to failure.  Approximately 10% of the people on diets are successful, the rest usually gain back more weight than they have lost.  These are not good odds at all.  If you got sick and your doctor prescribed some medicine, then told you it would probably make you sicker, would you want to take that medicine?  I hope not, that would be very foolish.  Yet, every day people start on diets in the hopes of losing weight, knowing that they will likely fail.

Losing weight takes time and patience.  THERE IS NO FAST WAY TO LOSE WEIGHT!  You have to commit to a long-term plan of action and focus on healthy eating combined with exercise.  You don’t gain weight in a few weeks or months and you can’t lose it in a few weeks or months.

If you want to maintain a healthy weight, it is important that you are realistic and have a positive attitude.

  • Instead of focusing on what you can’t eat, focus on what you can eat and choose healthy foods
  • Exercise daily – it helps burn calories
  • Manage your emotions – when people are upset, they often use food for comfort
  • Be patient – proper weight loss takes time
  • Stop comparing yourselves to others – everyone looks different and that is OK
  • Limit your TV and internet use – people tend to snack in front of a screen
  • Don’t stock your cupboard with junk food – fill them with healthy foods
  • Get family and friends to help support you
  • Treat yourself once in a while – incentives are necessary to keep us focused
  • Don’t beat yourself up if you slip backwards – we are human and we will fail sometimes which is okay as long as we get back on track quickly
  • Build some esteem – it will help you accept yourself just the way you are

Some people use food to help comfort them with past hurts, depression or other issues.  If stressful situation are causing you to gain weight, lose weight or develop an eating disorder, you are not making proper choices and it could be very harmful to your health.  Please see your health professional so they can help get you started on a proper diet.

 

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