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.

15 ideas on how to stay miserable

Here are some ideas on how to stay miserable.  100% guarantee!

  1. Be selfish and think only yourself.
  2. Never smile or be nice to anyone.
  3. Be critical and judgmental.
  4. Live in self-pity, always feeling sorry for yourself.
  5. Be jealous about what other people have.
  6. Never forgive anyone.
  7. Get angry about everything.
  8. Never be thankful about anything.
  9. Complain all the time.
  10. Never help anyone else.
  11. Hold on to bitterness.
  12. Blame everyone else for your problems.
  13. Live in past pain and hurt.
  14. Spread rumours and gossip.
  15. Don’t take care of your health.

Do you see yourself doing any of these things?  Are you miserable?  Try doing the exact opposite.  Make some positive changes in your life and see how much better you will feel!


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Attitude is everything

What kind of attitude do you have?

  • Do you face the day thinking about what is wrong in your life, the people you don’t like and the things you don’t want to do?
  • Are you stressed out about work or school?
  • Are you carrying a heavy load of anger, fear, bitterness or resentment?
  • Do you live with self-pity and feelings of insecurity?


  • Do you face the day with anticipation and hope?
  • Do you look forward to meeting people at work and school?
  • Are you driven by love and the desire to help other people?
  • Are you confident and feel secure about yourself?

We all have a choice as to whether we have a good or bad attitude.  We all face difficulties in our lives but we have the power to make our own choice.  People and situations will hurt us in some way but we don’t have to allow these things to control our lives.  We can face every day with a negative perspective, hating the world and ourselves but we can also face every day with a positive perspective, loving ourselves and showing love to the world.   It’s not what happens in our lives that makes us the person we are, it is how we respond to these things.

Many people believe that they can’t change who they are and they will stay stuck in their bad attitudes, blaming others and the world for their problems and never attempting to make any positive changes.  This negative perspective is often the result of growing up in a negative environment surrounded by people with bad attitudes and it can last a lifetime unless changes are made.

Having a positive attitude is everything.  If you can’t see life with a positive perspective, you will struggle every day and never feel good about yourself or have any hope for the good future.  Here are some ways to help change your attitude:

  1. Say positive affirmations – Start your morning with positive affirmations.  As soon as you wake up, say some positive statements out loud if possible.  Don’t allow time for any negative thoughts to creep into your head.  Tell yourself you are going to have a great day and say it with meaning, even if you don’t really believe it.  The more you repeat these statements, the more you will believe them and they will become habit.  Repeat them several times during the day so you will reprogram your brain to think positive thoughts instead of negative thoughts.
  2. Use positive self-talk – We tend to think negative thoughts which often come out as negative words and actions so we have to try to be consciously aware of what we are thinking.  When we have negative thoughts, we need to stop ourselves and replace them with positive thoughts.  Always talk to yourself in a positive way.
  3. Surround yourself with positive people, places and things –  The things you surround yourself with will greatly determine your attitude.  If you are surrounded by positivity, it will lift you up and make you feel good.  If you are surrounded by negativity, it will tear you down and make you feel bad.   Make friends with people who are kind, encouraging and caring.  Go to places that give you a feeling of peace and contentment.  Look at things that make you happy.  Join an organization, a church group or start an activity.  This doesn’t mean you should never be around anyone that is negative because the world is full of negativity and you can’t avoid it.  Just try to minimize the negative and maximize the positive.
  4. Read motivational books and watch programs that will inspire you – The things you watch and see have a huge impact on your attitude.  Make sure you are looking at things that will reinforce positivity.
  5. Keep active – Doing active things are great builders of a positive attitude.  When you stay fit and healthy, you feel better and enjoy life more.
  6. Volunteer – This is a great way to become more positive.  Helping others has many benefits.  It not only makes the person you are helping feel good, it helps you feel good and it can also have a positive impact on anyone else who may notice your kind act.
  7. Smile – Just a simple action like smiling or greeting other people can have a positive effect on your attitude.  Be enthusiastic and show others that you enjoy life!

Don’t live with a negative attitude.  Being positive is the only way to live.  It isn’t easy and you have to constantly work hard to maintain a positive attitude but you CAN change your attitude.  I know because I’ve done a complete flip and it is well worth the time and effort.  Live and love life!


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The Cheerios Effect

box232Cheerios has been my favourite cereal since I was a child and it is still one of the most popular cereals sold today.   Growing up I ate the original Cheerios with sugar and milk but now I really like Honey Nut Cheerios just with milk because it is sweet enough without adding sugar.  I also like eating it as a snack, dry and right out of the box. As I was eating breakfast, I read the back of the box.  This is something I haven’t done for a long time.  As a child, I would sit and eat and read every side of the box over and over again.  There were interesting ads, colourful pictures, puzzles, contests, offers of free items inside the box, cut-outs and offers for stuff that you could send in for like badges, rings and games. On the back of my cereal box, it explains what the Cheerios Effect is.  Do you know that when you take 2 cheerios and drop them in a bowl of milk, the result is that eventually they come together?  Isn’t it amazing!  Scientists apparently call this the ‘Cheerios Effect’ and it is even more amazing when it brings 2 people together.  People love to connect and we were all created to be in relationships with other people. So try creating your own Cheerios Effect and start connecting with other people!

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Listen to your children and acknowledge their feelings

Youth today want to be heard.  They want to know that others understand them and that they have something important to offer in life.  They need their parents and other significant people around them to indicate their value by listening and acknowledging their feelings.  When they feel like someone is really listening to them and really cares about how they feel, they will experience love and grow into mature, responsible adults.

Parents want the best for their children but too often we believe that what we say to them is more important than what they say to us.  We tell them how to feel, how to act and how to think.  Then when they don’t listen or do things the way we think they should, we show our disapproval through correction and punishment.  This just tells them that their thinking is not right and they shouldn’t feel the way they do.  They will believe that something is wrong with them and their esteem will become greatly damaged.

It is important that we take the time to listen to our children and try to understand their feelings.  This doesn’t mean we have to approve of everything they say and do or allow them to do something that will harm them in any way.  We just have to let them know that it is okay to be different and build a close, trusting relationship with them by loving and supporting them.

Here are a couple of examples:

  • Your 6-year-old likes to climb up on the furniture and you are afraid they are going to get hurt so you keep warning him to stay down.  However, one day, he climbs on a chair and it tips over, throwing him on the floor and hurting his arm.  He cries out in pain and you say, “I don’t feel sorry for you.  I’ve told you to stay off the furniture.  Now go play and stop crying.”  What does this tell your child?  Does it tell him that you love him and don’t want him to get hurt?  No, it tells him that he is stupid and you don’t care about his feelings.  Instead, you should empathize by saying, “Oh no, you must have hurt your arm.”  Give your child a hug and then talk to him about why he shouldn’t climb on the furniture.   This will help build his confidence.
  • Your parents are coming to visit and you don’t have a guest bedroom, so you tell your teenage daughter that she will have to give up her room and sleep on the living room sofa.  Your daughter is very angry with you and becomes withdrawn.  What message have you given your daughter?  That you have total control over everything she owns and her feelings don’t matter at all.  Instead, you should talk about how difficult it is for her to share her room for a few days and tell her how sorry you are that you don’t have another option.  Then offer to help clean up her room and maybe sit and chat with a glass of hot chocolate.  This will show her the importance of doing something nice for another person.
  • You come home from work and find a big hole in your dining room window.  On the floor lies a baseball that looks a lot like one your 12-year-old son plays with.  You know that he walks home with some friends that like to meet and play baseball after school.  When your son walks in the door carrying his baseball bat, you confront him loudly with, “What did you do to our window?”  Your son was going to tell you what happened but your angry words communicated to him that you have already found him guilty and that you don’t trust him.  He yells back, “Nothing, I don’t know what you are talking about”, then goes into his room and shuts the door.  Your outburst has turned off any communication and tore down his esteem.  You should have calmly asked what happened and given him the chance to respond.   You don’t really know if he was guilty of doing the damage or it was one of his friends.

Many problems could be avoided by showing our children that we care about their thoughts and feelings.  If we keep open the lines of communication for all the small things in life, they will talk to us about the important things.  This also works in all our relationships, so make sure you are listening to people and acknowledging their feelings.  We all need to be heard and cared about!


Where does low esteem come from?

Studies have shown that low esteem generally is something that is developed from childhood.  Children learn from the people and things around them as they grow.  They interact with their parents, siblings, extended family, neighbours, friends and everyone around them, gathering information and generally copying what they see and hear.  If children grow up in a negative environment, which can include negative attitudes, abuse or neglect, they can develop a negative perspective about life.   Constant negativity conveys the message to children that they have little or no value and this will cause them to have low esteem.  If nothing changes in their environment, they will carry this with them throughout life.

It is important that we take the time to help our children build esteem so they can become responsible adults.   We can do this by:

  1. Becoming a positive role model ourselves.   Use positive self-talk and be confident in your own abilities.  Approach life with a positive perspective so your children will model your words and actions.
  2. Show love and respect to your children and everyone around you.   They will treat others the same way you treat them.
  3. Have reasonable expectations of your children and others.  Allow them to experience failure and support them when they fail.  Help them learn from their mistakes and encourage them to try again.
  4. Listen to your children.  Show them that you care about their thoughts and feelings.  Communicate to them that you are there when they need you.
  5. Set reasonable boundaries and allow your children to have some power over their lives.   Teach them how to make good choices and how to handle consequences when they make bad choices.

Children are not born with esteem.  It is something that they learn.  So make sure you teach them well and help them build good esteem.  The world constantly tries to tear down our esteem and makes us feel bad about ourselves.   Every day we are bombarded with messages telling us that we aren’t good enough.  By getting a strong sense of self before they are bombarded by society’s unrealistic expectations,  they will know that they ARE GOOD ENOUGH!

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Do you like yourself?

This is a question that many people will respond with a resounding ‘no’.  Society today makes people feel bad about themselves by constantly pointing out their imperfections and flaws.  We are never good enough!  We don’t measure up!  There is always someone who is more attractive, has lots of money and possessions, is smarter, more powerful or just better in some way.   This just causes us to become discouraged, defeated and depressed.  No matter what we try to do, nothing brings happiness or success in our lives.

Nothing is worse than spending time with people you don’t like.  Everyone has a family member, friend or co-worker that they don’t like, but are forced to spend time with.  This can be a person who is very negative, complaining, critical and judgmental.   In these situations, we do have a choice as to whether we remain in their company or try to avoid seeing them.

However, what if the person you don’t like is yourself?  You can’t ever get away from yourself – everywhere you go, there you are.  When you eat a meal, you have to eat with yourself.  When you go to work, you have to go with yourself.  When you go to the bathroom, you are right there!  So it is important that you work hard to become a person that you would like to spend time with.

We are all special in our own way.  Each of us is unique.  There is nobody in this world that is exactly like us and that is what makes us special.  We have our own strengths, abilities and skills and we need to work on building confidence in ourselves so we can feel comfortable spending time with ourselves.  When we have confidence, it shows others that we know our valuable as a person and this makes us look attractive and approachable.

Please visit my website at  for ways on how to become more confident.

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