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.

Take responsibility

Sometimes things happen in life that are not our fault but many of us allow our past to control our lives.  When we are children, our parents often make our choices for us and we are compelled to follow their rules and stay within the boundaries they have set.  These rules and boundaries may not be the best and we may feel hurt, rejected or abandoned by their poor choices.

However, we don’t have to continue living in pain because of what someone has done to us in the past.  Just because someone has hurt us, doesn’t mean we have to go through life feeling bad. Instead of thinking that we have done something wrong or that we deserve to be treated badly, we need to realize that the people who have hurt us are dealing with their own set of problems that they carry through life.  What people do to us does NOT define who we are – it defines who they are!

We need to take responsibility for our own lives and start making better choices.  What happened to us in the past may not be our fault, but continuing to allow our past to hurt us in the present IS our fault.

If you face life with a negative perspective and feel like nothing will ever change, you are wrong.  You CAN have a positive perspective and enjoy your life if you really want to.  All it requires is commitment and patience.   Start taking responsibility for your own life today!

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Do you gossip?

The truth is we all gossip.  Gossip is idle talk about the personal or private affairs of others.  It is a natural and expected part of our lives and helps us learn how to relate to others.  If we are sharing good news about something positive and exciting, gossip can be a good thing.

However, problems can arise when we start talking about things that are mean, nasty, inaccurate or incomplete.  If we discover a person doing something we think is wrong, we may want to share the information, not even knowing if what we saw has a good explanation.  We can even add information that isn’t true, just to make the story more interesting and to make the person look really bad.  This can start vicious rumours that embarrass or humiliate the person.

Gossiping that is intended to hurt someone is NEVER appropriate.  Often we don’t know the whole story behind what we saw and it isn’t our business anyway.  The only time we should gossip about something serious is when it is a matter of life and death.   We certainly wouldn’t like other people to gossip about us, so we should extend the same courtesy.

Do you gossip?  Does it hurt other people?  If you are a parent, gossiping is a bad thing to model to your children.  You are teaching them how to hurt other people and this will eventually end up hurting them.  Be a positive role model.  Be careful with your words and try not to gossip.  If you catch your child gossiping, talk to them and discuss why it is wrong.  Explain how it can hurt people and damage relationships.  Help them develop empathy and make sure they apologize to anyone they have hurt.


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Punishment versus Discipline

Punishment and discipline are not the same thing and they don’t have the same impact on a child.  Punishment is an outer action that is intended to make a child behave by force.  Discipline is teaching a child how to discipline themselves by setting boundaries that are fair and helping them deal with the consequences.

Punishment is parental control and can result in making a child feel unloved and that they have no value.  It can:

  • encourage more conflict
  • arouse anger
  • send a message that it is okay to hit or control someone who is smaller/weaker
  • show that being powerful is a good thing
  • create confusion as to what is fair
  • stop them from making good choices

Discipline is a teaching experience where the child learns how to become a responsible adult who can make good choices.  It can:

  • give them ownership of the problem
  • teach them how to problem solve
  • help a child learn to deal with their emotions effectively
  • teach them how to respect other people and themselves
  • help them feel valuable
  • teach them how to make good choices

Being raised in an environment of punishment, I believed that this was the only way to teach a child a lesson and I became the parent that doled out punishment whenever things got out of control.  I did not realize the negative impact this had on my children until I looked back on my own life and understood the effect punishment had on my own life.

When your children misbehave, take time to calm down and never react in anger.  Your child may behave out of fear, but why not discipline them and teach them to behave out of love and respect? Give them a time-out, take away some privileges, have them do extra chores or do whatever it takes to correct the situation.  Make sure you talk to them and try to remain as calm as possible. Controlling children through fear, is never the answer.   Teaching them how to control their own behaviour is a much better way.

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Clutter creates chaos

Having too much stuff can create chaos in your life.  Stuff stresses us out.  It frustrates us.  It drains our energy.  It can make it hard for us to get organized.

Most of us collect things, like antiques, books, coins, cards and so on.  Collecting things is fun and we can display them so they can easily be seen and enjoyed by ourselves and others.  However, when we start collecting many different things and putting them in piles so we can’t even find things or have no idea where we put something, this is when clutter happens and chaos starts.

When we have so much stuff that it drags us back to the past or ahead to the future, we can’t really live in the present and enjoy our lives.  People keep things that remind them of important things that happened in the past (newspaper clippings, photos, something that was owned by a loved one, a child’s toy).  People also keep things that they may need in the future, afraid to part with anything that might be of some value.  It is certainly okay to keep memories and anything that may be useful to us but when it gets out of control, it results in an unhealthy living environment.

Clutter is unhealthy.  Dust, mold and animal dander collect and can cause breathing problems.  Bugs and mice are also attracted to cluttered areas where they can live and breed.  Clutter is also a fire hazard and could hamper rescue efforts, sometimes resulting in death for the inhabitant and also the firemen.

If you have too much stuff, ask yourself what kind of life you want to live.  Do you want your stuff to control you or do you want to control your stuff?  Create a new vision for your life that is calm and easygoing, one that has less stress.   Talk to yourself in words that are encouraging and hopeful. Tell yourself that you are far more valuable than your stuff and you deserve to live in healthy, stress-free conditions.  Make a promise to yourself that you will start making some positive changes in your life, starting with cleaning up the clutter.

Ask yourself why you are keeping certain items.  One of the big items people keep is old newspapers because they might read them someday.  Chances of reading them are slim to none and why would you want to read old news anyway?  Besides, half of the newspaper is ads and they have absolutely no value once the sales are over.  Keeping them is just creating a mess and a possible fire hazard.  Another big item is keeping plastic bags for garbage.  We can only use so many garbage bags and they also just create a mess and possible fire hazard.

Pick one area and spend an hour or two a day working at it.  You can’t do it all at once, so don’t even try.  It will take time and patience but if you are committed to having a better life, you WILL be able to do it.  If you need help and you can afford it, contact a company that does organizing/de-cluttering.  Let’s face it, if you could afford to buy all that stuff, you would be better off using your money getting rid of the clutter instead of bringing more into your home.

Put things where they belong. If you have dishes or groceries in the bedroom, move them to the kitchen.  Books should be in a bookcase, not piled on the floor.  Clothing should be in a closet or dresser.  Clutter tends to become a pile of anything and everything as space gets limited in the rooms where things belong.  Then when you can’t find things, you go out an buy more to replace stuff that is lying in a pile somewhere.

Make a promise to yourself that when you get something new, you will get rid of something old.  Of course, this doesn’t apply to things like food unless you are keeping expired cans or food that is rotting.  If you enjoy reading, you don’t need to keep hundreds of books; go to the library and save some money.  If you like new clothing or fancy jewelry, donate your old items to goodwill.  You don’t need a new outfit to wear every day for the next 20 years.

Make an appointment with yourself to de-clutter.  It can’t be done all at one time so do it in small time frames that are manageable.  Do one or two hours a day and soon you will start to see some progress.  If you want more ideas, check out some sites that help with clutter removal.  There are lots!

Remove the clutter in your life and you will start to feel better.   As someone who helps people de-clutter, I can tell you that when the job is done, we almost always see a smile on their faces and there is an obvious sense of relief.  Happy de-cluttering!

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Mind mapping

Have you ever tried mind mapping?  Do you even know what this term means?   A mind map is a diagram that is used organize information.  It is a powerful way to brainstorm your thoughts and put them down on paper so you can see things more clearly.   Mind maps can be used by individuals or by groups that are trying to develop ideas.  A central concept is created from which ideas flow in the form of words, phrases and images.

Mind maps can be very helpful in planning events, creating habits, reaching a goal, solving problems and learning a new task.  They give you an overview of the situation and a breakdown of everything needed.

How do you start mind mapping?  There is no standard way.  You just have to put your thoughts and ideas down on paper using circles, squares, lines and any other kind of shape you wish.  The idea is to write down everything you need to reach a goal or solve a problem.  Here are some simple suggestions:

  1. Get a large piece of paper and coloured markers.  Or you can use a white-board or flip-chart depending on the situation.mind maps
  2. Draw a big circle in the center and draw a picture or write down the goal to reach or problem to solve.
  3. Next determine what you need to do in order to accomplish this task and write these in smaller, secondary circles or shapes that are attached to the large middle circle with lines.
  4. Keep adding ideas to the smaller shapes until you run out of ideas.

Have fun!

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4 Roadblocks to Success

There are 3 major roadblocks to having success in your life.  These include your thoughts, your fears and external situations.

Roadblock #1 – Your thoughts

What you think about determines what direction your life will take.  If you think that you can’t do something, you probably won’t.  If you think something will be too hard, will require too much of your time or will cost you too much money, you won’t get very far.  Your negative thinking will likely stop you dead in your tracks before you even start anything.

However, if you think you can do something, you might just be able to accomplish what you set your mind to.  You have to change the way you think about something and have a positive attitude in order to make it become a possibility.

Roadblock #2 – Your fears

Fears can literally paralyze you and stop you from  moving ahead in life.  You can be afraid that you will make a mistake, that someone will laugh at you, that you will look stupid or that nobody else cares about what you are doing.  It is okay to be afraid of doing something as long as you work through your fear and focus on being successful.

Roadblock #3: External situations

There may be things in your life that can get in the way of reaching your goals.  You may not have enough money or enough education.  You may not be in the right place at the right time.  It is important that you figure out how to overcome any situations that get in your way.  If you need to earn more money, take more courses or even move to a different location, you need to do whatever it takes to having a successful life.

Roadblock #4 – Lack of commitment

In order to become successful, you have to make a commitment to working hard and keep going, even when things get tough.  You can’t just give up and quit when things don’t go as expected.  You have to realize that nothing comes easy in life except quitting.  Be committed and work hard towards your goals.

You CAN be successful.  Determine what roadblocks are holding you back from doing what you want to accomplish in life.  Write them down and ask yourself what you can change in order to have a more positive and successful life.

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At the end of the night

at the end of the night

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A key point about love

If you want someone to love you more, you should start loving them more.   It can be hard to step out of your comfort zone but don’t just wait for the other person to show their love or you will likely be disappointed.  Be the strong one and show others that you care.  Show love to your husband.  Show love to your wife.  Show love to your kids.  Show love to everyone around you.  If you are a vessel of love, it will start to make other people feel good and they will likely return your love.  Love is powerful.  Use it as a tool to create closer relationships.

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Stop focusing on your problems

Everyone has problems in life.  We can’t live in a world surrounded by other people who are different than we are, and not expect to have problems.   Besides being different, we are also selfish by nature and expect everyone else to cater to our needs.  When we don’t get what we want, we often react in a negative way through anger, feeling sorry for ourselves or blaming someone else for our problems.

We can get so wound up in our problems that we forget to look for the good things in our lives.  We focus on the negatives and what we don’t have.  We think about our mistakes and what went wrong.  Our problems take over our lives and leave us feeling miserable, defeated and depressed.

If you want to have a happier, more fulfilling life, it is important that you stop focusing on your problems and start focusing on a solution to your problems.  Be consciously aware of what you are thinking and try to make positive changes.  Here are some ideas:

  • If you were to bake a cake and you burnt the edges, you could just toss out the cake, have a crying fit and feel bad about the situation.  OR…..You could cut off the burnt edges and cover the cake with some fluffy icing.  Problem fixed and you can pat yourself on the back for doing a good job.
  • If someone said to you some unkind words, you could run away and cry, feeling bad for yourself.   OR…You could ask them why they were unkind and if they were having a bad day.  Maybe they didn’t really mean to hurt you or you misunderstood what they said.  If they did intend to hurt you, then you could tell yourself that they were just unloading their pain on somebody and that you don’t have to take it personally.
  • If someone didn’t keep a promise they made, you could feel hurt and never talk to the person again.   OR…You could give them the benefit of the doubt and realize that maybe something happened to distract them.  Keep in communication with them and make sure you confirm any future promises.

Focusing on your problems will just keep you from being happy in life.  Try focusing on the good things, be thankful for what you have and work on possible solutions to any problems.

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