We do many things in our lives that we wish we hadn’t done or wish we had done better. Too often we put off doing something with the intention of doing it someday but that day never comes. Or we do things quickly with little or no preparation, thinking that we can do it better the next time. Even worse we do something knowing that it isn’t right and it may even cause problems but we still do it anyway.
Time is precious and we should never waste it. We only have so many hours in a day and we really don’t how many of those days we have. In the big picture of life, we should try to focus on what is important and invest our time wisely.
When a loved one passes away, we are reminded that we can’t go back and do things over again. Our lives are NOT a dress rehearsal for some future event. Our lives are happening RIGHT NOW! We can’t go back and tell that person the things we forgot to say. We can’t go back and do the things we wanted to do with them. We can’t watch the movies that we said we would watch with them and didn’t. We can’t buy that gift that we always thought about getting them.
Are you living your life like it is a dress rehearsal? Stop rehearsing and start living! Time is precious. If you waste your time, you are wasting your life. Make some positive changes:
- spend time with the people you love
- go to your children’s school play or special event
- take that trip you have been planning (just don’t go into debt to do it)
- build meaningful relationships
- take that course you always wanted to take
- tell your spouse that you love them
- manage your time wisely
How many times have you said something that you wished you hadn’t?
How many times have critical or complaining words have tumbled out of your mouth?
How many times have you expressed anger that hurt someone else?
How many times have you belittled or torn down another person?
How many times have you spread gossip that wasn’t entirely true?
Just think about it. You have probably spoken thousands of negative, critical, angry, hurtful words that had the potential to hurt many people. Our words have such powerful effects!
We should always be careful with our words and think before we speak. Our thoughts often come to us without warning and if don’t pay attention to what we are thinking and stop any negative thoughts from being processed into negative words, we can do a lot of damage to the lives of others and also ourselves. Careless words can result in misunderstanding, miscommunication and cause problems in our relationships.
Before you speak:
- think carefully about what you are saying
- be consciously aware of any negative thoughts
- stop those negative thoughts
- picture a stop sign, take a few deep breaths, count to 10
- focus on something positive
- say positive statements
- write your thoughts in a journal or type them into your phone
- gather your thoughts and say something positive
- if you do say something negative, apologize before the situation gets worse
You do have the power to control your thoughts. You don’t have to keep every negative thought that pops into your head. Get rid of those negative thoughts and create a habit of positive thinking. Believe me it does work! All it takes is continual practice.
In the 1920’s an American physiologist called Walter Cannon came up with a term to describe the chain of reactions in our bodies that help us deal with threatening circumstances. The term he used was the ‘fight-or-flight response‘ which appropriately explained the need for us to stay and deal with a conflict or run away to safety. When we are feeling stressed, our nervous system automatically reacts so we are ready to deal with the problem, however, many times this automatic response doesn’t help us resolve the problem and can actually make it worse.
When someone has hurt us we need to stop and look at the situation realistically and reasonably. Instead of just getting angry and fighting with the person or getting upset and running away, there is a way that might possibly resolve the situation and have a positive outcome. Really? We don’t have to let ourselves be controlled by our emotions. We can stop ourselves from reacting automatically.
In the past, whenever I faced a conflict, I would just allow the ‘fight-or-flight response‘ to kick in. Did it resolve the conflict? Of course not. I decided that resolution would be much better than reaction, so I started to use a different approach. When a situation arose, I would try to look at things from a different perspective and understand what was causing the problem. In order to do this I had to face the person, communicate my feelings with them and then forgive them for hurting me. I call this a ‘face and forgive response’. It certainly worked a lot better than fighting or running away. It actually resolved the problem most of the time.
How does it work? First, stop yourself from reacting immediately – count to 10, take a deep breath.
- FACE the person by CALMLY starting a conversation that might bring out the reason for their actions
- ask them if they are having a bad day and why they said or did what they did
- ask if they are going through something difficult themselves
- ask if they are under some kind of stress
- is there anything you can do to help them
- Tell them that their words or actions hurt you
- Then FORGIVE them either mentally (to yourself) or verbally tell them if possible
If you can’t remain calm or the other person can’t control their emotions, then walk away and go somewhere until you are both able to carry on a quiet conversation. NEVER stay in a stressful situation when your emotions are out of control because the result will never be good.
Fighting or running away will never resolve a problem, it will just keep you holding onto it. Wouldn’t it be better to try to resolve things and have a positive outcome? Don’t just let your automatic response kick in when you are facing difficulty. Don’t fight or flee, instead FACE and FORGIVE!
Just because we are alive doesn’t mean we are living. It is possible to be alive on the outside and dead on the inside. If we are just doing the same thing every day without passion or purpose,we are basically walking around dead. We may be breathing, moving, talking, working and interacting with other people but inside we might feel empty and alone.
Every day we should think about what we are doing and work towards some kind of goal. It might be just a simple goal like getting up, getting dressed and going for a walk or it could be to start a course, join a group or write a book. The more we focus on doing something positive in our lives, the more alive we will feel.
A good idea to get motivated is to make a list of goals, both short and long-term. What do you enjoy doing? What are you good at? What do you want to achieve? What do you need to do in order to get to where you want to be in life?
Instead of just going through each day, doing the same thing over and over again and feeling dead inside, start doing something that will help you get out of your rut and moving forward. Surround yourself with positive people, places and things. Here are some ideas:
- make a list of your skills, abilities and interests
- read motivational books and watch programs that will inspire you
- join an interest group or a church that can provide ongoing support
- take a course that deals with communication and learn how to build good relationships
- work on a healthier lifestyle – eat proper foods, exercise, get enough sleep
- try to focus on what is positive in life
- learn to appreciate what you have
- spend time helping other people – this will increase your level of happiness
Are you walking dead? If the answer is yes, than start doing something about it today! Don’t waste one more day feeling lost and alone. TAKE ACTION and start living your life.
We are all driven to believe that if we have more stuff, more power, more money, more anything, that we will be happier. When are people going to realize that having more does not bring happiness?
At this time in history, we have access to more choices than ever before. We can have almost anything we want. Yet depression, anxiety and stress are growing. We have more stuff but less happiness. More money but more debt. More power but feel powerless. More toys but less fun.
We need to realize that happiness comes from within. It is how we feel about ourselves and our inner strength. We can’t buy happiness, gain it through other people or create it from things that aren’t real.
If you want more out of life, start focusing on what is important. What do you have that adds joy to your life? What are you passionate about? What are the things that just take up your time and only bring stress? Try to eliminate anything that is basically wasting your time and adding no value to your life. Set your priorities and invest time in those areas.
Life is short. Make the most of the time you have and have more of what is important.