Sometimes we inherit something from our parents, like the same colour of eyes or hair or maybe the same shaped nose. But were you aware that we can also inherit their character traits and tendencies?
Children are born with their own personalities but these can be influenced greatly by the behaviour and actions of their parents.
- If we are angry, bitter or negative people, our children can also become angry, bitter or negative.
- If we are self-centered and focus on ourselves more than others, our children will become selfish and lack generosity.
- If we have an addiction to cigarettes, alcohol or drugs, our children are more likely to develop an addiction.
- If we don’t have solid moral values, our children will not learn to respect themselves and others.
As parents, we have a profound affect on our children and we should ensure that we are influencing them in a positive way. This isn’t an easy task and we will make mistakes. However, we should carefully look at our own lives and try to make any necessary changes so we can become to be the best possible role model.
What are you passing on to your kids?
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!
Do you know who you are? Many of us go through life trying to live up to someone else’s expectations. We put on masks and build walls, pretending that we are somebody else. We don’t want people to see us as we really are because we are afraid they won’t like us or respect us.
As a child, we are taught how to behave in different situations. We are told how to dress, how to act, how to talk. We are told what we should do and shouldn’t do. This helps us learn but if we aren’t encouraged to be an individual and supported in our uniqueness, we can forget who we really are. We have to develop our own personality and not live our lives according to the expectations of someone else.
Our parents can expect us to follow a certain path in life but this may not be what we want to do. Our friends can expect that we engage in certain behaviours that we know will cause harm. Our teachers or co-workers can expect us to accomplish things that we are not capable of doing. The media can try to convince us to do things that we are not comfortable with. If we start believing that our worth is found in doing what other people expect, we can soon lose our unique identity.
We need to let go of who we think we should be and start becoming who we really are. Stop living up to other people’s expectations and live up to your own expectations. What do you expect of yourself? What do you want to accomplish in life? What do you want other people to remember you for?
Think about what makes you a valuable person. What are your abilities? What are your positive characteristics? What are you good at doing? How do you interact with other people? We are all unique and special in our own way. Use what you have learned and work on becoming the best person you can be.
So, who do you think you are? Let go of what you are not and hold on to what you really are! Be authentic! Be honest! Be real!
What is a toxic person? How can you tell if someone is toxic and how do you deal with it?
A toxic person is someone who has been badly hurt and are not able to take responsibility for their feelings and actions. They will blame others for their problems and try to get their needs met in unhealthy ways. They may be controlling, critical of themselves and others, complain constantly, harm themselves with substances or in other ways. They may gossip and spread false rumours, bully or treat others badly. Toxic people are stuck in bad behaviours and often aren’t even aware that they have a problem.
You can tell if someone is toxic by these signs:
- you are uncomfortable in their presence
- you feel like they are trying to control you
- your energy is drained
- you feel bad about yourself
- you feel like you have to try and help them
- you are affected negatively by their actions and words
- you don’t feel respected by them
- you want to leave as soon as possible
When you are in a toxic relationship:
- focus on your priorities and consider what you want to get out of the relationship
- don’t compromise your values just to make peace
- set realistic boundaries and make sure you stick to them
- try to talk to the person and tell them how you feel (I feel hurt when you say this. I need you to think about why you act this way. I would like our relationship to get better but we need to start talking about these issues.)
- stop trying to fix them
- start being a positive example
- encourage them to find professional help
- pray for them
If you have been trying to repair the relationship and nothing seems to be changing, you may have to end it. Tell the person that you love them and want to be a part of their life, but for now you are unable to continue the relationship until they are willing to make some positive changes. If possible, stay in touch with them from time to time and continue to be a positive example.
The dictionary describes a friend as ‘someone you like and enjoy being with, someone who helps and supports you’. I agree with this definition if it refers to a casual friend but there is a lot more to being a real friend.
Friendship is something that we all treasure and it is important to have friends but you have to be careful who you surround yourself with. Having ‘good’ friends will give you positive energy and help you feel good about yourself. Having ‘bad’ friends will give you negative energy and make you feel bad about yourself.
So what is a real friend? It is someone who:
- loves you despite your flaws and imperfections
- you can completely trust
- you enjoy spending time with
- helps you feel good about yourself
- can share secrets that are not repeated to anyone
- disagree with you but still talk about things
- encourages and supports you
- you have fun with
- sticks up for you even when others try to hurt you
- is always there for you even when you are sick or hurt
- accepts the differences you both have
- admits they are wrong and makes amends
- forgives you when you do something wrong
Relationships are tough and you will never find a perfect friend that totally fills this description. There will be times when even a real friend hurts you with their words or actions and you will do the same thing. However all of these things are important in a friendship and we should always try our best to be a good friend.
Think about your friends and see how close they fit this description. If they don’t fit at all, then they probably aren’t a good friend and you shouldn’t be spending a lot of time with them. Surround yourself with people who have positive attributes like kindness, respect and integrity. Good friends are sometimes hard to find but it is better to have 1 good friend who cares about you and makes you feel good than 25 friends who put you down and make you feel bad.
If you want your child to have good character, you have to teach them solid moral values and then live what you teach. Words are not enough, they don’t always teach children how to have good character. Your actions can sometimes contradict your words, so you have to be of strong character yourself and teach them by example.
Character can be defined as the way someone thinks, feels, and behaves. It is someone’s personality and the mental and moral qualities that are built into an individual.
It is important that parents teach their children right from wrong and good from bad. It is important that they can distinguish appropriate behaviour from inappropriate behaviour. It is important that they have strong beliefs and build confidence in themselves. People with strong character are not easily swayed and they will hold steadfast to their beliefs.
An excellent way to help your children build good character is to get them involved in serving others. Service teaches humility. Service helps us learn the value of helping others. Service helps people feel good about themselves. Service has proven to benefit your physical, mental and spiritual health.
But don’t just send your children out to do service by themselves. Go with them and work beside them. It makes you a better person and you are setting a wonderful example.
Have you made any promises lately?
- I promise we’ll get together for lunch sometime
- I promise to fix the fence this week
- I promise to get you a new pair of boots
- I promise to take out the garbage later
- I promise to spend time with you tomorrow
People make promises all the time, but how often do we keep our promises? Sadly many people make and break promises all the time and don’t even seem to care.
The dictionary defines a promise as:
- ‘a statement telling someone who you will definitely do something or that something will definitely happen in the future
- an indication of future success or improvement
- a reason to expect that something will happen in the future
This tells me that a promise is something that is binding like a contract and I have always tried hard to make sure that I kept my promises. Of course, being human, I probably have made a few that I haven’t kept. However, I feel very strongly that a promise is important and unless it is impossible to keep that promise, I will follow through or at least let the person know why I can’t.
Years ago when people made a promise to someone, they kept that promise. Contracts were even made just by the shake of a hand and a promise. Today the word ‘promise’ is just another word that often means absolutely nothing. The problem is, when you break a promise, it breaks trust with that person and may even break the relationship.
If you really value your relationships and you want people to trust and respect you, make sure you don’t make any promises that you can’t keep. It is far better not to make a promise if you do not plan on following through.
Losers make promises they often break. Winners make commitments they always keep. ~Denis Waitley
Promises are like crying babies in a theater, they should be carried out at once. ~Norman Vincent Peale
We must not promise what we ought not, lest we be called on to perform what we cannot. ~Abraham Lincoln
Promise only what you can deliver. Then deliver more than you promise. ~Author Unknown
The way we look can have a profound effect on how others see us and also how we see ourselves. Before going out in the world, ask yourself what kind of image you want others to see. Remember the statement, ‘A picture is worth a thousand words”. What kind of picture are you showing to the public by the way you dress? We should always try to look our best so we show others that we respect ourselves and have confidence.
However, looking our best should not just apply to our outer attire. How we appear to others includes far more than our clothing, hairstyle and accessories. We can have outer beauty and look good on the outside but neglect to wear any inner beauty.
When you go out, do you put on a good attitude, a caring manner and a pleasant smile? Do you show love, compassion and understanding? Are your words full of kindness and your actions full of respect? Are you wearing your inner beauty?
We spend so much time worrying about how we look on the outside and trying to impress other people that we often ignore what is going on inside. We need to work hard at creating a beautiful personality so that our inner beauty will shine through and we can be a good example to others. This will bring happiness and success to our lives.
What are you wearing today?
When I was a child, my mother had a pressure cooker. You know that pot that cooks food quickly with the pressure of steam. It has that little metal thing that rocks back and forth making noise which regulates the pressure in the pot. I was always a little scared about the cooking pot because my mom told me never to touch it because it might explode. It never occurred to me that I would have my own pressure cooker someday.
Years ago I used to make soup the old-fashioned way, taking hours to simmer the meat and adding the other ingredients at various times so they would add flavour and everything would be ready at the same time. It was a tedious procedure and you had to stay close to the kitchen. One day I got brave and decided to buy a pressure cooker. I was a little nervous but I read all the instructions and gave it a try. It was wonderful and now I use it all the time to make soup or cook meat in a hurry. Instead of hours in the kitchen, I can make a hearty soup in just over an hour.
A pressure cooker can be a good thing when used properly. You have to be careful to allow the pressure to build and then turn it down while it cooks, then allow it to cool down before you take the lid off. If you are not patient enough and remove the lid too quickly, it can explode and cause a huge mess, create damage or even hurt you physically.
Our lives can be like a pressure cooker. We keep adding all sorts of emotions, mix them up and every day we add pressure. If we aren’t patient enough and take care of the pressure little by little, it will build up until it is ready to explode. Then when something small or unimportant happens, the top blows of our pressure cooker, hurting everyone in the way, including ourselves.
Is your life like a pressure cooker?
Are you building up anger, resentment or bitterness?
Do you explode when little things happen?
Try to deal with issues when they happen instead of allowing them to build up pressure.
- stop and take a deep breath
- try to remain calm
- think about why you are angry
- does your anger make any sense
- release your emotions in a positive way – do some kind of physical activity like running or a mental activity like writing