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.

It’s the thought that counts! Really?

I’m not sure where this statement originated but I’ve heard it many times and have even used it myself without considering what it really means.  Dictionaries tell us that it refers to gift giving and that it isn’t really important how much a gift costs; the importance is found in the feeling or thought from the giver.

However, I’m not sure I totally agree with this idea.  I do believe that cost is unimportant when it comes to gift-giving and that someone can give me a gift that is right from their heart.  People spend way too much money on stuff they don’t need today and I certainly don’t like when someone spends a lot of money on me.  Yet, when I get a gift from someone, how do I know how much thought is behind it.  Unless someone shows me how they feel through their actions or words, I certainly can’t read their mind, so I obviously have no idea how they feel.  Maybe they did think a lot about the gift or maybe they didn’t.  People can easily pick up items without much thought or effort.

What we truly care about another person we need to express what we are feeling.  Just assuming that they know we love and care for them is not enough.  Our thoughts are just our thoughts and nobody will even know what is going on in our minds unless we express ourselves.  Children especially need to be reminded of our love or they will not build confidence or see their value.

So next time you give someone a gift make sure they know how you feel.  The thought doesn’t count – people do.

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Are your words powerful?

Have you ever stopped to consider how powerful our words can be?  Everything that we say can have a huge impact on other people and even ourselves.  Just one little word or phrase can heal a person’s life or it can destroy it.  When we use words that are kind, loving and supportive we can lift people up and make them feel good.  On the other hand, when we say words that are mean, nasty and vindictive we can tear people down and make them feel bad.

Think about words that people say to you:

  • When you felt lonely and a family member said something loving to you, how did it make you feel?
  • When you were feeling down and a friend said something encouraging, did it lift you up?
  • When you were having a bad day at work and your boss told you that you did a good job, did your day go better?

Remember those times when a family member spoke to you in anger or someone at work criticized something you did or a friend told you they were too busy to have coffee with you.  How did those words make you feel?

We should always be careful with our words and choose them carefully.  Don’t let unkind, careless or cruel words come out of your mouth.  Think before you speak especially when you are stressed, tired, angry or upset.  Those are times when even the nicest person can be thoughtless and let words slip out that should never be spoken.

Saying unkind words to ourselves is also a bad thing.  We can be very cruel to ourselves, speaking words we have heard other people say to us or about us.  We need to challenge our self-talk and make sure we are not hurting ourselves with our own words.  What other people say is only a reflection of who they are and not who we are.  We believe a lot of things that are just not true.

We need to understand how powerful our words are and make sure we use them to lift people up, encourage them, support them and show our love.

 

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Think before you speak

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.

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What does your tone of voice indicate?

Studies show that about 90% of life’s daily friction is caused by the wrong tone of voice!  This means it is not just important that you choose the right words when speaking with others, it means that you also need to be careful about the tone you use.

How do you communicate with your family, friends, co-workers and other people you meet?  Does your voice indicate anger, frustration, irritation, disappointment or does it indicate love, calmness, reassurance and/or support?  It makes a huge difference how you say things.

Look at this sentence, “I’d like to speak with you if you have a moment“.  If you say this in an angry or irritated voice, it conveys the message that there is something wrong and the person you are speaking to will be very apprehensive about meeting with you.  If you say it in a friendly manner, it conveys the message that you are going to have a pleasant conversation.

Instead of speaking to people in a voice that is angry, disappointed or frustrated, try to keep your emotions under control.  Take a minute to think about what you want to say, calm yourself down and then speak lovingly and calmly.  It takes ongoing practice but the results are so worthwhile.

 

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How to help your teen build esteem

We should never measure ourselves against other people because we are all unique individuals.  We can’t possibly be the same as somebody else and we are not supposed to be.  Many of the people we are comparing ourselves to, are often very insecure about themselves.

Teens need to develop confidence and increase their self-esteem so they will be able to stand up to negative peer pressures and make good choices in life.  As parents, we can help our own children and any teens we are connected to.  Here are some ways that we can help them build esteem:

  1. Show love – Take very opportunity to show how much you love your children.  No, they don’t just know!!! You have to tell them and show them.  A child who feels loved at home won’t go looking for love in all the wrong places.
  2. Be encouraging – Life will always have problems and teens are very sensitive when they fail or do something wrong.  They need to be encouraged to keep going and know that you will support them.
  3. Have an open mind – Teens need to know that you that you are listening to them and that you are not going to judge everything they say.   You may not always agree with what they are saying, but they aren’t you and they will think differently.  Be honest and open.  Teens will talk to whoever with listen, so make sure that person is you.
  4. Be a positive role model – Teens always watch the people around them to see how they speak and act, so we need to make sure we are presenting a positive example for them to follow.  Be the person you want your teen to be.
  5. Choose your words carefully – Your words have the power to impact your teen in a positive or negative way.  Once your words are spoken, they can’t be taken back, so be very careful you don’t say something that is damaging.  Say things that remind them of their great abilities and strengths.
  6. Spend time with them – Teens do like to spend time with their parents as it makes them feel valued.  Plan some special times as a family and also one-on-one, to build a closer relationship.  Make sure you aren’t spending time criticizing them or they will prefer to spend time with someone else.

The teen years are very difficult and your teen really needs your love and support.  Be there for them and help them navigate through all the challenges they face.  You will face obstacles and often feel like nothing is working, but if you keep the lines of communication open and keep trying to maintain a good relationship, your teen will feel your support and know how much you care.

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We all carry a dangerous weapon

Did you realize that you carry a dangerous weapon with you every day?  Yes, we all do.  It is just something small but it can do a lot of damage.  It is more dangerous than guns or knives and we have access to it 24/7.

Have you figured out what I’m referring to?  Our tongue!  When we speak, we can impact people in a positive or negative way.  Our words can hurt people or help people.  Our words can damage or repair a relationship.  Our words can build up or tear down.

We should always choose our words carefully so we aren’t causing pain to someone else.  We should also be careful that we aren’t hurting ourselves with any negative self-talk.  Words are so powerful and once they are spoken, they can’t be reversed.

What are you loading your weapon with?  We certainly don’t want to be facing someone who is loaded with anger, bitterness or hatred.  Make sure you are loading your weapon with love and kill people with kindness!

 

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Our biggest problem is right under our nose

Have you ever stopped to consider the power that you have in your tongue?  Just one small part of your body speaks volumes about the type of person you are.   When you open your mouth to speak, you can reveal a lot about your character.   Your words can show love or hatred, calmness or anger,  encouragement or criticism, modesty or boastfulness.  Your words can tell the truth or they can lie.  Your words can help or they can hurt.  It all depends on what kind of mindset you have.

If your thoughts are mostly positive, they will produce positive words, positive actions and positive results.  However, if your thoughts are mostly negative, they will produce negative words, negative actions and negative results.

What is going on in your mind?  Are positive or negative thoughts floating around?  If they are negative, it is time to start thinking about what you are thinking.  Be aware of your thoughts, stop yourself before anything comes out of your mouth, and try to change anything that is negative into something that is positive.   At first it may be hard, but the more you practice, the easier it gets.  Just taking a few seconds to breathe and think can stop you from saying hurtful, damaging words or doing something that you might regret.

Our biggest problem is right under our nose.  The tongue is so powerful and we need to learn how to control it.

 

 

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Which is more powerful – the spoken word or the written word?

All words are powerful and can have a huge effect on people, either in a positive or a negative way.  Positive words show love and support.  They can motivate, encourage and heal broken minds, bodies and souls.  Negative words tear down and destroy.  They can start arguments, cause relationship breakdowns and damage our minds, bodies and souls.

It is really hard to decide whether the spoken word or the written word is more powerful.    I think it all depends on the message that is being communicated and who you are trying to reach.

  • Spoken words impact the people close around you.  Written words can reach people all around the world.
  • Spoken words combine with body language to express emotions.  Written words are limited in expressing emotions, however some statements can bring out powerful and emotional reactions.
  • Spoken words are clearly communicated and written words can be misread and misinterpreted.
  • Spoken words are more personal and written words are impersonal.

When it comes to personal relationships, I think the spoken word is more powerful and we can impact someone more when we are face-to-face and using our body language to convey a message.  In a positive way, if someone is struggling and needs to feel our love and encouragement, we can do this much better with our spoken words.   In a negative way, our words can also tear someone down very quickly.

If we are trying to send a message to many people, I think the written word is more powerful.   We can communicate our words with thousands of people through writing books or blogging.

In any case, words are powerful and we need to be careful how we communicate with others.   Choose your words carefully and always try to be positive even if you have a differing opinion or have to discipline or correct someone.

In your opinion, which is more powerful – the spoken word or the written word?

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Give your children the freedom to fail

What?  Allow my children to fail?  Yes, it is healthy to allow your children to fail yet many parents will argue this point.  I’ve heard people say:

  • failure will hurt my child’s esteem
  • failure will make my child feel insecure
  • failure will make me look like a bad parent
  • failure doesn’t teach my child how to be a success

These arguments are actually not true.  Let’s take a look at each one.

1) Failure will hurt my child’s esteem.  The truth is, failure will help build a child’s esteem IF we don’t get angry with them or focus on their mistakes.  When a child learns to accept failure and learns from their mistakes, it will have a positive impact on how they feel about themselves and it WILL increase their esteem.

2) Failure will make my child feel insecure.   Failing is certainly not a good feeling and it can bring up temporary feelings of insecurity.  This is why is it so important to support your child when they do make a mistake.  Make sure they understand that it is okay to fail and that you still love them.  Encourage them to talk about how they feel, ways they can improve and be ready to help them if needed BUT don’t do everything for them.  Allow them to make the necessary changes and cheer for them.

3) Failure will make me look like a bad parent.  Parents should be more concerned about how their child feels than how they look as a parent.  No child is perfect and neither is any parent.  WE ALL FAIL and we need to accept this fact.  Pursuing perfection and encouraging your child to be perfect will only result in FAILURE!   If you feel bad when your child fails, then you need to work on your own esteem and understand that FAILING DOES NOT MAKE ANYONE A FAILURE!

4) Failure doesn’t teach my child how to be a success.  Actually failure does teach your child how to be a success.  It teaches a child that everything in life isn’t going to go the way they expected and that they need to make some changes.  Failure helps people learn and grow.  Failure teaches accountability.  Failures are just stepping stones to success.

Giving your children the freedom to fail helps them make decisions and learn from the consequences.   Love them, support them and have open communication with them.  The result:  A RESPONSIBLE ADULT!

 

 

 

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What is your love language?

Did you know that everyone has a love language?  A love language is the way that people speak and understand each other.  As children we develop unique emotional patterns and we learn to love each other in a way that reflects how we were loved.  When we build relationships, we tend to speak our own love language which can cause communication problems as we are not speaking the love language that the other person understands.  We need to learn our own love language and that of other people around us so we can understand them better and show love in a meaningful way.

Last week I was very fortunate to see Gary a at a local church and hear him speak about his best-selling book, The 5 Love Languages.  I have read several of his books and found them to be very informative and helpful.   Learning these 5 love languages has helped save marriages all around the world.

The 5 love languages are:

1) Words of affirmation – these are verbal compliments, positive statements, words of appreciation

2) Quality time – this happens when you do something together and give your full attention to the other person with no distractions

3) Receiving gifts – gifts are visual symbols of love, tangible items that you receive

4) Acts of service – doing nice things for people, helping with the chores

5) Physical touch – hugs, kisses, holding hands a gentle touch

You can find out what your love language is by going to http://www.5lovelanguages.com and trying the test.  We might have more than 1 love language and may have 2 that are close but there should be 1 primary love language that stands out the most.  My biggest score was Acts of Service and my lowest score was Receiving Gifts.  I feel very loved when someone does something nice for me like cooking a meal or doing the vacuuming.  Yet when someone gives me a gift, it doesn’t give me the same warm, fuzzy feeling.

What is your love language?

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