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.

Do you have damaged emotions?

We have all been hurt at one time or another.  Being hurt is unavoidable and just a normal part of life.  The problem is, many of us have difficulty processing our hurts in a positive way and our emotions become badly damaged.  It is important that we address our hurts and deal with them so they can’t continue to cause pain in our lives.

Here are some steps we can take to heal any damaged emotions:

  1. Face your problems dead on.  If you try to avoid them, deny them or hide them, it won’t work.  Pushing the pain away may temporarily relieve the pain, but in the long run, the hurt will keep coming back.  Take an honest look at what happened and talk to someone you can trust.
  2. Take responsibility for what happened.  Be totally honest with yourself.  Did you play any part in what happened?  Most of the time, there can be blame placed on both sides.  How did you respond?  Did you show anger or did you try to understand the situation?
  3. Ask yourself if you really want your damaged emotions to heal.  Sometimes people use their problems to get attention and to make other people feel sorry for them.   They get stuck in a bad habit and become comfortable struggling with their problems.  This is really not a good way to live as it never allows any possibility of peace or happiness.
  4. In order to heal, you must be forgiving.  First you need to forgive the people who hurt you.  This does not mean that you are telling them it is okay for them to hurt you because it was certainly not okay at all, it means that you are giving up the hold they have on you.  As long as you have unforgiveness for a person, you are tied to them and they can continue to hurt you over and over again.   Tell the person you forgive them for hurting you and then forgive yourself and move on.
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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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Misery loves company

misery loves companyThere is a lot of truth in this expression.  When people are miserable, they often gain some degree of comfort knowing that others around them are miserable too.

Being around negative people can often cause us to be negative ourselves if we are codependent on other people’s behaviour and don’t have control over our emotions.

We should never allow anyone to make us unhappy.   Many people do not even realize that they can control their emotions and remain happy even in difficult situations.  Just because a family member or friend is unhappy, it does not mean that we have to be unhappy.   We have the choice as to what kind of attitude we will have and it doesn’t have to be the same as the people around us.    We have to change from a negative mindset to a positive mindset.

When confronted by negative people who are angry, upset or miserable, remain calm.   Let the person know that you love them and will support them, but that you will not allow their negative thinking to affect your life.   They have to realize that they cannot control your emotions and understand that they need to try to control their own emotions.

Try to surround yourself with positive people, places and things so you can build your own confidence and strengthen your esteem.   Replace any bad habits with good habits and keep practicing every day.   Then you can be a good example for the negative people around you and have a positive influence on their attitude.

What kind of attitude do you have?  Are you a miserable person or a joyful person?  Do you need an attitude adjustment?  Attitudes can be catching.  What are people catching from you?


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Why do people argue and fight?

couple in pj's upsetEvery relationship has its problems.  No two people can get along all the time without having an occasional argument or fighting about something.  It is normal to disagree because we are human and we all see things differently.

Why do people argue and fight?  This is because we want something that we can’t have.

  • We want the other person to agree with us
  • We want the other person to do something for us
  • We want the other person to pay attention to us
  • We want the other person to behave in a certain way
  • We want the other person to feel sorry for us
  • We want the other person to meet our expectations
  • We are afraid of something or someone

Is it healthy to argue and fight?  Yes, because we need to express our emotions.  If we hold everything in side, it can be very damaging to our health.  However, we need to express our emotions in a positive way.

  • try not to let little things add up until they become one huge issue, make a point of discussing any issues on a daily basis
  • if you are already angry and ready to fight, take some time to calm down before you start a discussion
  • if the other person starts an argument, tell them you would like to discuss the matter at a later time when they are calmer
  • don’t bring up any past issues as this will fuel the argument and not resolve anything, only talk about the matter at hand
  • if there are any past issues that are still causing problems for you, make a point of discussing them at a time when both of you are calm, so they can be resolved
  • don’t bring other people into the argument unless it becomes necessary to see a therapist or counsellor
  • don’t interrupt, listen carefully and look at each other

If you fight fairly, a relationship can become stronger.  You will learn more about the other person, understand better how they feel and be able to resolve normal conflict without causing a breakdown in communication and possibly destroying the relationship.  Sometimes we want something so badly that we don’t even realize how harmful conflict can be.

To have a good relationship, it is important that we own our part of the problem.   It is hard to look at ourselves and realize that we expect way too much of others.  We expect other people to make us happy.  We expect other people to give us things that they may not be able to give us, and when they don’t, we blame them for our problems.  Then the fighting starts.

Why do you argue and fight with others?  What is it that you want?





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Our emotional addictions

4 hurt arguingWhen we hear the word ‘addiction’, most people instantly think about alcohol, drugs or tobacco.  However we can also be addicted to many other things including our emotions.

An emotion is a chemical response to something, a strong feeling that usually causes a physical effect such as excitement, fear or anger.  Every day we feel numerous emotions that may result in something positive happening or something negative happening.  Emotions are a natural and necessary part of life.   They are neither right or wrong, they just happen.  We can’t stop or control our emotions but we can control how we react to our emotions.

Positive emotions evoke feelings of happiness, excitement or peace.  Negative emotions evoke feelings of resentment, fear or anger.   However when we do not deal with our emotions properly, they can become out of control.  Emotions can become addictions that will start to control us.

So many people today are addicted to anger, fear, resentment, depression and other negative emotions.  This causes problems in our relationships, at work, at school and everywhere we go.

Ask yourself:

  • What emotions do I feel most strongly?
  • How do other people feel when I react badly from any negative emotions?
  • How do I feel when I react badly from any negative emotions?
  • Am I addicted to anger, fear, etc?
  • Are my emotions under control?
  • Do my emotions control me?

It is important that we try to overcome any negative emotional addictions so they don’t destroy us.  If you want to overcome a negative emotional addiction, you need to make a commitment to change.

  • take an honest evaluation of your emotions – which ones are hurting you and which ones are helping you
  • get others to support you – find people who are encouraging and understanding
  • find information from various sources on how to break bad habits – research, read books, talk to professionals
  • focus on the positives – say daily positive affirmations, use positive self-talk
  • when you have a negative emotion – stop and think before you react
  • write your thoughts and emotions in a daily journal – take a few minutes at the end of each day to reflect on them
  • create some positive emotional addictions (love, generosity, compassion)

Let’s not forget that the little emotions are the great captains of our lives and we obey them without realizing it.  ~Vincent Van Gogh, 1889




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Do you have patience?

angry jumpingIn this fast-paced world, people want to have everything right now.  Nobody likes to wait for anything and if they can’t get things instantly, they become impatient.  Instant gratification brings an instant rush and that can feel good for a short period of time, but it isn’t lasting.

Do you ever stop and take a look at how other people are acting?  Do you ever stop and take a look at how you are acting?  Do these instances sound familiar?

  • You have a fit when you are waiting in line for fast food and it is taking forever (maybe 2 min??)
  • You start swearing when the traffic is heavy and nobody seems to be moving?
  • You say something rude to the cashier who seems to be very slow?
  • You get irritated when the waiter or waitress makes a mistake in your order?

We need to slow down and learn how to face life with patience instead of getting all bent out of shape when things don’t go our way as quickly as we think they should.  Accept situations that are out of your control.  Having a fit while waiting in line, getting irritated or making rude comments when people seem to be slow, will not encourage them to work faster.  Swearing at the traffic will not help it move any faster.  Besides there are probably valid reasons for things not moving along quickly.  Maybe that line is slow because there is a staff shortage due to sickness or there was an unexpected rush of customers all at once.  Maybe the traffic is heavy because there was an accident and people were hurt or injured.  Maybe the cashier is slow because she was up all night looking after a sick baby and she is tired.  Maybe the waitress made a mistake because she has a headache or she is under a lot of stress from personal issues.

Besides we all make mistakes and we all have bad days.  What if you were having a bad day and someone got irritated at you because you were slow or made a mistake?  Would that be fair?

Patience is really a virtue that we should work on daily.  I used to get so irritated when I had to wait for anything, but my impatience just caused me to develop a bunch of stress related health problems.  People have heart attacks because they get so stressed out and is it worth it?   Now that I’ve worked hard to become more patient, my life is so much more peaceful.

Do you have patience?

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Are you a pressure cooker?

pressure cookerWhen 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





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Surprised when your child shows violence?

aggressive silhouetteWe should not be surprised when we see children display violence.   Many people allow their children to watch violent acts on TV or play violent video games, let them look at magazines and books that portray violent acts.  Then when they act out aggressively, we wonder why.

Violence is accepted as normal and we are becoming immune to these horrible acts.  When we hear news about killings, terror or atrocities, we don’t get upset or even shed a tear to show that we care.   Watching these violent acts every day is having a negative affect on our children and we don’t even realize how much harm is being caused.  The same goes for children who are allowed to watch sexual acts on TV or see nude pictures in magazines.

What are the results of exposure to violence?  Children:

  • develop fear and anxiety – they see the world as dangerous and unsafe
  • will model violent behaviours and will imitate violent acts
  • will become more aggressive (kicking, hitting, fighting, playing rough) and destructive (breaking things)
  • will become desensitized and lose their sense of empathy – not caring about what happens to other people

The American Psychological Association says that babies as young as 12 months will react to what they see on TV.  The American Association of Pediatrics recommends that children under 2 years of age not watch TV at all and instead should be encouraged to play more interactive activities (talking, playing singing, reading) to promote proper brain development.  Research shows again and again that children who watch violent TV programming will show violent tendencies as adults.

It is the responsibility of parents and caregivers to protect their children from anything that will harm them.   We can’t hide them from the world, but we can give them a solid foundation by raising them in a loving, caring environment.  Help them deal with any anger or aggression in a positive way and teach them what is right.  Be a good example and only watch decent family programming.  Better yet, turn of the TV!


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Watch your words!

stickman with megaphoneIn my workshops and blogging, I’m always telling people to be careful about what they say.  Words can be very destructive if people don’t think about what they are saying.  Just one hurtful word or a simple phrase can destroy a person’s life.  ‘You are worthless.  I hate you.  What a loser.  You are so stupid.”  Have you ever heard yourself saying any of these words.  I know I have said them and I’ve also heard them said to me, so I know how much they can hurt.

We need to teach our children and be a good example to those around us by watching what we say and choosing our words carefully.    This starts by changing our negative thoughts into positive thoughts so we don’t carelessly let some nasty, mean or cruel words slip out of our mouths.  Everything we say to others should be positive, encouraging and loving.  Kind words make us feel good and help build good self-esteem.  Unkind words make us feel bad and can destroy our esteem.

When children grow up in an environment where they hear damaging, negative words, they will develop insecurities, fears and have unhealthy thoughts that result in anger, bitterness, criticism and an inability to see life from a positive perspective.

Today it seems that people don’t seem to care what they say or think about the consequences.  Making verbal threats is just ‘normal’ to many people and most times they are just words and nothing more.   We have all said things in our lives that we shouldn’t have said.  I remember when my kids were growing up, I would get angry with them and say, ‘I’m going to kill you”.  Of course, I would never have harmed my children, it was just empty words.  I had heard that expression many times growing up and it was common place.  However, it was still not right and I should never have said it because it probably affected their esteem.  I’m very careful now with my words because I know how powerful they can be and I don’t ever want to hurt anyone on purpose.

I read an article this morning about a boy who got into an argument with a friend on Facebook and posted a really stupid comment that had a threatening message.  He is now sitting in jail facing a sentence.  His parents are saying that his son didn’t know what he was doing and there is a petition going around for his release.

What are your thoughts?  Here is my two cents.  The boy is 19 years old and should be made responsible for his actions.  He was threatening to shoot up a school full of kids and due to the number of incidents that have happened, it can’t be taken lightly.  I don’t think 8 years in jail is appropriate unless he has done something violent in the past, however he needs to face the consequences of making threatening comments on-line.   He should be sent for some type of therapy to help him deal with his obvious anger issue and do some community work so he can learn some valuable life lessons.

Another thing that really concerns me about this article is that this problem came from a game he was playing.  I’ve never played any of these games but I’ve read a lot about them.   Many people argue that there is nothing damaging about playing these games, but what kind of message do you get from a game that has weapons and killing?  It certainly doesn’t create a calm, positive environment, instead it is more likely to creating an agitated, negative environment that can lead to anger, hatred and violence.  We certainly don’t need any more of this in the world!

We all need to watch our words and make sure that we are not saying anything that can hurt someone else or be taken as a threat.  Here is the link to the article.

Have a great weekend and PLEASE WATCH YOUR WORDS!

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Watch your words

stickman with megaphoneEvery word that comes out of your mouth has the potential to help someone or hurt someone.  Words are very powerful.  Once a word is spoken it can never be taken back.  The other person has already heard what you said and it can’t be reversed.

Can you remember a time when you said something and immediately wished you could take back the words?    I sure can; there were many times when the words just came flying out because I was hurt, angry or upset and instantly I wished that I hadn’t said anything.   It was these times that I felt stupid, inconsiderate, mean, thoughtless and ignorant.  My words hurt the other person and they came back to hurt me.

We should always be careful what we say.   I am now able to stop myself most of the time and think first before any unkind or nasty words come out of my mouth.  It takes a conscious effort to do this, but if you keep practicing, you will create a new positive habit and it becomes easier.  When speaking to someone, consider these things:

  • Will my words hurt or offend someone?
  • Will my words help or lift this person up?
  • Am I angry with this person?
  • Am I blaming this person for something that isn’t their fault?
  • Can I use gentler words to get my meaning across?
  • Should I just be quiet and say nothing?

We spend a lot of time with people and we can do a lot of damage if we aren’t careful with our words.   Negative words bring negative results.  Positive words bring positive results.

Watch your words!

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