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.

Home alone

Will you be spending home alone for Christmas?  Sadly there are millions of people around the world who spend the holiday season feeling alone amidst the hustle and bustle going on around them.  Some of us have recently lost a loved one or maybe Christmas is a reminder of something unpleasant that happened in the past.  Others are struggling with depression or feeling that nobody cares about them.   We may attend festive parties and sing cheery songs but inside we may be crying out in pain.

There are so many families that don’t even spend time together at Christmas because of distance, being too busy or just because they just don’t want to.  This is a shame because Christmas is such  a wonderful time to share traditions and create memories.

Take some time to consider your friends, neighbours and co-workers and determine if they are receiving any love during the Christmas season.  If you are fortunate enough to be spending Christmas with your loved ones, why not consider doing something special for someone who may be feeling alone:

  • invite them to spend some time with your family
  • stop in for a visit
  • buy a Christmas gift
  • call them on the phone
  • send a cheery Christmas card

If you are spending Christmas alone, don’t allow any negative thoughts to bring you down.  We are conditioned by society to believe the lie that there is something wrong with us if we don’t spend Christmas with family and friends.   In reality, there is nothing wrong with spending any day alone.  Being alone can be very peaceful if we have a positive perspective on life and realize our true worth and value.   Solitude can be a wonderful break from our lives of constant pressure and stress.   There are lots of things that you can do to enjoy spending time alone:

  • watch a Christmas movie
  • listen to some music
  • read a good book
  • take a walk
  • nap
  • meditate
  • do some puzzles
  • organize closets

If you really don’t want to be alone at Christmas you can:

  • attend a Christmas church service
  • feed the homeless at a local shelter
  • go to a park and say hello to anyone you meet
  • pick up some Christmas cards, sign them ‘from a friend’ and deliver them to the mailboxes around your neighbourhood
  • call people you know and wish them a ‘Merry Christmas’
  • try inviting some friends over to watch TV – you might find someone who is just as lonely as you are and wants companionship

Whatever your situation, try to have a good Christmas and spread some love around!

 

 

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Do you sound like a broken record?

record playerYears ago, when we had record players, sometimes the phonograph records would become scratched and stay in the same groove playing the same note over and over again.  This was an annoying and irritating sound that made it impossible to keep listening to the record.   However, it was possible to repair a scratch with certain items including a record cleaning brush and a lot of time and patience.  Most people didn’t know how to fix a record or want to be bothered, so they would just give up and toss it out.

We often sound like broken records, saying things to ourselves that we have heard a long time ago.  Do any of these sound familiar:

  • I’m too stupid to learn anything
  • I’m worthless
  • Nobody likes me
  • I’m a dummy
  • I look like an idiot
  • I’ll never finish school
  • I’m a loser
  • I can’t find a job
  • I’ll always be depressed
  • I’ll never be successful

These are just a few of the things that we might have been told by our parents, our peers, bullies or other people in our lives.  We hear words that hurt us, put us down and make us feel bad.  Then we start telling ourselves these same words and keep repeating them over and over again until they become habit.  These words are not true but we believe them and they become our truth.

We have to realize that what people say to us is from their thoughts and it reflects their thoughts and not the person we are.  People who say hurtful words are hurting themselves and they just want to hurt someone else so they will feel better.  It gives them a temporary feeling of power but it can also be destructive to us if we believe what they say.

If you sound like a broken record and you keep repeating things over and over in your mind years after they have been said, then you need to stop that record and do some repairs.  Ask yourself why you believe these things.  Why is that record still playing in your mind?  Why do you keep hurting yourself?

Start working on creating a new record, one that repeats positive things about yourself.  If you can learn to think negative things about yourself by creating a habit, you can also learn to think positive things about yourself by creating a habit.  Work on some positive statements or affirmations that you can repeat every day until you no longer hear those negative words playing in your mind.   It takes time and patience but if you work hard at becoming positive, it will help build your confidence and increase your esteem.

Do you sound like a broken record?  Do the words sound like this?

  • I always do my best
  • I am a good friend
  • I work hard
  • I like to help others
  • I am a kind person
  • I go the extra mile
  • I like to smile
  • I feel peaceful

 

 

 

 

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Don’t Curse the Darkness

This is a beautiful and insightful post about dealing with grief. For most of us, grief is extremely difficult at first, but gradually we accept our loss and even thought it is still in our minds we can move on with life. For some people, grief is so overwhelming that it takes over their entire life and cripples them. It doesn’t matter how much support they have, they stay stuck in a dark place. Misifusa describes how this feels and how we have to just keep supporting each other until they see the light.

Misifusa's Blog

76604911_It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness. 

~ Eleanor Roosevelt

I spoke to a dear friend yesterday.  She called to thank me for a small gift I had given to her.  Quite frankly, I wasn’t sure if she would accept it, but I gave it to her anyway.  You see, you can really never be quite sure if someone is ready to take that next small baby step and no matter how tenderly I may feel I am being with my friend, it could have done more harm than good and in turn, gone terribly wrong.

It happened to me once.  A dear friend spoke heartfelt words to me and I wasn’t ready to hear them.  Instead, I was terribly hurt and distraught by what she said.  I retreated and so did she.  We spent months skirting the issue ~ wasted time in which we could…

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Counting down to the new year

fireworksOnly one more day left in 2013.  Are you ready for the New Year to begin?  Have you made any resolutions for 2014?

Almost half of American adults make one or more resolutions every year.  One of the most popular resolutions is to lose weight which is done through healthier eating or exercising.  Another popular resolution is stopping a bad habit such as smoking or drinking.   People also try to save money by budgeting and spending less.

The problem with resolutions is that most people get discouraged and give up by the end of March.  Everyone wants things to happen quickly but it takes time and commitment to stop a bad habit or correct a problem.  We gain weight over a period of months and years and then hope to lose it in a few weeks.  Not feasible.  We develop bad habits that are reinforced over a period of months and years and then hope to correct the problem in a few weeks.  Not possible.  We get ourselves into money problems over a period of months and years and hope to become financially secure in a few weeks.   Not realistic.

If we want to change something in our lives, we have to be patient and work hard every day at making positive changes.  We also have to correct the problem that is causing the problem or any changes will only be temporary.

If you are trying to lose weight, ask yourself why.  Is it because of low esteem?  Are you really overweight or are you judging yourself through the eyes of the world?  Maybe weight isn’t the problem and what you need is to build your esteem so you can feel good about who you are and accept your flaws and imperfections.

If you are trying to stop a habit, ask yourself what caused the habit.  Are you depressed, trying to run away from something, trying to mask a painful situation?  Breaking habits is almost impossible to do by yourself.  You need support from others.  Join a group of people who are struggling with the same issue or a faith-based study group so you can deal with the underlying issue.

If you are trying to save money, what is the reason.  If you aren’t in financial distress and just trying to save for a home, car or other investment, then that’s a great idea.  But if you are trying to save because you have maxed out all your credit cards, used up any savings and are getting deeply into debt, then you need to ask yourself what got you into this situation.  Do you have an out-of-control spending problem?  Do you have a family member who is running you into debt? If you have more bills at the end of the month than you have money, you seriously need to contact a financial planner or credit counsellor so you can figure out how to deal with the issue.  Counselling can also help when there is an addiction to spending.

There are many different resolutions that we can make but there is no point making any if we aren’t going to keep them.  Instead of making a resolution, make yourself a promise.  Promises are harder to break than resolutions, especially if you write them down and keep track of them on a daily basis.

Get yourself a journal, day book or calendar and write down your promise or promises every day for one month, then cross it off each day as you keep your promise.  Research shows it takes about 21-30 consecutive days to create a new habit, so this will get you started.  If you are trying to break a bad habit, it will take a lot longer so keep going month by month until you feel like you have your promise under control.

This won’t be easy, but if you really want to do something, set your mind to it, and NEVER give up, you CAN DO IT!    Believe and have faith!

 

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Time is precious

sitting on top of hourglassDo you realize how precious your time is?  From the day you were born until the day you die, you only have a certain number of years here on this earth.

Most of us spend our time working, eating, spending money and sleeping.   There isn’t anything wrong with that unless that is all we are doing with our time.

Do you spend time with your family, especially your children?  Do you take time to build strong relationships?   Do you stop to help others?   Do you just take some quiet time for yourself?

When we are young, we are swept up in this fast paced world, trying to achieve everything all at once.  We work hard and make lots of money, not paying much attention to our physical, mental and spiritual health.  We don’t always take the time to relax and we end up getting stressed and depressed.  Life passes by quickly and soon we are in our later years wondering where all our time disappeared to and thinking about all the things we missed out on.  At that point we would gladly give back all the money we made in exchange for more time and good health.

Remember how precious time is.  Once a day is gone, it can never be re-lived.  Make sure you use your time to build good relationships and great memories.

What are you going to do with the 24 hours ahead of you?

 

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De-clutter your mind

cluttered mindMost people have some clutter in their home.   Even the tidiest housekeeper might have drawers full of papers that should be thrown away,  dishes and kitchen ware that are shoved to the back of the cupboard and never used, tools that are piled up in the corner of the garage and other useless items that are being stored somewhere in the house just because they might be needed someday.  Then there are people who get really carried away with clutter and fill up their entire house with items that they don’t need, will never use and eventually will rot and decay.  I’ve cleaned some of those houses where you can’t even navigate through them without tripping over something.

When your home is cluttered, you likely also have a cluttered mind and it is important to de-clutter your mind as well as your home.   Just de-cluttering a home will not solve the problem and you will just end up back where you started from.  A cluttered mind can result from being depressed, feeling worthless or unloved, not getting support, losing control, too much pressure or just feeling overwhelmed with life in general.   When you feel bad about yourself and other people, your possessions start looking pretty good because you have control over them and can accumulate whatever you want.  Your ‘stuff’ gives you comfort and actually becomes part of you.  This is why it is so hard to convince some people to de-clutter their homes.

If you have trouble de-cluttering your home, it is time to start de-cluttering your mind.  Reach out to any family members or friends who you can trust and ask them for help.  Talk to your family doctor and ask him/her to connect you with some professionals that will help you get started on a journey to improve your emotional, mental and physical health.   Don’t stay stuck in the clutter.  Take steps to move forward and start enjoying your life.   Believe that you are special and you deserve it!

 

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Do you love dead things?

man and moneyIf you were asked what do you love most in your life, what would you say?

  • money?
  • power?
  • possessions?
  • people?

A lot of people in this world love “dead” things more that they love people and they don’t even realize it.  Money, power and possessions are all “dead” things.  They can’t give back love or fill your emotional needs, yet they often take priority over other more important things in our lives.  We often neglect the emotional needs of our family and friends by working too much or putting our energy into accumulating possessions.    Then when we find ourselves in a situation where we want love and support, all we can find is our accumulated “stuff” that can’t talk to us, hug us, comfort us or give us the love we need.   We do need money and ‘stuff’ but these should never be our priority in life.

Research shows that many people who are obsessed with materialism often have low-esteem and are not happy or satisfied with life.   They believe that money, possessions and power will make them happy and successful.    However, the more people have, the more they want and the unhappier they become.  Countries that are the wealthiest have more issues with addictions and depression than countries that are poor.

Our culture constantly bombards us with the message that having more ‘stuff’ will make us happy.  This is a ploy to make us feel bad so companies can line their pockets with our hard-earned money.   We have to realize that our value is not in our possessions, our value is in who we are.

Think about what is important in your life.  Does it love you back?

Instead of loving “dead” things, put your love where it counts, in the people around you who can love you back and fill up your emotional tanks.

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Self-acceptance

people-ThinkingAccepting ourselves is very hard to do.  We often have an unrealistic view of ourselves because the world has set high expectations that we can never reach.  This creates stress, anxiety or depression for many people.

We keep trying to become what others expect of us and don’t even realize what an amazing person we are.  Sometimes we don’t even know all our good qualities, our skills and our strengths and we focus on our imperfections, flaws and weaknesses.

In order to accept ourselves:

  • we need to realize that everyone has a unique worth and value
  • we have to stop criticizing our imperfections
  • we have to be aware of our strengths and weaknesses
  • we need to work on building confidence and increasing esteem

Everyone has strengths and weaknesses and that is okay.  The world tells us that we have to be good at everything and be the ‘super-person’ who can multi-task and do 20 things at a time.  This just makes us feel bad about ourselves and it is not true.  We aren’t super heroes and we all have different strengths and weaknesses.  This is because we are supposed to work together.   Our strengths will help with someone else’s weakness and their strengths will help with our weaknesses.  We just need to use our strengths to our best ability and accept our weaknesses.  We can certainly work on improving our weaknesses, but this shouldn’t hold us back in life.  What are your strengths and weaknesses?  Grab a piece of paper and a pen and write down 5 of your strengths and 5 of your weaknesses.  If you have any trouble, ask others to help you.

Read these statements and circle the ones that you feel are true about yourself:

  1. I am a unique and valuable person.
  2. I accept myself as I am and am happy with who I am.
  3. I can accept criticism from others without feeling bad.
  4. I openly admit that I make mistakes.
  5. I don’t need approval from others to feel good.
  6. I don’t feel guilty when I say or do something I feel is right.
  7. If I do something wrong, I try to make amends.
  8. I am willing to step out the box and try new things.
  9. I believe that change can be good.
  10. I love myself (not in a vain or egotistical way).

How many did you circle?  If your esteem is good and you value yourself as you deserve, they should all be circled.smiling1

Now back to that question about your strengths and weaknesses.  Did you make a list?  Did you write down your strengths or weaknesses first?   Many people will find it easy to write their weaknesses and difficult to think about their strengths because we focus on the negatives.  This is what I used to do.  I could quickly write down my weaknesses and then I couldn’t think about any strengths.  I had to ask people what my strengths were and this just indicates a poor self-esteem.  Now that I have built good esteem, I can easily write down my strengths and I have to think really hard about my weaknesses.  I’ve had this happen in my workshops when there are people with varying degrees of esteem.

So if you have trouble accepting who you are,  focus on your strengths and tell yourself that you are an awesome person, because you are!!

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Now is the time for change

Sad Teenage GirlMy passion is helping others and it breaks my heart when I see people being hurt in any way.   There are so many broken people in this world that have been abused, ignored, bullied or treated badly in some way.  I know how it feels because I have experienced a lot of pain and hurt in my own life.

One issue that bothers me greatly is how the media promotes beauty and body image.  It has been proven beyond the shadow of a doubt that people are affected negatively by what they see on TV and read in magazines.  Yet nothing is being done to stop this from happening.  What are the negative affects?

  • Children are learning at a very early age that their worth and value are linked to their sexuality.
  • Men see women as objects instead of real persons and treat them with disrespect
  • Women are losing their unique identity.
  • People are becoming more aggressive and violent acts are being committed more often.
  • People are being desensitized to violence and don’t see that it is a problem

The American Psychological Association did a report on the Sexualization of Girls.  Research links sexualisation with 3 of the most common problems for girls and women which are:

  1. eating disorders
  2. low self-esteem
  3. depression or a depressed mood

You can see the full report by clicking here….  http://www.apa.org/pi/women/programs/girls/report.aspx

It would probably be impossible to stop the media from producing anything harmful, but we all should do what we can by bringing attention to these issues and helping our children.  We can:

  • set a positive example for our children by not obsessing about our looks and wearing clothing that is considered ‘sexy’
  • teach solid values and morals
  • teach children to respect themselves and others
  • get involved and show interest in their activities
  • be aware of what they are watching on TV and the internet and what they are reading in magazines and books
  • discuss how the media distorts the truth
  • talk about the pressures to wear certain clothing or look like someone else
  • encourage them to be unique and not follow the crowd
  • encourage them to stand up for what they believe in
  • teach them not to judge others for how they look or judge themselves based on someone else’s ideas
  • voice your opinion by sending letters to companies, writing blogs, submitting an article to your local newspaper
  • join an advocacy group or organization

It’s time to stand up and make some positive changes in our world!!  Communicate with your children and help them understand how the media wants to make people feel bad just so they can make a lot of money.    The following video clips called, Killing us Softly 4, were created by Jean Kilbourne, who is an internationally recognized author and speaker on the subject of women in advertising.   There are 5 clips in the series.

http://youtu.be/MnDOdG0U07I

http://youtu.be/sZ80GaNIPOQ

http://youtu.be/Oq6WO18KpPc

http://youtu.be/XVu40iEmeCY

http://youtu.be/KbW7-cBWN3I

 

 

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How can you tell if your child has low-esteem

Does your child have low-esteem?    Esteem is something that we learn starting in our early childhood.  Esteem is how we feel about ourselves.  It is an evaluation of our own worth.  We can develop good esteem if we live in a mostly positive environment surrounded by people who show love and appreciation towards us and others.  We can develop poor esteem if we live in a mostly negative environment surrounded by people who show little love and treat us badly.

If we have low esteem ourselves, we might not realize that our children also have low esteem.   Following is a quiz that will help you figure out if your child struggles with esteem issues.  It might help you understand yourself better also.

Have you ever heard your child say any of the following statements:

  • I’m stupid
  • I’m a loser
  • I’m too fat
  • I’m ugly
  • I don’t do anything right
  • Nobody likes me
  • I have no friends
  • I’m worthless

Does your child do any of the following:

  • Avoid group activities
  • Put themselves down
  • Blame others when they fail
  • Try to control or bully
  • Make excuses a lot
  • Always worry about what other people think
  • Think they aren’t important
  • Fear making mistakes or failing
  • Lie or cheat to win at something
  • Give up easily
  • Have no friends
  • Doesn’t talk about feelings
  • Want other people to fix their problems
  • Insecure about self
  • Believe they are always wrong
  • Easily influenced by peer pressure
  • Get into trouble

It is natural for children to feel bad about themselves sometimes, but if they feel this way a lot of the time, it might be a sign of serious problems.   Low esteem can be the cause or result of depression which can lead to serious problems in life.  If you feel that your child has low esteem, it would be a good idea to talk to your family doctor and discuss ways to build their esteem.   If you think that you have a problem with low esteem, discuss this with your doctor and work on building your own esteem, so you can help your child.

According to the National Mental Health Information Center, things that you (or your child) can do to raise self-esteem can include:

•Pay attention to your own needs and wants

•Take very good care of yourself and take time to do things you enjoy

•Get something done that you have been putting off

•Do things that make use of your own special talents and abilities

•Dress in clothes that make you feel good about yourself

•Spend time with people who make you feel good about yourself

•Make your living space a place that honors the person you are

•Display items you find attractive or remind you of your achievements or of special times or people in your life

•Make your meals a special time

•Take advantage of opportunities to learn something new or improve your skills

•Begin doing those things that you know will make you feel better about yourself

•Do something nice for another person

•Make it a point to treat yourself well every day and give yourself rewards when you deserve them

It can also be helpful to change negative thoughts about yourself to positive ones, avoid using negative words, and develop positive affirmations.

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