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.

What are you giving this Christmas….Presents or Presence?

We all know that Christmas is a time for giving presents and that can be a good thing if the presents are simple and come from the heart.  However, many people believe that they have to spend a lot of money on extravagant gifts so they will be loved and appreciated.  A big screen TV, a new expensive designer outfit, gold jewelry, the latest gadget or gimmick.  Doesn’t it mean you love someone more if you spend more money???  No, this is certainly not true.  It is just a false belief that tricks you into parting with your money, makes you feel bad and often puts you in debt.

It is far more important to give your PRESENCE on Christmas rather than PRESENTS.  Think about it.

  • Is a child happier when they are surrounded with piles of new toys and have nobody to play with OR are they happier when they have one game to play with someone they love?
  • Is a wife happier when her husband gives her a diamond bracelet and then works overtime to pay for it OR is she happier when her husband gives her an inexpensive pair of earrings and then spends time watching TV with her every evening?
  • Is a friend happier when she gets the newest I-phone from her friend and doesn’t see her for 6 months because she is too busy OR is she happier when her friend takes her for coffee once a week and spends time chatting with her?

Spending time with people spreads more happiness than spending money on people.  What are you giving this Christmas…..Presents or Presence?

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Do you have integrity?

Can people count on you?  Do you keep your commitments?  Are you honest?  Do you do what is right?

People with integrity have strong values, beliefs and principles.  Their character is consistent and they always try to do the right thing even when it is hard or it goes against what society believes.

How can you tell if someone has integrity?

  • they are truthful
  • they keep their promises
  • they are there for you even in tough times
  • they are more concerned with giving than receiving
  • they always do their best and care about what they are doing
  • they accept responsibility for their mistakes
  • they are forgiving
  • they don’t blame others
  • they don’t try to hurt others, instead they try to help others

Do you have integrity? Are you teaching your children to have integrity?

 

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Do you have a perfectionist complex?

Do you feel that you will never measure up and are always comparing yourself to others?

Do you feel that you never do anything well or can never please anyone or yourself?

Are you always driven by the expectations of others?

Are you often frustrated or feel like a failure?

Have you ever stopped to wonder where these feelings come from?  We form our opinions of others and ourselves mainly from the environment that we grow up in.  This is reinforced by the people we surround ourselves with and how much we immerse ourselves in the media.  Perhaps you grew up in a home where criticism was the norm and whatever you did was never good enough.  When you cleaned your room and it wasn’t perfect, were you praised for what you did or criticized for what you didn’t do?  When you brought home a report card with 5 B’s and 1 D, were you praised for doing a good job and encouraged to beat that D or were you just criticized for getting a D?  When you brought home friends to enjoy some fun times, did your family welcome them and talk nicely about them when they left or did they pick out all their bad points and tell you that you didn’t choose your friends very well?

Growing up and living in an environment of criticism and negativity will have profound effects on how you live your life.  Feeling that you never do anything right and thinking that all your choices are bad ones, will create a need to find perfection.  Everything you do will be geared to pleasing someone else.  The result is feeling like a failure because you can never measure up to anyone else’s expectations.  The world continually promotes perfection and the need to succeed.  We should always do our best but we can never be perfect in a world that is far from perfect.

We need to understand that we all have strengths and weaknesses and not be critical of our imperfections and flaws.  We ALL are imperfect and we ALL have weaknesses.  We just can’t be the ‘super’ person that everyone expects us to be.  Even the expectations we put on ourselves are way too high and can never be reached.  Accepting ourselves for who we really are is important.  We all have unique value and worth.   Discover your own amazing abilities, strengths and personality traits.  Make a list and review them often to remind yourself what an awesome person you are!

 

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You do have the power to change

Many people believe that they don’t have the power the change something in their lives.  They believe that they are stuck in the same unhealthy relationships, the same dead-end job, the same negative way of thinking and that their health will never improve.  I used to believe this myself, but the truth is, we CAN change our lives for the better if we really want to and are willing to take action.

You can’t keep doing things the same way over and over and expect a different result.  You have to change something in your life: create new habits, develop new ideas, work on some goals.  If you just keep thinking about making a change and don’t take action, nothing will ever change.  You have to actively get going and do something in order to make positive changes in your life.

Change takes time.  You have to be committed to working hard and being patient.  Nothing worthwhile comes that quickly.  People today want things instantly and are not willing to invest time in their future.

If you want your life to change, here are some steps you can take:

  1. Sit down with a pen and journal or pad of paper and start brainstorming.  Write down your thoughts.  Create a simple plan of action.  Set some short and long term goals.
  2. Ask yourself some key questions.  What kind of relationships do you want to have?  What do you enjoy doing? What do you really want to achieve in life?
  3. Figure out what needs to be changed in your life.  What are some things that are working for you now?  What are some things that are not working?
  4. Determine any roadblocks that are stopping you from moving ahead.  What are these roadblocks and how can they be removed?
  5. Organize your plan of action and post it somewhere so it can be a daily reminder.
  6. Keep track of your progress in your journal.
  7. If something isn’t working the way you expected, modify your plan and make any necessary changes.
  8. Include some trusted family and friends in your plan and allow them to motivate and support you.
  9. Remember to stay positive.  You might not always accomplish what you want, but keep focusing on your plan and keep going.
  10. Most important.  Be patient, persevere and never give up.  Change will come if you keep working at it.
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Fight or flight?

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!

 

 

 

 

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Are you walking dead?

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.

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More often means less

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.

 

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I’ll be happy when…..

Have you ever said any of the following statements?

  • I’ll be happy when I graduate from college.
  • I’ll be happy when I get a good job.
  • I’ll be happy when I get married.
  • I’ll be happy when I have children.
  • I’ll be happy when I can buy a new car or a bigger house.
  • I’ll be happy when I go on my dream vacation.
  • I’ll be happy when I get a better job.
  • I’ll be happy when I lose 5, 10, 20, 50 pounds.
  • I’ll be happy when my spouse pays more attention to me.
  • I’ll be happy when I make more money.
  • I’ll be happy when my kids move out.
  • I’ll be happy when I retire.

I used to believe that when something good happened to me, I would be happy.   Then when it did happen, happiness was short-lived.

Looking to the future and believing that something or someone will make you happy, is a false belief.  Everyone is searching for happiness but many of us never find it.  We run around like a gerbil on a wheel and keep hoping to fill the emptiness inside.  The problem is, nothing external will satisfy our needs for very long.

If we want to be happy, we have to change the way we think.  Instead of believing that happiness comes from outside, we have to realize that happiness comes from inside.  When we are satisfied with our lives and thankful for what we have, happiness will find us.  We can create our own happiness by having a positive attitude, we don’t have to go looking for it.  We can choose to be happy or we can choose to be unhappy.  Which will you choose?

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Are you teaching your children to worry?

Let’s face it – life IS difficult and there are so many things that we can worry about – our families, our jobs, our friends, our finances, our future.  However, what value does worrying have?   The answer is – absolutely none! Worry doesn’t make anything better and it won’t resolve any problems.  Worry is just a major cause of stress and we know that stress can kill us.

So if we are worrying about everything in our lives, then we are impacting everyone around us, especially our children.  Think about it – our children are watching everything we say and do and will likely pick up any bad habits we have, like worrying!  We are giving them a terrible gift, one that will harm their health and possibly destroy any close parent/child relationship.

Are you teaching your children to worry?  If you are a worrier, take some steps to change this bad habit.  Write down your worries and try to change your perspective on them.  Ask yourself why you are worrying so much.  Try to focus on a positive solution and have faith that things will usually turn out okay.  The fact is, about 95% of the things we worry about never happen!

 

 

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How do you manage your emotions?

The way we manage our emotions affects the way we live.  If we allow our emotions to control us or just ignore them, they will create chaos in our lives.  However, if we learn how to control our emotions, we will have less stress and more peace in our lives.

Emotions are important.  They can tell us that something wonderful is happening and provide us with much pleasure and happiness or they can be a warning sign that something is wrong and needs to be addressed.  Think about the warning lights on the dashboard of a car.  When you see a red light flashing, what action do you take?  You can do one of three things:

  1. ignore it or even cover it up so you can’t see it flashing
  2. smash the light with a hammer and stop it from flashing
  3. take it to a mechanic and find out what the problem is

What would the first two actions accomplish?  Ignoring the problem or breaking the flashing light won’t make the problem go away and it won’t fix anything.  Your vehicle will eventually be damaged and stop running altogether.  The last action is the only way you will discover what the problem is and how to correct it.

If you handle your negative emotions by ignoring them or allowing them to explode, this will certainly not fix anything.  You will damage your relationships and your own health.  The best way to take care of your emotions is to deal with them and learn how to control them.  It isn’t always easy but if you pay attention to your emotions and consciously try to calm yourself, it can be done.  Here are some ideas:

  • try to avoid situations that cause your emotions to get out of control
  • never react immediately – practice taking a deep breath and count to 10 before having an out-of-control emotional reaction
  • try to focus on something positive
  • pray for guidance
  • leave the situation if you are struggling to maintain control and come back when you have calmed down
  • practice using positive self-talk and looking at things from a different perspective
  • vent your emotions in a positive way –  write them down on paper or talk to someone you can trust
  • examine your feelings and make positive changes in your life

It takes a lot of practice to manage your emotions but if you are consciously aware of your thoughts and work hard to stop yourself from reacting immediately, you will soon develop a habit of self-control.  How do you manage your emotions?

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