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.

The value of reading books

Ever since I was a small child, I have enjoyed reading.  I’m sure this came naturally as my family were all readers.  Sometimes when I’m reading a book, I remember my father sitting in his rocking chair, reading a book.   He had an entire bookcase in his room, filled with books that he enjoyed reading over and over again.

Grandmother Reading with GranddaughterBooks can fill you with information.  They can take you to far-away places.  They can help you dream.  They can fuel your imagination.

Many people do not read books today and instead are just using the internet to find out information.   However, research clearly shows that reading books has advantages and when you teach your children to read, you are giving them a wonderful gift that will enrich their lives.  Reading will help your children:

  • become better readers
  • get better grades in school
  • help them use their imagination
  • become confident
  • become independent
  • understand emotions
  • increases their attention span
  • learn about other people and the world
  • learn how to relax and enjoy quiet time

When  your children are small, start reading stories to them.  This provides your child with a positive role model to follow.  Children love sitting close to you and listening to your words.  This tells them that they are important to you and that you enjoy spending time with them.  It establishes a close parent/child relationship and increases their self-esteem.





Stop dieting!

Are you on a diet?  If so, this post is for you.

Stop dieting!!  Yes, I said stop dieting.  Dieting is not healthy for you.  Research shows that 90% of people who diet will fail.   So get together with 9 other people who are dieting and statistically only 1 of you will be successful.  So what are the odds of it being you?  Not very good.

The reason that most people fail when they are on a diet is that they are not focusing on the real problem.   What is the real problem and why do we diet?  Mainly because we don’t feel comfortable with ourselves.  We don’t have good esteem and we feel insecure.  We don’t like the way we look and we are trying to become the perfect person that the world tells us to be.    So we look for quick and easy ways to lose weight which isn’t realistic or even possible.  If it has taken us years to gain weight, how can we expect to lose it in a few days or weeks?

Then there are people (mostly teens) who shouldn’t be dieting at all because they are already at a healthy weight but they are convinced there is something wrong with their body image.  This can be due to poor parental role modelling, since many parents are continually on diets themselves.

The problem with dieting is that we are focusing on the wrong thing.  It isn’t easy to control your eating when you are always thinking about food and focusing on what you can’t eat.  Instead we should be focusing on healthy eating and thinking about the foods we can eat.

Cheerios has started to promote an awareness of the problems caused by a dieting mentality.  They are encouraging people to live a healthy, balanced lifestyle and be a good role model for their children by taking the ‘never say dieting oath’.   Join the hundreds of people who have taken this oath and  help make our next generation healthy.




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Who has hurt you?

blue sad faceEveryone in this world has been hurt in some way.   In fact, many of us could probably write a best-selling movie depicting all the pain we have been through.  It would describe how we were abused, rejected, disappointed, neglected, abandoned, ridiculed, deceived, betrayed or humiliated.   But how would the movie end?  Would it show us still struggling with our pain or enjoying our new-found happiness and peace?

In order to get over past hurts and no longer be negatively affected by them, we have to face the pain and work through it.  It is like being trapped in a room that is surrounded by fire and the only exit is on the other side of the fire.   The only way out is to find a way to get through the fire and get to safety.   This means that we get a little burnt and feel more pain, but real freedom is only found when we go through our pain.  You don’t have to dwell on past pain.  It is only a bad habit that can be broken with patience and commitment.

Unfortunately, many of us are not able to get over past hurts that easily and they often become a burden that many of us carry right through life.

  • Some of us try to forget what happened and hope that the pain will eventually go away.   This might work for a while, but the pain will keep surfacing from time to time and cause more suffering
  • Some of us try to pretend that it doesn’t matter anymore and that we are just fine.   This also might work for a while, but when the pain comes back it will remind us that we are not fine.
  • Others keep thinking about the pain and it continues to destroy us a little at a time.    Living in our pain every day is not a healthy way to live.

If you want to get rid of your pain, the first thing to do is to open your heart and express your feelings.  You have to be totally honest with yourself.    Find someone you can trust and talk to them.  If you don’t have a trusted family member or friend and you are struggling with some serious issues, make an appointment with your family doctor or pastor who can discuss some options with you.

The next thing you need to do is start focusing on the positives and developing a thankful attitude.  Think about all the good things in your life and be thankful for the small joys – sunshine, a smile, good friends.   Once you have created a new habit of being positive and enjoying your life, past pains will no longer have a hold on you.   Writing is also very therapeutic.   Get a journal and write down your thoughts and feelings.   Make a gratitude journal!

Work on building your confidence and esteem.  When you are secure and feel good about yourself, you won’t allow other people to hurt you.

Surround yourself with people who are caring and supportive.  Listen to them and believe it when they tell you what a wonderful person you are.  People who have been hurt will often feel worthless and think they have no value.  We may think we deserve their cruel actions or unkind words but we should never believe these lies because we are all valuable in our own way.  Many times when people hurt us, it is because they are hurting themselves in some way and are just acting out to release their own pain.

Most importantly, you need to let go of your pain.  Holding on to the past is no good for you.  It just keeps you stuck and struggling.   Forgive those who hurt you.  When  you forgive, you are not letting them off the hook or saying it was okay that they hurt you.  Forgiveness is releasing your own pain so you can heal.

You are the only one who can decide to let go of the pain.  Do you want peace or pain?  The choice is yours.

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Are you an encourager or a discourager?

talk with cansHow do you communicate with other people?  Do you speak words of encouragement or words of discouragement?  If you are speaking words of encouragement, it will nurture and build up a person’s self-esteem.    If you are speaking words of discouragement, it will tear down and destroy a person’s self-esteem.

It is so important that we choose our words carefully, so we have positive influence on those around us.  It is equally important to ourselves because negative words can be very destructive to our own emotional health.

Before you speak, consider what you are thinking.  If you are ready to complain or criticize, try to stop yourself before those negative words roll off your tongue and do any damage.  Try to focus on something positive and be encouraging instead of discouraging.  Always remember that words can never be taken back and you want to make sure you are helping someone and not hurting them.


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Need a hug?

Couple HuggingHugs are a powerful way of communicating with others.  Research shows that hugs have the following benefits:

  • they show love and compassion
  • they provide support
  • they can be effective in healing sickness, depression, anxiety, stress and loneliness
  • they are a great way to show someone that you care about them
  • they make us feel loved, wanted and appreciated
  • they make us feel special
  • they can help build esteem
  • they provide positive energy

Start a new positive habit of giving out free hugs every day.   Show your family and friends how much you love them.  I’m sure you will get some in return.

If you need a hug today, maybe these will help…..

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What does it mean to be rich?

lady thinking about moneyMany people in this world believe that they are rich when they have a lot of money or possessions.   However, the word ‘rich’ means to have an abundance of something but not necessarily material things.   Being rich can mean that you have a wonderful family, a fulfilling career, knowledge, good health, sufficient food and a comfortable place to live.  It all depends on what is important in your life.

I just watched a video about a boy who didn’t feel very rich.  He lived alone with his father, who was always working hard, yet they lived very poor.   He thought his father was not very smart and didn’t like or respect him.  At the end of the video, the son saw his father from a different perspective, but it was very sad because they could have lived a much better life if the father had treated his son in a different way.  Please watch the video and then see if you agree with my comments below.

The son grew up believing that his father did not care about him.    When he picked up the note his father had written (You will be a great man, just believe), for an instant he thought it was for him and he was very happy, but quickly his father damaged his esteem by telling him the note was not for him.   He didn’t have any problem giving notes to other children, but he seemed to have a problem giving notes to his son.  It is important that parents tell their children how much they love them and encourage them to do great things.   Some parents have difficulty communicating verbally to their children, but they can do this in other ways:  writing a note, giving a hug, etc.  The father could have allowed his son to have the note and could have written another one for the other child.

When the son was given money, the father made him put some of it in a jar, telling him it was to pay the taxes.  The father also put money in the jar.  The son asked his father why they weren’t rich and the dad told him that being rich wasn’t about how much we have but about what we give.  The problem was, the father didn’t explain what the money was for.  What was the point in keeping this secret?   The boy should have openly been taught to be generous and even gone on some trips with him to the orphanage.  This would have created a strong bond between the father and son.

The son wanted to become successful, so he tried very hard at school and ended up with a good career that took him away from his dad.  The day he left, the dad gave him some money with a big smile, but the son gave it back and both of them parted very sad.  Then when the father called to ask his son if he was coming home, he was turned aside and left alone.   It wasn’t until the dad passed away, that the son found out what he had been doing and how much other people had respected him.

This video makes me very sad, because this father had a generous, loving heart but he didn’t know how to show it to his son.  He was able to connect with strangers but he was very lacking in parenting skills and it affected their lives in a negative way.   The son went through his childhood and teen years hoping to get his father’s approval and feeling that he had no value.    This happens in so many families where parents don’t know how to communicate openly with their children and this leads to family and relationship breakdowns.

Parents need to be aware of how they are communicating with their children.   If we have come from a family that didn’t communicate very well, we need to take steps and learn how to communicate effectively so we can build strong relationships with our family and friends.   Our children don’t just know that we love them or accept them.  THEY NEED TO BE TOLD.  THEY NEED TO BE REMINDED.  THEY NEED MEANINGFUL TOUCHES.  THEY NEED ENCOURAGEMENT.  So do our spouses, our siblings, our relatives and our friends.  People can’t read our minds but they can read our body language and they can hear what we say.

So what does it mean to be rich?  As the father in this video said, “Being rich is not about how much you have but about how much you can give”.  This means we are rich if we are generous to other people – by giving our love, our time, our talents and our treasure.   When we do this, we receive something very wonderful in return – LOVE.

For me, being rich is being loved.  What does being rich mean to you?



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What is your biggest regret as a parent?

MAN AND BOY WITH LEGOParents make a lot of mistakes raising their children and often don’t even realize how much they have affected their lives.  Our children are like sponges, picking up everything they see and hear.  They pick up our bad habits, our bad language, our bad behaviour and sometimes when we watch our children growing up, it is like looking in the mirror at a mini-image of ourselves.    As parents we need to make sure that we are being good role models so we can influence our children in a positive way.   This doesn’t mean we have to be perfect because this isn’t possible.  It just means that we should be aware of what we are doing and make any necessary changes.

Think about how you raised your children:

  • Were you a positive role model?
  • How many good habits did they pick up from you?
  • How many bad habits did they pick up from you?
  • What is your biggest regret?

We would all like to say that we were great parents, I know I would, but in all honestly, I made a lot of mistakes.  I know that I wasn’t always a positive role model and I know that they picked up bad habits from both my husband and myself.  However I also know that they picked up some good habits and I’m very proud of both of my girls.

As for my biggest regret – words.  Yes, words.  Words are very powerful and way too often, I said things that I should never had said to them.   Sharp, cutting words said when they didn’t clean their rooms.  Angry words said when they misbehaved.  Unkind words said when they were caught in a lie.  Once spoken, these damaging words cannot be taken back.  Children hear way too many words that should never have been spoken.   This can destroy a child’s esteem and result in an adult who is full of fears and insecurities.  Children need to hear words that build them up and make them feel like they have value.  This is the responsibility of people everywhere that connect with children in any way – parents, caregivers, family member, friends, teachers and members of the community.



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Re-wire your thinking

brainDid you realize that we are wired to have negative thoughts?  Research shows that we think about 50,000 to 60,ooo thoughts a day and about 80% are negative.  Wow!  That’s a lot of negative thinking!  No wonder our lives are so difficult!

Many of our negative thoughts come from what we have heard in the past.  Other people may have told us that we aren’t good enough and made negative comments about our looks and abilities which gets stuck in our brains.  Then we keep repeating these negative words over and over again like a tape recorder, saying many of the same words day after day.   These words become beliefs to us and in most cases they are not even true!

Negative thoughts are like poison, causing us to worry, complain, dwell on bad things, judge others, get upset, become angry and feel depressed or stressed among other things.  When we first get up in the morning, our minds are already processing negative thoughts and this will likely continue on for the rest of the day UNLESS we do something to change our thinking.

We can change our negative thoughts by:

  • focusing on our words
  • consciously being aware of what we are saying
  • challenging what we hear and not believing everything that is said to us
  • changing any negative words into positive words
  • practice saying positive statements
  • building confidence and increasing our esteem

We have to realize that people will always say things that are not true because they may not be thinking clearly, they might be angry, they might not realize what they are saying or they may have been hurt by something else.  Just think about how many times you have said something that you didn’t really mean.  I often said things to my children (and other people) that were stupid and insensitive mainly because I was angry or didn’t realize the impact my words would have.

It is important that we carefully choose our words both to others and to ourselves.  Negative words and negative thinking can be destructive, but positive words and positive thinking can be beneficial and provide peaceful, calming effects on everyone.

Changing your thinking isn’t an easy task.  It takes time and patience but it is certainly worth the effort.   When I allowed my negative thinking to control my life, everything was SO difficult (daily life, work, relationships, marriage, family).  Now that I work hard every day focusing on the positives, life is a lot easier.  I’ve noticed the following benefits:

  • less stress
  • more peace
  • better relationships
  • feel happier
  • like spending time with self
  • easier to deal with problems
  • don’t feel sick all the time
  • more energy
  • positive attitude
  • less complaining
  • accomplish more
  • able to influence others in a positive way

Do yourself a favour and re-wire your thinking!




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the day a scale gave me more than a number.

This is a very well written post about beauty from Erin at There’s a Spirit. Woman all need to be reminded that we are all unique and wonderful just the way we are.

There's a Spirit

Today, I ran across a scale that I found to be pretty incredible. Underneath the top where it would read your weight, it said the words “you are beautiful” in purple script.

Okay, so I’m a total sap. I accept that. But it turns out that I’m the kind of sap that just about sheds a few tears in HEB. Because, honestly, this really stuck me. I think that as women we really need things like this in our lives. Because, if you’re anything like me, you probably forget.

I forget that weight is just a number.

I forget that it’s a number only I can see.

I forget that that pound or two fluctuation that I see in my weight isn’t evident to the human eye.

I forget not to let petty things like a number weigh in on my heart.

And I forget…

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Where does self-esteem come from?

4 kidsSelf-esteem is not something that we are born with, it is something that we learn.   As children grow and interact with people and things around them, they learn new information and develop a self-awareness of who they are.

The environment we live in is very important in building our esteem.  Children that grow up in a mainly positive environment will feel loved, appreciated and wanted. Children who grow up in a mainly negative environment will feel unloved, unappreciated and unwanted.

Esteem is hard to build but easy to destroy.  A child can grow up in a loving, supportive environment that helps them build strong esteem, then go through some extremely difficult situations in life that tears down their esteem.  Some of these things can be:

  • serious personal illness or injury
  • death of a loved one
  • broken relationship
  • abusive relationship
  • financial crisis
  • loss of a job

It is so important that we interact with our children in a positive way and communicate with them effectively so they will develop strong esteem and grow up to be responsible adults.  It is also important that we interact with other adults in a positive way so we can be a good influence on them.  Everyone benefits from positive interaction.

Since many adults struggle with low esteem themselves, we need to do a self-evaluation and become more aware of who we really are.  Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do I feel confident when talking to other people?
  2. Do I know what my positive qualities are?
  3. Do I deserve love and respect?
  4. Do I expect to have a good life?
  5. Have I set goals and work hard to achieve them?
  6. Am I a unique and valuable person?
  7. Do I accept myself for who I am?
  8. Can I accept criticism without feeling bad?
  9. Am I able to admit when I make a mistake?
  10. Am I willing to try new things without being afraid of failure?
  11. Do I stand up for what I know is right?
  12. Do I like myself?

If you answered ‘yes’ to all or most of these questions, your esteem is good.  If you answered ‘no’ to all or most of them, your esteem could seriously use some strengthening.

Check my website for information and ideas on building self-esteem.  Visit my bookstore where you can order my Caterpillar to Butterfly Self-Esteem Workbook.  book thumbnail

Start building your esteem today!  It doesn’t matter how old you are or how difficult your life has been until now.  You can develop strong esteem at any age.  So, what are you waiting for??