Feeling just a bit “under the weather?” Here’s a doable self-vaccine of Faith.

Just take a notebook and start writing down… the things you’re grateful for. Start with the obvious and work from there.  See, not so hard. Positive Life!

Be grateful for having the basic things: food, water and a roof above your head. Simple, right? If you woke up at 5 A.M. and can’t go back to sleep, be grateful for getting to see the sunrise. If you’re facing a challenge, be grateful for the opportunity to learn from it.

You don’t have to write every day, but make sure you open your journal at least once a week. It can be very easy to indulge in self-pity, blame, and anger, but appreciating what you have will help you stay positive.

Things Get Better

When you’re struggling, grieving, or suffering from heartache… the pain can feel unbearable. Even in everyday life, the weight of a little things can be heavy indeed.

But always remember the Proverb: “This too shall pass.” Your negative feelings won’t last forever. I have learned from experience that there really is a light at the end of every tunnel. It might not happen today or tomorrow, but you’ll feel better eventually.

When you understand and accept the tumultuous nature of life, it’s a lot easier to stay calm and relaxed – even in the hardest of times.

Mental List of Awesomeness

Having healthy self-esteem keeps anxiety at bay, improves personal relationships and encourages optimism. If you don’t appreciate yourself enough – or are feeling down – try making a mental list of “awesome” stuff you’ve done recently.

“Went for a jog instead of watching TV”; “helped a friend”; “made an excellent presentation at work.” Make a written list if you want and don’t be modest!

You’ll find that, as you go over your good/healthy actions (which also are A-W-E-S-O-M-E) and choices, you start to feel great about yourself. It’s hard not to when you remind yourself how amazing you are! Hey, if we’re not going to cheer ourselves on… then who?

What’s The Worst That Could Happen?

It’s easy to become worried over the little things: the human mind can blow things way, way out of proportion. To stop that from happening, always ask yourself: what’s the worst that could happen?

Chances are, “The worst” isn’t that bad. You’ll still be fine if you don’t ace tomorrow’s presentation/ test. You may get into an argument with your significant other, but usually there’s a meeting of the minds and things actually improve in the relationship. You get the idea.

Sure, it would be better if things went according to plan, but sometimes they don’t. When you’re no longer afraid of any outcome, you can focus on having fun and getting things done. Don’t wind yourself up for no reason!

Reach Out and Help Someone

We live in a culture that encourages self-centeredness. Even our buzzwords – self-help, self-promotion, self-esteem – reflect our obsession. But if you want to feel great , try giving to someone else.

Donate a few dollars to charity; it can change someone’s life. Pick up trash on your walk at home or on the beach; it’s respect for Nature and fellow Man and everyone wins. Call a long spoken to friend/ relative, if even for a few minutes, it will make his/her week. Buy food for a local Food Bank. Simple, simple things mean so much.

It takes very little to help someone out. When you make a big difference with just a few minutes – or dollars – you’ll always remember how important and amazing you are. And with an attitude like that, it’s hard to be anything but positive.

See, we got this!

Be Humble and Kind; but most of all… BE HAPPY!

 

HAPPINESS ROCKS!

When you think about “happiness” … you may  think of the future in some way. The dream vacation coming up, the promotion you are working towards at work, the baby that is on the way, or the sixth date with someone new in your life. ( Thank goodness, I’m beyond that point!)

But happiness can also be found in the small things of a regular day.

So, today, look for it. Take just a few minutes and apply one of the ideas below and see how it brightens your day.  I’m thinking it just might.
One minute of appreciation

Take a minute, sit down and just reflect on what you appreciate and love about your partner, or a friend… or even… a family member!  This will fill you with gratitude and redirect your focus to the positive of things.

 Express your appreciation

Tell that partner, family member, or friend what you came up with. It will brighten his or her day. As his or her face lights up with a big smile ( you can also see it through a phone call) … you’ll feel happier too because emotions are contagious. (I’ve caught it once or twice myself!)

 Take a few minutes to see how you can help someone out

Offer some practical help, some good advice, look something up for them, be encouraging and supportive,  or just lend an ear.

Slow down

Walk and move slower for just a few minutes. Let your thoughts slow down. Use the minutes to enjoy what is happening all around you. Truly take it in with all your senses. There is so much simple wonder missed each day because we are preoccupied with our thoughts and plans for the future. Live in the now!

 Be the smile you want to see in your world 

Smile more towards the people you meet and you’ll get more smiles back. You’ll feel better. They will too. Actually, it’s contagious and they will probably smile more towards the other people they meet that day. So, don’t wait for other people to smile at you… be the smile you want to see in your world instead.

 Make someone else happy

Don’t stop at just smiles, give someone a big hug. Give him or her a small gift of some kind. Ask them their name! Cook their favorite food if they have had a bad day.
Actually, you can start your own day with setting a low bar for happiness. Now, that’s a good thought.

As you open your eyes and wake up to a new day tell yourself: Today, I will have a low bar for happiness!”

I have been using this one for quite some time now and it makes the ordinary day… well, just happier. I take fewer things for granted: my food, the weather, my life… and often pause to appreciate them more.

 Be the day you want to see

Don’t wait for someone else to create the day you want to have. Instead, get the ball rolling yourself. Take action and take the first steps forward. Many of us are now wearing “Fit Bits” or similar to measure the day’s activities.  Imagine that you are the “creator” of the day you want to experience in mood, accomplishments, and happiness!  You are.
 Say “Yes” to something new

Maybe try something you haven’t eaten before. Listen to a new song or album. Experience a new author or movie. Go see a new sport.  You get the idea. By actively going outside of what is normal for you or your comfort zone you’ll discover new, wonderful things in life quite often.

Get rid of your “should have” thoughts

The should haves in life can really drag happiness and energy down and make everything feel like heavy work. Do  you really have to do all of those shoulds on your “to-do” list? Or are you maybe stuck in a rut and are doing some of those things just out of habit?

Ask yourself one of my favorite questions: Will this matter in five years? Or even five months?

By zooming out like this you make it easier to see the true value of doing something. You see it for what it really is. Your questioning makes it easier to simply relax and say no to doing something because you realize that it isn’t that important  Do what you deep down believe is the “right thing.”

Instead of letting quick and judgmental words come of your mouth, be understanding.

Instead of snacking on some candy eat a fruit or drink a glass of water. Hard, right?

When an impulse inside of you wants you do something that you know deep down isn’t right for you then pause, be still for a few moments. The impulse will pass and you can  easily choose to take the action you know is right in this situation.

Then appreciate that you did the right thing, give yourself a pat on the back, and see how good it all feels. Continue to do this and you’ll help yourself to build stronger self-esteem.

Enjoy your life, enjoy your day!  Be Happy!

SPIRIT UNBROKEN… IRMA!

OK, so at this present time I am wondering if I am able to be “positive?”  After all , I do write a Positive Life Blog.  I live in an area of Georgia (USA) which is being blasted for the second time with a Major Hurricane (IRMA) in less than a year!  What?  What is so ironic is that this area along the coast had not been hit with a major storm in close to a century and then came Hurricane Matthew, last October 2016.  Now, eleven months later, again. My island of Tybee was hit hard and I was not prepared mentally for what met my sight when we returned, last year.

The island was “wasted” on some parts of it and other parts were untouched… or touched with a much gentler hand.  For some reason, insurance companies no longer assist to the full extent of coverage with a named storm.  That was something not well known. It still isn’t.  Even if you had “minimal” damage as we did, to be expected to have thousands, and I do mean thousands, of extra dollars set aside for repairs, replacement, and repainting… was unrealistic.  There were actually folks who were wishing their entire home had been washed away/destroyed because then that would have been covered!  That’s disheartening for the human spirit.

During Matthew evacuation, we travelled clear across the state to Alabama. It was a bumper to bumper 13 hour drive.  With Irma, we have  travelled north to Atlanta, bumper to bumper for hours.  In both cases my positive spirit was happy to visit places that I had never been to. The phrase “the calm before the storm,’ played over and over in my mind. With each evacuation, I can’t lie, I am really afraid.  Not so much about safety, but rather for the loss of home and property.  But then it dawns on me, it is just that… physical things and … stuff!  Both times, the two days right before the storm were sunny and bright. Everyone was doing “touristy” things.  I saw attractions of arboretums, waterfalls, parks, and shops that other wise I would not have seen.  I was enchanted and thrilled with each thing.  How could this be?

The Human Spirit is one of remarkable resilience.  Here in Atlanta, I am blessed to be staying at the new home of my daughter.  Who, until two months ago, resided in Florida in one of the worst hit areas by Irma.  It indeed is a small miracle that she now is in the very place where I am seeking refuge.  To get to spend this time with her where it almost appears that I am the “child” seeking comfort and solace, (rather than the other way around), teaches me that the circle of life is indeed real.  She is the “mother” that I never had.  Ironic, but true.

I am nervous, yet anxious, to go back home to Tybee Island once we are given the go ahead.  Yet, this time away in evacuation has been of great value and life lessons in love. I have laughed hard, cried secretly, and commiserated openly.  But… there is nothing better than people taking care of others.  What is witnessed on television, first hand, and via the Internet is heartening.  Human beings are: warm, caring, unselfish, and extraordinarily resilient.  I have life, love, and memories.  

My spirit is unbroken, as always.

 

 

PEOPLE OF SUBSTANCE

When I think about where I have been in life and where I still have to go, I get nervous. Have I done enough? It is not exactly clear to me when I realized that my life here on Earth had an actual purpose, but it became clear to me that it does. The path that I have been following for many years, even if I didn’t recognize it, is to make the world a softer, kinder, and gentler place. A person of substance is what I try to be.  I repeat… try.

It is apparent to others how much I “love” people. I really do. It is one of my many Blessings that I have been given during my life and one beyond compare. How is it possible that one whom had minimal affection/love as a child grows up to be caring and compassionate? Perhaps, it was acquired over time, but what I know clearly is that people react to kindness and caring. Is it possible that this fact is so often overlooked?

Then one day, I got it! Most important to others is that we be a man or woman of substance. What exactly is that? Paraphrasing the definition:

“A person of substance is someone who strives to live a life that means something and who chooses to participate rather than be a spectator in life in order to be part of the solution as opposed to the problem.”

But what would make us actively participate and try to seek new roads? Initially, we need to find a cause outside of our own being. For some, that’s uncomfortable. While it is natural and accepted that we humans are self-absorbed and often self-centered… a cause that benefits just one person and would hardly make a dent on the significance scale. That’s according to some people; I disagree. No cause is too small. Doing something for the greater good means to pursue causes that:

  • Make the world a better place
  • Increase the quality of life for others
  • Right a wrong
  • Prevent the end of something good
  • Initiate something good

Participation

Active participation requires courage and people of substance must have it! While the frail soul is safe from failure, they will never taste victory either. So, people of substance take risks. They try and they fail, but they never grow weary of trying. U.S President Teddy Roosevelt said:

     “The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasm, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

People of substance take responsibility for their actions successful or not. They wholeheartedly put themselves at the center of the action and fully accept whatever the consequences that the action may bring.

Solutions

People of substance know that there is no middle/neutral position on anything. They identify with the belief that, “If you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem.” Similar to wants outnumbering means, problems outnumber solutions and real problem solvers in life are few and far between.

Good problem solving between competing interests typically requires a person of integrity with complete objectivity and solid values. The solution seeking person of substance will have had significant experience in both the good and the bad.

They will have “met with triumph and disaster and have treated those just the same” as the IF poem, by Rudyard Kipling, so accurately says. No doubt they will have lived an experience rich, full, and varied life. Choosing to experience life outside of our comfort zone in order to gain life experiences that can be used in solving problems would appear to be another action that would lead to becoming a person of substance. Sometimes, it is hard.

Becoming

It appears to me that becoming anything involves a series of decisions followed by necessary actions. Becoming a person of substance is no different. It starts for all of us the same:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less travelled by,

And that has made all the difference. (Robert Frost)

We each make hundreds of decisions each day. We choose between frivolous and important, between what’s best for us and what’s right, between short and long term betterment, between politeness and wholeheartedness, between apathy and commitment, between self-centered and the greater good, between avoiding and accepting responsibility, between risk avoidance and risk management, between a life of leisure and a life of challenge, between timidity and courage, and between deceit and integrity.

I believe the person of substance chooses the less travelled… second option at each and every divergence.   It is indeed the harder road, but one well worth it.

LIFE LESSONS that WE KEEP on LEARNING

Over the weekend, I was thinking that there are so many great lessons from life. I made a list  of the most important ones so far, for me.  These “lessons”  have had a great impact in my life thus far.  Read On!

1. We get treated in life the way we teach others to treat us.

You have no idea how true this is. It was us who allowed THEM at one point to start treating us the way they do and little by little we got into the mess we are right now, having to live with the consequences. Respect and love yourself and others will do the same.

2. There are no mistakes, only lessons we need to master.

The idea is for us to learn from everything and everyone, of course, if you want to, and if you don’t, well, your life will look at 40 the same way it did when you were 20 and at 60 the way it looked when you were 40, and so on.

3. Forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself.

 A lot of people think that the moment they decide to forgive somebody who once hurt them, the person who receives the forgiveness is the only one who will benefit from this kind gesture, but that’s not the case. I can tell you that the person who will benefit the most is the person who does the forgiving. Holding onto anger and resentment can do you no good; it’s like having a clenched fist 24/7.

4. What you resist persists… and what you focus on… expands.

We’re resisting change, we’re resisting our problems, resisting the weather, resisting our friends and family, resisting our responsibilities, our job, our boss… our lives. There are so many things we are resisting, not realizing that resistance will only make things worse. Carl Jung talks about this, warning us that what we resist not only will persist but will also grow in size.

5. Life is all about the journey and less about the destination.

 A lot of times we get so caught up in what we want to achieve, that perfect picture, that end result, that we forget to live and to really enjoy this journey called life. Now,you may want to take a deep cleansing breath, and allow yourself to be present in everything you do. Allow yourself to enjoy each second of your life; to observe the world around you; to observe the people that are present in your life and the beauty that is present within you and all around you, life in general.

6. People deserve a second chance.

The moment you forgive somebody, chances are that you will also give them a second chance, a chance to be near you, without trying to remind them of what they did to you, treating them not as they are, or as they once were, but rather as you want them to be. By doing this, you are also allowing them to grow and to become better and better every day. Your ego might tell you to “let these people go” but what does your heart tell you? We are all humans, we all make mistakes, and we all deserve a second chance.

7. If you don’t believe in yourself, nobody else will.

Don’t expect others to see gold where you can only see dust. If you don’t believe in yourself, if you don’t believe that you are a capable, a worthy human being, chances are that nobody will. You will act on that belief and people will treat you based on what you think about yourself, based on how you treat yourself and based on how you act and behave in the world.

8. Our attitude toward life will determine life’s attitude toward us.

If you think life is unfair, that bad things always happen to you, chances are that life will treat you unfairly, and you will always have many reasons to complain about. On the other hand, if you think life is a gift, a gift for you to enjoy, not to keep, that wonderful things always happen to you, that wonderful people are being drawn to you, life will give you all of those things and even more. Just how there is a law of gravity, there is also a law of attraction, and based on this law, you attract in your life that which you think about all day long, you attract that which you are, because you see, like attracts like.

9. If you love yourself, chances are  others will love you also.

It’s all about self love, it all starts with self love. If you don’t have love for yourself, how can you expect to get it from somebody else? Love yourself and others will love you also.

10. The world has plenty of information but not enough inspiration.

If you think about it, now with the technological revolution, we get access to so much information. Let’s take for example a tiny chip. How much information can you store on it? Isn’t it incredible? We have more information than ever… but when it comes to inspiration (in- spirit) I would say that we have a deficit. We focus too much on the outside and not enough on the inside. We can’t seem to understand that it all starts from within. If the inside is a mess, the outside will also be a mess. Listen to your heart, listen to your intuition and know that: “The only real valuable thing is intuition.” Albert Einstein

11. The world won’t change if you don’t change.

You hear people all the time complaining about how crazy the world is and how they want it to change, but if you tell them to make the first step…: “What? Me? Do you think there is something wrong with me? I am perfect, there is nothing I need to change. These people are crazy and they need to change, not me! They are the ones who are destroying us all, not me… Those bastards!” 

You see,the outside world is a reflection of who we all are on the inside, and all this madness that is taking place around us, is a result of our collective consciousness, and unfortunately it’s a very polluted consciousness. It’s not just them, it’s us, us all. If we want the world to change, we have to start with ourselves, and trust me, there is something wrong with many of us. With you, with me, with he and she…

12. Loneliness is different from solitude.

There is a difference between being lonely and being in solitude. When you are in solitude, you take advantage of it to get in touch with you inner self, to meditate and to quiet your mind, and that constant need to be around others in order for you to no longer feel lonely, will disappear. Wayne Dyer talk about this in such a wonderful way, saying that we can never be lonely if we like the person we’re alone with. If you like yourself, if you have no problem with your own person, if you have accepted yourself completely, you will be content with having some quiet time, away from all the noise. You will feel happy when alone and also when surrounded by other people.

13. The more we express our gratitude, the more things we will have to be grateful for.

The law of attraction works in all that is good and also in all that is bad, and it’s only up to us whether we choose to focus our attention on the negative or on the positive. Focus your attention on the many great things you have and you are grateful for, and you will see that the more you do that, the more reasons you will have to express your gratitude for.

14. Patience is a virtue.

In order for things to happen, in order for anything to happen, we need to be patient. We first plant the seed of greatness and then we wait for it to grow, we allow it to grow; we take care of it and we protect it. Great things take time and we need to learn how to give time, time.

15. Courage is not the absence of fear.

Fear, that crazy fear who won’t allow us to move forward, who won’t allow us to grow and transform our lives and of those around us will always be present in our lives. Even though many of us know that fear does not exist and that fear is only in our mind, we choose to be paralyzed by it and we choose to allow it to control our lives, our dreams, our goals and the level of our happiness.  Fear will be present whenever you want to stretch, whenever you want to get out of your comfort zone and whenever you want to do more, be more, have more. What we need to do is look beyond it,  and always be aware of the fact that most of the things we fear never happen, because FEAR is  nothing more than… False Expectation… Appearing Real.

A POSITIVE LIFE is a gift we give ourselves!

LIFE in itself is such a positive! What an amazing “gift” that often is taken for granted. Instead of thinking about what could go wrong in your life, a positive thinker thinks about what can go right.

A positive thinker is going to look for the good in things. That’s just who they are. That means they will always try to find something positive about every situation and what they are supposed to learn from it. However, everyone can learn to become a positive person.

When you give off positive energy, you infect others with that positive energy and that they will return that energy to you. It is basically the belief that what you put out will come back to you. You are helpful, happy, and kind and they will be as well.

A positive thinker is going to be able to stay upbeat in any situation; they do not dwell on the negative. They accept ithe challenge/ test as given and then move on. Done!

Positive thinking can be used in every aspect of life, from the little things to major things. It can be used to help you get through trying times. You can also use it to just make your average day go a little better.

Positive thinking involves being able to turn off the negative thoughts and replace them with good thoughts.

You will start to do everything in a more positive way, including how you treat others. This will not go unnoticed. Your interaction with others plays a large part in your life.

Positive thinking will allow you to believe that you can accomplish something if you put your mind to it. You will be able to set goals and reach them because you will believe that you can do it. You can!

Positive thinking is very influential. It is going to start to shape everyone and everything around you. You are going to see the great power it has almost immediately. The power of positive thinking is not subtle.

You have to make an effort to let positive thinking start turning all your thoughts and ideas into positive thoughts and ideas. It is up to you to start pushing the negativity out of your head and let positive thoughts guide you.

When you start to find your thoughts, drifting to the negative… it is your responsibility to make an effort to make them positive instead.

The power of positive thinking is that it will shape your life. It is so contagious that it will affect the world around you. You will start to see positive thinking everywhere you go.

The true power of Positive thinking is that it allows you to live life to its fullest potential and for all that it has to offer without letting negativity bring you down.

A positive mind anticipates: happiness, joy, health and a successful outcome of every
situation and action. Whatever the mind expects, it finds. That’s a win: win right there.

When the attitude is positive, we entertain pleasant feelings and constructive images and see in our mind’s eye what we really want to happen.

Think positively, expect only favorable results and situations, and circumstances
will change accordingly. It may take some time for the changes to take place, but
eventually they do.

When you expect success and say “I can,” you fill yourself with confidence and joy.

Fill your mind with light, hope and feelings of strength, and soon your life will reflect
these qualities.

When you choose the best possible action, it makes it that much easier to choose the best positive meanings to the given situations stemming from the best possible actions that were chosen.

Don’t think of positive thoughts as an avoidance technique or even worse, a gimmick; think of them as  symptom of good living.   LIVE ON!

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Generation “C-19”? I’m sure that’s on minds!

Posted on  by Sue Brown

GUIDING the NEXT GENERATION(S): in the home, at school, on the job, and BEYOND!

I love kids; I really do, but they are a lot of work, right? Some aren’t even “kids” anymore, but younger adults filled with attitude, opinions, and entitlement. Hate to say that last word, but it’s true. I first started seeing it a decade ago, but now it’s full blown and mostly annoying. 

I try to keep up with many of my former students’ lives.  Over the years, I have taught so many; I’d like to say I remember them all, but that would be a lie.  I do remember all of those with “promise” and all of those with “struggles” as they took most of my attention and heart during the time I had them in the classroom. It’s impossible for me  to say who touched me the most.  Was it the ones that had so much potential, and actually went on to accomplish great things after they left me, or the ones who had overcome great odds and just getting them to come to school and eventually graduate high school had been a feat in itself?   I honestly can’t say. I LOVED them all.

In today’s high-tech society it is easy to follow their progress… or lack there of.  Often they contact me themselves, my own email address has been the same since AOL’s inception and my students have  many times told me… “It’s so you, Ms. Brown!”  For that reason alone, I will always keep it. Nerdy, I know, but I’ve never been afraid to just be “available” when needed. Now, as a writer and author, they get in touch in various ways.

Lately, it has not been difficult to track them down on the Internet. Sometimes, it’s through one of the conventional Social Connectors: i.e.  Facebook, Twitter, or now they tell me to Instagram them, whatever.  I also Google them and see what’s going on with them good… or bad. I’m really good at Research; after all I was a high school teacher! 

AND…every once in a while, I am sent a news article that delights me or causes me concern.  Technology makes us all connected… good and bad news. (By the time the World is done with Covid-19… everyone alive will have endured a great deal. Hopefully, we have also learned about endurance, tolerance, and Human Compassion.) But, I digress.

It was one of the “Bad News” articles, that has been consuming most of my thinking the past few days.  I was forwarded  news  about one of the students that had held so much promise. He was gifted academically, a wonderful athlete, a leader in his class, and was ultimately accepted into one of the most prestigious universities in the Northeast.  He has now been out of college for quite a few years. The article read that He had just been sentenced to prison for the next decade of his life… on drug related charges.  It took my breath away.  How had this happened?

His proverbial fall from grace not only astounded me, but made me cry.  He was a student that had passed through my life and yet, I felt like I had failed him.  I can’t even imagine the raw emotions his family must be having. The feelings must run the full reign from anger, sadness, failure, and shame… then back to anger!  I know that’s what I felt anyway.

How dare he throw his life away like that!   Life is about CHOICE and with each and every positive choice we make we define who we are. What I couldn’t get my mind around was how selfish this young man had been.  He had thought of no one but himself with his destructive actions.  Hadn’t he seen that?  Where had he “learned” that he could do whatever he wanted to and not be accountable?

When we are given gifts and/or talents in our individual journeys, during this time on Earth, and we throw them away… we are being disrespectful not only to our Creator, but to all who love, nurture, and take care of us.  It is  hard for me to reflect on the number of young people who come from really difficult backgrounds and home lives and do go on to make the world a better place for those who will follow them.  There are many of those, but many “choose” to go the wrong way too.  This was not the first former student who had chosen a destructive path in their lives.

It is then that I wondered with guilt if Society, as a whole, has just been too easy on America’s youth and young adults in the past two decades!  I am the first to acknowledge that there are many wonderful young people, but have we lost something that used to be present years ago, by giving too much and asking too little of them.

When do they stop asking for: cars, trips, and parents to “bail them out”  when they get into legal and/or financial trouble.   It appears that WE  have created THE generation of “entitlement” in our country. There is an unspoken ME, among many of them, that is so troubling.  We love them so much that we honestly believe the way to make them love us back is to always: give, forgive, and ignore their negative choices. 

Perhaps, we adults/parents, and nervous, law-suit concerned employers, are the selfish and needy ones.  It is difficult to have our  children not “love us” or even dislike us from time to time.  What I’m professing is that being  good parents, bosses, coaches and educators as well, requires a strong backbone.  Being strong parents is necessary and we must be consistent, even when the “children” get older.

There can be no copping out because it’s easier to say “Yes,” or “I’ll get you out of it,” or “Here’s the money for…,” saying”No!” is difficult, but often the only right thing to do.    However, with this said America’s youth in the end accountable for their own screw ups! There are always consequences for bad choices and always have been. They did not consult with us when they had unprotected sex, bought and used drugs/alcohol illegally, ran up credit cards, or dropped out of school.  We need to recognize that they can learn from their mistakes.  We did!

We can not cure the problem(s) of our country’s upcoming generations, but we sure can start fixing our own mistakes in how we love them and guide them in positive directions.

Right now, we can, and must, start by being stronger parents/adults and bosses/supervisors ourselves.  

Give our children less and speak up about any negative choices in their lives when seen necessary. 

 Counsel, wisely and compassionately, employees when they are heading in the wrong direction at work and personally.  

Being strong and caring for others is not a negative thing; caring for others is the right thing both for them and others.  Perhaps, it is the only thing to save Society as it is now.

They are the World’s future and thus, our responsibility.

Generation “C-19”? I’m sure that’s on minds!

GUIDING the NEXT GENERATION(S): in the home, at school, on the job, and BEYOND!

I love kids; I really do, but they are a lot of work, right? Some aren’t even “kids” anymore, but young adults filled with attitude, opinions, and entitlement. Hate to say that last word, but it’s true. I first started seeing it a decade ago, but now it’s full blown and mostly annoying.

I try to keep up with many of my former students’ lives.  Over the years, I have taught so many; I’d like to say I remember them all, but that would be a lie.  I do remember all of those with “promise” and all of those with “struggles” as they took most of my attention and heart during the time I had them in the classroom. It’s impossible for me  to say who touched me the most.  Was it the ones that had so much potential, and actually went on to accomplish great things after they left me, or the ones who had overcome great odds and just getting them to come to school and eventually graduate high school had been a feat in itself?   I honestly can’t say. I LOVED them all.

In today’s high-tech society it is easy to follow their progress… or lack there of.  Often they contact me themselves, my own email address has been the same since AOL’s inception and my students have  many times told me… “It’s so you, Ms. Brown!”  For that reason alone, I will always keep it. Nerdy, I know, but I’ve never been afraid to just be “available” when needed. Now, as a writer and author, they get in touch in various ways.

Lately, it has not been difficult to track them down on the Internet. Sometimes, it’s through one of the conventional Social Connectors: i.e.  Facebook, Twitter, or now they tell me to Instagram them, whatever.  I also Google them and see what’s going on with them good… or bad. I’m really good at Research; after all I was a high school teacher!

AND…every once in a while, I am sent a news article that delights me or causes me concern.  Technology makes us all connected… good and bad news. (By the time the World is done with Covid-19… everyone alive will have endured a great deal. Hopefully, we have also learned about endurance, tolerance, and Human Compassion.) But, I digress.

It was one of the “Bad News” articles, that has been consuming most of my thinking the past few days.  I was forwarded  news  about one of the students that had held so much promise. He was gifted academically, a wonderful athlete, a leader in his class, and was ultimately accepted into one of the most prestigious universities in the Northeast.  He has now been out of college for quite a few years. The article read that He had just been sentenced to prison for the next decade of his life… on drug related charges.  It took my breath away.  How had this happened?

His proverbial fall from grace not only astounded me, but made me cry.  He was a student that had passed through my life and yet, I felt like I had failed him.  I can’t even imagine the raw emotions his family must be having. The feelings must run the full reign from anger, sadness, failure, and shame… then back to anger!  I know that’s what I felt anyway.

How dare he throw his life away like that!   Life is about CHOICE and with each and every positive choice we make we define who we are. What I couldn’t get my mind around was how selfish this young man had been.  He had thought of no one but himself with his destructive actions.  Hadn’t he seen that?  Where had he “learned” that he could do whatever he wanted to and not be accountable?

When we are given gifts and/or talents in our individual journeys, during this time on Earth, and we throw them away… we are being disrespectful not only to our Creator, but to all who love, nurture, and take care of us.  It is  hard for me to reflect on the number of young people who come from really difficult backgrounds and home lives and do go on to make the world a better place for those who will follow them.  There are many of those, but many “choose” to go the wrong way too.  This was not the first former student who had chosen a destructive path in their lives.

It is then that I wondered with guilt if Society, as a whole, has just been too easy on America’s youth and young adults in the past two decades!  I am the first to acknowledge that there are many wonderful young people, but have we lost something that used to be present years ago, by giving too much and asking too little of them.

When do they stop asking for: cars, trips, and parents to “bail them out”  when they get into legal and/or financial trouble.   It appears that WE  have created THE generation of “entitlement” in our country. There is an unspoken ME, among many of them, that is so troubling.  We love them so much that we honestly believe the way to make them love us back is to always: give, forgive, and ignore their negative choices. 

Perhaps, we adults/parents, and nervous, law-suit concerned employers, are the selfish and needy ones.  It is difficult to have our  children not “love us” or even dislike us from time to time.  What I’m professing is that being  good parents, bosses, coaches and educators as well, requires a strong backbone.  Being strong parents is necessary and we must be consistent, even when the “children” get older.

There can be no copping out because it’s easier to say “Yes,” or “I’ll get you out of it,” or “Here’s the money for…,” saying”No!” is difficult, but often the only right thing to do.    However, with this said America’s youth in the end accountable for their own screw ups! There are always consequences for bad choices and always have been. They did not consult with us when they had unprotected sex, bought and used drugs/alcohol illegally, ran up credit cards, or dropped out of school.  We need to recognize that they can learn from their mistakes.  We did!

We can not cure the problem(s) of our country’s upcoming generations, but we sure can start fixing our own mistakes in how we love them and guide them in positive directions.

Right now, we can, and must, start by being stronger parents/adults and bosses/supervisors ourselves.  

Give our children less and speak up about any negative choices in their lives when seen necessary.

 Counsel, wisely and compassionately, employees when they are heading in the wrong direction at work and personally.  

Being strong and caring for others is not a negative thing; caring for others is the right thing both for them and others.  Perhaps, it is the only thing to save Society as it is now.

They are the World’s future and thus, our responsibility.

A “SUPER LIFE” IS A “POSITIVE LIFE!”

     In light of the untimely, young death of one of America’s prominent athletes, Kobe Bryant, it is important for all of us to realize the necessity of being positive in mind, body, and personal goals.  We are not guaranteed any set amount of time on this Earth, but we do have the amazing capability of choosing our own paths.  It is often difficult, and even at times stressful, but the choice is given again to us each and every new day.

Super Tips for a Positive Lifestyle

1. When facing a problem, focus on the solution. Refuse to allow your mind to think of difficulties and on negative results that might arise during this test. That’s what it is… a test.

2. Acknowledge problems and difficulties, but face them with courage and a positive attitude.

3. Smile often when in the company of people. They will like you more and you will feel happier, but your smile needs to be sincere, not mechanical. Try to be friendly and kind. This would help you smile naturally and sincerely.

4. Look around you, and you will always find something that can bring a smile to your face. For a time forget everything that is bothering you and smile.

5  Let go!  You waste a lot of time energy when you attach yourself to the past, also to habits that are not useful, and wishing things and people were different. What has happened cannot be undone, so why waste your time and energy over it? It is better and wiser to go on.  Constantly work on this.

6. You need to learn to detach yourself from what is disturbing, bothering, or hurting you in your life.  This is often the greatest of challenges!

7. Don’t be afraid to show courage, self-esteem, and assertiveness. At the same time, be kind and tolerant toward people.

8.  Exercise your body regularly. You may take a good walk a few times a week, swim, go to the gym or engage in any kind of sport you want. DO IT!

9.  Strive to be POSITIVE AND OPTIMISTIC.  Instead of wallowing in fears and worries and criticizing others, find out how to improve your life, solve your problems and be more happy, not in the future, but right now.

10. Choose happiness and focus on happiness, because what you focus on… GROWS!

There are moments of sadness in life, and there is failure and there are obstacles. Acknowledge them, but do not dwell on them. Look at them as lessons, and strive to find ways to overcome them.

11. Don’t be afraid of the new and unfamiliar, get out of your comfort zone and do things you have not done before. You can do small things, like tasting a different kind of food, meeting new people, going for walks or going to hear lectures on a topic that is new to you.

12. Resist to the temptation to procrastinate and postpone for tomorrow or to an indefinite date, what you can do today.  This is not new.

13.  Always ask yourself, how can I improve, how can I do better at what I am doing, and how can I improve my life?

Remember, if you want to live a positive lifestyle you need to take control of your life. You need to be proactive with your life, not passive. Do not just daydream and wish things were different. Do not wait for a better and happier day.

We are only promised today! Live it well.

You’re in the Driver’s Seat of Life

 LIFE in itself is such a positive!  What an amazing “gift” that often is taken for granted. Instead of thinking about what could go wrong in your life, a positive thinker thinks about what can go right.

A positive thinker is going to look for the good in things. That’s just who they are. That means they will always try to find something positive about every situation and what they are supposed to learn from it. However, everyone can learn to become a positive person.

When you give off positive energy, you infect others with that positive energy and that they will return that energy to you. It is basically the belief that what you put out will come back to you. You are helpful, happy, and kind and they will be as well.

A positive thinker is going to be able to stay upbeat in any situation; they do not dwell on the negative. They accept ithe challenge/ test as given and then move on. Done!

Positive thinking can be used in every aspect of life, from the little things to major things. It can be used to help you get through trying times. You can also use it to just make your average day go a little better.

Positive thinking involves being able to turn off the negative thoughts and replace them with good thoughts.

You will start to do everything in a more positive way, including how you treat others. This will not go unnoticed. Your interaction with others plays a large part in your life.

Positive thinking will allow you to believe that you can accomplish something if you put your mind to it. You will be able to set goals and reach them because you will believe that you can do it. You can!

Positive thinking is very influential. It is going to start to shape everyone and everything around you. You are going to see the great power it has almost immediately. The power of positive thinking is not subtle.

You have to make an effort to let positive thinking start turning all your thoughts and ideas into positive thoughts and ideas. It is up to you to start pushing the negativity out of your head and let positive thoughts guide you.

When you start to find your thoughts, drifting to the negative… it is your responsibility to make an effort to make them positive instead.

The power of positive thinking is that it will shape your life. It is so contagious that it will affect the world around you. You will start to see positive thinking everywhere you go.

The true power of Positive thinking is that it allows you to live life to its fullest potential and for all that it has to offer without letting negativity bring you down.

A positive mind anticipates: happiness, joy, health and a successful outcome of every
situation and action. Whatever the mind expects, it finds. That’s a win: win right there.

When the attitude is positive, we entertain pleasant feelings and constructive images and see in our mind’s eye what we really want to happen.

Think positively, expect only favorable results and situations, and circumstances
will change accordingly.  It may take some time for the changes to take place, but
eventually they do.

When you expect success and say “I can,” you fill yourself with confidence and joy.

Fill your mind with light, hope and feelings of strength, and soon your life will reflect
these qualities.

When you choose the best possible action, it makes it that much easier to choose the best positive meanings to the given situations stemming from the best possible actions that were chosen.

Don’t think of positive thoughts as  an avoidance technique or even worse, a gimmick; think of them as a symptom of good living.  LIVE ON!

bloggeraward_sky 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017,2018, 2019

“MAN UP” to MANIPULATORS

Sometimes, we feel manipulated by people we know and/or love. When this occurs we experience a great deal of stress and anxiety, both of which can make us ill and out of sorts.
When this occurs we need to step back and view it NOT subjectively, but rather objectively. View the entity that is doing the manipulating.

In research, it is indicted that a manipulative personality is, essentially, an aggressive personality. Now, there are also people who are overtly aggressive! Those are the people that we’re afraid of or intimidated by and their personalities are “overt.” Right there in your face. Then there is the covert personality that is aggressive in an underhanded way. Most manipulative people are the covert type.

That personality type is most often self-centered. They’re often narcissistic. They’re self-involved and they lack empathy for other people. So it’s all about what I want… and what I can get other people to do for me. It rarely is about what can be done FOR other people.They tend to use other people and they do that in a number of ways.

They’re dishonest. Or, they’re deceptive about issues. They tell half-truths or they don’t tell the whole truth. It’s also a feature of many personality disorders: borderline, avoidant – the avoidant person tries to get other people to do their work, because they will avoid others – the dependent personality – that plays the victim and wants everybody to take care of them – histrionic personality, anti-social – passive-aggressive has a big component there – and type A “angry personalities” and “addictive personalities.”

People that are addicted to drugs/ alcohol almost always blame all their problems on other people. “Angry” personalities they are they way the are because of something in their past. In the end, this type of behavior is so self-destructive. This is a pattern that runs deep with manipulation. Many of these people don’t care about relationships, sadly. They just care about getting what they want out of people. Often, they end up alone.

Guilt-tripping. One of the things that a covert-aggressive person knows well is that other types of people have very different consciences than they do. So, all a manipulator has to do is to suggest to the conscientious person that they don’t care enough, or kind of imply that they’re being selfish, and that person immediately is going to start feeling bad. So that’s an “in” that they can use to push people around and get them to do what they want.

Turn that around and a conscientious person might try, until they’re blue in the face, to get a manipulator, or any other aggressive type personality, to feel badly about a hurtful behavior, to acknowledge responsibility, or admit wrongdoing, and it’s absolutely to no avail, because these people don’t think that way. It’s all about them. It’s not about others. They don’t have empathy!

Shaming is another form of manipulation. Sometimes the use of subtle sarcasm and put-downs is used as a means of increasing fear and self-doubt in others. The stuff teachers say! I heard this from kids all the time – about the things that teachers say/said to them to shame them. Covert-aggressive people use this tactic to make other people feel inadequate, or unworthy, and therefore, to defer to them. It puts them in a one-up position.

Vilifying the victim. This tactic is frequently used in conjunction with the attacker playing the victim role. The aggressor uses the tactic to make it look like he’s only responding, or defending himself, against aggression on the part of the victim. It actually enables the aggressor to better put the victim on the defense.

Another thing they do is, they play the servant role. Covert-aggressives use this tactic to cloak their self-serving agenda in the guise of service…you know, to a more noble cause. You do just the opposite of what you’re really doing. National politics all over again. Most of our public servants get rich while they’re in office. So what does that tell you?

What causes people to become manipulative? Where does it come from? Mostly it comes from anxiety. People anticipate catastrophic losses in some cases. So, in an effort to control their own environment, and stay safe, and meet their own needs, they try to get other people to give them what they think they can’t get for themselves.

There are many of us who have had terrible experiences as children/ young adults… who do not resort to manipulation as adults. Perhaps, this is the realization that this isn’t the right way to go about things or treat other people.

It is never too late to stop manipulating and realize we can count on our own resourcefulness and God- given strengths.

A PERSON OF SUBSTANCE

When I think about where I have been in life and where I still have to go, I get nervous. Have I done enough? It is not exactly clear to me when I realized that my life here on Earth had an actual purpose, but it became clear to me that it does. The path that I have been following for many years, even if I didn’t recognize it, is to make the world a softer, kinder, and gentler place. A person of substance is what I try to be.  I repeat… try.

It is apparent to others how much I “love” people. I really do. It is one of my many Blessings that I have been given during my life and one beyond compare. How is it possible that one whom had minimal affection/love as a child grows up to be caring and compassionate? Perhaps, it was acquired over time, but what I know clearly is that people react to kindness and caring. Is it possible that this fact is so often overlooked?

Then one day, I got it! Most important to others is that we be a man or woman of substance. What exactly is that?   Paraphrasing the definition:

“A person of substance is someone who strives to live a life that means something and who chooses to participate rather than be a spectator in life in order to be part of the solution as opposed to the problem.”

But what would make us actively participate and try to seek new roads? Initially, we need to find a cause outside of our own being. For some, that’s uncomfortable. While it is natural and accepted that we humans are self-absorbed and often self-centered… a cause that benefits just one person and would hardly make a dent on the significance scale. That’s according to some people; I disagree. No cause is too small. Doing something for the greater good means to pursue causes that:

  • Make the world a better place
  • Increase the quality of life for others
  • Right a wrong
  • Prevent the end of something good… or
  • Initiate something good

Participation

Active participation requires courage and people of substance must have it! While the frail soul is safe from failure, they will never taste victory either. So, people of substance take risks. They try and they fail, but they never grow weary of trying. U.S President Teddy Roosevelt said:

     “The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasm, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

People of substance take responsibility for their actions successful or not. They wholeheartedly put themselves at the center of the action and fully accept whatever the consequences that the action may bring.

Solutions

People of substance know that there is no middle/neutral position on anything. They identify with the belief that, “If you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem.” Similar to wants outnumbering means, problems outnumber solutions and real problem solvers in life are few and far between.

Good problem solving between competing interests typically requires a person of integrity with complete objectivity and solid values. The solution seeking person of substance will have had significant experience in both the good and the bad.

They will have “met with triumph and disaster and have treated those just the same” as the IF poem, by Rudyard Kipling, so accurately says. No doubt they will have lived an experience rich, full, and varied life. Choosing to experience life outside of our comfort zone in order to gain life experiences that can be used in solving problems would appear to be another action that would lead to becoming a person of substance. Sometimes, it is hard.

Becoming

It appears to me that becoming anything involves a series of decisions followed by necessary actions. Becoming a person of substance is no different. It starts for all of us the same:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I

I took the one less travelled by,

And that has made all the difference. (Robert Frost)

We each make hundreds of decisions each day. We choose between frivolous and important, between what’s best for us and what’s right, between short and long term betterment, between politeness and wholeheartedness, between apathy and commitment, between self-centered and the greater good, between avoiding and accepting responsibility, between risk avoidance and risk management, between a life of leisure and a life of challenge, between timidity and courage, and between deceit and integrity.

I believe the person of substance chooses the less travelled road… the second option, at each and every divergence.   It is indeed the harder road, but one well worth it.

IT’S ALWAYS TIME FOR A CHANGE…OURS

 

All of us face some test of… defying the odds and overcoming personal challenges, at some point in our lives. Whether it’s overcoming current or past abuse, financial and/or emotional tests, drug and alcohol addiction or any number of other things; if/when we defy the odds…we win! Often, I write about how blessed I feel, that in spite of my background…I am relatively unscathed. When I think about it further, I know that it was also positive action on my part.

When we overcome statistical odds in our own lives and come out better on the other side…we are winners in our own right. No one chooses to be on the receiving end of a painful test or challenge. Similarly, no one gets to choose their birth parents, sex, skin color, or even nationality. The mere fact that we arrive on this Earth as humans, at all …is somewhat of a statistical miracle. We arrive from the fertilization of a single sperm finding a single egg. That’s defying the odds right there in our own birth.

In this great country of the United States, we DO get to choose other things that we often take for granted; freedom of speech and freedom of religion are just two. We saw it in action during this past campaign and will see it in 2020… Again.  In addition, we have the freedom to leave our own negative choices and pasts behind us, at any time. We have the freedom to pursue an education, and take it to the highest level, similar to our presidents, and therefore secure good employment. We have the freedom to help others and give generously of ourselves to make America a better place for all. That follows that we can be a country of givers and not takers. This applies to all of us. It appears we are off to a start in that direction… again… or maybe for the first time.

We also have the freedom to stop whining about what we don’t have, can’t do, or don’t like… and make our own changes. The current or next administration is not going to pay our rent/mortgage, lower gas/food prices, and cure all the other issues facing our country. Let’s do it for ourselves and become a Nation of “Givers” beyond compare. And I’m not referring to handouts and freebies from local organizations and governments. Do not expect to take unless you sincerely believe in Paying Forward when your own personal challenge has ended.

When I thought of the slogan “Time for a Change” …again… it means that we all have to change in some personal area; this is not a slogan for any administration alone!  

Defy the odds, overcome your own challenges and become better with each day. In America, all things are possible.