Monthly Archives: June 2012

12 Simple Steps For Living A More Peaceful Life

 Girls at Boarding SchoolI am certain that many of you have been in situations where your life seemed far from peaceful. Sometimes life can become so crazy that attaining peace seems near impossible. Everyone has their own meanings about what peace is, and this article is not meant to give you a strict definition of what peace will mean in your own life. You should search inside yourself to find what peace means to you. Furthermore, you should find specific ways that you can integrate peace into your own life. The following twelve suggestions are meant to help guide you on living a life that is peaceful.

  1. Become more tolerant. Learn to stop being so hung up on the things people choose to do in their own lives. At the end of the day, you live your own life and people can live their lives however they please. I remember a few years ago, I used to be more intolerant of the way people did things. It was annoying to see people doing things that I found to be inefficient, a waste of time or money, and that just seemed wrong. Ultimately, I ended up making myself feel and probably some of the people around me less happy. Learning to be tolerant of the way people live their lives, different beliefs and other perspectives has only helped me to become more open-minded and increased the general positivity in my own life.

  2. Encourage and support others. Live a life that is focused on encouraging others to be happy. Take more time to really give someone a compliment and actually mean it. Learn to look at the people in your life and truly appreciate them for who they are. Instead of spending time pointing out the mistakes someone is making or viewing their actions as stupid or annoying, take time to talk about the great qualities that make them who they are. Learning to see the good in people will help you feel more at peace.

  3. Appreciate the joy and beauty around you. Take time to really stop and smell the roses. Some of the things that really bring peace into my life is just walking around in a park and taking in the scenery. Spend more time noticing the beauty in the world. Instead of paying attention to negativity, learn to seek joy and beauty in the people and environment around you.

  4. Learn to forgive. Peace does not come by taking revenge on others and living a life full of anger and resentment. Currently, I am going through a tough spot where I need to learn to forgive someone for doing something bad to me. This is not easy, but I feel so much better trying to forgive, rather than mulling over what happened and planning revenge tactics. Forgiveness will truly help you to become a more peaceful person. Choosing to not forgive will cause you more pain and feelings of turmoil.

  5. Truly believe that you deserve peace. Some of us cannot attain peace because you hold on to the belief that you do not deserve peace. I remember reading a story about a woman who cheated on her husband. Things ended terribly and as a result, she ended up being physically abused and now has extreme feelings of low self-worth. She truly believed that she deserved to be unhappy because of her mistake to cheat on someone she loved. Although she did a bad thing, it does not mean she deserves to live a life of unhappiness. No matter what you have done, you need to accept that you deserve peace. There is no rule book saying who deserves peace and who does not. Everyone, ultimately, deserves peace.

  6. Find peace within your own life. Try to avoid getting caught up with the things that you don’t have. Always wanting more and more will keep you in a state of always desiring something and never being satisfied with what you currently have. Learn to appreciate what you do have and to count your blessings. Learn to be at peace with yourself. Reflect on the qualities that about yourself that you are happy with, and try to not spend so much time thinking about mistakes or regrets.

  7. Do things that make you happy. Start cultivating peace in your life by continuing to do the things that really add value to your life. Pay attention to the things that you do that bring true joy and love into your life. If writing brings you happiness, then make time to write. If spending time with your friends makes you feel happy, then try to not neglect your friendships. If you used to love playing sports when you were younger, then find ways to be more involved with sports now by possibly coaching a sports team or joining a team in your community.

  8. Avoid things and people that cause extreme amounts of stress in your life. When thinking about how to approach a situation, learn to do it in a manner that will avoid things that stress you out. For instance, if you have a really toxic person in your life, then try to find ways to minimize your interactions with that person. If you dread dealing with traffic everyday then find alternative ways to get to work such as leaving earlier in the day, driving an alternative route, or other options such as public transportation or carpooling.

  9. Practice listening. Some of us get into this habit where we become so consumed with our own lives that we spend more time talking about our own issues or giving advice to others. Although talking about your problems is healthy, and giving advice is a good thing, it is important to take time to listen to others. Listening will allow you to better understand a person, and be able to see things from their point of view.

  10. Be compassionate and kind to others. Learn to show kindness, even to people you may view as your enemy. You will find peace by not reacting with hostility to others. When approaching a tough situation, always try to make kindness your priority. If you find being kind to be difficult, then you may want to avoid the situation or limit your interactions with those people in the meantime.

  11. Be willing to make positive changes in your life. It is very likely that there are things you might be unhappy about right now. Perhaps you need to lose weight. Maybe you need to work on being less stubborn. Maybe you have a problem with lying that you need to work out. Whatever the issue is, try to begin making positive changes in your life and becoming a better person. Being able to make positive changes in your own life will better show how you can make positive changes in the lives of others and in the world.

  12. Share your peaceful knowledge with others. Start to preach what you are practicing. Help your friends try to live peacefully. Be willing to learn more techniques about how to live a peaceful life. As you learn, continue to share and spread this knowledge to others. Being able to share peace with others, will help you feel more at peace with your own life.

Steps for Recovering From Betrayal

 Wolf HowlingEach of our lives is full of different people, and one can never tell who will be a great friend in our lives and who may end up being a negative influence. Betrayal can happen to anyone at any time. It can be something that is unexpected or a situation where we received all the warning signs, but chose to ignore those warning signs. Betrayal can happen in so many situations and in a variety of ways. A close friend can divulge a secret about yourself to others. A colleague or coworker can make promises of acknowledging your work in a project, and then simply not do it. A close family member can suddenly stop speaking to you or even walk out of your life entirely. A spouse can cheat on you and leave you for someone else. You can be lied to by someone you trust and the list can go on and on. There are many ways that someone can betray you, and sadly it’s an experience that many will encounter to some degree.

As a result of betrayal you may end up feeling a wide range of emotions, many of which are hard to process at a given time. You might feel angry one day, depressed the next, have low self-confidence, torture yourself with questions about why this had to happen, feel shocked, disappointed, and dealing with not quite accepting that the betrayal has actually happened.

So now you are faced with the question of what to do? I’ve been dealing with my own situation involving betrayal, so here are my thoughts.

Accept your emotions. Remember that it is completely normal to feel hurt and nobody should ever tell you that your feelings aren’t normal. Take some time to write about how you feel and include all your thoughts. Speak to a trusted friend about what you are going through. Consider seeking professional counseling if you are experiencing very negative emotions about a situation. Professional counseling is pertinent if you are suffering from suicidal thoughts or intense feelings of low self-confidence.

Confront the issue. After you take a couple of days to relax, now is the time to explore what exactly happened. This process must be done respectfully. A part of accepting and moving on from the betrayal, is being able to really understand what happened. Try to think about all the events that led up to the betrayal. It’s important to think about all the events that actually did happen. During this time it can be easy to misinterpret what happened. You may forget that one thing happened, and over-focus on something else that did happen. This can cause you to incorrectly assess the situation and result in you feeling even more confused.

Communicate your feelings to the person who betrayed you. Be honest with that person about how he or she made you feel. Let them know you are upset, hurt or sad. Make it clear to them that you feel betrayed and how you feel unable to trust them anymore. Communicate with that person in whichever method you feel most comfortable. You can arrange to meet with them in person, speak on the phone or exchange a letter or email.

Take it easy on yourself. During this time you may have people telling you to not cry over him or her. You also might start blaming yourself for how things turned out. You must relax and give yourself a break. Cry as much as you need to. Don’t feel bad about turning down invitations from friends if you need some time and space to yourself. Certainly do not consume yourself with thoughts about how this happened because of you or the mistakes that you think you made. You did not choose to be betrayed. That was a choice someone else made and not something you asked for.

Work on your self-confidence. After being betrayed, it’s likely you may experience low self-confidence. It is important for you to take care of yourself and not let this situation change you negatively or make you feel bad about yourself. You are still a wonderful person, and it’s important you try and remember that. To build your self-confidence, work on surrounding yourself with positive friends or continue doing things that you really enjoy and add meaning to your life. Try to continue improving yourself physically and emotionally so you can visibly see the positive changes you are making in your own life.

Control your anger. Whatever happens, try to not respond with insults, unreasonable anger and with hateful words. I realize this can be difficult especially when the betrayal was unexpected or caused much pain. Either way, you do not want to look back at this situation and be ashamed of your actions. Again, it’s okay to be upset and angry but try to not take it out on others. It’s important to talk about the situation but be careful about who you divulge this information to and the method you go about doing it. If a colleague screwed you over, then it might be best to exercise some caution when discussing this with other colleagues or an employer, to avoid saying something you might regret. The same restraint should be shown with the one who betrayed you. The situation is already bad, and you saying unreasonably hurtful things may cause the situation to just get worse. Do not try taking revenge on someone either. You will only make yourself look immature and may possibly regret it later.

Try to foster positive emotions in yourself. Some mistakes people make after being betrayed may include listening to sad music, watching depressing movies, or reading books that may make you feel worse and have more doubts. Avoid all of that stuff. Watch positive shows or movies. Spend more time hanging out with people who are positive in your life. When thinking about how to spend your spare time, try to pick something that will make you feel positive. If possible, avoid doing things that might remind you of the person that betrayed you.

Learn to forgive. This is one of the hardest things for someone to do if they have been betrayed. The only way to really move on and let go of that pain is by learning to forgive. Holding a grudge over what happened will only make you feel worse and you will keep feeling stuck in the past. You will only be causing yourself pain by learning to not forgive.

Avoid being mistrustful of everyone. A common feeling after being betrayed is the fear that someone may cause you this pain again. This emotion can be very strong if you have been betrayed multiple times in your life. Regardless of how often you have been betrayed or the type of betrayal, you have to remember that although there are quite a few people in this world who will betray and hurt you, there are many people who are worthy of your trust. It’s okay to approach future interactions with caution and to take things slow when opening up to someone again, but it is not okay to assume that everyone is not worthy of your trust.

Make a decision about the relationship with the one who betrayed you. You will have to make your own decision about how to approach this relationship. You can get a divorce, continue the friendship, change jobs or cut the family member out of your life entirely. If you do decide to continue the relationship then there are two things that need to happen. You first have to be willing to forgive and trust that person again. Any type of relationship cannot survive when still mulling over past mistakes. I remember a situation where two sisters decided to be close again, and years later they stopped talking because the other person was still angry about an event that had happened years ago. There is absolutely no way to continue an interaction if you cannot forgive and trust the other person. Secondly, the person who betrayed your trust needs to prove that they are trustworthy. This person needs to show you that he or she understands your feelings and is willing to do what is necessary to earn your trust. Furthermore, the person needs to change harmful behaviors. A friend who abandoned you would need to show that they are trustworthy again by demonstrating that that he will always be supportive, there for you, and is reliable. A girlfriend who cheated on you will need to demonstrate that she can change some behaviors that led to her cheating and can be more open and honest with you.

Be positive about the future. Whatever happens, you have to learn to be optimistic about the future. You cannot spend a significant amount of time worrying about what’s happened and being fearful of what is to come. Many of you may have already been through situations that seemed scary and uncertain, but you were able to pull through it. Be excited about what might happen in the future and let yourself not be consumed with thoughts of negativity. You will be surrounded by trustworthy and loving friends. You will meet someone who will not betray nor hurt you. You will be in a situation where you get the respect you deserve.

Focus on building a life that makes you happy. Learn from the betrayal and focus on working to build a happier lifestyle. The future can be unknown when betrayed by someone important to you, but now is the time to start taking risks and doing things that make you happy. Do not attempt to get back into a relationship or friendship that makes you unhappy. Remember, that you can find happiness without that person and now is the time for you to focus on those goals.

Be patient. Betrayal is a terrible thing that many of us would like to never experience. It’s normal to be tired of feeling hurt and to want all the negative emotions to simply go away. The reality is that these feelings take some time to get over. You will need some time to get to a place where you can be completely positive and ready for some changes in your life. This process takes time and it’s extremely important that you continue to be patient about the process and have confidence that things will get better.

Stop Being a Spectator: How Action Changes Your Feelings

 Pandas Taking ActionMany of us can agree that taking action helps us achieve goals and make changes in our lives and relationships, right? However, even with this knowledge, many of us feel this incapability to take action, when action is necessary. I have been in plenty of moments where I felt depressed, sad, lonely or some other negative emotion and kept justifying my inability to take action. I had goals I wanted to achieve and knew what to do but kept trying to convince myself that I needed more time before taking action. There was a period of my life where months went by before I felt it was necessary to take action. I’m not exactly sure why either. Maybe I felt that there would be some sign that would help me take action or perhaps I was wishing for something unlikely to happen, such as things just improving on their own. Regardless the reason, I was not taking action which led me to feeling unhappy and staying at the same place I was at for a really long time.

Ask yourself if you ever felt like you were incapable of trying something new because you don’t feel ready or you feel too nervous? Are you unable to work on things in your relationship because you want to feel happier first? Do you not feel ready to pursue a relationship because you need time to lose more weight and feel better about your physical appearance? Are you in the same job because you need to feel more skilled in your field? If you have asked similar questions to these then it might be worth trying to understand why action creates change.

You feel better when you make changes. Many of us develop this poor belief that you need to feel better to make changes. We are constantly blaming our inactivity on having negative feelings. Fortunately, feeling better usually requires making changes. Imagine you want to lose weight but are feeling unhappy and poorly about your self image. Sitting around and having the same poor dietary habits and lack of exercise will only feed your negative feelings. Once you take action, and start changing your diet and making more efforts to exercise, you will start to feel better and feel more motivated to keep making changes. Or take another scenario where you are unhappy with your job. You constantly think you lack the experience to find another job and that you just need to wait until you feel more skilled to apply elsewhere. Instead what you can do, is start applying for jobs and doing interviews. You might be surprised at the compliments you receive or how people are impressed with the experience you do possess. Taking action does make you feel better, while doing nothing will probably make you feel the same or worse.

Actions are easy to change. Let’s be honest here. When is it ever easy to change your emotions? I have felt plenty sad about some things and wished to not feel sad, and guess what happened? I kept feeling sad! Wanting to not feel sad and trying to make myself feel happy by simply wishing and hoping was not doing anything. Actions, however, are easy to change. The last time I felt really sad, I started out by sitting around and just thinking and being sad. I realized what was happening and decided to take a long walk. Taking the walk helped improve my mood quite a bit. If I had just sat around, feeling upset, then nothing would have changed, but doing something simple like taking a walk, lifted my mood and helped me relax.

Actions help you grow. Everyone has a desire to keep growing and improving. It’s rare to find someone who is completely satisfied with every aspect of their life. Many of us want to continue developing. When you sit around and don’t take action, you are doing the same thing and not developing. No matter how much you think about doing something, until you do it, nothing will change. I had a friend who spent almost 2 years hating his job, resenting the fact that he didn’t finish college, upset that he didn’t have a girlfriend, didn’t have other hobbies to kill his time, and he felt depressed because he was overweight. Throughout those couple of years, he did absolutely nothing. He worked and made a decent salary, but past that, he was not making any changes and seemed to have excuses left and right about how he couldn’t make any of these changes until he felt better. This friend was dead set that one day he just might suddenly feel better, and things would change. One day he just suddenly quit his job and moved in with his brother, who lived about 800 miles away. It was the beginning of a more positive person. He found a better job, lived in a new environment, became closer to his brother, made new friends, and got a new girlfriend. More importantly, he realized that all he had to do to grow, was to take some more actions. After that experience, he was able to make another move, switch jobs and find new friends all on his own. You cannot learn new things until you take action.

Taking action helps avoid excuses and disappointments. Not being proactive in your life, inadvertently creates an environment more prone to excuses. I’m sure many of you have had the following happen. You tell someone close to you that you will do something in a couple weeks. You end up not doing it and using the same exact excuse. A friend of mine delayed learning to drive due to this exact reason. He kept making excuses. He would tell me that he was too scared or nervous to learn how to drive. Every time he had the opportunity to learn, he would use the same exact excuse. This lasted for years. Eventually when one asked him why he hasn’t learned to drive, he just gave a load of excuses. If he had taken action, he may not have used the same excuse so much and probably would have learned to drive.

Taking action helps you control the outcome of your life. When you take action, you are usually striving for an outcome that may or may not happen. If you want to lose weight then taking action with dieting and exercise will most likely help you actually lose weight. If you want to improve your relationship with a loved one then taking action by developing better communication and going to counseling, will most likely help improve your relationship. Taking action gives you the perfect opportunity to better control how you want your life to go. Simply standing by and seeing things unfold will likely lead you to feeling unhappy and you will feel a lack of control over your life. Taking action allows you to realize that much of your life is controlled by you.

Action helps build self confidence. As you perform actions, you are giving yourself challenges and giving yourself the opportunity to be a stronger person. You will feel increasingly proud of yourself for just taking these actions, even if you don’t reach the optimal result. A close friend of mine was finally taking action to resolve an issue he had for many years. Although he did not reach the optimal result, and is still working on these issues, he feels more confident for working on his problems. He has seen some noticeable improvements and feels proud of that. Taking action will build your self confidence and make you more aware of your strength.

Action will help give you a better foundation for coping with your emotions. The more you take action, when you are feeling negatively, the more likely you will develop a healthier pattern for controlling your emotions. Let’s take a situation where your life is relatively unstable and you have a history of feeling depressed or sad often. Taking action whenever you feel negative emotions, will allow you to better cope with these emotions and not be controlled by them. By taking action, you might learn that you need to exercise, write in a journal, go out with friends, or spend time doing your favorite hobby whenever you feel sad. Action allows you to better understand what you can do, to feel better. You start to feel less controlled by your emotions and have an easier time understanding how to cope with the emotions you feel.

Taking action will surprise you. To be surprised you need to be active in your life. You will never know what lies just around the corner, until you take action. Much of the blessings I have are because I decided to take action when times were rough. Ending a really dependent and abusive relationship allowed me to pursue more positive friendships and relationships, allowed me to focus more on my own goals, and helped build my self-confidence. Taking time to eat healthier and focus more on exercise helped me develop a healthy method for staying in shape. Taking appropriate actions to educate myself and polishing up my resume allowed me to apply and obtain better jobs. So many more blessings in my life occurred from me just taking action in my life. The same applies to you. Staying in the same situation and not doing anything will rarely get you anywhere. Take more action in your life, and be surprised at where the action can take you.

Remember, with action there is change. Change cannot happen while you sit around dwelling through thoughts or wondering what things might be like if change happens. With action, you can change things now.

The Downsides to Distrust

Some of us are able to trust people naturally while many of us battle with issues that revolve around being able to trust others. Unfortunately, it’s likely that someone will eventually take advantage of you or compromise your trust. Your trust can be compromised multiple ways. Someone might be by stealing your money either through scams or fraud, or someone might be lying to you, or you might find out that what you are buying is truly not what is being promised to you.

Angry BunnyI will be honest and admit that I am a person that is not very trusting at times. I’m sure my lack of trust has saved me from some scams but it can also hurt my relationships or make me not have as much faith in people. My lack of trust is partially from getting hurt in the past. There were quite a few important people in my life who hurt me in the most awful ways, and mainly because I gave them so much of my trust or placed myself in a position where I could get taken advantage of. It’s been a long battle to have more trust in others and to not be so afraid of getting hurt.

So whatever position you are in, I want to clarify that trusting others is important. It’s okay if you are battling trust issues, but it’s not okay to live a life not trusting others. You will never be able to have strong and meaningful relationships or friendships without learning to trust. You may miss out on wonderful opportunities by not having more faith in things or people. It’s important to let go of the people who are clearly distrustful but just as important to give others a fair chance of having your trust. I doubt anyone wants to live a life full of distrust and suspicion, right?

The following questions will hopefully make you understand the importance of placing trust in another, and why it’s a better choice to not always be overly suspicious of others.

  1. How do you react when others don’t trust you? It doesn’t feel nice to play the part of the person who doesn’t trust easily, but often times we forget how hard it is for another to deal with our distrust. Imagine a loved one didn’t trust you. How would that make you feel? I know that I would feel more insecure about that friendship, might be offended, and be suspicious of the other person. Overall it would have a pretty negative impact on me. Have you considered that your distrust of another might be hurting someone else? You are not the only one impacted by your lack of trust. It may seem alright to distrust someone, but keep in mind that it may hurt another person and could dramatically decrease the quality of that relationship.

  2. How do you react when others trust you? So you meet someone new and see that they trust you. Whenever this happens to me, I have an easier time liking this person and wanting to be close to them. Seeing that they trust me makes me feel good and helps build my confidence that this could be a positive relationship, whether it’s a friendship, romantic interest, or a salesperson. I have higher respect for this person, and it makes it easier for me to be more open with that person. So keep this in mind when dealing with issues of distrust. You are more likable when others get the sense that you trust them. People you care about will genuinely appreciate the amount of trust you place in them.

  3. Is there a correlation between trust and the quality of my relationships? Think about all the people that bring joy into your life. Who are your best friends? Who are the people you think are reliable? Are there any stores or companies that you are loyal to? Do you trust all these people? You tend to have the best relationships with the people you trust. Having trust is necessary for a very positive and meaningful relationship.

  4. Do I give off an attitude of trust? When you first meet someone, how do you usually act? A long time ago, I used to be the type who was very closed. This was due to my lack of trust in other people. I had a tough time opening up to others and I think it was fairly obvious to people I met. As a result, I ended up not making many friends. I realized this and decided to be more open and welcoming to people. This does not mean that I divulged every intimate detail about my life, but I certainly learned to give everyone I met the benefit of the doubt. I divulged some information, and gave that person a chance with my trust.

  5. Do you give a person the chance to be trustworthy? It’s easy to be distrusting when you don’t give someone a chance to earn your trust. Trust involves risk and many times you will be pleasantly surprised when taking that risk. Be honest with yourself about if you are actually giving people a chance. It’s easy to view people and companies as distrustful when you don’t open the door for someone to win your trust. Look at your own actions and try and understand if you approach people automatically assuming that he or she is trying to scam you, take advantage of you, or is someone distrustful. Being aware of the amount of times you show someone distrust, will help you to become more knowledgeable about being more open with others.

  6. Are you actually having a good balance between being overly suspicious and blindly trusting? I want to clarify that this article is not trying to encourage you to not exercise discretion when interacting with others or to simply blindly trust someone. The point of the article is to make you realize that you need a healthy balance. You cannot enter a relationship assuming someone is distrustful and constantly reliving past mistakes or acts of distrust. You cannot be waiting for someone to prove that they are unworthy of trust. When entering some form of a relationship, you have to give people the benefit of the doubt. Don’t assume that they are people who you cannot trust. Definitely use caution when meeting new people, but be optimistic and hope for the best. Striking this balance is integral for being able to trust another in a healthy manner.