Recently, I’ve become more aware of a phenomena where people tend to want things they actually don’t want. This is something I find myself doing quite a bit and only realized it recently. Perhaps you aren’t sure if you are even doing this. It’s a difficult line to figure out if you are investing too much time into things you don’t want, because often what we want can and does change, and it is difficult to work at the things you do want. There are so many opportunities for people to try new things and we are constantly meeting new people. With social media there are constant reminders of all the opportunities you could be missing or all the things you could be trying. The world is filled with so many exciting things to try, yet so little time. Often many of these things are attainable and even cheap, yet finding the time to do these things is a struggle, which leads to us feeling faced with the problem of wanting more than we can have. As a result, some of us (including myself) have tried to spread ourselves thin by attempting to do it all. This could be as simple as taking several different classes at once while holding a full-time job, putting in more hours at work to earn a promotion or make more money, agreeing to help a friend with an event where you will need to commit 20 hours a week or deciding to spend more time with new friends because of the new opportunities they may provide to you. This is great if it’s something you genuinely want and when you have the time to invest and prioritize it appropriately, but sometimes that is not the case for everyone.
Here are some signs you may be investing in things you genuinely don’t want for yourself.
Okay so now for the tough part. Maybe you are finding that you are desiring too much or things that you genuinely don’t want. What do you do?
Be honest with what you do want. The key here is to actually be honest and this can be a long-term process for you. The reason this process is difficult is because you may have already invested quite a bit of time into something you genuinely don’t want. Also, acknowledging that you have spent so much time investing into things you don’t want can lead to disappointment. How can you give up those cooking lessons if you have already invested a year and hundreds of dollars into it?
Perhaps your image to other people has changed dramatically that people would be surprised that you actually don’t like doing something. How can you stop going to the bar with other friends and focus on different interests when your friends are used to you going out for drinks with them every weekend? How can you switch your careers when you know your parents will be disappointed in you?
Perhaps you may have neglected the things that do matter so much that actually trying to rectify that situation can be scary. How can I get back into dancing when I haven’t danced in years? How can I apologize to my best friend after not spending any time with her over the last year? How can I ask for forgiveness from my husband?
The process of being honest with yourself and others will be scary. You may have to give up things that you have invested a great deal of time, money and energy into. There may be a learning curve with getting back into old hobbies. You may need to apologize to people who mean a great deal to you. It can be scary to admit to yourself that you simply just can’t do it all. Asking for forgiveness and being a better partner or friend to another person can be challenging and scary at first. However, the rewards of investing in what you actually want far outweigh the regrets from investing into things and people that you don’t really want in your life.
Choose what you want to let go or focus your energy on less. Now that you have been honest with yourself about what you do and don’t want, be honest about what you have to give up to get what you do want. This process is also difficult and scary, but essential if you want to focus on the things that do matter. Doing the things that we do want require sacrifice. I’m not just referring to the sacrifice of time needed to do what we want, but the sacrifice of opportunity. For instance, to be a committed partner to the love of your life, you have to sacrifice some (not all) opportunities with your friends and hobbies to spend quality time with your partner. To be a better father you may need to sacrifice some work opportunities to spend time with your children. To pursue that career you may need to sacrifice some fun opportunities. Again, I’m using the word “some” specifically. I don’t believe for most situations you need to completely give up things to have what you want, but many of the things we do want just need to have a higher priority in our lives. The only way to prioritize someone or something is by investing more of your focus into that person or thing. This requires us to lessen the investment on things that should not be prioritized as highly. This process will be full of trial and errors, but over time you’ll eventually strike a natural balance of how to prioritize and focus on what you want appropriately.
Let go of some of your desires. The next step is to accept that we simply cannot have everything we want when we want. This is simply not realistic. Lessening your desires will help you truly appreciate what you do have and help you let go of any feelings of being inadequate because you simply do not have everything right now. Understanding that achieving certain goals may take a great deal of time will also help you lessen your desires. You don’t have to do X, Y or Z today, tomorrow or even this year. We have a whole lifetime to achieve some of our desires.
In our lifetime it is just not realistic to be able to do pretty much everything, and that’s not a bad thing either. Spending more time on a few things allows you to truly be successful at those things while still nourishing your personal relationships. When you split yourself between too many tasks, interests and trying to keep everyone happy, the end result is typically not having the time and energy to succeed in any just one thing. Working to be happy with what you have and having realistic expectations for your own life will help increase the happiness in your life and help you value the things and people you genuinely want in your life.
I leave you with this question: What do you really and truly want?]]>
Many of us are guilty of comparing our lives to others. This comparison can happen with any area in our life and the negative feelings associated with this can occur at any time. During 2013 I really struggled with this problem. It was rather frustrating because I genuinely like my life, am happy with my accomplishments but the comparisons made it feel like it was not enough, that somehow I was not doing as well as I should be as my peers. For instance, over a year ago, a terrible relationship with my ex ended. I’d find myself comparing my situation with another. I suddenly felt it was unfair or that I was just a failure. Yes, an occasional self-pity party occasionally happened. In reality, I should have been happy to be out of relationship filled with abuse, cheating and lies, and finally moving on from that toxicity. And being single is wonderful and that time alone allowed me to process the breakup, become a stronger person, redefine what I want in a partner, reassess the kind of person I want to be in a relationship, solidify friendships, travel and enjoy just being by myself. Yet, seeing or hearing someone have a completely different and more positive experience than myself, would somehow make me feel inadequate. I’m sure some of you can relate to this. It can happen with relationships, wanting to have children, being unemployed or feeling like you are at a place in life where you don’t have a strong social network. Maybe you feel content with your current situation or are a little unhappy about it, but somehow hearing or seeing something makes you not only feel inadequate but like a failure.
Accept that life has its highs and lows. Yes, your life is in many ways more blessed than others. And yes, your life may have its share of problems. The truth is, everyone’s life has a combination of blessings and problems and it’s all very subjective. In the writing world, I’d hear some struggling writers who have not yet published a book feel guilt and resentment towards a fellow colleague who has had a successful writing career. Yet, I’d know this “successful” writer and know that she was unhappy with her social life and had some family issues, secretly envious of these struggling writers who seem to have a more supportive social network. And that’s just life. Right now, I’m thoroughly happy with my career, but a couple of years ago I was not. Your life will never consistently be perfect by your own standards. In some ways your life will be going great, and in other ways it will not. What you view as disappointments, another might view more positively or be envious of.
Stop focusing on the lows. With my ex, I had spent so much time focusing on the many betrayals that had occurred. In comparing my life, I felt stupid (how did I allow myself to get in such a bad situation?), I felt helpless and I began to wonder how my life had come to this point. I was so focused on this one low, that I almost defined the current state of my life by it. It took a wonderful group of people to remind me of all the wonderful things in my life that I currently have. And once I placed more focus on the good parts of my life, it helped me place less importance on the low points.
Focus on your assets and skills. You have something that you offer to someone. Maybe you are the social butterfly of the group, always making people feel comfortable. Maybe you’ve always been a hard worker who is reliable, timely and efficient. Maybe you are the person people come to for love and support. You have many positive assets that you offer to others. Remember those so you can always remind yourself of how special, unique and wonderful you are.
Remember how your life has changed in positive ways. Remind yourself of the wonderful highlights of your life over the past few years. What have you achieved? How have you improved? What new skills do you have? How have you surprised yourself? Which negative behaviors have you dropped? If it’s hard coming up with a list, ask a close friend or family member who you think might be able to help.
Try to view it in a different perspective. One thing I learned from my experience is that where I saw weakness, others saw strength. Many of my friends thought I was incredibly strong for how I handled things in my life even though I felt helpless and weak. A similar feeling happened when my friend was deeply upset about her job. She felt like a loser for working where she was at. However, when I look at her, I see someone who is a Mother, with 2 children, trying to support her family, who is still in college and making ends meet. Where she saw weakness and failure, I saw a strong woman doing what she can for her family.
You are a different package than someone else. You can’t compare yourself to someone who has different thoughts, actions, needs, desires and behaviors than you. For instance, I like to go out several times a week but also enjoy my own space and privacy. Comparing my life to someone who is more social than myself or someone less social does not make much sense. Trying to be more social than I want, just to fit a standard I think I should have would only make me feel less happy.
It’s normal to feel dissatisfied with certain areas of your life. I’m all about self improvement and that can only happen if you know that your life has room to grow and develop. Life is unpredictable. It’s okay to feel upset about a job loss, divorce, a sudden death or another tragic event. It’s okay to feel disappointment about certain areas of your life not going in the direction you had hoped. However, it’s important to know that there’s a line between feeling dissatisfied about an area of your life and making that dissatisfaction the focus and definition of your entire life.
Limit interactions with things that make you feel more inadequate. Try to think of things that trigger feelings of inadequacy. For instance, social media can sometimes trigger those feelings. If it does, maybe take a break from it just to detach. Find better ways to cope with feelings of envy. Try to distract yourself by doing something you enjoy and adds joy to your life.
This is YOUR life. Nobody else can experience your life but you. It’s your own story with its own beautiful highlights, lows and highs. Imagine how dissatisfying and boring life would be if people went through the same experiences and had the same successes. Learn to love who you are and to continually grow and develop into the person you want to be. Keep the focus on you and only you.
Be patient. All of these feelings are normal and everyone deals with feelings of inadequacy at some point. The battle of getting through it takes time and patience. I just moved to Sydney, Australia recently. It’s been tough going from an environment where I had an active social life and moving to a country where I only know a very small amount of people, have basically no friends, and have a difficult time calling and talking to friends back home with the time difference. I have to continually remind myself to feel patient with the process of making new friends and adjusting to a different lifestyle than what I’m used to and that’s totally okay.]]>
A few months ago I had this realization that I may not be nurturing my soul enough. In other words, I haven’t been prioritizing my own happiness in the ways that I need to. Many of you may be able to relate to this feeling. Work, children and other responsibilities tend to take precedence over our own happiness. Having time to ourselves can often result in feelings of guilt. We tend to be thinking about the next task that we need to do or just catching up on sleep. Over time this cycle wears at our being to the point that we neglect ourselves and find ourselves desperately needing to be nurtured but unable to figure out how to do it. Others may have neglected themselves so much that giving themselves any attention may seem selfish or undeserving. How do we get out of this cycle?
Here are some tips to help nourish your soul. Try applying at least one of these tips to your life every week.
There are plenty of other ways to help nurture your soul. It is up to you to find those things on your own. Hopefully these few changes you can make in your life will help you better nurture yourself. Again, every person is different, but taking these general steps should help you ultimately find what YOU NEED to better create a space where you can nurture your soul and learn to be happy with yourself.]]>
I 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Each 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.]]>
Many 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.]]>
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.
I 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Do Not Underestimate the Importance of Small Acts of Loving Service Zechariah 4:10
Personally, I love this bible verse. This verse provides a message that I forget more often than I would like to admit. I’m sure many of you also struggle with this problem as well. You may be feeling that the small acts that you do, are not all that significant.
I mentioned in a prior article, that I would be intertwining my experiences with Kenya and some general words of wisdom over the next few posts. Personally, I find it an excellent way to let others know about my experiences and a great way for me to really analyze my feelings about some aspects of the trip.
While volunteering in Kitengela, I met many volunteers who could only devote a small chunk of their time. There were a few volunteers who were devoting at least 3 months of their time to a project, but most people could only devote about a month or less of their time. Many people had the tough realization that they could only accomplish a small bit during their time. Some of these volunteers felt really upset by the limited amount of time he or she could devote. As a result, this volunteer felt that their time was not significant or that they could not really give much. These thoughts are very far from the truth.
If you ever decide to show kindness in any scenario, you may have these negative feelings. It does not matter if you are volunteering in your community, offering help to a friend or family member, or simply just trying to be a nice to others on a daily basis. Many of you will encounter these negative feelings or thoughts, which can inhibit you from doing something kind for another.
Not finding your actions to be significant can be a real problem and may manifest in various ways. You might believe that your actions are insignificant compared to the works of others. This situation, reminds me of a scenario of a son who wanted to accomplish much in his career. He compared himself to his parents, who did monumental things in their fields. He felt that everything he was doing, was nothing compared to what they did. Another common example is the one where someone feels like their help is not needed or appreciated. Maybe they could only invest a small amount to a cause, or did not have much time to devote. Due to these limitations this person feels like whatever efforts he or she makes is unnecessary and unimportant.
Here are some things to remember to keep you going.
Small things lead to greater things. It’s very rare for a person to just jump into a project and make a large impact. Many people work hard to make a difference. Ask the people you admire about how they made such an impact. Many of them will discuss the many years of patience, disappoints and hard work that was required to reach that point. You might be starting small right now, but with additional time and responsibility, you might be surprised at what you will be capable of doing with time, perseverance and faith.
Small efforts can make a difference in the larger scale. Perhaps you are in the situation where you cannot donate much of your time or money. Your efforts still make a difference. Let’s say you could only donate $10 to help a child get treatment for cancer. Although that may not seem like much, you helped that family get one step closer to giving their child the treatment she deserves. Without the help of you and many others, that child may not have ever received the treatment she needed for getting better.
Remember, that sometimes a small effort can raise a lot of awareness. I was only in Kenya for a few weeks, but many people became aware of what I was doing and some people wanted to help. The increased awareness helped make my small act of kindness, worth it. You can create a big impact by just raising awareness about a problem and describing the small ways that you have helped. Through your experiences, others may want to contribute and make an impact as well.
Your small acts of kindness can give people hope. You have no idea what lives will be touched by seeing you do something kind for others. I’ve personally seen people find faith and hope by seeing the kind actions of others. Your small acts of kindness are inspiring. People will see this kindness and that will provide them with hope and encouragement.
Small acts of kindness can help improve and show off your talents. Many people do not attempt to do kind things for others because they do not have faith in their talents. A loved one of mine has an exceptional talent, but he feels that it’s useless because it mainly involves writing. He did not realize that this skill can help to uplift others and he could share this skill with other people. Try to have faith in your talents. Use what you have to help change the world, and have faith in your abilities. Not only will you have a greater appreciation of your skills, but you will have a broader perspective on how to utilize those skills to help others.
Hopefully you have a more accurate image on how important it is to still be kind, even if those actions seem small. Doing small acts of kindness should be a source of joy, and not something to feel bad about.]]>
I apologize for the lengthy delay with writing you back. I have been in Kenya volunteering for the last 3 weeks with Living Positive Mlolongo. A combination of keeping busy and lack of consistent internet access kept me from writing the majority of this month. Anyway, I am happy to be back in the game of writing again!
I would like to spend the next couple of days discussing my time in Kenya. I had made this decision to volunteer in Kenya spontaneously this past January. It has always been a dream to go to Africa and do some kind of work there. I volunteered through a non-profit organization called International Volunteer Head Quarters (IVHQ). Unfortunately, I could only commit to spending a few weeks there. I am finishing up my Master’s thesis this summer and being gone for a long period of time, is out of the question at the moment. I arrived from the airport in Nairobi at 4am and was immediately taken to a guesthouse. I was exhausted. After spending 2 hours sleeping, a Kenyan woman woke me up at 7am for breakfast. I had no idea what to expect but was happily surprised to see food similar to a mix of a crepe and pancake. The food was delicious and for my first day I just toured a bit of Nairobi. I also had the opportunity to see young people performing plays for the community. The next day I attended the volunteer orientation. The orientation was lengthy and lasted about 8 hours total. I learned at the orientation that IVHQ placed me in a home with a woman called Lucy and 2 other volunteers in a town called Kitengela. I would be working at Living Positive Mlolongo, a center for women who are diagnosed with HIV/AIDs and the children of these women.
Living with Lucy was a great experience. She’s a really cool woman and it helped that she was around my age. She made excellent food and kept her place very clean. Aside from that, she was just such a good friend and a really cool person to hang out with. I couldn’t have asked for a better host! The other volunteers I lived with, were also amazing women. All of us got along really well and spent almost all nights there watching soap operas and just getting to know each other.
So now let’s switch to talking more about my placement. Honestly, the experience has been wonderful, but certainly not easy. Living Positive Mlolongo is located in Mlolongo, which is about a 15 minute bus ride from where I live. From that point, I was required to work in a nearby slum. The slum is about a 45 minute walk one way (1 and a half hours round trip), and requires some trekking through ridiculous amounts of mud. This area is known for getting ridiculous amounts of rain during this time of the year, so it’s known to become quite muddy during this time. Honestly, I doubt I’ve been in mud that was worse than the type of mud in the Kitengela/Mlolongo area. Since I could only commit to 3 weeks, I decided to work on two main projects. The first project was to help create a website for the organization, so that women living in terrible conditions can better advertise the jewelry and dresses that they make. The organization already has a website in place, so my primary duty is to improve the website, set up an e-store and help work on the design of the website. The second duty was to help renovate a daycare, with the assistance of four other spectacular volunteers.
The daycare is quite small. I’ll attach a picture of just one of the classrooms. Each room is expected to fit about 20-30 students. We worked on helping to paint the daycare so that these kids can enjoy learning in a place that looks child-friendly. I would say the most important thing about this experience, is committing to a couple of projects at a time, and sticking with these projects. There is so much to do. I can imagine many fellow volunteers either feeling overwhelmed or lacking direction on what exactly needs to be done. It’s important to find a project you feel passionate about, and to stay committed to the project.
Anyway, after figuring out which projects I want to commit to, the next step was to actually visit the slums. The slums are shocking to say the least. These people live in such filthy conditions, and it’s amazing to see thousands of people living in such a tiny space. The children there are absolutely lovely. Seeing them makes you realize that children don’t take much to be happy. These children live in conditions that I couldn’t even dream of living in and still have room for smiles, laughter and love for others. The adults living in this slum are amazing. They want to see a bright future for their children. The adults are very kind to volunteers and have been willing to help us improve the daycare for them.
So I learned a few great lessons from my initial experiences here. The following lists some of those reasons.
I’ll definitely write more about these experiences more! Thank you for reading and furthermore, thank you for your patience with additional posts.
You might be thinking, how can being right possibly deter you from being happy? Let me clarify that it’s great to have an opinion that you feel strongly about. It’s wonderful to share that opinion with others and to be vocal about what you think. The problem is when you want everyone to view you as right. You want to be seen as right by the people you are interacting with.
I had a classmate who was very annoying to be around. The main reason I did not care for his company, was his need to always be right. I remember getting lunch with him and a few other colleagues. During the lunch I said, “I’d love a smoothie right now.” He said, “wow that was random! Why do you want a movie?”. I explained that I had said smoothie. He disagreed with me and said that I had said movie. I explained that he must have misheard me because I had really said smoothie. He attempted to correct me by saying that I had actually said movie. The conversation got annoying quick, and I ended up just changing the subject. I did not want to be around someone who could not even admit that perhaps he was wrong, and I had indeed said smoothie. Yes, I realize this is a silly example but many of us can think of similar examples, that are equally as silly. Imagine the many arguments you might have with your significant other. Whose memory was more correct about a situation? Should you leave 25 minutes or 15 minutes early to catch the next show? Who takes care of the children more?
What about your friends or colleagues? Do you tend to correct your friends constantly or try and convince them that your viewpoint is the correct perspective. Do you get upset when your friends disagree with you or refuse to correct their behavior for you.
This behavior needs to end. You will sever relationships and be less likable, the more you try and be right in a relationship. Furthermore, being right will not make you happy. At the end of the day, you just seem controlling, not open-minded, and will push people away from wanting to talk to you about their feelings.
This article lists some questions that you can ask regarding your happiness and being right. These are questions meant to guide you to making better decisions when stuck in a situation where you feel hard-pressed to be right.
Do I feel happy when I am right? Be completely honest with yourself. How do you feel when you are the one who is right. Think about issues that come up in your personal or professional relationships? Think about circumstances where you just had to be seen as right by the person you were interacting with. Do you tend to feel more stressed out than happy? Do you have negative feelings about the encounter and that person? Do you feel comfortable even thinking about the situation? Are you sometimes left feeling confused and not sure about where the whole interaction began and ended?
What do I really want out of this situation? I had arguments with my boyfriend where I thought what I wanted was to be right. After some contemplation, I realize that I really wanted something else. Often, I realized that I wanted him to just listen and acknowledge my feelings on a matter. It didn’t matter if he completely agreed with me or changed his behavior entirely, but ultimately I wanted him to just listen and acknowledge what I was saying. Find out what is really going on. You will quickly learn that many times you do not need to be right. Instead, you need to just focus on what you genuinely want out of a situation.
Am I focusing on what I don’t want too much? Being right sometimes results from over focusing on the possible negative consequences. I don’t want people to think I’m stupid! I don’t want people to not appreciate my efforts! I’m tired of feeling like people just don’t understand me. When you focus your energies on what you don’t wait, you end up forgetting what you do want. When voicing your opinion to your daughter, who respectfully disagrees with you, you may end up feeling very irritated with her and become unnecessarily upset. You are focusing on how you don’t want her to view you as uneducated and uninformed about topics. As a result, you may miss that she is listening to your perspective and is viewing your opinion highly. Your daughter just does not share the same view as you. In the end, you want her to see you as an informed resource, but you are too busy focusing on what you don’t want her to see you as that you miss some obvious cues that show otherwise.
Am I creating an environment where I can achieve what I want? Now that you know what you want, you can start on working on creating interactions that give you what you want. You can stop focusing on being right to achieve that. For instance, maybe you want people to understand your viewpoint on politics and take it seriously. Hopefully you realize that trying to always be right makes you look close-minded and will make people less likely to take you seriously. A better way of making others understand is to be opinionated about your viewpoint, but listen and share your viewpoints with others. Continue to enrich your knowledge and share that knowledge in healthy ways such as teaching a class, starting a blog, and being more active in the political community. You will realize that there are better ways of making people take your opinion seriously without having to have lengthy debates with others just to prove that you are right and they are wrong. Perhaps you want a trusting environment with your loved one. Being right does not create that environment and can actually fuel distrust in your relationship. Look for ways that build a strong foundation for trust that do not involve always being the one who is right.
Is being right more important than this relationship? Trying to be right all the time hurts your relationships with others. Is trying to be right worth losing your friend? Does being right all the time help or hurt your marriage? Try and understand the impact of trying to be right all the time on meaningful relationships. It’s important to let things go when trying to have a positive relationship with another, even when you know you are right. Try it sometime. Start with something small if you must. Tell the person you are wrong or tell them that you agree and leave it alone. You will realize that your relationships will improve and you will feel much better not dealing with unnecessary stress.
Hopefully asking yourself these questions has helped you realize that trying to be right all the time can deter your happiness. Furthermore, you may be hurting important relationships because of the need to constantly be right. Instead, focus on identifying what you truly want and how to achieve that without trying to forcibly convince others of your way.
If you have any tips for how to let go of always being right all the time then please share.
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