Sunday, October 13, 2019

Grrrrr. I got it wrong again!

Is this what happens to you? You try hard to do something, you spend time and energy on it, and then when you think you've solved the problem you find out is doesn't work. You failed.

Sometimes you might even throw up you hands and say, "Never again. I'm tired of failing. I just can't do anything right."

Right here is where you need to take a deep breath and get real with yourself. Listen to what you are telling yourself.

"I can't do anything right." 

"I'm a failure. I just keep failing over and over and it's just not worth even trying."

Well, if whatever you are trying to do is important to you, a goal perhaps, then it IS worth trying again. Nothing is as important to success as failure. 

If you tell yourself you are a failure and can't do anything right, then that is what you will become. Because we are what we believe.

Maybe you just don't have the guts to fail. But keep trying. Don't quit. Don't give up on what is important to you.

Confront those downing thoughts. If you couldn't do ANYthing right, you would be dead right now, because you have to have done some things right to survive!

So look at what outcome you want and how important that is for you. And keep trying. Someone has said, "If you think you can or you think you can't, you are right."

No guts, no glory. Be courageous enough to keep trying.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Once Upon A Dime

A dime went much farther when I was young. When I was a kid you could buy candy for a penny, a dime would get you a phone-call, and postcards cost a penny to mail. A nice cold Coke could be had for a nickle.

Of course, back then we didn't have a lot of money, so any of the above would be a treat. I remember that in the summer my mom would buy a pint of ice cream that we divided four ways. Now I could eat the whole pint!

Five-and-dime stores actually had things that cost a nickle or dime. My grandfather would take me downtown for an outing. We rode the bus and always stopped at the five-and-dime for a hot fudge sundae at the lunch counter.

Bread was delivered and was about $0.15. Milk was delivered,too, at about $0.20 a quart. And it came in glass bottles. The cream was at the top and you had to shake it to get it mixed. When the weather got really cold the milk would start to freeze and the cream would push the lids out of the bottle.

We could get 10 pounds of potatoes at the store for just over $0.40. We ate a lot of potatoes. Our favorite way to fix them was fried in lard with onions. But we fixed them mashed as well. I don't remember eating baked potatoes when I was a kid.

For a while we got margarine that came with a packet of yellow powder to make it look like butter. I enjoyed stirring it in. We used it on toast, on PB&J sandwiches, and to cook with.

My mom would fix liver and onions and told me it was steak so I'd eat it. I never had steak, so I didn't know the difference. Liver was really cheap then.

We had a little garden in the back of our lot where we grew tomatoes, onions, and bell peppers. My mom fixed stuffed peppers with ground beef, onions, and rice in them. We also had to grape arbors. One had white grapes and one had purple grapes. They were wonderful. My mom made jelly and juice from them. As kids we'd just eat some we pulled off the vines.

In those days we left the doors and windows open when we were at home. I don't remember ever being afraid of someone coming in who shouldn't be there.  We were taught to respect other people's property. We weren't allowed to cut through other people's yards without permission. All the mom's on the street would look out for all the kids, reprimand them if needed.

We weren't allowed to play in the street, even though there wasn't much traffic. We did build dams in the rain gutters along the curbs when it rained.  And most of us were trained to go home and inside when the street lights came on.

Looking back, times seemed simpler then. But if I stop to consider some of the things that were happening in the neighbor's homes, I realize the same problems existed for the adults, even if it was simpler for the kids. In one home the mom had advanced diabetes and her legs were all black and swullen. In another home a child a bit younger than me had a disease that made him swell up with fluids in his body. In another home there was a "child" who was very mentally retarded. She didn't walk, couldn't talk, and had to wear diapers, even though she was at least in her teens. In one home the dad was an alcoholic who gambled away his paychecks and depriving his family.

So the "good old days" were only good when viewed from certain perspectives.

We just need to remember that we really don't know what all is going on in someone's life and shouldn't judge them.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Mind Your Mind

Your mind is a powerful thing. You use it for good or for ill. Do you pay attention to what you are thinking? You'd be surprised how much you thoughts create your actions.

Listen to what you tell yourself. Do you find yourself thinking, "I can't do this" or "that will never work"?  Have you heard the quote, "If you think you can, or you think you can't, you are right."

Pay attention. And decide to have better thoughts. Imagine yourself succeeding. See it in your mind's eye. And the chances that you will succeed increase.

"I never get anything right," "I fail at everything I try." These kinds of thoughts doom your chances of succeeding.

I strongly believe in Affirmations. Repeating positive phrases over and over throughout the day can actually change you outlook. Try it for a week or so and watch what happens.

And watch this video to get started.

from the Greater Good website

Sunday, September 22, 2019

What Do You Regret?

Regrets can weigh you down or motivate you to do something. Which works for you?

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Do You Have Enough?

Enough is defined as "as much or as many that is required." So do you have enough? What is enough for you? Do you think about it? What is enough.

What do you think you don't have enough of? Time? Money? Freedom? Love? List what you feel like you need more of? And what does that not having enough prevent you from doing/having?

Do you have an inner critic that tells you that YOU aren't enough? Are there people in your life who tell you that you aren't ________ enough?

Does believing you haven't enough leave you anxious or depressed or bereft? Maybe it would help for you to examine how much of something is required. Maybe your expectations are unrealistic.

Watch this video to help you decide.

Sunday, September 8, 2019


How grateful are you? Are you aware of how often, or how seldom, you say "Thank You"?

"Thank you," is probably the first phrase most of us learn as toddlers. And as we grow it often becomes habitual. If you say it habitually, without a sense of gratitude, how grateful are you really? And if we realize we seldom say it, are you seldom aware of your lack of gratitude?

In the hustle and bustle of daily living we may lose touch with what we are actually feeling. We get busy, busy, and don't even see what we have to be grateful for. Or we just assume that others will understand that we are grateful. We think "They should be grateful that I did/said/gave that for them."

But isn't that kind of flat? Wouldn't our world be better if people acknowledged each other in a direct way? And wouldn't you like to know when people are indeed thankful for what you do?

While thinking about how often or seldom you say thank you, spoken or written, also notice who you thank. Do you thank only friends, or family, or people in charge? 

One time during the season of Lent I decided to thank someone different every day, especially those to whom don't usually express my thanks.  I realized that I often am not really present to those around me. I kind of rush through life from one task to another, not noticing all the things others  do for me. I thanked folks in person and in cards or on the phone. The reactions were splendid. The people that I thanked smiled and felt positive from hearing that brief little phrase, "Thank you."

I thanked the people who cleaned our church. I thanked people who had been teachers in my life, academic teachers and personal growth teachers. I had an English teacher in high school who was very encouraging.Yes, it had been years ago, but I was still grateful. I thanked first responders in our neighborhood, took them a plate of cookies. I thanked people who help open doors for me, even though they were strangers. I thanked people who picked up litter and put it in the trash container. I thanked people who did something nice for others, even though I didn't know them. 

If course to make your thanks most meaningful it is important to add what it is you are grateful for when you express your gratitude. If you are thankful for something specific, say what it is. Or say "Thank you for all you do" where that is more appropriate. You don't have to say what it is when it is terribly obvious, like opening the door for you. Or you can say "Thank you for your help." [For more ways to say "Thanks" check out]

It might help your world be more positive and supportive when you begin to give thanks more often. Give it a try. Start noticing what others do and say that you can approve of and express your gratitude. And notice how people respond. Maybe you can start a trend!

And thank you for reading this and for making the world better one kind act at a time.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Are You a Worrier?

What do you worry about? There are always things you could worry about. Some folks are experts at creating worries, of things to fear. And it can become a habit to worry all the time.

However, it is exhausting. Why not let go of the things your can't change and change the things you can. How do you know the difference?

Most worries are self-made. We worry about what "might" happen, about the "what-if's" we create in our mind. What if people don't like me. What if I'm not good enough, smart enough, attractive enough, etc.?

These thoughts can keep you from doing or being who you are, the real you. Some spend so much energy worrying that they make choices based on the "what-if's". If you are one of these folks you won't be your real self, or even know your real self.

Your inner critic can keep you from trying new things. And when that is the case you can end up with regrets that take over your life. When you function with accumulated regret you end up with all your gifts inside.

Everyone has gifts, or talents, things that you could do well. But that inner critic can convince you that you aren't good enough, you aren't deserving, you will fail if you try. And if you fail, you give greater weight to the belief that you can never succeed. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy.

Listen to your self-talk. What does your inner critic tell you that gets in the way of being your most alive and actualized self? What is your relationship with worry? What might you regret later that you chose not to do because of focusing on the what-ifs?

Confront the what-ifs. Explore them. What if people don't like you? What could you do about that? What's the worst thing that could happen if they didn't like you? How would you handle that? How important is it that people like you in this situation? This is not constructive worrying.

Constructive worrying is only when it is within our control and empowers us to act. For instance, "I worry that I won't have enough money to pay for the rent.." This is within your control. You can do without something else to pay the rent. Or you can arrange with the landlord to pay half now and half later. Or you can move to something cheaper. While you may not like those choices, you at least have choices.

On the other hand, if you are worried that your landlord won't like you, no matter when you pay, there is really no way to change someone else's preferences. Can you see the difference? 

What are the "what if's" that hold you back from being your best, realistic self?

>What if I'm not good enough?
>What if I'm not ready?
>What if I am not attractive?
>What if I don't know what to say/do?

Can you turn those worries into more useful concerns? Can you just wonder instead of worry? "I wonder if I'm good enough?" Then explore what is needed for you to be good enough and realistically examine what you can do to be "good enough."


Sunday, August 25, 2019

The Price of Nice

Did you grow up being told you must be nice. Was it ingrained into your behavior to be nice to everyone all the time? 

For many this is the case, even to the point of developing the "disease to please."  People- pleasing becomes a way of life. You feel compelled to put others' needs first, over any of your own needs.

Are you the person who can never say "no" to any request? Do you try endlessly to have everyone's' approval? Do you always want to make everyone else happy?

At some point the price of being nice is too high. People may manipulate or exploit your willingness to please. You avoid conflict or confrontation or the anger of others. Relationships become a burden and your own emotional needs don't get met. This can be deadly to relationships.

Your deep fear of negative emotions sustain your need to be nice. The more you identify with being nice without being real, you become filled with nagging doubts, insecurities, and lingering fears. Anxiety becomes a constant for you. 

Unless you do something to stop this cycle of pleasing others at the cost of yourself, you will eventually "hit the proverbial wall." You will exhaust your emotional energy and may feel like giving up altogether.

The content of this post comes from a book called The Disease to Please, Curing the People-Pleasing Syndrome, by Harriet B. Braiker, Ph.D

You may be spending your energy "shoulding" on yourself, living by what you have absorbed that you "should" do. You may think you must always be nice and always put others before you.

If this is the case, I recommend you check Braiker's book noted above. You'll find the 21-day action plan for curing the disease to please.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

World Weary? You Are Not Alone.

All around us are images of needs, of suffering, of people shouting hate. It is on our televisions, our radios, or internet. Many of us are overwhelmed by it all and we become burned out, numb. We are experiencing something called "compassion fatigue". 

Absorbing all this info about suffering and feeling compassion for those who are suffering can be quite overwhelming. And they are replayed over and over. How many times did you watch an airplane crash into the tower of the World Trade Center?

We are deluged with images of tragedy and suffering from all over the world. Mass tragedies presented with sights and sounds , repeated over and over. Images of war, of catastrophes, natural disasters, mass shootings. And the constant barrage of hate-speech growing louder and louder adds to the emotional impact of so much pain and suffering we are exposed to. We often develop psychic numbing that allows us to  no longer feel compassion.

When we feel too much, we shut down and don't' feel anything. Then we do nothing in response to the suffering. We feel powerless over the situations that we witness. Often we just turn our backs to the world, become callous.

The remedy begins with accepting that we can't change the world, you can only change one person's world by doing what you can for that one person or one event. Letting go of that need to fix everything is the beginning. Sounds simple, but it is very difficult for those who want (must?) to change everything or everyone. Letting go and accepting that, on your own, you can't is the hard part

Practice doing something, some simple small thing, to address a situation that breaks your heart, something that makes your heart ache. Practice what you care about. 

Do little things for the people and causes around that may seem insignificant. If we each do a lot of the small things, they add up to big things. Enlist the help of others to do small things with you. People are better together, stronger.

Sometimes it takes only being present for someone who is suffering. Let them know that you care about them and you are there for them. You may want to end hunger, so volunteer to work at a food pantry or soup kitchen. Your being there is felt by those who come for food.

Or perhaps there is a cause you feel strongly about but know you can't do on your own. One of my caring projects is to do for the needy American Indians on reservations. In the fall I ask my friends to donate money so I can have back packs and school supplies for the neediest children on a reservation in South Dakota. With the help of friends I'm able to order back packs with school supplies from a wholesale company and have them delivered  directly to a person on the rez. They are always very grateful. In the winter I do the same to send items needed by the most needy elderly there. Together we are stronger.

Empathy in action is saying something; it's being there for someone; it's tangible expressions of love; it's committed for however long help is needed.

Silence in the face of suffering, however is deadly.

[Much of the content of this particular post is from the book Finding the Lost Art of Empathy by Tracy Wild.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Love the Haters

You can't destroy hate with hate. Only love will break through the hate. But how to love hateful people? When there is hate coming at you from all direction, how do you keep love alive?

That is a current issue that isn't easy to resolve. Keeping love alive is a full time task. We have to make "love" an active verb. Do love. Be kind. Be what you want to see in others.

Don't feed hate by thinking about it all the time. It is easy to close ourselves off in the face of hate, it is our own defense mechanism. But we need to set realistic boundaries and be open to caring about others, even the haters. Love the person and reject the hate.

Compassion for haters is sometimes very difficult. They say and do things that hurt us or others. And it would seem to be logical to cut ourselves off from them. And in some circumstances that is good protection. But while we reject the hateful words or deeds, we need to work hard to not reject the hater, the person acting out their hatred.

Care about them. See the fear that fuels their hatred. See how they refuse to see any other perspective and, therefore, are unable to behave differently. Use patient perseverance to use calming responses without fueling their fear. But you don't have to accept their hurtful behavior. And you don't have to accept their hate.

Listen to what they say. Try to see it from their perspective. Address their fear, not their hate. Are they afraid they will lose something? Are they afraid of change? Do they feel threatened by your perspective?

Hate is usually a result of fear or pain. Try to see that in their belief, their hatred. You don't have to argue, simply state the relevant facts and notice how they deflect and refuse to even look at your perspective. This will tell you that changing them is probably not possible.

Not easy, is it? But only love will overcome hate. And you don't have to continue to engage with them to love them. Be steadfast in your love of others and trust the universe to dissipate their hate. Encourage others to love their neighbors, until there is more love n the universe than there is hate. 

Sunday, August 4, 2019

What's Your Name?

What's in a name? Our name is a big part of our identity. And the way you feel about your name is important, as well. For instance, were you named for someone? Are you proud to be associated with that someone? Or do you really dislike that person and therefor dislike your name?

Parents often take time and thought before naming their child. Should we name the child after someone in our family, someone in our ancestry, or someone we admire? Or should we find an unusual name, or a popular name? Or do we wait until it is born and name it for whom they look like? 

Do we choose a name that would sound like someone successful with the hope that the child will be successful? Do you think about if the name sounds masculine or feminine? Do we wonder if the name would sound like a president or other important person?

Should we give much thought to what nickname their name might inspire? Do we want them to have a powerful sounding name, like "Thomas"? Or worry that calling him "Tommy" would weaken his name? What about girls names? You want a "Wanda" or a "Winter"?

Or how about name that could be either gender, like "Ryan" or "Robin"?
You see, there is a lot in the name you are given. But there are also names we choose to go by. Maybe you like your middle name better. Or you just choose a name other than your birth name. Maybe you have a nickname that you prefer people use for you because it has an image you prefer.

Your name is probably the first thing people want to know about you. It often shapes how you are thought of. 

I was named for my maternal grandmother, "Lucinda". My mother called me "Cinda" and I soon became known as "Cindy". I was "Cindy" for three decades, through childhood, teens, and young adult. After my divorce I went to college and chose to go back to my birth name, "Lucinda". And have been known by that name since then. There are still a few people from my past who call me "Cindy", but I don't embrace that. I wanted to be known as grown and a responsible woman. 
I adored my maternal grandmother, so embracing her name was easy for me. How about you? What's your name and how do you feel about it?

Sunday, July 28, 2019

In A Quandary?

Many of us are these days. What is a  "quandary" anyway? The dictionary says, "Quandary - a state of perplexity or uncertainty, especially as to what to do, dilemma."

Being uncertain as to what to do about something is an uncomfortable place to be. It keeps many people off balance, anxious, fearful. The more threatening the situation, the more uncomfortable or fearful we become.

That seems to be the climate these days. Anxiety is everywhere and people are unable to feel at peace. This is a very stressful state of being. So what can we do about it?.

It is important to be able to recognize what we can or can't change. We often feel we are helpless to change anything about the situation. But is that reality? You have the power to do what you can, no matter how small, and to accept what you can't change. That means, if you do everything you can to change the situation, you can change how you think and feel about the situation.

The Alcoholics Anonymous prayer is, "Help me change what I can and accept what I can't change. And give me the wisdom to know the difference." I think that last part is the most important. We often feel that if we can't make a big change in the situation we aren't changing it at all. We fail to see that there are small but important ways to approach the situation the can create change.

For instance, if your boss is a hot-head who yells at you, you may not be able to please him to change his behavior. But you can react to it differently. Your reaction can possibly change how he reacts. When you get angry or defensive, it feeds his anger. And it become a totally reactionary interchange.

But if you thank him for pointing out how you can do better, he might be less likely to escalate. People react to other's behavior. And how they react affects the the other's reaction. When you feed the anger, it grows stronger. Interrupting it can sometimes stop it in it's tracks!

And if you can't get a better reaction from him, you can always quit! I know that sounds extreme, but how much does the boss' behavior upset you? Can you let it go, or do you carry it around with you.

So one thing you can do is work on letting go of the fear or anger it triggers in you. We can change how WE feel, even if we can't change what he feels. Leave that job or stay is your choice. And each choice has a consequence. So figure out how much you are willing to accept.

If the boss' behavior interferes with the production of the organization, you may need to go to your boss' boss or a union representative to get help with the problem. But your expectations about the resolution may not be what results. So be ready to decide how much it is worth to you to stay if the behavior doesn't change.

There are many dilemmas we face. Not all of them related to our jobs. The same thing applies to personal, employment, and political situations. You have power. And every choice has consequences. When you choose a choice you also choose the consequences, whatever they are.

Identify your personal power and never feel powerless.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Why Forgive?

A dictionary definition: "Forgive" - to cease to feel resentment against (an offender) 
forgive one's enemies.
The Nature of Forgiveness
Most psychologists recommend mustering up genuine compassion for those who have wronged us and moving on from the past, instead of allowing bitterness and anger to perturb our emotional well-being.
It is critical to remember that forgiveness doesn’t automatically mean a reconciliation. We don’t have to return to the same relationship or accept the same harmful behaviors from someone who has hurt us.
Although burying the hatchet usually brings peace to the soul, there may be some exceptions to that advice, such as a case of sexual abuse. Sometimes a victim becomes more empowered when they give themselves permission not to forgive.
Equally, and perhaps more important, is learning to acknowledge your missteps and forgive yourself. Self-forgiveness is often the first step toward a more loving and positive relationship with yourself, and therefore with others.(Psychology Today-
Bitterness and anger eat at our souls, disturbing any inner peace. What does it cost to stay angry and bitter? It turns us into negative people whose negative thinking eventually colors everything in our lives. You probably people like that.  They are not mentally healthy individuals.

Some won't forgive because they think that it means they most return to the same relationship or accept the same hurtful behaviors from some one who did the hurting. That is so wrong. It is poor self-care to allow someone to continue treating you badly. Do not accept that behavior from others, or even from yourself. Letting go of bitterness or anger is freeing yourself from that negative attachment.

Self forgiveness may be the hardest part, if you have been blaming yourself for other people's behavior. When you can let go of that self-blame you can be more yourself. You can find inner peace from forgiving.

Let it go. Let go of the anger and free yourself to be the best you possible.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Stay Calm in the Chaos

Image by Karin Henseler from Pixabay 

Chaos may be out of your control. And it is definitely stressful if you get caught up in it. That stress can cause many health problems and take energy that would be better spent on something else. 

So we need to practice calm in the midst of it. It is important to stay grounded so you don't get carried away. What works for you to help you be calm?

For many people, just being in natures is grounding. A walk or a park bench near trees and water can help you get centered and grounded, letting the chaos flow past you. 

Or for you it might be meditation or prayer that grounds you and helps you let go of the chaos for a few minutes. Spending time practicing gratitude can be really healing. Giving thanks for what you have is grounding.

Or, if you are a runner, running for that runner's high can restore your balance. Shutting your mind off of the chaos and letting yourself be with the flow can be restorative.

Taking five minutes out of your day to get centered and restored will increase your productivity. I remember when I was working that I'd take five minutes in my office with the lights off and my chair tilted back was an important part of my day, even if I had to do it on my lunch break. Since I don't smoke I counted it as my smoke break!

There was even a time when I had an office with window walls I'd shut myself in the restroom for a few minutes just to lower the stress of the environment.

There are lots of ways you can remain calm in the chaos. Even Taylor Swift values calming down!

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Where Is Your Chaos?

The dictionary defines chaos as complete disorder and confusion. I described my last week as chaos. But by definition is wasn't. I guess it just felt that way. The disorder and confusion weren't total. There were lots of scheduled things that were changed and the schedule sometimes seemed confusing. But we were able to flex our time to match the new schedule.

It was a week of family visits and holiday activities. We didn't have our own schedule but went with the family flow. I guess the lack of control of the schedule must have felt like chaos. But that was fine for that week.

I look at my desk and it looks like chaos. Yet I kind of know where everything is, at least at the moment. There are times, however, when I lose minutes looking for something because I've just let the paper pile up.

Sometimes my brain is in chaos, especially when I'm trying to go to sleep. Thoughts and  memories keep intruding on one another. Often it keeps me from going to sleep. I think it is fascinating how our brains work. After 77 years, there are lots of memories, some whole and some in pieces, in there. And sometimes they intrude when I'm trying to clear my mind for sleep. How does my brain decide what to bring to the surface?

I have a craft room that is pretty chaotic at the moment. I was laid up with sciatica for a couple of months and couldn't go to the basement to work any crafts in it. Stuff got piled on all the surfaces and even piled on the floor. I keep putting off going to clear it off. But I'll have to do it soon, because I can't do any crafting until I do.

So where is your chaos? There were days when I was working that seemed chaotic.
That is probably because I wasn't in control of how everything was done and often not informed of the changing rules or policies. That was plenty stressful. What I like most about retirement is that I mostly control what I do and when. 

How about you? How do you handle chaos? Can you find calm in the middle of it? How does it affect you? Share your ideas.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Teaching Empathy

Empathy Can Be Learned

Empathy is a vital communication skill that can be taught. Children learn it most easily. But adults can learn it, too.

Wiki How has tips for adults to learn to be more empathetic. [] "Empathy is one of the most important social skills you can have. Understanding and showing concern for others helps to build bridges, resolve conflicts, and deepen your interpersonal relationships."

 Klare Heston, LICSW, Clinical Social Worker:Empathy is partly an inborn trait, but you can also teach or learn it. According to Klare Heston, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, “Empathy can be taught, but it might be slow going if it does not come naturally. Keeping a log or journal can be a useful aid, as can working with a friend who is aware of the changes you are trying to make.”
Check it out. You may be called upon to teach empathy in employee training or workshops or in your family. Simple exercises like role playing to practice listening, making connections, paraphrasing for understanding, reading non-verbal cues, loving kindness meditation, imagining what others are thinking or feeling, look for commonalities, use mindfulness during daily activities, read fiction to relate to others experience, volunteer to interact with different kinds of people, give people your full attention - put down your cell phone, share your emotions with others - use feeling words, respond to others appropriately, lend a helping hand to someone who needs empathy.

Read the wikihow article for details. Practice and watch how your interactions with others will be affected. You can change relationships with empathy. []  

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Can You Behave What You Don't Feel?

Some people say they just don't feel kindly, so being unkind is just their nature. Uh, no. Just as it is possible for us to feel angry without acting it out, so is it possible for us to behave with kindness.

It takes practice. When you slow down enough to recognize other's feelings and needs, you can begin to develop empathy. Then kindness follows naturally. But, even without feelings of empathy, we can do kind things. The more kindness we practice the more we develop our empathy. That makes kindness more than a feeling. It becomes a behavior.

Which comes first, feeling or behavior? That is our personal choice. We can choose not to do kind things, even when we have empathy for a person. The reverse is also true - we can choose to develop empathy for others while we do kindnesses.

Encourage those feelings of empathy rather than run away from them. You feel bad for the fellow asking for handouts, but you turn away. Instead, look him in the eye, give him a friendly greeting, even if you have nothing else for him. "Have a good day." Or, better yet, strike up a conversation about how he got into the situation he is in. Take him to lunch instead of handing him money.

I remember when I was working in one part of town there was an old man asking for help on the same corner every day. So I started packing a lunch for him. I couldn't spend time with him, but I could feed him one meal that day.

This week, pay attention to how many people you see that you don't know - and greet them with a smile. That's all. Acknowledge they have been seen and given the gift of friendliness. Try it. It is free of charge. It is interesting how many people are uncomfortable being greeted by you, a stranger. That is because there is so much unkindness out there. We can change that. Being kind to that stranger can start them feeling kind to others.

Pass it on.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Where to Be Kind

Image by TeroVesalainen from Pixabay 

So, you want more kindness in the world? Then you just need to practice more kindness. 
Because kindness begets kindness. And if there is a place that you think lack kindness,
that is where to begin.

Obviously you want to be kind to your family and friends. That's easy. But where kindness
is most needed is outside our comfort zone. Be kind to people who are not like you - don't look 
like you, or talk like you, or think like you, or believe like you. Be kind to people who are less
financially secure than you. Be kind to people who make lots more money than you.

Everyone deserves and appreciates kindness, even those who don't act like they do. You don't
know what is going on in other people's lives. Don't assume anything about someone you don't 

So, what exactly is a kindness? Pretty basic, really. Look people in the eye and give a friendly 
smile or greeting. Make small talk. Acknowledge they are there! For many are overlooked 
or taken for granted or just get ignored. Speaking to someone in a friendly manner is a 
kindness anyone can give.

Give up your place in line to someone who seems in a hurry. Help someone do something.
Give up your seat to someone who would need it more than you, an elder, a pregnant
woman, a parent carrying a child. In a store help someone reach something on a high
shelf. Help someone in handicapped parking unload their grocery cart and take it back to
Let a car in front of you in traffic. Be generous.

Kindness is contageous. Keep the kindness going. Spread it around.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

How to Create More Kindness

Image by John Hain from Pixabay 

I think we can agree that the world today needs more kindness. The environment in our country is rather unkind, more than ever in the past. There are daily diatribes about something in the media and in conversations. More murders, school shootings, violence against religions, racism, etc. It pervades the news and social media.

How can we create more kindness? Humans tend to reflect what they see in others. So hate and fear spread very quickly. However. kindness is contagious, too. When we create kindness, others who see it feel more kind. It can spread as well. We need to evidence kindness in more ways and more places to spread it outward.

The critical ingredient in kindness is empathy. "Empathy's most important role . . . is to inspire kindness: our tendency to help each other, even at a cost to ourselves." [The War for Kindness, Building Empaty in a Fractured world" by Jamil Zaki, pg 4]

Empathy involves sharing, caring about, and thinking about the experience of others. In our hurry up and fast track lives we often fail to take the extra few seconds to interact with anyone on this level. We miss the richness of empathy in our lives because we tend to isolate ourselves from others at an emotional level. We have become too busy to care or even think about others. We lose so much by this.

With whom do you have empathy? How limited is the circle of contacts in your life with whom you share at a level of empathy?

Are you kind? How kind are you? How kind might you be today? Tomorrow? Let's start a kindness epidemic!

Sunday, June 2, 2019

How You Can Make This a Better World

In a better world we can discuss different opinions without anger and violence. We can care about others with actions and words that promote peace. In a better world we can work together to solve problems and not be divided by the need to overpower others. In a better world we can celebrate differences rather than fear them.

How to make that happen? Simple, but not neccisarally easy. Be the change. Begin with yourself and your family. Develop empathy for others. Learn to see things from different perspectives to understand where others are coming from. Develop listening skills without judgement. Be grateful for what you have and comfidently share with others from your resources.

Teach your children and friends by example. Make the world better, one person at a time. Each person teach another, until major changes can be seen.

Make the world a better place by becoming a better person. And pass it on.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Remember This Memorial Day

Let us remember. Let us work to end warring and the sacrifices it requires. We must use the words and actions of diplomacy to work out our disagreements. War is not the answer.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

What Do You Hope For?

"HOPE can be defined as the desire for something combined with an anticipation of it happening. In short, hope is the anticipation of something" Psychology Today

It is far too easy to give up hoping for better things. People today are pummelled with bad news and negativity until hope seems like it isn't worth the effort.

But, really, what do you hope for? Hope implies some anticipation, however limited, of it manifesting in our lives, All too often our fear of being disappointed keeps us from even hoping.

We may dream, without any anticipation. Therefore we have no hope. However, without hope we are unlikely to do anything that might move us toward manifesting our dreams. 

Hope is SO important for us to move forward. Giving up hope is surrender. Now is not the time to surrender. We must look at what we hope for with the eyse of one who can see the first step we must take. Open your eyes and ask what one thing you might do to make something begin to happen that you hope for. 

Maybe it is simply the step of acknowleging that you want it. Maybe it is taking time to make a plan, step-by-step. Maybe it is asking someone to help.

What ever that first step is, you are worth the effort to hope.