Archive for October, 2010

October 25, 2010

Mastering our thoughts

by Dandy

Do you ever have moments where you think everything is out of control? That there’s chaos and turmoil whirling about you? Moments where you are short-tempered and sarcastic to your loved ones? I certainly do. Sometimes I huff and puff, and stomp around the house with an ugly scowl on my face. I say things I later regret. I feel the physical symptoms in my body. My face is hot and flushed, my heart races, my mouth goes dry, and my head starts to pound. I feel that loss of control and it distresses me even more, because I’m letting it happen. Then I feel shame for loosing control over myself. Shame for showing my partner my ugly behavior.

I like to think of myself as an advanced human being. I contemplate, I read voraciously, I study. I constantly seek to better myself. But in those moments of anger and distress I blame others. In those moments I feel I am a victim of my environment. Something made me feel that way. In those moments it’s like being in a black hole.
Our thoughts exist to create situations, events, and circumstances to reflect back to us what we really believe. Our thoughts help to create our experiences. What we experience is from what we believe, or think about. To change our experiences we have to change our thoughts.

We attract experiences to us that match our energy pattern – the energy created by our thoughts. Having a positive attitude comes from the way we think.  Positive thoughts literally puts us in touch with positive experiences.

 

If I believe that life is hard and unfair, then it will be so.  If I believe there is chaos in my house and life, then there will be.  If I believe I have no control over myself, then I won’t.  If I believe anxiety leads me, then it will.  Realizing that my thoughts and beliefs determine my experiences, will stop me in my tracks in those distressing moments.

 I believe the next distressing moment I have I will be able to keep my energy positive.  I believe I will be able to gain my composure and not make sarcastic comments.  The next distressing moment I have I will experience positive thoughts.  So bring it on life!

“The life of inner peace, being harmonious and without stress, is the easiest type of existence.”  Norman Vincent Peale

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October 18, 2010

Are you being sabotaged?

by Dandy

In my post Self-sabotage, I wrote about the little and big things we do to sabotage our best efforts.  The negative self-talk, the excuses, the self-doubt all besiege our interests in bettering our lives.  We often work against ourselves and don’t realize it.  I received many thoughtful replies to that post and while writing it I realized that sometimes it’s not just ourselves that sabotage.  Sometimes it’s others.  It can even come from people who love and care about us.

It may or may not be intentional, but our friends and family might be disrupting our attempts to better ourselves.  Common tactics are complaining, temptation, and passing judgement.  For example, if you are wanting to get fit, they may complain that the gym  is taking up too much of your time.  Or you may be trying to get ahead at work and taking college classes for advancement, your friends may tempt you by asking you to go out with them instead of going to class.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that your loved ones may not realize their comments and behaviors are upsetting to you.  Also they may have insecurities about their own life issues and they don’t like the pressure this puts on them to take a closer look at those issues. There is also the possibility that they fear they’ll be left behind while you are making these positive changes.  They may feel the relationship is threatened.

They may also fail to understand why these changes you are making are so important to you.  It is to your benefit and theirs if you explain that you fear for your health, which is why you’re hitting the gym.  You can explain that you are unhappy with the lack of responsibility and low wages at your job, hence the dedication to achieving more education.  Your loved ones may not appreciate your reasons if they are unable to relate.

Their negative behaviors can certainly hurt and cause you distress especially if you are stumbling down the road to self-improvement.  Of course you cannot control the behaviors of others, but you can control your own.  So how do you neutralize this sabotage?

It’s important to be honest with your loved ones.  Tell them why you are unhappy with your life and how much it means to you to try to do something about it.  Ask them for their help.  If you involve them in this mission for self-improvement they will be more apt to see your point of view.  If you have support you are more likely than not to succeed.  Ask your friends to exercise with you.  Ask them to take a brisk walk with you while you catch up on the latest.  Then reward yourselves by resting at the local coffee shop over skinny lattes.  Ask a loved one to help you study, or ask if it would be ok to call them the night before a big exam to receive a dose of “you can do it” for your shaky nerves.

If your on the tail end of their passing judgement, tell yourself it’s not about you.  That it is a mere reflection of their own personal issues.  Your life is your own.  They can’t live it for you.

It’s also good to be prepared ahead of time if you know you’ll meet up with those that have trouble with you life changes.  For the person who isn’t comfortable with your health efforts by offering you a huge slab of cake, tell them, “it looks delicious and you might have some later.”  But for anyone who keeps persisting with temptations simply say, “I’m trying to make a positive change for myself and I would love and appreciate your support.”

Our journeys are our own responsibilities and you are accountable for your choices.  For those who really do want what’s best for you, their actions will speak louder than words, by helping you achieve your dreams and goals.  Only you can decide what is best for you.   The reigns are all yours!

October 12, 2010

How rude!!!

by Dandy

 No matter who you are or where you live we all have one thing in common…at one point or another we encounter impolite, rude, tactless, uncouth people.  There are varying degrees of rudeness.  Some can be easily overlooked and forgotten, and sometimes the offense is startling and cruel.

It’s not easy to deal with rudeness especially if this is a person you encounter everyday, such as a co-worker, neighbor, or relative.  However, there are strategies you can take that make dealing with such people easier for you.

The most important thing for you to do is to never, ever react with rudeness in return.  Forget it.  You may want to reply with a witty, sharp comment, but this doesn’t resolve the problem.  It only encourages the banter of tactlessness (I think that’s a word).  It also reflects poorly on you.

You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar.  Make it difficult for them to be rude to you by being sweet as maple syrup.  Kill the rudeness with kindness.  It’s not fun being rude to a person who is really nice and polite.

Try to look past the outward behavior.  Remember there is a reason for everything.  I was once at a second-hand clothing store, standing in a long check out line.  The cashier was frenzied and fumbling in her stress.  She was curt and short to every person who checked out their items ahead of me.  When it was my turn to check out I smiled at the cashier, made eye contact, said a bright,” hello”.  Then I complimented her on her pretty accent.  She told me where she was from and it was a place I’ve always wanted to travel to.  By this brief chit-chat her entire countenance changed.  She even laughed!  As I left, she cheerfully told me to have a great day.  I’ve been back to this store a few more times and she always remembers me, and greets me with a smile.  I’d like to give the credit to my charm, but really it was just genuine kindness.  I gave the poor, frenzied cashier some slack.  We all need a break now and then.  Treat people like a friend.  Talk politely.  Smile. Watch them change.

Another thing to know when it comes to dealing with rude people is to be honest.  If this rudeness is a reoccurring thing, tell them their behavior and/or comments are not appreciated and they shouldn’t expect you to accept it any longer.  In many cases, the rude person doesn’t know their actions hurt others.  But bringing it to their attention will cause them to take a look at their behavior.  Stand up for yourself, but do so in a positive manner.

Assess the behavior.  Sometimes a person just doesn’t have social graces or may have some mild social anxiety.  This is very different from a blatantly rude individual whose comments are said with purposeful intention.  Assertive communication is needed for hurtful, cutting comments not someone who is socially awkward.

Remain detached.  If you are not only dealing with a rude individual, but a profoundly negative one, smile and don’t say anything.  Don’t get involved.  This type of person is seeking a reaction, a negative one.  It’s what they feed on.  Try observing and then tell yourself, “what a shame this person is so negative.  This unhappiness has nothing to do with me.”

If nothing else say goodbye.  If ignoring, confronting, detaching doesn’t work, it may be in your best interest to move on.  This can be particularly difficult if the person who is making the rude comments is a close friend.  For example, if  a friend is persistently making disparaging comments about your weight, or relationship, or parenting style and it is tearing you up, then it may be time to move on and away from this person.  Wish them well and say goodbye.

It’s hard not to take rude comments personally.  We do not have to respond to every thoughtless comment.  You won’t be any less of a person if you choose to walk away from the rude person.

“Whenever anyone has offended me, I try to raise my soul so high that the offense cannot reach it”.  Rene Descartes

October 8, 2010

Harassment & Bullying

by Dandy

I have been very much disturbed lately over the suicide of Rutger’s University student, Tyler Clementi.  He was only 18 years old.  I can’t stop thinking about him and his family.  I can’t stop thinking about the pain he must have endured the days before his death.  He must have been in a terribly dark place.  Tyler’s roommates used a webcam to record an intimate moment between him and another man.  It was a horrific invasion of privacy.  He was the victim of two sick and twisted individuals.

In this post, I want to explain the difference between harassment and bullying, and what to do about it if it is happening to you, or if you see that someone is a victim.

Bullying is typically emotional or psychological.  It involves written and verbal communication.  Harassment has physical components such as unwanted touching, invading personal space, and damaging possessions.  Both are possible to stop, whether it be in the work place, school, or home.  Bullies typically target people they perceive as better than them, such as popular, or successful people.  People who harass others however, usually single out people they feel are different from them.  These differences can be racial, gender, cultural, disability, and other differences.

Harassment is easier to prove, because it only takes one instance to identify it.  Harassment is usually bold and in your face so to speak.  Discrimination falls into this category.  Bullying is more subtle and insidious.  Which makes it harder to stop and prove.  Bullying typically happens in private, whereas harassment is usually boldly done to boost the image of the harasser, and to show their peers they are better.

These differences are important to identify because different procedures and strategy need to be taken.  However, in both cases the behavior MUST be reported.  This goes for children too.  Children need to be told by their teachers, parents, clergy that they need to tell if they see another child being bullied.  Just imagine if several children reported the same bully to their teacher or principle, the school would then be pressured to do something about it, and the victim would no longer be a victim. 

If you are being harassed, keep a record of every act.  Record dates, times, locations, witnesses.  Keep every piece of evidence such as emails and phone records.  If suitable, address your concerns with the harasser, tell them to stop.  Report the behavior to your boss, or human resources if it is happening at work.  Contact local law enforcement if necessary.

If you see someone being harassed or bullied, tell the victimizer to stop, but only if you feel safe doing so.  Talk with the victim.  Rally up your peers and friends to stand with the victim.  Usually people are singled out for being socially isolated.  If they aren’t isolated anymore that is a turn off for the bully. 

Now after the suicide of Tyler Clementi there is outrage and remorse.  There needs to be outrage while people are being bullied and harassed.  No one should have to die for people to see what a devastating problem this is.  I wish Tyler would have immediately been surrounded by people who would support him and let him know that what happened to him wasn’t his fault. 

In the end we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.  Martin Luther King, Jr.

October 6, 2010

Self-Sabotage

by Dandy

Do you find yourself being sabotaged?  Are you doing it to yourself and don’t know why?  Self-sabotage comes from fear and doubt.  We can be on the right path for a long while then distrust in ourselves creeps in.  We lose track.  I have sabotaged myself in so many ways.  For instance I’ve had jobs in the past where things are going well – I’m getting praise and positive feedback.  Then I started showing up late for work and calling in sick frequently.  The result of course was being fired.  On one occasion I didn’t want the job, but didn’t have the maturity to find other work, then give notice of leave.  The other occasion the job was turning out so well that I was afraid people’s expectations would be more than I could handle.  Also I was earning a good wage and I felt unworthy of it.  So again my old routine of going to work late, calling in sick, and just not showing up.  I was let go of my position, rightfully.  I did it to myself.  No one was to blame but me.

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October 1, 2010

The fear of starting something new

by Dandy

Since I just started this blog, I felt that a very appropriate post would be getting past fear.  Focusing on starting new things.  It’s exactly what I’m going through right now.  So many ‘what ifs’ are invading my thoughts…what if I offend someone, what if no one likes my blog, what if I can’t find the time to post regularly, what if I regret writing a blog in the first place.  Oh, it goes on and on.

I always thought of fear as something I need to make go away in order to conquer it.  But that is a false assumption.  The truth is I need to do something with the fear I have.  Give it a job so to speak.  First, I wrote down precisely what I was afraid of concerning starting a blog.  I was afraid no one would find it in the huge universe of blogs.  I was afraid I wouldn’t have the time I would need to dedicate to it.  I was worried I’d get writers block.  Writing down all my fears gave me clarity.  It broke it down into smaller, less fearsome pieces.

Secondly, I shifted my focus.  If I was to worry about my blog not being found, or fearful that no one would like me then my focus would only be on that.  I would fixate on that instead of the blog itself.  So I asked myself what I wanted to achieve.  I summoned up a vision of a blog that was well written and appreciated by those who chose to read it.  I pictured myself enjoying the camaraderie it would bring me. 

Finally I took action.  I sought answers to my questions.  I laid my fears out on the table.  I talked about my desire to write a blog with my loved ones and told them of the time I would need.  I wanted to get out all my fears, so that I wouldn’t carry it with me.  I counteracted my fears with action, and really I can’t imagine a situation worsening by opening up.  I believe that if one is honest about their feelings there will be reward somewhere.

Fear will never go away.  It is in our biology, but it can be dispersed.  What new thing have you been wanting to try?  What specifically of that are you afraid of?  Envision yourself successfull…what does it look like?  Is it worth it?

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