Master the day. Enjoying our lives one day at a time, being grateful for the beautiful moments, bounty, and grace in our lives.

Enjoying our lives one day at a time, being grateful for the beautiful moments, bounty and grace in our lives. Master the day.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality in the mind next to honor. Aristotle

When we are getting close to putting our work out there we start to second guess ourselves the most. What will people think, did we say too much, or did we say too little? Is it full of mistakes we are too blind to see; are we too close to our own work to recognize them?

When an author publishes their tenth book will they still be asking themselves is it good enough? If they are picked up by a big publisher do their doubts go away or increase?

If we have something to say we need to say it as honestly as we can and then we have to let it go. Once it leaves our hands it takes on a life of its own. Most books are not widely read but every one of them is an accomplishment. They are a testament to someone’s determination, dedication, fortitude, and vision.

It is a privilege to get up in the morning come down to the den and write something that someone else takes time out of their day to read. Technology is allowing us to connect with people it would have been very hard to connect with just a few short years ago. How hard was it to connect with people 100 years ago, but it was easier than 100 years before that.

Now we press publish and the whole world can view our work. In a way, this might make some people feel worse when the whole world can view it but only ten people do. If we touch someone with our words or anything we do we should be grateful. When we impact someone, then they can impact someone, who impacts someone and a ripple can go around the world. Is it important that we get credit, or is it important that we do something?

Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength. Corrie Boom

Families are where we have the most impact. Families are what deserve most of our energy; families are the building blocks of society. No matter what else we do the family is our biggest legacy. Every one of us has come from a line that has endured throughout the centuries.

It is our biggest accomplishment just to be here, the chances of being born were infinitesimal, but here we are. We won the lottery of life. If we aren’t enjoying every moment of our life why aren’t we? What would make our lives better? I can think of a few things and most of those things have to do with actions I can take, habits I can create, goals I can set, and changes I can make.

The sun rises every morning and sets every night for all of us. We have a small allotment of time to live and make happen whatever we are going to make happen in our lives. If we aren’t happy with whom we are what needs to change? We will never be anyone else in this lifetime so wishing we were taller, prettier, could jump higher, run faster, or conjugate our verbs better isn’t productive. We are who we are and we can do what we can do. If we do what we can do as good as we can do it and enjoy each day as much as we can, isn’t that a great life?

If we can turn a tap on and water comes out we are blessed. If we can read, write, talk, sing, and give thanks for all the beauty and bounty in our lives we are blessed. Even if we can’t we should look at people like Helen Keller. Some of the most inspirational people have overcome things we would not want to face. Yet they inspire us with their courage, tenacity, and honesty.

If we can’t find something to be grateful for we probably aren’t looking hard enough. Life is beautiful, glorious, and abundant. Can we do some small thing to encourage someone today, be an example to someone today, and uplift someone today?

What you are looking for is not out there. It is in you. Unknown

Don’t be pushed around by the fears in your mind. Be led by the dreams in your heart. Roy T. Bennet

You’re not going to master the rest of your life in one day. Just relax. Master the day. Then just keep doing that every day. Unknown

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Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones Hardcover – Oct. 16 2018

by James Clear (Author)4.7 out of 5 stars 4,779 ratingsAmazon Charts #2 

Doing our best in times of trial and adversity. How can this make us better not bitter?

How can this make us better not bitter? Doing our best in times of trial and adversity.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

A problem is a chance for you to do your best. Duke Ellington

Yesterday I started making face masks. I started with scraps of material I had from shortening long pants, the top of a sundress, and a skirt that was altered. I’ve always hesitated to cut into the fabric. This is why I made my first masks out of scraps and they turned out okay. Two black, 4 gray, and one coral and black print (the one I like the least).

It’s been a long time since the sewing machine has been taken out. I bought it before I got married and sewed two of my bridesmaid’s dresses on it and Mom sewed the other two. When we got together before the wedding we finished and hemmed them. It was a fun collaborative and creative process.

We often forget how much we enjoy doing something creative. Something as simple as face masks gave me a feeling of accomplishment. I’ve printed two patterns off the internet but I didn’t use either one. A woman on TV says she sews about 80 face masks per day. It might not be as much fun trying to sew that many.

Today I might make ones that can have a coffee filter insert. In my meager supplies, I have some thin elastic but hair elastics, chord, and regular elastic bands all work to hold the masks in place. Since we can’t go running out to a sewing supply store we have to make do with what we have.

Mom said to me once when I was out for a visit. “Things were so meager when we were growing up in the Thirties, Mom and Daddy had to be resourceful.” Mom and Dad were resourceful; it was a way of life. It was how they were brought up. Most of us haven’t needed to be resourceful we just jumped in our car and went out to buy whatever it is we wanted or needed.

Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today. Thich Nhat Hanh

Pandemics, plagues, who are immune and who are susceptible to disease has shaped our world. Mistakes were made during the bubonic plague, cats were killed which made things worse since rats carried the fleas that infected people. We don’t know what we don’t know and when we know better we do better.

From what I’ve read worker’s wages have increased after many pandemics and plagues. It is during pandemics we realize who is important to make society work.

Society hasn’t quit working because of plagues and pandemics. We have learned things and implemented things to make society better. We see the cracks in our society during tough times. We have an opportunity to rise and it seems we do. We don’t think we can do things until we have to do them, and somehow we find the resources to deal with what is. We are doing that now. We won’t do it perfectly. We will learn lessons and one of them is we are all in this together.

Wearing a mask in public may be a signal that you are looking after my health, and I am looking after yours. If we are moist speakers it very well may be true. It may be a bit like what I read about heaven and hell. In hell, there is lots of food but the spoon is too long to feed yourself. Heaven is exactly the same but in heaven, they feed each other and in hell, they refuse to, so everyone starves.

Are we doing the best we can and making the best of what is during this time of trial and adversity?

It is only in our darkest hours that we may discover the true strength of the brilliant light within ourselves that can never, ever be dimmed. Doe Zantamata

He knows not his strength who hath not met adversity. William Samuel Johnson

In times of great stress or adversity, it’s always best to keep busy, to plow your anger and your energy into something positive. Lee Iacocca

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The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

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The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference  Audible Audiobook – Unabridged

Malcolm Gladwell (Author, Narrator), Hachette Audio (Publisher)4.5 out of 5 stars 2,146 ratings#1 Best Seller in Demography


Belonging to a group, our family, community, and society at large. We are all part of the tapestry of life.

We are all part of the tapestry of life. Belonging to a group, our family, community, and society at large.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Belonging has always been a fundamental driver of humankind. Brian Chesky

If someone invites you to attend a Toastmasters contest do yourself a favor and go. The speeches are usually about real-life situations, some are about dealing with something that brings us to our knees. Last night was a Division contest with eight speakers and next Thursday will be another Division contest. My husband is not a Toastmaster but he came with me and enjoyed it.

One of the speeches was from a young woman who at twenty-one had a stroke and became legally blind and paralyzed on her left side. She worked hard at relearning to walk and continued her studies to become a teacher. The chaplain that came to see her asked her if she had the drive to thrive. She just wanted to be normal. He assured her normal was over-rated.  She harnessed the drive to thrive, she’s lived it and she’s written a book called My Unforeseen Journey Losing Sight Gaining Vision by Melanie Taddeo-Nxumalo.

I first met her at a Writer’s Group. She’s doing what we all should do, taking lemons and making lemonade. She’s the second legally blind woman I’ve met at Toastmasters. They are both striking in their courage.

All the speeches were fantastic but her story was the one about personal courage, fortitude, and overcoming challenges that resonated with me the most.

One of the things with Toastmasters is sometimes the only commonality we have with other members is our membership in Toastmasters and the desire to be better speakers. This brings people from all walks of life, backgrounds, ages, experiences, and stories together.

We can move to a new Toastmaster club wherever our lives take us. We can take a hiatus and come back. We can reconnect with people we met in Toastmasters throughout the years.

People have to see that there is a high degree of complexity about belonging to a gang. It’s a symptom, not a problem. Greg Boyle

Being a member of a group pays dividends in our lives. There are many groups to be part of and some people are members of many groups. We are told having a strong identification with a social group can help protect against mental illness.

Professor Fabio Sani and colleagues from the University of Dundee presented the results of studies at the Annual Conference of the British Psychological Society’s Division of Clinical Psychology in Glasgow in 2014.

The first study identifying the power of groups was conducted with 1814 adults who were assessed on their identification with family, local community, and a  social group chosen by the participant, as well as self-reported depression.

The second study involved 1111 Scottish high school students, assessed whether they identified with their family, friends, and school. Participants were asked to self-assess symptoms of psychological distress.

In the first study adults who did not identify with any group were found to be almost 20 times more likely to be depressed, and three times more likely to be prescribed antidepressants in the last six months.

In the second study, high school students who did not identify with any groups were found to be four times more likely to experience psychological distress than students who identified with their family, friends, and school.

Professor Fabio Sani says: “Group life may shield people from depression. However, this can only happen when one subjectively identifies with in-groups. In addition, the more groups we identify with, the better our mental health is likely to be.”

Being part of a group is good for our mental health. Is there a group we would like to join? Meeting new people, learning new things, growth and opportunity are waiting for us. Joining a group can open doors, and we can discover things about ourselves we don’t know. Would joining a group set us on the path of our next adventure?

I think there’s something about having a purpose in life and a sense of belonging that is more important than money for any human being. Ian Gillan

No matter how brilliant your mind or strategy, if you’re playing a solo game, you’ll always lose out to a team. Reid Hoffman

We are a social animal, power only exists in a social sense, we have to work in groups. Robert Greene

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My Unforeseen Journey: Losing Sight Gaining Vision Paperback – 2019

by Melanie Taddeo-Nxumalo (Author) 

 See all formats and editions


Being ourselves, being enough. Is humility nothing but truth, and pride nothing but lying?

Is humility nothing but truth, and pride nothing but lying? Being ourselves, being enough..

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

To share your weakness is to make yourself vulnerable; to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength. Criss Jami

Aristotle said virtues are skills we choose to acquire rather than characteristics we innately possess. We hear about the servant leader, could that be the same as confidently humble? Is arrogance the same as narcissism? Is being humble having self-esteem?

We were born narcissists in that everything was about us, who would feed us, who would take care of us when we cried? If our needs were met we were well cared for. Some people believe when we meet adults who are still looking to be the center of attention, to have everything focus on them that they didn’t outgrow the infant, toddler, and child stages.

They are exhibiting the dynamics of a small child. The dynamics are me and not me, me and other me’s, and me and you and I win. In these stages there is no insight, there is no relating to another person as an equal because we are not capable of putting ourselves in someone else’s shoes.

If people are stuck in an early stage of development we should have compassion for them even as they grate on our nerves, suck all the air out of the room, and only care about what they have, they know, they want, they can do, and they will accomplish. If we can’t learn to play and work well with others, be friends, be good romantic partners, and be good parents no matter how cocky or big the smile covering the hurt, underneath will be a hurting soul.  

Can we be the same with everyone we meet? Do we feel we are okay, and they are okay? We can be happy for their successes, we can commiserate with them in times of trouble, we can help when we can help, and we can stand with someone in their pain even when we can’t help.

How would we feel if our boss said, “No raises this year it’s been a really tight year.” Then he purchases a $250,000.00 car he invites us to admire. What if instead, he said, “I will cut my pay by ten percent until we get through this rough patch?” Who would we rather work for? Which business is likely to end up being more successful?

It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels. Augustine of Hippo

What is the difference between confidence and arrogance? What I am gleaning is arrogance is based on fear and our ego, whereas confidence is based on knowing. So when we are told to fake it until we make it where does that fit in? Arrogance is often seen in shy people. Confidence comes from knowledge, experience, and a desire to be of service. Arrogance is often being boastful to be seen as capable, competent, and worthy.

Arrogance is a cover-up, a defense mechanism, we use it to seem knowledgeable, or in some cases superior to another person. It is based on insecurity and fear of looking stupid, ignorant, or foolish. Often people who appear arrogant have been cruelly judged and put down earlier in their life.

Can we have compassion for people who need to inflate themselves? If we give them support will they develop competence and self-esteem? One of the problems is we get more of what we fear. We have an amazing capacity for projection, to see in someone else what we are in fact exhibiting ourselves. When we respond with judgment are we actually becoming arrogant ourselves? Is this the root cause of so much misunderstanding in the world? Are we accusing someone else of things we ourselves must work to overcome?

One of the worst things we can do is accuse someone of being arrogant, stubborn, impatient, greedy, or narcissistic. All it does is make them defensive, and defensiveness is one of the biggest problems in our relationships.

When other people’s behavior bothers us, do we need to take a good hard look at our own lives and see if some of that behavior is in our own life? Is this what is meant by “judge not, lest ye be judged?”

Are we okay with being ourselves and letting others be themselves?

If you are humble nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are. Mother Teresa

Two things define you. Your patience when you have nothing and your attitude when you have everything. Imam Ali

We are all stumblers, and the beauty and meaning of life are in the stumbling. David Brooks

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

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Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone Paperback – Aug 27 2019

by Brené Brown (Author) 4.6 out of 5 stars 1,422 ratings#1 Best Seller in Social Sciences Research


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Is criticism helpful? Can we learn to accept criticism with humility, change the things we can change, live with the things we can’t, and have the wisdom to know the difference?

Can we learn to accept criticism with humility, change the things we can change, live with the things we can't and have the wisdom to know the difference? Is criticism helpful?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Criticism is something you can easily avoid by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing. Aristotle

Should we look at what is going right or should we criticize what is going wrong? When our spouse gets critical should we welcome it as a suggestion of something we can improve?

When we accept criticism without defensiveness and look at it as constructive can we become better people? Can we see things that have flown under our radar? Maybe we have been too busy to dust the piano, and maybe by dusting it, we will think when was the last time we played it.

We can’t control what other people say to us, but we can control how we react. Being defensive is not helpful. Is there truth in what they’ve pointed out? Have we neglected our home? Are we getting too involved in outside activities and our homes, families, and spouses feel neglected?

If we are willing to see the truth in criticism will we develop humility? We can only do so much, and what doesn’t get done didn’t end up on the important end of our to-do list. We shouldn’t be defensive about this, but can we review our list? Are there things that should be making the cut that isn’t? Can we organize our life in a way that makes everyone, even ourselves happier?

How we interpret someone else’s feedback is an opportunity for rational thinking – despite the negative tone, is the criticism helpful? Are they trying to tell us something that will improve our lives and make things better for us?

Criticism may give us chances to problem solve. Isn’t it better when someone tells us about something when it is still small and correctable? What if our spouse never criticizes us, ever, but one day they say I want out? They have a whole list of things they never told us about, we could have dealt with, but they thought being critical was negative, and they didn’t want to be negative.

Take criticism gracefully, even when you disagree with it. If nothing else, you’re learning something valuable about how someone else sees you. Alison Green

Criticism is a form of communication, and if we are willing to really look at our lives critically can we make better choices? If the problem is not the actual criticism but the tone, or way it is given, can we tell people we would receive their feedback better if they didn’t raise their voice? If they parsed out their criticisms with some things we do well or they like about us.

We need to use discernment, does it really matter which way the toilet roll winds? For some people this is a big deal, if it isn’t a big deal for us can we do it the way someone else wants? We may need to agree to disagree on certain things; our level of tidiness may not meet theirs. The speed at which they get things done may not meet ours. We need to learn to compromise, we need to deal with each other’s strengths and minimize our weaknesses. We need to learn to work together to build a life that works for both of us.

If we want to accomplish anything in life we will face criticism. The more we accomplish the more criticism we will get. Criticism shines a light on our insecurities. We need to dig deep and figure out why things that are said bother us so much. Can we separate what is useful and leave the rest? We need to decide what we are willing to change, what we can change, and what is worth the effort to change.

We are not perfect, we will never be perfect but we can choose what areas of ourselves or our lives to improve. One way to improve our lives is to receive feedback well, it’s okay to have flaws, we all do, its’ part of being human. If we can admit our weaknesses and work on them without getting defensive or down on ourselves we will experience more gratitude, happiness, joy, and success.

Can we thank someone for their input without getting defensive? Are we okay with our own level of imperfection, or are some of the criticisms valid, and we would like ourselves more if we worked on improving in a few areas? Is the other person’s criticism not about what they are criticizing at all? Do they want us to spend more time with them? Do they not feel important enough in our life? Do they think everything comes before them? Are our priorities out of whack? Is that what they are really trying to tell us?

Can we accept criticism with grace and humility? If we look at what was said and figure out what was meant, can we use it to better ourselves, and our relationships?

Between what is said, and not meant, and meant and not said, most of love is lost. Khalil Gibran

Be open to criticism but don’t be affected by it. Criticism is meant to help you be a better person. Learn from it. Unknown

If you have no critics you’ll likely have no success. Malcolm X

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Verbal Judo, Second Edition: The Gentle Art of Persuasion Paperback – Dec 17 2013

by George J. Thompson PhD (Author) 4.5 out of 5 stars 794 ratings


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Radical self-acceptance is that what we need? Is Self-love the greatest love of all?

Is self-love the greatest love of all? Radical self-acceptance is that what we need?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely.
― C.G. Jung

If we are to find love with another first we must find it within ourselves. Everything starts with loving who we are. Can we release our longing to be someone else and love and accept who we are? Do we then give ourselves the opportunity to blossom?

As we struggle to love ourselves as we are it may help us if we can accept it is the imperfections that make us uniquely who we are. When we are busy critiquing we are stifling our creative energy. You can only do you, and I can only do me when we are the best we can be we are better and our families, and our world benefits. I have read we become more attractive to others as we learn to love and accept ourselves as we are.

Self-compassion

‘It’s good to explore self-compassion,’ says King. Research shows it’s associated with greater happiness, optimism, curiosity, resilience, and reduced depression and anxiety, suggesting it has all the benefits of self-esteem but fewer of the downsides. Self-compassion has three overlapping parts:

  • Being kind to and understanding of ourselves in instances of suffering or perceived inadequacy.
  • A sense of common humanity, recognizing that pain and failure are unavoidable aspects of life for all humans.
  • A balanced awareness of our emotions – the ability to face (rather than avoid) painful thoughts and feelings, but without exaggeration, drama or self-pity.

Studies also show that self-compassion promotes self-improvement and reduces comparison to others. ‘It helps put our own issues in perspective and so reduces immobilizing self-pity. Because it focuses on caring about ourselves, being self-compassionate motivates us to work through challenges and learn from mistakes,’ says King.

Self-esteem (as opposed to self-acceptance) is typically based on judgments of how good we are within specific areas of our lives. Because these judgments are dependent on how well we are doing in that area, how good we feel fluctuates based on our latest success or failure.* Self-esteem also means that our judgment of how good we are is relative to other people, so it can lead to a sense of superiority over others, and therefore separation from them.

For once, you believed in yourself. you believed you were beautiful and so did the rest of the world. Sarah Dessen

1. Get honest.

“People lie to themselves more than they lie to anyone else. In order to be the best, you can be you have to be dead honest with yourself.

Once you look at things as they are, you can learn to love you warts and all. Without that complete honesty, you practice self-delusion rather than radical acceptance.

Once you love yourself at this very deep level, the whole world awaits you. Being real about your life and yourself gives you the power to change. Dr. Lori Beth Bisbey is a sex & intimacy coach, registered psychologist, educator, speaker, and author.

 2. Be transparent. 

“We all have an awful, ugly side we try to hide from the world. The problem is, the more we stuff the awful away, the more unworthy and unlovable we feel.

We start to mask our true selves which takes a toll on our health, our relationships, and our self-esteem. Learn to own your awful. Accepting your ugly side means no longer living in fear of not being good enough. You’ll finally have the freedom to choose the life you have always desired.

Owning your awful is the gateway to self-love, self-acceptance and true transformation.” T-Ann Pierce T

3. Feel your feelings. 

“Evidence for how you love yourself is all around you, you only need be brave enough to look and allow it to sink in.

What is your health like? How does your body feel? What are your relationships and friendships like? The evidence is there to convict you.

Allow that conviction to empower you to get the support that you both desire and deserve. There is no need to go on any journey you desire alone.MMichele Brookhaus RSHom(NA), CCH

4. Choose love. 

“You always have a choice: to live in love or to live in fear. When you choose to love, you have little Aha moments into the nature of your Self. When you choose fear, your life becomes a twisted story of love being a means for your ego to get its demands met. The greatest Aha moment is when you wake up to your true identity as love and know what life truly means for the first time.”

Coach Annie-Leigh

5. Let love guide your goal-setting.

“The best way to disappoint yourself is to strive unrealistically for unattainable goals. The second best way to disappoint yourself is to not strive for goals you can reach. 

Self-love emerges as we realize who we can become and we get out of our own way so we can fulfill realistic dreams, hopes, and our own potential!”D Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein
 

6. Allow yourself to feel anger and fear.

“Best way to reality? Trigger your anger, fear or grief and pay attention to how you respond.

You can do this safely with music that’s angry, scary or sad; let your feelings come up and just be with them until they pass.

The moment when your skin crawls, or you begin to weep uncontrollably?

That’s YOU. It’s also the moment when the transformation is present, asking you to accept yourself. Bill Protzmann
 

7. Get to know yourself.

“Self-love without true self-knowledge is impossible. In fact, it’s paradoxical to think you can love and nurture yourself when you lack a true understanding of your actual circumstances.

Self-love has to be unconditional. Otherwise, it’s something else entirely and can never sustain you. You are bound to make mistakes, sometimes terrible and inexplicable ones. You’re also bound to discover qualities that disappoint you.

The key is to love yourself, BECAUSE of these shortcomings, not in spite of them. And how can you ever love what you don’t really recognize?”

C. Mellie Smith

8. Accept that you have value beyond performance.

“When you love yourself, unconditionally, you are teaching others how you want to be treated and showing them your worth.

As you become more aware of your worthiness you will begin to attract the very people to you that you have always wanted to be with. Love yourself and fulfill your highest purpose of being. Linda Morinello

9. Treat yourself the way you want to be treated. 

“People tend to treat us the way we treat ourselves.  

Are you under the illusion that caretaking others—giving yourself up and people-pleasing—will result in feeling loved by your partner?

Here is where you need to get real! As long as you are rejecting and abandoning yourself and making your partner responsible for your sense of worth and safety, you will feel unloved by your partner.

Learning to love yourself changes all of this! Margaret Paul, Ph.D.

10. Get real. 

“Loving yourself is not easy because it requires five essential gifts you must give yourself first: honesty, safety, trust, respect, and reliability. Without these, expressed in everything you think, do, and say, you will have games, misunderstandings, anger, and resentment.

You’ll think of yourself as a victim, a martyr, or worse, a person who has to settle for crumbs and the occasional compliment. If you want an equal, reciprocal, and mutual relationship—a healthy one—with someone else, it means getting real with yourself first.

Remember, you cannot give a gift you do not have! Rhoberta Shaler, Ph.D

11. Radically accept yourself.

“There is no “right” way to feel about money. No “best” way to think about dollars and cents. Savers are not “better” than spenders. And vice versa.

Every individual is born with a natural bent towards handling money. Give yourself a break if you like to spend or take some risks with your funds. Pat yourself on the back if you like to save. OR if you don’t like to think much about money, that’s okay too.

Love your natural bent—develop your strengths and work on your weaknesses, but stop telling yourself how you feel about money is wrong. Scott & Bethany Palmer
 

12. Set healthy boundaries. 

“Loving yourself is vital to living a free, and authentic life.

Setting boundaries; asking for what you need and want; making choices that are good for you; allowing— and even welcoming mistakes to learn from, and quieting down that inner critic’s voice we inherited, but isn’t truly ours, and having self-compassion. There is no magic formula for achieving self-love; it’s a daily exercise and starts with awareness.

Noticing times when you choose to please others at your expense; or when you keep quiet to avoid conflict; or don’t ask for help when you need some. Then see if you can get up the courage to ask for the help; or set one limit that feels risky and see how it goes. Getting real about your life is a commitment to yourself. Dr. Sue Mandel

This is a lifetime of work accepting ourselves as we are, learning to love ourselves and our imperfections. It is these imperfections that seem jarringly obvious to us that are often charmingly endearing to others.

I am working on this, it helps to realize we all have things about ourselves we would change. Often changing them doesn’t make it better. Look at all the bad plastic surgery out there. I’ve noticed that thin at sixty isn’t as good as fit at sixty. Working with our natural body shape is better than fighting it. If we dress what we have instead of wishing it were different we are better off. There are photographs of people who were not perfect that are imprinted in our minds because the authenticity and naturalness of the person shine through. If we could each have one of those photographs of our self that show who we really are with our imperfections and our unique self shining through, maybe we would embrace our self more easily warts, baldness, crooked teeth and whatever physical flaws we may see but others may not even notice.

We need to accept ourselves, our partners, our children, our families, our communities, our cities, our country as they are. Through acceptance, we can change the things we can, accept the things we can’t and have the wisdom to know the difference.

Can acceptance nullify judgment? By choosing acceptance do we remind ourselves that what’s happening in our life is not good or bad, it just is? Is acceptance an act of trust? When we accept our current situation can we let go and know if we continue aligning our self with the truth, we will be guided to where we need to be? Is radical self-acceptance a training ground for action?

Is accepting our life challenges, knowing that acceptance is the first and necessary step to enter a place of happiness the step we need to take?

Is life what it is? But, it will also become what we make it?

 “Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.” 
― Brené Brown

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Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life with the Heart of a Buddha  Audiobook – Unabridged

Tara Brach (Author), Cassandra Campbell (Narrator), Tantor Audio (Publisher)4.6 out of 5 stars 737 ratings


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Hubris or authentic pride? What if both can be used for good?

Hubris of authentic pride? What if both can be used for good?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Pride that dines on vanity, sups on contempt. Benjamin Franklin

I’ve been saying in my hubris that the reason I haven’t caught what everyone else in the house caught is I’m drinking kombucha. Today my throat is raspy. I felt it coming on after my husband and I got in from having tea and coffee at a coffee shop.

Before bed I took oil of oregano and stayed in bed longer hoping to nip it in the bud. I have an important date. I’m being taken out to celebrate my 500th blog post. I don’t want to miss it.

Does hubris get all or most of us sometimes? We think we are smarter, healthier, or luckier. What mows everyone else down will not touch us. Hubris is extreme pride and arrogance which ultimately brings down one’s downfall.

What is the difference between authentic pride and hubris? Is it just who is looking and judging? Is authentic pride based on a realistic appraisal of one’s competencies, abilities, and achievements? Is hubristic pride related to measures of impulsivity and aggression?

If we never fall or fail will it be authentic pride, if we fail or fall will it be hubris? Extreme self-regard doesn’t seem like a recipe for great relationships, nor does extreme self-loathing. Is finding the right balance hard?

Swallow your pride occasionally, it’s not fattening. Frank Tyger

What is the difference between arrogance and self-esteem? Psychologists distinguish between two kinds of pride, authentic pride and hubristic pride. Authentic pride arises when we feel good about ourselves, confident, self-worthy, achieving, productive, and is related to desirable personality traits like agreeable, conscientious, and emotionally stable. Hubristic pride tends to involve egotism arrogance, conceit and is related to socially undesirable traits like being disagreeable, aggressive, having low or brittle self-esteem, and prone to shame.

When most of us want to improve our self-esteem we want to generate authentic pride, not hubristic pride. In one study hubristic pride was thought to be a shortcut used by people instead of doing the hard work of becoming competent, productive, and achieving goals. Yet, aren’t we being told to fake it until we make it?

One of the traits that Jordan Peterson author of 12 Rules for Life tells us is innate is agreeableness and disagreeableness and women tend to be more agreeable than men. He believes being disagreeable is a trait that helps many people get ahead in the world.

What if there is a place for authentic pride and hubris that has helped us make it to where we are?

Show class, have pride and display character. If you do, winning takes care of itself. Paul Bryant

Pride is an important quality to cultivate. If pride comes from a balanced view that can also respect the best in others, it stokes the inner fires that fuel us to great accomplishments. Unknown

Pride is the oldest and most common of sins. Humility is the rarest and most beautiful of graces. J.C. Ryle

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Pride: The Secret of Success Kindle Edition

by Jessica Tracy (Author)

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Social connectedness one of the keys to good mental health.

Social connectedness one of the keys to good mental health.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

It’s up to you today to start making healthy choices. Not choices that are just healthy for your body, but healthy for your mind. Steve Maraboli

Last night the book club met at a coffee shop. We were going to have our Christmas dinner in January but no one had a place they wanted to go, so we ended up going to Starbucks.  We were lucky to get a table. The baby that was born when I first joined the book club turned eighteen and was celebrating his one year anniversary with his girlfriend, his Mom had to leave early to pick them up.

We’ve added a couple of new members so we can meet more regularly. When the membership is too small it makes it hard to meet as everyone’s schedules don’t mesh.

One of our youngest members whose oldest is also eighteen said that the book club has been really important to her. She’s stayed home and raised her kids and hasn’t been out in the workforce for thirteen years. She doesn’t miss working but she does miss the social aspect of work.

“We lose ourselves in motherhood,” she says. “We need to find ourselves again.”

“What have you found?” One of the newest members asks.

“I’m not there yet,” she replies.

The book club is not made up of a bunch of close friends. We’ve become friends over the years, but we mostly meet over books, coffee, tea, and conversation. We have shared conversations that would have been hard to have with other people. We read books that shine a light on something, and from that starting point, we can talk.

We are a group of women who talk about the important things in life and share what we’ve learned along the way. Someone always has a story to tell about something that has happened to them or someone they know. Last night was no different.

What mental health needs is more sunlight, more candor, and more unashamed conversation. Glenn Close

Being connected to other people is important for our health. People with fewer social connections have more risk of early death. What does this say about us as our families become smaller and smaller?

People who make new social connections are less likely to develop depression, and people who maintain and build their social group connections have greater well-being during major transitions like retirement.

There is a correlation between social connectedness and mental health. 25,000 New Zealand adults were studied over four years using the longitudinal New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study. It was found that when a person’s level of social connection goes down, they experience worse mental health a year later.

The relationship also went the other way; people with good mental health were more socially connected a year later. The influence of social connectedness on mental health over time was about three times stronger than the other way around.

How can we harness the power of social connection to improve our health and the health of our communities? Social connectedness is more than mere contact with other people, or even being a member of social groups. It is about feeling you belong to that group; that you trust others and they trust you in a shared purpose, and that group members can rely on each other.

It seems we need to find groups we can belong to that are trusting, supportive and have a shared meaning and purpose. That purpose can be anything; it might be a community garden, book club, service organization, church, building houses for Habitat for Humanity, Alanon, 12 step programs, or Toastmasters.

Do we have enough social connectedness? Is there a group we should start, or join?

If we start being honest about our pain, our anger, and our shortcomings instead of pretending they don’t exist, then maybe we’ll leave the world a better place than we found it. Russell Wilson

I didn’t speak to anyone about postpartum depression, I was very reluctant. Four of my friends felt the same way I did, and everyone was too embarrassed to talk about it. Adele

About a third of my cases are suffering from no clinically definable neurosis but from the senselessness and emptiness of their lives. This can be defined as the general neurosis of our times. C.G. Jung

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The Power of Eight: Harnessing the Miraculous Energies of a Small Group to Heal Others, Your Life, and the World Paperback – Sep 25 2018

by Lynne McTaggart (Author) 4.6 out of 5 stars 171 ratings


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It takes courage to live a life of integrity. Is courage the greatest virtue?

Is courage the greatest virtue? It takes courage to live a life of integrity.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. Theodore Roosevelt

Most of us want to live lives of integrity, what keeps us from doing so? We react in ways that are beneath us, but what is it that makes us lose our integrity. The wisdom of the ages tells us that we lose our integrity when we are reacting to or feeling any of these things: impatience, disappointment, desperation, aggression, hurt, loyalty, and power.

Impatience makes us give up on our dreams. We sometimes focus on the short term instead of the long term gain. Many people panic when the stock market fluctuates and they sell and lock in their loss, only to have the market rebound. Amazon went from around $100.00 around 2000 to $5.00 those who sold locked in their loss, but those who bought are seeing around $1800.00 a share. The wise have always taught us patience is a virtue. Through practice and discipline, we can develop patience.

Disappointment happens all the time. We go on a diet and we don’t see the results as quickly as we want. We start a business and we aren’t the success we thought we would be as quickly as we want. Those who succeed in life generally have to persevere, and most roads to success in anything are longer and harder than we thought they would be. If we are not disappointed occasionally maybe we aren’t reaching high enough. Disappointment is not a failure, it is a chance to learn what did not work. Sometimes it is working but it is slow, but haven’t we also been told that slow and steady wins the race?

You can choose courage, or you can choose comfort. But you cannot choose both. Unknown

Desperate people will take desperate measures. Sometimes desperate people take a small setback, challenge, or disappointment and turn it into something they can’t recover from. In every great story, there is a dark moment of the soul, when it looks like all is lost. The difference between the villain and the hero is often how they handle these moments. Will we handle our desperation well, will be the hero?

We get hurt all the time. We hear about people who are attacked because they made someone feel small and of no consequence. We have seen men get out of their vehicles at intersections to fight over what each said to the other. Some people deliberately say things to hurt someone to pick a fight. If we hit back they won, that is exactly what they wanted.  Sometimes we are hurt by people we love the most, will we make that the defining moment of our relationship or can we overlook, forgive, and heal the breach?

Loyalty sounds good until the test of loyalty is to do something wrong, illegal, or immoral. When loyalty is chosen over truth, corruption is always near. Sometimes the only way to live in truth is to confess to small transgression so someone can’t hold them over our head to make us commit bigger ones. We must be able to tell the truth, even when a lie would be more convenient, or get us into less trouble. What if the truth gets our loved ones in trouble? Are we still wrong if we say nothing?

The temptation of power. We’ve all heard the saying “power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. We sometimes believe that everyone who gets power has lied, cheated, and stepped on others. Do we say this to justify doing it if we ever get the chance to have power? Is it true that we become more of who we are with power, the evil become more evil, the good more good, the generous more generous, the loving more loving?

We will have opportunities in our lives to be the best or the worst? We will probably not always make the right decision. Can we get through life and look ourselves in the mirror and know most of the time we made the best choice for the greatest amount of people? We lived with courage, discipline, integrity, wisdom, and treated people with kindness, respect, and love? Do we have the courage to live a life of integrity?

A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. Douglas McArthur

You will never do anything in this world without courage; it is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor. Unknown

I do not care so much what I am to others as I care what I am to myself. Unknown

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The Motivation Manifesto: 9 Declarations to Claim Your Personal Power Hardcover – Oct 28 2014

by Brendon Burchard (Author) 4.6 out of 5 stars 884 ratings


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Meaning and purpose may give us happiness. If we lose happiness we will still have meaning and purpose. What if we only have happiness and we lose it?

If we lose happiness we will still have meaning and purpose. What if we only have happiness and we lose it? Meaning and purpose may give us happiness.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Purpose is what gives life a meaning. Charles H. Perkhurst

Yesterday we were listening to a young woman talking about meaning and happiness. She was referencing Jordan Peterson’s book 12 Rules for Life. She has come away with the idea that we should pursue meaning instead of happiness. When we pursue meaning and purpose we often get happiness, but if we pursue happiness we won’t necessarily get meaning and purpose. If we lose happiness we will still have meaning and purpose, but if all we pursue is hedonistic happiness and we lose it, what are we left with? Happiness is fleeting if it is not tied to meaning and purpose.

Having a life filled with meaning and purpose with great moments of joy and happiness is my idea of a great life. This is what parents get. They don’t have happier lives in the hedonistic sense, but they have meaning and purpose knowing they brought life into the world, nurtured it and helped it grow. They stand on the sidelines and watch their child perform and are filled with joy, happiness, meaning, and purpose even if it is only moments before crying or fighting starts. Are parents more satisfied with their life than non-parents? I would say yes.

The first half of our life is the time to devote to finding meaning and purpose. The first half of our life is when we get ready to create the livelihood we will use to raise our family. It is when we will meet our partner and we will start our family. These are the most important choices we will make; they will provide most of our meaning and purpose, and maybe most of our happiness.

Higher levels of stress and anxiety are linked to meaning and purpose but not happiness. Meaning comes from what we give to other people; happiness may often come from what they give to us.

Surprisingly we seek health, wealth, and ease which are important to happiness but not to meaning and purpose. Happiness focuses on the present where meaning and purpose focus on the past, present, and future. We reap the benefit of the rewards from the first half of our life in the second half. If we made great career choices the second half may benefit. We may love being a grandparent more than being a parent.

A meaningful life is not about being rich, being popular, being highly educated, or being perfect. It’s about being real, being humble, being able to share ourselves and touch the lives of others. Unknown

If we find a way to bring creativity and self-expression into our life this may lead to meaning and purpose more than happiness.

I was reading an article about a woman, whose grandmother was well educated, got married and had children late, her mother did the same, and the woman who wrote the article did the same. Her daughter says she is not following the same pattern. She wants to have her children young so they can know their grandparents as much as possible and she can enjoy her grandchildren as much as possible.

Last night my son was telling me he’s figured out why we women are so miserable. I’m not so sure we are so miserable but let’s go with his premise. We women are born with all of our potential and purpose – we can’t achieve more than our biological destiny which is to bring new life into the world. We don’t raise our value by outside accomplishments, because what is more important than bringing new life into the world?

Men, on the other hand, have to prove their worth to be chosen to procreate, and the more they accomplish in life the more women they have to choose from. Whereas women have more choice of better men the younger and more beautiful they are, not how accomplished they are.

This only seems to be true if women want to get married really young, where they would choose older accomplished men to marry. Most men don’t seem to want to get married really young, many women don’t want to get married really young either. Getting married in their mid to late twenties appears to work for both sexes, giving them time to have children and build a life.

There may be some truth to what my son says, but not as much as he wants to believe. We, women, do need to make children our priority in our youth, and choosing a good man to partner up with is good. Is it really true that women trade beauty and youth for materially successful men or do we mostly marry someone we are compatible with and build a life?

When we have a choice, and we make good choices, we will mostly live a good life. If we prioritize meaning and purpose over hedonistic pleasure will we be more satisfied with our lot in life over the years?

Are we pursuing hedonistic pleasure, or meaningfulness and purpose, which will often give us happiness?

The purpose of life is to discover your gift. The work of life is to develop it. The meaning of life is to give your gift away. David Viscott

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. Winston Churchill

Connection is why we’re here; it is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives. Brene Brown

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12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos Hardcover – Jan 23 2018

by Jordan B. Peterson (Author) 4.6 out of 5 stars 7,819 ratingsAmazon Charts #5 this week


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