Birth order, is it more important than we think?

Is birth order more important than we think?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

A child’s birth order is one of the many factors in the formation of a child’s behavior and identity. Unknown

I’m reading a book called The First Born Advantage by Dr. Kevin Leman. I’m a middle child, the middle child of nine in a blended family. I’m also the oldest of Mom and Dad’s five children.

The middle child has a developed or natural ability at compromise. This is I believe true of me, I am the peacemaker. My parents were middle children and pretty easy to get along with, pretty good at seeing other sides of arguments. Pretty good at realizing you need to live and let live.

Could it be that one of the problems we now have is too many only children, firstborn and youngest children and not enough middle children? It seems in politics the middle is missing. The idea of if you aren’t for us you are against us is not middle child thinking. We spent our lives making peace with older, younger and explaining what was meant instead of what was heard. We get nuance.

When I looked at who became American Presidents I was surprised to find that the majority of Presidents have been middle children, firstborns are the second group, seven of the Presidents have been youngest siblings, and there are no only children in the group.

As more of us only have one or two children middle children are missing, where will the peacemakers come from? Is there any truth to birth order differences?

From what I am reading the best marriage partners are the oldest born and youngest born. Both of my children are oldest born/youngest born couples. I suppose it makes sense, they spent their lives in that dynamic making it work for them with siblings, so they are well equipped to make it work in marriage.

Sisters and brothers just happen, we don’t get to choose them, but they become one of our most cherished relationships. Being sisters and  brothers means being there for each other. Unknown

My husband is the oldest child who didn’t have a middle sibling. No wonder I confuse him. One of the problems middle children can have when their marriage partner is the oldest child is they tend to mold themselves around their partner and might not follow their own dreams. In studies of marital satisfaction, middle children fare best. Their sensitive, compromising nature gives them an edge in keeping a relationship healthy.

The highest divorce rates occur when only children marry an only child. Dr. Leman says when marital problems occur later in the marriage it may be because each partner gets sick or weary of the roles they have assumed, many times it points to birth order.

One of the best marriage templates is when an older sister of brothers marries a younger brother of sisters. This would be the same as why the oldest/youngest coupling works.  It would also mean all the problems and frustrations you had in your birth family you will also have to deal with in your marriage.

According to research middle children have the best track record for being faithful. Although we are peacemakers in the family we may have trouble asserting ourselves. The middle children tend to be good listeners. One of the problems middle children have is we tend to be cautious about telling the truth about our feelings because we are worried we won’t be heard, but I also think we are worried about being judged.

This explains so much as I look at relationships that work and those that haven’t stayed together. There are forces at work in our lives we don’t understand, they made us who we are, they make us react to things the way we do. We don’t understand each other because we have never seen that side of life. How could a firstborn understand the dynamic a middle child or youngest child was born into?

Studies show that middle children grow up to be skillful manipulators, successful leaders, and cooperative problem-solvers because they aren’t used to getting their own way. They’re typically more patient, adventurous and open to new ideas, and they’re more likely to affect change than any other birth order. Unknown

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Social skills, do we compare ourselves to others and come up lacking?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

I consider social skills a bit like learning a language. I’ve been practicing it for so long over so many years I’ve almost lost my accent. Daniel Tammet

Yesterday was the perfect day for a birthday barbeque for my mother-in-law. It’s sometimes hard to keep in touch with extended family so celebrating birthdays is a good way to do it.

Everyone pitches in and it turns out to be a great afternoon and evening of fun and frivolity. My mother-in-law has always wanted to introduce my daughter to one of her friend’s granddaughters but because the granddaughter lives in Texas it has never happened. By serendipity and chance, the daughter and her mother are visiting from San Antonio, Texas and had a free afternoon to come by.  I think my mother-in-law is right her friend’s granddaughter fits right in.

We don’t click with everyone. Some people are more social and flit from one person to the next person. My husband says I take set on people. I find one person I’m comfortable with and talk and laugh the evening away. Flitting from group to group especially groups I haven’t met puts me out of my comfort zone.

I watched a friend do it at a birthday party we attended last year. She went to every table and introduced herself and made conversation, then onto the next table. Everywhere she goes everyone knows who she is.

She’s an only child. Her social skills are amazing. At social functions, we can feel like we are on the outside looking in. We click with certain people, it is easier to talk and laugh with them than to work a little harder to make conversation with those we don’t know yet.

I take the easy way out and talk with who is by themselves and I mostly leave the groups alone. It’s easy to see the people who are not part of a group and talk to them.

If there’s one secret of success it lies in the ability to get the other’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as your own. Dale Carnegie

Being a social butterfly is flitting around every circle and finding commonalities with everyone. If we don’t flit from group to group we aren’t social butterflies we are social caterpillars.

Caterpillars turn into butterflies. Getting out of our comfort zone is part of growth. Are we social butterflies, or social caterpillars?

There are pros and cons to being a social butterfly.

Social butterflies are not afraid to go out of their way to approach new people.

They have the capability of starting and keeping a conversation going.

They don’t enjoy a lot of solitude.

Friends may feel they aren’t valued because we are so busy being social and trying to make other friends.

Can we be comfortable and accepting of ourselves? If we try to make other people feel comfortable and included, initiate conversation, offer to help out and be a good sport to make parties, barbeques, and karaoke evenings a success can we appreciate ourselves and our contribution to the event? Maybe we need to develop our innate social skills and appreciate other people’s social skills without thinking we have to be like them. If we can be the best we can be, extending ourselves, getting out of our comfort zone can we quit berating ourselves because we don’t act like someone else?

It is so easy to compare ourselves to others and come up lacking. Don’t we need to accept ourselves warts and all, make small steps toward areas we want to improve and not judge ourselves too harshly?

There are more social skills required to talk one-on-one than to an audience. You don’t have to be socially fluid to talk to two thousand people. Jerry Seinfeld

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How to Win Friends and Influence People Paperback – Oct 1 1998

by Dale Carnegie (Author) 4.6 out of 5 stars 942 customer reviewsAmazon Charts #10 this week


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Small pleasures. Enjoy the moments; our lives are made of big and small moments.

Enjoy the moments; our lives are made of big and small moments. Small pleasures.

Relish the small pleasures in life. Life becomes celebration. Dilip Kumar

A long weekend spreads before us. I have to ask myself do I enjoy my life as much as I think I should. Do I notice and do enough to create pleasurable moments?

Last night someone on TV was saying he loves to sit out in the evening as purple twilight shifts to dark and watch the bats come out. My daughter says she has seen bats swooping around our back yard occasionally. I don’t remember seeing any. A small pleasure I’ve missed.

I thought about not writing a post today. I slept in, but then I thought why should I miss this small pleasure?

Sometimes the small pleasures in life are the sweetest. Karen Marie Moning

Even when our life isn’t going particularly well we can enjoy small pleasures. A friend going through a hard time is enjoying salted caramel lattes. Sometimes when we look back on times that were difficult we also see the small pleasures we managed while dealing with what we had to.

Life is full of small pleasures. We make our lives better if we recognize and include small pleasures in our life. My husband and I have been going for ice-cream over the summer, a small indulgent pleasure.

Our lives slip by quickly whether we enjoy small pleasures or not. If we punctuate our days with small pleasures we make everything better. What small pleasures can we bring into our lives? Are we stopping to smell the roses and all the other wonderful things to be enjoyed?

Happiness consists more in small conveniences or pleasures that occur every day, than in great pieces of good fortune that happen but seldom to a person in the course of their life. Benjamin Franklin

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Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort of Joy Hardcover – Sep 9 2009

by Sarah Ban Breathnach (Author) 4.5 out of 5 stars 98 customer reviews


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In search of good enough. Accepting challenges. Being all we can be. Progress, not perfection.

Being all we can be. Progress not perfection. In search of good enough.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

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

Last night at Toastmasters we were having more experienced Toastmasters evaluate less experienced Toastmasters evaluations because we only had two speakers.

The less experienced Toastmaster’s evaluation I was to evaluate ended up to be an extremely experienced Toastmaster. I was thinking what do I say? Evaluating is harder than giving a speech. The goal of the evaluation is to be helpful in the Toastmaster journey.

What should I say, what advice could I give? We get comfortable, we have a style, we need to stretch ourselves, and we need to take on topics and types of speeches that require effort. We also need to stretch ourselves to grow as evaluators.

When it comes to giving speeches are we authoritarian types who need to lighten up, corporate types who need to get more personal, casual types who need to be more organized and formal, or funny types who need to address more serious topics? Maybe we make content instead of delivery important or delivery instead of content. We can mix it up. Do we always use PowerPoint, or never use PowerPoint.

Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better. Maya Angelou

Whatever it is we do, we need to step out of our comfort zone. We all have a comfort zone. One of the reasons a lot of us joined Toastmasters is to become comfortable in front of an audience. The person I evaluated later told me he thinks we think he’s more comfortable than he is. That is probably true of most public speakers. We get comfortable being uncomfortable and then we have to push ourselves to be uncomfortable again, and again, and again.

The one thing we need to do is not try to be too perfect, because that is why we don’t give the impromptu speech or table topics. Our table topics master had little time to prepare but he came up with a great Table Topics segment.

Donald Winnicot developed a charming phrase in the 1950s, “The good enough parent.” We can apply that phrase and attitude to every part of our life. It doesn’t mean “The don’t give a damn parent.” It means we are doing our best, but we know our best won’t be perfect. We don’t agonize over our shortcomings, we embrace them and improve but we are also kind and compassionate with ourselves when we don’t meet our own standards. If we are kind and compassionate with ourselves we can extend this to others.

Donald Winnicot realized that the pursuit of perfection is counterproductive and it is much better to be in search of good enough. It sounds like we’ve given up, what kind of person settles for good enough? When we are willing to risk failure, we can risk success. It isn’t perfection we should be after but progress.   

If we are willing to be good enough Toastmasters, parents, employees, employers, entrepreneurs, people, we can grow and develop throughout our lives. By allowing ourselves to not be perfect we can take the chances that allow ourselves to progress. Isn’t it progress we after, the progress that will build “the great life?” Can accepting good enough and continuing to improve lead to growth we didn’t think we could attain?

If we create a culture where every teacher believes they need to improve, not because they are not good enough but because they can be even better, there is no limit to what we can achieve. Dylan Wiliam

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I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn’t): Making the Journey from “What Will People Think?” to “I Am Enough”Paperback – Dec 27 2007

by Brené Brown (Author) 4.6 out of 5 stars 77 customer reviews#1 Best Sellerin Gender

Good habits create a good life. What are the habits that would give us the life we dream of?

What are the habits that would give us the life we dream of? Good habits create a good life.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. Will Durant.

Where will my mind go today I wonder as I sit down and start to write? August the final month of “real” summer has started. A year ago we were in the throes of wedding planning. This year we are relaxing. On Sunday we’ll attend an eightieth birthday party for my Mother-in-law. There are fifteen years between my mother and my mother-in-law. My husband and I are actually from two different generations. His mother is just a couple of years older than my oldest sister.

When I look up generations I find that people born between 1925 and 1942 are considered the silent generation. They are between the greatest generation, my parents, and the baby boomers. They came too late to be war heroes and too early to be free spirits.

Do we really fit into the generations our birth year slots us into? Many of the baby boomers were still early marrying, rule-following people. In my family, my oldest sister is a “silent generation” then a few of us are baby boomers, then my youngest siblings are generation X.

Is the biggest impact on us the generation our parents grew up in?

The British Birth Cohorts study was started after World War ll when women who gave birth to children in 1946 were surveyed over a one week period. This resulted in 14,000 detailed questionnaires about every aspect of birth in Britain at that time.

A generation later they did it again, and again, and again, surveying around 70,000 kids as they moved through their lives over a 70 year time period to see how they were doing in terms of health, education, and overall thriving. Author Helen Pearson shared her powerful conclusions in a Ted talk and wrote a book called The Life Project.

What do 70 years of data say about being a good parent?

Helen Pearson’s first deduction is if at all possible try not to be born poor. Kids born to disadvantaged families grow up on average to do less well by every measure.

Since we can’t choose our parent’s and our parents couldn’t always choose the economic times or circumstances under which they became parents we have to hope it is enough to be a good enough parent.

The law of harvest is to reap more than you sow. Sow an act, and you reap a habit. Sow a habit and you reap a character. Sow a character and you reap a destiny. James Allen

What are the parental behaviors that the studies associated with better outcomes?

Talking and listening to your kids.

Making it clear we have ambitions for their future.

Being emotionally warm.

Teaching them letters and numbers.

Taking them on excursions.

Reading to them daily, and encouraging them to read for pleasure.

Maintaining a regular bedtime.

What does this show us? Little things matter and they matter a lot.

We often think we need to be able to do “big” things. The more I read and look around at what makes people successful, and who becomes successful it seems to be the little things. Those little things add up and become the big things that make a life.

Every book or quote on success tells us the same thing. We’d like to find a secret, but there is no secret, we create our life by the choices we make every day. The oldest books available tell us the same things. We hear old thoughts packaged as new ideas, but they are not new.

We all have been told what we should do to create a good life, to prosper, to be happy, to have a happy marriage, and to raise happy and productive children.

No generation has access to knowledge another generation doesn’t have. The more things change the more they stay the same.

Every day we have a choice, are we making life better for ourselves, our children, the future? Are our habits creating the life we want? Does someone have better habits we should emulate?

No matter who we’d like to be, or what we’d like to do, there are people who have gone before that can show us the way.

Is there some change we could make today that would improve something in our lives? Could we improve our relationships, finances, career, physical, spiritual or emotional health by creating a new habit or getting rid of one that doesn’t serve us?

Is it a lack of knowledge; or a lack of implementation of the knowledge available to us?

Moral excellence comes about as a result of habit. We become just by doing just acts. Temperate by doing temperate acts, brave by doing brave acts. Aristotle

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The Life Project: The Extraordinary Story of 70,000 Ordinary Lives Paperback – May 20 2016

by Helen Pearson (Author) 5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews


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Getting enough sleep. Could this be the best habit to keep or create? Don’t we all want to be healthier, happier, wealthier, and wiser?

Don't we all want to be healthier, happier, wealthier, and wiser? Could getting enough sleep be the best habit it keep or create?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

A good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures for anything. Irish Proberb

The air is cooler as I walk this morning, but not quite cool enough to run back and get a sweater. Since I started getting up at 5:00 I think I’m sleeping better. If I get to bed at 10:00 sleep comes easily. When I get to bed a little later it seems harder to go to sleep.

Everywhere we go it seems people are complaining about not being able to sleep. Melatonin is the answer some say, others try it and say it doesn’t do much for them. I now find I am tired right around 10:00. If I stay up later I get a second wind and then it is harder to go to sleep.

Could part of the problem be that we don’t take the time to figure out our own bodies rhythm and work with it? Many of us choose bedtimes and wake up times based on our professional, family, and social lives. They tell us we have individual variations when it comes to what our best sleep hours are.  Can we figure out what our individual circadian rhythm is and work with it?

The optimal bedtime for most people is between 8:00 pm and 12:00 am.  We are told to keep our bedtime and wake time consistent. I find this difficult as it means not much social life on the weekend if I have to be in bed by 10:00. Being too rigid makes it more likely to just give up establishing a routine at all. It is the same with our eating and exercising routines. Life has to fit, and our routines have to be elastic enough to accommodate life, and routine enough to give our bodies what they need. Finding balance is what we need to focus on.

Sleep in an investment in the energy you need to be effective tomorrow. Tom Roth

Not getting enough sleep affects all areas of our health. A lack of sleep can lead to memory lapses, accidents, injuries, behavioral and mood problems. Inflammation is one of the problems lack of sleep exacerbates. Inflammation is linked to many of the most serious health conditions.

Getting enough sleep is not a small problem, nor one we should take lightly. It may not be possible for couples to keep the same bedtimes and rise times. My husband doesn’t appear to need near the amount of sleep I need.

Studies have shown that people who slept less didn’t wake up with high inflammation, but they had greater inflammation responses to conflict. According to the study if both partners got less than seven hours of sleep they were more likely to argue or become hostile. Lack of sleep and marital conflict appear to go hand in hand. Canada is listed as the third most sleep-deprived country and the Canadian Men’s Health Foundation found that 33 percent of men aged 30-49 were only getting four to six hours of sleep per night. Twenty percent of Canadians get between six and seven hours of sleep every night, and six percent consistently get less than six hours of sleep per night.

Is getting more sleep the best thing we can do for our marriage?

What we’ve only come to realize recently is that the brain is pretty far from resting during sleep… the brain is actively cleaning synapses and reinforcing important ones. So not getting enough sleep means you’re not doing your housekeeping. Unknown

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The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time Paperback – Apr 4 2017

by Arianna Huffington (Author) 3.9 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews


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Habits and attitudes shape our lives. Isn’t it good news if we can change our habits and attitudes?

Isn't it good news if we can change our habits and attitudes? Habits and attitudes shape our lives.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Suppose you are wrong? How would you know? How would you test for that possibility? Thomas Sowell

Having a year of blogging behind me means I can look at a year ago and see what I was writing about. Last year I was writing about mother love is the greatest love of all. I don’t mean mother’s love their children more than father’s do, but in the wild no one says don’t get between a father and his cub.

Today I am reading that the facts don’t really matter if we repeat them often enough, we believe them. There is a glitch in the human psyche that equates repetition with truth.

“Repetition makes things seem more plausible,” says Lynn Hasher, a psychologist at the University of Toronto whose research team recognized this effect in the 1970s. Is this where the idea of affirmations came from? Telling ourselves, we are beautiful, powerful, successful, over and over again hoping one day to believe we are who we want to be. Or the reverse, telling ourselves, and being told by others we will never get a break, never be successful, no matter how hard we try, so maybe it’s better not to try at all?

We have to be careful about what we listen to, swallow, and believe. We have to be careful what we tell ourselves, and what we tell our children. My son was telling me last night about Thomas Sowell an American black economist who served in the Marine Corps during the Korean War. He said Thomas Sowell was speaking somewhere and young black men came up to him saying they would love to be pilots but they wouldn’t be accepted if they tried to join the air force. He was dumbfounded by the ideas these young men had been brainwashed with, that they shouldn’t even try, shouldn’t even apply.

It seems hard to believe it is true people think they shouldn’t even try.  What happened to, “It is better to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all?”

Is it more important than ever to try to ferret out the truth of all the propaganda, misinformation, and fake news we hear? What are the questions we should be asking? What is fairness? What is equality? What is justice? What does equal opportunity look like?

Much of the social history of the Western world over the past three decades has been a history of replacing what worked with what sounded good. Thomas Sowell

Do we want the truth, or do we want someone to tell us things we know can’t possibly be true?  If we don’t accept and embrace the truth then we will be fed lies, because lies are what we want to hear, and the person with the best lies is who we vote for.

Are we at a place in history where we need to look at things as they really are? Not how we wish they could be. If it is true that differences in habits and attitudes are the differences that result in the differences in economic outcomes, don’t we need to recognize this, and not pretend it isn’t true? If it is true, then everyone can change their habits and attitudes. Isn’t that good news?

The fact that so many successful politicians are such shameless liars is not only a reflection on them; it is also a reflection on us. When people want the impossible, only liars can satisfy. Thomas Sowell

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Discrimination and Disparities Hardcover – Mar 20 2018

by Thomas Sowell (Author) 4.7 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews#1 Best Sellerin Distribution & Warehouse Management


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Family and community. They don’t just happen we have to build them.

Family and community don't just happen, we have to build them.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Without a sense of caring, there can be no sense of community. Anthony J. D’Angelo

On Saturday we went to a friend’s house close to the Toronto Jazz Festival and walked up and down the street enjoying the music. A night spent with friends, music, and laughter. We spent part of the evening in a backyard created for entertaining right out of a Better Homes and Gardens design book. When it rained we huddled together in the covered bar.

The rain dampened the evening and everyone left early except four of us and our hosts who sat at the kitchen table and laughed till our sides hurt. Today I will pay the parking ticket we received. I guess that’s the price of admission.

People must spend enormous amounts of time on their front gardens. Our friend’s garden was as beautiful as everyone else’s. If you aren’t a gardener you must not fit in very well. A profusion of blooms and mature trees line the streets. What a beautiful area to live in. A walk to the beach is as easy as a walk to the coffee shop up the street. Quaint shops and restaurants are all within easy walking distance. The fitness level is probably higher because of such a walkable area.

The building block of every community is family. Paul Singer

How do we create that sense of community? Why does it exist in some areas and not in others? Is it because the garages are in the back creating a more inviting path to the front door? Whatever it is, it’s something and a wonderful community has been created. Maybe part of it is being quaint, and old, every house has character. Maybe part of it is money. Maybe part of it is everyone taking pride in their community, and everyone doing their part to keep up their little space resulting in a cohesive whole that shows us what a community can be.

It makes me realize we need to get out more, walk around in various communities and appreciate the special flavor of individual communities. It also shows me I need to get out in the garden and pull the weeds. It takes time to tend to our gardens but without tending we can’t have a beautiful garden. It takes time to build character, gardens, and to grow mature trees.

It is like being around someone’s family that is warm, welcoming, and close. That warmth and closeness didn’t just happen. We have to build our communities and our families. We can’t pick our flowers in someone else’s garden. If we want flowers to pick we’ll have to grow and tend our own garden. If we want a happy family, we have to grow and tend to that too.

Is it finding the best place to live, or is it creating the best place where we are? A happy home filled with love, laughter, belonging, acceptance, and joy is our choice. We can bloom where we are planted. We can plant flowers or weeds. We can tend our gardens, marriages, and relationships or we can let them fall into disrepair and wonder what happened. We happened; we make our choices every day to make things better or to make things worse.  

Home should be an anchor, a port in a storm, a refuge, a happy place in which to dwell, a place where we are loved and where we can love. Marvin J. Ashton

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Love Makes a Family Board book – Dec 24 2018

by Sophie Beer (Author) 5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews


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Living through the depths of despair and moving on. Do we get stronger in the broken places?

Do we get stronger in the broken places? Living through the depths of despair and moving on.

And suddenly you know: It’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings. Meister Eckhart

Last night my husband and I went out to see Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. It was good and gives us things to talk about. One of the things I want from a movie is things to talk about.

As we sat in our seats an old friend came up to us. She’d seen us walk in but I hadn’t seen her. It’s almost ten years ago that the worst happened in her life. Her husband died when he had a heart attack on a family outing.

She and I and other girlfriends went out to dinner when she’d been widowed about a year and a half. She was doing well, the kids were doing well. Ten years later she’s happily remarried; her new husband of three and a half years has two children. It is as if her kids gained siblings she says.

We think that once the worst has happened our life will never get back on its moorings again. My mother had a fifty-year marriage and five children after she was widowed with three children. Life goes on; we don’t know how it will unfold.

We may not like the turn our life has taken. It may seem unfair that this has happened to us. It has happened and we must go forward. I have never had to deal with this heartache myself, but because my mother did I feel I can talk about it.

At some point. you just have to let go of what you thought should happen and live in what is happening. Unknown

We often talk about life as if it’s a choice, often we only get to react to what happens in our lives. Whatever has happened in our lives is always there. Perhaps it is like a not blank canvas, we can paint on it what we want, and what was on that canvas adds depth to our lives that wouldn’t be there without everything we’ve experienced.

I love happy endings, to think things will work out in the end. If someone hasn’t found their new someone then it is still in the future. Adventure awaits. Life isn’t over till it’s over and there are new highs and lows coming for all of us.

Moving on doesn’t mean forgetting. It means you choose happiness over hurt. Unknown


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Mending of a Broken Heart Paperback – Sep 1 2016

by James Michael Castleton (Author)4.6 out of 5 stars 5 reviews from Amazon.com | Be the first to review this item


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Self-care, how can we take care of anyone if we don’t take care of ourselves?

How can we take care of anyone if we don't take care of ourselves?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Treat yourself as someone you are responsible for helping.” Jordan Peterson

I haven’t seen a glorious sunrise since Monday. Not seeing one every day makes me more appreciative when I see one that takes my breath away.

Last night was another great night at Toastmasters. We had nine guests and that they came out on a beautiful summer’s eve says something. We had three speakers of which I was one. There is so much to learn from listening and watching others speak. We are all individuals with our own style, our own strengths, weaknesses, personality, and presentation styles.

How do we become effortlessly witty, sarcastic, funny and comfortable in front of the group? Some of us are entertaining, informative, and funny. Speaking in public is a skill that as we develop we create our own style. In the beginning, we may emulate someone but as we continue on our journey our style becomes our own.

I’ve said it before that developing as a public speaker does more for us than we can imagine. As one of our members said in her thought for the day, it is a form of self-care. We are doing something for ourselves that improves our lives, our communication, and when we improve our communication we can improve our relationships.

Often we don’t say everything we had prepared in our speech. Sometimes they flow better than what we practiced, sometimes they don’t. Usually, even though we may be aware of the mistakes we made, or thoughts we left out, our audience is not. Every speech is a chance to stretch ourselves. We stretch ourselves by finding a topic, we stretch ourselves by accepting the challenge, and we stretch ourselves by not feeling totally prepared but giving our speech anyway.

Sometimes we’ll find that feeling underprepared gives us a little edge, we are in the danger zone and that is where magic can happen. We don’t know our material so well that it is memorized, but we know it well enough to take it where it wants to go. There is something that happens when we are giving a speech that we can never prepare for. This is audience interaction. We can say something that resonates with the audience that encourages us to expand upon that thought, and at that moment our speech can transcend what it was when we wrote it.

Jordan Peterson questions for a good life:

What might my life look like if I were caring for myself properly?

What should I be doing when I have some freedom, to improve my health, expand my knowledge, and strengthen my body?

What career would challenge me and render me productive and helpful, so that I should shoulder my share of the load, and enjoy the consequences?

Some people are comfortable never knowing exactly what they will say. The more comfortable we get with the idea that if we know our material and general organization we will know what to say next. We will interact with the audience, they will interact with us. This is what can get us hooked on public speaking.

For whatever reason, I get emotional when I give my speeches. Even when I think I’ve got this, I often find emotion creeping into my speech. I was watching a Joe Rogan podcast on Youtube with Jordan Peterson. A seasoned speaker like Jordan Peterson was overcome with emotion as he talked about how we should try and be the strongest person at our father’s funeral. If it happens and we continue with our speech, it is what it is.

One of the things we should be okay with is giving a bad speech. The win is getting up and giving the speech at all. We learn more by taking the risk and giving a bad not quite prepared speech than if we wait for the perfect time to prepare. Boldness is rewarded; if we are willing to be a fool in public we can accomplish great things. Do it badly, but do it.

As we give speeches we have to look deep within ourselves to find things to say. We may face some of our shortcomings, fears, challenges, and unrealized dreams. C.S. Lewis says, “If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end, if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin and in the end, despair.

I’m sure there are some negative stories people have about Toastmasters. That is probably mostly about personalities and conflict within groups of people, not the growth that is required to be an active Toastmaster. We grow by getting out of our comfort zone, again, and again.

It isn’t how fast we progress, but that we progress that counts. We are all on a journey, if we work to make progress we will enjoy it more, and make more of a difference in our own and other’s lives.

Live properly as an individual. Because you’re more powerful than you think. Jordan Peterson

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, self-care, and love.

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

by Jordan B. Peterson (Author, Contributor) 4.7 out of 5 stars 1,157 customer reviewsAmazon Charts #2 this week


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