Keeping Your Word Is Important

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay


If you give your word to another, then stay true to it.
If you give your promise to someone, then hold tightly to it.
If you say you are going to do something, then follow through and do it.
If you say that you are reliable, then go ahead and prove it.

 

The Bands Dilemma

Warren was a really fun guy, everybody loved him. No matter where he was the “life of the party.” As I got to know more people in his circle of friends I noticed something interesting. People would laugh and joke around with Warren, but when he wasn’t present in the group, it was like they didn’t even know him.

I had gone to one of the larger coffee shops in the area to hear a local band. I sat at a table close to the band to get the full effect of the music. On break, I overheard the lead singer and the band leader talking.

“We really need someone to fill in for Frank when he’s out of town,” the leader said.

“I’ve talked to a couple of guys who play rhythm guitar, but they’re booked during those weeks. I’m not sure who else to ask. I even checked musicianspage.com, but I couldn’t find anyone,” the lead singer replied.

I just couldn’t help it. I had to speak up, “Hey, guys. Sorry, but I overheard your conversation. I know a guitarist who is really good. I know him personally and I know he would love to play.”

Both guys came and sat at my table, “Who would that be,” one of them asked.

“Warren. You know him. He’s usually here. He’s a really good guitarist and singer. I know he’d love to play,” I said.

“Warren?” They both laughed.

“What’s so funny? He’s always handing out cards and playing his music for people. I’ve seen him even give away free CDs,” I said.

“Warren’s a joke.”

“Why do you say that? He’s a really nice guy,” I said with an attitude of defending him.

“Then you must not know him very well.”

I wrinkled my brow in question, “I don’t understand.”

“Oh yes, he’s always passing out cards and CDs. His music is good and he’s a great guitar player, but he’s a little, no, a lot, weak in integrity.  Where is he tonight? I haven’t seen him.”

I shrugged my shoulders, “I don’t know.”

“Right. He said he’d be here with his guitar to give it a try, but he’s not here. He’s always saying he’ll be here or do this or that, but he never shows up. We both learned a long time ago that his word isn’t worth two cents. It’s really sad because he’s really talented. We all learned to say, ‘We’ll see you there,” knowing he’ll never show. How do you know him?”

I hung my head, “Well, I guess I’m a slow learner. We were supposed to meet here, for a date, but he’s not here. I’ll wait a little longer.”

“Good luck. He pops in now and then. He’s always the “life of the party,” but he never keeps his word. I’m really sorry.  This is a hard way to learn,” the bandleader said.

 

Principle

In days past, a man’s word and a handshake were his bond. No forms, no lawyers, no contracts were required. A man’s word was his contract. It was a known and followed fact that a man’s words matched his actions.

Like Horton said in Dr. Seuss, “I said what I meant and I meant what I said.”

In today’s culture, though, it seems to be different. We’ve all had experiences where someone says they’ll call, but they don’t. Someone says they’ll be at a meeting, but they don’t show. Someone says they’ll finish a project, but they don’t. They always have some excuse.

In our modern culture, we have not prioritized or put much value in keeping one’s word. We rationalize and justify it: Things happen – it’s no big deal. Yet, we don’t realize that it is a serious character issue to NOT keep your word.

 

Why People Do Not Keep Their Word

There are a variety of reasons why a person doesn’t keep their word. Some people say yes because they are afraid or haven’t learned how to use their “No.” Some are afraid the other person will get upset or angry with them if they say “No.” Let’s look at that for a second. If you say yes, but don’t follow through or even call how do you think they are going to feel? Do you think they might be even angrier? Could it affect your relationship?

Do you say yes, planning on doing it, but then have a change of heart and not follow through? Do you go into rebellion or resistance – I’m not going to be told what to do? Is it more important to feel like you’re in control than to keep your word?

You say you will do something, but circumstances change and it’s not as convenient as you thought. Perhaps, it will take more time or there is a monetary cost involved, so you decide it isn’t worth it. In the long run, what is it going to cost? Will it cost your friendship? What will it cost your reputation?

Do you say you will do something then go into rebellion and make excuses like, “I forgot,” “I haven’t had time,” “I’m afraid I won’t do it right.”

Wouldn’t it be better to either say “no” upfront or talk to the person later and say you can’t do it? Why leave a person hanging? Even if you come back later you may have already damaged your reputation and your credibility.

 

What Does God Think?

Numbers 23:19 “God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?”

When God says He will do something, He does it. When He gives a promise, He keeps it. We can count on God to keep His word every time. Not one jot or tittle of God’s Word will pass away before all of it is fulfilled (Matthew 5:18)

“In the Old Testament are laws saying that if you make a vow, you’d better keep it (Numbers 30:2; Deuteronomy 23:21-23). They tell us that it’s better not to say something than to say it and not do it. When you think about it, breaking your word is actually breaking the Ninth Commandment, which forbids bearing false witness (Exodus 20:16). When you give your word, failing to follow through makes you a LIAR.” – Joel Hilliker

 

Reasons To Keep Your Word

Integrity

Integrity by definition is adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty. Keeping my word means something to me. I don’t take it lightly.

Warren, through his life, had been lax, careless and negligent, in keeping his word. It began to bother him when a few weeks before he had told the band leader that he would show up to fill in for Frank. As he walked away he heard the bandleader and the lead singer laughing, “He won’t show. He never does, so who else can we get.”

It had been a week since Warren, promised to be at the coffee shop today. The minister’s sermon on Sunday and everything he heard online seemed to be pointing at his integrity.

He left early to be at the coffee shop on time. He noticed the traffic ahead was stopped, dead still. He veered off the interstate to a side road, but he knew he’d be late.

For the first time ever he was concerned about being late. He knew it was going to take time to reestablish his reputation.

 

Trust and Reliability

Do you trust people who don’t keep their word? Most of us don’t. It usually limits our desire to spend time with that person.

Warren had begun to notice that people didn’t want to spend time with him. When he’d suggest a meeting to “jam” or go out and hear music, he couldn’t get anyone to go with him.

Ginny, the woman he was supposed to meet tonight was the only one who’s agreed to go out with him in months. He finally realized that people didn’t trust him. He hoped Ginny was still at the coffee shop when he arrived.

 

Respect

As Warren was hustling to get to the coffee shop as soon as possible, he remembered the pastor’s sermon from last Sunday. He was saying how we lose respect when we aren’t trustworthy.

He really wanted to be respected as a musician and a man. The pastor termed respect as esteem and a sense of worth of a person. He also said that respect had to be earned by keeping your word.

Warren knew he had a lot of work to do and being late to the coffee shop wasn’t going to help.

 

Self-Worth

The pastor also stated that we can’t feel a sense of self-worth when we let others down. He said that people who renege on their word do not value themselves enough to act with integrity. His final statement kept echoing in his mind, “Self-worth is the result of treating yourself and others with care and respect.” He had never even considered treating himself with care and respect.

If he didn’t treat himself with respect why should others treat him with respect?

 

Personal Power

The pastor told a story about a man in history who chose to die rather than lose his integrity and respect. He was a man of great personal power who was greatly loved by his family and others.

Warren really wanted to be that type of person. He wanted to be loved and respected by others. He also wanted to be recognized and valued as a musician.

Warren pulled into the parking lot. Often, if he was late he’d turn around and leave, but not tonight. He looked at his phone, 45 minutes late. He grabbed his guitar and rushed into the coffee shop.

He saw Ginny and the band members sitting at the table closest to the stage.

He took a deep breath and proceeded to the table

“Hi,” Warren said. “I’m so sorry I’m late. There was a really bad accident on the interstate. I had to take side roads, but so did everybody else. I’m ready to play.”

He reached over and kissed Ginny on the top of the head, “I’m so glad you’re still here.”

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How To Gain Control After You Blow It

Image by Johannes Plenio from Pixabay
Image by Johannes Plenio from Pixabay

Image by Johannes Plenio from Pixabay

Develop the mindset that says, “I cannot fail.” Move away from past failures. This is a new day and there is a fresh mindset.

My Test

I was downtown Knoxville stopping at a restaurant for a commercial pickup. The streets were packed with cars, scooters, and people walking from store to store taking advantage of the cooler days. The weather had been so hot and humid people seemed to stay indoors instead of venturing outside. But not today!

A gentle breeze wafted the sounds of music coming from the stage on Market Square. Most of the outside tables at the restaurant were filled with people sipping their drinks or nibbling on what remained of their lunch. It was a laid back day for everyone, including the chef where I was picking up food. It seemed like he was taking forever to get the To-Go order finished.

Sitting in the restaurant, waiting for the order to be completed, I happened to look up from my phone where I was winning the last hand of solitaire, to see a police officer walking casually down the sidewalk checking the parking meters. I had a parking permit in my window, as instructed, and the meters where I parked were designated “commercial parking,” or so I thought.

I thought I had everything covered and didn’t see any need to rush out as he approached my car. I went on with my game. At my next look, I jumped up out of my seat and was through the door in seconds. I’ve had so many tickets I can’t afford another one.

The officer walked to the back of my car and flashed a picture of my license plate. As I rushed toward my car and the officer I could feel the anger inside rising. How dare he give me a ticket, I did everything I’ve been told to do.

With each step, my attitude became more intense saying over and over in my mind, “How Dare You Give Me A Ticket.” As I approached, the officer didn’t bother to look up. He continued clicking on his hand-held electronic ticket issuing device.

As I approached I said, “Sir.”

I did manage to say, “Sir.”

“Sir, why are you giving me a ticket? My parking permit is on the dashboard as instructed. It allows me to park in commercial loading zones. See, it says right there, Commercial Loading Zone.” As I pointed to the permit.

It was all I could do to be half-way civil. I kept moving closer and closer. At this point, I could feel my anger rising to epic proportions.

The officer continued typing as he turned to look at me, now eye to eye, my tone echoed through my mind, not a tone of respect or even civility, but a harsh demanding tone, a fighting tone, perhaps.

“Lady,” the officer said. “This isn’t a commercial zone. They are specifically for the dialysis office upstairs. See the permit number of the Parking Meter Bags. It doesn’t match the number on your permit.”

I looked the permit on my dashboard then at the number on the Parking Meter Bags. I was so embarrassed.

A thought hit me like a brick wall of bad odors. My attitude stunk. I had made a vow to regulating my emotions instead of allowing them to run wild and the first time my commitment was tested, I failed!!

I backed up and turned to the officer.

“Thank you for explaining it. I did not understand,” I said as I took the ticket.

 

Regulate Your Emotions

Typically, we get angry because of a feeling of powerlessness when we are faced with something that seems unfair. Your anger, then, is an attempt to quickly bring things back into balance. It’s like raising your fist to injustice. This quick flash of anger rarely resolves the issue. If anything it makes it worse, causing the other person to respond in like manner – angry.

God had been telling me to control my emotions, especially my anger. But, in the heat of the moment, I felt unjustly accused. I was tested and I failed. I did catch myself before I went off on the officer and embarrassed myself, but it wasn’t soon enough. I still felt the anger, stress, and tension rising, when I took the time to feel it.

“Emotional self-regulation or emotion regulation is the ability to respond to emotionally intense situations in a manner that is socially acceptable, yet, still remain flexible enough to be spontaneous in your reactions and maintain the ability to delay spontaneous reactions when needed.” – How To Regulate Your Emotions

Does God test us?

I looked up the word “test” in the bible. There were 276 references for just the word “test.” The first reference (Genesis 22:1) was about God testing Abraham to see if he was willing to leave home and follow God to establish a new land and new people. Hebrews chapter 11 tells of all the people in the Old Testament who lived by faith. Their faith was tested.

God had a special time and place for Joseph. Yet, he went through 13 years of testing before he became the second in command in Egypt. Joseph passed the test.

In today’s culture we test everything:

  • Did we make the right decision?
  • Scientifically, we do split tests to test new medication to see which performs the best.
  • When a person wants to change a behavior, they can test the implementation of the new behavior – behavior profiling.
  • Tests are conducted continuously in marketing.

Yes, if you make a commitment, a sincere commitment to change, it will be tested, whether you are looking at it from a spiritual perceptive or not.

 

Gain Control After Failing The Test

Image by Gino Crescoli from Pixabay

Image by Gino Crescoli from Pixabay

Become Aware

I began my change by paying attention to my emotional triggers. For example, I became more aware of the tension and stress in my body. I had been doing well until I saw the police officer starting to write me a ticket.

It happened so fast that I didn’t pay any attention to the tension and stress rising in my body. I was more intent on getting to the office before he put my information into his ticket machine.

In becoming aware of your anger, you must also become aware of the benefits. There is always a pay-off.

Photo by Icons8 team on Unsplash

Photo by Icons8 team on Unsplash

Benefits of Anger

  • Anger gives an instant “reward’ of feeling morally superior.
  • Gives a “justified” sense of self-righteousness.
  • Bolsters a shaky self-worth.
  • Defends against anxiety and vulnerability.
  • Adrenaline rush gives a sense of empowerment.
  • Protects against experiencing depression and embarrassment.
  • Restores a sense of control.
  • Allows you to get your way through intimidation.

Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay

Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay (2)

Relax – STOP!!!

Think before you speak. Discharge the “fight or flight” energy before you do anything.

Anger is a reaction to a perceived threat which causes every muscle in your body to tense up, ready to do battle. In today’s world it’s unlikely, but not totally out of the question in light of all the recent mass shootings that you will go in for the kill, like in days past. As anger readies your body and your mind for the kill it is likely that you will verbally attack the other person.

In this readiness state you are thinking, “Me right, you wrong!” Or “Me good, you bad!” Your mind is rehearsing that you have been disregarded, falsely accused, disrespected, distrusted, devalued, cheated, discriminated against and so on. You are then looking for revenge.

In order to not attack, you must calm your body and your mind before doing anything or saying anything.

Photo by Amy Skyer on Unsplash

Photo by Amy Skyer on Unsplash – Touchstone

To begin calming yourself at the moment begin deep, rhythmic, diaphragmatic breathing. Also, create a “touchstone” as a
codeword or an image that you can quickly focus your attention on that calms you.

After you have calmed substantially, you can work more on calming your mind and body by doing one or more of the following:

  • some form of meditation.
  • listening to tranquilizing music.
  • visualization or guided imagery.
  • vigorous exercise to relieve the tension.

If you don’t already have a means of relaxing find one. Look up one of these methods on the internet and practice it so when anger raises its ugly head you can deal with it immediately. It’s essential.

Photo by Sebastian Herrmann on Unsplash

Photo by Sebastian Herrmann on Unsplash

Identify the Real Problem

Anger comes from your negative appraisal of the situation and negative core beliefs. If you are a person who gravitates to the negative you may assume the situation is meant for your harm.

As a child, I learned to assume that I was being made fun of, excluded, or intended to hurt. So, as an adult, it was a natural reaction to assume the negative position and launch into “Fight or Flight.”

I am learning that I must alter my negative outlook, belief, which then will change the emotion that is tied to my belief.

Here are some questions to help with identifying the real problem:

  • Did he/she really mean what I think I heard?
  • Do I need to verify my assumption?
  • Am I taking this situation more seriously than I should?
  • Is he/she trying to take advantage of me or is this my assumption?
  • How does he/she feel about this situation? Are his/her feelings important also?
  • Am I just being self-righteous?
  • Can I stop focusing on the negative aspects of this situation?
  • What are his/her good qualities, instead of their bad qualities?
  • What are the facts in this situation?
  • Can I prove he/she tried intentionally to hurt or embarrass me?
  • See this situation from the other person’s point of view. How does it change how I think and feel?

 

Image by ThuyHaBich from Pixabay

Image by ThuyHaBich from Pixabay

Choose Rest and Peace

John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

 Don’t allow yourself to be subject to your old way of thinking, to your negative beliefs about yourself. Move away from your past failures. This is a new day. Develop a new, fresh mindset with renewed hope.

Peace is the capacity to live free from any disturbance, your failures, your past. The world, in general, has no peace, it is disturbing by its very nature, watch the evening news for confirmation. It interferes with your ability to find rest and peace by promoting anger, fear, anxiety, worry, stress, and negativity.

Jesus has given us peace. Real peace is tranquility, an inner calm that moves out of your inner being to your conscious mind.

To those who have committed their lives to Jesus as their savior, peace comes from God’s presence within their spirit. You can call up God’s peace from inside at any time.

Peace is a choice. You can choose to move away from the negative. With God’s strength, you can say “no” to the negative beliefs, thoughts, and the accompanying emotions.

When you commit your life to Jesus, you commit to rest and peace as a way of life. It is a way of seeing, thinking, believing, speaking, and acting which comes from a response to God and not a reaction to life situations. It is learned and developed with practice.

 

 

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How To Deal With The Adult Silent Temper Tantrum

Image by gregkorg from Pixabay
Image by gregkorg from Pixabay

Image by gregkorg from Pixabay

“Few realize how loud their expressions really are. Be kind with what you wordlessly say.” ― Richelle E. Goodrich, Making Wishes

The Silent Treatment

Franklin was a special kind of guy. He did have a good heart until he didn’t. If he got into one of his moods, watch out, the silence was deafening.

I can see some of you tilting your heads trying to figure out what I’m saying.

Franklin came from a little hole in the road in southeast Kansas during the dust bowl days. He told how millions of acres of native grassland had been plowed up for planting with the rising need for wheat during World War I. Then a four-year drought-hit and everything shriveled up and died leaving the topsoil to the mercy of the wind.

His favorite story to tell was about Black Sunday, the year he turned 21. A massive windstorm with black billowing clouds of dirt hundreds of feet high blew through where they lived.  People hurried home so they wouldn’t be caught in the cloud of dirt, which meant sure suffocation.  All transportation came to a standstill. All the doors and windows were shut with blanked over as many cracks as possible, But, the fine dust still found its way through minute cracks in every building.

Franklin and most of the people in southeast Kansas packed up their belongings and moved west. Franklin and his family settled in Washington where it rains. They had had enough dust and dirt for a lifetime. They wanted green.

Franklin had had very little education or schooling as he called it, but he was good with money. Or should we say he was a penny pincher? He wasn’t much for spending money or giving much away, but he always had time to help someone else.

Without much education and very little family life, he developed his own ways of dealing with situations.

He had a bad temper, but he tried very hard to control it, especially since he married a woman preacher. A temper tantrum was not something that would have gone over well. It wouldn’t have passed muster.

He developed his own silent temper tantrum, a quiet way of expressing unhappiness, sadness, anger, hurt, pain, disappointment or whatever emotion he was feeling at the moment.

You knew when he was upset. You would see him at the dinner table or pass him in the hallway and all you would hear was his silence screaming at you. He would keep his face as expressionless as possible, but you knew. You always knew. He was not happy with something.

He didn’t disappear in the flesh, but he disappeared in spirit. It might have been easier to deal with if he’d just yelled or cussed and got it out of his system, but he didn’t. He would churn on whatever it was for days on end because he couldn’t get it out of his mind.

As the only kid in the household, I would go to any lengths to avoid him during those “silent temper tantrums.”

“The silent treatment grants useless power, but solves nothing.”

 Adult Temper Tantrums

Franklin is not the only person who throws silent temper tantrums.

Roberta Satow, Ph.D. states that “being able to calm and console yourself is a central part of being a resilient adult, yet many people are unable to do it.”

Franklin, was the owner and operator, of a nursing home and eventually became the Justice of the Peace in his town. He was well respected among the patients, the help, and citizens in the town. Yet, every time he was frustrated or disappointed or didn’t like what someone said or did, he’d throw an adult “silent temper tantrum.” He’d retreat as much as possible from everyone around him telling himself, “I don’t care, it doesn’t matter,” which Roberta Satow, Ph.D. states is an adult version of kicking down a sandcastle. Franklin never learned how to tolerate deal with his emotions or how communication his feelings.

Temper tantrums in children are disruptive behaviors or emotional outbursts that usually involve physical acts or yelling. Children throw temper tantrums in response to unmet needs or desires. Also, very often, they don’t know how to express their needs in words or know how to control what they feel.

Adult temper tantrums usually aren’t physical. They may involve yelling nasty comments or cursing, abruptly ending the conversation and leaving the room, disappearing or going silent. During temper tantrums, adults often do or say things that they later regret, like threatening to quit a job or end a relationship.

Roberta Satow, Ph.D. states that adult temper tantrums aren’t just a lack of necessary skills to deal with emotions, but they indicate a hole, a missing part, of their sense of self.

 

Dealing With Adult Temper Tantrums

When children don’t learn good coping skills their temper tantrums are continued on into adulthood.

  1. Stay Calm. It’s impossible to reason with an adult who is having a temper tantrum. It’s very easy to get sucked into their temper tantrum if you do try to reason with them. Also, it’s often difficult to get away from them if you allow yourself to get sucked in. Then it’s not only a temper tantrum, but it becomes a confrontation. If you sense things are escalating pull out before it’s too late. 

 

  1. Realize that you can’t control the other person. It is very difficult to acknowledge that you can’t control what the other person does or says. You can offer help, but you can’t control them.

 

  1. Ask what is upsetting the other person. Adults who do throw temper tantrum are usually not good communicators. Calmly and patiently, yet, persistently ask he/she to explain. You may say, “I know you said there was nothing wrong, but your actions and tone say that you are upset.” If you’re dealing with a silent temper tantrum, ask if they are upset and what can you do to help. You may or may not get a response, especially if you have to leave a phone message. But, it’s worth a try.

 

  1. Assess Potential Danger. If the person having a temper tantrum is on drugs or alcohol or threatens physical violence. Leave the premises while you can and call 911. In some situations, it becomes difficult to leave because the person throwing the temper tantrum won’t allow you to leave or call 91. In that situation, you must do everything within your power to calm the situation, which means make sure you are completely calm.

 

  1. Validate the other person’s emotions to show you understand. “I understand that you feel I was criticizing you unjustly.” “I understand that you feel you are right and justified in what you are saying and doing.” It is very important that they feel heard and understood. Many times when they feel heard and really understood their emotions will calm. In showing understanding you have to be sincere. You can’t say this with any kind of attitude or it will make the situation instantly worse. You must be sincere.

 

  1. Apologize for any wrongdoing on your part. If you had a part in how they feel apologize. If you do not feel that you did anything wrong you can still apologize that they have been hurt. Use the words “we” and “us” instead of “you” and “your”. In the silent temper tantrum. If you leave a voice mail, apologize for anything you did wrong.

 

  1. Stick to the facts. Don’t go wandering off into blame or he said, she said. Stick to the facts.

 

  1. Set Boundaries. After you express your understanding in a very calm voice and attitude you must set boundaries for their behavior. For Example, “I understand that you feel you are right and justified in what you are saying and doing, BUT YOU CANNOT THROW THINGS AND CURSE AT ME.”

If the person continues with his/her temper tantrum then: 

  1. Give them space. Adult temper tantrums are or can be very interactive. As mentioned above, it’s very easy to get sucked into the tantrum until it becomes a confrontation. If the tantrum doesn’t subside, tell them you will be happy to discuss the issue with them at a later time when he/she has calmed down, but at the moment you will be leaving. Usually, leaving the room will facilitate the tantrum ending quicker. If he/she follows you to a different room, then leave the house.

Conclusion

Adult temper tantrums are difficult to deal with. The silent tantrums are even more difficult because there is often no communication. He/she has never learned to express or be comfortable with his/her emotions when angry or upset. Consequently, when they have a problem they run from the problem and all persons involved because they don’t know what to say or how to handle their feelings.

The silent temper tantrum is often a very passive-aggressive way of punishing you to satisfy their anger. If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of the silent tantrum, especially when you have to idea what you did wrong, you know just how ruthlessly effective this form of emotional manipulation can be. It leaves you feeling guilty. The longer it goes on, all you want to do is find out what you did wrong and make it right, even if you didn’t do anything wrong in the first place. The silence becomes difficult to deal with.

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5 Steps To Exchange Your Bad Habits For Good Ones

Image by Gundula Vogel from Pixabay
Image by Gundula Vogel from Pixabay

Image by Gundula Vogel from Pixabay

“Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility.” Sigmund Freud

 

Developing Bad Habits

Amy grew up in a very abusive home with five kids. All of the siblings were about a year or two apart. The parents were very overwhelmed with all the kids and responsibilities.

Dad wasn’t much of a homebody, but when he was home you could find him on the couch with the TV on and a stack of beer bottles on the floor.

Mom worked nights and slept in the daytime while the kids were in school. During the summer it was up to the older kids to take care of the younger ones keeping them outside so mom could sleep.

Basically, they had kids raising kids.

Amy, the middle child, had the middle child syndrome which is the feeling of exclusion. She wasn’t the baby and not one of the older children who were in control. She felt “left out” most of the time.

She developed very negative beliefs about herself which were carried into adulthood. Her negative beliefs kept her from even trying to go to college and achieve her dream of being a doctor.

She did go to school and became a lab technician in the local hospital. The hospital had a counselor/clergy on staff for the patients, families, and staff. Amy became friends with the counselor who encouraged her to take steps to change her negative thoughts and feelings about herself.

After following the steps, similar to those below, she was able to change her negative beliefs and feelings about herself and gained the courage to go back to school to fulfill her dream of being a medical doctor.

If Amy can do it, you can do it.

 

Preparing For Changing

In order to make changes in your life, you have to take responsibility for your life. Nobody else can do it for you. So, do you really want to change? Like I’ve said many times before, it’s a choice. It’s Your Choice!!! You can do this!!!

Image by David Schwarzenberg from Pixabay

Image by David Schwarzenberg from Pixabay

Journaling plays a large part in taking control of your habits and successfully making changes in your life. Journaling will help you become aware of your habits and create an action plan to exchange your bad habits for good ones.

Aristotle once postulated “horror vacui” (Nature Abhors a Vacuum). It turns out nature really can’t stand a perfect vacuum. Therefore, it is very difficult, perhaps, impossible to just stop doing something. You need to replace it.

Get a notebook or open a page on your computer, tablet or phone. You will receive specific instructions on what to write in your journal as we go through the steps.

 

Focus On One Habit To Change

You can only change one (1) habit at a time.

A habit is actually made up of three (3) components:

  • Trigger
  • Action
  • Reward

All habits have a reward or they wouldn’t have become habits. We rarely, if ever, do something just because.

Step #1 Identify Your Habit Loop

The Habit Loop – Name your habit:

For example smoking, drinking, procrastinating, cursing, worrying, feeling insecure in certain environments causing you to sit in the back quietly, etc. When determining a habit to change, first ask yourself the question: does this habit serve me well or does it hurt me? Seriously look at the habit.

 

Identify The Trigger:

  • What happens right before you get the urge?
  • What were you thinking about just before or when you got the urge?
  • What were you feeling?
  • What did you do?

 

Identify The Reward:

  • Describe how you feel during the habit?
  • Immediately after?
  • Describe the psychological reward you get from the habit?

 

Image by William Iven from Pixabay

Image by William Iven from Pixabay

Monitoring Progress – Answer the following questions

  • How I’ll prepare and set myself up for success?
  • How I will track days when I succeeded?
  • How I’ll be firm but fair with myself on days I do not succeed?
  • Who I can ask to support me in the process?

 

We all have automatic thinking, like when you drive a car. You can go from home to work without really thinking about what you are doing, the trip, and everything you pass along the way, unless, something happens that is unusual.

We also have habit thinking similar to automatic thinking. Basically, they are habits that you have developed, usually as a child, that go unattended, rolling along willy-nilly throughout your life, doing their damage, because they are never questioned. Some habits don’t really cause damage, where others do. But in both cases, they are based on habitual thinking.

For example, I watched my husband at the dinner table the other day. He arranges his plate of food in a certain order to get the most out of the flavors. He had the pancakes cut and stacked with the eggs in a clockwise position to the pancakes, then the ham clockwise to the eggs. As he ate, he cut perfect squares from the pancakes. He developed this habit as a child and still does it to this day without any prior thought – habitual thinking.

 

Step #2: Identify Your Weaknesses (All habits are resistant to change)

Habits like to be in control. By that I mean, they don’t give up control easily. When you start looking at your designated habit it will throw reasons at you of why it should stay. Look for these Expressions of Control:

  • Yes, buts
  • Have-tos
  • Worrying or what-iffing
  • Can’ts
  • Guilts
  • Black-and-white-thinking
  • Doubts
  • Shoulds
  • Name-calling
  • Not caring or apathy
  • Hostility
  • Lying
  • Manipulating
  • Mountain-out-of-molehill generalizing
  • Fatalistic thinking/doom and gloom

 

Journal Entry:

In your journal list any Expressions of Control thoughts that enter your mind. Remember, you are in control. Don’t allow any of these control thoughts to stay in your mind. Kick them out. Tell them to leave. Evict them.

 

Step #3: Identify Fact Or Fiction

Does it ever feel like there are two people living inside your head, both trying to talk at the same time and convince you to go their way (healthy, spontaneous, trusting self vs. insecure, distrusting controlling self)?

Or perhaps the Angel-Devil Thoughts:

  • Yes, I can. No I can’t.
  • Maybe I could try…but what if I fail?

 

Journal Entry:

Write down all the similar thoughts that go through your mind. After each though, write whether it is Fact or Fiction.

 

For example (check the right one):

  • I can’t handle this job. ___ Fact ___ Fiction
  • At fifty-four years old, I’ll never find a boyfriend. ___ Fact ___ Fiction
  • If she spoke to me like that, obviously, she doesn’t like me. ___ Fact ___ Fiction
  • One can’t be totally happy as there is always something that goes wrong. ___ Fact ___ Fiction
  • Life is tough. ___ Fact ___ Fiction
  • Showing emotions is for weak people. ___ Fact ___ Fiction
  • Opportunity only knocks once. ___ Fact ___ Fiction
  • I’m too old, I’ll never be able to achieve my dreams. ___ Fact ___ Fiction
  • I’m helpless and have no control over my life. ___ Fact ___ Fiction
  • I don’t deserve it. ___ Fact ___ Fiction
  • Nobody loves me. ___ Fact ___ Fiction
  • I can’t. ___ Fact ___ Fiction
  • It’s impossible. ___ Fact ___ Fiction

 

Step #4 Stop Listening To The Noise

It’s time to stop listening to all the negative noise in your head. It’s time to stop thinking like a failure. Healthy positive thinking is a choice.

Use Your Imagination

Visualize in your mind doing something to stop the noise. Here are some examples that you can choose from or come up with your own:

  • Shutting the watertight doors.
  • Turning a drippy faucet off.
  • Kicking the soccer ball – kick your negative thoughts out of bounds.
  • Body Punching – every time you say no to negative thoughts you are inflicting a body punch to your opponent.
  • Disciplining the child in your head – With an out-of-control, manipulative child you need to be strong; consistent; and, most important, clear, “I said no!”
  • Letting go of the balloons – Imagine your negative thoughts as balloons that you are setting free. Watch them grow smaller and smaller until they finally vanish.

 

Step #5 Change The Channel (THINK THE OPPOSITE – SAY THE OPPOSITE)

You have a list of thoughts that go through your mind from Step #3 Identify Fact Or Fiction. Take each negative thought and flip it to the positive. For example:

 

  • I can’t handle this job. I’m not going to think that, I can handle this job.
  • At fifty-four years old, I’ll never find a boyfriend. I’m not going to think that, I will find the perfect boyfriend.
  • If she spoke to me like that, obviously, she doesn’t like me. I’m not going to assume she doesn’t like me. We’re going to be good friends.
  • One can’t be totally happy as there is always something that goes wrong. I’m not going to think that. I can be totally happy. God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind. 2 Tim 1:7
  • Life is tough. I’m not going to think that. In quietness and in trusting confidence I find strength. Isaiah 30:15
  • Showing emotions is for weak people. Jesus wept and sometimes chastised in anger.
  • Opportunity only knocks once. I’m not going to think that, because the hand of the diligent rules. Proverbs 23:24
  • I’m too old I’ll never be able to achieve my dreams. I’m not going to think that because age is just a number. With God’s help, I will achieve my dreams.
  • I’m helpless and have no control over my life. I’m not going to think that because I am not helpless. I have the power of choice.
  • I don’t deserve it. I’m not going to think that because I do deserve it.
  • Nobody loves me. I’m not going to think that because I am loved.
  • I can’t. I’m not going to think that because I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13
  • It’s impossible. I’m not going to think that because with man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible. Matthew 19:26

 

Conclusion

REPEAT STEP #1 THROUGH STEP #5

Continue repeating the steps, one habit at a time, until each negative habit is changed. If sometime the old habit sticks its head up, go through the steps again. It may try to come back, but don’t allow it.

You are in control now!!!

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Dealing With A Shame Story

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Shame is always easier to handle if you have someone to share it with.- Craig Thompson

Suzanne’s Story

Suzanne sat on a bench in the New York City subway waiting for her train after work. She had a 45-minute wait. She found a bench out of the main traffic isles thinking it would be a little quieter.

It reminded her of a different day about a year before when she sat on a similar bench in Paddington Train Station in London. As she thought about that day she was overcome with shame. Her eyes moistened. How quickly life had changed. She wished she could have a redo.

That day a year ago, she had pre-ordered a book and was notified that it was in. She stopped by the bookstore on her way to Paddington.

She had read several pages when an older gentleman sat down beside her and tried several times to strike up a conversation.

After a few brief exchanges of pleasantries, she began to respond more tersely. With a gentle smile, he got up walking away.

Thinking back she could still see his face. He had a pleasant smile, but his eyes looked lonely. She saw a glimmer of sadness go across his eyes as he got up.

On that fateful day, she met another man on the train, a man about her age maybe a year or two older. The train was full. He approached the seat beside her where she had piled her things trying to avoid a repeat of earlier. She wanted to read.

As he motioned to the seat, she picked up her backpack putting her book inside. They talked as the train sped to her destination. As fate would have it, they got off at the same stop.

He invited her to dinner at a local diner. Her book now totally forgotten as the hours passed.

He was in London for three months on a business trip from New York. He had subleased a flat just a few doors from hers. Soon, they spent most of their off-hours together.

She thought back to the day when he asked her to move to New York where they could continue their relationship. It was the day before he was due to fly back to New York. They made plans to meet in a month. He gave her is apartment address, company name, and address, everything she thought was necessary.

They said their goodbyes that night because his flight left early the next morning, with the promise to call or text every day.

The calls came the first week then began to fall off.  At first, she was very disappointed and questions went through her mind. Her calls weren’t returned. He didn’t call. When they did connect he explained that he had to work late and it would have been too late or some such excuse.

She sent emails and text messages about her arrival plans. He called saying he would meet her at the airport. He had arranged a sublet for her sending her all the pertinent information. He said the refrigerator would be full and he’d be in the airport when she arrived.

Her friends and family warned her not to move, but she was so sure about this relationship, she brushed their concerns aside.

Shortly after arriving at the airport, he called saying he wouldn’t be able to make it and told her to get a cab to the apartment.

She found a temporary job, but she never heard from him again. His phone had been disconnected. The apartment address he gave didn’t exist. The company where he supposedly worked had never heard of him.

Now, she sat on a different bench waiting for the subway. She felt the loneliness that she had seen in the older man’s eyes just a year before.  She didn’t know a soul in New York other than the few people she worked with.

The loneliness felt like such a shameful experience, especially because of the way she had treated the older gentleman. She felt invisible, miles away from anyone she knew. At the same time, she felt exposed, like everyone was looking at her. She dressed differently. She talked differently.  She felt like she stuck out like a sore thumb.

It seemed to get worse. She withdrew from talking to anyone unless she had to. She avoided calls from family and friends in London, ashamed to admit she was wrong. She was all alone.

 

Facts About Shame and Embarrassment

In today’s culture, we hear a lot about shame and shaming. Exactly what are we talking about? And how does shame relate to embarrassment?

Embarrassment is a response to something that threatens to change our projected image. It results from a socially unacceptable act, which may not be morally wrong. It is the result of a public act that others know about. It does involve a degree of loss of dignity, depending on the situation. Embarrassment may or may not be self-caused.

Shame is morally wrong and maybe accentuated if it is exposed. It is also attached to a thought or action that remains hidden and undiscoverable to others. Embarrassment can be intense, but shame is a more substantial feeling because it is connected to our character not just our image.

Shame comes from measuring our actions against moral standards and discovering that they fall short. Shaming comes when our actions are noticed or made public.

Shame comes from “to cover.” It is often accompanied by a gesture to cover the brow or eyes, a downcast gaze and a slack posture, which convey remorse and contrition.

People with low self-esteem are more prone to shame because they are harder on themselves. They may also try to defend against the shame by blaming someone else. Unfortunately, this often leads to deeper shame.

 

Caring Stranger

It had been months since Suzanne had arrived in New York. She seemed to sink lower and lower into loneliness and shame. She couldn’t bring herself to call anyone in London. When she’d get a call she’d text back that life was amazing and she’d call later, but never managed to make that call.

Suzanne sat on the same bench waiting for the subway. A lady slid in beside her.

“Hi, my name is Mandy. I’ve seen you sitting on this same bench for a couple of weeks. I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to come over.”

Suzanne raised her head and gave Mandy a semi-smile then continued watching the bug on the floor.

“I’ve been attending a woman’s group for women who are lonely. I noticed you sitting here. I’d like to invite you to go with me. Please.”

Suzanne raised her head again and looked at Mandy, “How do I know you’re telling me the truth?”

Mandy pulled a printed brochure out of her purse and handed it to Suzanne. She continued talking about the group and the ladies in the group while Suzanne looked at the information.

“When is the group?”

“In a couple of hours,” Mandy replied. “It’s the next stop on the subway. I’d like to buy you lunch while we wait. We meet next door to the best pizza shop in New York. I really would like to do this. Do you have something else to do tonight? It is a Friday night.”

“Okay,” Suzanne said, “Will I have to say anything during the meeting?”

“No, not unless you want to.”

 

The Group

Suzanne found a chair near the back. As the meeting began to start, she was surprised when Mandy took the chair next to her. During lunch, Mandy talked about her arrival in New York and how she found herself alone. Suzanne listened intently but didn’t divulge any information about her arrival. She was still feeling intense shame.

The leader began to talk about taking off the armor and exposing our hearts and how our egos want to keep our hearts encased in armor, no matter the cost, to avoid feeling “less than” or unworthy of love or belonging. She continued to state how shutting down doesn’t protect us from shame, disconnection, and isolation. In fact, it guarantees them.

Suzanne hung on every word. Mandy reached over and took Suzanne’s hand, “It’s okay. I’ve been there also,” she said when Suzanne looked at her. “We can help.”

The leader continued. Shame is referred to as the “never good enough” emotion. It has the power to make us feel that we’re not worthy of connection, belonging or even love. She went on to state that we need to “speak shame,” identifying and telling the shame story. Then, deal with it in an appropriate way.

The leader told her story how she’d play the incident over and over in her head while trying to forget it happened. She said this strategy doesn’t work well because it only causes emotional and physical reactions like facial flushes, stomach tightening, which led to further disconnecting.

She stated that she formed the support group because she found it was more effective to tell her shame story to someone who understood instead of holding it inside. She gave the metaphor of shame being like a culture being grown in a petri dish, the more she kept it silent and in the dark, the more it grew. Exposing it to the light of day by telling someone else, it seems to lose its power and begin to shrink.

As we learn to tell our stories, we learn to be more empathetic, to listen and not judge others. She continued, “Most of us in this room realize what is at stake when someone chooses to share their shame stories with us. We know the damage that can be done by greeting such a story with judgment instead of empathy. So, if there is anyone who needs to share your story to start your journey of healing, find someone. They will listen with empathy.”

Mandy squeezed Suzanne’s hand but didn’t push.

“Mandy, can I tell you my story,” Suzanne asked with tears running down her cheeks. “I’ve carried it for way too long.”

 

Conclusion

Shame causes the disconnect between people and between a person and God. The disconnect is where we get the statements, “I’m not good enough,” “I’m not_____________ enough.” Shame is the result of an act that is socially or morally unacceptable. It does not depend on someone’s personality traits. It is usually the result of an individual act that is unknown to others. It is an act and the emotion behind that act that the person carries with them down deep inside.

Isaiah 41:10 “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Remember, connecting is a choice. You don’t have to remain stuck in the shame situation. Find someone to talk to.

God loves you right where you are and exactly as you are. When feeling shame or regret, forgiveness could seem out of reach, but God wants to give you forgiveness, and all you have to do is ask. He wants to be a place of rest and understanding in your time of need.

 As we learn to connect more with God that feeling of shame goes away. God takes the shame and replaces it with His love. The disconnect comes when we don’t feel loved and accepted when we feel ridiculed and made fun of, but when you are relying on and depending on God’s love it allows you to overlook and move beyond the shame.

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Steps To Creating Your Dream Life

Image by Valentin Sabau from Pixabay
Image by Valentin Sabau from Pixabay

Image by Valentin Sabau from Pixabay

“A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination, and hard work. – Colin Powell”

What’s Your Passion

Back when I went to high school, I, being a girl, was put in accounting and typing classes by my high school counselor. I was never asked what I really wanted to do with my life. If I had been asked, I’m not sure I could have told them.

The day after graduation my parents and I packed up our two cars and an RV and headed for Sunny Southern California. My dad had begun to have lung problems with the cold weather in the Black Hills of South Dakota and needed a milder climate.

My parents were on task, seeing that I was enrolled in a Christian college in Costa Mesa, CA. That’s where their responsibility for college ended. I had to get a job, which my high school classes prepared me for. I was working in an escrow office soon after my arrival. Then, it was up to me to work and show up for classes to get that college degree.

I had no idea how to even navigate the college system. I had no idea what I wanted to do. I had no idea what I was good at. I didn’t know what I might like to do. The only thing I knew about was typing and accounting. My parents, who had never gone to college, were also unprepared to help.

I opted out of college, got a job, and got married. Hopefully, today’s parents and high schools are preparing kids to meet these challenges more than they did 40 years ago.

But are we preparing kids to find what they are good at? Do they have any idea what their passion is?

Dream Life

Are you struggling to find your dream life? If your deepest desires were fulfilled, how would your life change? What would you do differently? Have you developed the goals for your dream life?

Many of us have an idea of what our dream life looks like. Some of us have created the goals but don’t quite know how to start moving in that direction. Others of us have struggled for so long that we have lost our passion or our motivation.

In the later years of high school and definitely in college we are taught skills for a craft, trade or profession. But we are not taught how to design and implement our dream life. We are not taught how to live our lives on purpose.

It may seem like your dream life is out of reach, but with a little planning and effort, you can be back on the path and decide the next step.

Do you feel like you’ve lost control of your life? Don’t underestimate your power. You can make the changes to create the life you’ve always wanted. Perhaps you are allowing life to happen because you aren’t really sure what you want. If you don’t live with clear intention, you don’t really know what you want or how to achieve it.

Let’s find your purpose, your passion and design your life with clear intention.

 

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Purpose – A Clear picture of what you want

If you had a choice, what would you want your day to look like?

Take a few minutes. Relax in a quiet place where you can do some visualization. Are you ready?

Picture in your mind the things you really enjoy and love to do. It could be a hobby or something else. It could be something you don’t get much time to do.

Ask yourself what you would like to spend your day doing? Can you visualize you doing this all day every day? Why? (Write out the answers to these questions)

Identifying the things you really like to do helps you identify your God-given passion and purpose in life. It may be something you’ve never tried before.

 

List Your Talents

Image by TeroVesalainen from Pixabay

Image by TeroVesalainen from Pixabay

What are you good at? Can it be implemented into your daily life? Your hobbies and talents don’t have to be the same. A talent is something you are great at. Many times you can use your talent in a job.

I always thought it would be great to be a writer. I loved to read, but had not written anything, even a diary, except in high school.

Yes, I was good at my job in office management and eventually computer programming, but over the years I became very tired of the same-ole-same-ole. I longed for something creative, something different than what I had done for years.

When I went back to college and got my Master’s Degree in Psychology I wrote a case study like a novel. I had so much fun and my professor loved it. So, here I am writing blog posts.

 

Who Do You Admire and Why?

Is there someone you really admire? You look at them and wonder what it would be like to do their job all day. This doesn’t mean that you would do exactly the same thing, but the qualities this person has maybe an inspiration to you in finding your passion. They can give you an idea of what your life could look like and how you would feel if you had a similar life.

 

If You Only Had A Few Months To Live What Would You Do With Your Time?

This question is rather drastic, but it can help you narrow down what is really important to you, what your true passion is.

When time is limited you focus more on what is really important to you in life. This could open up new ideas for you to think about. It could help you determine your true passion in life.

God has a divine purpose for each one of us while we are here on earth. Part of finding God’s purpose is to find your passion. God uses your passions and talents in his purpose for you. After all, he gave you your talents and your passion.

As you go through this process of finding your passion, pray. Ask God to show you what his will is for your life.

Matthew 7:7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”

 

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Image by TeroVesalainen from Pixabay

What Do You Need To Do To Make This Happen – Baby Steps First?

I trust that at this point you have a clearer idea of your purpose and what your dream life looks like. Now, you need to design a plan to achieve your dream life by using your answers above.

 

Set An Objective

When you define an objective, where you want to be in a year, five years, ten years, you begin to take ownership of your life and where it is going. Make the objective as clear as possible.

Visualize what you will be doing and what it will be like when you reach your objective. Write down how you feel or draw a picture if that’s your thing. You might create a collage of magazine photos. Add your ideas.

Set Small Targets

What is the first thing you need to do to move toward your objective? What’s steps can you take today and tomorrow to start moving toward your objective?

Write it down in a journal or create a vision board. If you don’t know how to design one, look it up online.

 Keep Track Of Your Small Steps

What will you use to keep track of your progress? How will you determine important milestones and how will you celebrate them?

 

Conclusion

As you journey toward your dream life, you will encounter doubt, fear, self-limiting beliefs, insecurities, and other negative beliefs and feelings. There will be people in your life who won’t understand. They will give you their negative opinion.

Don’t allow yourself to be influenced by negativity from yourself or someone else. Don’t listen. If you listen it may convince you that what you want is impossible. You will get discouraged and won’t take the necessary steps to succeed.

Yes, you will make mistakes. You will try things that just won’t work or you see they won’t fit into your overall vision of your life. That’s okay.  Make any necessary changes and/or adjustments to your plan then keep going.

You might find that the vision board you used or the software you used to design your goals didn’t work well. Change it. Find something that will work. The main point is to keep going. It may take a little longer than you planned. That’s okay. Keep going.

Don’t stop!! You can do this!!

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Make Stress Work For You And Not Against You

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

“It’s Not Stress That Kills Us, It Is Our reaction To It.” – Hans Selye

No Wheels

I recently found myself stuck at home with no car. The older car I was driving finally died and had to be buried. I work at home, so suddenly I found myself stuck at home. We live too far out in the backwoods to get an Uber when my husband was working. Since he drives for a living I couldn’t take him to work. Stuck, No Wheels!!!

I became very restless and irritable. With my head buried in work, I didn’t really think about the cause. Sometimes, I felt that if I’d had a car I would have started driving with no particular destination, just get out of the house.

Later, I was having trouble sleeping. I’d wake up just about every hour, so when I did finally get up I was tired, which made the situation even worse. I started having problems with chest pains and upset stomach.

Eventually, I started journaling to figure out what was wrong and what I needed to do about it. Previously, I had been without a car for about a year, so it didn’t seem like no car was the problem.

After journaling and taking a look at the symptoms of stress and the list of stressors, which is listed below, I began to see that I needed a change. My office was in the kitchen, so I was always at work. There was no break. Any time my husband and I wanted to talk we’d sit at my desk. I finally realized it was driving me crazy. I had worked at home before, but I had a door on my office. I could turn off my computer, turn off the light and shut the door. This time I couldn’t. I was always at work.

 

My Solution

The first thing I did was put a rocking chair by the front picture window. Across the street is a beautiful green forest with squirrels running up and down the trees gathering acorns for the winter stash. It was too hot and humid to sit outside, but sitting where I could watch the squirrels were very relaxing. I did have to fight my husband’s cat for that chair, but I usually won.

Sitting by the window helped to calm me. As I sat looking out the window, absorbing the green and the sunshine, I looked into the kitchen area and realized that I couldn’t shut the office door and walk away.

I moved my office further back. It’s still open because there isn’t a door on that room, but It’s not in the center of the house and I can turn off my computer and turn off the light – Office Closed.

 

Stressors

Stress is something we all deal with from time to time. Some people suffer from stress more frequently and more severely than others. Stress can also affect them more severely than others. Stress comes from a wide variety of sources, which are call stressors:

  • Relationships
  • Work Issues
  • Demands
  • Illness
  • Life Changes, such as marriage, divorce, retirement, etc.
  • Daily activities and tasks
  • Holidays and parties
  • Juggling many different roles and tasks at the same time

Some people are aware of their triggers which increases their ability to handle the stress more effectively. For those who get stressed easily or more frequently need to begin by identifying their stressors.

 

Symptoms of Stress

Many people don’t realize they are under stress until symptoms appear. The symptoms reduce the quality of life in relationships, work performance, and overall happiness.

Image by MoteOo from Pixabay

Image by MoteOo from Pixabay

  • Irritability or moodiness
  • Interrupted sleep
  • Worry
  • Anxiety
  • Back or neck pain
  • Headaches
  • Upset Stomach
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Changes in appetite always eating or can’t eat

  • Rash or skin breakouts
  • Chest pains
  • Existing physical problems become worse
  • More susceptible to cold/flu Slower recovery

 

 

Stress Management

  • Identify your stressors — Are there things within your control that you can manage better or eliminate? Stop looking at trying to get stress to go away, it’s not going to. Instead, learn to work with it, use it as an indicator of an area where you are vulnerable. When your vulnerability is exposed, it tells you where you need to improve or make some changes. For Example, you may have a job where you work on a deadline. Okay, then what aspects of the job can you control or change to minimize the stress? Can you make sure you have at least one good break per day, preferably, two or three short breaks? Look at your situation, what would make things move more smoothly.
  • Regular exercise is extremely important in relieving stress. Physical exercise helps to calm you and improve your mood.
  • Eat and Sleep well – Good nutrition, exercise and adequate sleep all help you cope with the stress you will face on a daily basis. In the stressful moments, you can use breathing exercises, meditation or visual imagery to help you relax.
  • Deep Breathing — I find that breathing exercises are especially helpful during a stressful time. I do deep breathing exercises and meditate on God’s Word and have soft music playing to help set the mood.
  • Take Regular Days Off if possible. I find that it helps to do something different than what you regularly do. I work at home, so I need to go someplace, to get out of my office/home. Spend time with family and friends – do something fun. We all know it’s important to take time off, but it’s not always possible. If it’s difficult to take time off, take deliberate steps to have regular days off or evenings to spend with family and friends. Take time to do something different.
  • Be Creative — Stress accompanies unpredictability, which also makes you aware of a challenge at hand. The opportunity will inspire you to rise to the occasion, change directions, increase our knowledge, try something new or move beyond a failure to create a win. When you can’t predict everything that could possibly happen you stress. So, instead, count on things being unpredictable. Learn more about your job or your situation. Be on the cutting edge in your industry. Be prepared for something to come up that you aren’t familiar with and don’t know how to handle. Adopt the idea, “I don’t know how to deal with this but I’ll find out.”
  • Prioritize — You cannot be successful without prioritizing and doing what is first on the list. If you are always jumping from thing to thing and not finishing anything you will be stressed. Attacking the things first on your priority list, the most urgent lessens the stress. It also gives you a sense of accomplishment.
  • Problem-Solving Techniques – If you have problems getting regular exercise, eating balanced meals, sleeping, or taking time off, use problem-solving techniques to help you clarify the problem and brainstorm for possible solutions. After listing your pros and cons then decide on the best possible solution. Wait!! Wait, don’t leave yet!!! TAKE ACTION!!! Implement your solution. Nothing will change if you don’t take action.Image by Oberholster Venita from Pixabay
  •  Learn Calming Techniques – As I said above, I frequently use breathing exercises to calm my body and mind. I do a form of Yoga exercises that relax the muscles. It’s surprising how much better you feel after doing stretching or progressive muscle exercises. If you haven’t done any try it. You can find a variety of stretching or Yoga exercises on YouTube. You will be surprised at how much better you feel.
  • Change Your Negative Thinking – Many times negative thinking contributes substantially to stress. It can make you worry more than necessary. Worry often prevents you from taking positive actions. You can replace your negative thoughts, which will greatly improve your life (see some of my other posts).
  • Learn to Rely on God — Psalms 28:7 NKJV The Lord is my strength and my shield; My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, And with my song, I will praise Him. God’s strength is more than enough to help you through any problem or stressful situation. God’s strength is your shield against any fiery darts of worry, fear, doubt, insecurity, stress, or anything else that would try to bring you down.

 

Conclusion

What is it that you want – What would be your ideal outcome?
Take a few moments. Clear your mind (or on paper). What would being stress-free look like?

Identify Your Options – Now that you know what you want, answer these questions:

  • What specifically have you done so far? What worked and what didn’t work?
  • What skills do you have right now that could move your forward to your ideal outcome?
  • What steps do you need to take to get there? Do you need to do research to find the steps?
  • What do you need to do first?
  • Create a plan of action

Take Action – Look at the list of options:

  • What would be the smallest or easiest first step for you to take?
  • Which options or actions grab you?
  • How could you make the tasks/actions more enjoyable or fun?
  • Who else could help you in completing your action/s?

 Commitment – Do Something! Choose Your Actions!

  • When will you put your plan into action? Include the day and time.
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, how likely are you to complete your plan?
  • How do you normally sabotage yourself – and what will you do differently this time?
  • Who will you tell about your plan? Will you be accountable to this person to complete your Plan?
  • How will you feel once you have completed your plan?
  • Tell someone about your plan and when you have completed it. Let someone hold you accountable.

 

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Thought Addiction

Photo by JESHOOTS.com from Pexels
Photo by JESHOOTS.com from Pexels

Photo by JESHOOTS.com from Pexels

We are what our thoughts have made us; so be aware of what you think.

Learning Too Drive

Growing up in a very small town in North-Eastern Wyoming was very different than it is now. Back then it was safe for us kids to go wherever we wanted any time. We’d ride our bikes to the pond at the far end of town one day and be up on the hill across from our house building a fort the next. During the summer we never went inside until about 10 pm. It was still light enough to see what we were building.

We didn’t have to worry about strangers in town or kids being kidnapped like we do today. We basically roamed the town at will. If parents wanted us they’d step outside and call. We’d hear. No traffic noise. It was quiet.

The town was two blocks wide and three blocks long. My parent’s house, nursing home, occupied one side of the last street on the upper end of town.

If you’ve ever been to Wyoming, you know that most of the state is flat, except for the little corner we lived in which was the part of the Black Hills that spilled over from South Dakota into Wyoming.

Shortly after I turned 12 my dad decided it was time for driving lessons. One day he didn’t tell me where we were going or what we were going to do, he just told me to get in the car. He started the engine and pointed car East on I90.

Now, I90 back then was a two-lane road with only occasional traffic going either way, not like today. The terrain going out of town was flat with barely any vegetation, so the road was also flat, no dips or turns, flat.

About a mile out of town we pulled off the road. He turned off the car, got out and walked around and opened my door. To that point, I still had not been told that this was my first driving lesson.

“Your turn,” he said.

I looked at him with a quizzical look, “I’m going to drive?”

He nodded, “Scoot over.”

Remember the bench seats? I scooted over.

I grabbed the steering wheel with my hands, but my feet couldn’t reach the pedals, so dad moved the seat up. I noticed that his knees, were touching the dashboard, but he didn’t seem to mind.

I started to turn the car on and heard him scream, “No, wait. I’ll tell you what to do. First press the clutch all the way to the floor, press the brake with your other foot then turn the key.”

I carefully followed the steps and the engine came to life.

I let the clutch out and the engine chugged to a stop. I tried again. This time I got it started, put it in gear and popped the clutch out and took my foot off the brake. The car lunged forward into a field of dirt and rocks. Fortunately, it was flat ground all around so there was nothing to hit or damaged.

After several attempts, I got the car back on the road and we chugged clumsily down the road. My legs were tired of trying to hold and release the clutch. I finally just stopped in the middle of the road and turned off the engine. We hadn’t seen any cars all day, so I figured it was safe to stop. I may not have even thought about it, I was done.

Dad walked around the car and took over. I had always thought driving would be so much fun, at that point I was rethinking my premise.

A few days later, we tried it again. It went better. It wasn’t long until I was driving on the open highway. He still didn’t trust me in town, even though there were only a few parked cars along the sidewalks.

 

Automatic Thoughts

It doesn’t really matter whether you are learning to drive a car, typing, riding a bike, swing a golf club or tennis racket. At first, you have to think about every movement.

I remember learning to drive. I’d get so tired, I just wanted to go home and take a nap. My arms ached. My legs ached. My head hurt. I was using new muscles that hadn’t been used in that manner before. I had to think about every action I took.

It wasn’t long until I could start the car without ending up in the field. I could work the clutch and the brake at the same time for a smooth ride instead of feeling like I was on a bucking horse. At that point, my driving thoughts had become automatic thoughts.

Knee Jerk Thoughts are also automatic thoughts where you act according to a certain ritualistic manner but without any thought. These are habits that you don’t put any conscious thought into, such as putting your elbows on the table, nail-biting, slouching, playing with your hair, chewing your cheek or tongue, etc.

 

Reflexive Thoughts

Reflexive Thoughts, as defined by the dictionary, is a thought that is in response to something. The reflexive thoughts are the conclusion you have drawn from your early childhood experiences. Over time they also become automatic thoughts, but they are different because they are directly connected to experiences which led to detailed thinking.

As a child you draw conclusions from direct experiences, the media, watching other people, and listening to what others say. This means that the experiences you had in your family of origin, caregivers, society, school, and peers influenced your thoughts and beliefs about yourself.

If you have negative thoughts and beliefs about yourself it is likely that you have encountered negative experiences that have contributed to your thoughts and beliefs. The way you were treated during your early years affects the way you see yourself and who you are.

For example, if you were mistreated, punished frequently in an extreme or unpredictable manner, neglected, abandoned, or abused it is not surprising that you would feel insecure, self-doubt, pessimism, and fear. You would often have thoughts similar to “I can’t do that,” “I’m not good enough,” “I could have done better.”

These negative thoughts about yourself, your abilities, other people, and the world around you eventually become a habit. Reflexive Thoughts then can be negative thoughts about yourself and your situation repeated over and over. They are automatic and habitual.

People can become addicted to almost anything even their own thoughts.

Most of the time these reflexive thoughts originate in early childhood, but sometimes people experience negative events later in life that also chip away at their self-esteem creating negative thoughts and feelings about themselves resulting in Negative Reflexive Thoughts. For example, a person can be bullied or intimidated at work, find themselves in an abusive relationship, experience traumatic events, such as life-altering illnesses or injuries, or experience prolonged financial hardship.

 

Conclusion

Although you don’t intentionally practice Negative Reflexive Thinking, these thoughts are still rehearsed and practiced. Every time a negative experience that is somewhat similar to your childhood the Reflexive Thought pops into your mind, “I’m not good enough,” “I’ll never have enough money,” “I can’t do this,” “I’ll never be a success in _______.”

As adults, I’m sure you have had experiences that are quite different from your early childhood experiences. Yet, you might still hear, your parent’s voice correcting you or yelling at you. You might also yourself repeating the negative thoughts.

We continue to have Reflexive Thoughts go through our mind, even though the current circumstances are different from those in the past.

Perhaps, your Reflexive Thoughts have had a negative impact on your ability to accomplish your goals or be successful. Take some time to read and think about the questions and scenarios below. Write down a brief description of your experiences and the resulting reflexive thoughts, good or bad.

  1. What early experiences did you have that might have contributed to the way you view and feel about yourself?
  2. Describe any recent stressful life experiences that have negatively affected how you view yourself.
  3. Describe any rules and/or assumptions you have developed about yourself.

Remember, the judgments you have made about yourself are only opinions. They are not facts. They are only opinions that have been developed and rehearsed.

In learning to drive a car, you have to practice, until your actions become smooth and you can drive in automatic mode, without thinking about every movement.

You also need to practice overcoming and replacing Reflexive Thoughts. When a Reflexive Thought goes through your mind and you feel the accompanying emotion, replace it with the OPPOSITE THOUGHT.

If the thought says, “I can’t do that,” replace it with “I can do that.” If it says, “I’ll never be a success,” replace it with “I can and will be successful.”

It may seem very strange and even scary to replace your negative Reflexive Thoughts because you have become identified with them. But, as you begin to replace them you will find a new identity in your Postive Reflexive Thoughts. The author in, Regurgitated Thoughts, talks about the fear he felt when during meditation he experienced a brief episode of no thoughts because our thoughts confirm us.

DO THE OPPOSITE.

The repetition and rehearsal of the positive statements will become as automatic and reflexive as the negative ones were. But, the positive Reflexive Thoughts will lead you to a more positive, happy, fulfilling life. Is it worth a try?

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Your Personal Fiction

Image by geralt from Pixabay
Image by geralt from Pixabay

Image by geralt from Pixabay

Change your personal fiction to nonfiction, replacing the lies with the truth.

Introduction

Dixon was born to a couple that fought all the time. From the moment Dixon was first born, his mother decided she didn’t want him because he looked just like his father, same complexion and hair color. His mother knew from that moment that he would be nothing but trouble, just like his dad.

As he grew, Dad was the one who gave him love and care, so, obviously, he became more and more like his father and drew more and more scorn from his mother. He grew up knowing that his mother did not love or want him. She made it very obvious.

His programming told him that he would have to fight for everything he got, just like his father. In his earliest years, his dad was his protector and defender. He’d run to Sad when his mother’s scorn became too much for him to handle, which caused more arguments between his parents.

His dad eventually left the marriage. Dixon was left to contend with his mother and other siblings on his own. His beliefs that he was unloved, uncared for, scorned became even more cemented into his core beliefs. His core belief that he had to fight for everything grew. From the first day of Kindergarten, he was a scrapper, a fighter, an aggressive competitor. He was always ready and eager for a fight, argument, or contest.

As he got older his relationships became harder and harder to maintain, because of the internal need and belief that he had to fight for everything.

Negative Thoughts

I’ve been writing about how our negative thoughts affect our feelings and our actions.

But, where do these negative thoughts originate?

Our thoughts come from our core beliefs that develop during our early childhood. One theory states that we are born with a “blank slate” and everything about the individual is a result of nurturing from our caregivers and our life experiences.

More recent research has shown that a person may be more likely to develop negative core beliefs based on their genetic makeup than was thought. But the specific beliefs you develop are a result of your life experiences and your interpretation of those experiences.

It has also been proven that what the mother experiences while pregnant also affect the baby. When my first granddaughter was first born the minute she heard music her little shoulders would start to move to the rhythm. My daughter-in-law had placed speakers on her stomach and played music for the baby from the time she knew she was pregnant. As she grew she was fascinated by music. When my husband would play the guitar for her, she’d put her hand on the guitar body and look up into grandpa’s face like she was in seventh heaven.

Dixon’s mother was very harsh and critical. No matter how he tried, he couldn’t do anything right. She didn’t want him and showed it continually. As he grew, he developed negative core beliefs about himself and the world around him. He wasn’t wanted. His mother didn’t love him.

Dixon developed the belief that to get anything he had to fight for it, just like his dad. If someone didn’t comply with his wishes he’d fight, he’d threaten, he would win one way or another.

 

Belief Cycle

The core beliefs, positive or negative, become very difficult to change, yet not impossible. They are so deeply ingrained that they become the fabric of who you believe yourself to be.

The biggest obstacle is that beliefs are strongly self-perpetuating. That means when a person maintains a negative view of themselves they will often initiate negative interactions and then automatically interpret negative outcomes as evidence of their own shortcomings or failings. The negative thought and feelings are driven by their negative core belief.

The entire process whether negative or positive is circular, with core beliefs driving automatic thoughts which produce the feelings resulting in actions/behavior, and then justify the core belief.

Your core beliefs, positive or negative then become “Your Personal Fiction.” They are fiction because they aren’t necessarily true. They are what you believe about yourself and the world around you.

They can provide you with self-confidence or they can be self-limiting.

They can say you are loved and cared for or that you aren’t.

Either way, they are motivators of their actions. Dixon believed he was worthless and had to fight for everything, fight to survive. Yet, that wasn’t true. He was loved by his dad. He was very smart with a lot of ingenuity. His beliefs were not the truth about who he was and his worth.

Unfortunately, what you believe unconsciously will rule every time, unless you call these untruths into your conscious mind, question them, and replace them with the truth.

 

Spiritual Perspective

2 Corinthians 10:4-5 The Voice  “The weapons of the war we’re fighting are not of this world but are powered by God and effective at tearing down the strongholds erected against His truth.  We are demolishing arguments and ideas, every high-and-mighty philosophy that pits itself against the knowledge of the one true God. We are taking prisoners of every thought, every emotion, and subduing them into obedience to the Anointed One.”

Our enemy, Satan, can plant negative thoughts in our mind, like Eve in the garden, and he does attempt to defeat us with strategy and deceit, through well-laid plans and deliberate deception. In John 8:44, Jesus called Satan “the father of lies and of all that is false”. He lies to each of us. He tells us things about ourselves, about situations and events that aren’t true.

Joyce Meyer, Battlefield of the Minds, states that “He begins by bombarding our mind with a cleverly devised pattern of little nagging thoughts, suspicions, doubts, fears, wonderings, reasonings, and theories. He moves slowly and cautiously (after all, well-laid plans take time)… He knows what we like and what we don’t like. He knows our insecurities, our weaknesses, and our fears. He knows what bothers us the most. He is willing to invest any amount of time it takes to defeat us. One of the devil’s strong points is patience.”

Our enemy then assists in perpetuating the circular process of cementing our core beliefs in our mind by continuously bringing our negative core beliefs and thoughts into our mind getting us to focus on them instead of replacing our fiction with the truth.

Conclusion

The Bible and psychology teach us that the problem is in how and what we think. Romans 12:2  tells us to renew our minds.

The word “renew” means to restore, replenish, begin or take up again, as an acquaintance, a conversation, resume, to make effective.

Romans 12:2 “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

You can change your mind. You can replace the negative core beliefs and thoughts with positive ones about yourself.

Beliefs are circular, as mentioned above, so as you feed your mind positive thoughts and beliefs about yourself and your situation, it begins to develop positive automatic thoughts, which will produce positive feelings resulting in positive actions.

As Dixon feeds himself positive thoughts that he does have value and worth, that he does have something to offer to society, his automatic thoughts begin to change. He has times where he lapses back into the old “bullying” mentality to fight for what he wants. When he does, he has to stop and start over with positive thoughts again.

One way of changing your thoughts is to read God’s word about who you are to God. Joyce Meyer has a book, The Secret Power of Speaking God’s Word, which teaches you how to change your life by reading God’s blessings over yourself. It includes topics on patience, loneliness, wisdom, insecurity, fear, protection and many more topics.

When you read scriptures or other positive statements out loud so you can hear yourself speaking, in your voice, it begins to change your negative beliefs and thoughts, resulting in positive feelings and behavior.

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Who’s In Control?

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

“When you think a thought – you feel a feeling. When you feel a feeling – you take action or not because of how you feel. Your actions (behaviors) create your experience in the world and ultimately what your life looks like – your results.” Brooke Castillo

Introduction

In the world of psychology, homeostasis is a state of psychological equilibrium obtained when tension or a drive has been reduced or eliminated. Homeostasis is a more general principle of control.

What is control? The dictionary describes control as the exercise of restraint or direction over; to dominate or to command, keeping things the way they are supposed to be. But, how are things supposed to be? Who establishes the protocol? Is it a brand new baby in the house? If you’ve ever brought a new baby home from the hospital you know they tend to establish new protocols. Or is the full-grown adult establishing the protocol? Does every individual decide for themselves what the “right way” will be?

 

Circumstance-Driven Control

One type of control that is very important in keeping things the way they are supposed to be is a person’s health. When a person’s health is disrupted by viruses, bacteria, or serious illnesses their important bodily processes are disturbed.

It seems that every year when kids go back to school they are introduced to a whole new set of viruses that disrupts the whole household. Kids can’t go to school. If both parents work they are scrambling to find someone to take care of the sick child for a day or two, sometimes longer. No control. The whole protocol of the family is disrupted – out-of-control.  Everyone’s equilibrium is off.

This is an example of Circumstance-Driven Control. It requires that everyone respond or attempt to respond to the circumstance and the change that it brings. The circumstance is a trigger that changes our thoughts, which cause us to take actions for the desired result.

 

Insecurity-Driven Control

An Insecurity-Driven Control is driven by inner thoughts, perceptions, and assumptions. It has less to do with actual circumstances or events and more to do with the individual’s perception or interpretation of the event.

A person who is insecure may get very disturbed when their child gets sick and can’t go to school. They may start what-iffing about the ramifications of the child’s illness.

For example:

  • What if I can’t find someone to stay with him?
  • What if I can’t go to work and I lose my job?
  • What if it’s really serious and I don’t have enough insurance or money in the bank to pay for it?
  • What if he ends up in the hospital?

In this case, the parent perceives a loss of control far beyond what the circumstances present, driven by insecurities, self-doubts, assumption, worry, ruminations, or fear.

When a person has the feeling that they are out of control they seek to get back in control or establish more control. When the lack of control is insecurity-driven it becomes part of the problem, because it is blown way out of proportion. The assumptions the person makes and the what-iffing prohibit finding a real solution, mainly because they can’t see the main circumstance.

 

Root Of Control Issues

Control issues usually stem from an event that caused a deep wound which undermined your sense of security. It could be that someone betrayed you. They may have left, passed away, made a rude or hurtful comment, cheated, lied, or seriously disappointed you in another way.

You don’t need to isolate yourselves from others or close yourself off from others. Because there is a solution beyond your insecurity.

But it is important to be able to trust yourself. No one can be as supportive as you can learn to be.  Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S. states in her article 3 Ways To Develop Self-Trust, “being kind to yourself increases self-confidence and lessens your need for approval. Loving and caring for yourself not only increases self-trust, but it also deepens your connection with others.”

Self-trust means that you’re not always trying to second-guess what a situation means or what kind of problem it will bring. You don’t need to start What-iffing. You know you can take care of your needs. You trust yourself to survive whatever life throws your way.

 

Who Is In Control?

We’ve covered Circumstance-Driven Control, Insecurity-Driven Control, Self-Trust, but who is really in control?

Control is an aspect that all human beings deal with on a regular basis. It is more of a concern for those who have committed their lives to Christ. As a believer in God and a follower of Christ, one should be in the consistency of leaving life’s situations in God’s handsAnother way Satan tries to destroy those who follow God by misleading believers into thinking they are in control of their own lives and destiny, no one else.” Don

 Like Don mentioned, if you have committed your life to Christ, God is in control. We are instructed to keep our eyes on Him.

“If we keep our eyes on our Creator and Redeemer, our focus is on Him and not the situation at present. By doing this, we are reminded that He is in control and He is bigger than our problems. It gets our eyes off the present situation and onto God, who is the solution.” – Don

 Yet, you are in complete control of what you think and believe, which dictates how you feel. It is your choice. When you put your trust in God, He gives you the strength to do what you need to do. But, it is you choose to trust in God to be in control or not. It is your choice, just like it’s your choice to be insecure and fearful or not. You feel what you believe.

Psalms 27: 1 “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”

 Proverbs 1:33 “Whoever listens to me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.”

 Proverbs 18:10 “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe.”

 Isaiah 41:10 “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

 “When you keep your focus on God you realize that you are in God’s hands and He will work out the situation according to His will with His good intentions for you are in the forefront of His heart and mind. God has nothing but good intentions in mind for you; He wants you to prosper,  the writer of Jeremiah wrote concerning God’s thoughts of us, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jer. 29:11).” – Don

 

Conclusion

This may sound strange to some and others may disagree, but every thought you think can be a choice that you make. You can retrain your mind to think in ways that bring you positive emotions and positive results. It’s what you train your mind to think that will yield the life you desire. Once again you can trust in God and lean not on your own understanding or not.

You have complete control over how you chose to feel: anger, insecurity, doubt, fear, or your options.

Proverbs 23:7 “As I think in my heart so am I.”

Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

 As Proverbs 23:7 says, we are what we think in our heart (mind). This is great news, because you may not have control over the circumstances that come your way, like a sick child, but you do have total control over what you think, which yields how you feel and the actions you take.

If you have a relationship with God, He is available to give you the understanding you need for any and every situation. He is there to help you change your thoughts for your good.

Self-Coaching Model is based on the following truths, Self-Coaching 101, Brooke Castillo:

  • We cannot control the world.
  • Nothing outside of us has the power to make us feel good or bad – (including God).
  • It is not the circumstances, but our thoughts about the circumstances that create our experience.
  • We attract what we think about – (including God).
  • Emotions are vibrations that lead to action.
  • We can’t permanently change our results without changing our thoughts.
  • We don’t have to get anything to feel better; we can feel better right now.
  • Being conscious and choosing our thoughts are the most important components to feeling better.

So, Who is in Control?

Bottom line, you are in control. You control how you feel. You control the path your life is taking. You control it all by your thoughts, what you chose to think. If you don’t like your life, change your thoughts. If you don’t like how you feel, change your thoughts.

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