Ten Ways To Make Peace With The Past And Create A New FutureWritten by Suzanne Gold
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Tell truth. Be kind. A little goes a long way. Speak carefully. Emphasize positive. Say good things, especially to yourself. Be aware of your effect on others. Don't assume you're being understood—check it out. When you realize you've made a mistake, apologize, face to face if possible so you can look other person in eye. Don't interrupt. Don't give advice unless you're asked. Don't gossip. It wastes time you could be using to empower yourself. Choose your battles. If someone gets angry at you, stop doing whatever triggers them no matter how right you think you are, until you can find a better way to communicate. Why make yourself a target? Know when to shut up or decline to answer. Watch what you listen to. Don't dismiss different points of view. Pay attention not only to what someone says—try to understand why they're saying it. Don't put up with disrespect, manipulation or negative thinking from anyone, including yourself.
6. DON'T KEEP SCORE Setting your own standards
Life isn't about success or failure. Although both teach valuable lessons, fulfilling your potential is essential goal. Adversity can develop strength. If a dream sours, let it go without judgment or remorse. Assume it's no longer relevant, and look for new options. Even a losing battle can be a stepping-stone to a better situation. Accepting change brings peace of mind.
7. NO VICTIMS, NO VILLAINS Every situation brings exactly what you need to wake up
Relationships are like jigsaw puzzles. All pieces fit together to create whole. You are not responsible for anyone else, nor are they for you. There's no guilt, no blame, no shame. Allow things to be as they are. Accept each moment as if you'd chosen it. If someone hurts you, look for what you can learn from it. Holding a grudge drains your energy. Forgiveness doesn't mean it was okay with you; it means releasing person's power to upset you. You may never forget, but letting go of resentment is more productive. This goes double for forgiving yourself.
8. MEDITATE AND TREAT YOURSELF WELL Nurture yourself
Make time to have fun and enjoy life. Take walks in nature. Spend time alone. Exercise, rest and eat when you need to, and drink lots of water. Something as simple as a warm bath or good stretch can do wonders in improving your perspective. Laugh. Let yourself dream your fondest dreams. Celebrate your successes, big and small. Meditation calms your conscious thinking mind, and helps you access your inner wisdom. Counting your breaths is basic form, or you can silently repeat a soothing word or phrase like "peace" or "well-being." When your mind wanders, and it will, just bring your focus back and start over. Even ten minutes a day can make a difference.
9. GET OUTSIDE HELP See beyond your blind spots
Get counseling. It helps to talk about your feelings, no matter how embarrassing, strange or awful they seem to you. Find someone you trust and feel compatible with, and be willing to pour your heart out. An objective outsider can clear up confusion and help you set your creative energy free. Examine both sides of any issue. Don't follow advice blindly, but do explore ideas that make sense to you to see what happens. Join a group of people with similar interests or circumstances to yours. Try art, sports, music, or dance for fun and/or therapy. Read self-help books. Most have at least some helpful nuggets, and can reassure you that you're not alone. Don't expect The Answer, but serve yourself a variety of ideas to take or leave as you like.
10. MOVE ON Graduate to living fully
Respect your own boundaries. Your first commitment should be to yourself and to learning as much as possible from what happens to you. Only when you're at peace with yourself can you make a real contribution to anyone. Live your own truth, be honorable, and intend best for everyone, including yourself. Trying to change someone is futile, no matter how much you care, or how badly you think they need it. You have no control over what anyone else feels or thinks. Do what you can, and do your best, but not at your own expense. Working things through can be healing when there's mutual respect, but if you feel hopeless, scapegoated, threatened or frantic, retreat may be only appropriate choice, at least for moment. It could be as basic as leaving room briefly, or as extreme as ending relationship or moving away. But be open to possibility that "problem" person may surprise you. Your changes alter context of relationship, so eventually they may come to treat you differently. If so, you may want to renew relationship, but don't rush into it until you're confident that things have changed. To leave your mark on future generations, pass along what you learn.
I wish you healing, faith and courage to make your dreams come true.
You have permission to publish this article electronically or in print, free of charge, as long as it is kept intact, including brief bio, website information, and this copyright line: (c)2005 Suzanne Gold. A courtesy copy of your publication would be appreciated.
Suzanne Gold (MA, Psychology), "The Family Fixer," (Pacific Sun) is a life counselor, spiritual coach, teacher, and author of Daddy's Girls, Gold Medal winner in ForeWord Magazine's Book of the Year Awards. Suzanne teaches workshops, college seminars, and in private practice. For more information, go to http://www.SuzanneGold.com or email Suzanne@SuzanneGold.com
Can You be an Optimistic Realist?Written by Susan Dunn, MA, Life & EQ Coach
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If you’re plagued by suffering of terrorism and tsunamis, for instance, set aside a time to figure out what YOU can do about them. You will quickly realize dilemma of world leaders who actually have to do this on a grand scale; but you will also find small things you can do in your own world to address these ills. Call your local Red Cross. They’ve been waiting for your call. IN THE MEANTIME, keep your own life going in a positive direction, with optimism. If you’re determined that you can’t be happy until all ills of world have been addressed, you’ll be a long time waiting. You will also fail to address what you can address, because of lamenting over larger things which basically are beyond your control.
If you want to turn around your attitude, turn your face in another direction. To focus on what’s right about things doesn’t mean you don’t KNOW what things are wrong, or how wrong they are. It means you’re making a choice about your own portion of world, your responsibility in it, and your outlook.
Does it help “the world” if you go on a tirade first thing in morning and dump all your frustration on your spouse? Of course not. Remember you and your spouse are also a part of “the world.”
From an objective position, young man mentioned above has a good job, a nice home, plenty of food, clothing and necessities, and a lovely wife who was cheerful, lovely, and dressed to go to her job for day. That’s a scene half people in this will never have.
Optimism means, in words of Faulkner, not “slaying real for unreal.” The moment this young man had was real, and it was good. Then he got into his own head and dragged up all reasons he could think of to be unhappy; reasons which exist and are available to all of us, but so is contentment of immediate reality.
It’s almost like he takes pride in being able to figure out there are ills in world, as if he were only one who knew this and were concerned about it.
For an example of what your self-talk does to you, consider this scenario. Let’s say Fred is feeling low. He thinks his life is impossible; it contains usual array of hard work, too much stress, arguments with his wife and kids, a puppy that won’t get house-broken, and a home plumbing system that keeps backing up.
However, his job, wife and kids are all within “the normal range.” He walks outside and has a chat with his neighbor. The neighbor has a 23 year old son who is schizophrenic and lives with him and his wife. They are retired, living on a limited income, and suffering health problems. Most of us would say, “There but for grace of God go I,” and go back inside with a prayer for neighbor, but a sense of gratitude for our own set of problems, which is much smaller and somehow seems, now, more manageable.
Fred, pessimist, however, goes back inside feeling lower than ever, having decided that if world is that awful, why try at all.
Pessimism has its roots in our beliefs, which feed into our expectations. If a perfect world is one of your beliefs, or feeling that you can’t be happy until you live in a perfect world, why not take it out and have another look. Write down your core beliefs and then go over them with optimism and pessimism in mind.
Now, in Spanish there are two “to be” verbs. One, ser, means a permanent state, such as, I am a woman. Soy mujer. The other is for temporary states, such as, I am furious. Estoy enojada. English doesn’t make this distinction by means of different verbs, but I will close this using “be” in ‘state’ sense, not ‘trait’ sense: You can be pessimistic [trait] and still survive. We all know people who are and do. But it may be necessary to be optimistic [state] if you want to thrive.
Learn about optimism and have it available. Be able to change your self-talk and attitude. This flexibility will develop your emotional intelligence, and in long run, happiness you save may be your own.
©Susan Dunn, MA, Life & EQ Coach, http://www.susandunn.cc . Offering coaching, Internet courses and ebooks for your personal and professional development. I train and certify EQ coaches. Mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org for FREE ezine.