Posted in Communication, Excitement, Friendship, Inspiration, Joy, Life, Positive Thinking

Quote Of The Day

If you don’t have a smile. I’ll give you one of mine.”

–unknown author
Photo by Baylee Gramling on Unsplash

As always, thanks for stopping by. I’ll trade you a smile for one of mine!

Posted in Coping, Inspiration, Joy, Life, Personal Development, Positive Thinking

Quote Of The Day

“Our capacity to draw happiness from aesthetic objects or material goods in fact seems critically dependent on our first satisfying a more important range of emotional or psychological needs, among them the need for understanding, for love, expression and respect.” 

Alain De Botton
https://unsplash.com/photos/4bmtMXGuVqo

As always, thank you for stopping by. Have a happy day!

Posted in Inspiration, Learning, Life, Motivation, Personal Development, Positive Thinking, Potential

Choices We Make And Why They Are Important – How They Affect Our Life

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

“Attitude is a choice. Happiness is a choice. Optimism is a choice. Kindness is a choice. Giving is a choice. Respect is a choice. Whatever choice you make makes you. Choose wisely.”

Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

Life throws choices at us each day; day in and day out. Sometimes we pay attention, and sometimes we do not. We make many choices with little thought or action; small happenings which we automatically discard or accept.

Many choices are made early on in life, and we take them for granted. We have grown from a small child into adulthood and more than likely; we adopted the thoughts and actions of our parents. We may never change, but that is a choice. We chose to accept them.

Life experiences should and probably will change the way you look at everything. As we are exposed to different people, different cultures, different viewpoints, we will have the opportunity to make new choices. They may be a blend of what you believe now, and what you just were exposed to and decided to accept, or they could be new and different.

When I was a small child, life was simple, and the world did not ever seem to change. Then all of a sudden life went into overdrive, full speed ahead, take a deep breath, and hang on. That’s when you start making choices, and you better be paying attention. You are the one in charge and you make the decisions. Choose wisely.

I believe the quote by Roy T. Bennett includes many of the essential choices we will make in life. Attitude, Respect, Optimism, Happiness, Kindness, and Giving.

Your attitude is everything, and it is all about choice. Every morning when you wake up, you have the opportunity to make choices, and they will affect what you do and how you do it. Every decision you make will affect each day, each week, each month and the rest of your life. Are you going to be positive today or are you going to be a Negative Nancy?

Respect is a choice and an important one. So many people appear not to understand the meaning of being respectful. Everyone has the right to make their own decisions, and we should respect their choices. Our opinions are our own and have nothing to do with anyone else’s. It is crucial to respect yourself and to respect others. The sting of disrespect is potent and can harm another person.

Choosing to be optimistic is so important. We are living through a time filled with negative thoughts and actions. It can be mind-numbing. I think it is crucial to be optimistic. Being optimistic is having hope in the future. It is the ability to believe that you can be successful even when it appears impossible. Optimism makes us confident and able to visualize ourselves accomplishing goals. You may not be naturally optimistic, but it is something you can practice. Right now, I am being optimistic about writing, one small step at a time.

Kindness is something that should be automatic. There should not be a thought process required, yet there is. It is a choice every one should make every day. What a better world it would be. I know many people do choose kindness effortlessly, probably more than we will ever know. Unfortunately, we hear more about the negative events in the news and our social media feeds. Talk and write about positive events in your life as often as possible. We can make a difference for ourselves and others by doing that.

I think Kindness and Giving are two sides of the same coin. When we are kind, we are giving something of ourselves to someone else. A smile, a touch of our hand, a kind gesture like buying someone a cup of coffee, or just having a conversation with a stranger. So simple.

Happiness. Are you happy right now? What about the rest of your day? How are you going to spend your day, and will it make you happy? It is a choice. You can choose to be happy. There are days, or whole slices of our life, that are miserable and sad. Life can be shit sometimes. The unexpected event that knocks you down can bring you to your knees. It will not be easy to visualize being happy, but it is there, hidden. You will get past the bad times, and happiness will come. It will come from the kindness of a friend or a stranger, a shared smile, a small gesture made. When that happens, smile. The times when all is right with the world, we still have a choice every day to be happy. Smile, be happy, and spread it around. Please.

There are other choices that we can make. We have to recognize that we need to change continually. We have to be open to change, accept it, and use it to improve ourselves continuously. Not accepting change is like a self-imposed curse. Being stagnant should not be an option, but it is a choice, a decision, we all can make. No matter how young, or how old you are, you need to welcome change into your life. That is why I am writing. I made a choice to do something different and energize myself, and it is working.

The people we spend time with or listen to will strongly influence our choices. There always seems to be someone you know who is that Negative Nancy, and who finds something each day to complain about, or make fun of someone. Their viewpoint does not match yours and causes you stress. They are difficult to ignore, and sometimes you find yourself influenced by a statement they made. It can be so frustrating, and in some cases, depressing. You do not want to hurt them, but by continuing to be around them, you are hurting yourself—decision time. You need to distance yourself from them or end the relationship. You want to spend your time with people who will support your beliefs, make you stronger, better.

Know yourself, have confidence, and listen to your inner voice. I have written about this before and believe in this innate ability we have within us. Call it intuition. It is like a hunch we feel inwardly that warns us about something we are contemplating doing. It is a little niggling sensation that tells you not to do something, or it may be telling you to go ahead; it’s okay.

When you are making a decision, and you have an uncomfortable feeling, stop, there is a reason you have that feeling. Give yourself some time to contemplate why before you say yes or no. Recently I thought I should not do something but did it anyway; not once, but twice. It was a mistake both times.

Life is about choices. Some we regret, some we’re proud of. Some will haunt us forever. The message: we are what we chose to be.”

—Graham Brown

Life is all about the choices we make. Our choices form us. They make us happy or sad, successful, or not. We will not always make the right choices, but if we choose to learn from them, we will continue to grow as a person. We will become better. No one said it would be easy, but this is the only life we have. Make it a good one.

As always, thank you for reading my blog. Choose to be happy; smile!

Posted in Communication, Inspiration, Learning, Motivation, Personal Development, Positive Thinking, Potential, Self Improvement

Listen – Did You Hear That? Tips to Improve & Understand The Art of Listening

Photo by Florencia Potter on Unsplash

“The art of conversation lies in listening.”

–Malcom Forbes

There are two essential forms of listening. First, is being able to listen to yourself. Second, is your ability to listen to others.

What do I mean when I say, listen to yourself? To some, that statement is foreign. We do not listen to ourselves. We listen to other people, so why would we listen to ourselves? Why, indeed!

Unfortunately, most of us do not know that listening to ourselves is something we can and should be doing. In some ways listening to our selves is an art. Every day we are bombarded with information. We think about events from yesterday and how we were affected by them, and we think about tomorrow and what we need to do. At the same time, we are trying to focus on what we have to do today. There are some days we are on autopilot.

We are not good at listening to others, so why should we listen to ourselves? The art of listening includes both.

All of us have an inner voice or unconscious mind, and we usually ignore it or push it aside. You should pay attention because this is where we store our basic instincts and our learned wisdom. Based on previous experiences and how they affected our overall well being, our inner voice will attempt to influence our present thinking and behavior. The unconscious mind stores our learned skills, our intuition, good and bad experiences from the past, and also our dreams.

When you are interacting with someone, or by yourself and planning on doing something, you may experience a niggling thought, or feeling, that is pushing into your mind. You are busy and concentrating, so you push it away. That is your inner voice, and it is attempting to give you information. Slow down and take a moment, relax, and listen to your inner voice.

I have had that experience before. It does feel like intuition, and I have found that it is usually right. Most of the time, I listen to my inner voice, and I am happy I did. On the occasions when I chose not to, the results were not good. I should have listened.

In today’s culture, we are so busy. To listen to your inner voice, you need to slow down. When you are stressed and want to make a decision, take a moment to concentrate on your body. Stop and focus on your breathing for 2 – 3 minutes. Close your eyes and concentrate on the way your body feels as you breath in and out. This practice will help you to relax and eliminate stress. Open your eyes and start to think again and listen to your inner voice. Make this a daily practice.

Also recommended is taking a small amount of time each day to reflect. Be by yourself and be still. Write down your thoughts. They can be about anything, a person who you interact with, a particular situation or upcoming project. The practice of writing things down, reading your words, and then reflecting, will help you visualize and may change your perspective. You are giving yourself time to think and to listen to what your inner voice may be telling you.

What about your ability to listen to other people? Have you ever been talking and you can tell by the other person’s eyes that they are not listening to you? What about when you are still talking, and they interrupt you? They have been thinking about what they want to say. I hate that!

Humans are not skilled when it comes to the ability to listen. If you want to have a good conversation, talk to your dog. They are so focused, giving you all their attention. They make eye contact, and they will move closer to you and make physical contact when appropriate. They signal their approval and eagerly await your next words. Talking to your dog will always make you feel good and bring you comfort when needed. How many people can you say that about?

Follow the lead of your dog:

Make eye contact. Let them know you feel they are important and you want to hear what they say. Smile when appropriate. Do not look away; concentrate on the one speaking.

Do not interrupt them. Please do not do that. It will make the other person feel lousy and unimportant. Wait until they finish and if you are not sure, ask them. Keep any comments you think of as they are talking until they are finished.

Watch their body language as they are talking. It will give you a better understanding of how they feel. They may be holding things back because they are uncomfortable or afraid. They may be angrier than what their words are telling you. They may be saying what they think you want to hear or they do not trust you. The body language they display will help you make an assessment. What do they need and how should you proceed.

Use your body language to encourage them and to show that you are interested in what they are saying. Lean forward, make eye contact, nod your head, smile, and use small statement words such as okay or yes.

When appropriate, ask questions that will indicate to them you are listening and you are interested. I think I understand, did you mean—–? Are you saying—–?

Don’t be judgmental. It is a skill to be open-minded, and for most of us, it is difficult. We all have our opinions, and we all have certain behaviors or words, which are turn-offs. To be an effective active listener, we need to develop the ability to let those words and behaviors go, and listen to what else they are saying while also watching their body language. When I become judgmental, or someone I am with is that way, I think of the phrase, “There but for the grace of God, go I.”

Listen. Do not do anything else. Let the other person talk and do not think about your responses. We are all capable of thinking rapidly while someone else is talking, but it is not beneficial. When we let our mind race, our mind wanders, and before you know it, your mind is on a road trip. You have driven off somewhere, and you have missed some of what they have said. You may have lost the real message. You form your interpretation which may be incorrect. Time to ask some questions and, an apology may be warranted.

When possible, as you are listening to the other person, tie their statements together. Are there multiple messages, and do they all come together into one detailed message, or do they need to be looked at separately?

At times it may be necessary to interrupt and explain that you are having difficulty listening because there are too many distractions. It is too loud, there are too many other conversations taking place close by, you are standing, and it would be more comfortable sitting, etc. Make sure that you convey to them that their message is important and you want to hear all of what they have to say.

We all learn about our behaviors and abilities from experience. From the day we are born, through school, our parents, our friends, and our work, we are exposed to different actions. You can decide which are the best practices. You can use those to develop your own ability to be a good listener. Think of the people you respect the most and how they make you feel when you talk to them. Analyze their ability to listen and what you see as the best practices.

Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand.”

–Karl A. Menniger

As always, thank you for reading my blog today. Sit, have a conversation and practice listening.