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Building Your Safety Net

Restlessness and complacency are twin rivals of the human psyche. Carl Jung  

We are complicated individuals with dualities striving for fulfillment.  Here are some thoughts on being whole, complete, real, united and living/walking in congruency with our true self. 

Accept who you are now and grow into whom you want to become. Give up the fairy tail world of “Someday I’ll…” Wishing and dreaming are not enough. Such irrational thinking sees self as whole and complete. It takes out the temptations and struggles of today’s reality. Get in touch with your humanness, accept help and guidance and develop your latent strengths.

Monitor your growth. Set a benchmark to focus on and keep track of day-to-day progress. For example, studies show that weight loss is twice as effective for those who record their food intake as those who do not. Monitored activity or thoughts makes reality more visible, whereas non-measured activity lends to error.

Give up trying (low energy) and go with doing (high energy). Look at how far you have come “since when” and embrace where you are now. Trying embraces struggle whereas doing releases ideas, energy and results.  Success in small increments ups the ante to keep on keeping on. 

Change your playground and your playmates.  The body is a remarkable instrument that wants to heal itself.  The cells in the body have only two positions: closed for protection and open for growth.  Glucose is a willpower enforcer that is released into the blood stream in nurturing environments. Glucose “willpower” is constricted in hostile, not-good-for-you settings.  Consider who is good for you and hang around them. Get honest with who/what is not good for you and limit exposure.

Change is invigorating to soul, mind, body and spirit. Like most things, habits are both good and not so good.  The habit that propels you to brush your teeth is great, not so much the one that unthinkingly reaches for the cigarettes. When surroundings are the same, so too are ingrained habits. A slight change in your environment can cause you to re-think.  Replace junk food with fruits and vegetables. Put interesting reading material on top of the TV remote. Keep dumbbells in an accessible spot for impromptu strength training.  Every time you chose a positive move, consciously tell yourself you are brain-training your mind.

Believe it and see it.  Everything is created twice, first in the mind and then in reality. Athletes who visualize overcoming an obstacle win hands down over the also-rans who tried to do their best. Anticipate challenges and see yourself succeeding anyway. Practice graciously yet boldly saying “No, thank you” to those tempting offers that are sure to come.

There is strength in numbers. Align yourself with people who embody the character qualities you want to develop. Get involved with wholesome groups like church, sports and mentors.  Hang around those who encourage you, support you and cheer you on.

Be kind and patient. Beating yourself up serves no worthwhile purpose whereas self-compassion - especially in light of setbacks - leads to self-control and a do-over motivation. Refuse to indulge in the vicious cycle of error, guilt, condemnation and greater error. Self-forgiveness sets you up to focus on what you really want,  who you really are and whom you really can become. 

Watch your self-talk directed at others. Judging, condemning and criticizing others turns them into your enemy whether they are or not.  We need community. The person you judge as self-righteous may be dealing with his own demons in a different manner than you. Just maybe what you see as nagging is a mishandled way of encouragement. Suppose they (mom, mate, co-worker, authority) see the real possibilities within you and - out of frustration -tries to force you into being you. With the reciprocity of life such as it is your extending compassion to him comes back to you.

Don't Cope. Overcome. Walking a high wire needs a safety net.  So does life.  The good news is that with a self-balancer in hand, it requires less and less effort to stay aright. A setback does not mean failure. What counts is how you recover. Get up, dust yourself off and get right back on track.  It’s worth it.

Need trainer? Mona Dunkin leads individuals and companies to greater levels of success. Contact her at 254-749-6594 or View training topics at


Emotional Maturity

Emotions, can you trust them? Emotions are fleeting, fickle and often false. Emotions are based on perception. Whether or not we can trust our emotions has to do with our emotional health. Prolonged invalidation, rejection, criticism and angry responses wear on one’s emotional health, making it raw and hyper-sensitive. Here are a few suggestions to promote emotional healing.

Take a stand. Use “I” statements and speak only from your perspective or to address your personal need. When a person expresses her choices, insights or feelings, it is the individual speaking and the matter can be settled.

Be emotionally honest. When true feelings are pushed aside, unresolved issues take over and seize a club to set matters straight. If another does not approve of your choice, so be it; do not feel guilty or anxious. Summons the courage to stay your ground and allow him to remain in his mood while you go on about your business. Stick to your boundaries and do not make an issue of the opposition. It is not your job to get the dissenter out of a snit; that is a task every individual must do for herself.

Recognize your own issues. Do not isolate or bottle up. Do not allow yourself to be sucked into another’s problems. Although we can work in partnership, still each must hoe his own row in life.

Respond, don’t react. The rawer the emotions, the quicker to judge response as negative. Reacting is negative. Dynamite must have a ‘reactor’ for it to go off, and the shorter the fuse, the quicker the explosion. Reacting is taking comments as a personal affront. Reacting is belittling the offender. It takes emotional health to respond rather than react. Responding is seeing the situation at face value. Responding is choosing to regard the offender as a person of worth and value. Responding paves the way for resolution.

Self-Evaluate. Several times during the day, stop and evaluate your actions, thoughts and feelings. Reel in assumptions. Quit regarding others as jerks. Stop the judgments and criticism. As you become aware how you are feeding your negative emotions, you become equipped to conquer them.

Plan ahead. Life is faithful to give us do-oers. As you honestly evaluate that you reacted negatively to a person’s disrespect, picture the event happening again with you responding in a more positive light. Sports figures see themselves succeeding before ever going onto the playing field. See yourself being calm, pleasant and respectful before going into the arena.

DON’T COPE—OVERCOME: Rather than being driven by your emotions and later regretting the direction in which they took you, learn to control your emotions and later feel good over your responses. Being in charge of your emotions is so empowering. Healthy emotions go hand-in-hand with happiness and satisfying relationships.

Cool. Calm. Collected. Cheerful.


Rebounding from a Lay Off

Economists tell us that the changing job market is a good thing. It shows us what works and what does not work. What worked for a time will not continue to work as technology improves. The ice man lost his job and was retrained and hired as a freezer manufacturer.

Do not burn your bridges. Do not allow hurt and anger to reflect negatively on your exit. A gracious departure will work in your favor for future referrals or possible rehire.

Understand conditions. Seek counsel regarding unemployment benefits or departure package from your employer. Will they pay for schooling? What compensation is there for unused vacations or sick days? Look into extending insurance coverage through cobra. Determine how to invest your IRA rollover.

Your job is finding a job. Step back into the job market immediately. Do not depress and do not delay. Brush up your resume and polish your networking skills. Get out the door five days a week, eight hours a day. At the Salvation Army’s Fresh Start Center, Federal convicts have fifteen days in which to find employment or its back to prison. If they can do it, you can too.

Network, network, network. Tell everyone you know that you are available; remember the five degrees of separation. Do it in concentric circles – family, friends, acquaintances, colleagues, clients, vendors, professional contacts, community leaders, business owners and the internet. Make memorable business cards and hand them out in mass. My friend in the education field was downsized. She made a clever calling card proclaiming, “School is out… I’m not ready for recess.”

Practice interviews. Know what BNI calls your “elevator speech”. Condense your job skills, qualifications and character qualities to a sound bite that can be professionally delivered to anyone, anywhere, at any time. Include what you have to offer and what you will accept. Perfect your performance in front of the mirror, on your cat and to your family. Graciously receive their input.

Obtain counsel. The fee for professional help is an investment in your future. They are experts at packaging you and your material to make the best impressions. The human condition is to sell self short. From a dynamic cover letter to a spruced up resume, the professional is less modest in extolling your stellar qualifications and outstanding character qualities.

Something is better than nothing.
Monetary resources deplete quickly so a job beneath your qualification level is still employment. We have an innate need to serve and this is accomplished to a large degree through the work we perform. All jobs are honorable, as long as they are legal and moral, and you add dignity to the position. Negotiate with the employer that you are willing to become an apprentice to learn new skills. Use your experience as leverage to move up the ladder quickly.

Be open to a new career.
Maybe the time has come to start your own business and turn your hobby into a career. Explore new interests and technology through education. Become an apprentice to a master.

Difficult times force us to step outside our comfort zone. Have fun and grow in the process. Use your creativity to expand shrinking income, use set backs to strengthen your stamina, develop internal character qualities, appreciate family and time spent together, and always trust your higher power.