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4/21/13

Assertive Living

 

Assertive living is to be positive, confident, and self-assured.  It is to be forceful in a polite manner that shows respects for yourself and to others.  To be assertive is learning to be firm, yet kind.  Firmness shows respect for yourself; kindness shows respect for the other person.  Here are some other characteristics of assertive living:
 
I can express my needs in a clear, non-demanding way.  We all have needs and it is alright to have those needs met as long as they do not impinge on another’s needs.  Assertive living is to use your words to tell or to ask, rather than assuming or demanding. 
 
I can graciously receive a compliment without embarrassment or discounting it.  The confidence and self-assurance of assertive living lets you know you are a person of worth and value and when someone commends an attribute, you humbly say t with equalizing the balance of power.  It is realizing I am a person of worth and value and you are a person of worth and value.  It is learning to create win-win situations. It is solving problems in a manner that is most beneficial and fair to all.
 
I understand others have a right to express their wants, needs, feelings, ideas and desires. Assertive living is not just standing up for yourself and your rights, it is also allowing someone to voice a differing view from yours and  - even though you may disagree with the statement – continue to still hold the person in high regard.   
 
I can enjoy the assertiveness of others without being intimidated.  As the Chinese proverb states, “Behind an able man there are always other able men.”
 
 You will be well on your way to assertive living when you easily incorporate the following phrases into your communication.      
 
“I cannot respond to that right now.”   “I need more information.”   
 “I like...”          “I don’t like....”            “I need….”
 “I need you to…..”                               “I need you to stop…”  
“I feel…”          “I choose to….”          “I choose not to…”
 “Thank you.”   “No thank you.”
 
Try it.  You'll like it. 

4/14/13

For the Love of Snuggles


Snuggles was a bonus.  She earned her name and was faithful to it to the end.  
 
Buttons, a stray cat that wandered to our rural address, blessed us with a litter of beautiful, long-haired, good-natured kittens.  She was a wonderful mother whose babies were in demand and we allowed her to have three litters before the knife.  The reputation of her off-spring caused us to have repeat customers.  
 
We had adult cats but no babies and our eight year old daughter wanted a kitten – a yellow one.  We began our search for this special being.  Sure enough, we found a litter that had a big, robust yellow male cat.  In the weaning period, we visited often – to ensure bonding.   His dominant nature earned him the name Thumper from the beginning.  The owner commented on his robust personality and that – although he would not be denied in the dinner department – he seemed to favor, even to take care of – the runt kitty.  Whether sleeping or playing, she said those two were always together.
 
That’s how we got our bonus kitty.  Their personalities were opposite from the beginning.  Thumper was a typical independent-I’ll-love-you-on-my-own-terms cat.  But at the slightest outreach of a hand, Snuggles came running for head rubs and cuddles.  Thumper never met a stranger.  Snuggles was strictly a three-person cat, forming friendships only with my daughter, my husband and myself.  Thumper ran to greet guests when the door bell rang; Snuggles hid under the bed until all scent of another human was past.   We loved them both and they each brought a special joy to our lives.  And they continued to be best buddies.
 
Days go by one at a time and lives change.  Our daughter went off to college and we all missed her dearly.  In an effort to fill the void, I reached out to the cats even more.  Soon, they were sleeping on our bed and were following me around like a puppy-cat. 
 
Thumper was the adventurous one and met an accidental death at age twelve.  Snuggles grieved for him for a long time.  She turned to me for solace, becoming my constant companion.  As I did my morning routine at the dressing table, Snuggles perched on the corner for a birds eye view.  I would give her a nose-to-nose kiss and say, “I love you.”  She would “Meow” back as if to say, “I love you, too.”  This became our frequent greeting to each other. 
 
Snuggles lived a long and healthy life, belying her runt beginnings.  At age eighteen she slept day and night and moved slowly.  She all but quit eating, and her breathing became laborious.  The vet assured me she was not in pain so I chose to keep her with us, tending to her needs, until the end. 
 
I put her on a pillow and carried her from place to place to be wherever I was – at the dressing table, by my computer while working, on my lap for TV time, and in her normal place by my head at night.  I hand fed her.  I cuddled her and talked to her, telling her how much she had added to our home.   Although she had quit meowing, in her own special way, she communicated back. 
 
One night as I held her, I said, “Snuggles, do you know how much I love you?” 
 
She looked deep into my eyes and uttered a weak “Meow” as if to say, “Do you know how much I love you?” 
 
That night, Snuggles died peacefully in her sleep.  I took my silky dressing gown and wrapped her frail body in it as a burial shroud.  We placed her amid the iris outside my office window.  As they bloom in the spring, I am reminded of the cycles of life, the serendipity of bonuses and the love of Snuggles. 
 
 
 

4/11/13

A Matter of Perspective


“If you can imagine it, you can achieve it.” Paul J. Meyer
 
Perception is the way we see things. Our perception becomes our reality. Only one’s perception may not be real (reality).
 
To have a more objective perception, mentally walk around the object (idea, concept. belief) for a better viewpoint. I like to turn things around to get a different slant.  So…
 
“If you cannot imagine it, you cannot achieve it.” Mona Dunkin
 
The rephrasing is not intended to be negative but a call for a reality check. What have you dreamed that you have dismissed as not feasible?
 
How many wonderful creative things have you imagined and then became your own sensor? The very fact that the idea came to you in the first place is evidence of your ability of carrying it to fruition. We are capable of doing things we never thought we could do. The fact that we thought of it is evidence enough that we can do it or we never woulda thunk it.
 
It is that simple. And that complex. 
 
Everything is created twice; first in the mind and then in reality. 
 
For deeper clarity, I also like to rephrase statements as a question, and/or use similar words. As in, “Are you telling me that if I can mentally picture it, I can also bring it into being? Are you saying that, I can actually create it?”
 
Yes. Yes. Yes.
 
So the idea is ambiguous. Or you are too-o-o-o-o busy to even think about it.  Ideas are words. Apostle James encourages us to be a doer of the idea (word), not merely a hearer of the idea.
 
We deceive ourselves into thinking the problem is a lack of time. Wrong. It is not so much about how busy you are but how much you believe in your dreams. It is about investing your time into growing and developing needed skills. It is about letting go of fears and insecurities.
 
Incidentally, I am writing to me as much or more than I am to you.  Let us encourage one another and utilize our gifting to create the dreams that we were created to dream
 

4/7/13

Root Causes of Anger


Anger is a legitimate emotion and is common to all.  How often we give into angry expressions is a personal choice.  As we learn to be aware of the roots of anger we can “nip it in the bud”. 
 
A major cause of anger is when a need is not met, whether the need is real or perceived.  We act on the way we feel things are, not on the way they are.
 
Two of mankind’s greatest needs in life are to love and to be loved. The feeling of being loved results in personal stability and confidence. Feeling unloved produces insecurity, hypersensitivity and anger. Striving for unmet love leads to becoming dependent on another to prove your self-worth. It allows inner thoughts and emotions to be dictated by external circumstances. 
 
Another factor in anger is when one’s worth is questioned or one feels devalued.  Without the confidence of independent thinking, others are used to validate who one is, his beliefs, actions and behaviors. 
 
Another root behind anger is when one’s views, convictions or beliefs are threatened. Everyone has opinions and everyone has things she values. Holding on to them too tightly for fear of being proved wrong, is expecting others to authenticate those things that shape your outlook, principles and faith.  
 
Anger breeds unforgiveness toward those who do not esteem you (as you need to be esteemed), who devalue me or who trample my beliefs. 
 
When one lives a lifestyle inconsistent with core beliefs, an unexplained anger toward self and life is displayed.  If you believe in “God, mom and apple pie”, yet do not reverence the divine, do not respect your heritage and eat peach cobbler, you have set yourself up for anger.  If you believe in morality, yet live immorally, you set yourself up to self-destruct.  If you believe in honesty, but fudge on expense accounts, speed limits and income tax, you set yourself up for anger.  If you believe in integrity, yet tell “white lies” or askew the truth to make yourself look good, you have set yourself up for anger.  To violate the truth held in one’s heart is to self-destruct.  How can you adjust your lifestyle and attitudes to your congruency?    
 
Low self-esteem and over-inflated ego. Self-image is the picture you have of you, true or false. Self-esteem is the value you place on you, high or low. Self-worth is the reality of your intrinsic value and dignity as a human being regardless of externals. Failure to accept the gift of yourself leads to anger with life.
 
An attitude of entitlement. This is displayed in a mind-set of “I didn’t ask to be born so somebody owes me.  Mom owes me. Dad owes me. Siblings owe me. My friends owe me.  My boss owes me.  The government owes me.  Somebody owes me!”  The truth is, life is the greatest gift God and your parents gave you.
 

Although anger has its place, to have one’s personality marked by anger does not.  Become aware of your frequent angry by making an x on your calendar every time you become frustrated. Recognize your hot buttons and steer clear of them. Change your stance; sit down, lower voice, breath deep, recite mantra or count to ten. Deal with the real issue; evaluate what is really bothering you.