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9/5/17

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.

8/29/17

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.



8/22/17

Networking Assertiveness



Networking is a vital part of social capital. As in all areas of business, we want to be both effective and efficient. Following are ideas for disengaging from the prolonged networker.

Set limits. If there seems to be no end to the saga, hold your hand up as if to indicate, “Stop”. Jump in with the assumption that this could take awhile and that you have other obligations. Smile and graciously go on your way.

Ask for a conclusion. Assertively set boundaries by asking him to skip the details and briefly give the end result. Firmness shows respect for you and kindness shows respect for the bore.

Use Archer Bunker humor. Rather than gesture hanging yourself, in a playful manner act as though you are dozing off. Make your exit and go home to go to bed or the washroom to splash cold water in your face. No other explanations necessary.

Act as if. Give the individual an easy out by acting as if you have been monopolizing his time and offer to let him go. Then do it.

Stand up - physically as well as for yourself. If you are seated, stand up. Whether in an office setting, your living room or a barstool, when you stand up it gives a powerful non-verbal message that the encounter is over. In a standing encounter, give the physical stance of departure.

Pass the buck. I hesitate to suggest this, even though I have used it on more than one occasion. Using the networking strategy of acting the host, draw another person into the conversation then make an amiable exit (to entertain others, of course). Later, make it up to your unsuspecting pawn by taking her to lunch.

Even though bores are boring, they are still human beings so treat them kindly. Be firm without being rude. Be more cautious the next time you are around them to practice amiable avoidance.

8/15/17

Creative Problem Solving



Creativity is a matter of perspective. It is the ability to look at the ordinary and see the extra-ordinary. When face with problems, we can take the low road of pain, frustration, and unhappiness or we can take the high road of information, value, and happiness. Your chose.

Learn to develop your creativity. Work puzzles. Engage in something artistic like paints or clay. Turn on the music and do impression dancing. Play games or rhymes or tongue-twisters with a child. Rearrange furniture. Prepare an exotic cru sine. Go camping. Make do. Giving freedom to your innate creativity lends itself to solutions.

Live life in pencil. There is usually more than one answer to a problem, or at least many sections to the overall answer. You are continually choosing from many possibilities. Try, fail, learn and try again. Brainstorm and come up with many possibilities, then focus on the most plausible without ruling out the absurd. Photo Journalist Dewitt Jones of National Geographic uses 400 rolls of film and 14,000 pictures taken per assignment with the results of 30 photos per issue.

Ask pertinent questions. Reframe problems into possibilities.
* what factors/causes/variables are we ignoring?
* what information do you still need?
* whom do you need to consult?
* for clarity, define the problem in writing
* what is the worst that could happen?
* what good could come even if the worst happened?

Do not be afraid to make mistakes. Lighten up; a mistake is a behavior that does not get what you want. Break the pattern. If you continue in a habit long enough, it becomes organized behavior performed by habit and never improved. Summons the courage to make the tough decisions.

Train your techniques. Until you own your new behavior, when pressure comes, you revert to the old pattern. Set up a safe environment in which to change and to practice. Practice becomes permanent as you practice correctly. Remember, you are always practicing. That is how habits are formed – or broken.

Accept problems as a passage of life. Once you realize that life is difficult, you transcend the difficulty and can creatively concentrate on problem solving.

Mona Dunkin is a Motivational Speaker, Corporate Trainer and Personal Success Coach.

8/8/17

Boost Your Brain Power




Regardless of age, a frequent complaint is the inability to remember names, events or where things are located. Use the following suggestions to improve your thinking skills.

Step it up. The body and mind is interconnected. To increase brainpower, increase the oxygen level through improved use of your body. Engage your body in different activities as a springboard to get your mind unto a new frame of reference for thinking. Walk a little faster. Stretch. Exercise. Get the blood flowing to stimulate thinking.

Water, water, everywhere. We are a nation that is drink obsessed and hydration depleted. At a recent holistic conference, Bill Yeary stated that 75% of Americans have chronic dehydration and this fact alone is a major contributor to pain and disease. The first thing he does in giving body assessments is to test for proper hydration by simply putting pressure on the hand to see how quickly color returns. Most participants were dehydrated despite the tables being strewn with coffee cups and soda cans. To improve overall health – mentally and physically - daily drink 8 ounces of undiluted water for every 20 pounds of body weight.

Learn new things. Exposure to fresh experiences and information forces the brain to make new connections. Read challenging material outside your familiar genre. Take up knitting, carpentry or paint a picture.

Do mental gymnastics. To develop mental acuity, take a familiar sequence and mix it up, add to or take away. Recite the alphabet backwards. List the birth order of family members from oldest to youngest. This exercise allows you to relate to each item individually while also seeing them as a whole. Play word games and work puzzles. A good online source is www.sharpbrains.com.

Love and laugh. Love, giving and receiving, is healing. Laughter is a tonic for whatever ails. Love deeply and laugh often. Make relationship more important than mental sharpness by bestowing and accepting compassion for memory slips.

Meditate. To meditate is to think deeply by mulling over in search of profound insights. In the hustle of life, we lose touch with the wonderful being we are. Our emotions and senses become overloaded thus thwarting free-flowing thoughts. The letting go through contemplation releases you from the fear of health issues, estrangement, aging and death. Reflection frees you to live one-day-at-a time and to find humor in the absurd.

Even the youngest and the healthiest have occasional lapse of memory. Be patient with yourself and do not berate those “senior moments” as a personality flaw. Accept them as an occasional reality, reconnect and get back in the game of life.

For all your speaking and training needs, contact Mona Dunkin, Motivational Speaker and Personal Success Coach monadunkin@gmail.com www.monadunkin.com.”

8/1/17

Benefits of Getting Your Z's





Every parent knows that a cranky child is more pleasant after her “beauty sleep”. It works for adults too. If your life has become so busy that you have decided to give up on sleep, please reconsider. There are numerous benefits. Here are a few.

Sleep aids in the processing of emotions. REM is when sleep experts say dreaming takes place. Supposedly we start by reviewing the events of the day and trying to make sense of them. Thus, the right-brain/left-brain battle brings on some weird images or nightmares. As the night progresses these issues are settled and dreams become more positive, going into the realm of problem solving and goal setting type of daydreaming. What a shame to get too few hours’ sleep and miss out on this beneficial imagery.

Sleep helps to balance perspectives. Research says that because of the right-brain, left-brain switches over during sleep, one’s dream state gives more input and creativity than one’s awakened state. Also, in the relaxation of sleep, the intuitive side willingly receives new insight from the logical side.

The old recommendation to “sleep on it” bears a lot of truth. While your body is being reset through the restful mechanics of sleep, the mind is fully active, exploring through buried files unhindered by conscious thought. The engaged mind reviews and sorts and categorizes and comes to conclusions. Even though it happens frequently, I am still impressed when I awaken with the answer to last night’s cross-word puzzle.

Sleep helps elongates short term memory. Harvard University studies taken from different angles, has impressive research showing sleep improves information storage. Students that study intensely followed by sleep then awaken to testing, scored consistently higher than students who studied intently then immediately was tested while “it was still fresh on their mind.” There is something mysterious about sleeping that allows the mind to better understand information, associate it with prior knowledge, store it and easily retrieve it later.

Experts say the amount of regular sleep effects one’s overall weight. Too little restful sleep the more pounds on the frame and the more difficulty in losing weight.

Sleep resets our systems. As a person who functioned well on only a few hours of sleep, I was reluctant to stay abed longer. These benefits have been motivators to me to and have improved my life and health. It may take a while to learn new sleep habits and it is well worth the effort.

For all your speaking and training needs, contact Mona Dunkin, Motivational Speaker and Personal Success Coach, monadunkin@gmail.com www.monadunkin.com.”


7/25/17

Self Care




It is more important that you take care of you than that you take care of them. Does that sound selfish? Done in the right spirit, it is the first step toward selflessness. You cannot give out of an empty basket. A hungry man is unable to feed another. A full chef delights in serving.

Decay or grow. Our bodies are built to move. Movement stimulates cell growth. Reduced movement results in cell atrophy. A lethargic lifestyle causes the body to waste away. Decay. The body is a good servant in that it responds as gracefully as possible to the treatment we give it.

Endless recycle program. Our bodies consist of trillions of cells. They continually die off and are replaced. Bones dissolve and regenerate. High school health class taught that we have a completely new body ever seven years. But it is in increments, like 1% a day. What determines the quality of replacement? Whether the replacement quality is high or inferior depends on the lifestyle choices we make every day. Stronger or weaker cells? Our choice.

Intentional care. Remember the airline instructions? In case of emergency, you place the air bag on you first before helping the child, elderly, infirmed or others. Be intentional about your nutrition, your rest and your needs so that you are in optimum condition - mentally and physically - to help others.

Emotions play a big part. Human beings are composed of molecules therefore everything affects our molecular structure. Destructive emotions such as anger, hate, stress and loneliness send a “decay” message to the cells. These long-held emotions lead to chronic pain. Even though the angry person may be wishing ill on another he is issuing his own death warrant.

Conversely, positive emotions such as optimism, love, compassion and community promote strength, thus healthy molecules. Not only does the molecular body benefit, but also one’s mind, heart, spirit and social life.

Handling the day-to-day stresses of life begins with self-care. Start with quality quiet time. What if it really does work?

Mona Dunkin is a Motivational Speaker, Corporate Trainer and Personal Success Coach.

7/18/17

When Reality Sets In



While reading to my granddaughter she suddenly exclaimed, “Nana, you have something on your face.” She said it looked like pencil marks between my eyebrows.

After unsuccessful attempts to wipe it off, I looked in the mirror. It was not pencil marks. It was wrinkles. Deep ones.

Long ago I came to peaceful terms with the reality of death. I know that each of us has been allotted only so many days on this earth, I guess I just never expected to look like I was aging.
Since the announcement of those first wrinkles, others have joined the ranks. I’m okay with that and gracefully settle into being a senior adult.

The way one perceives life becomes his reality – only it may not actually be real. The reality is that all of us alive at this moment are aging and have benchmarks to verify it. That does not discount one’s viability as a human being with infinite worth and value.

A current mantra is “Fifty is the new thirty.” Does that mean that thirty is the new ten?

On the front of a birthday card was the question: “What is the difference in a 40-year-old and a 4- year-old?” Answer: “The 4-year-old wants to grow up.” Is this inferring that a 40-plus often remains childish by adopting the immature foot-stomping stance of Peter Pan?

Is our society so obsessed with youth, that, despite advancing years, the population convinces itself that aging is bad? Wisdom does not necessarily come with advancing years. Humility is acceptance of one’s humanness including positives and negatives, strengths and limitations, abilities and diminishing facilities. I suggest humility and wisdom are akin.

Wisdom comes when we release childhood misconceptions for adult realities. Life does not stand still. We are growing or dying, enlarging or shrinking, maturing or reverting to juvenile behavior. To resist changing makes growth difficult, if not impossible.

How freeing to embrace another tomorrow with anticipation of acquired wisdom. Live life so the spirit stays young. Take care of the package and embrace the reality of aging.

Once, on CBS’s Sunday Morning, Anthony Mason talked with rocker Tom Petty about his many accomplishments, life and the future. Mason mentioned Petty’s apparent ease with the encroachment of the Big 6-0 birthday. Tom Petty accepts the reality of aging with his philosophy of: “If you’re not getting older, you’re dead.”

Good insight. Let us live while we are alive, wrinkles and all.

Need a speaker? For all your training needs think of Mona Dunkin and Solution Principles. 254-749-6594 or monadunkin@gmail.com


7/11/17

Reprogramming the Stressed Mind




We think in pictures whether aware of it or not. Whatever is manifested in the mind, the body mechanisms go into effect to bring it into reality. For example, when you want to raise from a chair the brain takes that mind-picture and releases chemicals for the body to comply, thus muscles contract and energy is released to propel upward movement. 

The mind body connection. The mind does not know the difference from what is perceived and what is reality. The body adjusts to perception. Suppose you are frightened of tarantulas and some prankster throws one on you. After you scream, run or possibly recover from a faint, you discover the spider is rubber. Your body responded according to what your mind perceived.

Belief drives behavior. Behavior consists of the thoughts one thinks, the actions taken, the emotions felt and the way the body responds. These four components work in tandem and cannot be separated one from the other. When the conscious mind is continually engaged in fighting for one’s rights or in running away from circumstances, the body remains in a constant state of stress.

Take inventory of your negative beliefs.  Listen to your self-talk. If it is filled with statements such as "I can't" or "I don't have", or “I’m not worthy of”, then you have limiting beliefs that render stress in the body. Why is the body stressed? Because deep down inside the unconscious mind knows the reality of “You can”, “Resources are available to you” and “You have so much worth and value and are deserving of good things.”

Awareness does not change habits. Information enlightens but does not necessarily heal. It takes calm reflection for insights to sink in and take root, thereby blooming into peace and healthier relationships. Choose to sit quietly for a few minutes each day. Take in a deep breath and hold for three seconds, focus on sending the oxygen to the tense muscles. Slowly release your breath and feel the tension leaving your body.  Take in another deep life-giving breath and see it as the self-evident reality that you matter. Hold the breath for three seconds as an embrace of thanksgiving for your life. Slowly exhale through pursed lips and deliberately force out negative programming.

The mind cannot hold two opposing ideas at the same time. That is why arguing with you over pros and cons “drives you crazy”. You are not concluding but are going around and around in dizzying circles. Take inventory of your many abilities and resources. Deliberately focus on what abundance you do have. It is interesting how things change when you change.

For all your speaking and training needs, contact Mona Dunkin, Motivational Speaker and Personal Success Coach, 254-749-6594 

7/4/17

America, Bless God


In July, we celebrate America’s birthday in song, festivities and fireworks and chime in with “God Bless America.” God has blessed America and continues to bless our great country.
Francis Scott Key ended all four stanzas of The Star-Spangled Banner with a question or a declaration regarding “the land of the free, and the home of the brave.” The lyrics are immortal, covering Key’s present (September 14, 1814), through our present (2017) and into the future.

“Oh say, does the Star-Spangled Banner yet wave…..
'Tis the star-spangled banner - O long may it wave ….
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave…
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave…”

We creative humans are apt at turning a phrase for a different slant or intent. I love the magnet on our refrigerator “Home of the free because of the brave.” I equally love the poster “Home of the brave because we are free.”

All have a ring of truth.

All things in life are mysteriously, albeit intricately, connected. Being blessed is contingent upon blessing. Blessing is subject to being blessed, and so forth and so on over and over again. Our forefathers blessed America as a country hallowed for freedom of religion, a place in which free enterprise can flourish, where all people are to be created equally and established a government in which all her citizens have a voice.

How can we, as Americans, bless God?

One way we bless God is through our individual acts of kindness. Realize that everyone is carrying a heavy load. Focus on earning respect rather than deserving it. Choose to be respectful to others while simultaneously behaving in a way that earns respect from them.

We bless God by welcoming the “huddled masses yearning to breathe free”, by valuing diversity and having a willingness to appreciate and incorporate differences. Most of us American born citizens have our ancestral roots in other soil.

We bless God by respecting planet earth. Go green. Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Live within your income. Conserve natural resources. Replenish fallow land. History confirms that a broken land begets a broken people.

We bless God by having a thankful spirit. Being thankful in all things. Being thankful for all things. Not because on the surface all things are worthy of thanks, but because we become a happier and more productive person when we look for something in the situation for which to be thankful. Be thankful, because of and despite of.

America, filled with an abundance of flawed and fabulous individuals, is ‘the land that we love.”

For all your training needs think of Mona Dunkin and Solution Principles. 254-749-6594 or monadunkin@gmail.com


6/20/17

Overcoming Shyness







We are born social creatures and the need for human contact never ceases. But it can sometimes be painful. Research shows that emotional and physical problems are frequently related to those with interpersonal disabilities. Here are thoughts for overcoming shyness.

Adjust your attitude. When entering a room with conflicting emotions of connect-with- me-but-do-not-draw-attention-to-me, we send an avoidance message. Instead of “here I am so you notice me”, let your mind-set be “There you are and I want to connect with you.”

Speak first. Be proactive with the greeting and introduction. Do not waste time in uncomfortable silence. Make it simple, such as “Hi, my name is Mona, how are you?”

Names are important. During the course of conversation make it more memorable by using the person’s name once or twice. Use it sparingly as too much seems fake.

It is more about listening and thinking than speaking. Rather than worry about how to keep the conversation going, intentionally listen to what is being shared and respond by asking appropriate questions or making relevant comments. Not as an interrogator, but as an interested friend. Keep them talking and be at ease with not having to come up with a topic. As odd as it may seem, listening translates as you being good conversationalist.

Interject naturally. As you become comfortable with focused listening, allow your mind to remember personal reflections that would add to the topic. Speak up and be a contributor.

Be others focused. Ironically, as you lose self-focus and become interested in people - their stories and needs - you become the center of attention.

Although many things impact shyness, including personality type, parenting skills, environment and lack of social opportunities, change is possible, it is easy to learn, and it is permanent. Go for it.



6/13/17

Personal Boundaries

 
Royal George, New River, WV 2016

Personal boundaries are the rules you set for what others may or may not do around you. Weak boundaries cost us our identity. Just as the havoc of a tornado invites looting by dishonest people, so too, weak boundaries attract needy and disrespectful people. Failure to set boundaries and failure to respect boundaries goes hand-in-hand.

Boundaries are complex and multifaceted.  A boundary is an imaginary line that defines, protects and establishes identity and scope (person, family, city, nation, culture, faith, time).  A plot of land without boundaries (fences, tree lines, highway, river) becomes an open plain for any and all.  

Without boundaries, its essence ceases to exist. Neither good nor bad of itself, a boundary provides essential limits.  Without personal boundaries, we lose who we are and become enmeshed in others; we cease to exist and in essence, anything goes. 

There are four essential areas in which to set personal boundaries:
1) Emotions - How will you communicate your needs or your feelings when offended?
2) Time - How much time and to what are you willing to commit? 
3) Values – What is your our highest ideal of you and how will you display it?
4) Possessions - What and how will you share?  Hint:  It is important to own before you can give. 

Give notice. Muster your courage and speak up. Inform of your boundaries and/or newly formed principles. Let people know you are learning new concepts and putting them into practice.

Enforce. When your boundary is disrespected, graciously make a clear request to stop.  Be firm, yet kind. Firmness shows respect for you and kindness shows respect for the perpetrator. Do not mistake kindness for weakness or passivity.

Disengage when necessary. It takes two to argue.  For the sake of wholeness, be willing to lay aside your opinions, your rights and your gloves. Do not be ruled by your emotions. Find the inner strength to detach from other peoples needs.  Not necessarily from the person, just from his/her neediness

Be assertive. Assertive is acting in your own best interest without harming another. Do not mistake assertive for dogma, anger or force.

Know who you are. When asked to prove his existence, the French philosopher RenĂ© Descartes, responded, “I think. Therefore I am.”  Get in touch with the wonderful human being you are, think positive thoughts of overcoming and stand in amazement at your new existence. This is not to promote an over-inflated ego but a healthy self-love.

Change your environment. Indifference is contagious.  So too, success is contagious. It is not easy to change behavior.  It is easier to change your environment, which in turn will change your behavior. You decide what is normal by looking around you.  Keep an eye on your social environment, the one you are keeping and the one you are projecting.

The clean up after a natural disaster is time consuming and costly but well worth the effort. So to is the project of establishing personal boundaries; it is an investment in wholeness. 




6/6/17

Eight Ways to Improve Your Life



Little things mean a lot. In striving to achieve the bigger goal, do not lose sight of today. Go ahead and vie for the corner office, get a college degree, design and build the new home or establish your own company. Here are a few thoughts while doing and getting that will aid in the vital role of being.

Smile Research shows it takes fewer muscles to smile than to frown, thus is less wrinkle producing. Smiling gives your face a pleasant expression, aids in stress reduction, cultivates acceptance and makes others wonder what you are up to.

Walk it off. Whether it’s fat, fatigue or frustration a walk works wonders. The philosopher Kirkegaard said, “There is no problem in the world so great that it cannot be solved by a brisk walk.”

Family dinner time. At least once a week make it a priority to sit at the table as a family to eat a meal without interruptions from anything technical. Tune in to each other and share positive experiences. Research shows that families who share one meal a day on a consistent basis become aware of eating disorders, substance abuses and behavioral manners before they become major problems.

Read a book. Reading takes you to worlds otherwise inaccessible, allows you to go on adventures only imagined, and introduces you to people, cultures and customs. Reading merely one book a year places you in an elite percent of the world’s population.

Have a weekly no-tech day - including e-mails, i-pods and cell phones. Connect with the music of singing birds, rustling wind and the sound of human voices. Allow your mind to think without mechanical noise vying for your attention. Get in touch with your inner self by disconnecting from the world wide web.

See pictures in the clouds. Get in touch with your inner child and set your imagination free by gazing into the sky and finding wonderful objects. Use your creativity. It is a great way to connect with your children or to converse with a stranger.

Become a positive parent. Be a good finder and commend the child’s correct behaviors. Give specific praise such as “I appreciate the way you shared with Jamie”, rather than the blanket statement of “You’re a good boy.” Specific praise rewards appropriate behavior that sets the child up for repeat positive actions.

Volunteer. A basic human need is to be needed. Expand your horizons by stepping outside your comfort zone and reaching out to others. It is a given that you will receive more than you give.

At the end of life’s journey the haunting question is “Did my life matter?” By regularly incorporating the above suggestions for improvement, the answer displaces the question.

5/30/17

Control: Internal vs. External





One meaning of control is “to have power over”. Regardless of our rank or position in life, the bottom line is: The only person over whom we have power of control is ourselves and to try to force this power over others is deadly to healthy relationship. 

Influence! Now that's something entirely different... 

Regardless of our rank or position in life, no one can control you to make you do anything you do not wish to do. We can cajole, threaten, humiliate, reward, bribe, punish or instigate other creative measures to control another, but if the upper hand is gained, it is only because he chose to give in to our demand. If we are willing to accept the outcome, no one can make us do anything we do not wish to do.

As the defiant lad said, “I may be sitting down on the outside but I am standing up on the inside!” 

The action may have changed but not the attitude. He lad was not controlled. The child chose to sit because to continue in his current action would bring pain. The child internally chose to externally control himself. The one issuing the mandate may mistakenly think he controlled the child.

And thus sets up the power struggle of the human condition.

When we push for control we make it about us. We overcome when we realize that the stress is more about us than it is about him. That is not to discount that he is being a royal jerk! It is to become aware that the only person over whom we have control is me and, therefore, I do not have to respond in kind to his behavior, attitude or offense.

Responding in kind is to give back in equivalent to what has been received. Just because he has been rude, impatient and aggressive, does not mean that I get to be defensive, frustrated and antagonistic. The less we exercise personal control the more control we try to wield over others.

Conversely, the more internal personal control we exercise – the more we choose to have power over our thoughts, our actions and our emotions – the less controlling we will be of others.

Everything that happens to you is self-created. Whenever you're responding to any
situation, whether it's a sip of coffee, or a traffic jam, or a love note, or criticism
from a boss, or rainy weather, you're in fact responding to a signal that you
generated within yourself.” -- Deepak Chopra

Once you buy into being aware and put personal responses into practice, you become empowered internally that influences externally. Control of self – your thoughts, your actions and your emotions - is a high form of power/control. Trying to control another backfires into making them push back with equal or greater force (whether that force is aggressive or passive).

When we give up external controlling techniques we are in a greater position to influence to the positive.

NEED A MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER: One of America’s most interesting motivational speakers can be enjoyed in person in a presentation tailored to your specific need. Whether organizational, business or civic, you will be entertained with her humor, challenged with her gift of uncommon insights, and motivated by her thought provoking poems. Contact Mona at 254-749-6594 or monadunkin@gmail.com 



3/28/17

Mess Makers and Care Takers



One of the ironies of life is when neat-nixs and slobs are paired together as life partners, at work or on committees. How do you live/work peaceably with a slob? Here are a few suggestions if you find yourself in that situation.

1. Don’t stuff it state it. Rather than stuff your frustration, state your position in a positive manner and with a pleasant attitude. Use “I” statements and know your reason for complaining. Focus on things that can be changed and do not stack attack. Have a suggestion for resolve in mind before gripping. Be specific and communicate with the person in a way that he/she understands. Be open and honest. Don’t beat around the busy or use illusive innuendoes.

2. Ask for change without demanding change. Even though you may have a resolve suggestion in mind, you cannot control another’s ambition or lack of ambition. Do not respond negatively to negativity.

3.Make suggestions to eliminate, delegate or simplify. To eliminate - box it up, put it in drawers or behind cabinet doors, throw it away, give it away or recycle. To delegate – give it away, ask for help, hire resources, or outsource it. To simplify – reduce the amount of times an activity is done and see how much can be pared off.

4. Everything needs a home. If it doesn’t have a home, it becomes clutter and you cannot organize clutter. A lady come to me out of frustrated with her husband and children because they threw things down and the home was constantly cluttered. After assessing the situation, we purchased a variety of sizes of baskets and organizational items. We labeled the baskets and placed them in strategic locations. A large basket by the den door and a coat-hanger strip became home to sports equipment. Baskets on the kitchen counter became homes for mail, coupons, pens/scissors, keys and pocket change. A basket was placed on the fireplace with each child’s name. As the room became cluttered with shoes, books or toys, the wayward items were temporarily placed in the child’s box for him/her to return to its original home. Even though the husband had previously been a major contributor to the clutter, he told his wife, “I am so glad you did this. All that junk made me nervous.”

But what if they will not cooperate? How do you continue to be nice when things stay messy?

It’s more about you than them. Keep your area neat and do not obsess over their messes. Be more concerned with developing a relationship with the offender and he/she may be more willing to follow your example of organization. I love the Catholic prayer, “For the sake of Your passion, grant us grace.” Grace received is enough for you to become a gracious giver.

“Oh, Lord, You’re Beautiful. Your face is all I seek.
And when your eyes are on this child, your grace bounds to me.” -song

DON'T COPE - OVERCOME: Here is a round-robin for you: We choose the emotions we experience and we experience emotions through the thoughts we think. To change emotions, change thoughts. Just like the front wheels of a car point in the direction we travel and the back wheels automatically and dutifully follow, so too, are our emotions hard-wired to our thoughts. Change your mind and change your emotions.



3/21/17

Emotional Health



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, rather than 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.

Calm. Collected. Cheerful.

3/14/17

Overcoming Contrl Issues


By nature, mankind is self-centered.  We expect others, things or circumstances to treat us the way we think we deserve.  When this does not happen, we take over, trying to control situations and people, either directly, indirectly, or covertly.  Only by giving up control can one be truly free.

Control comes from a Latin word meaning “counter role”.
    1.  dominating, commanding, governing, mastering, manipulating, having charge of
    2.  restraining, restricting, repressing, subduing

Ways ineffective irresponsible control manifests itself:
I have to have things my way regardless.       
My needs are the only ones that really matter.
My opinions are more valid than any one else’s. 
Bad case of the “have to’.”
I deserve to be treated fairly and justly at all times.   
The big “I” and little “you”.
It must never rain on my parade.           
Performance is all important.

Language of the controller:
  “You (they) need to…”
  “You should have …”
  “Why didn’t you…” 
“If only you would…”
  “I would never do that!”
“If I was you, I would…”

BECOME A RESPONSIBLE PERSON
by being responsible for…
my thoughts
my actions
my emotions
my choices
my responses

Here are suggestions for effective choices in choosing to give up control counter roles):
I choose to accept my worth and value as a person alive and living on planet earth.
I do not really know myself, my wants or my motives. 
I do not really know what another things or means through his/her words or actions. 
I am incapable of solving all problems.
I do not have the definitive answer for myself, let alone for you.
There are more variables involved that I am aware of and I am willing to consider them.
I choose to not be sucked into another’s problems or emotions.
I choose to give up control - even when it seems unreasonable.
I do not always have to have my way.
I choose to not be driven by my emotions.
What is more important, my way or this relationship?
I cannot be all things to all people and I accept my freedom to quit trying.
I choose to be a unique individual and to let others be unique individuals.
I cannot control another person and I give up my assumed right to do so.
Others cannot make me happy and I choose to stop expecting them to.
I cannot make another happy and I choose to stop attempting to do so.
The only person I can control is me and as I control me I will be a more positive influence. 

Live. Learn. Love. Co-operate.

3/8/17

Dreams, Goals and Our 'Quality World' Pictures


Our ‘Quality World Pictures’ was coined by Psychiatrist William Glasser to represent people, places, things and beliefs that we unknowingly isolate from our all-we-know-world. These things are selected and separated because they add value to our life in some measure. We isolated them as desiring to make them a part of our everyday life. Although they are pictures in our head, we devote our time and attention into developing them into reality.

In non-Reality-Therapy-Choice-Theory-language, I suppose dreams could be seen as the same thing as quality world pictures. We can have both Quality World pictures as well as dreams, yet not be aware of either. We may think it is ‘common sense’ to want this or that or to not want this or that.

Before we proceed further, I need you to know that my definition of ‘common sense’ is those things we bought into pre-conscious and pre-verbal. It is those things we were born into and automatically accepted without question. Those commonalities became our worldview of life and by default became our ‘everybody’s-like-that’ position. We pre-judged that ‘them and their’ were like ‘me and mine’; not necessarily in an ugly prejudicial way but in a limited understanding of differences in individuals, families, tribes, cultures and nations.

And that is where conflict comes in. The real world – people, places, things and beliefs that really exists - tries to educate us. Wake us up. Broaden our perspectives.

Dr. Glasser said, "We control the world for need."

What? I like to put it in a think-about-pattern -- "We control _______ for ______."

EXAMPLES:
We control co-workers for cooperation.
We control the horn for faster traffic flow.
We control our anger for getting our way.
We control being lovey-dovey for getting our way.

(Note the last two control tactics are different approaches with the same end result in mind. Each can be legitimate or a false front, depending on the emotion behind the drive.)

We (attempt) to control ... others or situations or the weather, or traffic or the government or what-have-you... in an attempt to get a need met whether it is our belonging need or our power need or our fun need or…
You get the picture.

But here is the conundrum (riddle). Until we learn Choice Theory, we may be ineffectively attempting to get a need met –even one we don't yet know we have - using pictures we don't know we are trying to develop. Our needs, as well as our ways of securing them, are illusive. We search for pleasure or success following the 'common sense lie'.

How we gather these Quality World pictures is multi-dimensional and lasts a lifetime. Perhaps from old TV shows like Ozzie and Harriett we extrapolate a picture of a happy, healthy marriage.

If I think money will make me happy, then money is a major picture in my quality world even though it may look like a big house or a fancy car or beautiful clothes that I inadvertently adopted as wanting and associated those “things” with money.

If I think love will make me happy then I look for an unspecific person – probably one with money - especially if the people I currently associate with do not make me "feel" loved.

And that is another 'common sense' lie. As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Or ‘feel’ unloved or anything else. Feelings come from thoughts.

When we think unloving thoughts, we feel sad, depressed, angry, etc. Conversely, when we think loving thoughts, even if they are neutral – “maybe I misunderstood” – then our feelings do not hijack us as easily.

We may be in a family where we are loved very much but if their love is not shown to us in agreement with our illusive Quality World picture of what love looks like, then to us they do not love us.

And so the search goes on in another person, another job, a newer house, prettier clothes, whatever is just beyond our grasp but looks like it is the all-encompassing thing.

Newborns have the five basic needs as well as adults do. A baby knows when something is askew - hungry tummy, dirty diaper, cold or lonely - and he has no idea how to have this 'feeling' satisfied. So he cries. He makes noise. Mom shows up and offers comfort and baby is satisfied. Over time, the baby unknowingly places mom in his QW as the comforter, the food vendor, the problem solver, or as the what-ever-I-need fixer.

Maybe those pre-verbal picture labels contributes to mother's frustrations when the kid is fifteen and continually hollers "MOM!" Rather than lovingly responding, she may yell, “Get it yourself!”

This is how our Quality World pictures are collected, grow and distort.

And here is a rub with our selection of Quality World pictures. We isolate our Quality World pictures as having value to us that will add meaning, whether it is something we embrace or something we wish to fight against.

Oh, dear, such a tangled web. No wonder it is difficult to know our selves.

As an Instructor with the William Glasser Institute, I teach a not-so-common-sense worldview approach to effective living that brings peace and success in every area of life. Interested? Give me a shout out - monadunkin@gmail.com


2/28/17

Reflections on Our Fifty Years Together


In an otherwise bleak February there shines a bright spot where we as a nation celebrate love. During this Valentine’s season, may your heart be filled with love and compassion for all humanity, yourself included.
They say ‘love is blind’ but I’m not so sure. In reflection on our beginning 50 years ago, I saw Garland’s flaws. I just choose to overlook them. His quirks were just that – quirks - they weren’t big enough to detract from his being loveable. Not until they kept happening over and over. And no matter how hard I tried, he would not be fixed. Actually, neither would I. Guess that is part of our wonderful – yet dangerous – gift of a free will. Adjustment time. I had to ask and answer some hard questions.

Attraction plays a large part in getting a couple together but attraction will not keep a couple together. Staying together takes the maturity of one fabulous and flawed individual getting along reasonably well with another fabulous and flawed individual. It requires patience, long-suffering, forgiveness, fun, commitment, history, grace, respect, cooperation, loyalty – all the finer ingredients of love. Love is about giving and receiving, never taking. Love for the long haul needs to remain a little blind.

I am humbled by Garland’s love. When I am honest with myself I know what I can be like. And yet, he stays with me. We love each other in spite of as well as because of. Garland’s strength offset my shortcomings and my strength offset his shortcomings, which works for the good of the whole. That is when we work with it rather than oppose it. Being rubbed the wrong way helps to smooth out rough edges and perfect strengths.

So what’s the formula? Make love last by knowing that God, the Master Matchmaker, had a hand in getting you together. Also know that an individual’s free will is a major factor in staying together – and in liking it. Choice is a big deal in liking your mate and in being thankful for your relationship. See his worth and value beyond the everyday irritants. Lovingly overlook those continuing quirks that you’ve unsuccessfully tried to change (think Edith and Archie Bunker). Negotiate. Get along anyway. Choose to love. Know that giving and receiving is a two-way street; keep the pavement smooth.

However our paths have crossed, thanks for your blessings and well wishes. Your friendship has made our journey sweeter. Thank you for reading my blog or books. I appreciate the opportunity to share with you my insights for peaceful living. Take any of the ideas that may touch your heart and make them your own.

Mona Dunkin, Solution Principles. www.monadunkin.com To schedule training or life coaching contact Mona at monadunkin@gmail.com or 254-749-6594.











1/13/17

Christmas Traditions



 
We had a wonderful Christmas and I am excited about 2017 being the best year yet.  I say that every year and it keeps happening. Life just gets better and better. 

For the first time this Christmas we went to our daughter's in DeSoto. In thinking about it ahead of time it seemed a little sad to break tradition and not have she and John and our five grandchildren here.  I love a full house brimming with laughter and activity.

It turned out wonderfully.  On the 24th I had the privilege of helping her cook and host a sing for family and neighbors.  We ate and sang Christmas songs from A-Z while my grandson played the piano.  Christmas morning was church then we - as a family - delivered meals - 11 total - to the home bound in the Dallas  inner city.  It was wonderful. And the start of a new tradition. 

Old memories are wonderful and new ones keep adding to the joy of a growing family.