Becoming a True Optimist

Times are tough: war, inflation, crime, stock market, stress and debt – just to name a few. There are many things over which you have no control, but there is one thing over which you are the master. And that is of your own thinking.

The way you think affects your self-esteem, your attitude, your success and your demeanor. Here are some useful tips on how to become a true optimist.

Choose to be cheerful. When you feel discouraged, stop yourself. Physically turn around as a spring board to remind you to think about what you are choosing to think. Refuse to acknowledge defeatist thoughts. They are not acceptable. An upbeat attitude paves the way to creative solutions.

Remain hopeful. Do not deny reality. Roses do have thorns. Be careful while enjoying the beauty and the fragrance. Do not deny the negative. Do not allow possible hurt to sabotage potential enlightenment. See it and proceed with caution.

Turn negatives into positives. Being an optimist is not ignoring facts. It is looking at reality and making a legitimate choice. Is the glass half full or half empty? What do you need it to be?

Practice pragmatism. Each time you feel negative, stop, acknowledge that thought and deliberately dismiss it. Look deep inside to find the root of your emotion and consciously replace it with the greater truth of your potential. This practice is profoundly spiritual and life changing. Use it. Embrace it.

Acceptance is a viable option. A bright outlook on life is as simple as accepting what is. It may help to realize that acceptance does not mean approval. Acceptance of humanity’s flaws - self included – brings both a resolution and a surprising sense of eternal hope. Acceptance is a mark of maturity.

Become buoyant. Intervene in your own negative reactions. Rise above difficulties with pragmatic, confident, down-to-earth resilience. Deliberately control your thoughts and positively influence the outcome.

Daily employ the followinig Serenity Prayer. It can move you light years from gloom to hope.

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time,
enjoying one moment at a time.
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace.
Taking as Jesus did,
this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it.
Trusting that You will make all things right
if I surrender to your will;
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with you forever in the next.”
Reinhold Niebuhr

We welcome reprinting of articles in your newsletter or magazine, providing credit is given as follows: “This article was written by Mona Dunkin, Motivational Speaker and Personal Success Coach, www.monadunkin.blogspot.com or www.monadunkin.com.”


Stop Quelling Your Talent

What have you promised to do and not followed through on? Or what have you begun and stopped? Or what did you start and fail? Disappointments are tutors to test how badly you want to overcome. Following are some commonly used talent quelling excuses and the power gleaned from reframing the objection.

“They won’t like it.” They who? Are you going to allow another’s projected doubt to kill your dream? The complainers are usually those who are wasting their own talent. They want to quash your potential to lessen their bruised ego. You do not need another’s permission to live your life. Pursue your goals while maintaining a civil relationship with “them”; they’ll come over to your side and may even assume bragging rights to your success.

“I tried it once but…” or “I might be hurt again” You are right. There are few guarantees in life. How sad to be your own worst enemy by being blinded by fear of pain. Delve deep to find the lessons learned from the first failure or hurt so you can try anew with wiser vision.

“I’m afraid” Oh what? Success? I identify with that sentiment even though I find it to be an absurd reality. Remember the adage “You cannot cross a bridge before you get to it”? Possibly the fear is from mentally attempting to bridge a gap before you grow into it. Everything has a learning curve. Give yourself room to grow.

“What if it is not safe?” What if it is safer than you think? Are you willing to risk success?

“I’m not worthy.” How is worth determined? Worth is determined by the price you are willing to pay. If you go to buy jewelry and the price is out of your range, you might say, “No. It’s not worth it.” If the price is okay for your budget and you purchase the gem, you did so because to you it was worth it. Make yourself worthy by deciding what price you are willing to pay for your success. Then do it. Revel in your increasing self-worth as well as your blossoming net-worth.

“Oh, I really don’t have that much to offer.” How much is “that much”? Remember the two loaves and few fishes among five thousand people? And who invented the paper clip? How would you hold your papers together without it? Do you have a smile to share? A kind word to give? A small service to offer? A tiny product that would make life easier or more fun? Allow your little to become much.

“Who would listen to me?” Ah, playing small are we? What is the bigger issue: that you need someone to listen to you or that you have something to share? When you have a burning passion, delivery is fulfilling even when the audience is small. And as you grow, the audience grows.

“I might lose who I am…” Or, you just might find out who you really are. You really are a wonderful and unique individual with infinite worth and value, endowed with gifts and talents to offer your family and – yea verily - the world. Go ahead. Find out who you really are and lose your fear of becoming genuine.

In the principle of “like calls to like”, remember that energy-out matches energy-in. Whatever you sow is what you receive. Start plowing and planting. Increase your energy with movement. Now. Today. This minute. Pick up the phone and call. Get out your door.

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 mdunkin@flash.net.


What is Love Anyway?

Love is one of those words we use loosely. “Love” describes an emotional attachment to anything including people, pets, and pasta. Author Julie Motz says, “love is the feeling that flows out from you – once you know who you are – to connect you to other people.”

A healthy self-love is paramount for happiness in life and for any lasting relationship. The Bible tells us to love others as we love ourselves. This passage seems to indicate that we started life with a healthy self-love. What happened?

Do not confuse a healthy self-love with an over-inflated ego. Human nature being what it is, self-love can become distorted, which, in turn can damage others and us. There is something inside the psyche that says, “I am special. I have infinite worth and value. My looks are okay. I have dreams that are noble. I am capable of great accomplishments.” What I hear from others, even those who love me, is “Who do you think you are anyway?” “What are you trying to prove?” “If only you would…”

What I know is at war with what I hear, and it confuses my thinking. It may cause one to think, “I am a nobody. I am not worth it. I am nothing.” This confusion leads to try to prove how loveable one is and often into the trap of trying to be all things to all people.

Accept the “package deal” of you and be freed to work on attitudes and behaviors that might possibly be the real culprits of why you are not successful in life and relationships. To humbly say, “Yes, I am a pretty wonderful person” is to become precisely the person you were meant to be – YOU! It is to become real.

Love is a choice more than a feeling. Although hormones aid romantic love and the initial euphoria may draw two people together, that is not what keeps a couple together. Love releases us and sets us free to be all we were created to be; it does not bind or constrain us. Genuine love has such a healthy self-image that is not threatened by the other person being who he/she is.

Love is multipliable; it is not divisible. We may have the mistaken idea that there is only so much love to go around and must be parceled out sparingly. Thus, once-important relationships take a backseat as love is divided among new friends. In blended families, much jealousy arises because Mom or Dad may be seen as dividing their love with each other or with the other children. That is not the way love works. Love is multipliable. The more you love, the more you are able to love

Time is divisible; it is not multipliable. Because love is often equated with time spent together, busy schedules can put a major damper on good relationships. For the love of your family, cut back on too many outside interests or other busy activities. Make time, don’t find it, and see how your love life flourishes.

One never outgrows the need for love, and it is never too late to learn how to give and receive it.
Start with receiving God's unconditional love.

We welcome reprinting of articles in your newsletter or magazine, providing credit is given as follows: “This article was written by Mona Dunkin, Motivational Speaker and Personal Success Coach, www.monadunkin.blogspot.com or www.monadunkin.com.”

The Greatest of These is Love

February, the month of love. Icy cold days and warm hearts.

My sister - in her high school days - was given a homework assignment to define love. She interviewed couples. Their advice ranged from the melancholy - “being able to see through each other and still enjoy the view”, to the frustrated -“something sent down from heaven to aggravate the hell out of you.”

It’s all Greek to me. If love was not complicated enough, we Americans use the word to express our affection for everything from people to popcorn to places to puzzles to pets. The Greek language has different words for different loving emotions. “Eros” (cupid) is the romantic love, “Philio” is friendship or brotherly love and “Stoic” is the kind of love for whatever is still left - things, places, activities, chocolate.

Love, passive and active. The Hebrew language has two words for love and both of them are in the active tense. “Ahab” is choosing to love from afar with the intent to pursue and woo. It is hopeful. “Hessedh” is choosing to love and to keep on loving whether received or rejected. It is steadfast and eternal.

Faith, hope, love. With or without a Rabbi’s assignment, the Apostle Paul wrote a beautiful essay on love. He gave a benchmark for us mortals to use to measure our romantic and brotherly love. He said outrageous things such as; “Love is kind. Love does not envy. Love does not get puffed up or pout. Love does not always have to have its own way. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things.” (I Corinthians 13)

A flip of the coin. In meditating, I like to look at issues from all sides. To observe what is the direct meaning and also to see what it indirectly inferred. One day in measuring myself by Paul’s love yardstick I noticed two phrases coupled together. “Love is long-suffering” - I had that down to a fine art (I could roll my eyes and sigh deeply and it was so obvious I was suffering in my patience) - “and is kind.”

Give me a break. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I said out loud to God, “Surely You jest! Are You telling me You expect me to be kind to my mother-in-law?!” (Or mate, or boss or neighbor; you fill in the blank.) Another word for love is “charity”. “Charity” is used instead of “love” in that passage in the King James Bible translation. I like that. I find in many incidents that it is easier to be charitable than it is to be loving. Over time I am learning to be kind to the lovely and the unlovely alike. To overlook bad attitudes and respond in kindness to irritants or rudeness or disrespect.

Charity begins at home. Garland and I married forty-four years ago this February 24th. I am humbled by the fact that this guy loves me and keeps on loving me. Opposites attract. Over time, that refreshing opposite way of seeing life from the way you view it becomes stale. Irritating. Wrong.

The hormonal passive love of Eros and Ahab may draw a couple together, but it is the active, on-going, over-and-over choosing to love of Hessedh that keeps a family together. And it is the friendship of Phileo love and the fun-seeking adventure of Stoic love that makes the relationship enjoyable. Valuable. In-it-for-the-long-haul.

Forty-four years and counting. It has been a wonderful, magical ride so far and the road ahead looks promising. Happy Valentines Day, on the fourteenth and everyday.


Memory Boosters

No matter one’s age, all have periodic memory glitches. Can’t find your keys? Is it that you are losing your mind or that you were preoccupied as you rushed to a task? Stop and refocus. Take a deep breath and mentally retrace your steps. As you designate a home for frequently used items your automatic pilot will put them where they belong.

Reduce the stress. Worry and rushing tax the brain and constricts the ability to think. When you do not have time it becomes imperative that you take time to slow down and relax. Take a minute of quiet meditation to allow mind and body to reconnect. Whatever calms the body also clarifies the mind. It also becomes imperative that you say “No” when it is in your own best interest.

Obtain restful sleep. Lack of sleep hinders concentration and logical thinking. Sleep is the brain’s accounting system, taking information gathered during waking hours and placing it into long-term storage. Sleep categorizes it for easy retrieval. Seven to eight hours per night is recommended for adults and may require a healthy dose of self-love to train yourself to nurture you. Adding just thirty minutes per night on a regular basis can enhance your memory, increase your alertness and improve your overall health.

Do one thing at a time. Multitasking is the enemy of concentration. Answering an e-mail while listening to your mate's problem is not only self-defeating, it is also destroys relationship. Ego makes us think we can juggle many things but research shows we are kidding ourselves. And become less effective in the process. We forget promises made, redo tasks already completed, fail to recall where items are stored, disregard commitments, ignore purpose and neglect self-care. The secret to concentration is elimination.

Be present. Failure to pay attention produces sloppy results. Routine tasks often cause one to go into auto pilot, thus doing things without awareness. This is handy for such things as brushing your teeth but deadly when driving a car. Mindlessness is a contributor to dysfunctional relationships.

Get moving. Physical activity increase blood flow and oxygen to the brain for clearer thinking. An active lifestyle also generates the formation of new neurons and connectors. Although thirty minute spurts three or more times a week is ideal, some is better than none.

Enjoy brain foods. Our bodies need good fuel to produce maximum results. Brain foods include omega-3 fatty acids (salmon, soybeans, flaxseed), antioxidants (berries, green veggies), folate (orange juice, leafy vegetables) and water.

Yes, we are getting older and there is some truth to age affecting memory. Everyone forgets things at times but when it is time to seek professional help? Here are danger signs for you or someone you love:

• consistently forgetting common words or confusing the names of people or things
• one becomes disoriented in familiar surroundings such as your own home or neighborhood
• persistent foggy thinking or trouble concentrating
• difficulty performing common tasks such as grooming or running the microwave
• mood swings, erratic behavior or dramatic personality changes

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 mdunkin@flash.net.